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Short story: Dominic's fall

Published:Sunday | June 3, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Shelly-Ann Woolery, Contributor

I always enjoyed going to Mommy's office. I liked it so much that soon Mommy made the visits treats - a monthly reward for good behaviour.

Last year at Easter, when I had just turned eight, I had replaced the chocolate candies in the plastic easter eggs with roaches - some dead, some still alive. Initially, it was worth it to see the girls scream and squirm, tears streaking a few faces.

Had the punishment been no allowance, a spanking, reading a public apology, or even weeding all the neighbours' yards, I could have endured it. But mother was an even greater genius than I was.

"No visit to my office this month, Dominic."

She had said it so calmly, I had taken it that I had got off easy, but the following Saturday morning when my twin brothers left with Mommy, the longing I felt was more intense than I had expected. The six hours they were gone for were torturous. How I loathed missing out.

When Malik and Nathan returned, they told me tales of their adventures, and it was at that moment I decided, from now on, a good boy I would be. From then on, I had to make sure when I did bad things they were of the sort Mommy would not find out about. And for 15 months from then on, I was the well-behaved son in my mother's eyes. Every third Saturday when she had to go to the office, she took me. Since last Christmas, the twins no longer went. They had lost interest and preferred running behind dad. If anything, my fascination had grown.

Each visit, I would press myself against the glass wall of Mommy's 16th-floor office, getting a thrill from being in one of the tallest buildings on the southern side of the island. In fact, the tallest in the area. It was exciting to be seeing all around. I saw people doing things when they thought no one could see them. I got an even greater thrill when I ran up to the top floor. This must be the thrill a pilot or a window washer feels. I wanted to be a military pilot, soar to grest heights.

Then I learnt a new word - plummet.

My cousin Alvie stayed with us every summer, and one day, Alvie, the twins and I were playing cricket. Alvie was a real good batsman and sent our ball flying onto the roof. Alvie had a fear of heights and it was so bad he had to sleep on a low bed. So, of course, he wouldn't go on the roof. I volunteered to go retrieve our ball. I was quite excited about the climb. I used the grille as a ladder and got up quite quickly. I located the ball and it turned out it wasn't the only ball up there. I tossed down the cricket ball, a few tennis balls and a deflated basketball. I was turning around to prepare for my descent when I slipped on the tiniest ball - a marble. Backwards, off the roof I went. Plummeted, but not to my death. At least, not yet. Upside down I dangled from the roof, my shoe entangled in a wire. But my foot was slowly slipping out.

"Get me down!" I bellowed.

Alvie was acrophobic, so he would probably do more harm than good. That left my seven-year-old brothers, as there was no time to get anyone else help. Malik and Nathan climbed the two-storey house quickly and I felt one of them hold my legs. I grabbed the other's outstretched hand. I was too dizzy from the prolonged blood rush to my head to identify which twin did what.

I now have to sleep on a low bed. I only go to Mommy's office in my nightmares. I relive falling from the roof, but in my dreams, it's her building instead. Sometimes I'm not on the roof but rather I trip and crash through the 16th floor glass walls of her office.

Each month I play an awful prank as I know my punishment will be that on the third Saturday of the month I stay home. If only Mommy knew a more effective punishment would be to actually take me to work.