It Goes Like This, the Fourth, the Fifth

They appeared on the horizon one day. Shiny silver boxes with little black wheels. They made loud noises and spat out poison air. Inside were big men with black glasses and prickly beards. Papa told me not to go near the big men.

They visited houses often. Sometimes when I walked to school I would see a silver box outside a house. There were always loud noises, but they weren’t from the boxes. There was shouting and smashing and banging from inside the houses with the boxes outside, and all the other houses were quiet. I once heard Papa say he never saw the people in those houses again.

I was at the market with Mama one day when the big men came in their silver boxes. They yelled a lot, at people Mama was buying fruit and vegetables from. They took away lots of food with them but the shopkeepers looked sad. I asked Mama why they were sad, and she told me the big men did not pay for their food. I asked why they did not have to pay, and Papa told me that sometimes in the world big men can take things from other people.

I was playing in the field with my friends when we saw some big men on the road nearby. They had one of the teachers from my school with them, and she was crying. One of my friends asked the big men if she was all right, because she looked hurt. They laughed at us, and patted us on the head. She was fine, they said, laughing. She cried harder, and one of the men gave her a big hug and put her in their silver box. Another of the big men gave me his black glasses. When I took it home, Papa threw it away and yelled at me for a long time.

One day, a shiny silver box arrived at my house. It had little black wheels, and it made loud noises and spat poison air. Inside were big men with black glasses and prickly beards. The big men came into our house and started talking to Papa. He shouted at them, and they shouted at him. Then the big men took off their black glasses and began smashing up our house. Mama took my brothers and sisters and I to the basement while she cried. Soon the big men left, and they took Papa with them. I never saw Papa again.

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cg

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