I just knew we’d hear more about the spy and Shrieker. I just didn’t know when.
Once the dirt and twigs had stopped swirling around us we all tried to get comfortable. We listened as the Mandi stomped away and knew we would finally get a little peace and quiet.
That night, everybody agreed that we should call this new Mandi, Stomper, you know, since she was always stomping around.
Unexpected but welcomed was the creaky, slightly quivery voice of Gramma Feebly, “I think you should all hear what I have come to understand about the slavery that we live in and what we know about the world of two-legs.”
Gramma Feebly sighed but continued, “Until Chitkin brought us that piece of chocolate, most of you had no idea what we were doing swinging, cutting and splitting, and why we were living in slavery. But you don’t understand how this tasty treat affects the world of two-legs.”
“I was quite young when I first heard the stories about two-legs’ sugar lerp. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing and actually thought that these stories must be made up, myths.
Our Queen suggested - which is more like an order, you know - that I go to other parts of the world and see for myself.”
Yes, I know, Dilma, it was a scary thought, and I trembled and shivered just like you just did. In any event, you don’t say no to the Queen!
Well, the way we travel any great distance is to catch a cuff of two-legs and hope it’ll go where we want to go.
I would peek out every so often to see where we were. You see it took a very long time, sun up, sun down, many times before I felt the strange way I was moving. I was on a ship, a building that was 1000 times bigger than our hills, and that floated on the water! Oh, yes, on the water.
I stayed hidden away except in the late morning when the two-legs left his chamber and I could get out and find some food and water he had dropped or left out.
Sun up, sun down for more times than I could count but finally the ship stopped and the noises became louder. I watched which cuff the two-legs was going to use and caught the cuff-of-the-day off the ship.
I kept peeking out at all of the places we went and, oh! what I saw. Yes, Sassandra, I’ll tell you about all that I saw one day. But what I saw that day will help you all understand why we are slaves on this coco farm. Oh, yes, it came as a surprise to me, too.
I saw that there were coco beans in special containers all over the place from where they were put onto ships to go to who-knows-where. These were the same coco beans we are swinging and cutting in this slave camp! But there were thousands of these containers. Not hundreds, but thousands! So, I knew that there had to be coco slave farms just like ours, all over, to supply so many coco beans. I began to cry, just like some of you are beginning to do, right now.
But what did they do with all of those coco beans? I couldn’t imagine; can you?”
Amari, true to her name, said, “There must be something that made sense of all this.”
Gramma Feebly nodded her head and went on, “Well, to some two-legs, yes, but to almost everybody else, and especially to us, it made no sense at all!
The cuff I’d caught a ride in went a long way from the containers of coco beans and into a market where fruit and vegetables were being sold.
One stall made my eyes widen, my twitchers twitch and every sense in my body come alive. The little signs said coco for sale and, at the same table, chocolate bars. My memory kicked in and I realized that was what I had tasted so long ago!
Do you get the connection?” asked Gramma Feebly?
Most of said nothing and some said, almost in a whisper, “No.”
“Well I didn’t either!” cackled Gramma Feebly. “But something was stirring in my mind that made me think there had to be a connection between the coco beans and the chocolate bars.
Well, I heard the two-legs say he wanted to buy a chocolate bar. The seller said, “Un euro, s’il vous plait.”
“One euro!?” quavered Gramma Feebly. “One??!” How could that be? There were millions of coco beans in the containers. And you slave away every day, get injured all the time, and, let’s not kid ourselves, some of us disappear, too! For what?”
“For what?” hung in the air as we all stopped holding our breath and Gramma Feebly slipped off to sleep.
END CHAPTER #13