Strawberry fields

szeptember 15, 2008 § 2 hozzászólás

“At six o’clock the shadows were lengthening across the field. When the horn of the Land Rover sounded again down by the gate, I picked up my tray of strawberry punnets and carried it down to the prefab.
‘How many you got, Irina?’ asked Ciocia Yola, sticking her nose into my tray. OK, I admit I had only filled twelve trays all day. Marta had filled nineteen. Yola and the Chinese girls had filled twenty-five each – you should see the way they go at those berries. Anyway, they’re smaller than me, and they don’t have to bend so far. The men had filled fifteen trays each that afternoon, and another fifteen in the morning. Each tray carries about four kilos of strawberries. I could see the farmer way annoyed. His face was red and lumpy like a strawberry. Or maybe, according to Yola, like a testicle. Anyway, I kept my face absolutely expressionless as he told me that today I’d earned £14, barely enough to cover my expenses, and I was going to have to do better. He spoke slowly and very loudly, as though I was deaf as well as stupid, waving his hands about.
‘NO GOOD. NO BLOODY GOOD. YOU’VE GOT TO PICK FASTER. ALL FILL UP. FULL. FULL.’  He swept his arms wide, as if to embrace all his pathetic punnets. ‘DO YOU UNDERSTAND?’
No, I didn’t understand – the shouting was flustering me.
‘OTHERWISE YOU’RE DOWN THE ROAD.’
‘Road?’
‘ROAD. DOWN THE BLOODY ROAD. YOU GET IT?’
‘I get blood on road?’
‘NO, YOU SILLY COW, YOU GET ON THE ROAD!’
‘ I get silly cow on road?’
‘OH! FORGET IT!”

/Marina Lewycka – Two Caravans/

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