Wednesday 16 May 2012

'Tyrants' by Valerie Sirr

You make your father lie down on the floor. You lie flat on your tummy on your father’s back and your little sister lies flat on yours. You are the ham. They are the bread. You feel his heat and the weight of your sister. Your parents’ and sister’s laughs go inside you and join with yours until you grow so huge you fill up the room as if you were an Egyptian king.
Roaring Boy bawls and you begin to shrink. Your mother gathers him up and his mouth bites her breast. You want to play ‘sandwich’ again, but your parents are going out.
You pick your favourite story from your bible. You tell your babysitter about Pharaoh:
“Pharaoh was in charge. He made the Children of Israel be his slaves.”
She ruffles your hair. You push your head into her softness. Her voice goes inside you with the beats of her heart...You wear a golden headdress and a white tunic. You grip the ankh in your hand. You allow your parents and sister to live.
“Why is Pharaoh mean?” your sister says. She knows you know everything.
Your mother steps into the room. Roaring Boy screams in her arms, red-faced and stinky. Her eyes find you where you lie against your babysitter’s breast.
You sit up straight. Your cheeks burn so you say loudly, “Pharaoh’s going to kill boy babies!”  
Your mother and your babysitter roll their eyes at each other.
You don’t know why they do that, but you do know what happens next: Pharaoh’s soldiers search for the baby. The baby’s parents make a basket out of bulrushes and sticky tar. They put the baby inside it. They cover the baby with rushes then they place him in the river and they leave him there.


  1. I love this story, Valerie. It's an original take and I remember the feeling well!

  2. You really captured the boy's psychology in this one


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