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Independence Queen Contest short story


Fri, Oct 26, 2012

Written by Loren “Leddie” Da Breo ©

The first ever village Independence Queen Contest was advertised to be held the night before Independence Day. Comsie decided that she was going to enter the contest. She went to the president of the committee to sign up and was told she did not fit the requirement. Only females between the ages of 20 and 40 could take part. Comsie was in her fifties. She looked the president in his eyes and said, “This is age discrimination and I am going to protest and if no change, I will sue for pain and suffering”.{{more}}

Comsie commenced her picket on the main road in the village very early the next morning. She had two placards, one read, “Fair is fair, all women should be given the opportunity to participate in the Independence Queen Contest.” The other placard said: “Age discrimination against Comsie”. On the third day of the picket, the committee met and decided to allow Comsie to participate. Speaking to a reporter on the phone from her home, she said, “This is just the first victory; the second will be when I am crowned Miss Independence Village Queen 2012”.

Comsie brought on board Doris, her neighbour and best friend, to be her chaperone. They both decided five days were needed to fully prepare for the contest. Included in her preparation was to exercise and eat well every day. She wanted to feel and look her best.

On the first day, she ate roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish with golden apple drink; the second day was ducuna in banana bush; the third day, farine mixed with zaboca; the fourth day, pelau; and on the fifth day, callaloo soup.

Everyday, she would listen to NBC radio to learn standard English from the news readers and announcers. She was up and down the house in high heel shoes, practising her walk. Comsie visited the seamstress to make sure her evening wear was perfect. On the final preparation day, it was time to press her hair, so she borrowed Miss Dina’s iron comb and had Doris do the job.

On the night of the show, they both arrived three hours ahead. As a matter of fact, the Learning Resource Centre, where the contest was scheduled to take place was locked and Comsie ordered the watchman to open it. They sat down and waited patiently for the commencement of the show, which began at 8:30 instead of 8 p.m.

The MC took the microphone in hand, gave the opening remarks and introduced the contestants. They were to be judged in four categories: talent, audience response, question, and evening wear.

For her talent, Comsie appeared on stage wearing a “jump suit”, stained white jersey, a broad straw hat and a pair of water boots with a cutlass in her hand. “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, for my talent, I am representing the banana farmers, while I sing and dance to the remix “St Vincent my homeland” by Alston “Becket” Cyrus. She called forward Rondolph with his goat skin drum to back her up. Normally, he would only play at funeral processions, but who could say no to Comsie. Her talent was outstanding. The crowd had a blast during her performance.

The MC announced that the questions would be asked following the parade of evening wear. Contestants one to four came on, in their flamboyant gowns reflecting the national colours of St Vincent and the Grenadines. When time came for Comsie to come on stage, she appeared in a dress made from flour and rice bags with “Cream of the Islands” in the front and “Three Jewel Rice”

in the back. The crowd immediately went into an uproar. An old woman at the front in a wheel-chair ended up on the floor; all the babies started crying; the judges covered their faces with the score sheets; the MC was speechless; and Comsie stood there, grinning.

Finally after about fifteen minutes, the audience settled down and the MC’s question to Comsie was, “Tell us, Comsie King, why have you decided on this outfit instead of the national colours?” Comsie took a deep breath then responded: “Well, being a true Vincentian I wear the national colours all year round, but my intention tonight is to demonstrate to my people that when bananas are down, one cannot go hungry here in St Vincent, because we have rice to cook in various ways and flour to make dough-boy, bread and cakes. If you notice the basket in my hand, it represents all the hard food we grow and take to the market to sell; the dome-shaped wrap on my head depicts the La Soufriere volcano, the highest mountain in St Vincent and the Grenadines”.

The crowd cheered with a standing ovation to her response, in support of Comsie.

In the end, Comsie was victorious. She won the competition ten points in front the first runner-up and was crowned Miss Independence Village Queen 2012.


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