July 23, 2014

The fix

Satiricus was dumbfounded. There in green and white in his own newspaper, the GTimes, they were saying GrainJa was going to “fix” the polls to be the leader of the Pee an See Party.

Satiricus figured there had to be a limit to everything. He knew Courbane as a fixer in the Pee an See. But GrainJa??? NOOOOO! How could they try to pin such a dastardly deed to the saintly figure of GrainJa?? Why!! Butter wouldn’t melt in the man’s mouth!!

“Look how they blamin GrainJa for bringing democracy to the Pee an See!!” he exclaimed in disgust to the fellas around the table at the Back Street Dive.

“And how exactly, he bringing democracy to the Pee an See??” asked Suresh.

“Well…Look how the man mekkin sure every party member gon vote!!” said Satiricus. He tended to slip into the vernacular when he got excited. “That is democracy, Budday!!!”

“But how dem guh vote, Sato, old fren???” asked Cappo, while taking a sip from his Banks bottle.

“Is wha schupidness, yuh askin?” growled Satiricus. “They gon make their mark on a ballot paper??”

“But how dem guh get de ballot paper??” continued Cappo doggedly.

Satiricus was getting exasperated, but Cappo continued to stare at him waiting for an answer. Finally, Satiricus blurted out: “Well, they gon show their membership card!! Jesus! Like yuh never went to PPEE Congress and vote??”

“Budday, dat is the problem…I bin to PPEE Congress,” smiled Cappo. “And dis is differen’, Dis is big cook up!”

“Wha yuh mean?” growled Satiricus.

“Sato, me fren, did it straight fram BurntHam book,” explained Cappo, with a smile. “The big question ah who gon get card fuh vote??!!”

“Let me tell you about democracy,” piped up Teacher Samad, who’d been listening with amusement. “The question always is who’s vote will count. In Greece, where democracy start, is only the men could vote.”

“And at the Pee an See Congress,” concluded Cappo, “Ah only GrainJa people, ah maan!!!”

Satiricus became silent.

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Trumped-up charge

Satiricus thought it was so unfair. Not because a fella couldn’t look you in the eye meant he was lying. If that was so, then it’d mean Rum Jhaat was lying through his teeth with every word he uttered. Even when he said “the” and “a”.

And being a lawyer didn’t help. Most people thought that the phrase “lying lawyer” was a redundant expression. “And becoming an Opposition politician wasn’t the best idea,” thought Satiricus. “Most people counted their fingers after they shook hands with the species.”

The “boys” were “throwing back” at the back street bar and had pretty much exhausted the topic of Warriors “Super Over” victory over the Red Steel. The general consensus was that some steel are brittle and crack under pressure. And did that Narine boy apply pressure!! The Steel just couldn’t read him. They’d taken a drink to Cappo’s explanation: “Budday!!! You doan see that chap always wearin’ long sleeve shift?? ‘E gat something up ‘e sleeve!!!”

So they were lazily discussing Rum Jhaat asking the Police to throw the Finance Minister in jail for spending money to keep the country going. “Hold it!” interjected Suresh, “you mean Minister didn’t spend the money on heself??”

“NAAH!! The money was fuh expand the airport and help Amerindians and thing,” explained Kuldeep. “$4.5 billion”

“And de Jhaat seh he gat fuh pay back dat?!!” blurted out Cappo. “Dat guh tek he 1000 years!!”

“Cappo my friend, Rum Jhaat full of you know what. And I’m not talking about liquor,” said Teacher Samad. “The Jhaat is so shifty-eyed he couldn’t tell the truth even to save his mother’s life!” And this was where Satiricus though that it was unfair to judge the Jhaat on looks.

“But if the Opposition in Parliament didn’t give permission to the Minister to spend the money,” asked Satiricus, “isn’t he wrong and should get some licks??”

“Budday, me is a canecutta,” exclaimed Cappo, “but me know dat only if de Minister do wrong thing when he a wan private citizen yuh can charge he! Like Rum Jhaat bin a law school in August, or wha??”

“And not only that,” said Teacher Samad. “Rum Jhaat making up his own law, for the police to follow against the Minister.”

“Is wha yuh mean,” asked Bungi.

“My friends, there’s no law on the books for what Rum Jhaat asking the Police to make the charge,” said Teach. “The Minister was doing his job.” He looked around the table, and the fellas looked uncertain. “

“It’s like if I tell the Police to charge Rum Jhaat not only because he shifty eyed, but he don’t shave and he scaring children too bad!” Teach continued. “He shouldn’t do it – but there’s no law in the books against scaring children because you look like a crook!”

Even Satiricus understood. They drank to that.

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“I wanna be number 1”

Satiricus felt he had to do the right thing. This recording had been dropped on his doorstep and he’d agonised all night as what to do with it. It was two voices. Voice number one appeared to be the Chairman of the “Pee ‘n See”, Mustache Willie, while the second one appeared to be that of Oskar Clerk, the General Secretary. Satiricus copied the conversation verbatim. He would give it to his editor.

Voice 1: Wha goin on?

Voice 2: I deh.

Voice 1: Ah just give the Chairman of the CoI a good juk. Ah think he tekking sides…

Voice 2: Banna, yuh know dese kinda people. Deh still remember deh old days, when dem di running around wid Afro hairstyle and clenched fists!!

Voice 1: But we gat to protect de Kabaka, right.

Voice 2: Yuh bet yuh ass, yuh gat fuh do dat.

Voice 1: Ah gon do wha a gotta do. So whey de General deh?

Voice 2: Me ain’t know if he geh you. I tell he…

Voice 1: He come back?

Voice 2: Yeah, I told him yuh might, yuh sey you might need to talk to he.

Voice 1: Uh hmm, I ain’t know he come back.

Voice 2: Yeah, he say he wanted to talk to you.

Voice 1: But I ain’t want fuh talk to he no mo’.

Voice 2: Good. But is wha yuh call fuh, Banna? You big shot lawyer don’t usually call me.

Voice 1: Well I tired of being the bridesmaid and never the bride.

Voice 2: (Sounding alarmed) You want to be a BRIDE? Boy, I never tek you to be like dat! Is the mustache like a…a cover?? You want fuh come out of the closet??

Voice 1: Is wha schupidness you goin on wid?? I is all man. I mean Ah want to be Leader. You know, to fill de Kabaka shoes.

Voice 2: (Sounding even more alarmed) You want fuh be the LEADER???!!! Yuh want fuh tek on de General??

Voice 1: Is why yuh so surprise?? Yuh think goat bite me?

Voice 2: Calm down, Banna. Calm down. But is why yuh think you should be Leader??

Voice 1: Well, I is a lawyer, like de Kabaka. I like fancy suit, like the Kabaka. And Ah trying to like brandy, like de Kabaka.

Voice 2: But, Banna, the question is, can you ride a horse like the Kabaka??

Voice 1: Not really. But I can ride an ass.

Voice 2: (under his breath) And be one too…

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Wheh Oska bite she??

Satiricus sighed. “Politics in Guyana,” he concluded as he put away his newspaper, “ain’t easy.” Take the role of General Secretary of the PnCEE. As an old newshound, Satiricus always figured Oska to be a mild-mannered type. With his thick glasses and self-effacing manner, he looked like he wouldn’t or couldn’t hurt a fly.
But here he was, assaulting and man-handling a vigorous, pugnacious and young female MP from Linben. While no Sitira Gyaals, who behaved like “Buxton Boars”, those Linben Gyaals were no pushovers either. Satiricus sought explanation from the brain trust at their watering hole.
“Sato, you don’t become General Secretary of the PnCEE by being a 97-pound weakling!” Kuldeep pointed out.
“Hell no!!!” blurted out Hari, almost choking in his beer. “Oska got to fill some big and dirty shoes!!!”
“Comrades, the mould was set from the beginning,” said Teacher Samad. “The first GS was too big and bad even for Burnham. He had to throw out Sydney Kung!”
“Dat ah de same chap who call heself Easy Kwayama??” enquired Cappo. “Ah wha he do??”
“He seh fuh bruk up de country in three,” piped up his cane-cutter buddy Bungi. “One part fuh Coolie, one part fuh Black and one part fuh Douglah.”
“But de real bull-dog, bad man PnCEE GS was HamTon Green,” said Suresh. “De man was such a bully, his hands got “corn” beating opposition protestors.”
“HamTon Green was a ‘bad man’??” asked Georgie in amazement.
“Yep. Before Dessie Hyte pull out all his teeth!!” chortled Harri.
“So y’all telling me that Oska really rough up the Linben Lass?” asked Satiricus. “That girl look like one tough cookie. You see that head-tie she had on in Parliament? That signal war, boy!”
“Sato, like you na read yuh own paper, bai,” said Cappo. “Like you fuget last year Oska fight off four bandits. Even after dey shoot he.”
“But Oska got some extra motivation, fellas,” volunteered Teacher Samad. When everybody swivelled to look at him, he continued. “Is Audrey Norten behind the Linben Gyaal. And Oska became GS after Hyte throw out Norten as GS.”
“I remember now,” interjected Suresh. “Hyte said Norten was he ‘creature’. But he said it like Norten was “the Creature from the Black Lagoon”!!”
“And Norten now want to be Leader of the PnCEE,” continued Teacher Samad. “If he gets in, Oska is out like south!!”
“So the question isn’t ‘wheh Oska bite she’,” marvelled Satiricus. “Is who gon bite Oska!!”

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Naked politics

Satiricus was agog. And he hadn’t consumed any grog. But it was clear that the fella on the front page of the MuckrakerKN had imbibed more than his fair share! There he was in all his nakedness – arms akimbo, dhall belly on view and only the whites of his eyes rolling. The KFC’s Cinderella Councillor NakedRam (one name) couldn’t have been drinking any of the over-the-counter rum.

This had to be some of that special stuff brewed and bottled the same day in Lima Sands. Satiricus had heard of the potency of the bush rum. Lethal!! When the farmers had to cook their food, but the wood was soaked, the bush-rum worked better than gasoline. But Satiricus wasn’t upset with NakedRam (one name). The fellow was only doing his job.

His party had been wracked and wrecked by scandals – think NoGel Huge, RumJhaat, Naga Man and so on – and something had to be done. Desperate times called for desperate measures and all that. “And jeez,” thought Satiricus, “a fella got to be real desperate to expose to the world all his SHORT comings!”

No. Satiricus was more upset with the MuckrakerKN for inflicting that picture on Guyana. “Didn’t Guyana have enough to be terrified about with Baddam Whorish pasting his picture on his column every Sunday?” worried Satiricus. “Man that was one ugly dude!!! His wife once told him to take the trash out and he moved out of the house!!”

Now Satiricus didn’t even mind when the Muckraker printed those pictures of decapitated bodies. But you had to draw the line somewhere. And Satiricus drew the line on the bukta around NakedRam’s (one name) ankles. And it wasn’t that the bukta was obviously so slack it didn’t need more than gravity (the weakest force in the universe) to pull it down. No, what Satiricus couldn’t stand was that the bukta was obviously soiled.

Whatever else NakedRam (one name) could pin on the Police (and there was always a lot one could pin on the Police), surely they couldn’t be accused of soiling NakedRam’s (one name) bukta.

As Satiricus put away the paper, he wondered, “Since NakedRam (one name) soiled his bukta, did this mean he was full of sh*t??”

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Satiricus was a sucker for sacrifice. “Why!” he whimpered, as he wiped away a tear from his eye. “This is what makes us human”. He was reading about the courageous W-US-S Ambassador Bent Heart. The fella’s country W-US-S, was reeling from their economic meltdown – 10 times the population of Guyana out of jobs! – but yet here was Bent Heart, taking time to educate Guyanese about “democracy”.

And yet this Minister Manic had cussed him out. Was there no gratitude in this world no more??Satiricus sniffed some more and decided to seek comfort at the back street bar. “Hey Sato, why so glum, chum??” cried out Hari, as he spied  Satiricus. The fellas had obviously been around for a while: the table was a forest of beer bottles.

“Man, how Manic could cuss out Bent Heart after W-US-S did so much for us??” Satiricus asked as he received his beer.

“Yeah, right,” nodded Suresh. “Why Manic bring up old time story like how W-US-S throw out Jugun and bring in Burnt Ham?”

“Damn right!!” exclaimed  Satiricus. “I know W-US-S destroy the country when they support Burnt Ham – but we got to look at the bright side.”

“I was being sarcastic, Sato,” pointed out Suresh sourly. “What bright side?”

“OK…OK…So they help Burnt Ham bruk up the country. But if that didn’t happen, everybody  wouldn’t have left. And I wouldn’t be getting US dollars every month!!”

Satiricus old buddy, Cappo the canecutter, looked at  Satiricus in amazement. “Yuh mean fuh tell me, just because you collect some freks like wan beggah, is all right W-US-S bruk abee up fuh 28 year??”

“All right, maybe Manic got a right to tell off Bent Heart,” conceded  Satiricus. “But she don’t know time and place??”

“What time and what place??” demanded Kuldeep.

“Well is the W-US-S birthday party and was at Bent Heart House,” answered  Satiricus.

“Let me tell you something, Sato,” said Teacher Samad, who’s been listening quietly.

“The W-US-S birthday should remind everybody that you shouldn’t take any sh*t from even the biggest country.”

“That’s right, chap,” chimed in Hari. “The founders of W-US-S told the King of England to take his taxes and shove it where the sun don’t shine!!”

“But today, all W-US-SES, including Bent Heart, are behaving like wussies to small countries like Guyana,” said Kuldeep, shaking his head.

“And all ah dem who falla de W-US-SE and boo Manic ah de biggest wussies!!!” chortled Cappa.

“So maybe we should give Manic a medal??” suggested  Satiricus quietly.

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Bright side to census

Satiricus was amazed. Amazed at all the handwringing about the just released census. It had started with the morning briefing of the reporters at his newspaper. The editors kept on and on about how the population wasn’t growing. And that it was even shrinking. Satiricus just didn’t get with all the doom and gloom, though.

Satiricus liked to keep things simple. Well, maybe HE was simple, he realised, but that was neither here nor there, he concluded. “I came from a big family, no? Ten brothers and sisters,” he blurted out to the fellas at the drinking place. They all nodded. “Well, as soon as the older brothers and sisters started to marry out, man…it was like heaven!! I got me own room…More food…better clothes. I didn’t complain!”

“Well, I never think about it like that!” confessed Hari. “Imagine if people didn’t leave! Man, we woulda been packed like sardines like in Bangladesh.”

“But what me na understaan,” said Cappo, “how come we gat the same number a people fram 30 year ago, but we building six thousand house every year??”

“Cappo right,” said Suresh, nodding. “Is who living in all dem new houses??”

“And some people still na gat house,” concluded Cappo.

“Budday, Sato gave the answer,” interjected Teacher Samad.

“I did?” Replied Satiricus, with his usual confused look on his face.

“Yep!” said Teacher Samad laconically. “Smaller families have less people, but each family still want their own house.”

“Well that make sense,” said Suresh. “But here is another benefit because people leaving and keeping the population small.”

“All right, we know you’re going to tell us…so go ahead,” sighed Teacher Samad resignedly.

“OK. Is not everybody leaving, right!” begun Suresh, and continued without pause. “How many politicians you know gone foreign.”

“Not many,” admitted Kuldeep, who’d been listening quietly to the gaff. He’d just returned from the gold bush.

“So the politicians are like Sato’s big family – still living in one old house!! It’s been survival of the fittest!!” said Suresh, leaning over the table. “The most vicious, nasty and meanest politicians survived.”

“Suresh, I think you got something there!!” said Hari, smiling. “You just explained the Jhaat and Naga Man!!!

“Lie abee drink to dat!!” Said Cappo. “De census na suh baad!”

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Satiricus was sad. Here it was that the Naga Man was complaining again that the former Prezzie’s (Prezzie J) ghost was still haunting State House. And that it had “tek over” the incumbent – Prezzie R. “Well,” Satiricus sighed, “He hadn’t actually said that. But he might as well have said it.” Naga Man was convinced that everything Prezzie R did, it was Pressie J’s doing.

Pressie R lost weight – well it had to be Pressie J at work….since he had also thrown off some pounds a while back!! “Sato, is why yuh does worry suh?” asked Cappo solicitously. “Yuh gon get old befo yuh time!!”

“But I worry about Naga Man. Like he can’t get his mind off Pressie J. Even when the man is off the local scene and doing all kinda things outside,” Satiricus explained to the fellows around the table.

Suresh laughed. “Budday that is what does happen when you get “bitch-slapped”. Naga Man had it in his head he was top dog in the Party…but Prezzie J hit him so hard, the chap never ketch heself!”

“Lemme hear about this ‘bitch-slap’ theory of politics!!” piped up Teacher Samad.

“Well is just that in the party Ex-Co discussion, every time Naga Man open he mouth, Prezzie J – would show how stupid it was,” explained Suresh.

“He used to sweep he mouth, because he was the only person who heard Cheddi name him as the “successor”, not Prezzie J!!!” pointed out Hari.

“But Naga Man was one of the old heads in the party,” Satiricus protested. “The lawyers would say he had ‘reasonable expectations’?”

“Sato me fren…yuh does mek yuh heart talk…nat yuh head,” said Cappo, shaking his own head. “Tell me wha mek de Old Man never mek Naga Man nothing?”

“Well, he had a lil drinking problem,” Satiricus conceded. “But he still stick around for a longer time.”

“Lil” drinking problem??!!” said Hari, rolling his eyes. “Bai, that is like saying that the Kaieteur is a ‘lil’ waterfall!!”

“The amount Naga Man put away every day could create a ‘lil’ waterfall!!” chuckled Teacher Samad – at which the entire table cracked up. Naga Man’s drinking prowess was legendary. There is not a bar in Guyana he hadn’t patronised.

“But Sato, old fren, jus because Naga Man bin around laaaang, he should think he better than Pressie J?” asked Cappo.

“Cappo, don’t beat around the bush,” interjected Suresh. “Naga Man was always a ‘talk man’ not a ‘do man’…and the big ones in the party wanted a ‘do man’. Which is what Pressie. J was.”

Satiricus was stumped. He finally blurted out, “But who gon now get the votes from all the rum shops for the party??”

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Police interview

Satiricus is a “Law and Order” buff. He’d looked at all the old reruns any number of times and never got bored. He could mouth the dialogue as well as the actors on the show. “Gosh!” he exclaimed, “I so wish we could get our cops to interrogate suspects like these guys! The case is always cracked within the hour.”

Here in Guyana, he knew, cases either were dismissed for lack of prosecution or evidence or witnesses failing to show up, or because of hung juries or a hundred other reasons.

But no sooner had he made his wish, that he read that some 35 cops had been trained in the “FBI method” of interrogation. And Satiricus was ecstatic. “Why!” he shouted excitedly to the fellas at the back street bar, “Our fellas will be even better that the Law and Order pairs.”

“Wha de arse yuh mean, Sato?” snapped Cappo. He wasn’t too excited about cops. He had to buy a fry rice every day this week for the cops at the roadblock in front of the local police station. His taillight was broken and he just didn’t get the time to fix it.

He didn’t even wait for the “Lef we something, na?” from the rotund, grinning corporal” which was the latter’s standard interrogating technique. He just passed over the $700 quietly as he fumed.

“Budday!!!” shouted Sat “Them “Law and Order” cops get regular police training. We cops now get FBI training! Is different!”

“How different?” asked Hari, as he took a swig of his Banks.

“Listen chap. Is not brute force and ignorance with the FBI, “ Satiricus intoned. “Is asking you questions after they do a psychological profile. They crack you like a nut. A peanut. In two minutes.”

“Like you looking at too many “Criminal Intent”, Sato,” Suresh piped up. “So whea we gon get people to do psychological profile?”

“Well them obeah men know more psychology that any of them fellas from Quantico, the FBI headquarters. Remember how Cappo handed over all he money to one of them?”

Georgie asked as everyone grinned at the squirming Cappo. “Within a minute the obeah man know Cappo was greedy! We could hire him as consultant.”

“That’s a relief,” said Teacher Samad. “At least our cops wouldn’t be using methylated spirits as an interrogation tool any more.”

“Yeah…when the FBI and the Americans butt up with rough nuts that wouldn’t crack, they don’t use methylated spirits to burn genitals and all that,” smirked  Suresh. “They strip you, humiliate you and use water boarding.”

“Yup! You sing like a canary in seconds,” noted Satiricus. “Isn’t interviewing great?”

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Pass the Kutchie…

Satiricus was down in the dumps. He was feeling quite troubled at the news. Jamaica had just decided to “decriminalise” the possession of less than two ounces of ganja. Meaning if you didn’t exceed this amount, all you got was a ticket. Which you could pay at any station when you could walk straight to the station without falling over. All the fellas from the back street bar had decided to book their tickets on that Fly Jamaica outfit.

Satiricus knew Jamaica was on the ropes. In the hands of the IMF even. These fellas could get rough. But to actually force them to decriminalise marijuana?? This was going too far! You could throw out thousands of public servants into the streets and have their children beg for food. But to have people lighting up spiffs in the middle of the streets and gullies? Why? This was the end of civilisation.

OK. Satiricus knew that Jamaica was on her knees because tourists from America and Europe had dried up? He knew too that the moment these tourists heard they could light up a toke of that good old Jamaican Gold – and not be thrown into the slammer – the island would be overrun with those pasty- skinned foreigners looking to get high. And money would be flowing like a river and their budget would be balanced and all.

But Jeez! Was there no concern for the effects of marijuana? West Indians in general and Jamaicans in particular were already too laid back. Everybody mocked us for being on “Island time”, fumed  Satiricus. Now with everyone free to light up and grooving, can you imagine what would happen to our reputation? “We might just defy the laws of physics and prove time goes backwards,” thought Satiricus, as he spied Cappo turning the corner. He had a wide smile.
“Look wha me get!!” he practically shouted, brandishing a piece of paper. “Me ticket to Jamaica!! A had to finish cuttin cane fuh de crap.”

“You too?” said Satiricus dolefully. “What you gon do?”
Cappo said, “At last me could sing the real song – not dis one. And he burst out in song:
“I seh, pass de Dutchie pon de left hand side, Pass de Dutchie pon de left hand side, It a gonna burn…”
“Is really ‘pass de Kutchie’ but Kutchie ah de ganja pipe and yuh coulden seh dah then.” And Cappo started to croon” Pass de Kutchie…”
Satiricus was left with his mouth open. Was Guyana next?

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