August 22, 2014

New cricket

Satiricus was proud. Once again Caribbean cricket was showing that the expression, “Sport – it’s not just a game” was not just a marketing gimmick. Back in the day, the old master CLR James had written his masterpiece “Beyond the Boundary” and ripped the mask of hypocrisy from the face of the British. When we whupped them on the cricket field, how could they still insist – through their stiff upper lips – that we were still inferior?

But there was still a lot of the old British hypocrisy stuck to the game itself. Imagine some people thought that the protest, “But that’s not cricket!!” meant something! So folks still went around with their heads up in the clouds – or down in their nether orifices – spouting sanctimonious nonsense like, “It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game!”

“What a crock of s*it!” exclaimed Satiricus, causing his wife sitting nearby to spill her coffee on her lap. Satiricus was very sensitive when it came to cricket and losing. His life as a child was one long-suffering nightmare because of his inability to ever get bat to connect to ball. “Loser” was about the kindest name that had been applied to him by his “friends”.

So when the Barbados TryDents used the Umpire who was from their country against the “rules” to help out the 11 men on the field – he couldn’t understand why the fellas from the Amazon were complaining about the “rules” not being followed. What rules?? In which world were they living?? In the darkest Amazon??

Didn’t the British always change the rules to suit themselves?? Pace like fire from the West Indies?? Hey! Introduce rules against “bodyline” bowling. Umpire taking sides?? How about Billy Bowden against the Indian players. So what’s the problem if the owners of the TryDents decide to call off the game – when they were ahead.

All the Trydents did was not to be hypocritical and pretend that they had to “play cricket”. They should get a medal for their bravery. We as West Indians should be proud that at long last we had the courage to “call a spade a spade”.

So what if the word “spade” is just a euphemism for the “N” word!!

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The one without sin

Satiricus was livid. He’d just read this letter in the Stabber. Here was this fella Ah-Gun-Seh maligning the fair name of the Founder-Leader again. Claiming that the great Kabaka was not “sin-less”!!!

“Oooooh!!” Satiricus shrieked, “When will this persecution cease?” Had the magnificent Odo not fulfilled every demand of the prophecy?? He was not as other sinful humans. What else did these people want??Was he not born under a star in a barrack in the village of Titty?? How could people like Ah-Gun-Seh tell people it was not really a star but the light from the Lighthouse over in Kington??

“This was blasphemy!” fumed Satiricus. And later in life had not the Anointed One rode into the town of Hope on a donkey?? But here again those who were jealous would lie and say he actually rode on a horse! And rather than blessing the arrogant workers who were learning some humility, the Comrade Leader actually was cursing them!!!

“A curse would never cross those blessed lips of He Who Was The Greatest Intellect Of The Age,” murmured Satiricus. But Satiricus knew why this Ah-Gun-Seh refused to accept the Immaculate Conception of the Great Leader, who now rested in 15 Ponds. Ah-Gun-Seh wanted to exalt his own leader Rod-Knee. And that was why he claimed that The Greatest Orator Of The Age was jealous of puny, little Rod-Knee.

“What nonsense!” shouted Satiricus – at which his wife looked at him funny-like. How could the “Greatest Intellect Of The Age” be jealous on a man, when he had praised the same man as a great high-jumper??”

And as a lawyer, did not the “Bolshevik And Not A Menshevik” advise Rod-Knee to “make his will”? Was this not eminently sound advice?? And more to the point, the Statesman Of The Age hadn’t even charged a fee for that legal advice. Which other lawyer would do that?? Oooooh! What a saint! By now Satiricus was snivelling something piteous.

It was clear that Ah-Gun-Seh was the one who was jealous. When the Greatest Legal Luminary had passed away, his body had been taken to all parts of the world for people to have his blessing and then a monument had been created in 15 Ponds. The body had ascended into the Great Beyond.

Rod-Knee, on the other hand, had been dumped in Le Repentier. And his followers had the nerve to say The Most Powerful Man On Earth was not sinless??! Satiricus knew that when he returned to Earth, The Immortal One would exact vengeance.

Or then again, it might be his Representative – who was just rigged into Office – who might take care of that. Ah-Gun-Seh better not accept any Walkie-Talkies!!

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Pee-an’-See’s bi*ch

Satiricus was distraught. He’d always had a soft spot for RoopNaRain. Hey! The man was a true intellectual. He was made for the Ivory Tower. While his buddy Rod Knee went grubbing over in Darkest Africa, he’d holed up at Cambridge swotting at Shakespeare. To be or not to be??? Hell!! RoopNaRain had decided to be with Granger and the old nemesis Pee-an-See.. and was now caught between a rock and a hard place.

Everyone and their uncle had washed their mouths on poor RoopNaRain for holding hands with the Pee-an-See. “But what’s an intellectual to do??” said Satiricus to the fellas at the back street bar. “Guyanese don’t exactly put a high premium on quick quotes from the Bard. A guy’s got to make a living, no”

“That’s what ‘working girls’ over by the Cathedral say!!” piped up Suresh. “Still doesn’t make it right.”

“Wha yuh prablem wid de girls by de Cathedral, Suresh?” asked Cappo. “If deh gat fuh do the thing, na bettah dem get money??”

“And if RoopNaRain got to quote people, he might as well get paid for it!!” laughed Hari. “But is what the problem, Sato??”

“Fellas, read the paper. That WAPA chap Oh-Gun said all their party people got to break ranks with Pee-an-See and vote to fund the Rod Knee Commission. Is what that gon do to RoopNaRain??”

“Sato, is what yuh does tek worries fa?” smiled Cappo. “Me bet yuh RoopNaRain nah gon change he vote!”

“But Rod Knee was his buddy!!” protested Satiricus. “That was one of the reasons I liked him. Even though he was a great intellectual, he was willing to be friends with a man who went to Darkest Africa and grounded with his brothers in the slums of Jamaica.”

“Sato my friend, you have to learn something,” said Teacher Samad, who’d been listening as usual to the conversation, quietly. “In politics, just like in prostitution, once you’ve become someone’s b*tch, you can’t back out. And in 2011, RoopNaRain, became Granger’s b*tch!”

“Oh,” said Satiricus, as he shook his head in understanding. “Poor RoopNaRain!! How low has the mighty fallen.”

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A luta continua

Satiricus was ecstatic. He’d just about given up hope the old fire for “change” was still simmering somewhere…then lo and behold…came the news that Naga Man promising if the Government wouldn’t go quietly into the night after the passing of the “no-confidence” motion, there’d be “violence” in Guyana. Ahhhh…there was still fire in Naga Man’s belly. Never mind it might be caused by the bottle of “High Wine” he gulped down every day. Satiricus became all choked up.

“Naga Man was not an ordinary man,” thought Satiricus. He could hear things that no one else could hear. Those who were born in a “caul” could see things that no one else could see. While that wasn’t common, there were enough people around not to make it strange. Remember those dishevelled folks walking about on the streets of Georgetown, shouting strange noises?? Born in a caul.

Naga Man, however, was born in a black sack. One in a billion! And he could hear voices from other dimensions. There was that famous case in the Rupununi where Jagad was on stage at a political meeting with about a dozen younger workers – including Naga Man. Yet only Naga Man heard that Jagad had anointed him as his successor to lead the country to the Promised Land. After Naga Man revealed this message when Jagad passed away, most of his comrades scoffed because they didn’t know he was born in a black sack.

But those who believed, including Satiricus, started to call Naga Man, “Moses”. Naga Man also had a way with words. Some detractors said the words were “filthy”. They did not know that to those who could hear words from other dimensions such words were “terms of endearment”. So when he shouted to his one and only beloved grandson, “SHUT YUH SO AND SO MOUTH” – and actually spelling out, or rather saying, the “SO AND SO” – Naga Man was actually displaying affection to the lad.

“And that’s why he could proudly tell all the folks in Parliament, of what he’s yelled,” thought Satiricus, with a sigh. What a guy!

And here it was now, even though the Naga Man was in his dotage, he was still talking revolution!! While his threat wasn’t quite the “Give me Liberty or give me death” of Patrick Henry, it was still bold enough to get the hairs on Satiricus’ skinny arms to rise up to attention.

A Luta continua!! The struggles continues!! Long may Naga Man utter his terms of endearment to all his comrades in the Opposition. Shut yuh so and so mouth!!

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One nation – under rigging

Satiricus couldn’t understand what the fuss and “bad talk” were all about. Here it was, the Pee-an-See party had been blamed for years for “rigging” elections. Everybody and their uncle, not to mention, their “mummah”, had washed their mouths on them. Never mind that the Founder-Leader and all his successors had explained that it was for “our own good”.

The Pee-an-See leaders never liked rigging. It pained them to do the dirty. But a leader got to do what a leader got to do, no? If the people couldn’t do what was right for themselves, the leader had to step up to the crease. It might be a dirty job, but somebody got to do it, right? When a child had a boil, the parent had to lance it even though the child might bawl, no?? It’s not easy being a leader…especially a Pee-an-See leader, who believe the tough gets going when the going gets tough!

But Satiricus had figured this last rigging at Congo Place would have shown to all and sundry (and even those who weren’t sundry) that the Pee-an-See weren’t biased against nobody. They were “equal opportunity riggers”! This last exercise wasn’t done by accident. GrainJa wanted to show the world he was determined to create “one nation”. He was not going to rig against one set of people like that that came before him.

“Why,” thought Satiricus, as he discreetly wiped a tear rolling down his cheek, “GrainJa so loved the Guyanese nation that he is willing to rig against his own people!”

But look what everyone’s doing to him. Crucifying him on the polls. Or was it a pole?? But Satiricus was sure something like this sacrifice had been done by another fella before for the people. And GraniJa would rise from his present slumber (“It was just slumber, no?” thought Satiricus.) Just like that other chap.

If America could be prosperous by being “One nation under God”, whether people liked it or not, Guyana would become “One nation under Rigging”. God bless GrainJa. By now Satiricus was sobbing uncontrollably at the greatness of GrainJa.

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Post-elections peace

Satiricus breathed a sigh of relief. Even since he was a boy in the 1970s, he’d developed a fear of elections. Electionaphobia, he was told it was called. It was a fear that was peculiar to his dear land of Guyana. After every election, there’d be all kind of “bad talk” thrown around about the elections being rigged or something.

And then would come the marches followed by some beatings – and even some burning. “Of buildings, thank goodness,” thought Satiricus. The last time, GrainJa and his troops from the Pee-an-See, had even marched in front of the fella who counted all the ballots – Suruja-Ballsy. GrainJa said that Ballsy was taking too long with the counting. And Boy was the fella Ballsy!! Name and nature and all that stuff.

The poor chap had been sipping his red wine and nipping his cheese, like most Guyanese do when they’re relaxing, and here came this rambunctious bunch of green-shirted youths holding lighted candles. Satiricus winced as he remembered the scenes on TV. How uncultured if they were going to hold a vigil! At least they’d could’ve belted out some carols, or lullabies even.

Satiricus was scarred for life. You had to draw the line somewhere, no?? A man’s home was his castle – and his verandah, his cafe, no?? If you can’t sip your red wine there, what next?? The end of civilisation as we know it. But now all was well for any snap elections that might be called. SurujaBallsy had said he was ready to do the count.

Bur Satiricus had detected a note of panic in his voice.  Satiricus was sure it was because he was afraid these barbarians would intrude on his wine-and-cheese ritual on his verandah. And so Satiricus smiled again to Cappo who’d joined him. “Now it was all, ‘Why worry’?? Be happy!” chuckled Satiricus. “No more Electionaphobia!

“Suh wha change dis time?” asked Cappo.

“Budday!!! GrainJa now know how hard SurujBallsy work is,” answered Satiricus.

“Ah wha yuh mean??” replied Calpo.

“Well, if GrainJa and his people can’t count less than 800 votes correctly in one day. How can he buss SurujaBallsy balls for not counting 400,000 votes in three days??”

“Leh we drink to da,” said Cappo. “Ah only who know, does feel!”

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Top sleuth

Satiricus was amazed. He’d been promised the “greatest exercise in democracy ever practised by a political party” – the Pee an’ See. They were having their CongoDress to choose their next leader. Satiricus was the hack covering it for his newspaper.

The Pee-an’-See sisters and brothers were coming from far and wide so Satiricus wasn’t surprised that some people tried to “pope” the party. At least that’s what Oskar said.

Then lo and behold, Satiricus suddenly heard a shot. Everyone who’d “been around” – which included practically everyone at the CongoDress – dove for cover. Including Satiricus who ended up under a sister’s dress. After he came up for air, he joined the other newshounds to seek some answers.

If there was one person who’d know what was going down, Satiricus figured, it would be Feel-Iks. Hey… the chap used to be the TOP COP in the whole country, no?? Satiricus would never forget Feel-iks’ briefing (Voice 2) the Pee-an-See Mustache Man (Voice 1) after the Agricola massacre.

Satiricus could recite the dialogue by heart.

Voice 2: (Muffled)… watch the move good, but yuh all ain’t mek no statement about them eight people wa dead you know.

Voice 1: I did saying the same thing.

Voice 2: Yuh all ain’t mek no statement.

Voice 1: I did saying the same thing, they ain’t mek no statement deh.

Voice 1: but, am…

Voice 2: Yuh all playing dangerous games.

Voice 1: No, I don’t check pun da PR thing, but ah gon gaffa find out from them in the morning.

Voice 2: You all shoulda been the fus people fuh run in deh. That is a black people community.

So here it was a bullet had been fired, not just in a “black people community”, figured Satiricus, but in a “black people party”!! Who better to explain than Feel-iks?? And this is what Feel-iks, Voice 2, said, “Bannuh!! I did hear a sound that could have been a balloon.”

Aah, what expertise!! What sleuthing power!! What a man to head the Pee-an-See security system!! While everyone thought it was a gunshot…Feel-iks immediately figured it was just a balloon.

But then Satiricus remembered another snatch of the taped conversation:

Voice 1: You give me information.

Voice 2: I, eh eh, (cough) I, I deliberately…

Voice 1: I know.

Voice 2: I, I deliberately turn the thing away…

Voice 1 : I know.

Voice 2: From it…(muffled)

Voice 1: I know.

Voice 2: But now I can’t do duh because the facts coming out.

Satiricus wondered if the facts of the balloon from the CongoDress would “come out”.

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Pot- Bellied policemen

Satiricus was firm against all forms of discrimination. And this recent announcement by the Police brass that they were banning Pot Bellies had to be the worse form of discrimination. These Police Gestapos were clever. They know they could be hauled before the courts if they banned the Pot Bellies without any good reason. So they said it was because of “fitness”.

But Satiricus knew this was just mamaguying people. Had they ever proven a connection between Pot Bellies and fitness?? Satiricus snorted. These top cops wouldn’t know a study if it crept up and bit them on their bamsee. In fact, Satiricus became more enraged at the thought. Weren’t “big-bamsee people” possibly unhealthy also?? Why not ban big bamsees?? The Police Force could’ve demanded “buns of steel” rather than six-pack abs.

Satiricus just thought that the Police Force was falling for this “image thing”. You know …trying to LOOK good rather than BE good. But Satiricus’ gripe went deeper. “Why the flat-bellied image??” he thought. “Hey we were a country where lots of people were poor. Not too long ago, during the Pee an See days people used to starve and their belly used to touch their backbone.”

Did the Police brass want their Policemen to look like that? Having a Pot Belly meant a fella wasn’t a “starving-guts”. It mean that you could eat as much as you want. And Police COULD eat as much as they want. All they had to do was stop anyone driving and ask them for a fried rice. The biggest customers of Chinese fried rice in Guyana were Policemen.

“Yes!” concluded Satiricus, it was that image thing. Wasn’t there that song where the woman was screaming “Ah doan want no Dhall Belly Man”?? Satiricus figured they all wanted men to look like Brad Pitt – it had nothing to do with “fitness”. It had to do with following foreign fashion.

Again Satiricus snorted. “Hell,” he thought, “Some of the biggest bellies I’ve ever seen were on Sumo Wrestlers. And those fellas were certainly fit!”

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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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