March 7, 2015

Geriatrics vs youths

Satiricus was sulking. He’d been very happy to learn Guyana’s voters were mostly youths. The news made him feel youthful…even though he was getting a bit long in the tooth. But when he saw the team the Opposition came up with after their month of secret negotiations, all he could think about was – Guyana was definitely, “A country for old men”!!

GrainJa must be pushing 80…NagaMan ditto…and his nemesis Speaker Rolph? Reporting on him over the years, Satiricus had decided that fella was born old!

His plaintive wail was: “Where were the youth-men and youth-women the census keep telling us about??” At the last elections, a whole crop of fresh-faced neophytes had entered the ring.

Wasn’t there that fella Bond?? No Beretta for this Guyanese Bond. Hadn’t he gun butted that barber with a Glock?? Hadn’t he faced pellets to prove his manhood? Where had been GrainJa and Nagga Man then?

Then down in the town of Lindon there had been Salaman Gundy. Wasn’t it written that he would be “the next best thing” in Opposition politics?? OK…OK…so he was the one who’s written it…but still!!

He’d held off the troops of the cruel General Hickenus at the bridge over the troubled waters of Mc Kenzie, hadn’t he?? Where was GrainJa and Nagga Man then? That alone should have given him a shot in the Opposition “A” Team. These old fogies!!

Satiricus’ hope for a younger Opposition team had been raised when RoopNaRain announced he was going to fade out from the scene. In Satiricus opinion RoopNaRain had long faded to black….

“How the heck do you give a graduate in ‘litricher’ the Agriculture portfolio?” thought Satiricus. But then again, there were chapters and chapters in DH Lawrence’s “Sons and Lovers” about rearing pheasants (between the “f” words young Satiricus used to look for!!)

Maybe RoopNaRain was using this knowledge of pheasants (not of “f” words) to diversify Guyana’s Agriculture.

But he was gone…and rather than “another Rasta youngsta” taking his place – it was Nagga Man! Nagga Man liked to tell people he also liked “litricher”. Satiricus, however, knew the truth. Nagga Man had a speech impediment: he actually meant he liked “liquor”!

Satiricus suddenly perked up. The Geriatric GrainJa and Nagga Man would never survive this campaign. The youths would take their places in the Opposition benches!!

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Return of RAW Corban

Satiricus sighed with delight. After more than five years off the scene – political, social and otherwise – the announcement that RAW Corban was going to be back on the hustings warmed the cockles of his heart.
The theatre scene in Guyana wasn’t very vibrant, if the truth be told. But every five years – excepting when the Pee-an-See riot in the streets and upset the schedules – elections provided enough theatre to last more than a decade…much less five years.
But ever since Corban had handed off the baton to GrainJa things had really gotten deadly dull. Satiricus had always wondered about that handing over. Of course, there had been calls for Corban to go… that he had lost the fire in his belly.
Some had even dared to suggest that Corban had sold out!! His explanation that he was trying to change his image (and the Pee-an-See’s) didn’t play well. There were mean mutterings about leopards not being able to change their spots and such like.
One well-placed comrade said that Corban had become seduced by his position at the helm of the Pee-an-See and was beginning to think he was a BurntHam or Hite. He forgot he was only given the spot because all his middle-class comrades thought he was the man to manners that uppity PPCEE.
Jagdesh had given them the spunks to actually challenge the Pee-an-See in the streets??!! That was Pee-an-See’s territory and street Corban would show them!!
He would deal with them “condignly” – as the Comrade Leader used to say. Corban had earned his stripes when he was just a kid…taking care of business for Robert Jordan during the ethnic cleansing of Wismar. Once a sidekick of Green Ham, he had vaulted that old duffer with his vicious inside moves.
But Satiricus had to confess that Corban hadn’t been the Corban of old after Jagdesh had whupped him in 2006. Seemed to have defanged him. “But hold it!” thought Satiricus. “Maybe that’s why Corban had handed off to GrainJa! He knew after three years, GrainJa was going to look like Rambo!”
And now Corban was back on the campaign trail. Maybe he’d been laying low to grow back some fangs? Or had some inserted. Unfortunately, his old nemesis Jagdesh was also back!!
Satiricus rubbed his hands thinking of Jagdesh-Corban II. Jagdesh was going to wipe the floor with him again!

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Freedom to bulge…

Satiricus was proud that Guyana had solved the problem of hunger. Forget the Millennium Goals and all that – we had this “hunger” thing beat by a mile! All his life Satiricus had been reminded of how tough things were back in “the old days”.

And when Cuffy and his band decided that they’d had enough – it was because they DIDN’T have enough food.

Fifty miles up the Berbice River, slaving in the cane fields – “And this wasn’t just a figure of speech in those old, old days,” realised Satiricus – would drive even a saint to rebel when your belly was touching your back!

Heck! fellas like Cuffy and Atta and their friends sometimes went for days without food. So with hunger as a fact of life, so was anger: a hungry man is an angry man, no? But hungry men were also “maaga” men – meagre?? And Satiricus wasn’t surprised that in all the drawings and paintings of Cuffy’s band they were all tall, skinny and angry.

All of these thoughts flashed through Satiricus’ head as he looked at the Mash bands “wine” past his vantage point at from his friends verandah. That Satiricus’ head didn’t have much inside it made the “flashing” of thoughts rather painless.

And then it dawned on him as to why the Government had decided to back Mash as a way to commemorate Cuffy’s Rebellion back in the day. Of the 30 bands or so, Satiricus could swear that more than 20 of them were sponsored by the Government!

They wanted to show the world that unlike what Cuffy and his band had to bear up with – and which drove them to their rebellion – Guyanese weren’t hungry, starving-guts!! And what a clever way it was they’d chosen.

Back in his schooldays, Satiricus’ English teacher had literally beaten into his (empty) head after he’d meekly presented his “story-essay”: “SHOW!! (whack!) don’t tell!! (Whack!!)”

And here it was the Government was SHOWING the world that Guyana had solved Cuffy’s problem of hunger. Why else would they get all these well-fed women to struggle into tights and wine down the road?? In the ordinary course of things, “svelte” was still the guiding mantra for women’s beauty.

“Supersized” might be good for that coke at Mc Donald’s – but there had to a darn good reason why with nine out of ten women “wining” down Georgetown Mash, you couldn’t just “pinch an inch”. You could darn well “grab a slab”!!

Mash gave us the opportunity to show the world that Cuffy’s sacrifice wasn’t in vain. Free at last! Free at last!! Thank God almighty…we were free at last!!

Free to bulge all over!!

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Behind the negotiations scene

Satiricus was satiated with political news. As a self confessed political news junkie, he had to admit that with the goings on surrounding the actual launch of the KFC/Pee-an-See coalition, his cup had runneth over.
It started with the drama when RumJhaat told GrainJa it was “leader or nothing” before he would sign along the dotted lines!
Satiricus breathed a sigh of relief when the Jhaat skinned his teeth and confessed it was “just a thing ah trying. I mean, how much can GrainJa take?” thought Satiricus. It was enough for GrainJa to sit at the same table at the Georgetown Club with the NaggaMan – Satiricus noted GrainJa’s gritted teeth – but to be UNDER him??!!
But Satiricus also noticed the NaggaMan and RumJhaat also made great efforts to pull themselves up and not offend GrainJa’s delicate sensibilities. Not once did they pick their noses or even wiped their noses with the backs of their hands. It may be that the Georgetown Club atmosphere got to them. Their only faux pas was when they ordered a bottle of rum with fried Banga Mary as cutters.
GrainJa gently told them that they had to buy drinks by the glass and order hor d’oeuvres like cheese and cherries on a toothpick. But they could order as much as they wanted: he’d pay since he was a member.
The two KFC honchos didn’t need to be told again. But they did raise a fuss when they switched to beers and the waiter didn’t leave the bottles on the table; insisting on pouring it out into glasses.
RumJhaat and NaggaMan had never drank beer from glasses before. But more than that, they were disoriented that their table top couldn’t be covered with beer bottles like in the rum shops they habitually frequented.
And so it was, within an hour, RumJhaat and NaggaMan would’ve handed over their firstborns if GrainJa had asked them.
“OK… guh tun tek de PM wuk,” slurred NaggaMan. “Once wan police car gon put on siren when meh drive.”
“You’ll get siren,” agreed GrainJa.
“But what about de name me suggest?” said RumJhaat carefully. “Partnership Alliance for National Trust – Yes! – “PANTY! ?”
“Absolutely not!!” said GrainJa firmly. “Can you see me telling people “Vote PANTY! while waving one in the air?? Let us just stick to the original names.”
“OK Boss!” said NaggaMan. “But me can tek home some a dis cheese thing?? Me gat fuh mek up wid me grand son since me tell he fuh shut ‘e so and so mouth.”

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The Invisible Man

Satiricus was perplexed. “Flummoxed would be more like it,” he thought. He was wondering how the heck a fella could be made invisible! He just couldn’t figure it out. But the living proof was there for all NOT to see: the TrotterMan had disappeared.!! And he Trotter wasn’t exactly anorexic to begin with!!

As a kid, Satiricus had read about this Englishman who’d invented a way to make himself invisible. It had something to do with “refraction” and other such things that had made young Satiricus’ eyes glaze over in school. Physics (among most things that called for “maths”) wasn’t exactly Satiricus’ strong point.

Problem was, the Englishman didn’t know how to reverse the process and discovered that an “Invisible Man” just can’t have a life. While it was attractive for a while, that quickly wore thin…and he had to turn to a life of crime to survive. And Satiricus realised that TrotterMan was literally living out the story of the Invisible Man.

Here it was TrotterMan was a very prominent leader…being a co-leader of the KFC party and everything. He and RumJhaat had agreed to rotate leadership, but when RumJhaat’s turn came, TrotterMan balked. “Why should I step aside for that uncouth moron,” thought TrotterMan as he pouted and refused to step down.

But when he called for a vote, he lost and this infuriated the TrotterMan even more. Couldn’t they see how superior he was to RumJhaat??

He would never wipe his nose with the back of his hand! So he decided to make himself invisible – that would teach RumJhaat and all the other ingrates a lesson!! TrotterMan announced he had a “mysterious illness”, but it was actually self-induced, to create invisibility.

So gradually the TrotterMan was not seen nor heard from. He would show up at events but on account of his invisibility even cameras couldn’t pick him up for the news.

But RumJhaat saw the TrotterMan’s departure as an opportunity to remake the KFC in his image. He brought in his buddy, the Nagga Man, who not only wiped his nose with the back of his hand, but picked his nose and rolled the boogers with his fingers!

And lo and behold, GrainJa of the Pee-an-See saw value in their crassness since he felt that there were a lot of crass people out there who’d vote for Pee-an-See with them aboard. He made an offer that RumJhaat and Nagga Man couldn’t refuse.

And the TrotterMan was suddenly wishing he could be back in the KFC. He was even willing to wipe his nose with the back of his hand.

But he just couldn’t reverse his invisibility. He had lost corn and husk. “Would he now turn to a life of crime, like the original Invisible Man?” wondered Satiricus.

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Ghoul-seh-run farts

Satiricus, as an old newshound, always like a peek behind the scenes as to what goes on to make the news. Satiricus had always been amazed when Ghoul-seh-run suddenly became a news item.
Accountants are by nature dull fellas…and Ghoul-seh-run was the dullest of the dull. If you think watching grass grow was dull…you should listen to Ghoul-seh-run talk!!
And it’s not that the fella was doing anything newsworthy. Back in the day, he’d been a Government auditor – one of the thousands of faceless bureaucrats who push pens behind Government desks. Deadly dull. And never presented the reports he was supposed to.
He’d educated himself at the people’s expense, but after he sucked up to the IMF and World Bank who came in to fix the Pee-an-See mess, he got a pen pushing job in the UN audit office. Even deadlier dull.
But suddenly he shows up like a bad penny in Guyana and every little thing he did became news. Ghoul-seh-ran who couldn’t even submit a single audited report when he worked in Guyana for GreenBridge, suddenly can criticise the Auditor General – and have it reported as gospel by the Stabber and the Muckraker!
He gets down and dirty and even attacks a female auditor who used to work for him! And the attacks are reported like messages from the Angel Gabriel!
Now Satiricus accepted that he was a dim bulb, but even he began to see a pattern when Ghoul-seh-run suddenly became the leading light in the corruption watch group. Everything he did was to rip down the Government!
And lo and behold, he became a regular in the Stabber and the Muckraker whose opinions are quoted on why hemlines are rising!! (The Government’s wages are too low and women can’t afford to buy enough fabric to sew longer dresses!)
The fella is even given a column in the Stabber. “Jeez!! It took me ten years of slogging in the newspaper trenches before I got my column,” thought Satiricus bitterly. Then Ghoul-Seh-ran decides to launch another Opposition party!!
And even this one man stunt is reported! Satiricus was vindicated! “But who’s backing him to get all this publicity??” thought Satiricus, “even when he farts, it gets coverage”. But now it was all explained.
In a long release (which is reported) Ghoul-seh-ran revealed that the man behind it all – the deus ex machina so to speak – was the Business Icon!
Pulled up six years ago by the then Prezzie Jagdesh, the miffed Business Icon had decided to take revenge. “And revenge is best served cold,” thought Satiricus admiringly.

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“The Iceman Cometh”

Back in his bygone, dissolute youth, Satiricus had read the play, “The Iceman Cometh”. Not voluntarily, mind you…but for an exam. Even though he’d failed miserably at “lit-richer”, Satiricus always remembered that the “Iceman” was actually the symbol of “death”.

And that’s why whenever April rolled around, and taxes became due, Satiricus would moan to his wife, “The Ice Man Cometh”. Who likes to pay taxes?? It was like death.

In the past, Satiricus used to be petrified when the Government would roll out his “name and jail” tax fraud examples. In addition to jail time, fella’s houses and cars were seized to pay off taxes evaded. People became thankful that they didn’t have to give up their firstborn! But now it was going to be different.

And in the end, Satiricus knew he had to thank the Mook for this complete turnaround in tax philosophy by the Government. The MOOK had made it clear that he did not believe in taxes of any sort.

Property taxes?? “Bun Dem!!” said the Mook, who owned properties all over the City. Rather than pay taxes, the Mook promised not to print the names of City Officials who had dipped into the City coffers!! The thiefing at City Hall covered a whole lotta property taxes!

Then there were the customs duties on importing boots. The Mook figured that Customs

Officers were very needy and should be helped. “Why me gat fuh pay de Guvment and

deh gon waste de money pan people in big office?? Me could gi’e pore people straight!”

And so it was that the Mook paid no taxes on his containers of boots – but made several Customs Officers rich. He told his friends he felt like Robin Hood: “Me gie de Guvment hood!!”

Then there was this huge tax on bringing in cars into the country. The bigger the

engine the bigger the tax. The Guvment said they wanted to cut back on pollution and gas guzzlers.

“Ha!!” Satiricus snorted. The Mook quickly saw the injustice of this as did Satiricus. And so it was the Mook brought in two big gas guzzlers for a retired couple, didn’t pay the taxes and was ready to go to jail for this. Satiricus sobbed quietly as he remembered the big heartedness of the Mook.

Folks from across started to picket in support of the Mook’s bold move. Pensioners sent in their pension books to give him support.

Even though the Mook wasn’t put in Jail, there were signs of “Free Mookie!!” And the Guvment could not withstand the pressure of the people for the dear old Mook.

They called in the Mook and pinned a medal on the broad chest of the Mook. They announced a tax holiday for everyone in the country.

What a guy!! Satiricus hoped the Mook would get the Order of Roraima. He had killed the Ice Man

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Burnt Ham lunch

Satiricus was disappointed. He didn’t see what all the fuss was all bout. So what if GrainJa announced he and the Pee-an-See would start on the hustlings…oops!…hustings, on Burnt Ham’s birthday.

Hey!! Burnt Ham was the founder-leader of the Pee-an-See, no? You couldn’t just forget him like that, could you?? Sure he’d made a few mistakes, but then who hasn’t??

Like that time he had Rod Knee murdered. Rod Knee was a bright fella, but innocent. And most important, he’d been to Queens. So Burnt Ham, who was Queens to the bone, sent a soldier to protect Rod Knee, even though Rod Knee was cussing him out something fierce!
But even in the cussing out, Burnt Ham told his close associates who didn’t know Queens’ lore that Rod Knee was being true to their Alma Mater.

Rod Knee called Burnt Ham “Fat Boy”. Burnt Ham smiled when he heard this. This was the irony that only a Queens graduate could appreciate, since Burnt Ham was thin!! Or when Rod Knee said Burnt Ham had the “Midas” touch.

Even though Rod Knee claimed that everything he, Burnt Ham, touched turned to “ka ka”, unlike gold like Midas. Ka ka was yellow, wasn’t it?? Only a Queens Man who knew Greek would know about Midas.

So Burnt Ham sent Greg Gory to protect Rod Knee. Unfortunately when he told Greg Gory to “bill” Rod Knee – that is to charge him for the services so the proud scholar wouldn’t suspect – Greg Gory thought he meant “kill” Rod Knee. It was an honest, well intentioned mistake. You can’t blame a man for his speech impediment, can you?

There was also that time Burnt Ham told Ham Green to “dig” the elections – to study it. And that idiot went and on to “rig” elections – for the next six times! So everyone blamed Burnt Ham for that, but Satiricus knew it was an honest six mistake.

And in any case Pee-an-See people always knew Burnt Ham spoke with a lisp. The poor man said “fan” the food and that idiot Green Bridge went out and “ban” the food!

But Satiricus wasn’t sure that when GrainJa promised a great campaign launch it was going to be a success. His Pee-an-See friend had told him only yesterday it was going to be a great “LUNCH” – with cook up and everything!
Why did GrainJa have to try speaking like Burnt Ham??

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Reject cubed

Satiricus felt very sorry for the Nagga Man. Here it was, the man was on his last lap and he had to beg fellas in the Pee-an-See he had cussed out his whole life – just for a squeeze on their ticket.
“ low has the mighty fallen!” thought Satiricus to himself. But then again, he realised, Nagga Man had never been that “mighty” to begin with.
Except in his own mind, of course. But Satiricus knew Nagga Man was prone to hallucinations. He remembered that time in the middle of a huge crowd in the Rupununi, Nagga Man swore he heard the Boss Man make him heir to the throne. No one else heard him. Of course, all his friends snickered that Nagga Man waited till the Boss Man passed away to make his claim!
But still, you would think they would have some respect for an old man who’d spent his whole life wanting to be the leader of something. Anything! But GrainJa was dead set against him.
Nagga Man realised that GrainJa thought he was low class and would never let him be his leader. “Wha de arse wrong wid picking me nose??” thought Nagga Man indignantly. “At least me na roll am between me finger like the Piss Doctor and dem bais in Whim.”
Nagga Man shoulda known RumJhaat had set him up. His whole life Rum Jhaat had also wanted to become leader, just like he Nagga Man. When he joined the KFC party, Rum Jhaat told him he had to wait his turn…he couldn’t be leader just like that.
Nagga Man had smelt something funny when suddenly – out of the blue – Rum Jhaat demanded that KFC had to be the leader of the APANU and KFC coalition. And that he, Nagga Man, had to be the Supreme Leader.
But Nagga Man didn’t follow up the funny smell. He always became bassidy when his name and “leader” were in the same sentence. But now it dawned on him that Rum Jhaat knew how GrainJa looked down on him. It was confirmed when GrainJa told him he “could work with Rolf” but not he Nagga Man.
Rolf also used to look down on him when they were both in the PePCEE. Rolf told him that he Nagga Man was a Chamaar. It was because of Rolf’s scorn that Nagga Man had gone to Law School with his daughter, when he was already drawing NIS pension.
Satiricus shook his head. It was a shaad, shaad shituation. Rejected by the PePCEE, KFC and now Pee-an-See, Nagga Man was “reject cubed”.

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A Sultan’s life

Satiricus felt sorry for GrainJa. But the General’s problem was an old one ― faced by all the old Sultans who had harems. Lots of folks thought it was easy having a harem…in fact they thought it was so much fun for the Sultans!!
“Little did THEY know!!” snorted Satiricus. Can you imagine having to “visit at nights” dozens – sometimes hundreds!! ― of women?? There’s only so much that “steel drops” could help. Remember there was no Viagra or Cialis back in the day.
And the nagging!! Satiricus took his hat off to the couple of his buddies who’d ended up with two wives ― their religion allowed that. That they spent most of their time at the back street bar spoke volumes!!
And here was GrainJa, who’d been trying to juggle the union between his Pee-an-See and four partners in APANU for three years now, trying to take on a fifth!! “God bless the man!!” thought Satiricus fervently.
From the first set of partners, one had already cussed out poor GrainJa and bolted the Big Building. Shoorma of the Just Ice party complained as to how GrainJa hadn’t rushed to his defence when he was being cussed out by that big, bad Feral Lady of the PPCEE in the Big Building.
Why did he need GrainJa if he couldn’t defend his partners??. Even Pimps protect their girls when they were abused by Johns, no?
The Action Partner was the least trouble. They were from the Bush and they always seemed to be missing in action. No one, including GrainJa had heard a word from them for years. The problem was, of close, they could turn up anytime and demand their share of attention.
The WAPA were the worse of the bunch. All past 70, they were more crotchety and cantankerous than anything. Taking their age into consideration, GrainJa had promised a rendezvous once a month. But here was the one named Doubting Thomas, bitching and moaning that he wanted it more than once a month!
So Satiricus’s respect rose sky high when he heard GrainJa was courting the KFC fellas. How the heck was GrainJa going to satisfy that bunch? For them it wasn’t the nightly visits that WAPA was demanding. Their “thing” was to drink morning, noon, and night.
“But then if you want to become a Sultan,” thought Satiricus, “you gotta do what a Sultan’s gotta do!!”

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