May 13, 2017 by Fensic
When I first hear ‘bagonians tell de Minister ah Transport dey didn’t want no damn barge, ah steups.
“Beggars cyar be choosers,” ah say goin orn wid mih business.
How tings degenerate from dat rejection?
How tings reach were dey is? What go happen next?
I have mih theory. But first, ah heartfelt, “people, ah sorry”, tuh anybody who might feel smeared eef what ah about tuh describe is ah figment ah mih imagination.
Scene: Recently somewhere in Tobago.
Minister ah Transport: “What allyuh mean allyuh doh want nuttin call ah barge?”
Voice ah Tobago: “First of all we doh like how yuh callin we ‘allyuh’. Trinidad an Tobago eh have no allyuh, is only ‘all ah we’. Anyway, allyuh even know what ah barge is? Google say ah barge is ah flat-bottom boat fuh carryin freight orn canals an rivers.” Tobago leaned forward across de desk tuh de minister. “Which part is dis canal or river allyuh plannin tuh use?”
MAT: (lookin amazed): “So allyuh . . ah mean Tobago, sayin allyuh doh want ah barge because it go be sailin orn de sea an not ah river or canal?”
VAT: “We sayin we eh want no flat-bottom boat.”
MAT: “It eh have nuttin tuh do wid how it might be small?”
MAT: “Could carry less cargo?”
MAT: “It could take long tuh reach?”
MAT (gettin up): “By de time it do reach Tobago sea spray might have everyting salty salty?”
VAT: “We is ah likkle island, we used tuh salt.”
MAT: “Dat it look like we clueless?”
VAT: “We used tuh dat too.”
MAT (sits back dong an is silent fuh four minutes): “How bout eef we doh call it ah barge?”
MAT (surprised at seein people back teet when dey smile): “We go do better dan dat. We go call it de Super Fast Galicia II.”
VAT: “Clueless no more.”
Scene: Later dat day back in Trinidad, orfice ah de Minister ah Transport.
Minister ah Transport: “What allyuh meanin we cyar call it de ‘Super Fast Galicia II’? We promise de people.”
Barge owner rep: “De Super Fast Galicia is ah boat. Tuh call dis barge ah boat mean people go tink it is ah boat.” He pauses, turns an stares at de minister. “Endless financial liabilities fuh ah govahment dat broke.”
MAT (head drops unto his chest): How?”
BOR: “Fuh one, people go expect it tuh be like de original SFG wid no flat bottom.”
BOR: “Super Fast Galicia?”
MAT: (raises head): “Ah was just testin yuh.”
BOR: “Anyway people go tink dis barge big like de SFG an does carry as much when it not an can’t. People go tink it go be fast when it might take most of ah de daylight hours tuh reach Tobago. An dey not go expect salt in everyting.”
MAT: “So callin ah barge ah boat go give people false expectations. Just tuh be sure, when we say, ‘people’, is only Tobagonians we meanin right?”
BOR nods up an dong.
MAT: “We cyar call ah barge ah boat. We cyar find ah real boat in de short space ah time. We back tuh lookin dotish. People not go be happy.”
BOR: “What about de boat we offer in de beginning? Before allyuh went cheapskate?”
MAT: “Nah dat still too expensive. Besides, de barge only go be fuh ah short while. An who it for, not dem people?”
He pauses before continuin, “ah didn’t know Tobagonians was like dat. Now ah know what it mean when yuh see somebody look or do someting dotish an yuh ask dem eef dey from Tobago.”
BOR (eyes dancin, lips spreadin tuh he ears an he cheeks lookin like ah squirrel hide half-eaten Diana Jub Jub in dem): “Yuh ever consider tellin de Prime Minister dat?”
Both ah dem laugh.
MAT: “Yuh mad or what? He wid punish me by keepin mih in dis ministry.”
BOR: “So what yuh go do?” All signs ah Jub Jub now gorn.
MAT: “Only one ting tuh do.” He sigh an reach for de phone.
Scene: Back in Tobago next day, same place from de day before.
Voice ah Tobago: “No! No! No! We not takin dat so. Allyuh in Trinidad tink we Tobagonians dotish. Well we smart an we have power now. De prime minister is one ah we yuh now an . . .”
Minister ah Transport: “Yeah buh allyuh still have Watson Duke.”
VAT: “Steups. Leh we doh tork about he awright? De man is ah traitor. Who did know he was from Tobago before de THA election? We prefer celebrate dat minister, what is he name again. . . Cudjoe . . . Cudjoe someting.”
MAT: “Shamfa Cudjoe?”
VAT: “Yeah he.”
MAT: “Shamfa Cudjoe, de Minister ah Tourism is ah she.”
VAT: “What? All dis time we tinkin Shamfa is ah nickname an Cudjoe is he first name. So is not ah man eh?”
Before de Minister ah Transport could finish reachin fuh he wallet wid de pictures ah de cabinet, much like proud parents wid pictures of dey chirren does do, Tobago wave ah hand.
VAT: “. . . anyway no matter. We movin up. Once we get dem Tobago reporters orn de news tuh stop sayin, ‘orn de island’, when dey meanin ‘Tobago’, we go be good. Meantime, no damn barge. De Caribbean Sea not ah river or ah canal.”
MAT: “So what allyuh want we tuh do?”
VAT: “. . . dis ‘allyuh’ again?”
MAT (elbows orn table palms open like Colm Imbert buh taller): “Sorry. Is just dat ah say it just now an allyuh eh say nuttin, so . . .”
VAT: “It still disrespectful. Buh doh worry, we go discuss dat an more once we get ah boat not ah barge.”
MAT (both elbows still orn de table buh one hand palm dong, de udder one propin up he jaw): “Allyu . . . ah mean Tobago . . . puttin de govahment between ah rock an ah hard place.”
VAT: “Welcome tuh being orn de island where everybody does live between ah rock an ah hard place. So eef yuh doh mind, we cyar feel sorry eef you find yuhself here wid we.”
MAT: “Bottom line?”
VAT: “Bring any barge an we go protest no tail.”
MAT: “But is ah barge an ah boat!”
VAT: “Bring ah barge an we go protest no tail.”
MAT: “Even eef dey is fuh ah short time?”
VAT: “Especially. Dis disrespect must stop. We cyar keep watchin an hearin allyuh say, ‘Trinidad’ an leave we out all de time. After dis done, we gorn. Time tuh secede.”
VAT: “Damn right.”
Two hands reach across de table tuhwards each udder.
Scene: Later dat day, ah shootin range in Trinidad.
MAT (eyein ah boy an girl skylarkin wid assault rifles): “My next Prime Minister? It work. Dey real vex an say dey goin an secede once dis over.”
Next to him de tall impeccably dressed man smiles.
Before he could turn an say ah word de boy bawl out: “. . . daddy dey want de gun back! Somebody might take pictures.”
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