> The Mangohead Chronicles: Mangohead and the Zaboca Thief S01E03

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mangohead and the Zaboca Thief S01E03

"Look fellers," Mangohead said to the two as they blocked his path and his escape. "What on allyuh minds?"
"We just want to find out if yuh playing cricket this season," the boy in front answered as the one blocking him from behind came up and threw an arm around him. "We looking to make a side before the rainy season start so we could practice nah."
The two boys were schoolmates of his. The younger one, nicknamed Two, was in his class whereas the older one, nicknamed Four (since he was older than Two by two years) was a couple classes ahead of them. Both boys had the same dark complexion. Four was a head taller than Two and had a huge, shaggy mop of hair that looked like the tangled mane of a lion. Four had a neatly shaved head, and was always properly groomed and well clothed. Two made a habit of being untidy whereas Four was the complete opposite.
"I not sure if I playing this season," Mangohead said to the boys. "I get tasked with a important job."
"Serious?" Two enquired eagerly. "How much they paying yuh?"
"I ain't getting pay for it," Mangohead said and the interest in Two's eyes faded.
"What yuh doing it for then, if not for money?" Fours asked. "Most times I have a job to do I does ask for money." He pronounced it 'arks'.
"It have a girl involved nah?" Two interrogated. "Somebody girl-child you sweet on?"

"No is nothing like that!" Mangohead cried defensively. "Look, I going down to the kurma-man shop to buy some bread, come with me nah and we go talk on the way."
"Nah, we ent have time to spend walking you down to the shop," Four said. We have to get this team together fast-fast."
A small idea popped into Mangohead's mango-shaped noggin. "I could use some help y'know," Mangohead said.
"But you not getting pay, what in it for we?" Two asked suspiciously. "We doh work for please-and-thanks y'know."
"I protecting Ma Procop Zaboca tree, ah go give allyuh a zaboca apiece for helping me watchman it," Mangohead offered.
Two and Four exchanged glances. The draw of Ma Procop's zaboca was a massive prize. "We go think about it, but doh count on we as yet. We go tell you by tomorrow what we doing."
As they stalked off up the road, Mangohead had the feeling that he maybe should not have asked Two and Four to help him. In the past they served as good friends to have, especially in cricket season when they organized the village cricket team, made out of young boys from all over the village and a few from outside. San Marcos' cricket team was renowned around the county as "the team to beat". However, since this involved more of using one's eyes and less of using one's muscle, Mangohead thought that maybe he could do better as far as watchmen went. Still, no help was to be refused and if they decided to help, he'd accept their help wholeheartedly.
The Kurma-man's shop was run by an older gentleman called Adrian. No one was sure about what his last name was, and some people suspected he had a violent and vicious past. Some opined he was probably running from something, because what man would leave from the busy streets of the City of San Fernando to come down into the bush-grown village of San Marcos? Only a man who had fear for his life, certain people believed.
The shop was a popular stop for many of the villagers that would pass there to and from work. Prices of items there were a bit lower than some of the other shops around. No one asked how he got his prices so low; others pointed to this as signs of his involvement in underworld activities and refused to deal with his shop. Adrian, colloquially referred to in the village as "the kurma-man himself", couldn't be bothered about what others thoughts of him. Personally, from the dealings Mangohead had with the man, he could see nothing wrong with the kurma man.
Aloo pies and pastries lined the glass display-cabinet that outfitted one end of the counter and papers and advertisements for the latest snacks from Holiday Foods adorned the opposite wall. Comic books hung from a twine-line run from one rafter to the other, held there with clothes clips; their colorful pictures meshing nicely with the packs of corn-curls and chee-zees that filled the front of the display area. Along the front face of the counter ran a span of BRC to make sure no one would sneak their hands in and pinch stuff while Adrian was not looking. Through a small rectangular hole in the products, the kurma man could be seen sitting and waiting on customers.
He was relatively tall, although from looking at him sitting behind the counter, one couldn't tell. He wore a set of spectacles that highlighted his eyes and his black, curly hair spread across his head like lawn across a cricket field. His skin was a bit lighter colored than the other villagers (some said it showed a hint of Syrian ancestry, another nod to his dealings with the underworld), and he would burn quite completely if he would stay out in the sun for any length of time. Mangohead remembered when the last Easter Cricket Fete Match was held and the kurma man came out to sell his goods on the pitch. His shop was locked for a week after and Mangohead's mother had to go to see about his massive sunburns.
"What I could get you today, starboy?" Adrian asked as Mangohead walked in to the shop.
"I want to get a hops bread, the kiss-bread them," Mangohead said, unrolling the wad of cash in his pocket and selecting a twenty to pay for it. "What going on with you sir?"
"The same thing as always boy," Adrian said. "I fighting up, you know how it is."
"Ma Procop have me watchmanning she zaboca tree," Mangohead told the shopkeeper as he collected the bread and the change from him.
"I did hear she went overseas, but I wasn't sure," Adrian nodded. "I feel you go do a good job, you is a trustworthy young feller, unlike so many of them in this village."
"As yuh mention untrustworthy," Mangohead whispered as he leaned closer to the screen, "yuh know bout anybody recently come to the village who might want to thief zaboca from she tree?"
"What?" Adrian jumped. "Sombody thiefing zaboca from Ma Procop Tree?"
"No!" Mangohead whispered louder, trying to allay the old man's fears. "Nobody ent thiefing yet, but I want to be prepared nah, just in case. I checking out the scene."
"Ohho," Adrian said as he fixed the dirty old canvas hat he always wore back on his head. "It have this boy, Bobo son, Tony, come back what day it was. I doh trust he at all, at all."
"How yuh mean sir?" Mangohead pressed.
"Tony did leave from the village after Bobo dead, about seven or eight years ago," Adrian said. "Some people did say that when Bobo dead, he didn't leave anything for the boy, so the boy leave to go find his way in the capital. He used to come back now and again, and everytime he come back he was to look more and more dapper; like he getting better and better pay. Anyway when he come back just the other day he had talks of setting up a retail system or something so, for farmers who doh want to pack up and go to the market at four in the morning to sell thing. He say he go buy it at market price so they go get the same value as if they going to sell it. I wondering how he making a profit from it though. it don't seem profitable at all."
"So you saying it probably underhanded, what he doing?" Mangohead asked.
"Probably," Adrian agreed, "but me ent know for sure and me ent want to call nothing on the boy before next thing yuh know he above board and I saying thing bout him behind he back..."
"I understand," Mangohead said. "I go probably go look him up anyway, I might have cause to check him for the zaboca too."
"Be careful eh boy," Adrian warned as Mangohead exited the shop. "I still ent sure bout him."
As Mangohead set off on his homeward journey, a multitude of thoughts were now swirling in his head; dealing with Tony and his retail business to the scrap of cloth on Ma Procop's fence. Just as he turned into the road where he lived he heard an earsplitting scream emanate from inside his road. He stopped and the scream came again, this time unmistakably from behind his own house.

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