> The Mangohead Chronicles: Mangohead and the Zaboca Thief S01E04

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mangohead and the Zaboca Thief S01E04


As Mangohead ran full pelt to his house another loud scream tore into his eardrum. He sped up; a casual onlooker would have compared his speed to that of Usain Bolt, except Bolt didn’t have to deal with holes in a lawn that would lead to a broken ankle if misjudged. Mangohead's lawn was a lush splendor of meadow, although the variety of grass wasn't lawn grass, rather an assortment of wild grass that populated lawns across the Caribbean. If it grew long enough it could slice skin with its sharpness. Luckily Mangohead pruned his lawn at regular intervals. The area beyond his chain-link fence, however, was a different story.

Vines and lianas spread across the slightly rusty wire fence that separated the yard from the forest beyond. A massive immortelle tree spread its canopy over the far end of the fence, casting shade into Mangohead's yard as the cashew trees on either side of the 'mortelle tree linked boughs with it, making one complete, uninterrupted shade encroaching into Mangohead’s yard. It was near to this shaded corner that he found Julie pointing with a shaking hand and screaming bloody murder.
"What wrong with you?" Mangohead asked. "The whole village probably think somebody beating you or something."
"Watch!" she screamed as she grabbed Mangohead around the shoulders and pointed. "Look!"
Entwined in the chain-link sections was the biggest coral snake Mangohead had ever seen in is life. The red, yellow and black bands that ran around the snake's body glistened in the oily, serpentine way that snakes were wont to do. Lazily it slithered along the fence, its tongue flicking out of its mouth at intervals, not minding the silly human that was bawling and pointing at it.
Mangohead had seen big snakes before (in Trinidad, the gambling game Play Whe even had a number dedicated to big snakes), but this one was simply...massive. The girth of the animal was about three of Mangohead's fingers across. It had this intelligent air about it - as though it knew it belonged here and that Mangohead was a trespasser in his own yard.
"Doh just stand there, yuh pie," Julie said, as she smacked Mangohead's arm. "Do something!"
"What you want me do eh?" Mangohead asked.
"Pet it and give it food," Julie said sarcasticaly. "Kill the blimmin' thing!"
"Alright," Mangohead said. "Go get me something to kill it with.”
Glancing behind her, Julie ran off, and Mangohead cogitated on his situation. This would not be the first time he would have to do battle of a denizen of the forest, since during the rainy season caimans from the nearby river would invade their lawn, sometimes passing through one of the huge holes at the bottom of the fence. The caiman’s bite was only liable to take a finger or the occasional limb whereas this snake’s bite could kill him. He would have to end this reptile's life before it could end his.
With a crash, Julie burst out the back door and ran down teh stairs carrying a can of bug-spray in her hand.
"You cannot be serious..." Mangohead shouted.
"Look, is all I could find," Julie said as she thrust the bug spray at him.
Mangohead thought for a moment. "Go find me a box of match from by the stove," he informed her. "Maybe I could actually use this."
Sighing she ran back into the house to get the matches as Mangohead reassessed the situation. He could possibly construct a rudimentary flamethrower out of the bug spray and the matches, but there was always the possibility that the flame would creep into the can and cause it to explode, possibly taking his hand with it. He was pretty sure that he'd set the snake on fire, then it’d writhe and twist until it expired.
Another bang heralded Julie's return, this time with the box of matches. "Careful ehh," she warned Mangohead as she handed over the matches. "If you burn yourself up I gonna pretend I was somewhere else."
"But what the..." Mangohead said incredulously as he frowned at her. "Half the blimmin' village hear you screaming, you cyah say you was somewhere else."
"Look, just doh burn yourself down and we go be fine," she said and smiled encouragingly.
Sucking his teeth in mild annoyance, Mangohead struck a match and watched it struggle, gutter and finally catch to life. Carefully, he fixed the spray's nozzle on the snake's head.
"Aye!" a man's voice shouted. "Stop! Yute-man! Stop! Staahhhhp!"
Mangohead jerked his head up and saw a man running into his backyard waving his arms frantically. He was dressed in an expensive-looking suit with shiny shoes. He looked like one of those important people you'd see on the television, like some sort of lawyer or politician. The effect of seeing him flail around like that was comical and Mangohead almost burst out laughing.
"What you doing to my snake there yute?" the newcomer asked.
"YOUR snake?" Mangohead asked.
"Yes, Stinky there is my pet, yute, what it is to you?" the man replied as he put his hand out to the snake. Mangohead felt a tense moment as the snake watched the man’s hand cautiously before slithering off the fence and up the man's arm, coming to rest safely around the man’s shoulders.
"You should keep a better eye on your pet mister, you scare my sister half to death," Mangohead chided.
"I suppose I should," the man said wistfully as he stroked Stinky's head. "My name's Tony by the way."
Mangohead did a double take. What were the odds? "Nice to meet you Mister Tony," Mangohead said as he held his hand out. "I was just thinking bout coming to meet you today, I hear good things bout you."
"Not as much as the good things I've heard bout you," Tony said as he clasped Mangohead's hand in his. "You're Mangohead aren't you?"
The young man grinned. "Yes, that's what everybody in the village does call me. How you hear bout me though Mister Tony?"
Tony smiled. "I didn't get the way I am by not knowing what was happening round me, yute. What you wanted to see me about?"
"Ma Procop leave me in charge of she zaboca tree, and she tell me to sell the zaboca," Mangohead explained. "I hear you doing a business thing that you does sell in the market and thing. I could ask you to sell it for me?"
"Well that depends yute," Tony said, giving him a sly smile, "how much in it for me?"
"I could only offer you free zaboca, Mister Tony," Mangohead said. "I don't know if that is nuff."
"I hear real plenty good things bout Ma Procop Zaboca y'know," Tony said as he looked away from Mangohead, seemingly lost in thought. "I go have to think about it. I does usually deal in cash, but you look like a yute I could trust. I go check you back a little later, let me take Stinky home before he run away again."
Mangohead watched Tony leave through the front gate, his new business deal a distinct possibility.
"Mangohead," Julie said from the left of him. "You sure you know what you doing trusting that man?"
"Come on Jules," Mangohead coaxed, "it could make Ma Procop a lot of money, she would be so glad when she come back."
"True, but only if he do what he say he doing," Julie reminded him. "I hear some not so nice things about him."
"From who?" Mangohead wondered.
"I does talk to people," Julie sniffed. "You feel I doesn't go nowhere and know nobody or what?"
"Who you does talk to so?" Mangohead asked pointedly.
"People nah!" Julie deflected. "Just know that plenty people ain't have good things to say bout him inno."
"Plenty people don't have good thing to say bout the Kurma Man either," Mangohead pointed out. "It doh mean he is a bad man.”
As if on cue, the Kurma Man's voice floated from the roadside and both Mangohead and Julie turned to look at the shopkeeper. "Allyuh okay? I hear real plenty screaming and thing."
"Is okay, doh worry," Mangohead said with a smirk. "Julie just see a snake and she just had to let the whole village know."
"Ohho, good." The Kurma Man turned a wary eye to Mangohead. "I pass Tony on my way in here, you was talking to him?"
"Yeah, it was he snake self!" Mangohead said.
A worried look passed over the Kurma Man's face. "Come here, let we talk boy," he beckoned.
"Yes?" Mangohead said as he walked close to the gate.
"Be careful boy, that man is bad news," Kurma Man said. "He look like he have trouble write all over him."
Mangohead shrugged. "He seem okay to me."
The Kurma Man sighed. "I not asking you, I telling you. The man is not a nice man. I know."
"How you know?" Mangohead asked with a raised eyebrow.
"You doh study how I know nah, just know I know," the Kurma Man said, getting slightly agitated. "Too besides, you ain't go believe me if I tell you."
"Try me nah?" Mangohead challenged.
The Kurma Man shook his head. "I cyah tell you, it not worth what go happen to you and me. I just warning you. Heed my warning eh chile."
"I go remember you tell me," Mangohead said.
The Kurma Man nodded and shuffled into the road, starting his long, weary walk back to his old shop, the setting sun bleeding its orange-red rays all over the asphalt. As Mangohead watched him go, he pondered on Tony, and what the Kurma Man knew about him. And HOW the Kurma Man knew what he knew about him.
"That Tony feller have a snake," Julie said from Mangohead's elbow, almost giving him a heart attack.
"Woman!" Mangohead yelled, "you have to stop sneaking up on me!"
"Who sneaking up?" Julie asked. "I was here a long time!"
"You hear everything Adrian say?" Mangohead queried.
Julie nodded. "I think he right."
Together they both watched as the Kurma Man took a cloth out of his pocket and mopped his sweating brow. As he opened it out to fold it back, Mangohead realized that the scrap of cloth the Kurma Man was holding was missing a triangular corner piece.

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