> The Mangohead Chronicles: Mangohead and the Zaboca Thief S01E06

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mangohead and the Zaboca Thief S01E06

Now On To Our Story!

"Oh Gosh," Mangohead thought. He couldn't hang on forever. Already his fingers embedded in the bank were beginning to lose their tenuous grip. From what he knew, he would have very little chance against the caiman, especially since they were both going to be in water. The roseau bush looked a lot more inviting than the certainty of losing a limb.
Roseau bushes were said to have some sort of poison in the thorns that grew out of them. The thorns adorned every available surface; wicked, sharp and very painful. Roseau thorns had the peculiar habit of being extremely hard to get out of one’s skin after they had made entry into it. Very often, a thorn would break close to the skin, the point still painfully embedded in the victim's flesh, who would then have to wait a matter of weeks for the pain to subside and the thorn to be worked out by his own body. With this in mind, Mangohead took a deep breath and leaped for the roseau root.
The young man’s agonized screams echoed around the forest, scaring the birds that had taken wing earlier, perhaps convincing them that a less noisy spot might be a better idea. Mangohead's face was contorted in pain, but he fought back the brimming tears. The thorns had thoroughly skewered his hands, some of them passing straight through the webbing in between his fingers, yet others buried inside his palms. He could feel the fresh blood pouring through his fingers and running down his arm as he held on for dear life.
"Mangohead?" he heard a familiar voice call out. "Daz you?"
"No, is Papa Bois," Mangohead replied flippantly, conjuring up the name of the fabled protector of the forest.
"Ohho," the voice returned. "Well I was looking for Mangohead if you see him..."
"Two, yuh fool, is me," Mangohead said exasperatedly. "Look, come and help me before this thing eat me nah." Beneath him the caiman thrashed in the muddy stream water.
"But I thought you say you was..." Two started.
"Look forget what I say and listen what I saying," Mangohead said quickly. He could feel the earth beneath the roseau root start to loosen. "Come and help me before I fall in the river."
"Arrite, arrite," Two replied as he parted some of the bushes and almost walked off the edge of the bank himself, throwing himself backwards a tad more successfully than Mangohead had done earlier.
"Buh whey de...yuh coulda tell me the bank fall down Mangohead," Two said, wiping his forehead.
"I thought you did know!" Mangohead half-shouted. The roseau shifted uncomfortably under his hand. "Look gimme a hand nah."
In a manner of seconds, Two had managed to secure a sturdy vine and tossed it down to Mangohead, who grabbed hold of it with his free hand; not a moment too soon, it turned out as the frail roseau root finally let go of the riverbank and tumbled down into the water. Two pulled Mangohead back onto the safety of the bank as the caiman, sensing that dinner was no longer in the offing, splashed off down the stream to look for easier prey.
"Jah," Two said as he looked down at the clot-caked mess that used to be Mangohead's hand. "Look we hadda take care of that fast, if the blood dry on yuh skin, yuh go get roseau fever."
"Nah I good," Mangohead insisted. The thief might have left clues and it was up to him to go find them and solve this mystery.
"I not asking yuh, ah telling yuh," Two said insistently. "Come, Madame Lani house is right down near the river and she does have some good remedy for these kinda thing."
Against his better judgment, Mangohead followed Two along the river for about five minutes, both of them navigating the twists and turns of the stream as it inched its way through the forest. It was said that this stream came directly from the heart of the mountains and the animals that drank from it were blessed by Papa Bois himself. The legend was taken as gold; so much so that hunters usually avoided coming down to this particular part of the forest lest they be struck by a terrible curse, the Vengeance of the Moko.
As they turned another bend, Mangohead was greeted with the sight of a wide, well-maintained back yard that went all the way down to where the stream bubbled. There were two golden-apple trees here (the locals called them 'pommecythere'); as well as two mango trees. Mangohead could tell from the leaves that these trees bore starch mangoes. The yard was fenced on two sides and led all the way up to a flat, wooden house that was originally painted white, but with the encroachment of lichen and moss, it was now a motley array of white, various greens and a few shades of brown.
"Madame Lani!" Two called as they stopped behind the fence. "Yuh home?"
Mangohead knew Madame Lani ran the Chinese fast-food place in the middle of the village and she made a decent amount of money doing so. She was from an Asian country (Mangohead wasn't certain exactly which one) and she was known for being one of the people in the village famed for 'bush medicine' - the art of using plants and herbs to cure sickness and disease. Mangohead wasn't too sure about how good these methods were: he had heard stories about some people going through violent seizures before dying from bush medicine treatments. He hoped Madame Lani wasn't home.
"Oi!" a voice flowed out from Madame Lani's house.
"Who dat is?" Mangohead asked Two.
"Maybe is Papa Bois?" Two replied hopefully.
"You lucky my hand bleeding inno," Mangohead said sourly, "or else I woulda cork yuh one..." Mangohead's voice died in his throat as the back door opened.
A girl stood shyly at the back door. Unless Madame Lani had learned how to shed years as well as pounds, he was pretty sure this wasn't her. The girl was just slightly shorter than Mangohead, with black hair pulled back and tied in a ponytail. Stuck in the knot of her hair were what Mangohead thought were ornate metal chopsticks. Her eyes were big and brown, and they seemed to dance with the sunlight coming down from the sky. Her skin was a shade of cream Mangohead's mind compared to vanilla ice cream. She had prominent lips and an unobtrusive nose that sat squarely in the middle of her face, adding and enhancing her facial features.
"Can I help you two?" she said in a heavy American accent.
"Am...excuse mih eh Miss, buh whey Madame Lani?" Two asked.
"Beg Pardon?" the girl replied.
"Nah, I doh beg nobody and me ent even know who dis 'Pardon' feller is..." Two began. Mangohead stepped roughly on Two's foot which elicited a howl from the boy.
"You know where we could find Madame Lani," Mangohead asked, trying to keep his English proper.
"Oh, Auntie Lani's not here right now," the girl said. "Maybe I can help?"
Ignoring Two's muttered curses, Mangohead trudged on. "Ah kinda have ah bloody hand and ah wanted to know if ah could get some help," he said.
"Oh sure, let me..." the girl started to say before a loud crash was heard at the front of the house. As one being, all three of them ran to the front, in true Trinidadian fashion, to find out how much they could about what was happening.
As Mangohead turned the corner of the house, he came to a complete stop. In the middle of the street were two cars, one a brand new, shiny Mazda and the other a rusted fish-van. Mangohead didn't recognize the Mazda, but he knew the Fish Van belonged to a fisherman known only to the village as Mister Dale.
"But eh-eh," Dale said as he exited his slightly-more-dented fish van. "Like you try to take de corner straight or what?"
To Mangohead's surprise, Tony's voice flew out of the Mazda, full of vitriol. "Why yuh doh look whey yuh so-and-so going ehh?"
"Aye pardner, calm down," Dale said, trying to diffuse the situation.
"I eh have no time to calm down nah," Tony said as he backed his car up. The front of the fender was dented and the lights on the side he had hit Dale were smashed. The car wasn't totaled, but it was in a bad condition. "I have t'ings to do, you ent know I'ze a busy man o wha?"
Fuming, Tony floored the accelerator, leaving Dale looking at his slightly-more-dented fish van with a bemused expression on his face. "Sometimes I does wonder bout them so, inno. They always in a hurry..."
"Mister Dale," Two shouted, "yuh okay?"
Dale kicked the wheel of his van. "It looking arrite, I ent go know hommuch damage do till I check it out."
Mangohead, Two and the girl walked over to where Dale was standing. "Is not the first accident this van get in neither," the fisherman said. "Is a good thing I didn't buy no new van nah. I might hadda get mih wheel-spanner for him."
"You!" a shout echoed from up the road and all four of them turned. Tony was walking menacingly back down the road. "Mih car break down and is you and yuh so-and-so fish van fault! Yuh see you? Ah go do fuh yuh."
Mangohead noticed that Tony had taken out a cutlass that was no doubt hidden under the driver's seat (as was the case in such a rural place as this). He looked angry. Suddenly, Mangohead heard a rattling and Dale appeared on the other side of his fish van, holding aloft a rusty metal tire-iron.
"It look like ah have use for the wheel-spanner after all," the fisherman said.
As Mangohead eyed Tony walk down the road with his cutlass held aloft, he had the distinct feeling that, if things progressed the way they were looking, he might not live to find out who was stealing Ma Procop's zabocas.
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