> The Mangohead Chronicles: Mangohead and the Zaboca Thief S01E07

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mangohead and the Zaboca Thief S01E07

Now On To Our Story!

This was certainly a pickle. Never would he think that he would find himself in the middle of a confrontation like this. Tony was coming down the road, cutlass in hand, ready to possibly kill Dale, who was heading up the road for him with his tire-iron in tow.
"Dale!" Mangohead called. "What you doing?"
"I trying not to get chap, sonnah," Dale replied without slowing a bit.
"By carrying yuh tire iron to ah cutlass fight?" Mangohead shouted.
"It better than nothing!" Dale shot back as he kept a steady pace.
"Yuh better wish yuh had more than that!" Tony bellowed as he quickened his pace down the hill.
Mangohead knew he'd have to do something. Without a second thought, he started running towards the assailants, trying to get between them. He wasn't sure if Tony would slash him with the cutlass or not, but he had to try something.
"Mangohead!" Two shouted after him, "where you going?"
"To try and stop them," he replied loudly.
"But they go chap yuh!" Two called after him.
Mangohead didn't respond, knowing that it was very likely that he'd be grievously injured, probably killed. But he couldn't leave this alone, he had to do something or else he would never be able to forgive himself. Just as the Dale and Tony charged towards each other to deliver the first blows, Mangohead ran between them.
"Stop!" he yelled raising his hands up between them, bracing himself for the impact.
It never came.
"Yute," Tony said, his machete still poised in midair, "you kinda crazy or wha?"
"No, I eh crazy," Mangohead said, "but you going to kill ah man over ah buss up headlight?"
"Well...was more than the headlight inno..." Tony said, his machete lowering slowly. "And besides, I wasn't going to kill him; I was just going to chap him."
"And what if he dead ehh?" Mangohead pressed. "What woulda happen then?"
Revelation dawned on Tony's face. "Oh gyad oye, freal ehh. Aye sometimes I does act before I think boy. It does be stress when yuh mind caught up in plenty thing."
Dale, watching from a short distance away, also lowered his tire-iron. "Like he boil down like bhagi dey?" the fisherman quipped, comparing him to the greens that lost their volume when boiled.
"He good, it eh have no trouble again," Mangohead said to Dale.
Dale nodded and turned back around, glancing behind him every now and then in case Tony changed his mind. The well-dressed man stood in thought for a few seconds before turning back up the road, his cutlass grasped lightly in his hand. As he walked off, Mangohead noticed a thick caking of mud along his expensive shoes. As far as he knew, people didn't go gardening wearing shoes costing a couple hundred dollars (as he was sure those did). He was also pretty sure that there was no mud of that level between where he had parked his car and where Mangohead had halted his advance. The forest had that kind of mud though, the thick, dark, rich lagoon-soil that clumped together all around the sole of Tony's shoes. It made Mangohead think what on earth the businessman could have been doing in the forest.
"Mangohead, yuh good?" Two called to him. "Anita say she gonna fix yuh hand if yuh want..."
Anita! So that was her name. Mangohead glanced down at the caked blood and the splinters of thorns jutting out of his hand, making it look like some crude representation of a porcupine from someone who had never seen a porcupine before. "I feel I could use the help!" he called back.
"She say come inside she getting some Dettol!" Two called back.
Mangohead winced. Dettol was one of those home-care agents that brought bitter memories to the surface. Back when he was a youngster, he would find himself covered in all manner of scrapes and bruises. Dettol was an antiseptic agent that was used back in the mists of time, but now any antiseptic, regardless of its actual trade name, was called Dettol. Trinidadians had that habit of substituting trade names for the product itself. Thus 'Breeze' was any washing detergent, 'Coke' was any black soft drink, 'Pinesol' was any household cleaning liquid; the list went on. Mangohead's early life was terrorized by the stings and burns of Dettol, and as a teenager he had not yet grown out of the deep fear that still resided with the name.
"Mangohead, yuh coming o wha?" Two called from inside the house.
"Yeah, ah comin' now!" he shouted again. “Wham yuh is ah Russian or wha? Yuh rushing mih?”
“Well when yuh ready,” Two called back. “I going to find my brother and make sure he okay. That boy so schupid he go starve in a grocery.” With that he watched the boy head back to the rear of Madam Lani’s house, probably retracing his steps back to the riverbank. With that, Mangohead took a deep breath and walked inside Madame Lani's house.
As Mangohead opened the door, the strong scent of antiseptic assaulted his nose. The light inside here was blocked out by numerous dark curtains; Mangohead thought they were navy blue from the hue which they cast into the living room area that he found himself standing amidst. Space-savers lined the walls. In Trinidadian households, in order to provide a combination storage system and display nook, pieces of furniture were built to contain decoration and sometimes 'special' dinnerware that would only be brought out for particular company. These space-savers would act as decoration as well as storage, allowing a large amount of area to be preserved for other things, like tables, chairs and the occasional grandfather clock.
Madame Lani's space savers were varnished a dark brown to resemble mahogany, or so it seemed; in this low light everything seemed to resemble mahogany to Mangohead, whether or not it was designed to. Inside the display cabinets, behind the sliding glass doors that guarded its entrance, sat ceramics arranged in no particular pattern. Mangohead was aware that older women usually collected ceramics and hoarded them like leprechauns hoarded gold, but he wasn't aware that Madame Lani was one of those.
"She collects them like stamps," Anita said, coming up next to him.
"You collect stamps?" Mangohead asked.
She shrugged. "Sometimes. It gives me something to do. Now let's see your hand."
Mangohead held out his mangled extremity. The spines had managed to lodge themselves very deeply under his skin. A few had broken off close to the surface as the roseau thorns were wont to do. Now, as he looked down at the mess his hand was, the pain shot anew up his arm. He exclaimed like a burnt sow.
"Easy," Anita said with a giggle. "It's just some pain, what are you a man or a mouse?"
"If I was a mouse, it go hurt less?" Mangohead winced.
"Mangohead!" a call came from outside. He could recognize Julie's voice anywhere. It had a distinct sound, like a guitar with but one string mistuned.
"We inside!" he called back.
"Well come outside!" she shot back after just a moment.
Mangohead sighed. There was never any alone time for him it seemed. "I'll be back," he promised Anita before walking outside.
Gathered in the road, near where Dale and Tony had their accident earlier were his sister and one of the local policemen, Officer Parris. Parris was rumored to have been transferred to the San Marcos police post as punishment for something. No one was one hundred percent sure exactly what he had done, but apparently it had been bad. San Marcos Police Post was pretty much the furthest place possible from the action. Mangohead thought with a wry smile how that would have changed rather quickly if he hadn't stopped Tony and Dale from killing each other. He couldn't remember the last murder the village had, or even if they had ever had one. It seemed as though the people who lived here simply got old and died.
Parris was a medium built man, stocky and the blue and black police outfit did little to disguise the side of the muscles underneath it. He had no hair on his head; more than likely because he had shaved it by choice. Mangohead thought him too young to be going bald. He had thick, black eyebrows that shadowed his tiny eyes. His face was harder than the Kurma-man’s kurma left for three days in the sun. A thick black mustache adorned his upper lip.
"The officer want to arks yuh a few questions," Julie said, gesturing to Parris.
"Hello officer," Mangohead said, walking over.
"Son, yuh hand real bleeding y'know," Parris said.
"Is nothing, I go take care of it just now." Julie threw him a questioning look but he answered hers with one of his own saying he would explain later. "How I could help you?"
"Yuh sister say you takin' care ah Ma Procop zaboca tree while the old lady gone overseas, that so?" Parris asked.
"Yes sir," Mangohead replied with a nod.
"She said today that she allegedly found a man in the zaboca tree, then came to fetch you, is that so?" Parris said, taking out a small pad and a pencil and making notes.
"Yes sir," Mangohead replied again.
"Was anything taken?" Parris asked.
Mangohead thought back to when he checked the tree before following the fleeing thief. "No sir," he replied.
Parris nodded and shut his book. "I'm afraid there's nothing I can do then," he said simply.
"What?" Mangohead frowned.
"Well, if something was missing I could call an investigation," the officer said. "As it is, ent have nuttn missing so me ent have a reason to investigate."
"So the man in the tree is not reason to investigate?" Mangohead asked incredulously.
The officer shrugged. "I don't know what he was doing in the tree."
"Maybe he was pretending to be a zaboca," Julie piped up flippantly.
The officer narrowed his eyes. "I'd remind you I CAN charge you for wasting police time still ehh."
Julie sucked her teeth in annoyance. The officer ignored her and turned back to Mangohead. "If anything goes missing, come and tell me eh son?"
Mangohead nodded, thinking to himself that it was much more likely that the Trinidad and Tobago football team would win the World Cup than it was that he would report anything to this incompetent imbecile. "Definitely officer," he lied.
As Parris stalked off, Julie walked up to him. "Mangohead, like you try to feed ah alligator and it decide it like you more than the food or wha?"
Mangohead sighed. "You closer to the truth than you think yes. Come, Madame Lani guest was helping me..." A shriek cut into his speech like a warm knife through black pudding. Without a second thought for his safety, he dashed back into Madame Lani's house, hoping Anita was all right.


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