> The Mangohead Chronicles: Mangohead and the Zaboca Thief S01E11

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mangohead and the Zaboca Thief S01E11

The Final Episode...


It had been a week since Anita's unfortunate accident in the San Marcos forest. The entire village had heard of her untimely wounding and had chipped in with support and prayers and gifts. At the Caura Hospital, where she was warded, her room was always filled with flowers and candies of all sorts of descriptions. The Kurmaman and Madame Lani would go visit Anita often and Mangohead would not miss a day to check up on how she was.

He had been with her through every step of her recovery and they had grown quite close. Mangohead could sit and talk to her for hours and he felt himself drawn to her like a moth to an open flame. It was her eyes, he concluded. Her eyes had stolen his heart and he really didn't think he could get it back even if he wanted it.
Back in San Marcos, each day Mangohead would inspect the trail behind Ma Procop's house and pass casually by the inconspicuous path that led into the weed field that had led to Anita's wounding. In the night time, when he had first seen the field, he figured it was probably a small field, maybe some subsistence farmer growing weed to supplement his income as was usually the case in areas like Biche, Navet and San Marcos. In the full glory of the daylight the day after Anita's accident, he and Two returned to inspect the field. It was far bigger than he had thought.
"Whey boy Mangohead," Two whistled. "You see how big this is? I feel it could house a whole cricket ground inside here oui!"
Mangohead nodded silently. This field spread for at least half a mile, interspersed with forest trees deliberately planted for their shade and their ability to camouflage the growth from the air. Recently, local law enforcement had taken to doing flybys of the area, and many weed fields were burnt last season, much to the chagrin of growers and buyers, since the decreased supply meant increased prices. He had heard a few youths complaining about the cost of weed casually as they walked down the road.
This field was the size of watermelon plantations in Plum Mitan. The trees were planted in ordered rows, and it was obvious that it was a planned growth, not some random passerby. He wondered who had had the time and effort to come all the way down into this forest to do this much planting.
"Whaz yuh plan boy Mangohead?" Two asked. They had been standing in the field inspecting the growth for a little over ten minutes.
"Come, let we go back to the house," Mangohead said and turned on his heel, heading back up the path.
They slipped quietly into Ma Procop's house, Two breathlessly behind him as they shut the front door. "The plan simple," Mangohead said as he slid into one of Ma Procop's wicker chairs that adorned her sitting room. "We going to spread a rumour that it have a new zaboca on the tree, a real bess zaboca; that it looking so juicy and full you just HAVE to taste it..."
"But Mangohead," Two said in a small, puzzled voice, "we ent have no more zaboca..."
"I know that," Mangohead said pointing to himself, "and you know that," pointing to Two, "but THEM ent know that."
"Ohho!" Two said, late to the party as usual. "So after we spread dem rumours, what is de plan?"
"We hadda keep watch on that weed field," Mangohead said and narrowed his eyes. "Whoever running that field is who teefin we zaboca."
"You sure bout dat?" Two asked.
"I surer than sure," Mangohead responded. "Watch how I right ehh."
So they spread the rumour and they waited. Few passed and knocked on Ma Procop's garden gate, asking to buy the zaboca, but Mangohead and Two turned them away, claiming that the fruit was not yet ripe enough for sale and they would not want to cause undue worry to whoever bought it to ripen it. Days passed until a week had gone. Then another. Still, there was no sign of activity from the weed field, only the slow sway of the ganja leaves in the breeze.
After the second week, Anita had come home. It was a day of celebration and excitement, like a hero returning to her people. Children of the village came to see her, especially those who were unable to go to Caura General Hospital during her stay. The candies and flowers kept coming, and Mangohead kept visiting. Still, there was nothing from the weed field.
Three weeks after Anita had been shot and week since she had come home, Mangohead figured the time for giving up was coming close. Whoever had stolen the zabocas didn't seem as though they were interested in coming back to the tree. Whether they had scoped out the lack of zabocas on the tree and called Mangohead and Two's bluff was anyone's guess. He confided in Two that tonight would be the last night of the watch.
The moon rose pale and full that night, casting long shadows into the forest. Mangohead and Two resumed their vigil atom Ma Procop's roof. it gave them a rough vantage point to see the area around the house and to spot anyone approaching the weed field from the village side. It also gave them a straight line of sight to the hidden path that led to the field. Owls hooted and crickets chirped as the smell of the forest grew around them, a dark, green scent hovering on the air. Mangohead could smell something beneath it; something that didn't seem to belong, but he brushed it off as his mind playing tricks on him. The sudden snap of a twig brought him back to reality.
Two shoved him in the shoulder. "Yuh hear dat?" the boy whispered.
Mangohead nodded the affirmative. Both stared at the path and there was someone going into the field. Quickly, both boys climbed down off the roof, dropping stealthily to the grass below and walking as fast as their legs could carry them without making any noise. Just as they hit the darkness of the path, they saw a glint of reflected moonlight as whoever it was disappeared into the track.
"He have ah cutlash!" Two said, tugging Mangohead's sleeve. "I too pretty to get chap!"
"Calm down Two," Mangohead whispered. "Is just a watch."
"You sure?' Two said, his voice sounding a little more confident.
"Yeah I see it," Mangohead lied. He didn't know if it WAS a watch, but he couldn't afford to have Two chicken out now. He needed the other boy. "Come, lewwe go."
Rapidly, they slipped into the shadows, the dark colours of their clothes blending seamlessly with the darkness around them. As they reached to where the field opened out, they could see the silhouette of a dark figure tending the plants. Mangohead racked his brain for the person in the village who suited the silhouette. Suddenly it dawned on him.
"Tony!" Mangohead shouted as he pushed out of the darkness and into the speckled moonlight beneath the trees. "I know is you ehh!"
"A who dey?" Tony's voice came, cold and dangerous. "Yuh ent know what yuh dealing with inno!"
"Yuh teefin my zaboca and tellin me I ent know what I dealing with?" Mangohead shouted indignantly. "Who you feel you is?"
Tony burst out laughing. "ME? Teefing YOUR zaboca? No yute, if somebody teefing your zaboca is not me."
"But you shoot Anita!" Mangohead shouted. "Ent it was your trap gun shoot she?"
"I ent shoot nobody," Tony said, his voice sounding unsure now. "The trap gun gone off and she was in the line of it so she get hit. Is not my fault she was walking round in the dark in my plantation."
"Is your gun, you hadda take responsibility for it!" Mangohead shouted back.
"Look, pull yuh tail from here before I REALLY shoot somebody." He could hear the cock of a shotgun and Tony's silhouette changed to present the deadly firearm at Mangohead's torso.
Mangohead backed away slowly. "Doh do nuttn schupid, all I want is the money for mih zaboca dem..."
"You and this blasted zaboca," Tony fumed. "I ent teef none ah yuh damn zaboca!"
"Mangohead!" Two whispered and pointed back to the house. A lithe, shadowy figure has leapt the wall.
"Oh hell!" Mangohead shouted. "Ah sorry Mister Tony, I now see the teef dey," he blustered and ran, not looking back to see if Tony had accepted his apology.
He heard Tony shout something, but he wasn't sure what it was. Two and Mangohead crossed the clearing from the forest to the fence in record time, both leaping over the fence and landing surefootedly on the ground of the garden behind. First Mangohead then Two turned their head up to the tree...and stared in shock.
Climbing the tree, with a gauze wrapped around her injured leg, was none other than Anita.
"YOU!?!?" Mangohead shouted disbelievingly. "How could it be you?"
"I'm sorry but..." Anita started but before she could finish, she slipped, the gauze of her leg unraveling as she fell. Without a though, Mangohead rushed to try to stop her from hitting the ground, but he was too late. With a dull thud Anita landed, her back arched painfully by the protruding root of Ma Procop's zaboca tree. For the second time, Mangohead held her in his arms, and he felt her tremble and shudder.
"Two go call ah ambulance!" he shouted but he knew the other buy was already on his way to get help. He turned back to Anita. "How could you? How could you betray me like that?"
"It was the zaboca," she gasped. "After the first one I couldn't leave them alone. They're addictive."
"Hush," Mangohead said. He petted her hair and looked into her eyes tear-filled eyes.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry..." she sobbed. "I can't feel my legs."
"You'll be fine..." Mangohead insisted.
She coughed, gouts of blood coming out of her mouth. "I'm sorry..." her voice trailed off.
When the ambulance arrived they took the corpse of the young girl from Mangohead's arms. He sat staring at the zaboca tree for a while before he went inside.
"Mangohead!" Julie shouted and he roused himself. What did the silly girl want now.
"Wham?" Mangohead said irritably. "You ent see people trying to sleep?"
Julie looked at him severely. "Look, I know you liked her and I know she died, but it happens okay?" Julie said abrasively.
"I know that..." he said softly. He had gone to Anita's funeral, had watched as they lowered her into the ground. But he hadn't cried. He didn't know how to feel. He hadn't forgiven her before she died. All of a sudden, he grabbed Julie and sobbed into her shoulder, letting out a flood of tears.
Awkwardly, Julie patted his back. "There, there," she said.
Together they exited Ma Procop's garden. She was coming back next week, and Mangohead had gotten money out of his savings to pay for the stolen zabocas, but he didn't think he'd be eating zabocas anytime soon, if ever again.
Thanks for the support up to the end of this season. I'd be glad for some feedback on the facebook page if you guys would like to see a second season. Thanks for putting up with my sporadic updates coming down to the end. This was a great journey and you've been a wonderful audience. Thanks again!

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