April 27, 2017

Fear of flying

Satiricus always enjoyed the long Easter weekend. He always thanked the Church Fathers who decided — of all the days in the week — to pick the day on which Jesus was crucified to be a Friday. How could they know? The calendar hadn’t even been formed! Knowing that Jesus rose three days later, Easter then had to fall on a Monday. And voila!! “Good Friday” to “Easter Monday” wrapped around the weekend to give the fellas ample time to bend their elbows at the Back Street Bar!

“OK Sato! OK!” grinned Hari, as Satiricus explained the Easter weekend, “So the Church Fathers were ahead of the Americans on this ‘long weekend’ business!”

“Yeah!” enthused Bungi. “Leh abee drink to da!!”

Drinks duly downed, Satiricus asked, “Can you believe the way United treated that passenger they bumped off their flight?”

“Yes, I can believe it!” Hari immediately responded, as he signalled for another beer. “Have you even flown CaripAirlines?”

“Yeah, Sato!” said Bungi. “Dem a treat Guyanese like daag!”

“You hear that or you know that?” demanded Satiricus.

“Budday, yuh na rememba da time me bin fuh look wuk in St Lucia?” Bungi answered. “Dem CaripAirlines people na even gi’e abee wan pack nut!”

“I went with Bungi that time to show him the ropes,” revealed Hari. “The flight was delayed three hours here. We were starving!”

“An’ abee had fuh wait two hour fuh people come in a Trinidad,” continued Bungi, who was getting quite worked up. “An’ still na wan packet a nut!”

“You like nuts?” asked Satiricus.

“Na play de ass, Sato,” snapped Bungi. “Me bin hungry and de plane start fuh get hat and me start fuh cuss!”

“Bungi didn’t want people to know,” said Hari. “But they dragged him off the plane.”

“So did they beat you?” asked Satiricus solicitously.

“Naah!” said Bungi. “Dem gi’e me some doubles an’ coc’nut wata an’ seh me a de fuss Guyanese wah complain!”


No dispute large enough

Satiricus was all choked up. He couldn’t believe men with such goodness in their hearts still walked on the face of the earth. If he didn’t let out his feelings soon, he felt he’d burst like a balloon and be splattered all over the walls of the Back Street Bar where he was held up with his usual posse.
“Fellas!” he exclaimed breathlessly. “Can you believe in two whole years, the KFC and Pee-an-See have never used the Com-in-de-burg Accord”?
“Sato…” said Hari with a worried look, as he swallowed the beer he’d just swigged. “What in the world are you talking about?”
“Don’t you guys read the paper?” Satiricus asked aggrievedly. “Rum Jhaat just said he and the other leaders in the Coalition get along so well, they just talk through whatever problems they have! They don’t need no agreement in writing!”
“Me bin fo’get ‘bout de ‘Come-in-de-burg Card’,” Bungi confessed. “KFC an APANU bin sign am Valantine Day, na?”
“Yes! Yes!” said Satiricus impatiently. “And Valentine’s coming up! It spelled out how they divided power and how they would settle disagreements.”
“But Sato, I don’t see the big deal,” said Hari, with a smirk. “Why would there be need to settle differences when whatever Pee-an-See tell KFC, Rum Jhaat and Nagga Man say, ‘Yes dear’!”
“Da soun’ jus’ like when Sato a ta’k to ‘e wife!!” guffawed Bungi. “Dem nevah fight!”
“C’mon fellas! Don’t be cynical,” said Satiricus. “What you mean?”
“Well, when APANU took away Nagga power to chair the Big meeting, what did he say?” asked Hari.
“Yes Dear!!” squeaked Bungi before Satiricus could answer.
“And when they took away half of Rum Jhaat Ministry, what did he say?” continued Hari.
“Yes dear!!” chuckledBungi with a simper.
“So what problems do they need an Accord to settle?” asked Hari, as he slapped the table.
“None dear,” said Satiricus in a deflated tone.

Arrival Day

Satiricus was feeling very chipper. After all, in addition to all the goodies that were usually circulated during the Christmas season, there were always the slew of Holidays. Which, this go around, had been increased by one extra day. He and the fellas were seated at their usual table at the back of the Back Street Bar, valiantly trying to counter the rain that just wouldn’t stop.

“If people fight fire with fire,” he’d explained to Hari and Bungi when he’d suggested this retreat, “why not fight water with water – which is what beer really is, isn’t it?!!” There was no answer to that logic, and so her they were.

“So…what you think about Prezzie giving us one new holiday in January?” asked Hari.

“New haliday?” said Bungi, shaking his head. “Me na hear ‘bout da.”

“I did read he said Jan 12 would be ‘Chinese Arrival Day’,” Satiricus agreed. “But I don’t think he made it into a public holiday.”

“So, we don’t get off another day?” complained Hari querulously. “That’s terrible! I need a rest after all those Holidays in December!”

“I wonder why Pressie didn’t make it into a public holiday?” said Satiricus as he finished off his beer.

“Me t’ink me know why,” said Bungi, with a big grin plastered over his face. “Chinese people a wuksuh hard, demna want de halliday!”

“But I don’t understand something,” interjected Hari. “If May 5th is “Arrival Day for all immigrants, now that we have Jan 12 for Chinese Arrival, are we going to have an Arrival Day for the Portuguese too?”

“Me na mind,” said Bungi quickly.

“Well, Indian Guyanese always called May 5, “Indian Arrival Day’,” Satiricus pointed out. “You think maybe Nagga Man asked Pressie to make it official?”

”Budday! Lehabeenta’k about Nagga man an’ Indian!” smiled Bungi. “Me know he a yuhleadah!”

“Naah…Sato don’t mind,” Hari assured Bungi. “Since Pressie didn’t give Nagga Man any real work, every day is a holiday for him!!”

Even Satiricus had to smile as they clinked bottles all around.

Where’s Harry?

Satiricus was stumped and his furrowed brow was a dead giveaway to his buddy Cappo, as they nursed their beers in the Back Street Bar. Things were “brown” for Cappo since the sugar factory had stopped grinding and he had to hang up his cutlass for three months. He needed Satiricus to be in a good mood to supply the elixir of life.
“Wha’ mek yuh face suhsa-wa, Budday?” he asked with forced jollity. “‘E might lef” suh, yuh know!”
“I just can’t figure out how they let Harry get away,” Satiricus confessed.
Cappo knew at once who Satiricus was talking about: they had been following the case for a year. “Me hear de law does wuk in mysteer-yas ways”, Cappo grinned. “An’ yuh know justice blind!”
“Cappo, this is no laughing matter, you know,” said Satiricus sternly. “Justice is being subverted.”
“Sato, a wha’ yuh a fret suhfa?”Cappo asked as he finished off his beer. “Widt’ing suh bad, Harry a circulate nuff money now, yuh know!”
“What you mean?” demanded Satiricus.
“Budday w’ende harres’ de man, a six pack a de coke bin missin’,” said Cappo knowingly. “Ah de Police tek da.”
“You right Cappo, but nobody talking about what happened to the missing 6 kilos,” admitted Satiricus.
“Well, since da a sell fuh US$10,000 a pack yuh talkin’ ’bout $12 million share out wid de Police,” smiled Cappo. “And dey does spend da right away!”
“That stimulates the local economy,” said Satiricus as he nodded his head. “And Harry did say the Police put in their thumb with $13 million cash and took out their thumb with only $10 million!”
“Mo’ money circulatin’ bai!” grinned Cappo. “An’ t’ink how much ‘e bin gat fuh pay affdem Police who bin a wa’ch ‘e!!”
“But they said the Police wasn’t watching him!” protested Satiricus.
Cappo just smirked. “An’ na talk wha’ happen fuh ‘e an’ e gyaal crass to Suriname. De man alone a wan industry!”
“But what about justice?” complained Satiricus.
“Justice na only blind,” said Cappo softly, “‘E gat fuh be clean! Den ‘e guhwuk!”


Satiricus was chortling so heartily, his friend Cappo was worried he’d choke and croak on his beer. Outside the Back Street Bar, the crapauds were doing their own croaking now that it’s gotten dark. “Happy Hour” had become croaking hour!

“Wha’ suh funny, Sato?”Cappo asked as he signalled the waitress for another beer.

“It’s not “funny” funny,” Satiricus replied. “This news is more confirmation that our country is on the move and I’m just so happy,”

“Wha’ news da?” inquired Cappo. “Me prappa need some good news.”

“Well, the Government is going to solve this housing shortage once and for all?” Satiricus announced.

“Me naundastaan something, Sato,” confided Cappo. “Dis country papulationna grow fuht’irt’y year, dem PPCEE guvmentgi’e out 60,000 house an’ lat, and abee still gat “housin’ shartage?”

“That’s always the problem with you Cappo,” said Satiricus sternly. “It’s not just a matter of “house”…It’s what kind of house.”

“Me naknowwha’ de arseyuha ta’k about,” replied Cappo, “Wan house na wan house?”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Cappo,” smiled Satiricus knowingly. “These are modern times – and Guyanese want modern houses!”

“An’ dis guvmentguhbuil’ modurn house?” asked Cappo in disbelief.

“That’s right!! And that’s why I was chuckling just now,” said Satiricus with a wide grin. “You didn’t read the Muckraker?”

“Na…me na read Muckraker namo’,” confessed Cappo. “Dem a jus’ cuss people too nasty!”

“Well, Minister Bull Kan said he’ll be building apartment buildings to house the poor,” gloatedSatiricus. “One apartment building will hold hundreds of poor people!”

“Really?” asked Cappo with raided eyebrows. “Me see deykinda apartment fuh pore people in Brooklyn w’en me visit me buddy in NyuYark.”

“So what you think, boy? Guyana will become like New York, eh?!” Satiricus was almost beside himself with excitement.

“Yes…Jus’ like NyuYark,” said Cappo slowly. “Dem pore people apartment buildin’ gat mo’ gyangdanabeesugah estate!”

“Gangs?” said a suddenly serious Satiricus.

“Eh he.NuffGyang! Dem young bais a kill an’ raab an’ rape an’ use dope all de time!” said Cappo, shaking his head. “De place tu’n like wan slum.”

“Come to think of it…I saw those apartments in the movies,” admitted Satiricus. “They call them “Projects””

“An’ now all de good people wan fuh own dem own house,” concluded Cappo. “Like wha’ de PPCEE use fuh help pore people buil’ yaa-suh.”

Satiricus became very quiet.

Elections Communication

Satiricus was smirking like a cat that’d just lapped up a bucket of milk. Cappo looked at him but didn’t say anything and continued chugging his beer. The Back Street Bar was quieter than usual since several of the regulars were off to the dominoes competition in the neighbouring village. The two friends were both dismissive about dominoes being called a “sport” and hadn’t gone on that principle.

Cappo knew Satiricus would have to break down sooner rather than later.

“Have you read about the fuss some folks are making about the high-end radio sets bought by Gee-Con?” Satiricus suddenly blurted out, validating Cappo’s assessment.

“Budday!!$100M fuh jus’ 50 “raid-yo”?!”Cappo exclaimed. “Like dem bin wan’ fuh talk to people pan Mars or wha’?”

“Cappo, you’re making the same mistake like the news people,” Satiricus said with a satisfied smile. “These are special radios.”

“Dem musseebettadan special!” said Cappo, who couldn’t contain his amazement. “$2M a-piece jus’ fuh talk to people in de inteer-ya about dem vote!!”

“But that is the mistake everybody’s making, Cappo,” said Satiricus in a conspiratorial tone, as he leaned forward suddenly.

“Wha’ mistake?” demanded Cappo, while pulling his beer away in a defensive move.

“The mistake is these radios were to communicate WITHIN Gee-Con, not outside,” continued Satiricus in hushed tones.

“$2M “raid-yo” a-piece fuh talk inside??!!”Cappo was outraged and the volume of his reply signalled as much.

“Cappo you just didn’t “talk” with these radios,” said Satiricus. “When you spoke into them, it could add, subtract and multiply numbers of votes that were fed into them by voice.”

“Wha’ mekdemwaan’ fuh do da?” Cappo demanded.

“Cappo, it’s you and your party that complained how long it took for Gee-Con to deliver election results,” answered Satiricus. “The $100M was spent to speed up the count.”

“But de result still tek five days!” said Cappo indignantly. “Me bite me finga-nail to de bone when me bin a wait!” “Well, the radios did have a problem with the local Guyanese accent,” confessed Satiricus. “They were programmed in America to understand THEIR accent.”

“Wha’ mek?” said Cappo truculently.

“Well, after they helped us to “vote like a boss,” Satiricus confided, “they had to make sure Gee-Con counted like a boss.”


Saving Guyana

Satiricus liked weekends. He liked weekends because he could throw back much later into the night at the Back Street Bar. And he liked it even more when someone else was picking up the tab. Filling that role was his cousin Georgie, who was winding down his visit for the Jubilee Bash. Their friend Cappo, the Canecutter was also enjoying the freeness as they created a jungle of beer bottles on their table.

“Budday!” said Cappo effusively as he slapped Georgie on the back. “Suh wha’ de lates’.”

“The latest, Cappo, is Guyana now saved!” replied Georgie with a grin, as he signalled for another round. Georgie drank “foreign” while Satiricus and Cappo drank local.

Satiricus’ interest was aroused. “I didn’t hear about any new Preacher coming to town.”

“Not that kinda “saved”, Sato. This is even better.” Georgie paused for effect. “The Government just had an Investment Conference at the Harvard Club in New York and man…you won’t be able to deal with all the investment coming down!”

“New York? I thought Harvard was in Massachusetts,” pointed out Satiricus.

“They have a fancy club in Manhattan where you can rent fancy rooms to impress clients,” replied Georgie with a knowing smirk.

“Me bet ‘e mussee cast “fancy” money, na Jargee!” Said Cappo slyly.

“You need fancy bait to catch fancy fish. US$100,000 for the day!” said Georgie, who rented apartments in Richmond Hill. “And New York has all the big, fancy, financial fishes, you know!”

“Suh dis diffrent fram dem fancy big fish who bin suppose to come fram Toronto last year and save abee?” Cappo also smirked as he winked to Satiricus.

“My friends,” said Georgie expansively, “Those people in Toronto deal in Chicken Feed. Not like us in New York.”

“Suh who and who show up fuh invest in Guyana?” Cappo wanted to know. “All dem big fish who own Bank and t’ing?”

Georgie paused before answering. “Well, is only Guyanese show up. We own apartment buildings and grocery stores.”

“Suh yuh na had fuh rent fancy Harvard Club fuh fancy money,” pointed out Cappo. “Me bet dem na even put de Large pan de table fuh dem bais drink. Dem gi’e yuh by de shat! And alyu real estate chaps na like da.”

“Well me hear some a dem bais did behave bad,” confessed Georgie. “Dat night dey move de sport to Sylvie’s by Church and Flatbush!”

“Suh wha’ dis about “Guyana save”?” demanded Cappo.

“Well yuh na hear de guvment want suggestions fuh save Guysuco?” Georgie stared at Cappo the Canecutter directly. “Abee real estate guys can sell aff de land!”


Satiricus was bemused at all the fuss being made about the parking meter installation offered to Georgetown. “This is such a typically Guyanese reaction!” snorted Satiricus to his friend Cappo. “We are so technologically backwards!” They had just settled in their seats at the Back Street Bar and ordered two beers.

“Wha’ mek yuh like cuss abee down, Sato?” asked Cappo plaintively. “Me bin visit me buddy in New Yark, you know. And me na see not’ing fancy wid dem parking meter.”

“Well, that’s what I’m talking about, Cappo,” Satiricus said exasperatedly. “The meter this overseas Guyanese fella Tush bringing to Georgetown isn’t those pieces of pipe in the ground where you have to put in coins.”

“So abee gon tu’n mo’ advance dan ‘merica?” said Cappo with his eyes opened wide. “But me hear Tush gon charge abee “advance” money too! $500 fuh wan hour parking!”

Satiricus slapped the table and nearly toppled Cappo’s beer bottle. “That’s the same thing I can’t understand with you Guyanese!’ he exclaimed. “Tush want to give us better than First World parking and you complaining. Jeez!!”

“Suh if Tush na put pole wid meter in de ground, wha’ he gon do fuh abee park abee cyaar and tek abee “advance” money?” asked Cappo sarcastically.

“Budday, I’m glad you asked,” said Satiricus excitedly. He’d missed Cappo’s sarcasm. “Tush will install invisible laser beams that will intersect to create a parking space. No poles in the ground!”

“Like dem laser beam dat does guard dem bank night time?” queried Cappo with a raised eyebrow. “Me see dat in “Ocean 11″!”

“Yes! Yes!” continued Satiricus impatiently. “And you will pay with your phone credit…or else an alarm will go off.”

“But wha’ gon happen if me stan’ up in waan-a-dem Tush parking place?” said Cappo, downing his beer.

“If you park you tail for an hour, then you’ll have to shell out $500!!” said Satiricus with satisfaction. “High tech cost money, boy!”

“But Sato, tell me somet’ing,” said Cappo softly. “If abee cyaan keep abee street light goin’; you t’ink abee gon keep laser light wukkin’?”

Satiricus became very quiet.

“Suh buy wan nex’ beer, na, Sato!” said Cappo slyly. “An’ tell me mo ‘bout Tush “advance” parkin’”


Discretionary funds

Satiricus breathed a sigh of relief. All the “long talk” was over in the Budget “debate”. Satiricus really had no time with the first week of this annual ritual. It was just an opportunity for the politicians to “mouth off” and show how much they knew. And even there, they cheated: all excepting a handful of them like Nagga Man, had to read from notes.

But this week was the real deal…who was going to get what, when and where – money that is. And while some philosopher claimed “money can’t buy happiness”, Satiricus was satisfied it could but a facsimile close enough to satisfy most folks. Satiricus wanted to know how well they were treating his favourite politician – the Prime Moocher, Nagga Man.

The big bad PPCEE had complained about the fantastic raise the Moocher had wangled for himself – Gy$1.7 million per month! But he breathed a sigh of relief when they didn’t cut that. In the couple of years since Naga Man had completed law school while in his sixties, he was earning multimillions monthly. Just to sign a few papers for NOCIL, he’s gotten Gy$7 million!! People didn’t appreciate what a huge salary cut he’d taken to serve the people as the Prime Moocher.

Satiricus was also pleased the PPCEE hadn’t cut the Gy$30 million to fix up the PM’s residence on Main Street before Nagga Man moved in. Those rats in the oven had left a terrible stench…even worse that the stench from the $multimillion-contract his friend Rum Jhaat had given to his client Feather Load.

And since the Prime Moocher didn’t have any line responsibility and was only in charge of the State newspaper and television, Satiricus was very happy that the Prime Moocher got Gy$150 million for his TV station – Gy$50 million more than last year.

But why did the PPCEE have to hound him about what he would use the extra money for? How could he be expected to know about petty things like money? Why couldn’t they trust a man of the Prime Moocher’s integrity?

But that was typical of the petty mentality of the PPCEE that had persecuted Nagga Man for years about his religion. They were upset that Nagga Man allocated Gy$10 million for himself as his “discretionary spending”. So what if he already had millions allocated for “entertainment” and everything he did was paid for by the State?

Did they believe Nagga Man didn’t have discretion to spend the Gy$10 million wisely? Did they think he would blow the whole Gy$10 million on Bush Rum at one back street dive? Satiricus for one, knew Nagga Man knew every Bush Rum haunt in Guyana, and had faith the Prime Moocher would spread the Gy$10 million equitably.

Wear Red and White – Representing our flag

Satiricus was appalled at the ignorance of his fellow Guyanese. He accepted he wasn’t usually the brightest bulb in the room by any means. But even HE knew what the Chief Talker in the National Talk Shop was talking about when he said “Green and yellow are the colours of the National Flag” – our dear, old Golden Arrowhead. And that the Opposition mustn’t “lampoon” our beloved flag.

Now Satiricus knew lampooning was bad. You can’t go around mocking people using biting sarcasm and wit. Like those folks who keep saying our Prime Moocher Nagga Man lacks “testicular perspicacity”. That’s terrible!! Or that Rum Jhaat lacks “ocular perspicacity”… that’s even more lowdown.

Satiricus had always thought the Opposition lady, The Sharer, was on the ball. But to his surprise, she was the one who objected when the Chief Talker pulled up her MP.

The MP was objecting to the APANU and KFC government painting everything that didn’t move – including the First Dog who’d gotten a tad overweight – but especially the State Buildings with the colours Green and Yellow. Which, he pointed out, were the colours of APANU and KFC. “NOT SO!!” thundered the Chief Talker, “They’re the colours of the Golden Arrowhead!” And to criticise the use of green and yellow was to lampoon our nationhood – not to mention our manhood and womanhood.

The Sharer then became very impudent, in the opinion of Satiricus. She claimed the colour in the Golden Arrowhead was actually “gold” and not “yellow” – hence the name “Golden” Arrowhead and NOT “Yellow” Arrowhead. And to have a “yellow” streak in our flag would mean we’re a nation of cowards. As even if that were true, we can’t very well be advertising it.

The Chief Talker was not moved and implied The Sharer was just quibbling. “Yellow or gold,” he pointed out, “same difference.” The Sharer then quibbled that there were OTHER colours in the Golden Arrowhead. And this was the source of Satiricus’ disappointment. The Sharer didn’t know about “synecdoche”?? When you use a part of a thing to represent the whole? Like “wheels” to refer to cars”.

Satiricus hoped The Sharer learnt a lesson and today she’d be patriotic and wear “red and white” – another synecdoche for our flag.