Hotter than a sumo wrestler's ballocks - Part 3OR,
Conflict resolution - St. Lucian Style
(Read Parts 1, and 2)
Bland as my grandmother's rice pudding I switched quarry. "Look bra", I signalled over to Nappy," I know things rough, so just admit you jack my plantain, promise to never step foot on my land again and you all can have the damned ladder."
A grateful Nappy made as if to speak only to be shushed by a wave of the animated Portly's hand. "Miss doh worry ask him nuting, he mou-mou ¹", he asserted as he unaccountably drew tight circles at his temple.
"He's what?!" Now, admittedly his serving up of these two disparate and obviously inaccurate bits of information about the unfortunate Nappy's medical status threw me.
"He mou-mou!" More finger twirling.
Not caring for the sly grin shalaqued across his face; I decided to remind him that in the game of verbal misdirection, my Kung Fu was better than his. "Came on quick, that", I noted conversationally only to be met with perplexed silence.
"His affliction", I explained helpfully, "it came on quick. He was talking just fine earlier, not making much sense - but definitely talking." A very angry high-yellow man went scarlet but decided to wait me out. "Well, which is it? Is he a mute, or is he a loon?"
The speech impediment which had earlier that day struck me down and now allegedly beset poor Nappy, tried to stake its claim on the formerly loquacious Portly. Sturdy sort that he was, he shrugged it off and uttered a scantily thought through, "Yeah".
"Lord!" Insert feigned alarm. "You sure it's safe for him to be walking around? Maybe I should call the police to take him to Golden Hope?" I placed my telephonic prop at ear, for effect.
"Ah..." He rubbed his head reconsidering his previous diagnosis of both Nappy's and my faculties. "Nah, nah, he eh mad like dat. He - he - he slow."
"You got that right", I laughed and for a brief spell détente reigned while we, save the ill-used Nappy, chortled in amazement at the extent of his handicap.
Certain he'd disarmed me, Portly approached confidently. "Look, he", Knobby bobbed, "hire dat fella deh to work with him. Ah-right?"
"Fascinating. Back-up", I muttered softly. More head bobbling came from the obsequious Knobby. "So whose ladder is again?"
"Mine", Knobby piped in, oblivious to his employer's wince.
"So the thing's yours now, is it?"
A confident "Yes" was swiftly chased out of his dishonest maw by, "I mean, no". "Da mister buy it for us to fix his roof."
"Hmph", scepticism a poor mask for my amusement over Portly who was exacerbating the condition of his no doubt friction induced alopecia.
"An' dis morning I realise it missing", this swiftly added by Portly who obviously feared the possibility of Knobby getting verbal again.
"Shame that", I commiserated, "Back-up."
"Stolen too, huh?"
"Yeah and de damn ting expensive", he explained, "Steel."
"So you sent buddy boy here to retrieve it?"
"Yes!" he hissed victoriously, and turned to Knobby, "You see I told you I know her people from times. Sensible. De Fadda does do a lot of good tings, never mind what they say about him." Okay, for that he needed to suffer.
"Well now, that's different", I observed. "Why didn't he just say so? Sure, you can have the ladder." The trio advanced onto the walkway. "As soon as you explain how one of your employees, who is tragically both mute and mad, figured out that the thief; who stole it along with my bunch of plantains, of which you know nothing, left your ladder in my backyard."
"Uh...he saw it", he tested.
"From the main road?"
"Uphill and behind my neighbour's ten foot wall?"
We glared at each other out across the OK Corral that was my front path. Nervous and now thoroughly absorbed, respectively, Knobby and Nappy waited for Portly's play, having retreated back to municipal safety.
"He came up the steps", a pause and a widening of stance preceded the patently deceitful, "and he looked in", Portly added; double daring me to trip him up.
I smiled and quietly returned, "No - line - of - sight. Try again. But meanwhile, I'll be calling the police." Match point, advantage dorna!
"Last night, your worker trespassed upon and stole my property, I'm guessing at your behest; or else why would you come up here with this cock and bull story? Then he returned, first to brazenly recover the evidence, and then a second time with you two; who spoke to me in a manner which caused me to fear for my safety and who despite repeated warnings also trespassed." I sniffed doing my best 'scared little girl-child' impersonation. "And let's not forget, "disturbing the peace". Look what you caused", I drew his attention to the half dozen or so busy-bodies who had been lounging at doorway and sill taking in the show. "You made all these nice people come out of their homes just to see if someone was killing me." The nice
"Woman what the *bleep* you talking about! I eh threaten you and what trespass?"
The 'scared little girl-child' continued with a teasingly wicked smile, "You yelled. A lot. I'm all alone here and found the entire episode tremendously disquieting, especially the wilful violation of my space."
"Wilful! You... Peace..." The speech impediment took another swipe at him. "What the *bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep* you talking about, you crazy bitch?"
"Where are you standing?" I barked. Gradually understanding came to him as he looked downed at his perfidious feet firmly planted a yard or so to the inside of my hedge. With equal deliberation he lifted his glistening pate, then a nod and tilt in acknowledgement of his opposite.
"You can't watch your yard forever", he noted sagely. "Dem police only going to waste our time", he paused with a hint of menace, "If they come at all."
"Sakwé salop ³", I thought. Back to deuce and time to switch sports. I tried a bluff. "So? I'll take my chances. I've got plenty of witnesses and I've already made a report. So if anything happens, anything at all; mem si ou paté la ³, the police will know who to go looking for. Now get the hell off my *bleep* property!"
"*bleep*" He withdrew, took a breath, whipped out a battered square of leather, and then got down to brass tacks, "How much you want?"
Arms crossed with receiver still in hand I smiled, "Well, how much you got?"
² sakwé salop=translate to expletive of choice
³ mem si ou paté la=even if you weren't there
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