Nonsense happens and money talks

“But this is my only pot.” The other woman was not taking in any nonsense. “You should have thought about that before borrowing.”

“But honestly where do you think I will prepare food for my children.” “So you have food to prepare?”

It soon dissolved into a shouting contest and a tug of war. Mai Joe was forced to let go otherwise the makeshift handle was going to come off. “But you will not cook in it!” The kick of a dying horse. “Here and it will not get into my house.” The actual word should have been room or corner could have been better. The pot I was placed by the sink. “But I am giving you up 6pm and I will sell the pot.”

I watched Mai Joe leaving the scene, her shoulders dropped and I knew she had no idea where she would get the money and she had no other pot to use. Things were that bad for Mai Joe. I had been watching through my yet to be repaired window. You know me, never get involved. I could have offered a pot but we all have a way of going about doing things. We have principles, beliefs, dos and don’t of life. These always shape our behavour and the way others see us. When we make choices we always have this belief that we are smarter than the next person and the way we do things is the very best and others are getting it all wrong. In a way we never see ourselves in any form of nonsense and when it actually happens we always have some excuses like we got mixed up with the wrong crowd . . . bla . . . bla . . . that confused moron doesn’t know a thing about this and that. There is always some unfortunate fool to blame. I guess this kind of pride, I-know-it-all is the first step towards failure for most of us but we never get it until we are there. Despite this whole nonsense I am dishing out I am one of those who have certain crooked set principles that I am not prepared to let go. I have my own dos and don’ts but again like every other fool in this world nonsense happens to me too. I live in this neighbourhood yet I fight to stay out of it.

Pretty is a Halle Berry-Whitney Houston wanna-be who stays just across the street. She works somewhere in town but to be honest I have never wasted my precious intelligent brain on her. She is young, pretty like her name and she is always dressed smart. I have never really tried to get familiar but nosy as she is we exchanged greetings twice or thrice . . . I don’t remember really. The thing I remember is that she asked me where I get my locks done. I lied that somewhere in town but the truth is unless I hit a real jackpot I never go to the saloon. I wash my own hair and twist it. I always end up with aching arms and fingers and a terrible headache but . . . you know the story. It never got to my soggy brain that Pretty was soliciting for customers, she works in a saloon.

On this particular day, after the pot scene, I bumped into Pretty on my way from the shops. She was carrying something under her jacket. She practically bumped into me and when I tried to give her space like a cultured citizen I always try to be she grabbed me and for a few seconds we were just like . . . I mean people must have wondered what was going on and with ghetto people it would not be a surprise that the story matured into something that I the major character will not be able to recognize.

“Take it somewhere.” She said dropping a block of cash in my carrier bag breaking the two eggs I was hoping to have for supper in the process. “I will buy you meat proper and appropriate.” She had seen it. “Just take it with you.”

I opened my mouth to protest . . . you know the little voice, the warning all of us kind of have was telling me to run, to stay away from such nonsense but since when has reason overpowered emotions. “You will be handsomely rewarded.” I was already salivating as I took some of the world’s record-breaking strides towards my door at the back. “No, no, don’t put in your room. Fast they are coming!” The only thing that I could see was a pot left by the sink. I dropped the money before checking out who was coming. I just glanced at the running two heavies and quickly put on a straight face as I unlocked my door. I listened as the trio quarrelling outside. A crowd soon gathered and nobody knew the two heavies and they were dismissed quick. No police, instant justice . . . people-of-our-kind should stand up for each other kind of justice. I like it to be honest but I am not very good at these street courts. I like the drama though because most of the time it is the loudest and fastest mouth that wins the day . . . you know the empty calabash makes noise.

“Did you take the pot?” Pretty was back at my door. It was like twenty minutes later. “What pot?” “The money.” “Are you people done with your fight?” “Yes . . . do you have the pot?” “Let me get it.” The pot was not there and now I remember I had heard some debate outside about a pot. Holding on to my principle of not getting myself involved I had just simply ignored it.

Of course the pot was gone. I saw Mai Joe crossing the street with her children in tow, she had just done some shopping. She was trying hard not to glance our way but she had and when she did we locked eyes. I smiled and waved a thing I never do. I don’t have friends in the neighbourhood and I see the ghetto beneath me . . . very soon I will hit a jackpot and get out of here. I always say. Mai Joe got the message and smiled back. The smile was worth everything. What’s wrong with Mai Joe doing some real shopping forget where the money came from. She will talk about this day for many years to come.

“What was that?” Pretty was still standing behind me.

“Just Mai Joe.”

“I had no idea you were friends.” “A few seconds ago we were.” “Okay my money.” Pretty was not going to let me off the hook easy but I was prepared to go all the way. She had practically forced the money on me and I was already in it deep. I was not going to tell on Mai Joe. I heard Pretty’s screaming voice fading in the distance as my mind traveled places. I have principles and there is no compromise there. I can only watch the drama but I will never get involved. Nonsense was happening to Pretty but that’s how it is, Mai Joe was celebrating!

July 2006
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