Memories of Back a Yaad

Hole Im! Hole Im! Teef, Teef! A union of voices shouted. Even Mame got into the act, screaming her lungs out without knowing who is the culprit. If a ebba ketch im ye see. I almost ask what the hell y’u think you can do, but did not as that would be deemed impolite. Poor ole Mame, (wha she tink she cyan do doe ye?) I could see the suspect zigzagging through the crowded market aisle heading towards where we were seated. In a jiffy the pick pocket blew by us with his shirt tail fluttering, slipping the grip of those who tried desperately to bring him to justice; (market justice that is).

But lo and behold he didn’t get far cause im run straight into a yam higglah. Yes man, wan big, strapping, jet black hell of a country woman. She kallah im same time wid har lef han and grab-up im trowzis front. Lawd Gezas Saviour Devine! De big man let out a squeal lakka wen dem juke hag wid lang pinted knife. (Noh Lauf Me sis) but the more him squeal is the more she ring “it”…Me seh the teefing man halla so till im vein dem tan up in a im fahred, and so de pain tek im, a so im cringe up im behine and tip-up pon im toe till im and the woman face almost touch…she gie im wan hell-evva buck.

A big cocoa raise up ova im yeye an blood jus start roll dung the cornah a im head-side and the whole market people dem tumble dung and start beat im. Banana stark, dry coconut, yam, harange, melon, y’u name it, and even Mame get in a the action and klath im wid a cheese pan she use drink har snow-cone inna. (Y’u dyam patacat y’u, teefing brute) me hear she muttah as she gie im one more kunk wid the cheese pan. Is a market police save im mek dem noh kill im me a tell y’u…

Who see the Virgin Mary? Who see where she is, words coming from a Three-Card man. In his left palm he balances a piece of cardboard about the size of an exercise book, while on the top he uses his right hand to slowly shuffle the three cards that were face down horizontally. One at a time he effortlessly and slickly, yet rather deliberately, exposes the face of each card to the onlookers. A queen of clubs, a ten of diamonds and a five of hearts, switching their positions across the cardboard while announcing repeatedly who see the Virgin Mary.

In the midst of the crowd are his confederates, seemingly three in total as they are the ones urging the onlookers to place bets for which the returns will be doubled. In the art of mastery trickery the Three-card man turns away his head, bidding to the innocents while one of his confederates slightly bends the queen quickly and touches the Three-card man.

Yes sah, y’u a place a bet, y’u see the Virgin Mary? A twenty dollar bet is placed and the confederate picks up the card and shoves it in the face of the Three-card man. Indeed it’s the queen and forty dollars is given to the winner. Now who again see the Virgin Mary he beckons to the crowd while the winner influence and encourage one lady to try her luck. After all, she had seen what had happened and the card still remained slightly bent.

Totally convinced that she can make some easy dough, me seh my lady dig deep in a har hanbag an cum up wid wan kris kris hundred dalla bill. It look like it jus lef de mint me a tell y’u. Me couden tell y’u outta she an the Three-card man which wan hab de biggah smile but a bare kin teeth between both a dem. Man a only wen dawg see butcha man bone teeth kin so. As the Three-card man shuffles the card and moves them slowly around still asking who see the Virgin Mary in referring to the queen, the lady now joyfully calls her bet.

One Hundred dalla me show y’u the Queen and without hesitation she handed him the money and turns the card up. Man, all now me cyan believe me yeye cause a de same mark card de woman pick an tun up, but a nuh queen a rhatid, a de five a hearts. How dat appen me nuh knoe, nuh ask me, but all me knoe, is that the woman start wan piece a cow bawling fe har money, and a talk to har-self between tears a seh, Ow me poe Thelma a ago manage, Ow me ago go ‘ome , cause a de pickeny dem only one gad almighty food money me loose aff, A nuh hab a penny lef, nat even busfare…. Lawd woooooooooie, me belly, me waan bac me moneeey.