(4:42 am Nov 01, 2005)
Red, blood red. Redhead, red. Red. The colour of the proud and victorious Lucayans. Red, the same Lucayans whose mascot was the proud and ferocious Simba the Lion. Red, blood red. Victory red.
Red skies at night, sailors delight. Red skies at dawn, sailors be warned. Red. Sunsets. Love.
And so it begins. The quest. The journey that is to be enjoyed, but in reality must be endured during its time and savoured upon its victorious completion.
Bruno found himself in a cold metal cylinder. Rushing through the red dawn skies faster than the wind. Faster than any wind this season, and with the big winds this season, that was saying something. Yes, the big winds this year had been big, and more than that, they had been destructive. Erratic. Almost sly. Pounding coasts into submission. Wiping some clean as a schoolgirl wipes the board clean for her favourite teacher.
The "cabin attendant" came by to attend to the needs of the passengers. After all, what needs did the cabin have that she could attend to? Bruno could still not bring himself to say "cabin attendant" without the quoted fingers deal. He grew up with stewardesses and could deal with stewardess and steward just fine. But, ease up with the "cabin attendant" already. And, to tell the truth, she wasn't actually there to attend to the needs of the passengers so much as to pass out a few tiny bags of peanuts and pour out small cups of soft drinks. In Bruno's case, two bags of peanuts (he was, after all one of the special people, although not in his own estimation) and a Coke.
(5:00 am Nov 01, 2005)
Bruno just touched down on that international runway, that runway in one of his favourite spots in all the world. On the main runway at Nassau International Airport. That runway at Windsor Field. At one time, many would have called at an aerodrome, but these days, to most, it was an airport. Now, it was not that this particular spot on this particular runway was one of Bruno's favourite spots in all the world. No, it was that this runway was in one of his favourite spots in all the world. Nassau. The Bahamas in general as a matter of fact.
Now, you may wonder why Bruno, being a back beat, would like the Bahamas so much. The Bahamas with its junkanoo rhythms, with its rake and scrape, with its island ways. In truth, he did not try to explain it, even to himself. He just liked it. Because of its beats and for many other reasons. One of which was bird peppers and goat peppers and lady fingers. Oh yeah.
Bruno could mash up a conch snack from ounce a dirt or da big bamboo with the best of them and he planned on doing so on many a late night on this trip to the rock. He was, in fact, here as a direct result of his rock longings that had developed during the two months he had been traveling the world as a good will ambassador for live music everywhere and in all its many and varied styles. Rock longings that had developed partly as a result of a conch deficiency in his diet while traveling abroad.
On touchdown, he had felt an immediate sense of rock relief and on deboarding, he had knelt and kissed the tarmac in thanks for it.
After clearing immigration and then customs, nothing to declare but his love, he had jumped in a taxi and told the driver to take him to Native Wind on Bay Street so that he could get himself some stew conch with white rice for breakfast.
(5:20 am Nov 01, 2005)
It seems Bruno had landed in the wrong taxi. The driver was drunk and wanted to carry on a slurred tour of the island as well as taking him to his destination. Bruno tended to have a way about him though. He realized that this might, in fact, be the right taxi and not the wrong taxi after all. This might be the taxi that he would be able to write about in the future, this might be the taxi driver who would provide inspiration for a song, or a fabulous scene in some great novel he might one day write. You never can tell about taxi drivers you know.
(5:25 am Nov 01, 2005)
Bruno, as he was often wont to do had gotten ahead of himself again. That, or the cravings for conch were woo strong and he could not control himself.
Conch, that sublime mollusk. Conch, that slime mollusk. Conch, that mollusk that must be de-slimed with sand, salt, and lime to become sublime. Conch, that producer of rare pearls. Pink and radiant. Conch, that white muscle with a foot. Conch, that muscle with a foot. Conch, provider of pistles for young boys and old men to prove their manhood. Slip sliding down dark, muscular tunnels past vocal chords not yet deepened or hotly yearning for those long forgotten days. Long forgotten in the sense that what was remembered was not what had occurred in those days of yore. No, through the cherished retellings, the embellishments had produced memories of days that never occurred and those days that had occurred had long since been forgotten.
By the time Bruno got to breakfast, the driver had filled him in on the night train and on what numbers to buy and box and on which web shops had the best webs for sale. Bruno had asked the driver if he could get all the way to the end of teh intarweb at any of the local web shops, but the driver played it close to his chest on that one. (Perhaps he was not as drunk as he appeared. Perhaps he was a secret agent, or worse yet, a midi assassin.) Bruno paid him the fare with a generous tip just in case and walked into the dispenser of pleasure that was the restaurant, the provider of conch.
(5:43 am Nov 01, 2005)
Turbot, that queen of the sea that is know to those outside the Bahamas as the Queen Trigger fish, but the Bahamians have their own naming conventions with a number of things and the turbot is one of those things. Turbot, that sweet fish, but don't mess with his deaf ears. Skin him if you must. Use his skin as a floor scrubber in hard times. Cut off his fins and slice him along his back bone into two nice fillets. Don't let him bite you though. Catch him at his drops or at his favourite bars if you know what I mean. Catch him steamed or fried at a local restaurant while hanging in the Bahamas.
That's what Jelli was doing when Bruno walked in in search of his stewed muscle.
"Jelli, ma bruddah, what it is? Long time!"
"Bruno? Is dat you? I een seen you in what ten or fifteen years or more? I figure you mussa been duckin me."
"Mabeezo, you break my heart talkin foolishness like dat. How I could be duckin you when you is da one dat is drop outta sight? I een duckin you, you musse is duckin me!"
"Me duckin you? How I could be duckin you when I is been right here all along an you is da world traveler? I een duckin nobody and you know dat!"
"Jelli, don't talk fool. I know you is be duckin ya ma and ya gal from dat time. Anyhow you get anywhere with your resonance thing these last years?"
Jelli stood up all in a rush, knocking over his chair as his cutlery fell noisily to the floor. He ran over to Bruno and began kissing him and crying on his shoulder.
"Jelli, what's this all about?"
"Bruno, you didn't know? Man, I did it. And it was you who helped me do it! It was while we were walking out of the wilderness that time that it happened. Oh man! I never got to tell you did I? I owe you so much! How can I ever thank you enough?"
"Jelli, Jelli, chill man. You're not jellin, know what I mean? And you're causing a scene, know what I mean? People are watching, chill out man."
Jelli pulled himself together and reached for the resonance within. He let out a long breath, slowly. "Cool, I got it. It was just so good to see you after all these years and after all you have meant to me. I have been following you in the papers and lately on the net. You have become quite famous lately. How are things going on the music front?"
"Famous? Are you sure you don't mean infamous?" (Cue sinister music.)
"Then it's true? They are out to get you?"
"Shh. Not so loud. Walls have ears. And if it was only walls I had to watch out for, things would not be so bad. I am not sure who it is these days, but there are still forces afoot to stamp out live music. Powerful, monied interests who want to take the life out of music and box it up and bind it in chains and sell it, or rather rent it out, as a slave to those willing to spend the cash to listen."
"No. How can you live like that? Always having to be on the lookout for sinister agents?"
"It's not easy, Jelli, my friend. It gets hard and lonely at times. But the rewards are there. And every once in a while, I get a glimpse that I might be making progress and that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. What are you eating?"
"Steamed turbot and grits. It's great, you should get some."
"Nope, I just hit the rock and came straight here for some stewed conch and white rice. Can I join you?"
"Sure, sure. Sit yourself down." Jelli turned and looked at the man behind the counter. "Yo, stew conch an white rice for ma frien here and some johnny cake an annudah cup a tea fa me."
(8:02 am Nov 01, 2005)
Doesn't sound too good now does it? Well, it doesn't only if you don't know its secret. To those in the know, it is sweetness itself, even though it is sour.
It's not a lime, it's not a lemon, it's not an orange per se. No, it is a sour orange, beloved of Bahamians for use in conch salad and scorch conch. For use on fish, for making swicha, anecdotally in tin cans. Nothing better.
Jelli always brought his own when coming to da wind because, as good as they were, they only tended to keep limes or lemons on hand and he liked sour orange mixed with lime on his fish. He offered some to Bruno when the lady set his bowl of stew conch before him.
Bruno accepted and squeezed some over the conch and mashed up a bird pepper that Jelli set before him as well. "Jelli, mabeezo, you sure know how to do it right."
The two old friends sat and ate their breakfast and enjoyed every minute of each other's company and of their own food. They sat around for a few hours after finishing and talked old times and caught up on things and lives and dreams.
Jelli finally said that he needed to be going and wrote his number on the back of a card and also his google talk info. "Dude, let's play catch up before you leave this time."
"Yeah, we ga play catch up, an if not, mustard. Check ya later."
Bruno smiled as Jelli walked out of the door.
(8:19 am Nov 01, 2005)
Bruno got up and paid his cheque at the counter and put a nice tip in the jar and unwrapped the mint that came with his change and put it in his mouth. He walked out the door and headed east towards the Paradise Island Bridges.
(5:30 pm Nov 01, 2005)
What a day! Bruno had bypassed the new bridge and had taken the old bridge over to P.I. After reaching the island, he had continued north and taken the path out to the beach. Before going down on the beach proper, he sat for a while in the shade of the casuarinas. There was a little nip in the air and the water was far from smooth. There were some swimmers though and the sun was out so, after watching for a while, he went down dune from the needles onto the sand and secured himself a little temporary real estate.
Well, things stayed calm enough for awhile but then, oh brother. This girl came speeding by on a jet ski about fifty yards offshore. Bruno watched her, the sunlight was dancin' off her hair, her long blond hair, blowing in the wind. Did I mention that the sunlight was dancin' off her hair? Did I mention that her long legs were tanned and brown? No? Well I should have because they were and they kept Bruno captivated for long, slow moments. Time had a way of playing with Bruno. It was how he had met Jelli, in fact.
Well, as he sat mesmerized by the yards and yards of skin, the jet ski hit a swell and went airborne. It didn't land well. In fact, it landed really badly. It entered the face of another swell and went under. It did not come up. Nor did its rider.
Bruno was in the water in a flash, swimming out with a strong, sure rhythm. When he got to the spot where he estimated the ski had gone in for the last time, he jackknifed and went down looking around as he went. She was next to the ski on the bottom, her long blond hair waving in the current like the mermaids at Weeki Wachee. He swam down and grabbed her and planted his feet on the bottom and, giving a strong push with his legs, headed for the surface with her in tow. Once on the surface he towed he in to the beach and revived her.
Well, she coughed up some water, looked him in the eye and slapped him. About the same time, the jet ski operator came up and started rowing him out talking some foolishness about him causing the jet ski to wreck and he tried to punch Bruno as well. Now, to Bruno's mind, it was one thing to let a pretty girl who had just almost drowned slap him and another completely to let some joker punch his lights out for no reason. So he did what he usually did in these situations, he ducked, then he sprang up and did a flip with a half twist and landed behind the aggressive operator and clamped on a little sleeper hold while locking his legs around his antagonist's waist. It wasn't long before the operator saw the light. Then again, perhaps it was the darkness he saw. Bruno had had enough and gathered up his stuff and walked over to a little place on the point by hurricane hole and secured a table and a drink and had spent the rest of the afternoon sipping and writing.
Time passed slowly and Bruno watched the people, the birds and the boats pass by. He watched the current pass by as well. He ordered another drink and a chicken caesar wrap. He wrote some more. This nano thing could be somewhat addicting. He went on line with a little wifi mojo and updated his word count and passed some time in the "Games, Diversions, and Other Exciting Forms of Novel Procrastination" forum, specifically, the "Song (Question and Answer) Game" and a few others.
(7:06 pm Nov 01, 2005)
He checked out slashdot and then fired up his irc client (xchat) and went into the bslug channel on freenode. A few of the lug members were in the channel tonight and he talked a bit with one or two of them about his novel and his musical ideas. They had the beginnings of a discussion on the interrelation of live music, Free Software, Creative Commons BY-SA music, lyrics, and other writings and art.
Bruno felt that there may be some synergies to be had in the fusing of his various interests and wanted to pursue these discussions further but know that November would be crowded due to the nano blocks in his days.