Bruno pulled over to the curb, stopped his car and got out. Nope, just fooling, we are not talking that kind of curb. After all, if we were, the curb salad we are about to mention would be unmentionable. Poof.
Aha! I knew you would get upset. Just cause I'm winning! (Cue laughter.)
Curb. And we wouldn't want to curb your appetite for that salad we are about to mention either. Not that kind of curn either then.
Curb. Mollusk. Overlapping plates. Chiton. Now we are getting there. Now, I am not sure that I should be telling our national secrets here in this book, but here goes.
Curb salad is a lesser known cousin to conch salad. Not because curbs are cousins to conchs. Mind you, they are both mollusks so some would consider them cousins of a sort. No, because the salads themselves are cousins.
How much lesser known, why do I label it a secret? Well, a google for "conch salad" reveals:
Results 1 - 10 of about 22,500 for "conch salad". (0.14 seconds)
Just a short while ago. While a google for "curb salad" reveals:
Results 1 - 3 of 3 for "curb salad". (0.02 seconds)
Just now. And honestly, none look like they have anything to do with our subject matter. And a search for "chiton salad", to use the name more common outside of these islands, reveals:
Your search - "chiton salad" - did not match any documents.
Zilch. So, while we play up conch salad world wide, we keep curb salad to ourselves. I will leave it to you to figure out why.
(8:22 am Nov 12, 2005)
So, Bruno wasn't really pulling into a curb just now and he wasn't eating curb salad either. No, he was in front of Lobo working on his nano words. He had been since 5:30 in the morning trying to do some catching up before heading over to Jelli's at nine. Jelli's disappearance was deeply troubling yet Bruno felt strangely hopeful given the circumstances. There were other friends better equipped to do the searching and they were doing so without tires. Not without Tyres mind you. Some of the search vehicles obviously had tyres. Some not so obviously had tyres too. Poor man's bumpers you know.
Although he wanted to join in the search, he felt he could be most helpful in helping the family cope. So he planned on spending the day at Jelli's. Perhaps he would take Lobo and get in a little writing if the opportunity presented itself.
Concentrate. Write while you can. It is tough to write when other thoughts are intruding. At times, pushing these thoughts aside in an attempt to free up the words can result in feelings of guilt. I mean, how can you ignore something so important just to be able to produce a jumble of words. This and so much more can lead to the dreaded BLOCK!
He liked this quote from "The Lines":
"I have heard it called a block but at times
It seems more like restraining chains
Arresting the motion of the arm and the working of the brain"
Yes, that often summed things up for Bruno these days. And it wasn't even a case of "the faster I go the behinder I get." He couldn't even seem to get the speed up other than in short spurts.
Clear the mind. Concentrate. Get into the characters. Get into the situations. Feel the rhythm of the story.
(8:45 am Nov 12, 2005)
(9:14 am Nov 12, 2005)
Potcake. That hard caked stuff that forms at the bottom of the pot when you burn it a bit. Especially your peas n rice. Traditionally thrown to the mongrels in the yard.
Hence potcake. A breed of Bahamian dog. An un-breed of Bahamian dog? The type of dog commonly seen in the islands before all of these fancy schmancy breeds started to invade the land. Still widely seen although, as the fancy pants breeds spread their influence, things were not so clear as they once were. No, these days you could see pitcakes, potbulls, potweillers, rotcakes, potoodles, poodcakes, and more besides, it was getting out of hand. Mind you, potcakes themselves had been out of hand for a long time.
You know that story just above about how potcakes came by their name? There is an alternate story which I will leave to the gentle reader to uncover on their own.
Now, although Rumelga Prue was herself a potcake, she considered herself a better sort of potcake than the ones who hung out around Retirement Park. Well, that's not quite how she felt, as she considered all creatures equal. Well, that's not quite it either, these thoughts get difficult to express properly. If you are not careful, you can end up insulting and inflaming those you had not intended to.
Still, it was these feelings referred to here that had lead her to undertake the drastic measures in the past to save Ringo Bob when he had abandoned all hope in his search for Snappy Jack and had taken to hanging out with the potcakes around Retirement Park. When he had almost reached the point of No Deposit/No Return.
She had risked her Blue Nylon Thread fortune in her efforts to save him. In the process helping John Q. Turbot invent a new type of user voice activated, password protected, voice message record and play back, post-it notes.
(9:37 am Nov 12, 2005)
Now, if you have never read the story of Ringo Bob, Superdog, and you may never get to for various and sundry reasons, you may not be wondering about that something very odd in the sand that Rumelga and Ringo came upon as they were combing the beaches of Rose Island.
Even if you have read Ringo Bob, Superdog, you may not be wondering about that something. I mean, what are the chances that you would be wondering about it at the very same time I am writing about it. Probably astro-nimical.
Now, you may end up wondering about it as you read this, but I am talking about you wondering about it as I write it. See the difference?
(9:51 am Nov 12, 2005)
All of that just to give you a little better feel for potcakes. You remember Froggy don't you?
Well, what can I say? In the islands, these products are commonly associated with automotive repair.
Bondo Box. Well, when used in this fashion in the islands, perhaps more with automotive disrepair.
A bondo box is a vehicle which you often see driving on the streets of the nation. A vehicle with reddish spots spread over various areas of its anatomy as it were. Unfinished repairs as it were. This is a bondo box. Not a cola nut though, just a bondo box. It may also have plastic, clear or not, duct taped over a window in place of the more common glass. It may exhibit visible emissions from various locations about itself. A Bondo Box. Get yours today. (Cue fast talking in a low voice covering matters of legal import.)
(10:01 am Nov 12, 2005)
After getting back from his harrowing adventures up in Spanish Wells, Cang had parked his moke in a garage on a friend's out of the way estate and had bought himself a bondo box from the local classifieds. He immediately named it "No Satisfaction" after Henry Morgan's wrecked ship. He had been driving it since his return, only when absolutely necessary and always wearing a disguise. If XXIII had to go with him he always stayed out of sight on the floor under an old rag.
(10:28 am Nov 12, 2005)
"No satisfaction" was parked along the side of the road in a quiet neighbourhood about a half mile from the eastern entrance to the tunnels. It had been there since before sunrise. Cang, XXIII, and Ezza were long gone. Underground. Miles away. They were trying to solve the puzzle of the latest door when they heard voices on the other side.
Bruddah Bing passed by "No Satisfaction" without so much as a second look. There was simply nothing remarkable about another bondo box parked by the side of the road.
He was headed up east to Yamacraw for a short swim and to begin working his search back west.
"So Sal, any news of that caveman and his traitorous soldier friend?"
"None yet, Uncle Albert, but they can't hide forever. They may have gone to ground somewhere or they may have left the island completely. We have checked with our contacts at the airlines and the cruise lines and they did not turn up. Of course, if they left on a smaller boat, there is no easy way to track that down."
Cang motioned to XXIII and Ezza to be quite. They stood dead still and listened. There were voices on the other side of the door discussing them. Discussing their hunting them.
(10:39 am Nov 12, 2005)
CB. ABCBEFG. No, that's not right. CB. CB Radio. Citizen's Band Radio. But not Bahamian Citizens. None the less, these were hot at one time in the islands. People had handles. Handles had morphed and made a comeback, but CBs had not. VHF radios never went out of style in the out islands. The Cruiser's Net was especially popular in Abaco. But the CB had generally fallen by the wayside.
Handles had waxed and waned a few times. After CBs, they were popular on BBSs for a while before they got really popular with the coming of the internet to the islands. Those jammin boys with their C-Band satellite link to Colorado had sure ushered in changes to these parts. Sorry for the possible confusion there, but C-Band satellite is not Citizens Band Satellite. Just one of those acronym anomalies that we have to seal with in life. Ping times were horrific and bandwidth maxed out at 28.8 if you were dead lucky but it sure beat the waffle system and the long distance charges if you wanted to access an off island BBS.
Nick names and handles have much in common but are not the same.
You look down and see toilet paper hanging on the line to dry. (Cue laughter.)
(11:08 am Nov 12, 2005)
It is a good thing that CBs faded and never made a comeback. At least the soldiers saw it that way. They used CBs for covert communications. Sure, everything was in the clear and there wasn't a whole lot of traffic to hide your messages in, but these were problems that could be practically worked around for their purposes.
They had developed a code for passing their messages. Just a simple one, but they tended not to pass too many messages and they were not generally of too sensitive a nature. As to the lack of traffic, one brilliant soldier had come up with the bright idea of feeding the text from some of the channels where locals tended to hang out into a text to speech program before broadcasting it over various bands. He had hooked the relay to key the mic to cut out between posts and they had rigged different voices to play with the posts from the different handles. It sounded cheesy, but it served.
They had had to change the code since XXIII had hooked up with Cang. How could they know, that despite this precaution, their efforts would prove without fruit.
You see, XXIII could not understand what was coming in over the radios as it came in, and he could not understand what Sal and Uncle Albert said when they keyed up the mic to respond or to give directions, but, when the mic was not keyed and Sal and Uncle Albert were discussing what they had just learned or how to respond, that he and the others understood perfectly.
XXIII kicked himself for not thinking of getting a CB earlier. Not really, just mentally or to use a hot term, virtually. He realized that it would have done them no good, but he kicked himself for not thinking of it anyway.
He would have to be sharper from now on. Plus, it may just help if he could listen a bit longer. The new code was beginning to make sense the more he heard. He could tell it was a variation of the old one which all soldiers were taught in soldier school.
(11:24 am Nov 12, 2005)
(6:00 pm Nov 12, 2005)
Potent. If you hang out in the islands long enough, you are liable to hear someone say that someone is impotent. Now, they are not likely talking about something requiring a dose of love vine tea or some strongback. No, they mean the person is a big shot.
I mention this as a way to introduce the issue of the potency and efficacy of bush medicine.
Now that I have introduced it, I will leave you to get acquainted while I go ahead and mingle. I'll see you around.
(6:16 pm Nov 12, 2005)
Bulla sat at home. Another Saturday night and once again he didn't have anybody. Saturday night, he needed some excitement. One of his main problems was that he considered Saturday night to be a night for fighting. His mother was constantly telling him it would bring him no good when he was young. He sure missed his mother. His friends were more interested in being lovers on the weekends, but come Saturday, Bulla felt a fighting mood begin to grow in him. Had done for as long as he could remember. Lately though, it did not seem to be enough for him.
Bulla didn't look like trouble. Perhaps that was one of his many advantages when it came to fighting. He was easy to underestimate. You would think by now, on a small island like this, word would have spread and people would not mess with him any more. For some reason, when he messed with their minds, they still would step up and pick on him. Bulla smiled at the thought. Perhaps it was that the Bahamas needed someone to write about him the way that American fella had written about Jim and Slim and Leroy and that guy who was married to Doris.
Perhaps one day. Any of you Bahamian songwriters up for it?
Yes, the usual round of fighting in the clubs and on the streets was getting stale. Had been for a year or more. He still went out looking for trouble every few Saturdays but he wanted more.
"You looking for trouble?"
"Yeah man, have you seen him?" (Cue laughter.)
About six months ago, he had hitched up with an underground group that went out and hunted attack trained rotties and other major dogs armed only with bronze wrist cuffs and three eighteen inch leather thongs. They dressed only in loin cloths while hunting. The object was to bring back the dogs alive and well but trussed up.
You verified your success and then released the dogs. Not many people are aware of the non-connection between this underground hunting club and that famous song. Wink, wink. Index finger to the nose, & etc.
The newness of it and the challenge had made it fun for a while until he had gotten good at it, then it began to get a little boring for him.
Tonight, he and a few of the other hard cases who liked the edge were going to try their had at something a little more extreme.
The plan was to go out in a boat with chum and hunt sharks. Not go fishing for sharks mind you. Hunt them. Fins, mask, dive knife. Speedo. That's about it. Since tonight was the first time, two people were going to provide muscle with bang sticks until they made sure it was possible to do what they were out to try. Three would hunt tonight. I mean, the five of them were ... but they weren't .... if you know what I mean.
Solid. Not liquid, not gas. Solid. Man dat gal, she solid.
(6:43 pm Nov 12, 2005)
Bulla's boat was solid. It was named "Dat gal solid" and she was. Well built and overpowered. Many of the boats in the islands were overpowered. The locals just seemed to like their boats that way.
They were loading up at a marina on the southern shore of the island. The plan was to head out south and try their little experiment in about thirty feet of water or less near some heads and small reefs.
Mizmocha was solid too. She had an attitude to match. She did not put up with any foolishness whatsoever. I mean none. And don't try to slide anything by her either. Nuh uh. Don't even try dat!
Her close friends called he Mocha and she liked that. Other people she knew called her Mizmocha or Miz, and she liked that too.
Mocha liked fast cars and slow men, at least, easy going men. She was not into hard cases. That song about wanting a thug did not apply to her.
Mocha was supposed to be meeting Melody at a club tonight. Melody had wanted to introduce her to her new flame, Bruno, but he might not be able to make it as his friend had gone missing from his boat. When she had just called on the phone, Melody had said that he would try to make it, even if only for a short while, but that they were to go ahead and he would join them if he could.
From all melody had told her, this Bruno sounded like he had the kind of personality Mocha wanted in a man.
(7:10 pm Nov 12, 2005)
Baldy was on the prowl tonight. Out hunting. With baldy though, hunting was not a play play thing. With baldy, hunting was deadly serious. A matter of life and death. Hopefully the death of his prey and life giving nourishment for him.
Even though he was made for it, the night was a dangerous thing. Crossing roads was taking your life in your hands. And getting discovered was worse. It was a funny thing. He evoked extreme fear in many, but it was just the fear he evoked that he himself feared. Because when his kind was discovered, it was the fear that they evoked in others that lead to the violent, over the top response that those others responded with.
First there was the stabbing light. You could freeze and hope not to be seen, our you could run for the shadows and hope not to be discovered. It was a tossup and neither plan was safe.
Then, if you were discovered, they brought out the big guns. Brooms, sticks, rocks. They also brought out chemical weapons and fire throwers. They were serious bringers of death.
Baldy understood this on one level as he was a bringer of death to his prey as well. What he didn't quite understand was that he was not their prey. They weren't looking to eat him. That he could at least understand. he had glimpsed something on the television one night a while back.
(7:21 pm Nov 12, 2005)
(7:30 pm Nov 12, 2005)
Woah, a little time warp action there. Baldy came to. Yes that show fas frightening. It was couched as a documentary, but Baldy thought sure it mus have been a horror movie. It was about this place in Asia there the people ate his kind. Went out hunting them and deep fried them before eating them as a crunchy snack food.
Though he could understand the motivation of the hunt, if that show was true, he thought he preferred to live here where they may kill you out of fear if they came upon you, at least they did not go out and actively hunt you.
Champion. Champ. Hero. Star. Master. Top dog. Vanquisher. Winner. Advocate. Exponent. Promoter.
No one knew who the Champion Pegger of the island was. You see. It was a tradition at the underground pegging club that all come masked. A modern day masked ball and joust combined as it were.
When you first applied to be a contestant in the lignum wars, you were assigned a tournament name, colours, and a coat of arms. You competed thusly and could develop a reputation and even a following under your nom de guerre as it were. Some even had groupies and roadies. It was quite a scene.
Now, when we said that this was an underground scene, we failed to elaborate. It was underground, but not deeply underground. True, it was deeper underground than the local numbers games.
(7:48 pm Nov 12, 2005)
(8:05 pm Nov 12, 2005)
The current pegging champion was known as Vikta D. and he had been the champion for six months now.
Another thing about underground pegging which we have so far failed to mention is that the tops themselves are also given names and birth dates. The day when they are first introduced into competition is their official birth date and they are also given a name on the same occasion. Once they enter competition, they can never go home again. Until they die, after each competition, they are sealed by their champion into their homes and then their homes are sealed by the pegging barons into the pegging palace. A trusted guard is then set over the palace twenty four hours a day.
Vikta D's top was called Chocolate. He had chosen it somewhat whimsically so that when he split another top, he could cry, "Death by chocolate!" Chocolate had been his top since two months before he had won the championship. It was a remarkable run for a top.
Snatch. Snatch and grab. Clean and jerk. Down and dirty.
Man, when I see dey had da wrong price on dem furnitures, I snatch dem right up.
Man, dat linux ting, when I see dat, I snatch it before it get away.
Bullet Head say one alien snatch him last week and make him drive da UFO in one alien rumble.
Dat boy een good in da head.
Man I roach him, an when he see us out together, he try snatch her back.
I believe one shark mussee snatch dat boy Jelli out he boat.
I will tell you this much at least. Jelli was not snatched out of Cay Dreams by any shark of any sort.
Baldy was out on the prowl. Moving in dark spaces. He was hoping to cathc himself a frog tonight.
Bruno was sitting in front of Lobo writing. The problem was, the research temporal black hole was dogging him again. Time was marching on and he had too much to do. He had managed to get in a good amount of writing today sitting on the front porch at Jelli's house. Some in the family were getting a bit frantic and that was understandable. Mr. Rolle and he had had a long talk and Mr. Rolle was in agreement with Bruno that, as bad as things looked, they were for some reason confident that things would turn out OK in the end. He thought it best if those more clear headed ones could establish some sort of order and regularity to their admittedly unsettling schedule and situation.
That had seemed to help others to settle down somewhat.
Bruno wanted to get another five hundred words in before cleaning up and going back to Jelli's for about an hour and then on to meet with melody and her friend.
(8:43 pm Nov 12, 2005)
A loud cheer went up from the expectant crowd. Lignum Slayah walked out onto the tarmac with his Stone Spinah and raised his hands in salute to the gathered crowd. The cheer got even louder. He carefully wound the string around Stone Spinah and raised his arm over his head. With a mighty downward motion, he unleashed the Spinah at the line on the ground. A hole appeared about a tenth of an inch from the edge of the white line. He looped his string around Spinah's peg and popped him into the air. The crowd went wild. Catching him on his palm he walked over to his seat and sat down with the Spinah still spinning strongly for a good while.
The challenge was issued. The gauntlet was thrown down as it were.
Unbelievably, the noise level went up even more when Vikta D. walked out with Chocolate.
(8:50 pm Nov 12, 2005)
He wound his cord lovingly around Chocolate's beautiful, firm curving body, before raising her high in the sky and then unleashing her destruction upon the earth.
Vikta D. of all the peggers on the island, thought of his top as a female. In fact, Chocolate was the only top that he had ever had that was a female. But what a female.
There was a new hole, exactly in the centre of the white line. Vikta D. smiled and reached down and picked up Chocolate.
The battle was joined. Slayah's second placed Spinah on the ground, lined up along the white line.
Vikta D. stood and again lovingly wound his cord around Chocolate. Lifted her high. Once again, he unleashed her destruction, only this time upon the still, waiting body of Stone Spinah.
She came down fast, and she came down hard.
"Death by Chocolate!"
Just like that, it was over. Vikta D. and Chocolate were still champions. Chocolate was still untouched in battle.
The room was silent, almost stunned.
Vikta D. smiled and waved graciously before talking quietly with Lignum Slayah and going back to the holding area.
Pegging was unusual in that they put the big battles at the front of the card. There was still a lot more pegging to be done tonight.
(9:06 pm Nov 12, 2005)