Are We There Yet?

Trevor just hasn’t been himself lately and I can’t help wondering why. The last time I had seen him this glum was back in 2006, the morning after Mr. Déclassé walked in his muddy hob-nailed boots all over Vaughan Lewis’ pedigreed visage, as if indeed the once-upon-a-time prime minister were just another flea-bitten, mangy mongrel to be kept by whatever means necessary out of Castries Central.

Now that the tables had reverted, I fully expected to see relief and the unmistakable glow of great expectations burning bright in Trevor’s eyes, not doom and gloom. Alas, not once during yesterday’s lunch at our usual bord-de-la mere hangout did a smile soften his countenance. Not even when his best friend and constant companion served up as dessert the nation’s latest hot-button issue: a poorly lit and grainy YouTube video featuring a bespectacled, allegedly prepubescent student down on her knees before an identified college third-former and doing the unmentionable to what appears to be the boy’s skinny middle finger—except that it couldn’t possibly be since his hands were clearly engaged, one on top of the other, in manipulating the girl’s head!

So amused was Jeffrey by his own doubtless often repeated critique of the videotaped activity, especially where it focused on “the student body” or “the leading man’s unique talent,” that he could barely tell it for laughing. On at least three occasions his most compliant audience required him to rewind and replay. Even the virginal thirty-something guy from the Catholic Chronicle had for once been unable to resist a muffled giggle or two—until the ever-puckish proprietor threatened to report him to the archbishop, “for listening to dirty jokes!”

Finally, my curiosity got the better of me. “What’s wrong, Trevor?” I asked. “Got the runs or something?”

No surprise that it was Jeffrey who answered. You got the feeling, should Trevor ever find himself in a demanding situation, that Jeffrey would unhesitatingly lay down his wife for his friend.

“What makes you think the man’s not well?” he asked. “Wishful thinking? Why are you always picking on Trevor? Why don’t you ask Doddy what next he plans to get done, now that the good boys are back in office and de lyin’ King has returned to hibernating in Pavee. Let’s all just move on, shall we!”

“Yeah,” said the laughing proprietor and doo-doo stirrer extraordinaire, heavy right hand on my shoulder. “Be patient, my friend. Sit tight and relax. Better days are coming.”
“Like when?” I asked.

Again the response came from Jeffrey: “Like April.”
And I said: “Why not next week or the week after? By then Chavez will have recovered from his latest Cuban adventure, more thousands will have been slaughtered in Syria, and he just might be better disposed toward pro-ALBA beggars than I hear he’s been in the last three months or so. But, then, what’s so special about April, anyway? Is that when ya’ll plan to fan chou Tom?”
“C’mon, man,” said the protean proprietor, now sounding positively professorial. “April is when the prime minister and minister of finance traditionally reveals everything the nation wants to know about the economy but are afraid to ask. April  is the month of the Budget.”

“Ah, yes,” I said, my mind on The Boy in the Bubble. “Thirty days of miracle and wonder and don’t cry, baby, don’t cry. They say that on the first day of April something magical in the air mysteriously transforms the brightest sons and daughters of Saint Lucia into fools and local MPs into an oracular combination of
Allan Greenspan, Paul Grugman and John Maynard Keynes ”

“Patience, my friend,” said the proprietor, smiling benignly. “Patience.”
And I said: “If only there were a market for that particular rare commodity we wouldn’t be on our knees with our tongues hanging out before the world. There’s a big difference between . . .”
The proprietor did what he does best: “You goin’ back to that YouTube thing again? If you want to say that pencil in the girl’s mouth belongs to Trevor, then quit beatin’ around. Just go ahead and say it.” The patrons at our lunch table cracked up; all but one.

Oh, but I would not be distracted. “In the first place,” I said, “we are the ones with our tongues on our chests, ready to swallow whatever is poured down our throats. We heard so much about American visas during the election campaign. Every secret detail about classified CIA modus operandi was made public. We learned all there is to know about what the U.S. Embassy would or would not do in what circumstances—and how. We even called out de lyin’ King to investigate ‘rumors’ of our own peculiar design.

“Ah, but suddenly we’ve adopted a moo-moo posture, now that at least one election prediction seems to have come true . . .”
Jeffrey was on his feet, arms flailing: “You call yourself a newsman? Didn’t you hear LaCorbiniere? He said the government is considering its legal options. Why rush the brush like de lyin’ King did when he transferred Ausbert? That policeman eh got no visa, so he eh goin’ nowhere. Let’s just wait and see what happens.”

“In other words,” said the pot stirrer, “exercise a little patience, my friend. I’m sure that come April we’ll all know precisely the reasons for the canceled visas and those still to be revoked.”

“And I guess if we can all pretend until then that better days are here,” I said, “we’ll be rewarded with uplifting information about the true status of the Grynberg contract, the promised job-creating $100 million dollars, the Miami briefcase . . .”
Jeffrey again: “Boyoboyoboy! Way, messieurs. You back on that briefcase shate again? Dah ting happen so long ago. George Odlum dead, Gaddafi dead, Josie, well, Josie half dead . . .”

“Yeah,” chimed the stirrer, “dead and gone to the spirit world. Next thing you’ll be resurrecting Rochamel and Frenwell and the abortion law . . .”
A smile slowly tweaked Trevor’s cheeks: “Yeah, and I have no doubt some people will be breathing new life into the dead story about who’s really behind Dr King’s campaign to make prostitution legal. I hope everyone remembers charity does not always begin in the House!”

Ah, now that’s the Trevor I know. Always so, er, insightful!

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