I have been working on this piece for some time now… open to comments, complaints, n criticisms…
The Last White Man
A colonial tale…
From the water the “big island” is indeed BIG. Compared to the numerous smaller islands the big island is a mecca of life in these islands. All goods into and out passes through “The Port”.
A modern container ship is berthed at the main wharf. Efficiently loading and unloading. It will spend less than 10 hours in Port.
The white sands of the beach glistened in the midday sun.
An array of bright orange and red “canoes” line the beach. Each has an outboard motor. They come from near and far
A bustle of dark-skinned people keep a frenetic pace as they arrive depart, load, unload, gossip and laugh. Numerous languages can be heard, The roar of out board motors, th crying of small children mix to create a confused cacophony of life.
Behind the beach, parked in a insensible mix and match, stands a fleet of flat-bed trucks. Coming and going, raising dust, disgorging people, collecting and delivering. “Market trucks”, as they were called: Bags of copra, trocus, and cocoa. Returning the same trucks are laden with drums of fuel, bags of rice, cartons of tobacco and tinned goods.
In this bustle of life stands an oasis of calm and tranquillity. Poised, as if a spectator to,the noise and confusion of The Port; The National Yacht Club is civility within chaos. The NYC celebrated its 100th anniversary a decade past. It had been a sacrosanct bastion of Colonialism for almost a century. Coining, decades before the famous American City, the slogan, “I love NYC”.
An imposing “leaf-haus” (leaf house) is the main NYC. In the cool recess of the corner is the bar and cold room. Tables and chairs segregate the main floor space.
A small “cabanna” made from mangrove logs and sago palm is a prominent feature. Set a part from the main-club area and accessed by a small cause-way, this bastion within a bastion is known as table #1.
A lone white-man sits in the shade of the sago. He sips a glass of beer. Dressed in his standard “whites”; white linen shirt with knee-length trousers, knee-length socks, gleaming black oxfords. His walking stick leans within reach and his “solar-topee” rests on the table. A heavy glass ashtray holds a half-dozen butts.
He has a magazine and is reading slowly and thoroughly. A pedanticness is obvious in the slow turning of pages.
A tall, lean islander, dressed in a well-worn, white linen jacket approaches the cabana. His bearing military straight. His bare feet, large and knurled, tell much of this man. He is slightly bowlegged, and is carrying a tray in one hand and a large book in the other. He replaces the empty beer bottle with a full, tops-up the glass and places the book on the table. The dirty ash tray is replaced by a clean. A fresh pack of “Dunhill Reds” appears from the pocket of his jacket and is placed next to a gold lighter. All is in perfect order before words are exchanged…
-Last Pack lo Reds, ia, Boss. Mi no savvy what time moa by come.-
The Gentleman, for surely that is what he is, slowly folds his magazine, takes the last puff of a cigarette he holds between his fingers, surgically grinds it out in the new ashtray, then raises his blue-eyed gaze.
-Thank you, Niko, you are a good man.-
-Thank you, Boss. Bye you look long new-member book, staka lilbit new man, ia.-
Standing erect, tray well balanced, slightly limping to the right Niko returns to his duties in the bar.
His best and only friend was “Nika”. They’d been friends for over 50 years and, as the years passed the others departed or died, HE and Niko were the last of the “old breed”.
– Mr. Jason, Mr. Jason -, a man waves toward the cabana. – Mr. Jason, a moment if you please?-
A young man,dressed in a faded “island-shirt”, denim cut-offs and flip-flops negotiates the maze of tables with little dignity. Obviously in a rush, his right flip-flop “blows-out” forcing him to pause in his haste to repair his footwear.
He approaches in a puupy-clumsy manner: -Excellency, so glad to catch you here. Was hoping to have a word with you. About the fund raising we are doing-.
HE sat at “table #1”. It had been “his” table for decades. His and many others. So many years have passed, HE, thought. Fund raising, indeed!