Late night shopping

I needed a few things for the morning so went to a late night shop in Goodwill. Inside it was heaving, despite the hour. I took my place in line and was grateful a wall-mounted TV was showing football from the opening day of the English Premier League. After a little while my view was obscured by a giant of a young man who stared down at me. He spoke in an American accent; a genuine rather than put-on one:

“Do you like Arsenal ? Are you an Arsenal fan ?”
“No, I’m not,” I replied.
“Do you hate Arsenal ?”
“I don’t hate anyone,” I smiled. “I just like football.”
“Are you a Man United fan ?”
“Yes, I am. I’m a Man United fan.”
“Good. That’s good,” he nodded. “I like you. You’re a good man.”

I smiled awkwardly, not really knowing what to say to that. His huge frame continued to fill my field of vision. On his T shirt were the words “I love chicksticks”.
Caribbean freelance writer,editor & photographer. Dominica travel guide,Grenada travel guide

Black sweat

Early morning. Ran out of deodorant. Decide to pick some up on the way to the building site. Only two places likely to be open at this time; the 7-11 or the 24-hour pharmacy. Thinking they may have a better selection, I opt for the pharmacy.

“Good morning. Do you have men’s deodorant ?”
“Just this one here,” she says, pointing to a shelf full of roll-ons.
“What is it ?” I ask.
“Black Sweat,” she replies.
“I’m sorry ?”
“Black Sweat,” she says again.
“Black Sweat ? It’s called Black Sweat ?”
“How much is it ?”
“Five sixty-five.”

So now I have to decide if I’d like my armpits to smell of white sweat or black sweat. There seems to be no other choice.

“Okay, I’ll take it.”

She takes my money and puts the Black Sweat into a brown paper bag, making it look like something illicit.

I exit the shop, sit in my car and take it out.

Black Suede, reads the label, and I smile.

I lather it on and head up to the building site smelling like a cheap night out.
Caribbean freelance writer,editor & photographer. Dominica travel guide,Grenada travel guide

In a previous life

In a previous life I was a simple paysan called Victor. I lived in an old stone farmhouse in a rolling countryside where I ran a small vineyard and reared goats and ducks in a garden at the back. I had a sheepdog called Sylvester but I had no sheep for him to round up, so most of the day he spent sleeping under an olive tree that grew by the terrace. My wine was quite passable, a fruity little cabernet sauvignon that I often drank in the evenings with a piece of bread and some mature fermier Macônnais. My friend Raymond said it was good, another friend Gustave said it tasted like the pee of a fetid sow, but what does he know about these things ? My goats cheese, the aforementioned Macônnais, on the other hand, was quite superb – everyone said so, including Gustave – and the village charcuterie would proudly sell it along side some of the region’s finest delicacies (the cornichons from Saint Pierre were my particular favourites). Life was simple. I would get up with the sunrise, work my small farm, eat well, drink a glass or two of wine, love my rather overweight but apparently happy wife, and go to bed in a converted attic room where pigeons, mice and bats made their nests in the dilapidating rafters and eaves. Occasionally I would play a game of boules or backgammon in the village square with Raymond and Gustave, and perhaps smoke a Gitanes or two. On Saturdays I would walk to the market to buy herbs, vegetables and usually a rabbit from Madame D’Estang, a miserable old witch who I’m sure was about two hundred years old. She dribbled a lot. Her rabbits were good though, especially cooked outside in a pot over a fire with onions, potatoes and lots of garlic. On birthdays I played the accordion and wore my only suit and tie. They were a little threadbare. I gave my wife a new cardigan for the winter months and she baked me a pie of seasoned pork, livers and mushrooms. We were happy right up to the day we died, within just a month of each other – me first and then she following once she had cleaned the house of my mess and made sure the goats were taken care of.