Quintessence of Light – Part Two

Quintessence of Light – Part Two

By Peter Halder

     Albert Charter was in a good frame of mind the following Friday. He worked overtime in Demba Machine Shop that week and his pay packet was bulging. He crossed the river on a Dutchy boat, walked to Eytle Cook Shop and had a callaloo  cook-up rice with pickled pigtail, salt beef, tripe and well-fried fried bangamary.

He walked quickly home and took a brief rest. He awoke feeling great and had a bath. He put some green, perfume scented brilliantine in his hair and combed in with a part on the right. He donned his multi-coloured sports shirt, decorated with pictures of beautiful dancing girls on it,a blue corduroy pants, blue trick socks and his black Bata dancing shoes. He was ready for the Recreation Hall that night and longing to see Dorothy Bunyan again. For Albert it was not a case of once bitten twice shy, it was a case of once bitten, his turn to bite back.   

\He walked along the Christianburg Public Road whistling the tune of a popular pop song “Love is a Many Splendoured Thing.”

He took another Dutchy boat across the river and walked along Dacama Circle to the Hall. Once inside, he cast his eyes all around until they found Dorothy sitting on a bench on the western side. Dodging couples on the dance floor, he soon reached Dorothy and bowed to her.

“Good evening Dorothy. I prayed for Friday to come quickly so I could see you once again. Your face haunted me for days and nights.”

“Oh my papa, you mean my face look like that of Dracula that it is haunted you?” she said with a wicked smile.

“No, no not at all. What I mean is exactly the opposite. You have the face of a film star that would charm any one.”

“Oh well, once you believe that my face is not a disgrace, you may dance with me.”

The two danced several tunes together and when he took her to her seat, he excused himself to go and buy refreshments.

The song “Banana Boat Song” was playing and Albert asked Dorothy for a dance. She refused saying, “My boat engine has run out of gas so try and find another partner.”

Albert walked away and in a few minutes saw her dancing with a tall, fair-skinned young man. When the number was finished and she returned to her seat, he walked to her.

“Before you say anything let me remind you of the words of that pop song, “Many a tear has to fall but its all in the game.”

Albert sucked his teeth turned and left. In an angry mood, he left the Hall and returned to Christianburg. He walked to Diamond Orchid Beer Garden, and had a few Heineken Beers. The beer calmed him down and made him sleepy. He left for home.

Lightning never strikes twice the same place but for Albert it did. On his way home, he saw the very lamp post where he had the ridiculous episode with the drunk man and the five dollar bill. He was struck dumbfounded when he saw a man, swaying and weaving and when he reached the lamp post, stood in front of it and began rapping on it.

Albert reached the lamp post, and not wishing to be fooled a second time by a drunk, decided that he will pull a fast one on the sot.

He stopped and said loudly, “My friend, if I were you I would stop rapping. You have been at it for some time now and no one has opened the door. It should be obvious to you that no one is at home.”

“Is wuh wrang wid yu brudda man? Yoh drunk arr wat?

Wha ya meen nobady de home! Somebady ah deh home.” The drunk man looked up, pointed to the light on the post and told Albert in no uncertain terms, “somebady got foh deh home yu boobady, yoh doan see de light on?”

No sooner had the drunk man shouted out the enlightening comment when began to chant the song Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing. He put both arms around the lamp post, embraced it lovingly and began to kiss it fervently. As he was doing it, he said loudly, “meh deer, meh deer, meh sweet deer, meh allways ann fohevah will love tall wihmen.”


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  • Eileen Russell  On October 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Peter I enjoyed reading your article..you truly portrayed the quintessence of a real drunk man in Guyana..I heard about a drunkard who went up to a sleeping jackass then tried to kiss him..well the donkey started to bray then the man said to the donkey…” settle down donkey darling, my beast love. if your mouth was not so long I would kiss you all night.” It was a pleasure as usual reading your story….always remind me of the old days in sweet old Guyana.

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