by award winning something or other Vidyaratha Kissoon
The smoke from the fire consuming the hope of persons on and off of social media who could not believe the salary increases of the Government, mixed with the smoke from the fire used to burn the soon to be banned Styrofoam , mixed with the smoke of the legal ganja of the future have helped to create a psychotic hallucinatory conversation between the smouldering coil and a strange man who has not left Guyana even though he could.
The excitement and hope of the coalition supporters and the despair of the opposition supporters and the apathy of others has not deterred William Walker from making and selling his bake and salt fish as a viable alternative to his other interest, journalism.
Smouldering Coil : Thank you for appearing in my psychotic hallucinations so I can have a conversation with you about recent events.
WW : Why would I appear in your psychotic hallucinations?
Smouldering Coil : Because you are the epitome of a loyal citizen, sticking to Guyana despite the threats of the Venezuelan President, and despite the threats of the democratic overturns exemplified by the salary increase and the threats of the repercussions of the Diwali divisions.
And because Guyana has not really been making international news since Venezuela threatened to invade, and the Jamzone man appeared on the Canadian wanted list and the women were charged for doing credit card and other fraud in the USA. I think your story would be carried in the Economist and the other international agencies.. “White man in Guyana continues to sell bake and salt fish despite threats of war and drug economy.”
WW : Jamzone sounds very nice. Some of my customers have indicated that they like their bake and salt fish with a dollop of pineapple jam. I hope that Guyana’s lovely jams and jellies would not be used to smuggle cocaine. It is always nice when Guyana and the other Caribbean countries make the news. Do you know what is in place to ensure that cocaine will not be smuggled in jams and jellies? I would not want my customers to be frightened.
Smouldering Coil : Hang on, why are you asking me the questions? You are not the journalist here. Yes, different Caribbean countries make the news. You might have heard recently that Jamaica born and exiled Marlon James won the Man Booker Prize for his book A brief History of Seven Killings
Jamaica eats a lot of imported salt fish. Do you think that if your customers eat more imported salt fish, instead of local , that you could easily have a Booker Prize Winner or Pulitzer Prize Winner or Nobel Prize Winner among your customers? Do you think that there is something about the local salt fish that is stifling local creativity and ability to make nice news?
WW : Well, you know, maybe nice news is not very interesting to many people. I understand Marlon James was able to write about an important character.
Smouldering Coil : Oh yes, Marlon James had all kinds of characters. 70 characters in his book, more than any which have turned up to any protest in Guyana against Government oppression in the last couple years. He even had a gay hit man! What would you do if a gay hit man came into your establishment?
WW : Well, I would recommend the bake and salt fish of course and I would also advise the hit man if he plans to work in Guyana, that he should be careful because the hitmen are usually caught and charged first, , and that he should not cross dress if he is so inclined because he would face an additional charge. I would rather he spend that money for the fine on the local economy.
Smouldering Coil : Talking about the local economy, how have your sales been doing? Are people buying your bake and salt fish?
WW: No comment. I might declare my income after the Ministers declare their income before they sacrificed and came into public service. I hope that salary increases would be spent in Guyana on local bake and salt fish and not on new suits and air conditioning to make the wearing of those expensive suits more comfortable in this heat..
Smouldering Coil : Okay. In the last few days, have you been able to follow the news?
WW : Well, like many busy people, I have to follow the news when I can. I mean, if there is going to be breaking news just when a batch of bakes have to be taken out of the oil, I will have to take the bakes out.
I know I got confused because I was looking at some old newspapers which had wrapped some salt fish I had stored in case Veneuzela invaded. And it was about some Red Thread protest or the other and then I was confused because I know I had wrapped that salt fish a long time ago. I mean, why are the same people still protesting? Don’t they have better things to do?
Smouldering Coil : But of course, protest is a sign of a healthy democracy. Look, even the Lusignan Golf Club has protest actions, and somebody said that now it seems the weather has improved, the PPP will be resuming protests. Protests and a free independent media are all part of a healthy democracy. What do you think of the Jagdeo/PPP ban on Stabroek News and Kaieteur News and the other free and independent media?
WW : Who is Jagdeo? Oh, did he call for a ban on Stabroek News and Kaieteur News? I hope he does not call for a ban on bake and salt fish for any reason. I have to make sure that supporters of the ban on Stabroek News and Kaieteur News do not see the copies that are lying around or that no other patrons take pictures of the supporters of the ban reading those banned newspapers.
Oh dear, I will just have to stay in the kitchen. I will keep lots of copies of the Guyana Chronicle for them though. I think it is a healthy sign that the Guyana Chronicle was not named directly by the Opposition.
Smouldering Coil : I notice that you sell your bake and salt fish separately with all the “cutrements” on the side. Other people sell the bake with the salt fish already inside. What’s it with you? Are you sending any subversive messages?
Are you sending messages that instead of trying to hide the salt fish inside the bake, and disappointing people in case there is not enough salt fish, kind of like how people saw the bake of the Ministers assuming the salt fish of the decency to embrace the public trust to do their work without taking more money for themselves? Are you trying to send messages about open and transparent government? And about people knowing what they are voting for, I mean buying?
WW : Would you like a bake and salt fish before you go?
Smouldering Coil : How dare you try to bribe me and corrupt my integrity. I will not take bake and salt fish from you to promote your activities. I can afford to buy my own bake and salt fish so that I do not have to succumb to the temptations of free bake and salt fish, or curry and roti or pepper pot or anything of the sort.
(The coil has burnt out. If there is approval from the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Board, or heck, even if there is no approval, the Coil might be lit again on the 7 November, 2015)