Thursday, November 4, 2010

Coffee and Milk

I went to buy some coffee from my neighbor, Ma Jane. She picks, cleans, and roasts it. When I stopped by, I saw her chatting with a visitor, Fifi. I tried to sneak up and frighten Fifi, but Ma Jane gave me away. The following dialog pursued.
"Good afternoon! I had make the thing for you, but you don't pass for it," shouts Ma Jane, my bubbly neighbor of ninety-plus years.
"Three times I pass for it, wi," I retort, deflecting the accusation.
"Yes, but I didn't meet you there."
"Well, look: Three I have for you."
Fifi, one-eyed peer to Ma Jane and equally eccentric, interjects, "But, Austin, I didn't believe you were drinking coffee."
"How much for three?" I avoid the comment, wary of its roots.
"Eighteen," they respond simultaneously.
"So what change?" ponders Ma Jane after I slip her a twenty.
"De dola ou ni pou moin." Two dollars you have for me, in Creole.
"If I have, I'll give you," Ma Jane teases with a child's mischievous look in her eye.
"Ou pa ni? Pa pou manti!" You don't have? Not to lie! I again parry and jab. Ma Jane and Fifi laugh hysterically as Ma Jane searches for the change. "So what make you believe I wasn't drinking coffee?" I have to hear her explanation, even though I have a good idea what's coming.
"Well I thought it was milk and those things you were drinking," says Fifi. More prodding is required.
"So you don't drink coffee?" I ask her.
"Well, I'm black."
"So I'm white and must be drinking milk but not coffee?"
"So what about people who drinking passion fruit juice and those things there, what color are they, yellow?"
"Well, no. I drink those things and I'm not yellow. But my husband doesn't, and he's red." We all laugh a good-natured laugh as I take my leave of the matrons of Carib, Penville.