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The dice make six!


Austin Clarke

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by Tom Clarke“VAP! . . . Nick! . . . Baby want shoes!”I nicking five dollars the dice make six! Who with me, that these dice make six?Five and a one, is six.  Four and two, make six. And five and one ain’t six?I went-school at Brumley? Well six more dollars these dice make six.It going be too-sweet Down-in-There, soon; and I preparing myself to enter the ling. When the Lifestyle Centre open, I renouncing my former Guynese roots, and reclaiming my true-true heritage: I born in the Garden, Sin-James, and I still have family down there, ’low-side to the elementary school, on the hill; and if any o’ wunnuh don’t believe I is a Sin-James man, well-then, axe my cousin Charles Jordan, who uses to be a conductor ’pon the Reid buses. Or, axe Charles daughters who is to call me cousin, and thing and thing; and, hereby, by confirming my true-true, I adding in li’l Dayrells Road, plus Rudder Pasture, where I first learn how to nick and vap, and throw dice, and used to hide the money and the dice under a piece o’ canvas, in case the police. We uses to out-smart the police.And now, look! There isn’t no ifs and buts, about this . . . . I going in for the gambling game. I tekking up throwing dice. “Dice nick six. Gimme a one. Gimme a five.  One and five ain’t? Baby want shoes . . . !And it going be legal. Axe Mr Altman, then. And if wunnuh don’t believe Mr Altman, who is a distant cousin, well then, I invite any o’ wunnuh to put the question to the Right Honourable, the Gentleman. I joining-in with the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre that opening down in Holetown and Speightstown. I ain’t people, too?All you got to do, if you is a true-true Barbadian, bred-and-born; and iffing you isn’t a Guynese waiting for your papers, or for a Barbadian woman to married, is “to offer your products” to sell to the tourisses when they come offa the ocean-going liners and the ships and the schooners coming up from the Islands, full o’ Canadians tourisses, is “to offer products for the market . . .” – meaning the markets for the tourisses, so me and you, “. . . would also have an opportunity to get involved” meaning, ipso facto, and thing-and-thing, “when they” – meaning the Canadian tourisses”come-ashore to play the one-hand bandits, and thing and thing.“Dice nick six! Vap! Nick! Five and one is six. Or you want a four and a two. Baby want shoes! . . . . Four and two ain’t six? Who betting ’pon me? You? Well, mek it six more dollars, then. Baby want shoes!”Serious, though. Wunnuh ever hear about tourisses who don’t like to come-shore, and drink rum and fire dice, and thing-and-thing. Wunnuh think tourisses sweet? What you think tourisses like to do when they come-shore, ’pon a night, in the darkness o’ night? Fire dice. Axe that distant cousin o’ mine, and future business-partner. Or, axe the Right Honourable the Gentleman, then ’cause baby want shoes.I don’t want no condominium down in Speightstown. Nor in Holetown. Out-out Christ Church, up-in-there too dear. I is a Sin-James man. I don’t want no yacht. Nor no suite at the new Hilton, nor the place up the hill, where they does-play polo, riding those poor horses to Banbury Cross. Wuh-loss! At present, and ipso facto, I in serious negotiations with my Cousin Paul, to conglomerate with him, a equal partnership. I opening a li’l place, Tom Clarke & Associates, Co., Ltd, Purveyors Of Dice, to “get involved in offering products for the market that opening. My product is dice. Baby want shoes! I nicking. “Nicking, nicking, nicking, nicking/ See the dollars fall . . .” from six o’clock till six o’clock. My other cousins, the Jordans, promise me a piece o’ land, fronting the beach; ‘pon it, I building a one-roof, with a shed roof attach; and yuh can’t trespass on my land. To proteck my privacies, I building a six-foot wall?  Glass-bottle and wire going be ’pon top, with the monkeys. I going retain Sir Boulee. Wha’? ’Cause baby want shoes! Even ’pon a Sunday, during church. And I going know, quod a rat demonstrandum, and wunnuh too, that the products I offering the tourisses, will benefit the economy of Barbados.  “Dice nick six! Vap! Um is a six I looking for. One and five is six!”   Tom Clarke, who is Barbadian, is a celebrated author who lives in Canada. He is due to return home soon to be “in-residence” at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill.

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