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WILD COOT – A man and a sheep

Harry Russell

WILD COOT – A man and a sheep

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ONE DAY a man had a sheep that could talk. He was very poor and lived in a ramshackle shed near a gully. In spite of this, he made sure that the sheep had a comfortable place to lay its head at night. Even when it rained the sheep never got wet. Sometimes he would even have to open an umbrella in the shed when it rained in order to keep dry. He used to say that he did not pay $5 rent like other people.
He used to carry the sheep wherever he went. If he was in town buying a pair of BVDs, the sheep had to accompany him. The store proprietor, anxious for the sale, since times were very hard, allowed the strange guest, hoping that no untoward accident would emanate during what he hoped would be a brief stay.
One day the man was hungry and went to buy KFC.
The sheep, as was its wont, followed him and joined the line of patrons waiting. The man gave his order for chicken and chips. The cashier was flabbergasted when the sheep said “papas para mi” (chips are for me).
She took the few coppers offered. Having been served, the man and sheep resorted to a table. The man sat down and the sheep stood up. The man ate the chicken and the sheep the chips. Patrons looked and wondered. These were signs of the times. Nobody downgraded them!
After a week of these strange happenings the police were contacted when one angry motorist complained that the couple were holding up traffic walking hand in foot in the middle of the road. The driver was in a hurry and the situation was more than when two minibus drivers meet for a chat. Honking his horn made no difference, but when he managed to get alongside Mr Sheepman he let off vicious expletives and drove straight to the station.
The on-duty sergeant sent out an All Points Bulletin to the nearest patrolling vehicle to have a word with the sheepman.
“But you can’t hold up traffic on the streets with your sheep!”
“This sheep was born in Jamaica and came here under CARICOM special immigrant status. I pay taxes for her, but she has to go to a private clinic when she has a problem; she can’t go to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. If she has a lamb, it cannot get Black Belly status even though I pay NIS for her.”
The sheep butted in: “And you people should deal with the infelicities affecting the island instead of worrying about me and my poor gentleman. I don’t t’ief money neither from the Central Bank nor the Treasury. ”
“Look, I am going to arrest you,” said the impatient officer.
“For what?” said Mr Sheepman. At this point the sheep began to bleat as if it understood its owner’s predicament. It recognized the police vehicle and feared that if its master were escorted away it would be left helpless, something which had not happened in its lifetime.
“Meeck,” it said and began to bleat louder.
“Tell that animal to shut up,” said the infuriated policeman, “or I will have to shoot it.”
“You will have to shoot me first and, if you do, yuh gine get 13 ‘ears in jail. With good behaviour yuh wud serve 10,” said the enraged sheepman. At this point he began to hug the sheep in a way that ever which way the policeman waved his gun he would have to shoot man and beast.
A patrolling commissioner happened to pass and saw the commotion.
“Leave the poor man,” was his instruction to the agitated policeman.
Hear the sheep: “Look how you went all up in the hickky and come back with 6.5 million dollars in food stamps.
“These days strange things are happening in a once proud, peaceful and beautiful Barbados. We are seeing signs and wonders and the end of the world is coming. Stranger and stranger things will happen before 2013 is over.”
Harry Russell is a banker. Email [email protected]