january 2015

750 words

Adérito. Adérito. Purveyor of that chat that I lack, Adérito.


Adérito has that chit chat totally on lock. Lockdown. Absolutely and completely! The sunglasses... 70% flew (I mean phlew) off the price immediately. I hadn’t even wanted sunglasses that minute, it was just bright, Mozambiquan sun bright. That heat that urges atoms to break free. Where vision shimmers in the distance. Motion everywhere. Nothing stands still. The type of sun where shade is coveted and eyes appreciate protection.


Before I knew it, he was machine gun chatting saying I don’t know what to one of the vendors. The other sunglass sellers sensed commotion and surrounded us. Until they doubled up, bowled over and started tapping each other on shoulders, eye glinting glances chucked aside, laughs from deep in the bowels. He passed over some small change metacais and we rolled on, eyes newly enveloped with tinted glass. I had to ask him why they were laughing.


‘These jesters think I don’t know the real price, the street price. That guy…. his opening offer was his first joke. I told him I’m not here for a show so… I told him what I’d give him and here I’ll add 20 metacais so you don’t struggle to get a shapa home. Shapa? that’s what we call our taxi’s. Come let’s go’ You can buy sunglasses in a lot of places, but unless you’ve got Adérito by your side no one is really enjoying it in the same way.


That guy. What about this guy? Adérito. 


He’s that guy who is honking the police as he passes a traffic check. Oh what… do you know them? Hell no!! He doesn’t know them for shit. He’s basically just giving them the best impression of a fist bump you can do in a vehicle. A vehicular high five. Naturally, that is paired with some discreet head nodding like he’s listening to G-funk, lowriding with Dre and the gang in Compton. You know the knashers are out too, and all the po'lice are seeing is the pearly whites. Of course, I’m not gonna tell you about every occasion. But really, this guy.


We parked up at a petrol station, apparently in the wrong spot. The guy in the uniform is furiously walking towards me in the passenger seat gesticulating in Changane. I’m looking at him gormless thinking what.… Before I even had time to formulate words, Adérito has his head popped out above the door of driver’s side saying what what, busting Portuguese, Changane, I don’t know what else. We stay put.


That petrol station attendant just pulled a direct retreat, with that hint of a smile I got used to seeing when that mouth got going, that nah, I am not going to get involved in a contestation in this particular conversation. This is the type of guy that is saying things in the gaps between words. You are not seeing gaps. If you were to transcribe his chat, you would not be using the space bar. Not at all.


Linguistics were, admittedly, his thing. It took me off guard, and I was never the target, but I could see how it swept the feet of those on the other side of the conversation. It’s the closest thing I’ve seen to words becoming physical. Words that hurt your bones.


When I was kicking about with his children on a patch we weren’t supposed to play football on and an estate guard came to inform of us this fact. I’m not even going to say what popped off. Let me just tell you. I could have set up a whole local champions league, scheduled on that same spot for the next two years. Corner flags. A referee. Two assistants. Some paint to demarcate the pitch. Disappearing spray. Some casual seating for the spectators. Some nice balls. 22 players. Some ballboys, too, why not? That guard? He would not have returned. Calm.


Anyway, now Adérito is a professor in forensic linguistics in multiple different universities so I wouldn’t even be surprised if those words he uses where the spaces should be aren’t filled with the dark arts of semasiological persuasion, so really I don’t even blame those people for just relenting immediately.


At some point, I had to ask myself. To look at myself and ask. We were there together in Malhangalene, seven years strong and still, with Adérito in my life just how did I miss out? Where is my gift, where is my gab?