Cherry Avenue Rum Shop, Barbados 

Sue-Ellen wagged her tail and limped towards Sir G as usual eyeing the dove blue linen napkin in his right hand. It was Friday night at Cherry Rum Shop.

Sir G and Lady G had dined at RiffRaff, the exclusive jetset restaurant known for its super-expensive but understated looks and food.

Like every Friday night, Sir G carried the leftovers from his rack of lamb in the napkin. Madam Cherry, the Rumshop's proprietress, now owned more than 2 dozen of these and they came in handy as tablecloths for Christmas and 2 of them hang in the washroom to cover the broken window.

Sir G laid the napkin on the sidewalk, opened it and even before he could wish Sue-Ellen `bon appetit' his wife was already by the bar reaching out for the rum punch which Madam handed her through the crowd. Sir G spotted the cherry in the drink remembering the night when Madam had run out of cherries. Immediately he tried to forget.

Lady G admired her cherry with the plastic sword in its middle bobbing in the drink. Her perfectly pickled Bajan cherry. Madam had told her she had gotten the last cherry so she felt very happy to have one. As she held the sword close to her mouth, ready to bite the cherry off, there was a stir around the bar and as someone pushed Lady G, her cherry fell onto the floor. Misty-Man was standing in the doorway. All sound, all movement stopped.

Misty-Man - the highlight of the night - stood at first still, carefully taking in all the attention before he proceeded towards the karaoke equipment. On his way he almost crushed the cherry with his left foot but the cherry rolled under a table, Lady G's eyes fixed on it. Misty-Man tuned the equipment into Elvis's song: `Suspicion', pressed the start button and checked to be assured of everyone's attention.

This was a performance of power and everyone was in awe avid to take in every word - never mind unspoken. This was the `Friday night karaoke-miming by Misty-Man' - the moment of the week no one wanted to miss.

When the music stopped, Misty-Man's lips ceased moving. He bowed slightly and walked erect and powerful towards the door. The crowd snapped out of its mesmerism and someone's foot pushed Lady G's cherry from under the table.

The dear berry was just to become nothing but another spot on the floor under Misty-Man's foot when Lady G threw herself at him to make him change direction and so save the cherry. She succeeded and pushed it towards the wall by the door while asking for Misty-Man's autograph on a napkin. Misty-Man wiped his forehead, returned the napkin and left.

Departure-time had come also for the G's. In the doorway Lady G complained about mosquitoes and bent down to scratch one ankle.

When she had straightened herself and gave Sir G a smile, he noticed a spot on her tooth, a cherry-red spot. Sir smiled at Sue-Ellen. She wagged her tail.

ankitrue@barbados.org


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