Monday, December 15, 2003

Fledgling George Washington

I have noticed that it is cherry season in Little Chinatown again, a time when young virgins giggle at the idea of having one of THOSE inside of them (while secretly worrying about what happens to the stem and pit when their cherry is popped).

And it made me think of a time, last year, when I bore witness to drama played out over the most common form of felony--the casual sample. In this case, the 'casual sample' serving size was above the recommended, and comprised of an entire fistful of the luscious red fruit.

On the corner of Broadview and Gerrard is a place I like to call 'The Bazaar'. One can roam the sidewalks browsing through the many commodities available, living or dead, legal or illegal, edible or simply advertised as such. Many merchants patrol their goods along the sidewalk in an effort, I assume, to discourage thieves, as it certainly isn't to provide product knowledge.

(while standing over a basket of little blue crabs wrestling for their lives)
B- How do you cook these little fellas?
A- Dolla four-nine.
B- Yes, but how do you cook them?
A- (begins to package some up)
B- I don't want any--I don't know how to cook them.
A- (holds up a crab for my approval) Good?
B- I don't know--I don't want any. No crab for me.
A- (dumps bag of crabs out and turns back on me, newly-liberated crabs try to hide under other crabs)
B- How do you. . ah, nevermind.

I almost bought one to let loose in my bother and his wife's house as a playmate for the cat, but didn't. His wife is a redhead and I still have too much to live for.

What I'm about to descirbe unfolded like a Hong Kong action movie version of the classic 'David and Goliath' tale.
The casual sampler is A.
Storekeeper is B.
Casual sampler looks like he spent the under aboard Captain Morgan's ship "The Pisstanker".

A- (grabs a HUGE handful of cherries, stems and all, and begins eating them like you would an apple)
B- NO! You--NO! (grabs the forearm of A and begins to pull it away from his mouth)
A- (silent, but bent on eating cherries, continues to struggle, his lips reaching for the fist with the fruit. . .red juice trickles out of his mouth)
B- NO! (something in Chinese--sounds like cursing, or a call for help, but definitely not a song)

Back and forth the fist of cherries goes, and it looks for a moment that the men are too evenly matched for one to win. Cherries are flying everywhere; some half-chewed, some still saleable.

A- (begins to yell) Hey! Hey hey hey!
B- (still cursing, absolutely not lyrics to a song)

In this situation, and if I were B, I would have let the vagabond's forearm go, as his fist would have likely catapulted the cherries into his own face. B, however, had different plans: wrestle it out. Good on him!

They jerked the fist of cherries back and forth until there was but one left in A's hand, which A managed to pop in his mouth. The shopkeeper looked very upset, and his mood wasn't helped by the gloating laugh of the nere-do-well. Johnny No-Good pushed his luck when, in response to the shopkeeper's scolding (part in English, part in Chinese, mostly just finger-waving) was to spit the ill-gotten fruit pit in the face of his critic. The pit bounced neatly off the proprietor's forehead.

A- (loud, for the crowd) I don't know what yer sayin', but I ain't done nothin' wrong.
(the irony literally staining the plaque on his teeth blood red)
B- (for himself, kicked the man in his left shin)

Neighbours and friends descended on the scene to add distance between the two men, both very very angry and ready to rumble. As a final act of defiance the hobo grabbed an orange off the stand and bit into it. . . then spat it out, realising that an orange demands more commitment than cherries, and will only yield its fruit if peeled.

Just another day at the market.

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