The leader of the Italian faction, an old man with snow white hair and a beautiful voice took the mike. He spoke sonorously for twenty minutes about how the Italians have always been ahead of the Portuguese in accommodating to the ways of the city from the temporary moratorium on wrought iron in the seventies to the emergency town hall meeting in 1986 on paving lawns and finally the ban on cock fighting in 2006 and that obviously nothing had changed seeing as his ‘esteemed opponents’ were so English challenged that they had to have a little boy speak for them. A gasp went up from the crowd. A moment later after the Portuguese boy translated for them a gasp went up from the old Portuguese men. The dapper Italian tenor finished by saying that since there were hardly any Portuguese left in the neighbourhood now anyway, the Italians should have the table for 2/3 of the day. As he returned to his seat a ripple of unease ran through the crowd.
The crowd suddenly fell silent as the Mayor banged her gavel and called for order. Seemingly surprised that it had actually worked she then fiddled with her papers and cleared her throat one too many times, finally calling the name of Fernando Oliviero to the microphone. I leaned over to Fagette?
“Who do you think that is?” I asked.
“The Portuguese boy. Who else? ”
“Oh of course.”
The Portuguese boy came walking down the stairs towards the mike. Fagette clutched my arm and stared intently at him as he walked by her in his blue bicycle shorts and yellow lycra racing top. I leaned over and whispered to Fagette.
“He looks like he’s about to receive the ‘Tour de France”
“Non, le prix de Nobel.”
“Vraiment? Quelle sujet?”
“Paix” she breathed. “Paix.”
The Nobel Prize for Peace. That’s my girl. She knows that’s the only award worth getting, that and ‘Miss Congeniality’ at Miss Universe and oh sure it would have been nice to have won a Clio for my modelling work in commercials. I came close with the ‘Juicy Mango Jeans’ campaign but the controversy over the bum pads ruined that, even though I was completely vindicated in the end. As for the Portuguese boy, he actually looked like he was receiving the Academy Award for Best Actress but I wanted to spare her that for now. She was obviously the type that would fall for one gay boy after another until she finally got it right. All in good time.
“Uncle Buddy, do you think Fernando looks gay?”
“His name’s Fernando?”
“Yes. Why can’t you remember his name?”
“Because a Portuguese boy named Fernando broke my heart when I was your age and I don’t want it to happen to you too.”
“It won’t. It’s a different time now.”
“That’s what Fernando said. “
“You still haven’t answered my question?”
“Oh that. Absolutely not.” I insisted. “All boys look a little gay. That’s why we can’t be Scout leaders. It’s not the boys they’re afraid for. It’s us.”
The Portuguese boy took the mike and began to speak, enunciating every word like it was a spelling bee. He began by telling the history of the stone table, how sixty years ago when the Italians and Portuguese first began arriving in the city, they settled this part of it and how they had lived together in peace for years until one hot day in June 1968, a love affair between a Portuguese girl and an Italian boy from two rival dance schools erupted into a full scale dance riot. Sixty young men lost their wallets that day and over seventy women had their skirts twirled over their heads by strangers. Many of the dancers suffered severe hamstring damage and up to a quarter of them damaged their knees so badly they would never dance again. After the carnage cleared the leaders of the two dance gangs made a vow that never again would rhythmic movement get between these two basically sedentary Mediterranean peoples and that from here on in this would be a place of sit down competition. So they turned the small stone dance platform into a chess table and the rest is history.
Then he went somewhere no one could have seen coming. He said if it is known to be true that both groups have suffered great population losses then it stands to reason that there must be a third group to have filled the gap and who would that be and shouldn’t they also have a right to the table? The room fell silent even though it was already extremely quiet. Nobody had even thought of what the boy said. Sure, everyone knew that for the last few years thousands of Somali’s had settled in the area but the last census had been a generation ago and so they didn’t exist on paper which is what really matters. And more importantly did they even play chess? Big questions.
The Mayor began to shuffle her papers like big floppy cards. Pearl Jewel looked down at her breasts. Her assistant, a nervous bald white man called Victor Picklesly, looked over at her breasts. I looked down at Fagette and thankfully saw no breasts. She looked up at me and her chest caught the light in such a way that it looked like she was starting to get breasts and I moved my head forward so the light was like before and she leaned forward to see what I was doing which made me lean forward more until we were both leaning right over the backs of the people who were sitting in front of us. We both started to laugh. Pearl Jewel looked over again and wrote something down on a notepad. Interesting.
When we looked back at the mike, a skinny old black man with a forehead you could project a movie on and dressed like Roble was now speaking…
Gabcast! ewe #25 - Hindu Rap
Buddy and Sal Surroundo drop acid and channel two Indian rappers who sing about the Kama Sutra and all things subcontinent sextastic. Rob Voltage and Grooz Patterson are along for the ride and make it fast and fiery all the way down with large doses of peppery guitar and gut wrenching bass topped off with crackling papadums of sonic fury. During this legendary session one of Sal's protege's, a wiry lad with a flair for the beatbox named Pippin, overdosed and ended up applying for a job in a bank and getting it. That was the end of the Summer of Dreads.