The man who binged with Mary Jane
20 June 2012
Young and blissful
Oh so playful
Son, dear lover
Only this once
Then I renounce
Fly the height
High as a kite
Serenade to Mary Jane
Marry me, oh Mary Jane
Ride the sane with Mary Jane
Oh what madness
AKIN TO HIS BACKDROP, which looked dull and gloomy, the lone figure reminded me of Bingmalu, a clerk come beggar I met some months back in Lae.
His face was contorted, perhaps from the hardship the city dished out to him; no one could tell, as his feeble hand stretched forth its open palm over the pathway which the town populace used each day.
Someone found it irresistible to parody the placard behind him with ‘Sick man, Seek mani [money]’.
His faded tee-shirt, displaying Australian rock band Cold Chisel, was placed neatly before him, as he bent his knees together with the soles of his feet cushioning his bottom.
A few passers-by felt it their duty to donate so they tossed coins with occasional notes onto the tee-shirt, while others were dispelled by his coughing and wheezing.
My observations were disturbed by the sound of voices, which pitched at every opportunity. I directed my gaze to its source and, lo and behold, five young girls, dressed in smart school attire were gesticulating in their own version of a Lady Gaga number with vigour.
As they passed the beggar, a petite one among them made remarks which were immediately punctuated by various exclamations of ‘True?’, ‘Oh my God!’, ‘Oh no!’ and ‘Oh please!’
I never considered myself a sensitive person, but after eavesdropping on their shocking expletives I scurried across the bitumen road to a snitchy little buai reseller from Tari, who was at the peak of his sales.
I bought two and, as I attacked the buai, offered him one so as to notch up friendship. Spitting a load of crimson red, I threw in a shaggy dog story, immediately transforming his ill-humoured expression.
I felt I was accepted in his little environment and sat myself close by, engaging in friendly banter with him, he reminded me of an information kiosk.
The conversation led to Money, Politics, and Women until I touched on Drugs, then he nudged my side to follow his glance to the beggar.
“See Tumun over there?’’ he asked.
“That’s your classic example of a smart kid gone insane” he said.
“How?’’ I asked.
“Marijuana.” he answered casually, pulling his stool closer to me. “I didn’t know marijuana could make one insane and look so bewildered.”
“You mean?” I was perplexed.
“Yeah,’’ he replied.
“We went to the same school together till I dropped out and he continued to year 12 and University, where he never let up and flunked semester 2.’’ He paused to serve a customer.
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