He came back onto the main street and continued walking westward, passing a few houses and small shops along the way. On his left, there were more structures along the length of the road, but on the right, there were punctuation of small gardens, farms and empty lots.
He saw a bar. The sign stood imposing. Written in a style he had once seen in a cow boy movie on an old black and white television back on Dow Island.
Toney saw a crowd of about fifteen or twenty men, surrounding five others. The five sat around a small circle, metallic coloured table, on weathered stools, frantically engaging each other. They slammed on the table little white wooden blocks with black dots on them, lining them up in a formation.
The crowds cheered louder as Toney approached, making a pathway for him. He hesitated to join the space now created for him. But the noise infectious. Cries like that of a coliseum. Encouraging any who will venture in the centre. He moved in cautiously, rubbing his toes against the inside soles of his shoes.
“No one can beat you now, Lamont,” a voice shouted from behind Toney’s head. It startled him.
A few more then joined in the chorus shouting the name, “Lamont…Lamont…hail king Lamont.”
A dejected looking East Indian man got up from his seat at the table. He tilted his head to one side, eyes fired red. He looked at the men sitting under him. He said nothing, just stared. His eyebrows seemed to join each other over the crease in his forehead. He panted. His sideburns dripped with sweat.
For a moment, the crowds too grew quiet and backed off from the two men as if to give them space. This was no longer a game. Feelings were hurt, and the man standing wanted nothing more than revenge.
Toney felt compelled to stay. He thought for a instant, if trouble were to erupt he will be in the very centre of it, and so, he should move away. Yet flirting with danger, as if to prove himself a part of this new world, he stood his ground.
Still, the man standing said zilch. His breathing became shallower and his palms made tight fist. The rest of his body stood motionless.
Pushing his way into the little crowd came another man, a little over six feet tall. Although, to Toney he looked more like seven feet—and Toney was five feet eight inches. He was well over three hundred pounds. A giant of a man. A white apron hung silly around his neck; his belly pushing it aside as he moved. He came to the table and stood, towering over the now quiet throng.
“Lamont, you good, you really good at this domino game,” the man shook his head left to right as he spoke.
“You could say that again,” Lamont said.
The man seemed to pay little attention to Lamont’s words. “Everybody just cool it.”
“They better,” Lamont said, as he finally got to his feet. “Like people around here don’t know who is me or what?”
The large man fold his arms, turning his attention to Lamont. Although his folded arms looked more like him resting his forearms over a dinner table; his huge belly. “What is there to know, tell me, please?”
“Like this washed out old barrel confused,” the man who just got to his feet continued.
The little crowd giggled and a few chattered among themselves.
“I think you should hush now,” the large man said, pointing sternly.
All went silent once more.
Lamont eyeballed the man speaking to him.
“Are you serious, boy,” the massive man slowly removed the apron from around his neck, placing it over the table. He moved in closer to Lamont, pushing the table to the side. He now stood between Lamont and the clenched fist man.
“Come son,” someone from the crowd pulled Lamont from the centre of the commotion.
“No, please, leave the lad.”
“Come on Peter, you know how stupid youth can be,” the man holding Lamont by the hand said, as he took him away.
Peter now turned his frame to the East Indian man, who at no time moved an inch; except to narrow his eyes lids, fixing his attention on Lamont better. “Now Deo, welcome back. But a lot has changed around here. Lamont is a man now, still loud, but changed. So is Zig, Jah Jah and Dennis,” he pointed at the other men who were still sitting.
“Let me be the judge of that,” Deo said.
The man continued, holding the attention of the onlookers. “And you will be. Now, come inside everyone, one drink for each man, it’s on the house. Deo is back, remember guys, Kiskadee village is changed.”
The crowds moved. A few men left, including Lamont, but the majority moved in the direction of the bar’s swinging doors.
Deo stepped away from his chair. He looked at it momentarily. He became pensive for about a few seconds. But shook his head as if to say he was satisfied with how things turned out this morning. He tucked his shirt back into the waist of his pants; loosened, as he rose quickly from his seat during the altercation. He dusted himself, cleared his throat and presented a smile.
His eyes now fixed on Toney. “And you are?” he said, nodding childishly.
“Toney, Mr. Deo.”
“Ah! Drop the Mr., is Deo for you,” he chuckled. “Well, you heard Peter, come in and take one with me, Toney boy.”
Deo, tapped Toney on the shoulder, and gently nudged him to the opening of the bar door.
“Well, okay…why not.”
“It’s nice to see what Peter and them did with this place,” Deo looked at the eve of the building and to the side.
“Well, it doesn’t look too bad.”
“Toney boy, not too bad, you should have seen this place before. This place was a real work of art. A lot used to happen right here, a lot.”
“I guess every place needs to change, and even the people who live here.”
“If is one think, you right about that. Alright, let we come out this sun.”
Copyright © 2017 David Alexian
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