Sunday, August 1, 2021
Precipitation – Not today
Sunday, August 1, 2021
Precipitation – Not today
A Blacktip Island scuba diver who found a lost wedding ring on the Wahoo Reef dive site was stunned Tuesday when the ring’s owners refused to take it back.
“It was a classic scuba-treasure story—diver finds long lost wedding ring,” diver Barry Sennett said. “Only, when I tracked down the owner, Goldie wanted no part of it. Told me to throw it back. Then she took a swing at me.
“Selling it didn’t seem right, so I gave it to the pastor,” Sennett said. “He’s one who started this mess, marrying Goldie and Rusty when any damn fool knew it wouldn’t last.”
Goldie Goby said the ring was an unwelcome reminder of unhappy days.
“It brought back bad memories, for me and for Rusty,” she said. “When I came up from that dive last year and my ring was missing, we took it as a sign from God. And if God don’t want us together, who are we to argue?
“We been happily unmarried for the last 13 months,” Goby said. “Now folks think we’re hitched again? Uh-uh. God cast us asunder and Barry ain’t gonna stick us back together. I don’t even know how he found the damn ring, it was stuffed so far under that coral head.”
Rusty Goby agreed.
“Don’t know how the ring slipped off her finger, but it’s the best thing to ever happened to us,” he said. “We fought like cats and dogs the whole time we were together. The lost ring let us put all that behind us. And it was a whole lot cheaper than a divorce.
“God split us up,” Goby said. “We answer to a higher authority. Anybody comes near either one of us with that ring, they’ll get a punch in the face.”
Island religious leaders refuted the couple’s claim.
“They were never not-married,” the Rev. Pierre Grunt said. “It doesn’t work like that. If it did, folks’d be chucking their rings any old time they wanted. Rusty and Goldie just got separate places to live.
“Goldie ditched that ring, not God,” Grunt said. “The ring’s at the church ‘til things are resolved. And there’s the civil side of this to be addressed, too.”
Legal experts concurred.
“Legally, they’re as married as ever, but I can’t speak to this God business,” local attorney Ferris Skerritt said. “Religion-wise, I guess it’s a bit of a Schrödinger’s wedding ring situation—they’re married and not married at the same time.
“On the legal side, they’d need an affidavit stating, in God’s eyes, they’re no longer married,” Skerritt said. “Not a burning bush or anything, just an official note from Big Man, or His representative, to make it legal.”
Goldie Goby remained adamant.
“God don’t want us together. He already made that plain as day,” she said. “Ferris’s just throwing out weasel-words, and Rev. Grunt has a conflict of interest. Anybody hands me that ring, I’m chucking it so far into the sea even God won’t find it.”
Sunday, July 25, 2021
Precipitation – None
The Blacktip Island Poetry Society’s annual poetry festival this weekend, featuring the work of American Transcendentalist poet Walt Whitman, has sparked criticism among the small Caribbean island’s population.
“We wanted to feature a famous poet whose work is accessible,” BIPS president Edwin Chub said. “We’re trying to get out of the stale Dereck Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite, Wendy Guerra rut, and you don’t get more reader-friendly than Whitman. Plus, his poetry speaks to our island reality, despite him never having been here.
“‘Leaves of Wrasse’ perfectly encapsulates our community. Blacktippers are Transcendentalists at heart, whether they know it or not,” Chub said. “And criticism of his work being obscene and graphic and sensual? That’s just a standard, barbaric-yawp-filled Friday night at the Ballyhoo. I truly don’t see what all the hullaballoo’s about.”
Critics, however, questioned the BIPS’ choice of poets.
“Walt Whitman has sweet eff-all to do with anything on Blacktip Island,” local poet Chrissy Graysby said. “We should be boosting local, Caribbean poets, not fluffing some dead, white American dude from 200 years ago. We’re telling folks to stay away, and having our own local-poets-only open mic night up at the Tailspinner Saturday.
“I mean, it’s not like there’s a shortage of talented Caribbean writers,” Graysby said. “Why not introduce Blacktippers to artists like Nancy Morejón or Mahadai Das, who speak directly to the island experience? This Whitman crap is just more Colonialism being shoved down our throats by a self-styled cultural elite.”
Event organizers defended their decision.
“The lit fest should get people excited about poetry,” BIPS member Ginger Bass said. “We need a big name to generate that excitement. Last year, for the Aimé Césaire Fest, you could have shot a cannon through the Heritage House and not hit anyone. And ‘O Captain, My Captain’? This island’s loaded with boat captains. What’s more Blacktip than that?
“The Heritage House has a first edition Leaves of Grass. Well, first Tiperon edition, anyway,” Bass said. “All this talk of boycotts and protests, it’s pure selfishness. And if the prudes have issues with his personal . . . proclivities, well, rumor and innuendo notwithstanding, he and his contemporaries were just good friends.”
Some in the island’s poetry community plan to physically oppose the festival.
“Edwin and them think they’re gonna have some plantation-era, smut readings in public, they’re gonna get some Blacktip post-Colonialism upside the head,” sonnetist Whitey Bottoms said. “And we’ll burn the stage down if they try to go through with that ‘Thong of Myself’ wet t-shirt contest. Or the ‘Urge and Urge and Urge’ poetry slam. We got torches primed, tar boiling and feathers ready.”
Authorities downplayed the chance of violence. “I’ve put all sides on notice that poetry-related mayhem won’t be tolerated,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Anyone caught committing violence during the festival will be locked in the jail cell and forced to listen to Ezra Pound’s Cantos, in its entirety,for the remainder of the weekend.”
Sunday, July 17, 2021
Precipitation – Not today
Blacktip Island’s Animal Racing Society Enthusiasts will conduct the small Caribbean island’s inaugural Vermin Derby Rat Races, featuring double-elimination heats, Saturday afternoon at the Last Ballyhoo bar to raise funds for the community’s pandemic relief fund, organizers said.
“Folks need a pick-me-up, and there’s people hurting because of all these COVID shut downs,” ARSE president Jay Valve said. “We decided to kill two birds with one stone and have a pest-themed fundraiser. It’ll put smiles on lots of faces, and raise some needed money, too.
“The island’s eat-up with rats and roaches, so we decided to make light of that,” Valve said. “We’ll have cockroach jockeys mounted on island rats running through mazes. We figured, if you can’t beat them, race them.”
Organizers said the rules are few, but strict.
“Jockeys can be attached to the mounts any way the racer sees fit, but rider and mount must cross the finish line together or be disqualified,” Wendy Beaufort said. “Rats will be placed in identical mazes, and maze doors will be opened simultaneously. Racers aren’t allowed to prod their rats, but we’ll have bits of rotting fish at the far end of each maze to coax them on.
“Most folks’re using super glue to keep their jockeys on, but a few are experimenting with duct tape, or even fly paper,” Beaufort said. “There’s no size or weight limit, so the smart racers’ll be gluing little roaches onto biggest rats they can catch. Each rat’ll be color coded and numbered, too.”
Strategies varied among racers.
“A lot of folks are grabbing rats from near the dump, but those things’re slow and dumb,” Bill Fische said. “Me, I trapped one of those nasty, big-ass rats from down on the south end. They’re tricky to catch, and to hold still while you attach the jockey, but it’ll pay off on the race course. You just have to double up on your leather gloves.”
Early favorites include:
Island authorities have cautioned against betting on the races.
“All wagers are illegal and will not be tolerated,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Plaguebringer may be a tempting bet at 4:1, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be severe consequences for anyone else betting on her.”
Spectators’ opinions were divided.
“Folks come here to escape the rat race. Now they created one,” Herring Frye said. “Kinda defeats the purpose, if you ask me. And they’re running it at the Ballyhoo ‘cause last time ARSE tried something like this at the Heritage House, the rats got loose and chased people all over creation. It was beautiful to watch. From a distance.”
Metallic-painted rat traps will be awarded for first, second and third place. Proceeds will go to the Blacktip Island COVID Relief Fund.
All rats and roaches will be humanely euthanized at the end of racing, despite the protests of the island chapter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Sunday, July 11, 2021
Precipitation – Not a chance