A worn-out team of laborers, bellies swollen from lashing down lunch ‘pon rapid, loaf under a scaffold shading them from the hammering, midday-Manhattan, summer sun.
“Wha’ in de hell colonization have to do with de damn World Cup, Dreadie?” Bajie asking, tooth-picking his domino teeth, then snorting out a laugh. “Gah bleh, man, ganja got yuh reasoning light headed or what?” Checks his watch.
Dreadie eyes stick tight to his HTC phone screen as the ESPN commentators dissect England’s brand new loss to Germany. Standing over his shoulder catching the commentary, Trevor shoves down a last-couple fry plantains.
Dreadie answers without lifting his eyes from his phone. “Is my theory, Bredrin. First World Cup EVER on African soil- none a de colonizers dem shall win this Cup! The AnceSTARS nah mek dat line up none at all!”
“True, True,” Snickering, Trevor adds. “Talk to he, Ras. Ah bet Bajie sick, sick, sick dat Jolly-Ole England get she face cuff in.”
Bajie twists up his shovel mouth, sucks his teeth then turns. “Rudeboy, tell him nuh. Is pure dotishness this man talking. One thing ain got nuttin to do with de other.”
Rudeboy coils his lanky frame on a putty bucket and flicks out a cigarette. “No sah. Baj, I hope di Dread right. It mek perfect sense to mi,” he answers, smiling, eyes twinkling with mischief.
“Wunna mad, mad. So tell me nuh, who gon win it den? Ghana is de only African nation still lef in it, yuh know.”
Dreadie peels back his tam and flashes his locks. “Mek I tell yuh who nah goh win: England, France, Italy nor Portugal.”
Everyone except Bajie laughs.
Dreadie continues. “Neither Netherlands, Spain nor Germany-”
“Germany? Why not Germany?” Bajie sounds like teacher prepping them for CXC. “Dey certainly were not colonialists. Plus, you see how strong the side is-like machines. German engineering.”
Dreadie finally pries his gaze from his phone screen and penetrates Bajie with it. “Doan matter because, yes, Germany did a portion a colonizing too.”
Trevor buss out a laugh. “Wait, Bajie, yuh ain never hear bout Cameroon and German East Africa- Tanzania an dem place? Personally, Dread, I think South American team gon win it- four a these final eight team come from there.”
Bajie scoffs. “Of course you would say that, Guyanese. So who you have winning? Let me guess nuh- Brazil?”
Dreadie contemplates while placing his crown back on his head, eyes still on screen. “Either dem or Argentina.” He tucks rope thick locks under the tam once more.
Bajie pounces and blasts a shot from left field. “Wait! How you doan consider Ghana, Mr. Africa Unite; Brother One Blood; Comrade Stand-Up-Fuh-We-Reparations-Now?
Dreadie glances up. “I want Ghana win, Bajie, ‘ca I want see Africa do good. But yuh know, even when Brazil win, is African victory.”
“Yeah, fi real,” Rudeboy adds. Checks the time and unfolds his legs and jumps up into a stretch.
“I tell you bou’ smoking that ting dere, Dread,” Bajie utters, shaking a finger at the Ras. “Brazil is not in Africa!”
Trevor Intervenes. “Yuh chupid bad, Bajie. Yuh always sound so like yuh want be a British Subject again.”
Dreadie turns off the screen, pockets the phone and rises. “Baj, but Africa is in Brazil!”
Bajie’s face soaks in bewilderment as each man grabs his hard hat and shoots into the mouth of the building.