11 April 2008

Writing exercise: At the market

He grinned at me, revealing two lonely teeth, and said “Hai, madam, dat’s daylight robbery, dat is? An' anyway, this one's alreddy promised to another lady.”

He grinned again. I could smell the sea on his breath.

“Ok,” I replied, “I will give you five bucks for that one”, pointing at the still flapping fish in his basket. It wasn't quite the yellow tail I wanted, but it would still make a good meal.

“Hai, madam, a man has t'live, y’know.”

I knew I was offering too little, but I was told to bargain with them. Cassandra told me she picked up crayfish from here for next to nothing last week. I pretend to reconsider my offer, knowing full well that I should be paying twenty rand for this beautiful fish.

“Ok, how about ten bucks?”

Indignation flashed across his brown, wrinkled face.

“Hai, madam, joo trying to rob me blind” he said, rolling his Rs more than usual. I knew he had a family to feed, but I couldn't deny that I did derive a small amount of pleasure from toying with him like this.

“I tell joo,” he said, “give me fifty bob, and I give you this snoek and that crayfish. Look, madam, it's a naais big one, all the ladies will be jealous.” He flashed another grin.

I tossed my blonde hair back over my shoulder, pulled myself up to proper posture, sniffed, and said, “All right, you win. But next week, I want a yellow tail. And you will give me a good deal, because now, you know me.”

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