I got a story to tell that you might say is so tall, you might want to throw salt on it and make it shrivel up like slug.
But no matter how much salt you throw on this here story, it ain’t gon shrivel. Because, although this story is about a short, short, li’l, li’l man-spirit, he don’t go away that easy.
People does call he baccoo.
Nobody ain’t know where baccoo come from originally, some say Suriname because everybody here know for a fact that them Dutch masters did bring the wickedest spirits to the Caribbean during slavery times. Whoever bring he, wherever he come from, the li’l man is here to stay.
Nobody ain’t ever see he. But everybody know what he look like. He is, as I say, a short, short, li’l, li’l man. A few variations declare he got a long, long beard. Neighbour, after I phone to describe the latest baccoo incident [which you gon hear about], laugh and say that baccoo look like a lepricorn. Don’t ask me how she know. She never see a baccoo. And for all the years that she live in England, Ireland, Scotland, she never see a lepricorn either.
Some people swear they hear baccoo. According to me big brother who know plenty folks in Plaisance Village, years ago young Melissa claim she hear baccoo. Every, single, bless-ehd, early morning. Melissa hear baccoo whistling as he pass through Plaisance. Melissa never see he but she, like all who hear he, tremble with fear.
Nobody I know ever own a baccoo. But some would swear ‘til cow jump over moon that they know somebody who know somebody who…!
The owner of a baccoo does keep he in a bottle and feed he milk and bananas. That is the absolutely only thing he does eat and drink. If you treat he well, he gon do anything for you.
Although nobody never see a baccoo, the fame...or rather, the infamy of this short, short, li’l, li’l man spread to various parts of the Caribbean.
When me big brother was a student at college in England, a Grenada classmate used to pester he to get a baccoo for he. Mr. Grenada didn’t care how much this thing cost, He Want A Baccoo. Finally, Ajohda, a Guyanese fellow in the class tell Mr. Grenada, “Man, baccoo is really expensive and tiresome to keep. He does want gallons of milk and pounds and pounds of bananas. He is never satisfied. All when you sleeping, in the dead of night, he does wake you up to feed he.” That put a’ end to Mr. Grenada desire to own a baccoo.
I ain’t know what it is about tertiary institution students and baccoo. Even Mala classmates at the advanced, enlightened university in Treeneedad did want baccoo too, Mala tell a bunch of we one night at a dinner.
“My classmates always asking me about this short, short, li’l, li’l man…” Mala say. She spread out she fingers stiff, stiff ‘til she palm vibrate one foot above the floor, demonstrating the shortness and power of baccoo. “Every time I come home for holidays, they would ask me to carry back one for them.” Law students approach she too.
I don’t know why people want to own baccoo. But I know some people put them to wicked use. Baccoo does pelt stones at humans and house-tops, if you got a zinc roof, all you hear the whole flippin’ night is plang-plang. And baccoo does move things in your house. Plenty terrified folks in the country-side confirm this. They hear plang-plang on they roof top, even in the day, some o’ them say. They can’t see who is pelting. So it must be a baccoo. As for them furnitures moving whole night!
If somebody got a grudge against you, you better watch out, you better start to cry, it ain’t no Santa on your roof-top. It is a baccoo that the person with grudge send to take care of you. And I don’t mean take care in a nice sense.
Well now, I ain’t know who got a grudge against who, I ain’t know who baccoo is taking care of in the village of Buxton…but baccoo make the news there.
First, the news say that work slow down in the village of Buxton.
Some weeks ago, in the village of Buxton, police and soldiers go to clear the backlands. In these backlands, bandits and other animals hide amongst tall trees and thick bush. I ain’t know, I only repeating what I hear. People from Buxton talk in secret to friends who live outside of Buxton. They say bandits walk bold and brave in they village; night-time, you can hear them practicing. Whole night, you hear, badow, pow, pow, badow. In the morning, you see trees with targets and bullet shells on the ground. Them bandits pay li’l boys to warn them when police come then they run to hide in the bush. So, after the big murder in January, police and soldiers go with machines to clear the Buxton backlands. They work vigorously, furiously, steadfastly. Bandits gon can’t hide there no more.
Then lo and behold, the news air one night recently that work in the village of Buxton slow down. The news ain’t say why. The news say that the police and soldiers slow down they work. The news show pictures of silent machines, waiting in the sun.
The news continue. People in the village of Buxton say that baccoo is pelting people who stay late on the streets. Even them soldiers and police come in for a stoning.
Yesterday, gyaffing with me big brother on the phone, I tell he the news. We both decide, bandits is the new baccoo.
Believe what you want to believe. As we does say, take half, leave half.