THE ORANGE VENDOR
Close Encounter with Crack
The sun was already up in the blue
skies blanketed with patches of white clouds. Everyone went about
their business in a peaceful manner. The streets in the borough
were humming with activities - vehicles, pedestrians, shoppers,
children and jaywalkers. There was a constant flow of people in
and out of the gates leading to the main market one bright
Saturday morning in May.
Inside the market permanent stalls
were neatly arranged in rows. It was dark and gloomy. There were
voices everywhere. The
vendors were busily arranging their stuff in front of them on the
top of the stalls made of concrete. Vegetables, provisions,
fruits and other stuff for sale were displayed on the stalls with
the excess placed somewhere below the stalls. A few of the
vendors had hand written price cards for certain items.
Paul, a stall owner walked in with
a box on his head and stopped in front his stall. He put down the
box and uncovered his stall. Paul's neighbour, Tony, who was
there early and having a good sale of his items, enquired from
Paul, "You are late today, Paul. It seems that you went out last
"No. I woke up late looking at a
movie." replied Paul as he took out some oranges from the box and
arranged them in small heaps in front of him.
"Tell me about it," asked the
neighbour attending to a customer.
At that very moment a group of
carefree customers passed by glancing on both sides to view what
each vendor was selling.
"Come and get your juicy oranges." shouted Paul.
"Taste first and then buy." he continued.
Tony enquired, "Paul, what happens
if people taste and do not buy?"
"They cannot resist the fresh juicy
oranges. They will buy!" replied Paul with much assurance.
Tony then said, "If you say so, is
At that point in time a crude
looking old man with bulging pockets and a bag approached Paul
and asked, "How are your oranges going?"
Paul replied looking at the old
The inquisitive old man then asked,
"As fast as the customers come."
Paul told the old man.
"Kill that talk and let me sample
an orange." demanded the old man.
Paul then skilfully peeled an
orange with a small gadget and enquired from the old man, "What
do you have in that bag?"
"Crown corks!" boasted the old
Paul then offered the orange to the
old and asked him, "What are you doing with the crown
"When I cannot get anything to eat,
I take a few full." the old man mumbled.
"Your teeth must be very strong."
Paul remarked. "What do you have in your shirt pocket?" he
continued to enquire.
The old man then opened his pocket
and displayed the contents. "Only crack. You like some?" He asked
Paul. "When you take crack, you can also take some crown corks."
he assured Paul.
Paul then shouted at the old man
"You are really crack!!"
Tony, who overheard the
conversation between Paul and the old man, remarked, "It seems
that both of you are crack. Don't you see, he is offering you a
crown cork of crack?"
The old man then told Paul "Thanks
for your orange." and calmly walked away without buying.
Copyright © Frank Ramtahal