The Fish Lady

I stood in the kitchen looking down at the bowl of seasoned fish. It was just yesterday I was sitting in the veranda watching some butterflies fluttering around the rose bushes when I heard the fish vender yelling, “Get yuh balahuuu buyers!!” I jumped up and ran to back of the house where Mommy Charles was washing clothes. “De fish lady outside Mamie.” I said. Mommy Charles went into her room and came back with two dollars. “Tell her to give yuh two dollars worth.” She said handing me two pale red crumpled dollar bills. I took them and ran off, out the front door, down the street. I was half way down the road when the jagged edges of the gravel covered rode bit into my feet. Damn I forgot to put on my slippers.  I stopped and listened for the vender, she had not yelled in a few minutes. I heard the chatter of people on a side street to my right and turned in that direction. There she was, a bamboo basket perched on a red turban on her head. A group of people surrounded her, some holding dollar bills screaming what they wanted. I took off, hoping to get there before all the fish was gone. Before I got to her I started shouting, “Two dollars worth, two dollars worth!” I knew if Mommy Charles knew I was acting like that she would be less than please, but damn it I wanted some fish. The fisherwoman smiled as I ran in my skinny arms flailing over my head. She sat the basket down and turned to me. I looked into the basket expecting to see flying fish but instead I saw Jacks, one of my favorite. The woman dug into he basket with both hands and motioned for me to hold out the plastic back I hand in my hand. She dumped the fish in it and I was about to close the bag when she smiled and motioned with my head to keep it opened. She picked another handful and dumped it into the bag, the silver, black and gray fish sparkled in the sunlight.  I gave her the two dollars and thanked her and turned and ran back to the house. Now to sit and watch Mommy Charles do her magic before she fried up the Jacks.

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