I remember how sad I was when Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker turned out to be about men in tights, not fights. We Europeans are generally not mean towards fruit and/or nut vendors. In fact, the only beaten nutter who to my attention has come was a chestnut man, badly beer bottled by Mr Ayling, landlord of the Half Moon in Northchapel, West Sussex. Mr Ayling afterwards laid him to rest in the stable, and may not have even known that he was a chestnut man.
Although very few fights are caused by bad nuts in the Land of ‘t Other, retailers of the mildly narcotic betel nut do seem to turn up regularly on the crime pages, mainly because they are always hanging around with their nuts on full display when, for example, a witch decides to skip a Taiwanese taxi fare:
“Shut up,” said the witch. “A queen never pays. You should pay me.”
“She’s not a queen, she’s a witch,” yelled John. “She’s a bitch!”
“What? You again? You’re like a cockroach! You’re like a fly! You’re like a worm. Ha! You’re like an ant. It’s time for you to die!” The witch opened a purse and took out a small knife. She stabbed John in the stomach.
“Hey! What are you doing?” yelled the first taxi driver. He grabbed the witch’s right arm. The second taxi driver grabbed the witch’s waist. John grabbed the witch’s left hand. A betel nut seller saw what was happening and grabbed the witch’s hair. A stinky tofu seller grabbed the witch’s bottom. Uncle Joe grabbed the witch’s feet. He started licking. John put his hand in the witch’s pocket and grabbed her yellow ring. He had an idea. He put the witch’s yellow ring in his pocket. Then he put on his yellow ring.
Suddenly everyone was in the in-between world.
I know the feeling.
Betel nut sellers are soloists, which is why for those despicable ethnic determinists
Two Mangaloreans can’t stand one another.
Three Mangaloreans is a Udupi restaurant.
Four Mangaloreans is a fanatical Konkani Sabha.
Two Bengalis is a black-and-white movie.
Three Bengalis is a Mohun Bagan support group.
Four Bengalis is a Marxist movement.
Stalks protruding above the maize (there is no connection between the word betel and the Dutch term for begging, bedelen) do tend to suffer the consequences.
Ma San San Htay, for example, was sitting there in Thida Street, Thida Ward, Kyinmyindaing Township, Yangon Division, Burma, minding her own betels, when Police Corporal Aung Naing Soe strolled up and beat the shit out of her. A passing cyclist did what cyclists are meant to do in such circumstances, even in Burma, and broke the policeman’s nose.
Policemen are not the same the world over, so don’t try this at home. You could, however, write to see if they’ll let Kyaw Min Htun out some time soon.
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