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Not your average client

Published:Sunday | July 6, 2014 | 12:00 AM

By Gordon Robinson

Apocrypha, that other dimension beyond the clouds, was in a tizzy. The International Monetary Farce (IMF) insisted that, in order for Apocryphans to obtain international financial assistance, Apocrypha needed to adopt certain new rules. These rules forced banks and insurance companies to know all about their customers, including sources of income and to report suspicious transactions to the police.

The scenario didn't cause trouble, especially as 'suspicious transaction' was defined as one of a value of US$10,000 or more. Banks suddenly noted a significant increase of transactions valuing US$9,999.00. The IMF soon realised these rules were ineffective, mainly because of bright lawyers devising various avoidance schemes for clients, so it decided to include lawyers among persons required to report suspicious transactions.

This created much consternation among Apocrypha's political leaders, whose task it was to implement these rules or face the IMF's wrath. In their private capacities, many of these politicians were lawyers or lawyers' clients. It dawned on these politicians that instructions to their lawyers could end up in a police report. Pressure was brought to bear on the justice minister, known as CryBaby Marc, to ensure the law was drafted to exempt lawyers.

It was impossible to satisfy both the IMF and his political colleagues, so Marc asked Oma to help. Regular readers remember Oma D'unn, like a moon bright only in the dark yet a PhD in logic, who solved political dilemmas with parables. Oma suggested CryBaby Marc talk to the ghost of lawyer-client future. CryBaby didn't understand, so Oma told the story of the not-so-average client.

"I'm taking you to the future," Oma began in his best macabre voice. CryBaby felt he was floating through the air until they arrived at a lawyer's office. "Right now," Oma intoned, "inside these walls, it's July 2016, and a lawyer named Gladdy B. Greedy is meeting a most unusual client. Listen ... ."

Suddenly, CryBaby could see into the lawyer's office. He saw Greedy greeting a fashionably dressed lady as a faint melody drifted up to him:

I thought I saw my pussycat

crossin' Charlotte Street.

Ah wasn't sure whether it was

the right pussin ah meet.

But jus' as I was makin' sure

up came a young lady

'Mister, what yuh lookin' for

that pussin belongs to me."

Greedy: Welcome to my chambers. My name is John Gifford ... .

Lady: Oooooooo, Lord Gifford's son?

Greedy: Not exactly. He's Gifford (soft 'g'). I'm Gifford with a very hard 'g'. And you are?

Lady: My name is Pusey.

Greedy: Pusey? Well, Miss Pusey, what can I do for you?

Lady: Is house me want to buy.

Greedy: Very good. Have you identified the property?

Lady: Ya, man. Me hear sey a politician buil' a big house inna Beverley Hills but him can't finish it since him lose power. Dat one fi me.

Greedy: Harummmph. You sure of this?

Lady: Of course, me sure. My fren' is a exotic dancer. She know de owner.

Greedy : All right then. Have you secured a mortgage yet? You talk to NHT?

Lady: Cho, man, yu no know sey NHT no have no money. Me have cash.

Greedy: Cash?

Lady: Yes, cash. You sound like you don't know what dat is. Me have any amount in small bills.

Greedy: You don't need credit?

Lady: No, sah, me don't need credit. And me don't give credit.

Greedy: Oh, dear. Now I have to ask you some questions. I warn you that the law requires me to inform ... .

Lady: Inform? Is wha yu mean 'inform'? You know what we de people do wid informa?

Greedy: Ms Pusey, what I meant is that the law has changed. Authorities now require me to inform them of your source of income. So, when I ask you these questions, be careful what you tell me.

Lady: OK, sir, Careful is my middle name.

Greedy: Miss Pusey, how'd you come by the funds to buy the house?

Lady: Suppose I tell yu me jus' lucky wid lottery?

Greedy: It depends. Maybe you bought a lucky lottery ticket. Maybe you made a few long-distance phone calls to America. Do you own a flat-screen TV?

Lady: A wha dis pon me soulcase? Me don't call no Americans. Sometimes, Americans call me.

Greedy: OK then, you don't do that; you don't live in MoBay; you're not one of those ... .

Lady (interrupting): No, no, no. Me not inna dat. Me only sometimes play bingo inna de church.

Greedy: So, Ms Pusey, where did the money come from?

Lady: Missa Gifford, is you tell me to be careful. I'm jus' being careful. What you want me to say?

Greedy: No, no, I can't do that. Only YOU know where you get this money. You do anything illegal in Apocrypha?

Lady: Me? No, sah? My business is offshore.

Greedy: Offshore? But, wait. You know, you look like somebody I know. What's your full name? What you do?

Lady: Lawd, Jeezas! Is wha' dis? You is INFORMA fe true? An' is a lawyer me want. Listen me, every morning me carry my money go a bank an' NOBODY ask me a question? Me go a doctor fe my regular check up an' pay him wid de same money. Not a guy sey kemps to me. Why me can't buy a house?!

Greedy: It's the law. You know, the more I look at you, the more I feel like I know you.

Lady: Of course, you know me. You is MY client. Why you t'ink is you me come to? My business is to tek care of people like you. Dis money come from high-ranking officers on the aircraft carrier in de harbour right now. My name is Leona Pusey. Dat is my business."

Is my pussin, my pussin

I feed her, mind her, raise her from small

Man, take off your han' from she

Don't touch meh pussin at all.

Suddenly, CryBaby Marc woke up in a cold sweat and realised he'd been dreaming. He was a lawyer himself and it dawned on him that if he had to report all his clients' suspicious transactions, only God knew where that would lead. He immediately decided to fight the IMF on this one.

The 1950s/'60s was calypso's Golden Age. That calypso attained those heights was mainly because of the work of two giants. One was Aldwyn Roberts, aka Lord Kitchener. 'Kitch', born 1922 and died 2000, was arguably the greatest songwriter in calypso's history. He was a fantastic lyricist and played bass guitar; hence he also wrote music with a heavy jazz influence.

Accordingly, he was more accomplished than his great rival Slinger Francisco (The Mighty Sparrow), whose forte was clever lyrics. Kitch is widely credited with responsibility for calypso's evolution into a melodically and harmonically sophisticated music.

In 1948, Kitch migrated to London where he discovered jazz; wrote a very hip composition called Bebop Calypso praising Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie; played with great jazz musicians; made numerous recordings creating a new jazz-influenced big band sound that revolutionised calypso. In 1965, Sparrow himself travelled to England to beg Kitch to return home as the calypso scene in Trinidad had become boring without him.

At Kitch's funeral in 2000, his great rival and biggest fan, Sparrow, shed real tears. It's a little-known fact that Kitchener was the author o 'Cricket Lovely Cricket (later recorded by Lord Beginner, to whom the song has become inextricably linked). My Pussin, written in 1965 shortly after his return to Trinidad, won that year's Carnival Road March Song contest.

Thanks to my friend, legendary humorist, Tony Gambrill, who co-wrote Lawyer Greedy's unusual conference. It was presented at the Law School's 40th anniversary show starring Barbara McCalla, who needs no introduction to TV viewers, and Harold Brady, a leading thespian of the 1970s with pantomime and Eight O'Clock Jamaica Time credits to his name, who gave it all up to study law.

Peace and love.

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.