This is what a Canadian shakedown looks like. All smiles and photographs with the parents. Even though it looks like Margaret's eyes have been punched shut, it's just a coincidence. Wasn't exactly the confrontational meeting I had pictured in my mind, but it was all very pleasant. And, maybe, just maybe, we'll get our carving one day.

I had been looking forward to shaking down Margaret The Wood Carver for a few months now. Ever since she went AWOL with our $50 and promised a woodcarving back in October, I had been plotting my revenge.

The scenarios running through my mind were varied, but they all involved battle rolls, swearing and drop kicks. Of course I was being overly dramatic, but this 65-year-old Sri Lankan lady had made a promise to deliver and we hadn’t heard anything from her in months. I was pissed – and even more dangerous for Margaret – so was Trina.

So, when we visited Kandy last weekend with Trina’s parents, it seemed like the perfect time to pay a surprise visit to her workshop and see what was up.

While we didn’t drop in from a helicopter (like in my imagination), we (Trina, myself and her parents) did pull off a surprise attack as we slowly walked up the front stairs leading directly to her work station.

She could see us coming, but we looked like any other foreigners paying a visit to buy overpriced knickknacks.

But then Trina opened her mouth and Margaret’s world changed in an instant.

To say poor Maggie was surprised is an understatement. If there were a picture of a person beside the word ‘flustered’ in the dictionary, that picture would have been her at that exact moment. Here’s a transcript from the interaction, as I remember it.

Trina – “Margaret, hello, it’s us, Trina and Shaun. Remember us. These are my parents, Randall and Bev. Now, where is our carving?”

Shaun – “Yeah, where is it Margaret, huh, huh, if that is your real name (while quickly brandishing a coconut scraper concealed under my belt).” (I either said that, or nothing and just sat down. Either way…)

Margaret (literally spinning in a circle) – “Wha…your parents…my house…my son-in-law…your parents…why…I didn’t know…come to my house…I tried calling…I didn’t try calling…my number is changed…why didn’t you call…I live in a new house…your parents…how long…I wanted to call you…I came to Colombo…I’m coming to Colombo…you want this carving, no charge…you don’t want this carving, it is scratched….your carving is done…your carving will be done…call my son-in-law…he’s not here…your parents…have a meal…why…I didn’t know…I was leaving you alone…I didn’t know what to do…wha…”

Poor Margaret.

It went on like that for about 15 minutes, when we all decided that she had had enough. We wanted to scare her, not give her a heart attack! We mercifully told her we had to go and took down her (apparent) new number with the promise the carving would be delivered to our home in the next week or so. While I seriously doubt that will happen, I was still happy with how things turned out as the message was delivered – we haven’t left the country yet and we still remember who Margaret is.

Even if we have to make another couple visits to Margaret the Wood Carver’s shop before we get our carving, I’d say it’s all been worth it – even if it’s just for the chance to write another blog about it.

Stay warm Regina.

Shaun

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