CHEERS TO THE CUP: Dawg Heart picks Russia to win World Cup
Dawg Heart is a strange fellow. He sits by his favourite poker box inside Wayne's Bar at Johns Lane, downtown Kingston, almost unconcerned about the football mania which will engulf the world for the next month.
The bartender, Bobette, is bubbling with excitement. Her small Brazil flag occupies prime position on the counter. And never mind the fact that it is at least half the size of an Argentina flag that is suspended from the roof.
"World Cup nah start til Sunday," she says, as she dismisses the opening clash between host Russia and Saudi Arabia as a warm-up game.
Football lovers, who filed into the tiny bar, as well as those who were there for an early morning reflection, agreed. It is now time to pick the winners. Argentina! Brazil! Germany! Spain! Portugal! You would be mad to trust their football knowledge. Well, at least some of them.
Dawg Heart says Russia will win. His reasoning is deep.
"From 1998 me know dat. Dem man deh did done fix it already. Dem seh 2018 a Russia," he said.
This Russian win is something he found out when he was in England, and it appears to be ordained by dark forces. Dawg Heart dares not say much about it or he could lose his life, he insists.
When Yuri Gazinskiy headed the hosts in front after 12 minutes, and Denis Cheryshev converted shortly before half-time to establish a two-goal lead, Dawg Heart flashed a wide smile.
"Me tell unuh," he grinned. "Yuh a look pon me? Tek dah face yah. Yuh see if me dead yuh can say dah ugly man yah did tell yuh seh Russia a go win World Cup," he tells the photographer.
DREAM START FOR RUSSIA
As it turned out, Russia got a dream start in the World Cup, thrashing Saudi Arabia 5-0. Dawg Heart says it is just the beginning of things to come. Despite the impressive showing, the likes of Bobette, Mawga Man and Rohan disagree.
Mawga Man, who spent much of the game debuting as a STAR vendor, didn't mind the result because he placed a good bet. Rohan, the cashew man, is already dreaming about Saturday night. He intends to sleep in his Brazil jersey so that he can wake up and support his team in their opening match on Sunday.
As for Bobette, she plans to make a phone call to the prime minister of Brazil, never mind she does not know who he is, for him to send a shipment of prized wigs. She, like other Brazilian fans, are tired of hearing about the team's 1-7 loss to Germany at last World Cup.