Dead talk close ahead

Terms: dead (serious, wrong, ahead, -ass) / fisho / fasho

You’re so round … and floppy. How’d your legs get so slippery? What a strange creature! Silly you.

Charles’s turtle looked up at him with blank admiration. The apartment walls surrounded them both as the little animal stared fixedly at its owner.

—You know, I love to talk with you when I’m alone. It’s good to vent, isn’t it? It helps me to get my thoughts all together in one place. You’re just a sweet little— ah!

The reptile almost fell to the floor.

Crap! I almost dropped you, __

Charles wanted to blurt out a name, but he remembered.

—Ha, that’s right. Sometimes I wonder if I should give you a name. But, names are for people, right? You’re fine as the little turtle you are.

BUM, BUM, BUM, from the door.

The turtle flew in fright out of Charles’s hands and flopped on the floor for a bit. As Charles went to grab the door, the nameless turtle was able to flip onto its legs before sliding itself safely under the bed.

—Who is it? Charles wondered.

He knew it was better to check the door before opening it. It could have been a school girl selling cookies; it could have been a mobster with a gun pointed at his nose. It happened to be something between the two extremes.

Yo, man, I told you to stop with these notices all over my door.

Charles responded to the man outside his doorway, confused.

The man persisted, though; —Like, dead-ass, if you’re not gonna quit it with those posts on my door, we’re gonna have some problems, I’m- I’m dead serious.

—Oh, man. I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t have anything to do with that. Did you try asking the landlord?

—Wait, you’re not the landlord?

Charles shook his head, No.

—Then who are you?

—I’m Charles. I moved here from out of town. Well, out of the country.

The man then laughed at his own mistake.

—Oh, you the foreigner. My bad, man! I thought this was the landlord’s suite for some reason. Let me … Oh! He’s in two-fifty. This is two-O-five. That was embarrassing …

—No, it’s cool. Forget it. Hey, tell me something. What did you mean by “dead serious?” Were you wishing for me to die?

—Ah, no way, guy. I just wanted you to know I was super serious. When we say dead with something, it means it’s “straightforward, serious, just one way.” If I say, “You’re dead wrong,” that means you are “very wrong,” no question about it. Or if you’re asking directions, and I tell you to keep going dead ahead, that means “straight ahead of you.” Same if something is dead in front of you, or dead in your face. It’s not really dead. It just means that it is “directly ahead of you,” without a doubt. Dead-ass is similar, but you’re saying that something is true or serious.

—So, if I say, “I’m going to buy some dead-ass new shoes,” that means I really am going to do it?

—Well, you’d say it the other way: “I’m gonna buy me some new shoes, dead-ass.”

Got it!

They could hear a rustling noise from under Charles’s bed.

—Oh, I forgot about my turtle. I have to save him … or her.

Fasho. I gotta go find this crazy landlord of ours anyway.

—Fa-what? What did you say? Charles asked him.

—You ain’t ever heard of “fasho?” The same as “for sure.” It’s just a confirmation. Or, I always use it to tell people “goodbye,” like a closing statement. Like just now, you said you had to go do something, so I said, “Fasho. I gotta go too.” Sometimes I say, “Fisho,” but it’s the same thing. It means our conversation is about to be through.

Fasho. Well, I’ll see you around here. Good luck with those posts all over your door. Now, I just have to find my little turtle.

Charles’s neighbor pointed down to the floor at a dark object moving around clumsily.

—Isn’t that him? Or her, I mean?

Charles looked.

—Yeah! There he is. He was dead in front of me this whole time.


*The language used in this dialogue is meant to reflect how different Americans might express themselves. Significant incorrect grammar or sensitive words will be underlined for reference.