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I saw him. Its been years, he still looks good. Sexy lips, a body that screams sex. The eyes are still filled with life and humor. Never knew that just looking into his eyes would rekindle that good old feeling. You know what I am talking about, that feeling that sends a spark through the brain, down the spine and all through the body. Any feelings of hunger, depression, fatigue are replaced by that special feeling.

Background. We first met at a friend’s house. Sex first, then we got to know each other. He was younger, moved in all circles, from Cherry Gardens to Jungle, a regular patron of the popular clubs, a dancehall personality, I was the working girl, not your average 9-5er, but the checks were coming in and the bills get paid. He didnt work, traveled frequently, drove a nice car, several cell phones an always had money, lots of it. I didnt ask, he didnt tell. I didnt want to think about it because that wasnt my business. My friends told me not to worry. As long as he wasnt using it I had no problem. We partied hard, fucked harder. We did the family visits, his mother liked me. His father, who was living with second wife, was the older, much sexier version of him. His father liked me, alot, I suppose like how he would like wife # 3.

My man and I eventually moved in with each other.It was then that I made the decision not to crowd him, to give him some space, after all, we were living as man & wife so little space wouldn’t hurt. I started going out with my friends and he partied with his. We liked the arrangement. After all we shared the same bed at nights when he was in the island. It was fun to be featured online in photos and in videos at parties, looking glam & fab. I felt good, a member of the in crowd. Some of his friends also attended those parties. I never cheated with them though the flirting made me feel sky high. Never cheated with anyone. The unwritten rule was that being wife of a dancehall personality, it was my duty to look good, be seen and be home before him. Compromises they called it. I complied. Lifestyle of the working girl and the party animal.

Yep, he said I was the wife, but I soon realised that being the wife and playing the wife aint the same thing. I met him when he had many women and he chose me to settle down with. I was the one. Me. He gave me money and I was the one whose name was placed on the bank accounts (the accounts I knew of at least). The other women were still there, I suppose. They didnt come to the apartment, I trusted him that way. They didnt disrespect, but they were there. I thought I could live with it. Even though we didn’t party together together I got updates on his nightlife online & from Hype TV & RE TV. He looked happy, very happy, too happy. As a girls man he was always in the company of other women. Huh? But compromises, so, no problem. Then the other women became one particular woman. Always together, always laughing and dancing, always taking pictures with him and his friends. I asked him about her. ……..
 (to be continued)
*Article written by Belly Bang*


*Article written by Belly Bang*

*Article written by Belly Bang*..BUM BANG



Years later I discovered that Marco was born in St. Elizabeth and raised by his single mother. He later moved to White Wing and settled with. By the age of 26, Marco was a “community activist”, whose service to his neighbours included extortion and being linked to several shootings and murders. Frassman was his shadow. Marco knew how to speak the Queen’s english when he was ready. He had women from Denham Town to Papine. He was smooth as he was cold. So they said. He was always warm in my eyes. The only one who was known to control him was Bumpy, his baby mother.

Kelly was pregnant. I called Marco and asked him about it. He asked me what was there to question. I spoke to my girls about it and they said that they knew. So why didn’t you tell me? They thought I heard. They wanted to know how I was taking it. Taking what? The news. What news? That girls replied together, as if they had rehearsed the line several times to perfection, “seh Kelly preggers fi Marvin”! Set of bitches.

I went home. For a few days I kept to myself, avoided most calls, tried to concentrate on work, scrubbed from floor to ceiling every night, cried, went to Church. Marvin called, told me that he missed me. I miss you too. Didn’t want to face another quarrel. I was could hear the whispers and laughter from my neighbours. They looked at me kinda funny. They must be speaking about me. Everyone was speaking about me. The world was against me. I could hear their voices. I couldn’t eat properly and sleep was a stranger. Tired. So tired. I wanted to sleep for a lifetime and leave all my troubles behind. My mother took me to her doctor. He referred me to specialist. Mr. Specialist called it clinical depression. Up to today, I cannot understand why doctors prescribe all these huge tablets to someone who doesn’t want to live, and call it treatment. I just don’t get it. I called Marvin’s mom. She asked me to come and look for her. I couldn’t go because I was certain that she too was laughing at me. Fucking tablets were just too big.

Ring ring. Friday night, I am at home watching Lifetime, Will & Grace. Them battyboys are really hilarious. Ring ring. Cheese on bread, who calling me den!! – so my mind said in my best Bajan accent. You will be surprised at what you meditate on when your mind is turning to mush. Ring ring. Hello…… Your man name Marvin?……. Who is this please?……. Mi seh if your man name Marvin?…… I really cant manage the stress now, call back later……… Hey fuck out, cant breed gal, Marvin love Kelly, cause fi her hole good ……… Click.

Ever since Kelly’s pregnancy became news on local cable, in the entertainment section of the Star, online, every fucking where, I have been receiving those calls. Dancehall regular breed and it becomes gossip. Not yet pregnant home alone wifey becomes target. Fucking idiots. I was at the hairdresser on a Friday. Marco called and said that he was coming to look for me. Haven’t seen much of him, he was always busy. Not seeing him was no problem, one less distraction means easier time to swallow the tablets. Marco wanted to talk. I waited and he arrived. The rat Frassman was

not in sight. But no Lexus, this was a new ride. What happened to the car, where you get this van from? He explained that Marvin imported it several months ago but it was parked at a friend’s house. Whose name the van in? Who insure it? Who responsible for it? What you mean by don’t worry about these things? I got in the van. He drove to Port Royal. Well, I told the girls I was not going to make it. My excuse to them, bad time of life. Marco explained that things are now a bit different, that he has been doing much of Marvin’s business. And So? The sea breeze felt cool and nice. Marco handed me an envelope, a large brown one. It contained cash. To the brim. Brand new paper money. He explained that Marvin wanted me to move to the house in Stony Hill. Whose house? What house? Marco went on to say that it was Marvin’s house, that it was just completed. Huh! More news! I must move in by month end, that’s next week. Why next week? This was too much for one evening. New X5, house, money on top of money, abandon apartment, move to new house. Marco handed me the spliff he was smoking. I was never a smoker but I took it and made one big draw. Exhale quickly. Another big draw, exhale quickly. Slowly after that, slowly, slowly. Marco then said that Marvin was coming next week Friday. Good. So why Marco looked so strange? Maybe it was the spliff. This is some good shit here. He then said in his low voice, “Kerry due to have baby next week”. I never coughed so much in my life……
.(to be continued)
*Article written by Belly Bang*





*Article written by Belly Bang* … *sniff sniff*

This house was definitely not a home. But the family and the girls went out of their way to make me feel comfortable. Ever since my return to Jamaica, the support I received was wonderful. The London experience was like a bad episode of Young and the Restless and I wanted it behind me. Mom stayed with me at the Stony Hill house for a few days and Sharon came over every day, insisting on carrying the gossip to me first hand. Miss Marcia, who was no longer just a housekeeper but a tower of strength, placed me on a strict diet as she was determined that I be fit not only mentally by physically. The parties and crowd issues that the house was now famous for was put on pause by Miss Marcia before I returned. The news of the miscarriage apparently was now well known and the calls, the flowers and gift baskets came fast and furious. Those were handled by Mom. Though I was expecting the preaching about my lifestyle and the need to draw closer to my maker, Moms was really supportive and gave me some soothing advice. She was more happy to see me than anything else. Marvin’s mother also came over for a few days. She insisted that I look forward to the future and try not to let the past hold me down. She, Moms and Miss Marcia spent hours together and made the perfect prayer meeting group. Together they had a great dislike for the girls, especially Sharon. But, diversity is what makes life important, so watching them watching Sharon was as interesting as listening to Sharon’s babbling on and on about the daily suss.

Marvin called often. I had nothing much to say to him. He wondered why. “I am tired” was my constant reply. He reassured me that when he returned to Jamaica that things will be different. Marvin said that he realised that he treated me really fucked up and that he felt sorry for that because he didn’t know how to deal with the situation. He said that he was looking forward to the birth of his child and the loss was too much for him to bear. He didn’t mention that Kelly and Marvin JR had returned to the island. That was courtesy of Sharon.

Marco. Marco. What can I say about him. Everything. Nothing. I haven’t seen him since I arrived home. I tried calling him, the phone went unanswered. Then it appeared that he stopped using that chip. I called his sidekick Frassman. Frassman said that he would pass on my message to Marco. No call from Marco. I started to feel restless. That yearning. The need was rising inside of me and I was becoming frustrated. The girls thought that I was still undergoing the stress of losing my child. That was there, but each time they consoled me and told me that all would be well, I knew better. It will never be better without Marco. I needed him, I had to have him, but I knew that it would be impossible now. When I called him from London, our last conversation, or should I say my call for forgiveness, he listened. I spoke for over 20 minutes and he listened. I confessed it all. I told him all that happened, the trip to the doctor, the reason I visited Marvin, everything. When I was through, as I wiped away the tears, he said goodbye and hung up. Plain and simple.

It as a Friday night and I got ready. I had to get out of the house. I had to shake my soul and let these cobwebs go. I told Moms that I will be back. I headed down the hill, driving slowly, listening to a few love songs, R Kelly. Memories. I pulled into a service station along Constant Spring Road, I needed a few items. As I stepped into the building, I was approached by a man. Strike that. I was approached by a boy. He appeared to be 17 going on 21. He had a swagger about him, cockiness was written all over his face, “Wassup”, he said. I looked at him. He was so sure of himself. I smiled and said “Nothing much, how are you” as I stood looking at him. “I saw you and I really want to get to know you better”, he chimed on. Cute, yeah. A few tattoos here and there. He had an accent. Probably visiting from the States. “That would be nice, but another time”, was all I said as I moved along and started picking up what I came here. The child came up beside me and whispered something in my ears. I knew that this was trouble. “Look here, I am not here to look for company, I am here to shop”. The words came out nice and easy, sweet, flirty, in perfect english. Wat the fuck mi ah think? Why mi nuh just run him nastiness and tell him fi guh look a school gal”!! He brushed against me and I felt it. He smiled the smile of a boy well beyond his age. I looked into his eyes. His eyes. Nope, this aint gonna work. “I have to go”, I said and replaced the items on the shelf and walk out. As I got in my ride he walked up beside me and handed me a piece of paper. I opened it and saw “ANDRE BLINGERS, 444-6670”. I crushed up the paper threw it in the truck, slammed the door in his face and took off. As I looked in the mirror I saw him smile. Andre fuck you Blingers. I stuck my hand through the window and raised my middle finger. Andre waved.

I drove to New Kingston and headed straight to The Hilton. It was buzzing and I stopped by the bar. I had a seat. The bartender that approached smiled. Handsome. He recommended a drink. It tasted good. We started talking. After a while he gave me another one on the house. My phone rang and I answered. It was Marvin, saying that he heard I was out of the house. I told him that I wanted to have some time to myself and he agreed that it was a god idea. “I love you and see you soon”, he whispered. “I love you too”, I managed to say as the bartender looked at me, taking every word out my mouth. The call ended and the bartender continued where he had stopped. I knew that he was trying to pick me up. It wasn’t as if he wasn’t interesting. He was singing a good song, assured me that he was single, only goes from home to the gym to work. I asked a few questions, confirmed that he has two baby mothers. They were living in Spanish Town and he supported his children.

I am someone. I was alive. I have needs. I am human. Nothing is wrong with striking up a conversation with a man. I aint promising sex. But. It wouldn’t hurt to get some. He got a text on his phone and he excused himself to make a call. I signalled to his supervisor and left some money for the bill as well as a hefty tip, My head was really buzzing. But it was still early, 10:30 and the night was still young. As I walked across the parking lot, I my heel broke, the ground started getting nearer. Shit. I didn’t hit the ground. A pair of hands were holding me. I managed to hobble to my feet, spun around and used my hand to strike out at the fucker. He grabbed my hand and I used the other to slap at his face. He held that one too. I started struggling with him and he pushed me against a car. I squinted, trying to see clearly as I fought this shit. There was no light in this section and the security guard was on the other side of the lot. The truck was parked under a light but that was in another row. Too far from where I was. I opened my mouth to scream and his hand clamped my mouth, the other now holding my two hands behind me. He braced himself against me and I was trying to get away. He was too powerful.

Strong. Sturdy. Sure. He removed his hand and kissed me. He released my hands and I embraced him and pulled him closer. I felt the gun in the waist of his jeans. But I wasn’t scared. I wanted this. Familiar. As our lips locked he raised my legs and placed them around his waist. Jah know. I couldn’t help myself. It was like passion gone wild. I felt like a woman again. The spell was broken. Or was it. It was when I pulled his T-shirt over his head and started to caress his muscled chest, while he still had me pinned on the car, that he spoke. “Next time you go to the gas station, pay attention”. Marco said it so casually, yet wrapped with 100% pure sexuality,
*Article written by Belly Bang*

Someone once said that …”sex is more than an act of pleasure, it’s the ability to be able to feel so close to a person, so connected, so comfortable that it’s almost breathtaking to the point you feel you cant take it. And at this moment you’re part of them”.

There were no birds, no soft songs, no sweet nothings. We had sex how we knew we should. Without rules and restrictions. No borders. Old fashion understanding . Clawing hands. The release of tension. I wrapped my legs around his waist & pulled him inside me, holding his back tightly. This was it. He was sweating, moving with me. We were one. One heartbeat. We didn’t care. Marco’s pants was bundled around his knees, my dress was around my waist, the night air was cool and crisp, the heat from our bodies just right. Right for what was my now. With one hand he held the gun behind my back. With the other he held my face as we kissed. Nothing mattered at that time, His chest, muscles, charm, cruelty, him. He was all mine for that moment and that was what mattered. With one swift movement he tried the pulled the car door. It didn’t open. Still fucking, we moved to the next car, he tried the back door. It opened and we got in. Then he really started. I screamed and he covered my mouth with his hand and refused to stop. I didn’t want him to stop. I wanted it to last forever. Too much, this was way too much, and I was loving it. My role was to obey his commands, his directions, his demands, his body. I didn’t care. It was raw, it was spontaneous. What was better than sex? Sex with Marco.

It was over. I sat in the truck and watched him get on his bike. He looked at me as he zipped his jacket and put on his helmet. He didn’t smile. No goodbyes. No see you laters. Nothing. We just fucked, finished, sorted out our clothes and walked away from the car. The owner is gonna be mad as rass. The bike was parked under a tree in front of my truck. He started it, took out a blue piece of paper from his pants pocket and placed it in his jacket. He rode off. The end. For now. It lasted only 30 minutes from the grab to him riding off. It seemed like forever. I was tired. My clothes, or what was left of them, needed changing. I had no idea where my shoes went. My makeup was a mess not to mention the hair. I turned on the vanity light and looked at myself in the mirror. What I saw looking back at me was satisfaction. How ironic. (1) My man, I mean my main man, I mean the man that people knew was my man, was hundreds of miles away in London living it up with his women. Marvin was probably married for all I knew. (2) I recently had a miscarriage. (3) Kelly was back in Jamaica up to who knows what. (4) I had no real friends. The girls were good company but I do know that they could be vicious bitches. (5) I was yet to have a child. (6) I just had sex in a stranger’s car, in a parking lot, with a man who I knew so much about yet he was still a big mystery. (7) Marco has his baby mother who he loved.

My life is now officially fucked up. And here I was, stretched out in the front of my truck, the air conditioning on, my legs outstretched, the smell of manliness all over me. Here I was talking about being satisfied. Where is the misery, the guilt, the shame? Fuck that. I AM SATISFIED. Something caught my eye. It was a bag on the back seat. I reached around and took it up. Where did it come from? This bag wasn’t here when I parked earlier. The doors to the van lock automatically when I am 10 feet away with the keys in my hand. I opened the bag. Several items were inside. Items that I wanted at the service station. Items that I took up and replaced when that Andre Blingers was putting the moves on me. I saw a receipt. The items were purchased tonight at the same service station. How the hell did he get in the truck? I was getting angry. I reached out before the front passenger seat and was feeling for the paper with his number that I had previously thrown there. That fucker Andre is going to get a piece of my mind. I didn’t see the paper. Did Andre really remove the paper when he broke in the truck? It was a blue piece of paper. I searched under the seat. No paper. No blue paper. The only paper I have seen since I left the service station was….was… the piece of paper….the piece of blue paper I saw Marco place in his jacket pocket right before he rode off. Shit. Did Marco have spare keys? Was he really following me? But if he stayed behind to buy the items, how did he find me?

The phone rang. I reached in the handbag and answered it. It was still ringing. Or should I say a phone was ringing but it wasn’t my phone. I looked around and felt under my seat and found a cell phone. It stopped. Did Marco forget his phone when he broke in? The phone rang again. I answered. “Hello”. “Yuh good?”, said Marco. “Yes”, I was getting more surprised at his antics. “Yuh get wat yuh want now so yuh good”, said he, cool and calm. I didn’t hear anything in the background, so that meant that he stopped somewhere quiet. “How yuh get in the truck?”, I asked, I really wanted to know. “You are the one who love to play games, you tell me”, cool and calm again. Games? Hold on. We just had sex. He came and found me. He refused to take my calls. He changed his number. And I was the one playing games? “Fuck off”, was all I could say. “Just answer the phone when mi call”, Marco said quietly. “How mi ah guh know that is YOU calling?”, I snapped. “Cause is me one have this number and is me one supposed fi call you”. “Then suppose I dont answer? Suppose mi give the number to someone else?”, I threw at him. “Gi anybody yuh want”, he said without any emotions, sounding kinda like a threat. Was this the man who I just fucked? Yes it was. This was the side of Marco that I was introduced to on many occasions. Contradictory. Rough. Cold. Intense. “Yuh going home”, said he. That sounded like an order than a question. “Yes”, I was way too tired to argue. He hung up. Typical.

The house was quiet and everyone seemed to be asleep. There was a slight drizzle. As I reached for the keys to the front door, it was then I noticed a new addition to the bunch. It was a gold heart shaped key ring with the words “FOREVER” engraved on one side. It was then the thunder and lightning started as the rain pelted the driveway.

Marvin’s calls became more frequent. We would speak for lengthy periods About the good times we had. He begged my forgiveness. Could I forgive him? Should I just keep on living the lie? But I was also building on the lie. My hands were not clean. It reached the point that I wasn’t even sure that Marvin was lying or if I wanted to keep on acting. But I was a good actress. Marvin had successfully brought me to my knees and the bruises were still there. But he still my man. It was still my relationship. But I saw the problem. The old Marvin was returning. The “pre Kelly” Marvin was seriously gaining ground. The Marvin who now remembered our early days, the days when we would sit and hold each other, whispering in each other’s ears, was at the door to my heart. The Marvin who would touch me in those places that created sensuality, who was able to create that ever flowing river of emotions. Marvin was not going to let my heart go so easily. But was I prepared to wrestle my future from him and go my own way?

Marco called me everyday. No set time. The phone he gave me would just ring and I knew that it was him. Nothing much was said. Short questions about how I was doing, one line replies. Nothing about love, caring, missing me, wanting me. Nothing said. But I could hear them. His intensity, his jealousy, his emotions were louder than any spoken word. These were dangerous waters. He was a dangerous man. But, he told me that all I heard was lies, that he was a hustler. But a hustler that remains unpredictable, untameable. Someone who values trust. Someone who demands loyalty. Someone who you will never be certain of. I didn’t want to love him. All my senses told me that it was wrong and bound to end in tragedy. How could I love Marco? What will our future be like? One week had passed since the parking lot. However, I haven’t seen him since. He showed no signs that he wanted to see me. Was this my punishment for my deeds, my deception? It was as if he wanted me to be there, just existing for him , purposely prodding my nerves. As if he was examining me, my reactions, teasing me, daring me.

Its been a week. Thunder, the selector (episode 6), was hosting his annual Boat Ride on the Caribbean Queen, downtown. Why they call it a boat ride I have no idea as the boat never leaves the dock. But it was an event that I had to attend. Each year Marvin and I would attend. This year Marvin asked me to attend and represent him. He knew that I had been through alot but be wanted things to get back to normal, how they were, how they will be when he returns home. Everyone attends Thunder’s Silk & Satin Boat Ride. Every dancehall personality, DJ, dancer, groupie, everyone. It was a crowded affair with persons from within and outside Jamaica. In attendance would be the fashionables and the spenders. I knew them all. This was the time of year that we would gather, pose, laugh or fake laughter. The girls were going. Marco was going. I went shopping with the girls. I planned on keeping it simple and elegant. The little black dress with accessories could never be wrong. The visit to the hairdresser was like for hours. I made plans for Paul and Prince (episode 6) to pick me up at home and then we would all go to the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston where we would meet the girls. Then we would all head downtown.

At home, while I slipped on my heels, the phone rang. The special phone. “Hey”, I said. “Yuh good”, came the voice. “Getting ready, Paul said that he would be here in the next 5 minutes and we are going to meet the girls at the Pegasus”. “You good”, Marco repeated. Ok, something was up. I could sense it. “I am good”. “Look here, Bumpy going to be at the Boat Ride”, said he. My stomach got in a twist. A feeling of sickness washed over me like a wave. He and Bumpy attend every year, it wasn’t anything new. So why as he telling me? It wasn’t anything unexpected. But this was a new dimension. A new reality. Things had changed. We were different, Marco and I. But Bumpy was still his woman and I was now the one on the outside, interfering . “You good”. His words brought me back to reality. “Yes I am, see you there”, was all I could say. “Keep safe. Later”, were his words before he hung up. My mind was racing, then it went blank. Next thing I knew I was in Paul’s car chatting to him and Prince. We were nearing New Kingston. I had no idea how I skipped so much time and had no memory of what had transpired since Marco’s call. When I realised, I paused, took a deep breath and changed the topic from whatever it was we were speaking about. Paul looked at me and laughed and asked about the sudden change in my mood. I pulled the shawl closer around my shoulders.

Paul parked by outside the hotel and Prince went inside to call the girls. I saw their ride also parked infront the hotel by the main door so they couldn’t be far. Paul took the opportunity to quiz me. He wanted to know what was the matter. He said I was distant and unfocused. I told him that I had some major things on my mind. Paul asked me who it was. I looked at him quickly and laughed. There was no one in my life but Marvin I assured him. As if the Lord was waiting to reveal my lying ways, that phone rang. I was ignoring it. Paul was looking at it. Paul started to laugh. I became annoyed. The phone kept on ringing. I answered. I didn’t know what to say to Paul except that I was going to wait on someone to collect something for somebody. I told him that I will meet him at the Boat Ride and that he must apologise to the girls for me but I will make it up to them later in the night. I got out and walked out to Knutsford Boulevard and climbed into the back of the black tinted sedan. Frassman took off and within minutes we were by a small restaurant in Liguanea. I walked in and saw Marco by the bar. He looked at me and winked and used his hand to pat the stool beside him . I walked over and sat beside him. He was dressed in a white shirt and black jeans. His hair, that had undergone a growth spurt, was in neat cane rows. He looked as comfortable here as he would in the tough White Wing community off Hagley Park Road. Marco’s smile was relaxing, disarming, cool, charming, full of surprises. We sat looking into each other’s eyes. Those eyes. “What next”, I said. “Nothing. Wi just chilling and spending some quality time”, said he. We ordered drinks and spoke about silly things, little things. We were clearly going around the real subject. His phone rang. He looked at the number and looked at me. “I know its Bumpy, so answer it”, I said, trying my best to speak in a low not jealous tone. “She can wait till wi finish”, Marco said as he locked off the phone. That was definitely something new. We didn’t talk about us and the future. No talk about love. Just small insignificant nothings. After forty five minutes he said it was time to go. He paid the bill and we went outside and got in the car driven by Frassman. On the way downtown, he gently pulled me closer to him and I rested my head on his shoulder. He caressed my back, held up my face and we kissed. He looked into my face with those deep soulful eyes and said “You already know wat is wat. Just keep the order and everyting will be ok”, A million thoughts raced through my mind. His rude and brazen attitude had no limits. I stared at him and was equally surprised at what escaped my lips, “Ok”. Did I just commit to him with that one simple word? No I didn’t. Ok isn’t commitment. It is just “Ok”. But I knew that one word said alot. Too many things. Fuck Ok, this was not Ok.

I expected that he was going to arrange for us to arrive at the Boat Ride separately, given the circumstances. I was surprised and disturbed when the car continued downtown and pulled into the drop off zone, I looked through the tinted window and saw the flashing lights, the crowd, the glee and glamour and became afraid and felt exposed. Marco squeezed my hand, kissed me on the neck and let go. I got out the car and walked over to the red carpet and stood before a large banner. As the dozen or so cameramen clicked away, I posed, smiled, turned here and there, waving to people who stood around calling my name. When that was done I walked into the venue and as I made my way to our usual tent. I could hear the selector hailing Andre Blingers and the Blingers family from Canada. I stood beside the girls. Paul and Prince were by now on the boat. Marco and Bumpy were beside me, holding hands, laughing, exchanging words. The perfect couple.

*Article written by Belly Bang*

Sharon and the girls were enjoying themselves. The Boat Ride was going good. The music was pumping, the crowd was moving and the cameramen were clicking away. Marco and Bumpy had their hands locked together. They looked comfortable, happy, inseparable. Thunder was here, there and everywhere. His dance, his night to shine. I was rocking to the beat of the music, wrapped in a glow. A glow that was so wrong, yet so right. In the space of a few months, I had managed to move from a dysfunctional relationship with a cheating, self centred jerk, to a “relationship” with Marco, where I was now the cheat, the one living the lie. I sipped at a glass of something, dont know what it was, just remembered that Paul had handed it to me., something fruity with vodka. I was just staring out at nothing in particular when something forced me to focus. It was a familiar face, Andre Blingers. He was with a group, all waving Hennessy and Cristal bottles, splashing a few people around them. They had no care in the world. Well, they were enjoying themselves. And he kept looking in my direction. He waved and shouted some greeting or the other. I cut my eyes and turned away. He was too much.

Paul and Prince reappeared and we started to talk. Selectors from Stone Love were now playing music from the 70’s and 80’s and Prince held me and we started to dance. I had not a care in the world at this time and was determined to enjoy myself. I reached out and handed my drink to Paul and Prince spun me around and I stopped suddenly in the arms of someone else. Tipsy and frightened, I looked up saw that it was Andre. “Hey you”, he said as we danced. Didnt even know that someone his age appreciated this type of music much less to move so smoothly to the beat. As Gladys Knight and the Pips belted out “Midnight Train To Georgia”, I said to him, “ Yuh know that yuh going get yuhself in some serious problems if yuh continue same way”. “Big Woman, listen this, any problem weh reach me, mi have the solution”, was his reply as he moved closer. I eased him off a bit but kept the pace going as he was a fairly good dancer. “Some things may just be bigger than you”, I said. He laughed and as Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibbs started the line “…and we’ve got nothing to be guilty of….” he started singing the words to the song. “Nothing cant bigger dan wat mi have, yuh nuh want find out?”, he smirked. He still had a bottle in his hand and he took a gulp from it and started to pass it to me. I told him no, not interested. Way too much of him now. “Big Woman, you know the night mi see you by di gas station, mi just cant get you out ma mind”. Enough I said and pushed him away. “Thanks for the dance still, you have vibes Big Woman”, he said as he moved back to his group who were by now watching both of us with some amount of interest. I turned and moved back to my original spot. Bumpy and Marco were by now locked in each other’s arms, her head resting on his shoulder, both slowly dancing away.

I felt someone tapping my arm and I looked around and saw Kelly. “Hey!!”, she said, genuinely looking happy to see me. “Kelly, how are you?”, was my reply. “Mi deh yah enuh. Mi really glad to see you out still cause yuh know that you and Marvin did really have the place lock and like how him away mi kinda glad that you keeping up the ting still”. OK. Thank you Kelly for bringing up that name at this time. But I wasn’t going to let it bother me, that much. It’s a night to enjoy myself and neither Kelly nor Bumpy are going to stop that. “So who and you come?”, was all I could say, as I looked around at the scene. She moved and stood in my sight, “Mi and mi bredda and him friend dem”. Ok. “Well, enjoy yuh self and wi will link later then”, I said in a nice go about your business way as I took a fresh drink from Paul. She flashed a smile and made her way off in the sea of fabric, weed and jewellery. Kelly went straight over to Andre said something to him and both waved at me. Kelly hard at work as usual. Always in the spotlight.

By now the girls had gathered around me and I could sense that one of their sessions was about to start. Before I could count to three, Sharon led the charge. “Di likkle bwoy deh look like him like you, where you know him from?”, she begun. “First time mi ah meet him is right here”, I lied. “Him and Kelly tight though, mi hear seh ah fi him group she ah par wid now, since Marvin nuh really deh bout again”, she slipped in. Yep, I could tell that she couldn’t wait to bring up Marvin’s name. “Mi see dat bwoy around the place still. Mi hear him name Andre Blingers and him mussi come from Canada. Pure big dollars him ah spend from wah day. And is pure big woman him look. Mi ah wonder wah Kelly ah do wid him”, she rambled on. What was Kelly doing with him indeed. But, fuck that. If Kelly want fuck under tree, in the river or on the sidewalk that is her business right now. I cannot let other people who are living their lives rule mine. “Mi notice seh Kelly nuh even look pon Marco him, or is cause she see him wid Bumpy. She mussi nuh want ketch nuh lick inna the place tonight. But still, the whole ah unno live loving. She used fi fuck Marco then drap pon Marvin, Marco and Bumpy deh yah, you deh yah. Wat ah mix up”, she laughed. What ah mix up indeed. Sharon was going on and on the other girls had joined in at this time, pulling together the gossip gathered or created throughout the night. I had tuned them out, managing to hear them but not listening to them. I was not in the mood but for better or for worst they were still my girls. Andre was now coming across to us and out of nowhere Frassman appeared and stood infront of him, and they appeared to be talking to each other. They laughed and Frassman held him by a shoulder and led him away to one of the bars.

I was feeling tired by now. A few drinks, the chatting, the lights, the excitement. Paul and Prince came over and told us that they were leaving and asked if I was going home with them or I was staying. I asked them to wait on me and said my goodbyes to the girls. We walked outside and Prince left for the car while we waited at a point. “So, that was him?”, Paul asked. “Him who you talking?”. “The young fellow, Andre mi hear seh him name. Is he the one who you seeing?”, he pressed. “Paul, get a grip of yourself. What the rass mi doing with that pickney? Plus, try remember that I have Marvin so that isn’t even something I would consider”. “Marvin is in England doing who knows what and already him breed up Kelly and never care bout you or him, so try nuh bring Marvin into this”, Paul insisted. “I am not interested in meeting anyone or knowing anyone else who might just complicate mi life. You already know what happened the last time and the stress mi go through when mi did find out that mi pregnant. Never again”, was my reply as my mind reflected on that terrible period. “All now you never tell me who the man was, you plan on telling me now?” That was so true. I never did get around to telling Paul the truth behind the pregnancy, though he stood in as the baby father at the doctor (episode 9). A black tinted sedan pulled up in front of us and Paul pulled me back as he looked suspiciously at it. “Paul, I thank you for your company tonight, I thank you for the offer for the ride home, but I have to go now”, and with that I got in the car and closed the door. Inside was dark, the driver pulled away from the curb. I could make out that it was Frassman behind the steering wheel.

My regular phone rang. The number was vaguely familiar. I answered and when I heard Andre’s voice I immediately hung up. Annoyance. Then that special phone rang and I answered it. “Wassup”, was the smooth quiet voice. “Tired, want to sleep, thanks for the ride, wish you were here though”, I managed to say. I didn’t hear any music in the background so I knew that Marco had already left the Boat Ride. I could hear Bumpy’s voice asking if he wanted something to eat. He said no and got back to me, “I see that you enjoyed yourself”. “Yes, no regrets and it was good seeing the crowd. So when am I going to see you again”, i was sounding a bit needy and I knew it. “Tomorrow, next year, later, dont worry about that”, said he. “I am not worrying, its just that I miss you already”, I said. I struck me that I had now crossed that official line and was other woman in his life. Or at least one of the other women, who to tell. “The only thing you need to do is to settle yourself, relax and it will all work out”, he sounded reassuring. “You know that mi check fi you still, with all what you do, mi still rate you”, and with those words he hung up. Andre kept calling.

*Article writting by Belly Bang

A week had passed since the Boat Ride. It was a Saturday morning and I got up and headed downstairs. Miss Marcia was away for the weekend, having had some personal emergency. Moms had returned home. So I was pretty much alone at home, but alone and doing good. The stress of London was behind me and I was finally piecing back my life, one shred at a time. As I stepped into the living room I saw Marco. He was sitting watching television. Last time I saw him was the night of the Boat Ride and its been a while since we saw each at the house. As I mentioned before, he had a key, so seeing him inside was not a surprise. Seeing him inside, sitting still was a surprise. Marco had limited his business at the house to going to the basement door that always remained locked, and to which he and Frassman had the only keys. That was based on some arrangement I suppose that they had with Marvin. Marco never watched television here. He never sat in the sofa, here. I was happy to see him though. I told him good morning, he replied, keeping his eyes fixed on an old western movie. I went into the kitchen and looked through a window and saw a bike parked in the driveway. The electronic gate outside was locked. No Frassman in sight. So Marco came alone. I made a cup of tea and made my way into the living room and sat across from him. Then he started talking.

At noon, I heard the buzzer at the gate chime. I looked outside and when I saw them I opened the electronic gate from inside. They came in. All 25 of them. I opened the front door and stood watching. Several went to either side of the house and a few proceeded to the garage where the vehicles were parked. A tall man, wearing a vest, approached me and gave me a paper, said it was a warrant to search the premises, and asked me to stand outside with some female officers. I held unto my bathrobe tightly and stood in the driveway, three females surrounding me. The other officers went inside the house. The sun was hot but I remained numb. I had never experienced a situation like this before. Being the subject of a massive raid by the police isn’t for the faint hearted. And right then I wanted to melt on the hot asphalt. Deep down, I knew that this was inevitable. I was not employed. The only source of income was through what was taken from the bank accounts held by Marvin and myself and whatever I was instructed to collect at Western Union. I lived in a massive fully furnished house that could hold several families. Huge parties are held with several persons from the dancehall fraternity in attendance – though they were the ones to host them, the house was just the venue. The Range and Lexus, Marvin’s car, were parked in the garage. I looked up and watched the policemen as they passed the windows on the 3 upper levels, going up and down the staircases, in and out of the bedrooms. I knew that I was being kept outside as some form of punishment or a prelude to bigger things that would come. The sun was hot, my life was in turmoil and the only thing I could do was to keep my fucking mouth shut. I asked the females if I could wait in a gazebo that was to the front and they agreed. I sat down and looked out on the city view, thinking about where family and friends were at this hour, what they were doing, who they were doing it with. I wanted Marco beside me, to hold me, to be my tower of strength. But this isn’t his type of party. Not his crowd.

The vehicles were driven unto the driveway and searched thoroughly. Several men in greasy overalls arrived in a truck and they jacked up the Range and the Lexus, removed the wheels and the spare tyres and examined every inch, inside and out. I could hear furniture being moved in the house and hushed expletives now and then. I was getting hungry and my stamina was failing. Too much now, way too much. How much can one person bear. But then again, this is the price I have to pay. With the good comes the bad. With the hype, the humiliation. Cant plant trouble and reap happiness every day. The garden was searched leaf by leaf, rose bush by rose bush. Even a lawnmower that was outside was turned upside down and given a proper shake. The tall man, who I learnt to be the Superintendent, came out and looked at the men who were by now replacing the tyres on the vehicles. He looked angry. He asked them if they found anything and they said no. He asked them why they are replacing the tyres and they said that I was the only one at the house and if he expected me to replace them. Fuck her, he said and walked off. The men continued doing what they were doing. God bless them. Men among monsters.

It was now 6:00 in the evening and I was still in the gazebo. The 3 female officers who were with me remained silent. One by one the police officers exited the house, evidently tired and frustrated. The Superintendent approached with a large black garbage bag. He handed me a piece of paper with some writing and told me to sign at the end. I asked him what it was I was signing to and he got miserable and asked me if I was even able to read and write. I looked at him. He seemed sour and full of bitterness. I took the paper from his hands and looked at the contents. It was a list. Travel documents, bank books, bank records, several cellular phones, motor vehicle documents, remittance slips, miscellaneous papers I never even knew were in the house and every single scrap of paper that was labelled a receipt. I signed the paper and he handed me the carbon copy. He then walked up the driveway with his troops in tow. I sat in the gazebo and watched them leave. I then looked at the house, with its open windows, curtains blowing through them, lights on. Extreme fatigue. That was what was gripping my body at that moment. I just sat in the gazebo and said a small prayer, being grateful for living through another day.

I got up and decided to face the inevitable. More than that I had to use the bathroom. I went through the main hall and to the nearest bathroom. It was only after emerging that I really took in the scope of the hurricane. Everything that could be moved and dismantled was disturbed. The kitchen, helper’s quarters, entertainment area and lower level guestrooms were ransacked. The master bedroom, the one containing Marvin’s belongings, the one I refused to sleep in, was ripped to shreds. The mattress was torn open and draws and clothing were open and strewn on the ground. My room suffered a similar fate. Makeup, perfume bottles and clothes littered the floor. The other bedrooms were in the same condition. Nothing was untouched. I returned downstairs and poured myself a drink from the bar. I couldn’t manage this. The wiring in the entertainment area was ripped from the floor and the walls and the speakers were all forced open. I went to the basement door. That door was now broken in several pieces. I stepped inside. I could see the bathroom, at least two separate rooms and a large area containing empty carton boxes. Those boxes were now tattered and appeared to have been trampled. Cupboard doors were opened and the insides clear and clean.

I walked upstairs and unto the driveway. I then went to the gate and opened the letterbox and removed the cellular phone Marco had placed there. There were 2 missed calls. As I walked down the driveway, I stopped by the gazebo, still sipping the vodka. It was now that I really digested what Marco told me. Marvin was in police custody in London, after being held in a drug sting. He was facing multiple charges and there was the possibility of at least 20 years in prison if convicted. But something had gone wrong. Money was missing. Several hundred thousand pounds. People’s money. And they were pissed. The police were pissed. Information was that some of the money was sent to Jamaica. The police here were contacted by their counterparts in London. Other police officers were contacted by the people. They would be coming to the house today. Not sure which would reach first. Marco insisted that everything was ok, that I should just cooperate and I would be left alone. I heard a noise outside like vehicles on the driveway and I jumped up. He remained seated and told me to relax, that it was only Frassman and one of his soldiers returning the Range and the Lexus. I didn’t even realise that they weren’t in the garage. When did they take them out? Why did they take them out? Marco said that I was asking too many questions. My mind was racing. I thought of the basement. What about the basement? What is in teh basement? Guns, drugs, money, bodies? He laughed. I wanted to slap the shit out of him. Marco and Frassman had that area under lock and key doing who knows what inside. Marco didn’t look fazed at all. He asked me to follow him and we went downstairs and he opened the basement door. It wasn’t locked, only closed. It was always kept locked. Inside was empty, only carton boxes stacked neatly in one of the rooms. We left the room and he locked the door with his key. He then told not to say anything, just remain calm. I started to cry and asked him what it was that he and Marvin got me into. He held me and pulled me towards him. I tried to pull away but he held me closer, telling me to relax, it will be over soon. “Open yuh eyes and look at me”, Marco said in a stern but calm voice. I looked at him, tears flowing down my face. “Nuff tings you dont know, nuff tings you will never know. What you do know is that I am looking out for you”, he said as he handed me a handkerchief.

*Article written by Belly Bang*—mi figet fi put that

What do you do when your life has taken a turn for the worst? I dont know about you, but sitting there, in the ransacked house, thinking the recent roller coaster ride I have been on with Marvin, Marco, Kelly, the pregnancy, the medication, the depression, the frustration, every fucking thing……I had absolutely no idea what to do. Do I call Moms and tell her what happened? I should but not now, maybe soon, may be never, I really dont now. Call Marvin’s Moms and tell her about the episode? That her son was in jail in the United Kingdom and that there is the strong probability that the next time she will see him is resurrection morning? Call the girls and ask them to come over for their support? Call Dominoes and order a pizza because I was so hungry . The asshole policemen had unplugged the fridge in their search for weapons of mass destruction among the mayonnaise, lettuce and left over chicken. Within 45 minutes I was sitting on the driveway, enjoying my full house pizza, my first meal for the day, under the stars. No one came after the police left. Marco wasn’t expected. I was pretty much on my own during this time. The tightness in my chest, that rose up while I was pondering my predicament, subsided with each bite. Food really makes you consider alot. I entered the house, took a bath, packed a bag, secured the windows and doors, turned off the lights, and stepped out. The house can wait. I climbed in the van and headed through the Junction. The phone started to ring, Marco calling. I wasn’t in the mood to answer. Not now. Maybe later. Maybe never. Who to tell.

When I arrived in Tower Isle in St. Mary, I stopped by a hotel. Never planned to, just stopped. I checked in, crawled into bed, and felt at peace, for now. Thanks to Marco, he had prepared me for the arrival of the police. He didn’t tell me how I was going to make it through – moneywise – after they left. No doubt he had a plan. He just didn’t feel the need to tell me then. Perhaps I would have to continue stumbling through this entire ordeal one day, and crisis, at a time, while he plots and plans each move. Well, get vex money is a must, especially when you living the life that I live. Something that can tide you over and keep you warm and comfortable until things are settled. Credit cards and debit cards were all gone with the long arms of the law. Lucky for me, the police didn’t feel the need to search the heavy bathrobe I was wearing. If they had done so, they would have found the cash filled envelopes that were strapped to my stomach and legs. In going to the bank, I would sometimes withdraw a little much for clothes, little this and that for emergencies. A police raid counts as an emergency, right? Well, that little much was now in my travelling bag, beside the bed in the hotel room. The phone continued to ring. I locked it off. I fell asleep.

I didn’t want to have a care in the world. The phone remained off. The van was parked in a shed located by the hotel’s maintenance department, so anyone passing and looking in would not see it. I went to the beach. I bought a book and started reading it. Something written by Johnnie Cochran, one of the lawyers for OJ Simpson. I went to a nearby club, had a few drinks, enjoyed the music. I had to have time for me. In times of trouble, the only person that matters is you, no one else. Its my mind, my emotions, my mental health that was on the verge of playing marbles with each other. This wasn’t the best solution. But it was my solution. After several days I developed a routine. Relax and be pampered. That was the only routine I wanted. I did call Miss Marcia, Moms and Marvin’s mother. I had their digits scribbled down in a notebook. I couldn’t just disappear like that, letting them find the house topsy turvy, me missing and no explanation. They would have called the police, who in turn would have yet another reason to go hunting for me. I explained to each of them that the house was searched, that I needed some time alone and I will be back in a few days. They pleaded with me to return home, to be around them, but I couldn’t. Marvin’s mom took the news of his arrest in stride. She sounded tired. Like a woman who was barely making it through. When I emerge from this solitude, I must go and see her. She was a good woman, who has never failed to stand beside me through thick and thin. She told me that she dreamed him couple nights ago and that she knew that something terrible had happened. She promised to call his father. Marco stopped calling.

After a week, I decided it was time to leave. I took a leisurely drive to Ocho Rios, Faiths Pen, Ewarton, Spanish Town, then unto the Mandela highway cruising into the city. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had absolutely no idea where I was going from here. Destitute? Get job? Sell the vehicles and the house? Sell vehicles and house!!! The only vehicle that was in my name was the Range. The Lexus was in Marvin’s mother’s name. I had no idea whose name the house was in. In fact. I had no idea how the utility bills were paid. Never got any at the house. Funny how these things are taken for granted up until the shit hits the fan. Whose name was the house in? Marco said it was Marvin’s house. So he said. I am not sure of anything right now and who to believe. What would I do for money? The cash I had in the travelling bag isn’t going to last forever. Marco. That little shithouse was the reason why I was up to my neck in these trials and tribulations. Ok. So I was the true reason, but right now it was easier directing my growing anger at him, as he was the one who was keeping secrets, being all into this mystery and shit. Marco was pulling some strings and it wasn’t just those on his boxer shorts.

As I approached the Six Mile bridge, I veered right and headed down Spanish Town Road. I had to see the little fucker by the hook or the crook. This was some serious bloodclawt that was going down and me alone naw guh wallow in the mess while him decide, in his contented dont care manner, what I should do and when. Left unto Hagley Park Road, left unto Olympic Way. Right into White Wing. Children were running up and down in the open dusty space, enjoying themselves in the Saturday evening. Women were seated around plastic basins washing. Several men were seen sitting near the entrance as I drove in and they eyed the van with suspicion. One man took something from his waist and placed it in his lap. This was the first time I was coming down here without Marvin. The only times I have been in this zinc fenced community of ad hoc houses was with Marvin. Even when Marco and I started fucking, I never came down here. Yes, I was now convinced that all it was, was pure fucking. Nothing was ever there between us. I was fooling myself into believing that we had something special going on. Fuck Marco, fuck special. Him did just want the pussy as he felt the need and him never did give a shit about me. Well, good for him, all I want now is some answers and seeing that Marvin turn jailbird, again, Marco better try answer nuff tings.

I slowly drove through the massive dust bowl that was ringed by houses, clothes lines, and some communal bathrooms. How the fuck can Marco continue to live in a place like this? Him have him money, or access to it, or whatever. Him is supposed to be big big community activist or hustler as him describe himself. As a matter of fact, him running extortion, according to mout, so him have him change put down. I was so pissed by now. I didn’t know where he lived in this place, I didn’t even know if he was here now, or where he was, but I had to start somewhere. Marco haffi answer fi the sins of himself, Marvin and the devil himself. I was really really pissed. Then I saw the X5. I hit the brakes. Beside it was a black tinted Audi, probably the same car that Frassman was driving the night of the Boat Ride. They were parked on a concreted area, beside a row of houses. Several bikes were also parked on the area. About 10 men and boys were sitting on crates near to the vehicles, with their backs to a wall. I pulled up beside them and came out the van. Handbag over the arm, sun glasses over the eyes, attitude in the face and a determination in my heart, I approached them. I asked for Marco. No one knew who I was talking about. I turned to the oldest one, who was about 25 and asked for Frassman. He laughed and asked me if I was Marvin’s wife. I said yes and he said that it was a long time since I have been down here. He went on into some small talk. I figured he was delaying me. Why, I cant tell. I spoke to him, chit chat, the others joined in, I forced a pleasant face. The man begged me a smalls to buy some food for his friends, I gave him some change I had in the bag. He then pointed behind some houses and said that Marco was there. Bingo! Him naw escape my judgement inna this here evening!!!

I went behind the houses and saw a group of men playing football. All shirtless and dirty. Marco was playing. He kicked the ball with ease, his muscles flexing with every move, the brown tone of his body glistening with sweat. He looked as if he was having the time of his life. His face was relaxed, handsome, sexy. Marco appeared like a man among boys. A real man, a man full of vigour, stamina, sex. I sat on a stone, the bag in my lap, my eyes fixed on the image before me. Damn this man and everything he stood for. Damn him and his sexy lips, his deep voice as he shouted commands to the men on his side, damn him and his smile as he tackled members on the other side. Fuck you Marco. Fuck you, fuck you, I want to fuck you. No I dont!! I am cross, angry and am supposed to be miserable. I was watching him for 15 minutes and he paid me no attention. He just kept on playing, his powerful legs going here and there, his arms swaying, his chest heaving. Someone tapped me on my shoulder and I looked up and saw that it was Frassman. He handed me a bottle of water and I said thanks. He then returned to a dark doorway behind me, where apparently he was, unnoticed, all this time. I heard shouting and saw Marco on the ground, holding unto his leg. He got up, limped across the field to where I was and sat beside me. The game continued. “Wassup”, he said, just like that. Plain old so so “wassup”. Frassman appeared again and handed him a bag and Marco took a small jar from it. “B, rub mi foot fi mi nuh, please, mi injuries acting up again”, he begged. And without warning he stretched across, took up my handbag, plopped his hairy, dirty leg on my lap, and tossed the jar in my hand.

One week ago he appeared in my house, turned my life upside down with his news, left me to face the police all alone, he hasn’t seen me since then, he hasn’t heard from me though he was calling, my life and probably his is going downhill, and the ONLY THING HIM AH FRET BOUT IS HIM INJURIES!! HIM MUSSI KNOCK HIM HEAD PON EVERY BRANCH OF A FOOL FOOL TREE!!!. “Yuh want me fi do wat?”, I said, still trying to grasp his attitude. “Please nuh”, he begged again, smiling this time, looking at me with those deep soulful eyes. I used a shirt that he had in his bag and wiped the dirt from his leg. I opened the jar, took out some ointment, and dutifully started rubbing.

*Article written by Belly Bang*

You cant run from trouble, there aint no place that far. Miss Marcia, with obvious help, brought the house back to a sensible state. If you were not aware of the raid, you would have thought that it was just a big cleaning effort on her part. But, walking through the house, stepping into my bedroom, looking at the clothes, the bed, I felt violated. I felt like the intimacy that some parts of the house once offered to me was gone. It was then that it dawned on me that my clothes, shoes, makeup, underwear, were no longer mine to enjoy, to feel comfortable in, but were in the hands of total strangers, searched and tossed. Marco told me that I should just relax and try get back to my normal routine. Normal is when you feel safe in your house. Normal is eating breakfast with your man, kissing him as he goes off to his 9-5 job, then dropping the kids to school, then off to work or whatever. My life just wasn’t normal at this moment.

It was a few days after I returned from St. Mary and since I saw Marco. He called me daily to find out how I was doing, to check up on me as he put it. Doing fine was my only reply. Nothing else to say. The daily routine was a struggle because I just did not know what was happening. I bought another cell phone so I could get back to the business of keeping in touch. I was able to get Colin’s number and gave him a call. Being Marvin’s cousin who lived with him in London, he should be able to tell me was what was happening. Colin sounded stressed, but still managed to pull some jokes. He confirmed that Marvin was arrested, had gone to Court and was remanded in custody. Colin was not sure of the exact charges, so he claimed, but when he went to look for Marvin, he said that Marvin was ok. I explained what happened on my side of the ocean, the raid and the seizures by the police. I didn’t go into the money issues. Colin said that he was trying to get in touch with me but my number was unavailable. Police have the phone Colin. He tried his best to lighten up what was obviously a shithole of a situation, and it helped to an extent. Marvin sent his love and asked me not to worry about anything as it will soon work out. Marvin in jail. Despite it all, I was concerned about him. He was my man until we break up or worst. We had been through alot, lots of pain yeah, but many good memories. We lived together, shared a bed for several years, fought together, fucked at times, made love at other times, made up. You just dont cut off yourself emotionally from someone like that. Not overnight. The bond will still be there and the feelings will continue. My troubles seemed small compared to the thought of Marvin locked up. Colin asked me when was the last time I saw Kelly. I knew what was coming up next. The baby. Marvin JR was innocent in all of this, a child born into a complex set of circumstances. Colin didn’t say it, but knowing Marvin as well as I did, he would be fretting over the child, the thought of not seeing him again, his one and only son. Kelly was ok Colin, I saw her the other day at Thunder’s Boat Ride. I volunteered to get word to her and to see how Marvin JR was doing. Chit chat for a while then end of call.

Tired and fretful. Thats how I felt. As if someone held me and gave me several serious blows from a two by four plank. Some persons came to the house, to find out what was going on. They heard about the raid and that Marvin was in jail in London. I wasn’t in the mood to talk to all of them and Miss Marcia took care of those. Mom came by for a few days and she took care of the others. The few who I spoke to, I told them as little as possible but that Marvin was ok and should be out soon. The girls came over and tried their best to create a cheerful atmosphere. Sharon, the appointed ring leader, insisted that it was time that I left Marvin, as he was just carrying me down. She pointed out everything that took place, the rape charge, Kelly, his absence and now his arrest, and said that I should take it as a sign to move on and find a better man, a man who will be there for me, who is supportive. I listened. How could I just leave Marvin at this time, when he needed me the most? When he expected my support? Even though I was not in London, at least he would know that I was still standing by his side. If I didnt leave him because of Kelly, his treatment of me during the miscarriage, this is the time that I was going to leave him? It just didnt seemed right. As the girls went on and on, giving advice, sharing gossip, sipping their drinks, I realised that the time to make some serious decisions was on the horizon. It was fast approaching and I didnt know what I will do when it arrived.

I was in a state of flux and something had to happen. I needed information and no one was offering anything sensible at this point. Marvin’s position was that I should relax. I couldn’t. I had to do something. After a few calls I got the angry mean Superintendent of Police who led the raid on the house. He was not angry and mean this time around though. As a matter of fact, he apologised for his behaviour and blamed it on his workload. He invited me to his office to discuss things. I got ready and made my way to downtown Kingston, Central Police Station compound. I had to wait a while. Police, uniformed and plain clothes, moved up and down. Loud talking was everywhere and now and then a man in handcuffs would be led from one passage to another. One man quickly walked out of a doorway and while passing, looked at me and smiled, asking me how I was doing, still moving quickly towards the exit. About 5 officers appeared from the same doorway, jump on him, delivered couple blows and dragged him off. Apparently he was leaving his interrogation without permission. After ½ hour I was ushered into another room, to see the Superintendent. He was sitting around his desk and invited me to sit. After offering me some water, which I accepted, he asked me about Marvin. Marvin was in jail as far as I knew, so he safe. Mr. Supe said that they received certain information about guns and drugs being at the house, so that was the basis of the raid. So if that was the basis of the raid, what’s the connection with Marvin and he is in England, and has been for several months? He didnt answer that one. He just sat and stared at me. Mr. Supe, I went on, am I in some sort of trouble, should I get a lawyer, what should I do? I was in the dark. He got up and opened a cupboard, took out several sealed boxes and placed them on the desk. He called in another officer by name, who appeared and together they broke the seals and began taking out the contents. I immediately recognised them to be items seized from the house. They were in file jackets, some in plastic bags, all neatly labelled and appeared to be in some order. I saw my cellphones. No chips were in them. Replacement chips were needed. The Supe told me that the contents were processed and can now be handed over to me. He explained that I had to return the following week in order to be interviewed by some detectives. The bank cards and books were nowhere to be seen. I asked about them, he explained that they are still being processed. With that, I signed for the boxes and his fellow officer helped me to carry them to the van. As I climbed into the van, wondering what the hell could they want me for, as I had nothing to offer in any interview, the officer held the door open. “Just do as Marco say and relax, everything will work out”, and with that he shut the door and stepped off. Was he associated with Marco? How did he know that I knew Marco? How did he know that Marco told me to relax? Was he fishing for information? Did they have a tap on the phone that Marco gave me? What did the Superintendent know? So many questions, no answers. One big head splitting headache.

The phone I recently bought rang. I answered it. “You good?”, asked Marco, in his low deep tone. Probably got the number from Miss Marcia. Or whoever. Nothing surprises me about him anymore. “Just about to leave the police station. Got back most of the stuff and I am going to get a something to eat”, I replied, tired. Very tired. “Kelly missing from bout 3 days now. People just ah call her phone and it just a guh to voicemail. She not at home and no bady see her from wah day”, he said.
*Article written by Belly Bang*

It is said that our attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards us. Esther stepped into the church wrapped in attitude, and in red. From the feathered contraption on the head, to the form hugging dress that showed every curve, crease and bulge, to the shoes that was one size too small and 2 inches too high for a woman her size. As she marched up the aisle, chin up, eyes behind the sunglasses, gum smacking between the lips, everyone looked on. What the fuck is she going to do this time was the question that was passing through my mind. Esther was not a simple woman. She know how to get any party going, how to build vibes. Definitely a crowd puller. But she was also the main attraction whenever the shit hits the fan. The church was hot, the fans weren’t helping, the humidity was rising, suits were getting uncomfortable and those in cheap material were scratching like rass. And Esther was now here. She made way to a pew ahead of me, looked at the poor man who was sitting at the end, and he immediately squeezed to the left, and she sat. When the Lord spoke about blessed are the peace makers, Esther was too busy fighting battles to let that sink in. Marco and Bumpy were seated ahead of her. They had arrived about fifteen minutes ago. Marco was in a suit, handsome, quiet, a masculine presence. Bumpy dressed in a black and white outfit. We were all requested to wear black and white as the theme shades for the funeral. I was in a simple white blouse and a short black skirt as I knew that the day was going to be long and the temperature wasn’t looking pretty based on what the weatherman on RJR said in the morning. Paul and Prince sat beside me. We travelled together in the Range as separate vehicles would have been a waste of time given the expected crowd. The girls were in my pew and Sharon was busy clicking away with the camera on her cell phone. My phones were turned off. Marco was here, Marvin was in still in jail. Didnt expect any calls, especially not during this solemn occasion. Andre Blingers, Kelly’s younger brother, was in the front pew, holding Marvin JR. Beside him were his other brothers and sisters and their parents and other family members. The family took up about four of the front pews on either side of the aisle. As Kelly’s cousin, Esther was expected to sit with the family. To think of it, it would have been better that she is up there for at least if anything should happen it would be better that her family do the restraining. The church was located along Washington Boulevard and Kelly’s parents were members there. It was capable of seating around 1500 persons and it had a balcony. When I arrived, the balcony was already jammed with those who preferred to get a good vantage point of the proceedings. Downstairs was nearly full and outside was crowded as many opted to pose and mingle on the outside instead of getting a seat. The ushers consisted of church members as well as friends of the family who had volunteered. The funeral was being recorded by several persons who had set up their equipment around the church.

Despite all that happened in the past between Marvin and Kelly, his cheating, her pregnancy, the bitchiness of her friends, the stress, shame and public scandal, I had to attend. She was in some way family, the mother of my man’s child. I learnt a long time ago that we do not carry a grudge against the dead. Gone too soon. Or is it that her time had come? Whatever it was, it was all fucked up. A number of persons from the dancehall fraternity, dancers, deejays, promoters and groupies were in attendance, but they were the minority. Looking around, I saw alot of strange faces, persons who lived “regular” lives. These regular persons were those who had not become entrapped in the dancehall lifestyle and appeared to be free from the effects of one too many hennessy mixes. Occasions like this remind us that we are but flesh and blood. Kelly was the dancehall darling, the girl who loved being in the spotlight, the girl who was present at every drum beat with a smile on the face and the swing in her hips. Reflecting, I remember the two times we met in London. She never showed me any bad face. She was ok, humble, down to earth. To think about it, I was probably the cold and wretched one. The last time I saw her at Thunder’s party, she was the one who made the approach, who was sociable. Was she trying to reach out to me? Was she really that nice a person, despite the shit?

It was the day after Marco told me that Kelly was missing that the details started emerging. Kelly left Marvin JR, her baby, with her parents. That was the Monday evening. That was not unusual. She told them that she was going to sort out something and would be back soon. Kelly left in a car, driven by someone else, no one knew who. A white tinted Toyota Corolla, just like any other non-descript vehicle. That was around 5:00 p.m. Sometime after 9:00 p.m., when she didnt show up, the parents started calling her phone. No Kelly. Midnight, no Kelly. Her phone was ringing unanswered. Soon, it was going straight to voicemail. By morning, the parents were worried. They went by her apartment, it was locked and no one answered. They called her brother, Andre. He didn’t know where she was either as he was in Negril with friends and hadn’t seen her or spoken to her since he left Kingston a few days ago. Known friends were called but no one saw her. There were reports of her being spotted in downtown Kingston the previous night. That was unconfirmed. Several anxious persons gathered at the parents home. Kelly was bright, outgoing, loved by many and known to most. She was a personality. She was missing. The Police were notified and a missing persons report made. The police went to her apartment and after forcing the door open, discovered the place ransacked. Andre Blingers returned to Kingston and joined in the search for his sister. The morgue was checked, as also police stations, hospitals, clinics, everywhere, no Kelly. Not for long though. Thirty six hours after leaving her son, Kelly was found in a shallow grave in Bull Bay. She was shot once to the back of the head. We were all stunned, shocked. I cried when I heard. I am sure that many wept. The news of her death spread quickly and soon it was in the papers, on the radio and on tv. Kelliesha Marie Pendegrast, the second to last child for Mr and Mrs Wilton Pendegrast, business operators, was dead. No suspects. Not yet. No leads. For now. Why would anyone kill her? She was not involved in any controversy that we know of. But the rumour mill got off at full speed. I did not escape it. Her involvement in Marvin and my jealousy were all raised. But that angle, along with several others quickly died down and something graver took its place. Kelly was involved in something. An investigation, an ongoing police investigation. No one knew the details. Pure hush hush. Not even the great news carrier Sharon could get any details, real or fake. Just that Kelly was involved in something serious.

The funeral was held within a week of the discovery of her body. The remains were cremated and placed in an urn for display at the church. The service moved quickly. Tributes flowed from relatives, friends and associates. After the service, we were all gathered in the parking lot and on the church grounds, chatting, remembering, catching up. From the corner of my eye I saw the red confusion making its way through the crowd, her eyes fixed on me. Jesus!! Did this mad bitch think that I had something to do with Kelly’s death. Esther’s eyes never moved from mine as she said her excuses and nudged people from her way. I was speaking to Paul when she came over and told him to make a move, which he did. This crazy ass woman was really going to make a scene on the church property? “My girl, mi have one ting fi seh to you”, she said sternly but quietly. “Mi want yuh fi be careful of di people dem inna yuh life. Dem nuh fi real, dem ah paygon. Yeah, yuh and Kelly did inna unno wrangling, but dat was that. But is wranglings and hard ears mek dem fuck her up. My gal, mi naw guh inna it. Watch yuh movements wid dem people round yuh cause ah when river still that its di most dangerous. Likkle more”. With that, she made her way into the crowd. She didnt disappear into the crowd. She was way too red, too obvious, too fat that. Esther was also known to be brutally honest. Paul returned beside me, chatting some shit, trying to discuss something to cover up his cowardice in the face of Esther’s order. What was she talking about? Esther just came up to me like some reader woman, shot off a warning and shuffled on.

Marco was now holding Marvin JR and Bumpy was beside him. Marco held the child close to his chest and seemed at ease. Kelly’s parents were talking to Bumpy and Andre was somewhere around the place. I then looked across at and saw Esther. She was staring at the Marvin JR, or was it Marco. Couldn’t tell. She looked upset. Bitter. Esther then looked at me and I could just make out that she hissed her teeth. She then walked away and headed towards the gate. Looking back at Marco, I finally confirmed that the remarkable resemblance between father and son. Marco looked at me. His fixed on me, piercing . He held Marvin JR closer and smiled.
*Article written by Belly Bang

Someone once said – Almost all of our sorrows spring out of our relations with other people. For two days, after the funeral service, I remained inside. My mind was flooded with all sorts of thoughts. Marvin JR was Marco’s son, there was no denying it. The eyes, the face, seeing them together. DNA aside, Kelly would have been the only one who could clear this thing up. But could she, if she was alive? Did she even know who the father of the child was? But that is neither here nor there because she will never be able to say. Who else suspected or knew? Did Marvin know? Why was Kelly killed? Who killed her? Only one investigation was going on that I knew of and that was Marvin’s and he was still in jail. Could he have done it? Did he suspect that he wasn’t the father? Marvin had a temper, he was fucked up when he wanted, he was capable of everything and anything. Kelly loved Marvin JR, that was for sure. Would she have done anything to rock the boat. Did she rock the boat? Marco. I didnt want to think about that. Marco was loving, thoughtful, charming. No, not Marco. After I arrived at home, after the funeral, Marco called on me on that special phone. “You alright”, he asked, concerned. But was he? I had to get a grip on things. Esther came to mind and I quickly pushed her words aside. “Have a terrible headache, lying down, chilling. Woke up this morning feeling sick and dizzysih, but that pass still, just the headache lingering”, was my reply. My ailments were true. I was alone at home as Miss Marcia had some family issues to sort out in Waterhouse and Moms was at home. Somehow I suspected that he knew this. “Want me to come over and bring anything for you?” This was the side of Marco I knew, the caring side, the side that made me feel comfortable, relaxed, special. “If you want to, but I am alright still, just need some rest”. “Ok, will check on you later”, and with that he hung up.

Kelly gone, Marvin in jail, Marco at large. Marco free. Marco running things – that is if you follow what is being said on the streets. At least that was how Sharon put it. What was there to run? Up until now I have no idea about Marvin’s business interests, if any, in Jamaica. I knew absolutely nothing about that side of him. We were together, we fought, we fucked, we wined and dines, we lived together, we shared thoughts with each other. But I didnt know how he made his money. Not from his lips. Marco was supposedly taking care of things, but what things I cannot say. Wilful blindness? Ignorance? Before, it wasn’t necessary to know, but it was surely reaching that stage where knowledge is the key, and I am locked out at this moment. Marvin called for the two days but didnt visit. Just checking up with his woman, according to one of his statements.

The Superintendent called me and asked me to attend his office. The fuckery never stops. I asked him if I needed a lawyer. He said no, just wanted us to talk about some progress in the investigations. I put on some clothes and made my way downtown. As I waited outside his office, I saw the same officer who assisted me with the boxes on my last visit. The one who reminded me to follow Marco’s advice and relax. He was in plain clothes, his gun holster on his side, smiling. He asked me how I was doing and we started talking about little things. He then said that he had to go and walked off. He then stopped and came over to me and said “Before you rush into anything just think things over and it will be ok”. I knew jack shit of what he was talking about. I was about to say something to him but he quickly walked off telling me that we will speak again soon. First Esther, now this policeman. From the other day is like pure arbitrary people telling me things and no one is coming straight. Must be the water or something. After waiting for half hour, the Supe invited me inside. There were other persons in there with him. A man who identified himself to be a worker at some department or the other in the Ministry of Finance and a white man who called himself Mr. Bartley. The Supe was sitting around his table and the men standing in a corner, looking at the both of us. First thing that came to mind was to clam up, teh second, that this thing is getting big, whatever it was. But what is there to worry about? I am not a wrongdoer. I am not hiding or have anything to hide. Plus, if I was in trouble the Supe would have told me to get a lawyer. Right? The Supe apologised for the long wait and handed me the bankbooks and cards that were taken during the raid. I thanked him very much. The Supe asked me how I was doing. Fine, just fine. He told me that for the purpose of tying up some loose ends, I would have to give a statement about the raid. No problem, what type of statement? Supe explained that the statement would basically tell all that happened, from my point of view, as to how the raid went. No problem. The white man, who had a strong British accent, handed the Supe a small folder and the Supe removed a document from it and handed it to me. I looked at it and saw that it consisted of several typed pages with my name and address at the top. Hold up. I asked the Supe what this was. He said that it was my statement. The officer in the waiting room flashed before my eyes. “Supe, before I rush into anything I would like to think things over. Will that be ok?” I asked nervously. No problem. I asked for a few days and got up. The man from the Ministry of wherever opened the door and as I stepped through, he gently removed the folder that was still in my hand. “You will get this when you return”, were his parting words as he closed the door. Ten minutes. That was how long I was in the office. I didnt get the chance to read the document. It consisted of ten pages and a space for me to sign at the end of each page. I did see Marvin’s name mentioned as I skimmed the pages. What really got me nervous though, was Colin’s name that was somewhere in it. What Colin had to do with the raid. He was Marvin’s cousin living in London, he attended college, he was jovial, fat. What did he have to do with the raid?

I drove to New Kingston. I have been having the strong urge for cheese cake since the other day. The fridge at home was now cheese cake free. Miss Marcia had made one for a church sister who did not collect it so I finished it. Never ate so much cheesecake like how I have been eating it from the other day. Well, it did happen once, not so long ago….. Fuck that, I just wanted cheese cake, just like how some people feel for jerk pork or others for ice cream. Sitting in the cafe, I got a call from Mr. Man and I told him where I was. Haven’t seen him since the funeral. Somehow I wanted to see him. I had to see him. Two days had passed. He was still mine. I was his. This man was the primetime feature in my life now and I couldn’t escape that. I didnt want to escape it. He was mine, every good, bad, mysterious, fucked up, cunning, sexy part of him belonged to me. And Bumpy. And whoever else. But he cared for me and that was all that mattered. I felt the presence behind me and the strong arms on my shoulders. The familiar cologne was subtle. Not intoxicating, not faint, just enough to announce that he had arrived. He squeezed my shoulders and then sat across from me. He ordered something to drink. We looked at each other. No words. He smiled and asked “How long you feel that we can go on like this?” Like this how? What him talking about? Me being the woman on the side, him being in an iron clad relationship with Bumpy, being the much in love family man? The disaster we call a relationship? “Till its time to stop”, was all I could say. “You want to stop now?” he said as a matter of fact. He sipped on his drink, his eyes briefly leaving me and appeared to be scanning the room. “What you coming off from Marco? Tell mi. Please. Cause yuh must be coming from off someting why yuh bringing this up. Wat now? All of a sudden you develop a conscience bout us? Yuh want me to walk away and forget that we have someting?”. I was getting upset, very upset, but not loud. “B, mi not saying dat, mi just want to know where you stand?”, calmly, still sipping on his drink. I was now upset. Too much was happening from the other day and now this.

“Where I stand? Where I stand is that both of us have something going on and if your attitude is to just turn me on and turn mi off, then might as well wi call it quits cause mi cant tek too much of this shit right now”, I tried to remain quiet. It wasn’t working. Everything was now riding my chest and I was on the verge of just bawling out, hoping and praying that the madness of the past few weeks would disappear or turn out to be a very bad dream. Marco looked at me. “B, is just that we not seeing each other as I would like. I really miss you but I not sure if you missing me. Its just that I have to think about us, if you feel comfortable, if you want to move on, back to your life with Marvin, or with Andre”. That last statement shot straight to my heart. I knew he was changing gears in his argument, but that last part just threw me off totally. Andre. I haven’t seen Andre since the funeral and he hasn’t called. Andre. “Look here, Andre and I are just on casual speaking terms. Mi nuh interested in him. Where this coming from? What Andre has to do with us?”, I demanded. “Just asking. What happen? I cant ask you anything? We cant just sit and talk, have a little going over of where we stand with each other? B, mi rate you real bad. You just wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t do anything to upset you or hurt you and I know that you feel the same way about me. Mi just talking B, just talking”, calm and soothing. He reached across and touched my hand and I squeezed his. This man had me weak. He had me in a trap and I didnt want to be free. He knew it. And he was on a mission and I just didnt care. “Lets go”, he said and got up. As we passed the cashier, I stopped to pay the bill. She waved me away, indicating the bill was already settled.

As we strolled to the car that was parked outside, I saw Frassman behind the wheel. Here I was, holding the hands of my man, my strong handsome man, my caring thoughtful man. My Marco. I was now positive that I did not glimpse the names Marco and Kelly mentioned in bold on page three of the statement that was handed to me by the Superintendent of Police.
*Article written by Belly Bang*

Someone once said – Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen. Marco. My Marco. We made a date and the venue was the guesthouse in St. Mary. Our first illicit hideaway. We checked in, the same room. It as romantic to me. Did he even remember that it was here that we started? Fond memories rushed back as we stepped through the door. Memories that now became my reality, again. It was the first room we slept in, that we enjoyed each other, and the moment was here again. For the rest of the evening we made love. Not anything aggressive, rushed or without feeling. Marco was in his best form yet, cool, calm, seductive and caring. He took his time, the cell phones were off, the shades closed, just him and me becoming one. There wasn’t much words, but the look that he had spelt a man on a mission of seduction and who was a master at achieving his goal. Was I being fooled again? Was he taking me for a ride? Maybe. But each time that those thoughts crossed my mind, when I began to think about distancing myself from him, my emotions took over. So what if I wanted to be used? I was enjoying it. These moments were few and far between and I had a right to be cared for, loved, even if for a few precious hours. Marco did have some feelings for me. He must have. But as I did not know how long this imperfect situation was going to last, I was living for the now, not the later. As I nestled my head on his muscled chest, his arms wrapped around me, listening to the beat of his heart, I didnt want to leave. I just didnt want the moment to end.

We didnt speak of the meeting with the Superintendent of Police, though I suspected that he knew about it, what went on, and how it ended. We didnt speak of Marvin, and his predicament, the uncertainty of his future. We spoke of little things. His leg injury and his visits to the doctor. My loneliness at home at times. The pressures of life he is facing making provision for his daughters. The fact that things are now unsettled between himself and Bumpy. They were not on any good terms. The quarrels were becoming frequent and more violent. It was not just about him though. When I looked in his eyes, as he spoke about things, I saw sadness, hurt. This was a personal side. Marco looked at me and then he changed the subject. He asked how I was doing. Not good. He gave me words of comfort, told me to just hang in there and all will be ok. I wanted to know if this was how we were going to live till it ends, hiding in order to be one with each other, him living a lie outright and being untrue to Bumpy. Me living the lie with Marvin, family and so friends. But, did Bumpy know or suspect about us? Marco was a man who would capture any woman’s heart, who was sure about himself, always looking out for the woman in his life. The women I should say. I am not sure if I was the only one. Yes there was Bumpy, but what about those who I didnt know about. Those who enjoyed him as much as I did. Those who also found peace in his loving arms. Thoughts of a jealous woman living a contradictory life. “You would hurt me”? My eyes were closed. “Wat was that”?, I was unsure that he was talking to me or on his phone. “You would hurt me”?, he asked again. I opened my eyes and say him looking at me, searching for the right answer. “Why would I do that”?, I asked, wondering where all this was coming from. “I just want to know where yuh stand right now. Just answer the question”, his eyes appearing as if searching my soul. That question was simple, yet loaded. “No, I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you”. He said nothing else.
I was at home going through some papers when the cell rang and I answered it. It was Andre Blingers. I hung up. He called back. “Why you treating me suh”?, he whined, almost child like. “Andre, wat yuh want”?, I was tired and had no time for games. “You. I want you. All of you. Nothing but you”, the presumptuous bwoy replied. Drunk maybe, annoying right now. “Little boy, you know that it would never work between us, that it would never happen, so just cool yuhself”. “Not because di big man control yuh mean seh yuh fi just shut yuh eye to everybody else”. “Andre, Marvin is ma man yes but him nuh control me, after me ah nuh property”, I had to interject. “But is not Marvin mi ah talk. Mi ah talk di real big man from down suh, Marco”. I stopped. How the hell did he know? Or was he bluffing? What did he know? “Nuh badda gwaan like seh yuh and the big man naw roll. But its all good still. Just haffi try put in a word fi myself”. “Wat you know bout me & Marco? Yuh know nothing cause there is nothing to know”, I was angry at his remarks. “Mi nuh call fi talk bout the big man, is you mi ah deal wid right yah….”. Click. I hung up. Then locked off the phone. I didnt want to hear anything more. Didnt want to think about it.
Having had the books and cards returned to me, I visited the banks in order to sort out my finances. Those accounts that were held by me were accessible but those held jointly with Marvin were unavailable. Something is still better than nothing. The Superintendent called me and asked me if I finished thinking over whatever it was I was considering and I told him that I needed more time. He didnt sound pleased but said that he would call me in the morning. Time was running out. I couldn’t hold out forever and I had to make some sound decisions. I made a beeline to the lawyer’s office, the one who had the case when Marvin was arrested for rape. He was in. I had to wait for a while. I explained the situation to him. Everything from Marvin’s arrest, the raid, straight to the last meeting at the police station. He made a few calls and soon I found myself in a meeting with two lawyers. I went into some detail about my situation, the history with myself and Marvin, carefully leaving out Marco’s name. I didnt feel that was important, not at this. There were gaps in my story and they pointed it out to me. Marvin’s finances, how the house and vehicles were acquired, the source of my income. But, in relation to the statement, whatever the contents, I was advised not to sign. Furthermore, they concluded that the government had on interest in me and Marvin’s arrangements and how we sourced our income. Big words were used, long explanations, one conclusion. I was in some fucking trouble and I had to face it as there was still more to come. Money. The cost to retain their services was bordering on extortion. My head hurt. I thought of going about this alone. I could not see myself giving so much to these men at this time. I got up but retook my seat when I thought of the possibility of losing everything, of putting Marvin in greater problems, in perhaps facing the law myself based on some things the lawyers explained. I was up shit creek without a paddle and professional help was my only hope. When I walked out the office, I was much much poorer, had two lawyers getting to work on my predicament and was looking on a future of home cooking and cable TV.
I called Marco and told him. Couldnt be bothered with the cloak and dagger business. He listened, I gave him the names of the lawyers, he asked a few questions and he got his answers. I didnt tell him about what I saw, or thought I saw, in the document that was shown to me by the police. Marco asked me if I spoke to Marvin about all this. Nope. Did not and could not as he was still in lock down the last time I checked. On my way home, I had to make a stop. I dont know why, but I had to go and see them. I was kinda like family and I had to show some interest. I pulled up to the house and saw a number of vehicles parked along the roadway as also in the yard. He was on the driveway speaking to s few people. I introduced myself and he seemed happy to see me. He remembered me from the funeral. Wilton Pendegrast was still a pleasant man. He called his wife and she came outside with Marvin JR in her arms. I looked at the child and she offered him to me to hold. I took him gingerly, and looked in his handsome face. He looked at up at me, his stepmom of sorts, and held my blouse and laughed. I was invited inside. Apparently they were having a small gathering or something as I saw food and drinks laid out on under a tent on the front lawn. Whatever it was, it appeared to be catered. Several persons were milling around, young and old, and music was playing. Mr. Pendegrast explained that one of his daughters was having a social before she departed for school in the United States. I was left to my own way with Marvin JR and made my way through the house, exchanging hellos as I went through. I knew he was here, but I wasn’t here for him. I was here to see the little one. On the back porch, drinking beer and chatting with the ladies was Andre. But that wasn’t what held my interest. Under a tree to the back of the yard, seated by a table were Marco and Frassman.

Is it better to be told a hurtful truth than a comforting lie? You tell me. Kelly and Marco were involved once. They rolled in the same group with Marvin. They all kept in touch with each other. That I knew. I am almost certain that Marco was Marvin JR’s father. Marco would know Kelly’s brother Andre Blingers and more than likely her family. But I was still surprised to see him here. He was talking to Frassman, but his eyes moving from person to person in the backyard, until he settled on me. Andre came over and gave me a hug, Marvin JR between us in my arms, and thanked me for turning up. “You didnt invite me”, I said. “You never gave me a chance to, you just hang up on me”, he whispered, a beer in one hand, the other playing with the child. Marco raised his chin, a signal for me to come over, which I did, politely excusing myself from the older child’s company. Frassman gave me his seat and stood a distance away from us. “Never knew you and Kelly’s family were close”, Marco said, taking Marvin JR from my arms and nestling him in his own. “I am not really close with them, just passed by to find out how them doing, how Marvin JR was”. “You always looking out for people, thats the thing about you. Kelly did tell me that all when she meet you in London, you never show her nuh bad face or rush her or anything. She did give you yuh ratings”, he said while playing with the boy. “So you are here for”? I had to know. “Kelly parents asked me to come over, cause since she aint around, Marvin aint around and I am the godfather for his son”. My son he should have said. Andre was the centre of attraction in his circle and now and then he looked in our direction. He looked uneasy at those times, a bit worried for the second or two that he looked at us, then back to his usual self with the ladies. “So you know Andre long time then”, I asked. “Like a brother”, dryly. There was a change when I mentioned Andre’s name. Uncertain territory, but I wanted to go there. “So….”, I was immediately cut off. “Drop it and dont spoil the day. Enjoy yuhself and easy”, emotionless, barely above a whisper. I didnt push it. Marvin JR was now holding Marco’s hand, playing with a ring, innocent to the world that exists around him.

The days after the visit to Kelly’s parents home were busy. The search for documents, visits to the lawyer office, giving several statements to the lawyer, avoiding the calls from the Superintendent, ignoring Andre’s calls, all took up my time. I wanted to do something. Anything. Maybe it had to do with Marvin’s absence. Strange as it may seem, but I often wonder about him, how he was doing, how he was being treated. I could not be ungrateful, as the times with him were not all that bad. Or maybe I wanted to relieve the stress that sat like a blanket over my life in recent times. Whatever it was, I needed to do something. A night on the town. I spoke to the girls and they all agreed. Its been a long time that I haven’t enjoyed a Girls Night Out Friday. Our ritual night on the town was disrupted due to all sort of things that cropped up and there was no better time than now to try and bring back some order. Marco was busy recently, sorting out stuff he said. I asked him how he and Bumpy were getting along and he said not so good. Didnt press him for any further information. The Friday came and the plan was to meet at a sistren’s bar along Molynes Road for a start up drink. I didnt put much fuss in terms of preparation, combed the hair, pulled a little black dress and some heels, and grabbed a handbag with some funds. Miss Marcia was having a prayer meeting with her church sisters at the house and they had it to themselves. Moms and Marvin’s mother were joining them. I arrived at Marvette’s Bar and the place was swinging. This was the type of place where the older men drank white rum and water while their younger, much younger girlfriends drank Sangster’s Rum Cream and giggled and made them feel good. Marvette has been around like from eternity and she was also a fixture on the dancehall scene, going to most of the major parties and events. She was at the bar that night, serving drinks, watching her bartenders, making her patrons feel relaxed. Marvette was there with me and Marvin from the beginning and though she warned me about rushing into things with him, she was still supportive of what she called ‘young people tings’. She came around the counter and hugged me, remarking that I was keeping up good despite the challenges. She knew about Marvin’s status. Everyone knew now. It wasn’t a secret and I had to just live with it as each day went by. Sharon was at the counter, the other girls hadn’t arrived as yet. We had a mixed vodka drink and moved on, telling the girls to meet us on the road. Our next stop was The Quad in New Kingston. Early hours yet, it was fairly empty, but the music was pumping and that was all that mattered. The other girls joined us and soon we were having a wonderful time. Drinking, dancing and laughing away at some jokes, the dance floor soon got packed with mostly the younger set and teenagers.

I felt a hand holding unto my arm and when I looked around I saw Bumpy. She was dropping the T-shirt and jeans look. I looked around for Marco but he was nowhere in sight. “Hey, wats up girl” , I shouted as the music blared away. “Mi want chat to yuh”, she grunted. I then stopped moving and noticed that she didnt look pleased. As if something was troubling her. Rass. Rass Rass. Not tonight please. The girls were enjoying themselves, they hailed up Bumpy. She stepped off towards the exit and I followed. I didnt know what to expect. I didnt want to get into a quarrel with her. On the corridor she stopped and got straight to the point. “Mi hear seh yuh and Marco deh, ah true”? More a statement than a question. “Marco and I are just friends”, I tried to keep eye contact as they say that when you lie you dont want to look in people’s eyes. Right. “All yuh ah chat seh bout friends. Friends fuck friends and as far as me ah put it together dat ah wah ah gwaan wid di two ah unno. Yuh know how much stress mi under wid dah man deh? Yuh know how far wi ah come from? Yuh have yuh man and him gone a jail and yuh mek up yuh mind fi come fuck wid the one man weh mi have”, she paused. “Me and Marco nuh deh, we are just friends…….”. Before I could finish she grabbed me in the chest and said “gal if yuh open yuh mout one more time mi fuck yuh up in yah and guh a prison easily, cause ah desso this bloodclawt ah guh end up since yuh ah tek mi fi fool”. Before she could continue I grabbed her hand and pushed her against the wall. She looked surprised. I was surprised. People were passing looking at us I stepped back, readying for her next move, knowing that this was going to get fucking nasty. She moved towards me and I braced her off again. She stopped . Her face looked hard. Serious. “My girl, mi nuh want flog yuh in yah tinite. Mi never see yuh and Marco together yet. Mi nuh have nuh proof, mi just ah hear tings and it ah badda me. From week we nuh chat, him naw tek nuh call from me, him just come in and sleep and change and guh bout him business. Hear mi out. Just leave him and mek we sort out wi problems. For a peaceful future, mi ah beg yuh, leave mi man alone if yuh and him inna someting”, she sounded calmer, focused. Dangerous. “I am not fooling around Marco”, was all I could say, in as brazen a voice as I could muster, then stepped off towards the dance floor.

It was now official. I was the other woman in Marco’s life and Bumpy knew it. You know what. It maybe strange to you all, but I felt relieved. I dont know why and I couldn’t explain it, but I felt like a burden was lifted off my shoulder. The hiding, the lies, the dodging, it was too much. It will still be there but at least both women in the picture have had their run ins. Despite the denial, the anger, the assault that took place, as women we knew that the game was officially on now. How it would end no one knows. I saw her reaction, heard her threats, saw her face, I had an idea of who I was dealing with now. Before I didnt. What about Marvin? Marvin. He might hear, who to tell. But I didnt know how I was going to deal with that. That was a bridge I definitely didnt want to cross if I reached it. Or when I reached it. The girls were dancing away and I made myself another drink, a stronger drink and joined them. Bumpy came over, she made a Dragon Stout bottle in her hand, one in the back pocket. She them stood there, gently rocking away, bottle in hand, taking some gulps from it, looking around, looking at me. While everyone was moving to the beat, she appeared to be moving to the music that was playing in her head. The girls didnt know what took place. I had no intention of telling them. I was focused on this mad bitch who looked ready to beat my ass into yesterday. I saw the phone light up, and knew it was him. I didnt want to answer. Plus, in the Club, it was impossible to hear anything. With Bumpy nearby, practically beside me, it would be foolish to do so. For several minutes there were several calls from him. I didnt answer. I looked around and there was no Bumpy. I looked in the crowd, wondering if she had left. Nowhere in sight.

“She tell me”, his deep voice said. “So wat now, now that she know or suspect, wat is the next step”? I was in my bed, sleep was killing me, but I had to hear him respond to that. “Its up to you. As far as me concerned, nothing nuh change, same fi di same”. “So that is it’?, I asked, just so, after all that, its same as usual. “Anyway, mi ah guh back inside now cause mi know she up and waiting for me. Tomorrow, or later”, he stated oh so simply. He was taking this shit way too well. The call ended. I then read the six text messages Andre sent to my other phone.

*Article written by Belly Bang*… any publishers out there??

Andre wanted to talk to me in person and I was having none of that. His several text messages asked me to give him a chance. For us to know each other better. For what? My life was complicated as it was without him in it. He kept sending me his text of “hello, we need to talk” and my replies were always “kip outta mi life”. He was insistent. Well, I must admit that I had nothing to lose by just listening to him. Just one little sit down, somewhere in public, but out of the way. He wasn’t a bad looking fellow. Young, pushy maybe, annoying. Dont get me wrong, mi nuh interested in him fi fuck him much less fi see what he was packing. No way. He didnt move me that way. Yet. But, he was Kelly’s brother and the two of them cut off the same branch. Trouble.

Marco said that he did what he had to do to survive. He had done things that he was ashamed of but that was in the past. Everything now was geared towards survival. Survival in the urban jungle of Kingston. Survival in a system that was created to work against him. Survival for his daughters. He was not without feelings. He was hurting badly due to the ongoing conflict between himself and Bumpy that had now taken a turn for the worst. So said Marco, and he continued. Last night Bumpy confronted him about his late nights, his phone calls that he made outside of the house. Marco had no set hours and since forever he made a decision not to speak “bizness” in the house. She knew that. What was the problem all of a sudden? He had started sleeping on the couch. Bumpy wanted him to fess up to something. She was talking loud, aggressive. He sat still on the bed in their two bedroom house in White Wing, off Olympic Way. He knew where this was going. Had he been there before I thought? Did Bumpy have to go through this in relation to another woman, before I became his current fixation? These things I asked in my mind as he continued to tell me his version of what took place. She had locked the bedroom door and threw the key under the bed. Bumpy wanted his attention and he was not going anywhere. After all, after so many years together Bumpy knew him by nature – so I thought. I could picture it, the quarrel, then he would pick up his cell phones and leave, returning several hours later or even a day or so. But, not for me to interrupt him. When he couldn’t take the bickering, the accusations, the bad words, he asked her what was her problem, why she dont just calm herself and stop the noise. She stood before him, blocking the TV and he eased her out the way, a gentle push to the side. That was it. She grabbed him up and started thumping him in the side of his face. By time the third blow fell, Marco was up, holding her small frame and pushed her on the bed. He used his ratchet knife to force the lock and the door opened. She was on the bed crying and screaming at him. He took up a shirt, tucked his gun in the back of his jeans waist and left.

And here he was, beside me, in bed. He had called me, asking me where I was. I was at home. He wanted to see me, for us to talk for a while. I knew what that meant. I took a shower, pulled on a jeans and a blouse. Miss Marcia was sleeping and the gardener who was doing some work for the past few days was in the living quarters above the garage. No one was up as I left the house. We met at a small guesthouse just off Hagley Park Road. Strike that, fuck shop off Hagley Park Road. Call it what it is. Though security was tight there, the place was built for discretion. I went to the room he said he was in. He was in his boxers. I wanted him as much as he wanted me. For close to an hour we fucked, rolling around on the bed, sometimes on the floor and even in the bathroom. It was an adventure in hedonism and we were willing. Now, tired but free of the tension that had built up since our last encounter, we lay in the bed talking. I asked him. I had to ask. His reply. “Kelly. Wat bout Kelly? Wat she have to do wit wat wi deh yah ah talk bout? Mi done know wat yuh ah pree from long time. Me and Kelly did deh. You know dat. Everybody did know dat. Me and Kelly was still frens and mi did rate her”. He took up the TV remote and clicked to a channel. He was getting pissed. I had to ask the other question. “Wat about Marvin JR”? For a second I saw his eyes narrow and his face harden, just for a split second. I was sure it was there. But then I blinked and saw his smile, his clear eyes and felt his kiss. “Just cool and everything will be alright”. “How you know? Wat you know about the future”? I said, turning my head away from him. He then got up and headed to the shower. As he stood at the bathroom door, flexing his chest muscles, the fucking show off that he was, I realised that this man had a dangerous hold on me and I felt like that I could not do anything about it.

Marco was staying by some relative house in Meadowbrook. This was until him and Bumpy sort out the multiple issues. He was still in White Wing most days but he just didnt sleep there. I asked him if Bumpy ever visited him in Meadowbrook, he said nope. He saw her at the White Wing home, they still speak, but she had no reason to come and look for him where he was. He wanted his space. It was a aunt he was staying with, a lady with a big government job. She called him Marky. The first time he asked me to come and look for him there, I met her. An older woman, who seemed friendly enough. She complained bitterly about Marky not wanting to move out of the inner city and away from his job as a supervisor at the wholesale. What wholesale? Marco looked at me and smiled. I just kept sipping the lemonade that she offered. I learnt that Marco’s two daughters would visit this aunt during the summer vacations and she was very fond of them. She made no mention of Bumpy. Not even a hint as to her existence. She asked me if I was involved with her nephew. I said no, we were just friends. She laughed and said that if we were ever to get together, Marco and I would make a good match.

Frassman would pick up Marco at the house and they would do their rounds. That was their routine. Marco left the X5 at the aunt’s house, saying that he was giving it a rest for a while. Some nights we went out, no where special, sometimes for a drive. Sometimes Frassman drove. Sometimes Marvin drove, leaving Frassman free to do whatever people like Frassman do when they are not playing the role of handbag. We would take in a movie. Go to a play. One night Marco even suggested that we go to the Little Theatre to watch Pantomime. Funny how versatile the man was. Who would have thought it. Big bad mysterious ghetto personality going to Pantomime. That night Frassman came along, but stayed outside in the parking lot. Yep. We did have our special moments alone. Just the two of us. But it was getting tiresome. It was nice being alone with him. Fuck nice, I felt damn good. The tiresome part was that in order for us to have those special moments, it was always a guesthouse. My house was out of the question. His house was not even a consideration. I was still supposed to be with you know who, who is you know where, and who I haven’t been able to speak with since God knows when. Guesthouse or fuck shop sex is exhilarating, gets the heart racing, but that can only be for a while. Once it becomes a routine, when you become comfortable with the man, and that bond is supposed to be there, then you realise that it starts to be uncomfortable, unsettling, just not being the right setting anymore. Can it be helped? Nope. But it still rass uncomfortable. I wanted to raise the topic with Marco. But for what purpose? Were we to move in with each other? Were we to get a house or apartment to be used for fucking. He had a life, a life I knew little about. I had my problems, law enforcement, Marvin and otherwise. What if I brought up the subject and it seemed as if I was pressuring him. He wasn’t pressuring me about Marvin. Never once did he tell me to chose. Maybe its better that I should just let things flow as they are, living one day at a time, for now.

We were at a football match in Mona. Some team or the other was playing Marco and his colleagues. It was raining before so there was mud everywhere. Many spectators were there. The girls had called and asked where I was. They wanted to know what was happening later on. It was a Friday. I totally forgot that it was also Sharon’s birthday. I was in Portland was my response. I will soon be in. Lying. Lying since I have been with Marco no longer left a guilty feeling. It was now part of me. I was on the phone. From the corner of my eye I saw Frassman looking towards the parking area. He was seated beside me. Some of Marco’s associates were seated with us. I didnt really know that to talk to them, but birds of a feather and all that. Frassman was still looking towards the parking area and I decided to look. Bumpy was walking towards the other side of the field. She was not alone. Esther, Kelly’s cousin, the fucking mad bitch with a mouth that runs faster than Bolt, was talking about something, waving her hands. I had the phone to my ears. Esther looked in my direction. The players were between us. Bumpy looked in my direction.

Andre Blingers, who was with them, was staring right at me.
*Article written by Belly Bang*


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Marco kept on playing, moving effortlessly on the field. Football was like second nature to him. Like making kissing, making love. His strong legs moved quickly as he shouted to others on the field, giving directions. Andre looked at me, then looked at Esther and Bumpy, and I could just make out the look of surprise on his face. Frassman held unto my hand and squeezed it, his eyes looking at what was playing out off the field, while the other spectators were glued to the events on the field. I still had the cell phone to my ear, though the call had finished. Marco passed the ball to a team mate. Bumpy started moving towards us, coming around the field. Esther and Andre stood their ground. A goal was scored and Marco and his team jumped and shouted. The first goal for the match, hard won and well deserved. Bumpy started walking quickly. Frassman was looking at her. Andre stood as if his feet were planted in cement and Esther seemed to be watching with a level of calm amusement. The match was now over. As Bumpy reached a few feet away from us, Marco ran over and hugged her from behind and held unto her, in a playful manner. She tried to get out his grasp, but it was impossible. His hold was firm and appeared to be getting tighter. He still had a huge smile on his face. His eyes had narrowed and grown dark. Bumpy tried her best to get away from him, struggling. Marco held up his head and was smiling at those around him. Everyone was happy. A match well played. They didnt know what was taking place in the midst of their joy. A look of immense pain came over Bumpy’s face as Marco’s embrace, which seemed loving to others, got tighter. He whispered something in her ears and I could see the tears roll down her face. She stopped struggling. She was quietly sobbing, now limp in his arms. Marco still had a smile on his face and as he held her from behind, anyone looking on would see a man and his woman, rocking away in a loving embrace. But for the tears. Frassman got up and walked over to them. Some of the spectators who were seated around me were looking on, speaking in low tones. I wasn’t listening. Marco released Bumpy, turned her around and held up her chin and said something. She nodded and walked away, Frassman beside her. Marco’s team mates joined him and they started talking about the match. Marco didnt seem annoyed one bit. He handled the situation without any drama. I was happy that this turned out for the better this time. A public brawl was something that was not on my agenda, especially one with the mother of my lover’s children. Lover. It sounded so romantic. But this was no romance novel. This was reality. And it was about to get even more eventful.

Frassman and Bumpy walked towards the parking area. People started leaving. Marco walked over the field to Andre and Esther. Nice, calm, easy like a Sunday evening stroll walk. I picked up his bag that was at my feet and walked in the same direction. Esther stood firmly as Marco approached. He slowly walked pass her and went straight to Andre who was now stepping backwards. Andre turned around to run and Marco sprinted and caught him by the shirt collar before he could get far, right at the edge of the field by some trees. I was trying to get over there before Marco did something stupid. I could only see his back and Andre was before him, but looking in my direction. Andre was saying something. I couldn’t hear. I just saw Marco’s hand rise and fall several times and as I reached closer I heard Andre saying “Mi never know!!! Mi never know!!! She just call mi an beg mi carry her go one match an seh she ah guh pick up her fren. When mi tek a check it ah Bumpy she did ah guh fah”. As a fist connected with him, cant tell which part, he bawled out and I too cried out to Marco, “Yuh ah guh kill him”? The four of us were alone on this side of the field and the commotion would only have been noticed by someone on the other side of the field who was paying close attention. I dropped the bag and ran up to Marco and held his arm. He didnt bring it down this time. “Watch yuhself”, was all he said to Andre as he let him go and walked off. Andre face was bruised and his lips and forehead were bleeding. He looked frightened and wasn’t saying anything. Esther came over and said “Mi never know seh all ah dem yah sinting yah woulda gwaan enuh. Look wat dat fucker do to yuh”. “Yuh know dat me and the man not into anyting and yet yuh insist and carrying me hear”, Andre managed to say, spitting some blood on the ground. “Him nuh have no right fi do dis to yuh my yute and mi never know dat he was here. Mi did hear bout da football match an yuh know how mi love football”. With that she walked off, calling to someone on the other end of the field. The sky became cloudy and thunder began to roll.


I picked up Marco’s heavy bag. Andre, in all his pain, took it from me. We both walked towards the parking area. “Let mi talk to Marco cause him never have to behave suh with yuh”, I pleaded. I really felt sorry for him. “Please, just leave it alone and dont seh ah word to him”, Andre barely said. When I reached my van, Andre placed the bag on the back seat. Frassman was nowhere to be seen. Bumpy was gone too. Marco was talking to some men from White Wing, cracking jokes and doing what macho men do after football matches like these. Idle chat. Cuss bad word. Loud laughter. Acting as if nothing happened. Andre went over to a car and drove off. I sat in the van. Too much. This was getting way too much now. But what to expect. These situations come with men such as Marco. I reclined the seat and closed my eyes, playing over the scene again and again in my head. I must have fallen asleep. “Move over”. I opened my eyes and Marco had the door open. I moved over to the passenger side. He came in the van and drove. “Marco, yuh know that never call for still”. No reply. He got on his phone and made a call. He just said ok as the person on the other end answered and hung up. Looking at him, I realised it was better that I kept my mouth shut. We were driving through Half Way Tree heading towards Hagley Park Road when he finally spoke. “Di next time yuh see something happening, walk the next way”. The way he said it and so long after I spoke to him, it took me a few seconds to realise that he was talking to me. “But Marco, yuh nuh easy, wat yuh mean by……”, I was cut short by his hand quickly reaching across and grabbing me in the face. He held it tightly then roughly pushed my head into the headrest. I was shocked. He said nothing. “So yuh start beat woman now?”, I asked him as tears formed in my eyes. He reached across again but this time I was faster, moving away and squeezing against the passenger door. He grabbed my blouse and pulled. I hit his hand but he didnt let go. He was still driving, his eyes on the road. He let go of me. I remained squeezed against the door, watching and waiting for his next move, whatever that was going to be. He drove unto Mahoe Drive, just above White Wing and stopped. He took his bag out of the back and opened the door. “Call yuh later” he said. Then he jumped out and shut the door. He went over to a zinc gate and pushed it and disappeared. Just like that. I went behind the wheel and drove. I called him. He answered after the first ring. “Wassup”. Just like that. Like nothing never happen. This man come in like him bipolar, sick. Split personality. His voice did not show any sign of the stress of today’s events. “Marco, wat really ah gwaan?”, I had to get soem answer, any answer at his behaviour. “Wat yuh mean by wat really ah gwaan? Mi ah guh home”, just so. Home. A simple word yet its use was clear as day. He was still a family man. A man with responsibilities. A man who had a home. A woman. His woman. “Marco…”, I started. “Yow, mi cant bother wid nuh long talk talk right yah now. Mi have someting to look about and this can wait till later. Mi will call yuh”, and with that he hung up.

I called Andre. I had to find out how he was doing. “Hello”? he answered, sounding a bit cautious, frightened. “Its me, just calling to find out how you doing”. “I am cool, by the doctor”, he sounded better now, relaxed. “Where are you?”. “By Red Hills Road, the doctor office near Sugar & Spice”. “I know it”. I knew it well. That was my doctor’s office. The same office where Paul came and played the role of the baby daddy. Silence. I was now driving along Molynes Road heading towards Washington Boulevard in the direction of Red Hills Road. I was still connected. Not saying anything. “So you coming to look for me”? “Maybe. You want anything to drink”. He told me what he wanted and I stopped by the gas station. The mighty Andre Blingers. What a sight. The bleeding had stopped but the face was now puffy and black and blue. He had changed his shirt and he had started undoing his corn rows. Andre looked like the little boy he actually was, especially now that he was on the receiving end of several blows. “Wat ah mess ehh”, was all he could say. Yup. It sure was. My mind ran back to Marco and his erratic and uncontrollable behaviour today. I started to wonder what he was doing at that moment. After all, Bumpy was still his woman, for better or for worst. “Is like you made the right choice. Cause yuh see dat mi cant fight now”, he chuckled. “Yuh just was in the wrong place at the wrong time, dats all”, was all I could say. The nurse called his name and he went inside the doctor’s office. As I sat there I realised that he had left his phone behind. His phone. I wonder what would have happened if Marco saw all those text messages that he had sent to me, or worst, that I replied. My replies were innocent enough, that could be explained, I hoped. I took up the phone and held it in my hand. It rang. I looked at the screen and saw “Private Number calling”. The phone rang and then apparently went to voicemail. It rang again. Then stopped. The phone rang again and again. I let it ring out, putting it on silent. Didnt want to disturb anyone in the waiting area. The screen lit up and I saw “Bumpy calling”. Bumpy? No way. It couldn’t be. No way in rass hell. But then again, Andre might not be a fighter, but he was slick. Too slick. Bumpy was even slicker than I thought. I had to make sure it was her. I just had to. It wasn’t my phone, wasn’t my business. But then again it was. I wasn’t going to let her hear my voice. I just wanted to hear hers. To know whether it was her. I just had to know. I stepped outside and brought up the information on the screen and pressed return call. I heard a constant busy tone. I tried again and the call went to voicemail. I called again and this time someone answered.

It was spoke clear but in a low unmistakeable tone. As it spoke, telling what was going to happen, a chill ran down my spine. Someone cannot be so cold. Murderous. What was spoken was clear. And I knew that the person was capable of doing what he said he was going to do. I had my suspicions before. The signs were there. I just chose to ignore them. Now I knew from his own lips that he was not a simple man. Marco was not a simple man at all.

I kept myself busy over the next few days. Miss Marcia and I organised a general house cleaning and furniture rearranging. The vehicles were taken for servicing. I drove to May Pen to look for some relatives. Looked for some friends in Mandeville and Santa Cruz also. Had a few lunch sessions with the girls. Dinner too. Anything to keep me active and about. The girls were glad for the extra time we were spending together. Sharon told us that she had a new man in her life. She didnt want to call his name, saying that she will introduce him to us very soon. She was happy and that was good. Less time for fuckery. She said that the relationship was awkward at first. But, after the few kinks were worked out, it was good to go. No name. That too was a secret till we were all introduced to this mystery man. Paul and Prince apparently were passing through some rough times. I went by the used car dealership to look for Paul. Between the clients, the workers, giving directions here and there, he somehow managed to ask me for my advice. Get a woman and make peace with God was my response. The man thing was not working out and I am the best person to tell him that. He laughed. Well, he was happy by time we finished speaking. Colin, Marvin’s cousin in London, called me one night. I had just returned home from a full day of doing absolutely nothing important and was in bed fumbling with the TV remote. He said that Marvin sent his love, that being remanded in Her Majesty’s Prison was a bitch and that he missed me. I suppose that a cornered man will say anything. But, strange enough, if I searched in the deep recesses of my heart, I kinda missed him – now and then. Colin asked about Marvin JR and I told him about my visit. Little man was doing good. I didnt go into all the details. But the most interesting part of the conversation was when Colin told me that he will be coming to Jamaica for a few days to sort out some business for Marvin. Two weeks time to be exact. Of course he could stay by the house. It was big enough, he was after all family and he treated me kindly while I was in London.

Andre called me daily. He was off the medication and getting better. The swellings had gone down. His humour was back. His flirting was constant. I found myself slowly but surely tolerating his calls. He wanted to find out how I was doing, who I was doing it with and if I could give him a chance. My reply was the same – I was surviving, alone and only if hell froze over, twice. Andre refused to give up. That was his problem. My immediate problem, my only real problem now was Marco. At first I didnt take his calls on that phone he gave me. I just wanted to avoid him. At the same time I knew that he was as much a part of my life and dealing with him is will always be a reality. Then Frassman called. It was the first time that he has ever done that. I wasn’t even sure it was him, until he identified himself. In a matter of fact tone he said “Di big man seh yuh fi ansa him call”. I got the message. Marco knew and I had a choice. What would I tell him? What did I tell him. I had a lot of things to concentrate on, been busy, phone chipping in and out, family issues. “Why the attitude?”, dismissing everything I had to say. I was in traffic heading home on a rainy Wednesday evening. “There is no attitude, just dat my mind aint here these days”, keeping it civilised, in a lying kind of way. “You still vex bout wat go on up by Mona, dont it?”, low tone, trying his best to probe, to get an angle on what was on my mind. “Well, you nearly beat the crap out of me after that so I really dont know wat to expect from yuh”, and that was the truth. “Dont exaggerate. Do better than that. I hold on to yuh. Cause yuh refuse to chill. No beating never go on, except with your little boyfriend”. And that was what really got my heart racing. “Andre is not my boyfriend”, I quickly responded. “Him nuh suppose to be. Is one man yuh have and that is me. No one else. Not even Marvin. Me. So with all dat going on, dont fuck yuhself and slip, OK”? Was he waiting on an answer? Should I get into an argument with him. Did he know that I visited Andre at the doctor ? This was the first time that he has ever dismissed Marvin out of my life. We had never discussed it before. It was something that just fell through the cracks, that wasn’t noticed or discussed. Marvin was therein England. Marco was here and I was here and that was all that mattered, up until now. I couldn’t find anything to say. “So you and Marvin finish”? First he made the statement now he wanted me to answer the question that he already answered. Now I was getting upset. “How me and Marvin fi finish, under these circumstances? Marvin put me where I am whether I like it or not. I cant play ungrateful. And there is your Bumpy and your children. The only we I see happening now dont look good”. “So what them have to do with us”? How the fuck can he ask something like that. “Everyting! Dem have everyting to do with me , you, how we eat, drink, sleep and fuck. Yuh nuh see that the woman naw let yuh go. And you naw let her go either. The two of unno deserve each other as far as I see it”, truth mixed with jealousy and frustration. “How you know dat we naw leff”? That probing voice again. “I know. With all you talking about staying up by aunt and all that, you naw leave Bumpy and I will leave it at that”.

But it cant be left at that. It wasn’t that simple. Marco’s words rang clearly in my head, even after so many days. He didnt sound upset when I answered Andre’s phone, when I expected it to be Bumpy. I didnt say a word as he spoke in a low level tone. “Pussy. Mi tell yuh already seh yuh ah fuck yuhself. Look how mi grow yuh and show yuh certain tings. And yuh just nuh want tek nuh talk. Just like yuh hard ears big hole sister. She did get fi her length and yuh ah guh get the same”. Then the call was disconnected. Given the situation it may have been the words of a jealous husband. But somehow, something just not sitting right. And the talk about Kelly’s death. Something wasn’t right. My instinct told me that Andre knew about his sister’s murder that he was letting on. It was then that I began to think that all that was happening in recent times, Marco, Marvin, Andre, Kelly, everything, was somehow connected.

Article written by : Belly Bang

The Superintendent of Police paid me a visit at 7:00 in the morning. He was alone. He pressed the buzzer and I let him in. We sat on the balcony and Miss Marcia offered him something to drink. He requested a cold Heineken. He looked tired. Frustrated. But he went straight to the point. One last shot at the target. My lawyers were giving the ‘authorities” a run around and time was of the essence. The paper work to be signed was needed to ‘clear up’ some outstanding issues and all it needed was my signature. I was stalling the process. To show some good faith on their part, the ‘authorities’ had unfrozen two bank accounts that I held with Marvin, so there was access to those. But one in particular was being ‘monitored’ and I would not be able to get anything from that one. It didnt matter to me cause I never had any reason to transact business on it anyway. Am I in trouble, was all I wanted to know. “Should you be in trouble? You dont seem to fully understand the type of people who you have around you. That I realise. However, I see that you have enough sense to know that you have no control over the machinery that is operating around you. Marvin, Kelly and many others, the whole five yards, down to your special friend Marco are part of one big enterprise. Kelly is just a memory now, but still an important part of the machinery. Just sign the papers and all will be settled”. Food for thought. Made no sense denying, arguing, or questioning the whys and hows. He was the police. They have their resources and sources. But then again, he may not have everything neatly packaged. He came alone, early in the morning, trying to convince me to drop my signature. The machinery was not working how everyone expected. Thats a good sign, a plus for me. I think I will take my chances as it was. I politely told him that I was not interested and that if he wanted any further information or meetings he should contact the lawyers. After all, they were being paid a shit load of money to sort out whatever it was that was happening. I followed him to the gate and waved him goodbye. Good man, bad man, who to tell. But my signature not getting mixed up in shit that I have no clue about.

Andre called me as usual. He wanted to come over. Nope. He laughed. He wanted to know if I would be going to the Spenders Ball that was being held at Pilly Blacks Plaza that night. Maybe. Didnt want to get his hopes up that I would be going there to see him. Sharon called and confirmed that it was on for the night. The Spenders Ball was another of a long string of must go to events. Even when your body is tired, when you have been to the other important events on the dancehall calendar, the Spenders Ball must be supported. But the venue is along Olympic Way, Waterhouse, several blocks from White Wing. One easy bicycle ride for Bumpy and her trusty ratchet knife. Hmm. Sharon’s new man was expected to attend. That was a good enough reason to go. Bumpy wouldn’t be crazy to try some shit at an event like that. Clothes. What to wear? No idea. I sat on the bed skimming through a few magazines, idling my morning away. Miss Marcia told me that someone was at the gate to me. I asked her who it was and she said that she didnt know. I looked downstairs and saw a man wearing a helmet sitting on a bike. I pressed the intercom and asked who it was. “Come downstairs”. What the fuck? I grabbed my robe and went outside. “Andre, wat you doing here”, I pissed as rass. He took off the helmet and with that boyish smile said “Was just passing by and I decided to visit”. I was mad as hell. And I let him have it there and then. The fucker just kept smiling. “Can I come inside”? Nope. Go home. He reached into his jacket and took out a small box and stretched out his hand towards me. I looked at it suspiciously. “And wat dis fah now”? I demanded. “Just a small token of my appreciation”. Really now. What the fuck is there to appreciate? I looked up and down the road. No other vehicles were on the road. So good for him, and good for me also. I took the box and opened it. “Are you mad”, as I took out the contents. “Madly in love with you”, he smirked. “You seem to have a short memory. Member wat happen to yuh di last time yuh decide to play Romeo”, I said as I put the contents in the box and returned it to him. “You dont like it”, he said faking a hurt look on his face. “I like it, but I dont want it. You better be going”. I turned around and he held unto my hand and squeezed it tightly. I dragged it away and walked back to the house, listening to the bike as it rode off. No missed calls from Mr. Man.

I wore a strapless red ensemble that stopped just above the knees. Simple hairdo, spending money and pocketbook. Miss Marcia had left for the evening so I had to lock up. As I grabbed the van keys from the corner table, I saw someone seated in the shadows of the living room. I jumped and was about to scream when he told me to be quiet. Marco walked over. He was wearing at-shirt and a jeans. He had a gun stuck in the front of his jeans. His hair was pulled out and he looked miserable and he was sweaty. He was obviously not on his way to the Spenders Ball. He walked over to me, a black travelling bag in one hand, the other empty. “I need to shower”, he mumbled and climbed the stairs. I replaced the keys on the table. Always the fucking same. Surprise people, act as if it was nothing, no explanations, did as he pleased. No questions asked. I placed the pocketbook beside the keys and slipped the heels off. I glanced outside and saw the gate closed. No sign of Frassman. No other vehicle in the driveway aside from the Range. As I climbed the steps I took up his shoes, his socks, the jeans and a bunch of keys. At the top of the stairs I found the t-shirt. It had dried blood on the front of it. Not a good sign. I went inside my bedroom and heard the shower on. The TV was turned on to a Western Channel and the black travelling bag Marco had earlier was on the bed. He came out of the bathroom, stood in the middle of the bedroom, drying off himself with a towel. He had also washed his hair. He was staring at me. “Where is Frassman”?, was the only thing I could say as I sat on the bed, glass in hand. “Him soon come”. It was then that I noticed the cut on his hand. It was bleeding. I got the medical kit and dressed his hand as he sat on a chair. He didnt say a word. “So, you going to the dance”, I asked as I finished what I was doing. “Not sure”. “Why not”, I had to know since he was already disrupting my plans. “Your yute come check yuh this morning”? “Which yute yuh talking bout”? “Blingers”. “No, I dont remember”, I lied. Still naked Marco got up and went over to the bed and opened the black travelling bag. He emptied the contents on the bed. Money. Lots of money. In crisp bank stacks. Close to a million Jamaican dollars or more. He pushed them aside searching for something and then he found it. He walked towards me, held my hand open, placed something in it and squeezed it shut. My eyes felt watery and I tried my best not to cry. I knew what was in my hand. I felt it. “Him did come and check me this morning and thats all”, I confessed. “Nuh fret, mi know nothing else never gwaan still, but why yuh lie”? He walked over to the bed and with one sweep he pushed the money and the bag to the floor. Marco then laid down on the bed, remote in hand. I was still standing in the middle of the room. “I didnt want to get yuh upset. He came and checked me and thats all”, I tried to sound convincing. But I knew that he knew more. “Try it on”, he requested, still watching the TV. “Why”? “I said to try it on”, he repeated, same tone, still watching the TV. The white gold necklace in my hand felt it weighed a tonne. It felt lighter this morning when Andre handed it to me in the box. I flung the chain on the ground and sat in the chair. What happened to Andre? What was this all about? “Wat is mine is mine and some bwoy need fi understand dat”. “Yuh kill him fid dat? Yuh really kill him fid at foolishness”, I was stunned, upset. “Who say nothing bout killing? Yuh hear seh mi ah kill nuh bady”? This time he was looking straight at me.

A phone was beside me ringing. It wasn’t mine. I took it up and looked at it. Bumpy Calling. I threw it at him and it struck the pillow just as he shifted his head. “Fuck off, just fuck off and leave me alone”, I spat and walked out on the balcony. It was a full moon.

“You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” – Sam Keen
I put on the necklace. The same one that Andre Blingers had offered me, that Marco subsequently produced. I wore it as an act of open defiance. Defiance against hypocrites. Defiance against all the hurt and pain that I suffered recently. Defiance against being in fucked up situation, being a mascot for those men who made my life an emotional black hole, for the police and their probing. I was going to wear that necklace if it choked me and I didn’t care. Fuck Marco, fuck the whole lot of them. Meanwhile, big bad HE stood in front of the mirror getting dressed. He had clothes somewhere in the house. Maybe in another bedroom. Marco looked calm, orderly, focused. And quiet. Quiet at a time like this! I wanted to ask him what happened that night with him and Andre. Mi never want ask him, mi did want jump in him chest and demands! Demands, cause I have a right to know. Where did the money come from? What the fuck was going on? I wanted to scream at him, to take a lamp and slap him across his head. And there he stood, a simple white polo shirt covering that muscular chest. He had combed out his hair and it all over the place. Just like how he was all over my mind. This had to come to an end. Too many things are happening, have happened. When will it stop? When will I know “normal”? Normal isn’t being involved with the police, having no man of my own, living a life that could just well be a prison. I stood on the balcony and watched him. The tears had dried, my throat dry. He tucked the gun in his waist and walked over to me. I looked at him, I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t going to shy away from him. He was responsible for the state I was now in. He was the reason my heart ached.
“Ready”, he said in a low tone. I turned away from him and looked out in the distance. I wasn’t about to be his football. He came behind, and placed his hands on my shoulders. I shuddered. He slowly rubbed them and the warmth. The warmth, that feeling. I didn’t need this, not at this moment. “Yes you do”, he said. It was as if he was reading my mind. His voice, smooth, caressing, as if wrapped around my whole body, “You need to just cool yourself. Why you doing this to me? You know what is what. You just….just”, and he broke off, kissing me on the back of my neck. I didn’t say anything. He placed his hands around my waist and pulled me closer. Even without cologne, his body smelt musky, manly, sexy. Yes, if there was a scent called manly, it would have Marco’s name all over it. “It cant go on like this Marco, it just cant. I am tired, mi soul tired, mi body tired, mi just tired of it all”. It was then I noticed that he had removed the necklace and it fell to the ground. He placed a hand around my neck and spun me around. “Yuh naw guh get tired of me tho. Never”.
“What happen to Andre? You come in here, blood up, bag full of money, and with the …something”, I could only refer to the necklace as the something. He eased off and walked into the bedroom and I followed him. “Macro, mi nuh business wat yuh want do or how yuh feel, but I can tell you this. Me and that bwoy nuh exchange nothing, not even a glass of water”, more confessing than anything else. I went to the dresser and tried to put myself together. Tried. Through the mirror, I saw him picking up the money and placing them in the travelling bag. He placed a few bundles in the nightstand and finished packing the bag. “What about the chain?”, he said, a matter of factly. “I did not take the necklace so don’t even go there”. I remained calm. I didn’t want to upset him, just wanted to talk, to find out if all was well with Blingers. I finished, went over to him and found myself tapping one foot and my arms crossed. I stopped the tapping. That was a bad idea even now. He tossed the bag across this shoulder and said “Him good”. Huh? And it was said in a “that is the end of that topic for now” tone. “Ready”, said he, dryly, and walked through the bedroom door. I quickly followed. Downstairs I took up the van keys and pocketbook from the corner table and made my way outside. Marco was standing by the van, talking on his phone, his voice low and cold. The bag was on the ground beside him. I got in the passenger side and turned on the ignition. A few minutes later he came inside and we were on our way. He stopped about half mile down the hill and parked by a tree. It was a lonely spot. I held unto the door handle. He made a call, and listened to what the person on the other end said and hung up. We then continued. “Why yuh nuh relax yuhself, mi look like mad man to you fi do yuh nothing?”
Soon we were parked infront of the same doctor’s office along Red Hills Road. My doctor, Andre Blinger’s doctor. It was opened sometimes till near dawn, based on the type of cases that came in. This doctor was good, a friend to those in need, especially to those who wanted to keep under the radar. Marco made another call, didn’t say a word, then hung up. Frassman came outside and behind him was Andre, his arm in a plaster, his head tightly wrapped in bandages. I was happy. I started smiling, then I found myself laughing with joy. Andre was ok! Looking like shit, scared, scarred and limping, but he was alive. I reached across and kissed Marco. “Thanks, thanks a lot”, I whispered as I squeezed his hand. Marco’s eyes remained fixed on the two as they walked to a nearby taxi. Andre got in. Frassman waited till the car drove off then he came over to the Range. “All good “, he asked as he climbed in the back, to no one in particular. “All good yute”, replied Marco. As he drove off I felt the tender pressure on my hand. Marco raised my hand to his lips and kissed the back of it.
Officially, it was described it as a “criminal enterprise”. The main actors were outlined in the confidential document that sat on the desk of the Superintendent. Based on intelligence, the group organized the transshipment of drugs from Kingston to the United Kingdom on behalf of a particular Columbian Cartel and their Jamaican counterparts. Several known gang members, most originating from some of the toughest ghettos in the Corporate Area, were involved. Marvin was identified as one of the main leaders, but it remained unclear as to who was the head. Since his arrest, the activities of the group had dipped temporarily, but the latest indicators were that it was back to business as usual. Locally, no charges have been brought against any of the players but they remained under constant surveillance. Marvin’s common law wife was expected to cooperate fully with investigators but recent signals were that was not a done deal. One cooperating witness, the then main crucial witness to the cold blooded criminality of the group, Kellisha Marie Pendegrast, affectionately called Kelly on the dancehall circuit, was murdered before she signed her affidavit. Marvin was still in custody London. But money was missing. Lots of it. All of it. Someone had tipped Marvin off shortly before his arrest and the cash that was being stored in several boxes simply vanished. And the authorities wanted it. The cocaine was also missing, leaving behind trace amounts. The money was gone into thin air. And Jamaican and the British authorities were pissed. The case was falling apart.




“Leave him. He means you no good. Yuh mad. The man is a man who yuh cant tame. What were you thinking. Madness, pure madness. Girl, enjoy yourself, cause he is yours, even if is just part of him yuh have, that part is yours”.

That last comment brought me back from wherever I was. Sharon and the girls were going on and on about Marco and our relationship. Over the past few months suspicion had ballooned into confirmation. It was hard to conceal it. The rumours had spread throughout the circle and it became gossip on the social media. Marco came over and spent time with me. Quality time. Yes, the intimacy was electric and not just on a physical level. Since satisfying himself that Andre Blingers was no longer a threat, he was good again. Sometimes I swear that he could read my mind. Trouble was that I couldn’t do the same. I would see him nearly every day. On more than on occasion I woke up find him in the kitchen, speaking to Miss Marcia as he prepared breakfast for us. I have stopped wondering what was passing through her mind, as she was no fool. But she played along, as expected. But then. Then. It wasn’t ideal. I had stuff, things, enough. A house, two vehicles at my disposal, money, money and more money. Switched the Land Cruiser for a Range recently, thanks to Paul’s encouragement and a big discount at his dealership. But something just wasn’t right. It, the whole situation, wasn’t the way things should be, how I wanted them. Marco hardly spent the night at the house. He always had to leave. No more trips to guesthouses out of town. No more secretive phone calls, they were as open as could be. I wanted to do something, start a small business, get active, do something, anything. Marco said no problem, just decide what I wanted.
What was it about White Wing? That’s the community off Olympic Way/Mahoe Drive/Hagley Park Road. Marco’s home, his base, Marvin’s haunt when he was out and about here in Jamaica. I knew that there was a connection between Bumpy and Mr. Man, which kept them together. But, from what I have observed, he had the means to move out, to a better

community, even for the sake of his children. “From mi leave Sainty (**St. Elizabeth) White Wing is the only place mi know. It is my home. It grow mi till it reach the part where me and the place grow hand in hand. Sometime mi even say to myself that White Wing is mi true one woman”. I had a friend who left for Barbados, leaving his house in Portmore locked up. He wanted no tenants but he said that I could use the house if I wanted to until he got it sold. That was two years ago. No immediate signs of it being sold. I asked Marco if he wanted to go over there and look at the house and if he was interested he could move in or even buy it at a deal. He smiled and said “Mi move in all different circles, mi have mi aunt up by Meadowbrook who love mi like her only son, what is hers is mine. Mi do mi little hustlings and can manage to live comfortable any where. But right now, mi naw leave out. Bumpy nuh want leave, and if she naw leave that mean the girls dem naw leave”.
Bumpy. There is that name again. Bumpy dis Bumpy dat. Bumpy wat. That’s the frustration in mi rass life. Bumpy. Marco supposed to be staying with his aunt yet mi know him ah see dat gal. Is the mother of his children but dat still nuh seh! Bloodclawt. Life’s a bitch. This man is sleeping with me, yet is not my own. One ghetto gal have up the man and him naw let her go and she not going nowhere. And mi cant do one fuck bout it. She was still washing his clothes. I noticed that. They had that woman’s touch, the touch of someone who cares for another. The touch that says nuh matter wah yuh ah do, is still my man. I volunteered once to do his laundry, he said no, that’s ok.
I was with him in Half Way Tree, sitting in a restaurant. It was in the evening and he was heading to his aunt’s house in Meadowbrook to get some gear. He was playing a football match by his one true woman later. He didn’t say it, but I knew that he spent time with Bumpy and the children. Then nuh must, if him down there him have to see them. Stupid thought. Life’s still an ungrateful bitch. This man is sleeping with me, yet is not my own. One ghetto gal have up the man and him naw let her go and she not going nowhere anytime soon. And mi cant do one fuck bout it. The X5 pulled up along the curb. Frassman. “Little more”, and with that he walked off. There was a girl sitting in the front seat. She got out and went in the back. Marco went in the font and the van drove off. She looked pretty. She wasn’t pretty, she was striking. Not much pass eighteen. As she was going in the back I am sure I saw her looking at me. Or was I wrong. No I wasn’t, she was looking at me, as if she was jeering me. I knew that look. The look of someone who knew she had the good up, and there was nothing the wife could do about it. Marco ah fuck her? Or is Frassman? But the gal look like something Marco would be interested in. Hold on. I was getting ahead of myself. I had taken out the phone, the one Marco had given to me, and was calling him. I disconnected the call. I was seeing things. Duppies where there were none. My imagination. Plus, I aint the wife. Nuh yet, not yet. That was what I wanted. To become this man’s wife, to have him for my own, to be complete.
Jealousy is a bitch. I looked around. Looking. For what I don’t know. An excuse. Something. Fuck that.
“Big woman”, a familiar voice said. “Andre, yuh just don’t stop”. I was at the hairdresser and the phone rang. I didn’t even look at the number, I just answered. It had been several weeks since I saw him, and the last time I saw him at the doctor’s office he wasn’t looking like much. The boy laughed. It was good hearing from him still. I wanted to call but I didn’t want to stir up any ants nest with Mr. Man. Is like him sense when anything is going down. “Bwoy, from mi slip and mi head connect with yuh man catapult and buss up, mi nuh see yuh, why yuh treat me suh”. “Child, if yuh nuh want slip again and yuh body connect with something from that catapult, yuh will leave me alone”, I warned, in a loving sort of way. He sounded chirpy. “So wat yuh up to in the evening? Yuh nuh want me and you link, mi want show yuh ah vibes”, he asked. By now I had gotten up and was standing in a passage, away from the prying eyes and ears. “Any vibes yuh have to show me yuh have to inform Frassman first”. “So why yuh nuh just she Marco, just say Marco and done. Anyway, mi credit soon done, but mi did just want hear yuh voice still, and trust me, mi think bout yuh everyday”, he sounded sincere. “Later”, I said and before I could disconnect the call I heard the words “Still want yuh”. The boy nuh have one bit of sense. After what Marco put him through him come back with the same shit. Well, not really shit, cause him just speaking him mind. But him need to understand himself.
That fucking Cable TV was the cause of many troubles. Bumpy and her White Wing crew had kept a dance, apparently sometime last week, based on what was being said by the selector. I was still at the hairdresser. They looked cheap and crappy. Ok, that’s the opinion of a woman who finds herself in second position. My opinion. But, di dance did ah gwaan still. Marco didn’t mention it to me. No big deal. Then I saw the girl from the X5, who the selector called DashOut. She was bubbling like rass and grabbing the attention of the patrons. DashOut was working the dance, climbing unto the speaker boxes, flashing her hair all over, moving her hips seductively. The cameraman focused on Bumpy who was now standing still and looking at the girl. Something was up. Then it clicked in my head. Then like the devil spoke to him, the selector started playing Lady Saw’s mix up song and called DashOut’s name. My mouth was wide open when Bumpy, who face was showing murder, grabbed a quart bottle from a bucket at her feet and rushed in on the girl, whose back was to her. The host for the cable show then came on laughing at what she said was the usual antics in the dancehall.

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”
Marilyn Monroe
When crossing the road, we are told to stop, look and listen. In life, when the going gets miserable, to get across that road, there are three stages. The first stage is to stop, sit, take a sip of something (coconut rum and pineapple juice), and reflect. Not review or analyze, that’s for later. Just reflect. It means looking back with a pure, raw, unadulterated mind. Its hard. Almost impossible. But necessary. It is only then that we see things as they are. No one can label anything as unpleasant for us. We see the ugly, the nasty, the darkness, the false. And then, and only then, that we move on to the next stage which is having an understanding of ourselves. After all, we cant understand unless we face the truth, and that was why we reflected. And what is the truth? The truth is. It simply is. It isn’t your truth or my truth or his truth, the truth is. We are taught to look out for fairy tale romances, the prince charming on his great white horse that rescues us from whatever or whomever, and who carries us off to the castle where we live happily ever after. The sex would be great, the children obedient and the mother-in-law tolerant. However, that rescue was more a kidnapping. The horse turned out to be a wild, regrettable series of events and the castle a prison. With all its amenities, rooms, furniture, its magnificent view, the space, we wish that we were free and about, without the memories, without the baggage of history. Just living a normal, free and simple life. That brings us to the third stage, planning the way forward.
I liked the view. Sometimes I would sit for hours on the balcony outside my bedroom looking out on the city. Kingston is always alive. Life goes on, the world moves on. The ice makes the mix mellow. It goes down well.
I am in a shared relationship. I share him with others. I knew this before I decided to share. I accepted this. He is a father to two wonderful girls. I never met them of course. But when Marco speaks of them, you can hear the love in his voice and see the energy in his eyes. I honestly believe that he would kill anyone who threatens their existence. The children were his reason for living, and those two took precedence over everything else. And it was his love for them why they remained with their mother. He didn’t want to see them hurt, to go through any emotional displacement in their early lives. And this stability was maintained by them staying with their mother. But Bumpy was not the perfect mom. A dancehall fly, she is well known for patronage at parties and dances. And Bumpy. He loved her. That’s the truth. No matter what happened between them, she was still his number one. Marco never said it, but the truth is. He was also a man of the people, a community activist as he sometimes called himself. The streets were his constant companion, as if made for each other. I have heard the stories, here and there. Not from him. He doesn’t speak much about his hustle. I heard about the shootings, the murders, the extortion. But its hard to believe that this was the same man who I knew, who I made love to. Not my Marco. Our Marco. He played football, he is with his children, sometimes on the road, by his aunt. Accept. He is not a saint. But he had to do what he had to do in order to survive. This was what he knew. But he could change. Could he? You cant force someone to change. You cant change people. Change is a process, driven by determination.

I knew he had many women before we started dating, or is it fucking. Whatever it was. We have something. We had something. Had. Yes, had. Is still there? His touch, his kiss, the way he made me feel. I was his. He made me feel special. Loved. Wanted. Marco knew how to reach in and gently stroke my soul. It was he who reignited that flame in me when Marvin chose to cover it. Marvin. It should have been better after him. After Marvin. Funny, this is the first time that I have accepted that we are no longer involved. Accept. Marvin and I are no longer together. But with no Marvin, is it better? With no Marvin, where does that leave me. What must I do? What really is the proper thing to do? Call his cousin Colin in London and tell him to tell Marvin that I am no longer Marvin’s numero uno. Marvin was still in prison. The authorities have him on some serious lock down.
I was never Marvin’s numero uno. More like numero nuff nuff. History. I wasn’t along with Marvin now. Its been ages that I have seen him and that was when I went to London. Marvin took to Kelly and made her his wife. Kelly was love. Marvin’s love. And Marco’s love. But was it love? Did he whisper things to her, gave her that touch, my touch. Did he make love to her, not just fuck, but made love. Did he? Did he share what we had with her? Accept. I was the one who came into his life while he was “with” Kelly. I was the matey. Kelly dead and gone and I am here still the professional matey. Matey Kelly, wifey Bumpy, all those women known and unknown. Maybe matey to DashOut, who to tell. I have no one to call my own. Accept.
I knew Marco, the Marco he allowed me to see. He has never mentioned Marvin JR, his son. Marvin JR is Marco’s son. Accept. Marco never explained the connection between Marvin and himself. Business? Then what type of business? Friends, yes. Friends maybe. Friend nuh fuck friend woman. Mi mean women. Or do they? Marco is a mystery. No matter how much I have claimed to “know” him, I don’t. Accept. Funny enough, I have never seen an identification card, no driver’s licence, passport, voter’s ID, nothing for him. He told me his last name once. I called him by it jokingly. He didn’t think it was funny. Marco will do. And yet, this man of mystery has a hold on my life. Him ah strangle me and him naw use him hands and mi sure him know it.
The phone was ringing. It stopped and the other phone started to ring. Its been ringing like that for several days. When he came by the first two days I went straight to my room and locked the door. He knocked, asked me what was wrong. I told him I needed to be alone. He called my phones, I didn’t answer. Messages were left on the voicemail. Didn’t feel like speaking to him or anyone else. After those first two days he stopped coming across. Frassman’s number, private numbers, unknown numbers, all Marco. I just didn’t want to talk to him. I want to be at peace. I just want a life right now. This was not living. I want to live. I want enjoyment, security, peace, happiness. Happiness. If I could spend every fucking dollar I have and buy happiness I would. Mi nuh happy.
The tears rolled down my cheeks. The tears came easily. Each day, at this time, I had these exact thoughts. No variation. Same way suh. Every fucking day from the other day. Mi head hurt mi more times. Watching TV didn’t help. I had no vibes to speak to Sharon and the girls. Mi never want chat to nuhbady. My only companion was drinking. It clogged the mind, slowed the headache, slowed time. I wanted it to stop time. I wanted everything to stop. Fucked up. I never expected it, yet I should have. The phone was ringing. A special ring. A ring that calmed me down. Should it? It nuh matter, it calmed me. Maybe it was because of who was calling. Maybe it was my way of payback. Maybe, could be. Ok. Let me tell yuh the truth. I never want to chat to nuhbady, except one this person. He reached out to me with his text messages. Then I accepted a call, then two. And our calls became a way of reaching out to each other. I walked over to the phone, and without looking at the number, I answered it. I needed a pleasant distraction, a companion, or even more. He provided me with what I was looking for this moment in time.

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”
Marilyn Monroe
When crossing the road, we are told to stop, look and listen. In life, when the going gets miserable, to get across that road, there are three stages. The first stage is to stop, sit, take a sip of something (coconut rum and pineapple juice), and reflect. Not review or analyze, that’s for later. Just reflect. It means looking back with a pure, raw, unadulterated mind. Its hard. Almost impossible. But necessary. It is only then that we see things as they are. No one can label anything as unpleasant for us. We see the ugly, the nasty, the darkness, the false. And then, and only then, that we move on to the next stage which is having an understanding of ourselves. After all, we cant understand unless we face the truth, and that was why we reflected. And what is the truth? The truth is. It simply is. It isn’t your truth or my truth or his truth, the truth is. We are taught to look out for fairy tale romances, the prince charming on his great white horse that rescues us from whatever or whomever, and who carries us off to the castle where we live happily ever after. The sex would be great, the children obedient and the mother-in-law tolerant. However, that rescue was more a kidnapping. The horse turned out to be a wild, regrettable series of events and the castle a prison. With all its amenities, rooms, furniture, its magnificent view, the space, we wish that we were free and about, without the memories, without the baggage of history. Just living a normal, free and simple life. That brings us to the third stage, planning the way forward.
I liked the view. Sometimes I would sit for hours on the balcony outside my bedroom looking out on the city. Kingston is always alive. Life goes on, the world moves on. The ice makes the mix mellow. It goes down well.
I am in a shared relationship. I share him with others. I knew this before I decided to share. I accepted this. He is a father to two wonderful girls. I never met them of course. But when Marco speaks of them, you can hear the love in his voice and see the energy in his eyes. I honestly believe that he would kill anyone who threatens their existence. The children were his reason for living, and those two took precedence over everything else. And it was his love for them why they remained with their mother. He didn’t want to see them hurt, to go through any emotional displacement in their early lives. And this stability was maintained by them staying with their mother. But Bumpy was not the perfect mom. A dancehall fly, she is well known for patronage at parties and dances. And Bumpy. He loved her. That’s the truth. No matter what happened between them, she was still his number one. Marco never said it, but the truth is. He was also a man of the people, a community activist as he sometimes called himself. The streets were his constant companion, as if made for each other. I have heard the stories, here and there. Not from him. He doesn’t speak much about his hustle. I heard about the shootings, the murders, the extortion. But its hard to believe that this was the same man who I knew, who I made love to. Not my Marco. Our Marco. He played football, he is with his children, sometimes on the road, by his aunt. Accept. He is not a saint. But he had to do what he had to do in order to survive. This was what he knew. But he could change. Could he? You cant force someone to change. You cant change people. Change is a process, driven by determination.

I knew he had many women before we started dating, or is it fucking. Whatever it was. We have something. We had something. Had. Yes, had. Is still there? His touch, his kiss, the way he made me feel. I was his. He made me feel special. Loved. Wanted. Marco knew how to reach in and gently stroke my soul. It was he who reignited that flame in me when Marvin chose to cover it. Marvin. It should have been better after him. After Marvin. Funny, this is the first time that I have accepted that we are no longer involved. Accept. Marvin and I are no longer together. But with no Marvin, is it better? With no Marvin, where does that leave me. What must I do? What really is the proper thing to do? Call his cousin Colin in London and tell him to tell Marvin that I am no longer Marvin’s numero uno. Marvin was still in prison. The authorities have him on some serious lock down.
I was never Marvin’s numero uno. More like numero nuff nuff. History. I wasn’t along with Marvin now. Its been ages that I have seen him and that was when I went to London. Marvin took to Kelly and made her his wife. Kelly was love. Marvin’s love. And Marco’s love. But was it love? Did he whisper things to her, gave her that touch, my touch. Did he make love to her, not just fuck, but made love. Did he? Did he share what we had with her? Accept. I was the one who came into his life while he was “with” Kelly. I was the matey. Kelly dead and gone and I am here still the professional matey. Matey Kelly, wifey Bumpy, all those women known and unknown. Maybe matey to DashOut, who to tell. I have no one to call my own. Accept.
I knew Marco, the Marco he allowed me to see. He has never mentioned Marvin JR, his son. Marvin JR is Marco’s son. Accept. Marco never explained the connection between Marvin and himself. Business? Then what type of business? Friends, yes. Friends maybe. Friend nuh fuck friend woman. Mi mean women. Or do they? Marco is a mystery. No matter how much I have claimed to “know” him, I don’t. Accept. Funny enough, I have never seen an identification card, no driver’s licence, passport, voter’s ID, nothing for him. He told me his last name once. I called him by it jokingly. He didn’t think it was funny. Marco will do. And yet, this man of mystery has a hold on my life. Him ah strangle me and him naw use him hands and mi sure him know it.
The phone was ringing. It stopped and the other phone started to ring. Its been ringing like that for several days. When he came by the first two days I went straight to my room and locked the door. He knocked, asked me what was wrong. I told him I needed to be alone. He called my phones, I didn’t answer. Messages were left on the voicemail. Didn’t feel like speaking to him or anyone else. After those first two days he stopped coming across. Frassman’s number, private numbers, unknown numbers, all Marco. I just didn’t want to talk to him. I want to be at peace. I just want a life right now. This was not living. I want to live. I want enjoyment, security, peace, happiness. Happiness. If I could spend every fucking dollar I have and buy happiness I would. Mi nuh happy.
The tears rolled down my cheeks. The tears came easily. Each day, at this time, I had these exact thoughts. No variation. Same way suh. Every fucking day from the other day. Mi head hurt mi more times. Watching TV didn’t help. I had no vibes to speak to Sharon and the girls. Mi never want chat to nuhbady. My only companion was drinking. It clogged the mind, slowed the headache, slowed time. I wanted it to stop time. I wanted everything to stop. Fucked up. I never expected it, yet I should have. The phone was ringing. A special ring. A ring that calmed me down. Should it? It nuh matter, it calmed me. Maybe it was because of who was calling. Maybe it was my way of payback. Maybe, could be. Ok. Let me tell yuh the truth. I never want to chat to nuhbady, except one this person. He reached out to me with his text messages. Then I accepted a call, then two. And our calls became a way of reaching out to each other. I walked over to the phone, and without looking at the number, I answered it. I needed a pleasant distraction, a companion, or even more. He provided me with what I was looking for this moment in time.

Andre was good company, over the phone. I never took the chance to meet him in public or to invite him to my house. And no way was I going to his house. Taking no chances. I wasn’t afraid what people would think, they can think any fuckery they wanted. I was just cautious. Marco and I haven’t spoken for over two weeks. He had stopped calling, no home visits. Nothing. It was hard at first, breaking the addiction to his smooth deep voice, his touch. If I was withdrawing from a drug addiction I am pretty sure that it felt something like this. I didn’t want to speak to him. The urge, the devil, my needs, all made me take up the phone to dial his number on several occasions. But I didn’t budge. The girls asked me what was wrong. Sharon led the charge and asked me if everything was ok with me and Mr. Man. No, it wasn’t. I told her it was all good, just the stress of trying to sort out the issues with the police. Lie. But, the heart still being heavy, Andre Blingers provided a useful distraction. He was still the hanging out at the plaza and music studio type of guy. He had a girlfriend but she was abroad and they were going through a rough patch. The other women were not his type. He was happy that he found a woman like me to talk to and would like the relationship to go to another level, blah blah blah. I wasn’t taking him seriously, but it was entertaining speaking to him, in an older woman younger man sort of way.
My routine was getting back on track. The girls and I decided to revive our Friday nights roamings and for this Friday we would watch a movie at Sovereign Centre. We met for evening drinks at a new cozy spot off Hope Road. It had the right atmosphere, just enough lighting, a garden type setting, soothing soul music from the 1990’s playing in the background. Most of all cute bartenders. Sharon was adamant that we should try all the watering holes and check out the hunky bartenders. We would vote to see if he was hot on a scale of 1 to 10. The closer to 10, the bigger the tip. This one was hot. Goatie, bald head, tight button up shirt, the back of which was hanging over just so over back of his jeans. After a few, we made our way to the movies. We were travelling in Sharon’s car that night. We bought tickets and entered the cinema. We sat together, I in an aisle seat. With a few minutes to go, I surveyed the packed theatre. The movie goers were chatting away and laughing. Persons were looking for friends. Andre was with friends. The scent of buttery popcorn filled the air. ANDRE! What the fuck! I narrowed my eyes and focused and there he was, 2 rows below me to my left. Him never did tell me that he was coming. I had told him of my plans a few days ago. But, there he was now sitting with a group, their voices clear as sin. Then it happened. Sharon noticed him too. “Nuh Blingers dat that down there”, she stated. “Where”?, as I looked to my right and behind me. “Down desso”, she replied pointing at him. Same time Andre looked around and saw me. I sunk a bit in the seat and looked at Sharon in order to avoid his stare.
Two two’s Andre was beside me, kneeling in the aisle. “Lovely ladies, wats happening. I cant believe that you are here by yourselves”, said he, a smiling away. “Mi man soon some so you can tek weh yuh self”, quipped Sharon, obviously not into him. The other girls watched intently, as usual. “What about you, when your man arriving”?, looking straight in mi face wid him two dry eye, fully well knowing what the rass him doing. I shifted uneasily in the seat. I didn’t tell him that Marco and I were going through the silent zone. “Andre, the movie starting now, guh down to yuh seat and be still”, trying to be civil. He laughed and walked off, on hand pulling up his jeans as they started to sag.“Yuh know seh ah long time dat bwoy just nuff and distasteful. Ah same way him sister did stay and seet deh, Kelly pop breed fi Marvin and try mash up yuh life. Him ah live offa him woman dem and have no intention fi find work. How gal manage tek him up mi nuh know, not cause him can fuck good”, grunted Sharon. The other girls chimed in “yes, yes” like a choir. I don’t know which part of Sharon’s speech they were agreeing with but I am sure I heard a “mi woulda fuck him to” could be barely heard during the “yes, yes”.
“You know that I miss you so much babes”. My heart skipped a beat. The phones were on the pillow beside me and one kept on ringing. That woke me up. I was a bit dazed but still managed to feel it and answered. I went to bed around midnight, after Sharon carried me home. I was all maxed out and wasted no time hitting the sheets. So I was shocked to hear his voice. “Marvin! Marvin”!, by this time I had jumped up and stood beside the bed. “How yuh sound so frighten”? he chuckled. I was walking up and down in the bedroom, my chest heaving. Mi never know whether to bawl, scream, run, walk, I was just out of it. Worst of all, I never knew what to say to him. “So, is suh yuh treat yuh man . No I missed you too or you are glad to hear from me”, he started. “I just don’t know wat to say. Yuh get phone call”?, making small talk. “No, I didn’t get a phone call, I am using my phone”, he was calm, not giving away much. “Marvin, stop you foolishness nuh, wat is happening”, I was getting more agitated. What the fuck was really happening. I suspected. I had that slight feeling. I didn’t want it to be confirmed, just didn’t. /“Wat is happening is that mi get bail. Wat is happening is that mi at mi home, conditions attached. Wat is happening is that you naw hold the order. You start do tings as soon as yuh hear dat mi gone jail”, each word piercing me. Confirmed. I always knew that this chat had to happen, but not so soon, so quick. The hand holding the phone was trembling. My throat felt dry and heavy.“But babes. Its all good. Mi just ah show you that my love for you is so strong that you are the first person in Jamaica mi call and talk to. You are the one on my mind each night mi on lock down”. Silence. “Marvin, its not like that, mi nuh know wat you talking bout, Marvin, cho. Wat is yuh problem. Wat time is it”, pure fuckery was all I could string together. He laughed. “You see, all these years me and you coming from so far. Mi know that mi keep up some tings and do some tings that hurt you. But mi ah human being. And you know that mi stand beside you through thick and thin, all when you lose our baby. But you doubt me. You doubt me and guh follow crowd and start do all kinda fuckery. Yuh shouldn’t do this to me. But, its all good. Min uh vex, just giving God thanks for his mercy”, his went on.
Mi cant believe what mi ah hear from this shit house. Stand by me all when mi lose “our baby”? Stand beside me? Marvin forgot about Kelly? This man call mi in middle night, first time we talking for how many moons, and him ah throw stones at me already! “This is the best you can do? Call me and ah stress me out”?, mi couldn’t stand it nuh more and was getting upset. “I don’t want to fight. I just call to tell you that I am out. I don’t know when I am coming home but that is when the case finish”, quietly. “Ok”, was all I could say. “Mi will call yuh babes, yuh know that I cant talk too much over the phone. Still love you”, and with that he hung up. I had turned on the bedroom lights and was still walking up and down, from one corner of the room to the next, to the bathroom, the walk in closet, and outside on the balcony. Walking. I heard the dogs barking. The alarm system went off. I stopped and I heard my heart beating on rapid. I ran to the door and turned the locks. I ran to the phone. The dogs were barking and running around the house. I heard footsteps in the yard below my balcony. I ran to the balcony and got on my knees and peeped downstairs. I saw two eyes looking up at me. “Sorry fi disturb you Miss Mam, but ah me set off the alarm by accident when mi did ah try ketch one ah di dog fi gi it medicine”, the gardener said. “At this hour ah di night”?, I screamed. “So Miss Mam, dog can only tek dem medicine ah day”?
I was up until 6. I couldn’t sleep. The bed was uncomfortable. Every time I heard a vehicle on the road I felt anxious. I lay down on the sofa that was to one side of the room. It felt like concrete to me. Eventually, I took all the pillows from the bed, along with the comforter and made a mini lay down something on the ankle deep carpet at the foot of the bed and fell asleep.
I don’t know why I did it, but I did. I made my way to the Pendegrast home, Kelly’s home. Andre Blinger’s home. But I wasn’t there to see Andre. I came to look for Marvin JR. I just felt that I had to look for him, I don’t know why. I haven’t seen the little man since his mother’s funeral. I spoke to Mrs. Pendegrast a few times, she called. She wanted to find out how I was doing. She was a genuine woman, who seemed not to care about the passa passa in the relationship between her dead daughter, Marvin and I, but who really cared about the welfare of others. I never did trust her at first but later appreciated what she was doing. She never asked me for anything for Marvin JR, even though I was technically still Marvin’s “wife”. At least to the Pendegrasts. But they were well off and had no need to bother anyone for any handouts for their grandchild. Each time I was invited to a party, function, dinner or something by Mrs. Pendegrast, I gave an excuse not to attend. Ok, I didn’t want to see Marvin JR, I had my reasons. And later, I didn’t want to be around Andre on his home ground, better to avoid any possible complications, and this was before I stopped talking to Mr. Man.
I stopped at the gate. It was Marvin JR’s birthday and I had no plans to attend. I was there now though. After talking to Marvin last night, something struck a cord. Several cars were parked along the road and on the driveway. Colourful ballons and ribbons were tied to the trees in the front yard and many children were around. I made my way to the open front door. Several presents were in the living room posing for a man was hired to take photographs. I didn’t see Andre, yet, but I found Mrs. Pendegrast in the massive backyard talking to several persons under a tent. On a table was a huge cake with Marvin JR’s photograph on it and there were several portraits of the child, his mother and family members on another table. We kissed on the cheeks and she thanked me for coming. She asked if I was hungry and before I could answer she sent message to the kitchen for me to be assisted with something to eat. Marvin JR was somewhere in the house with his uncle she said. I took a seat and immediately felt weary. “Marvin JR’s uncle come and look for him every week, and spend time with him and play with him. The two of them are like peas in a pod now. I don’t know how I would have managed without him”, she said. “Let me see what taking so long. Stanley!! Stanley!! See what is happening in the kitchen”!, she shouted in the direction of a kitchen window. Within minutes a man came out carrying a plate with food. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was this a joke! What the fuck was happening! Stanley, neatly dressed in a long sleeve shirt and pants, appeared uncomfortable in his threads. His shirt was out of his pants. Mrs. Pendegrast turned to me “But wait, you supposed to know Stanley”? I knew him well enough. “Yes I do”. Stanley handed the food to me, a blank expression on his face. “Stanley always jumping around and assisting when he can”, she merrily said. Stanley asked excuse and walked off. Asked excuse?? Hahahaha. You never really know someone. Then I heard His voice. Not Stanley’s, His. I could hear Mr. Pendegrast and Him laughing in a section of the house. Then they appeared. Mr.Pendegrast first with a glass in one hand. “Oh, see them there. Donovan, mek sure you get a picture of Marvin JR when him uncle carry him out. And memba to just take the photo of the child cause you know the uncle don’t like to take photographs”, she told the photographer who was beside her.
Marvin JR was cute and looked smart in his neat outfit. Looking even neater was his uncle. He held Marvin JR in his arms as He stood by the door. He handed the child to Mrs. Pendegrast. I was bewildered. Surprises. He came over and sat beside me. “Hello again”, He was inches away and I smelt his cologne. I had given it to him as a small present. “Hello you”, I replied. I reached up and brushed something from his face. He didn’t flinch. As I put my hand in my lap, I decided to get to the meat of the matter. “Marvin called”, I said, as he watched the guests and family members gather around the cake, little man in his grandmother’s arms. “I heard he was out”, said He. By this time the guests were singing happy birthday. Merriment. Joy. “He got bail two weeks ago. Just watch who you talk to and wat you say and everything good”, He said. Marco reached across and gently held my hand. He then got up and went to the back of the yard and stood beside Stanley. Stanley was adjusting his pants and I glimpsed the usual shiny metal object in his waist, which he, Stanley aka Frassman, quickly covered with his shirt.

Marvin was out of jail, but not here. He did the calling, a blocked number, he never offered me the digits. According to him, he would speak to me when it was important. And it was important at midnight, for him just to say hello. Then another time at 3am for him to cuss me out about him know that mi fucking on him in Jamaica. Sometimes he was loving, remembering the good days, other times, bipolar, unreasonable and bitter. Bitter towards me, to his many friends who deserted him, to the authorities who were persecuting him for things him ignorant of (yeah right). But he wanted to talk. He mentioned how he missed home, his mother, his freedom. Those times he sounded like the Marvin who I first met. He asked about his son, Marvin JR. I gave him updates as I made it my duty to speak to Mrs. Pendegrast each day. I recall one night he called me. He was dead drunk. “Marvin, mi really cant bother with these night calls every nite, mi tired, you know dat mi ah try start up the little club”, I was in bed. “Yuh out deh ah spend mi money, live inna mi house, use mi money start up bloodclawt club, and yuh taking the piss now by brushing me off. FUCK OFF. Yuh ah one ah dem loose end mi ah guh sort out, just watch”!!, his voice groggy and heavy. I could hear a female voice telling him behave himself. Morning in England and the fucker drunk. Probably just reaching in from another party. I was used to the abuse. It no longer frightened me. “Put the girl on the phone mek ah talk to her”, I asked. “Weh di fuck yuh want chat to mi woman fah, yuh bitch, yuh hear mi want chat to yuh man weh yuh have down deh? Ah bet yuh him nuh fuck yuh like how mi dweet”!, intended to get me upset. I was long pass upset these days. I have been through a lot and I made up my mind to be stronger, to roll with the punches. I knew that things have changed. But this man was not going to drive me over the edge. I knew him too well for that to happen.“Hello”, the girl sounded nervous. “My girl, just tek off him clothes, mek him lie down pon him back and just rub him chest nice and slow and him will go sleep. Yuh cant have him over there and cant control him”, I advised her. Woman to girl. Younger girl by the sound of it. “But, but, mi and him nuh deh, ah mi fren”. She was definitely frightened. “You girl, mi ah nuh idiot, just do wat mi tell yuh and him fall asleep in no time. Later”, and I hung up, not waiting for an answer from her or any more bullshit from him. I was being practical when it came to Marvin. We tie together because of the past, and I wont be ungrateful, as I told you all. But I wont let him rule me from so far. No way. He tried being an emotional terrorist towards me and it was as the grace of prayer that kept me through. When that didn’t work, he tried the hot now, cold later technique. And I wouldn’t buy it. No. Not from him. Not now. And because of the ongoing case him under some bit of manners thousands of miles away. But I still considered his reach, now that he was out. So, I had to know how to deal with him, not to write him off, but to act the part of the estranged wife. This bastard left his house, his cars, his money, his life in Jamaica in my hands.
Andre wanted to come over to the house oh so badly. But I would have none of it. Instead, I found good use for him. He was assisting me in getting the Club sorted out. It was located off Half Way Tree road. It was to be more of a trendy drink out spot, with a few hot girls as bartenders and waitresses. A carwash was to be opened later. Sharon

and the girls loved the idea. It was Andre who came up with the concept when I told him that I wanted to do something. He set me up on the place that was for rent. Andre knew the son of the owners so things went smoothly. The place was recently renovated so it was just to get in the fixtures, sorting out the applications for licensing, hiring staffing, sourcing stock etc. Things were moving fast. Spent my days up and down on the road. Paul loaned me Prince some days and he acted as consultant in making orders, negotiating with the contractors and other details. Prince and Paul didn’t like Andre, said that he was a cruff with no ambition. Andre didn’t seem to notice their cold behavior towards him. Not surprising. It was like water off a duck’s back to him, him just don’t care or let it bother him. I reminded Paul and Prince that Andre was assisting me so at least him serve some purpose. Of course Andre got his daily stipend, for his “expenses” such as phone card and lunch. Being around him this often I found out that he smoked. With that he kept his distance from me. Money wasn’t an issue in getting the business going, it was Marvin’s funds. And that was why I kept Marvin in the loop. My business, but with his help. Plus, if and when he returns I am sure that he wanted something legitimate happening for him. Marvin said he didn’t care and that I was just thinking about myself. When I told him that the business would let him live up to his responsibility towards his son, he kind of warmed to the idea, especially when he heard that Blingers was assisting. Maybe he thought I would have mentioned another name. Blingers was no threat and it did help that he was Marvin JR’s uncle. And because of that I kept Andre at the line in the sand. Recent events forced me to keep him there whether I wanted him to cross or not. Andre flirted, whispered his xrated thoughts when no one was paying attention, offered to drive me where I wanted to go. I told him I was a good driver.

It was a Thursday morning and I walked up to the gate to check the mailbox. As I went through the several envelopes, a car drove up. A police car. The clothes I was wearing were indecent to put it mildly and I felt exposed to the eyes of the three policemen who remained seated in the vehicle. They kept staring at me. Not a word. I stood there frozen. Didn’t know what to expect. Less than a minute later they drove off. Not a word spoken. It was then I realized that the car had no licence plates and the lettering on the side was worn and indistinguishable. I went to the house, and tried my best to shake the fear that gripped me. Fear then turned to anger. Why me? Why the hell me?
“Yuh guh check Bully, Shaka and German and get dem number”? Again, another late night call. “No I did not. I just busy and I have so many things to do. Tomorrow”, I explained. “Ah dat bout you, everything for you and yuh cant do one ting mi ask yuh. You know mi have Yuh know yuh ah real shithouse though”, he ranted. “The girl yuh over deh ah fuck ah nuh shithouse”? I was angry and now sitting up in the bed. “Which girl mi ah fuck? Which girl mi ah fuck? So wat, mi haffi fuck. Look how long mi lock down and you nuh serve nuh purpose to me. Mi nuh have nuh woman and nuh want none. Woman ah problems”, he tried being spiteful. Drinking and convenient memory loss. Or him just nuh memba or care? “Sweetie, I am not arguing with you tonight. Or morning in your case. Is tomorrow is Court, don’t it. Memba to check the barrister and confirm if he got the money”, I had to remain business like. Silence.“Me and you meant for each other. Why you doing this to mi? Why yuh ah play with me? Is this we come to? Talking like strangers. Yuh change”, he sounded partly concerned, partly suspicious. “Good nite Marvin and ask yuh missus if what mi did tell her fi do work”, and I hung up. I was laughing now. But seriously, the truth was that I didn’t want to go look for Bully and the others. I had no intention to go into White Wing and risk seeing Bumpy, DashOut or whoever else. No way. But I should remember to ask Andre to do that for me. As a matter of fact let me call him now.
“Good morning”. I was not surprised to see him. Startled maybe but not surprised. Maybe it was because of the mood I was in from the other day. “Morning”, I replied and accepted the cup of tea he offered. As if he knew I was coming down at that moment. Miss Marva had gone for the a few days and the gardener was somewhere around. The sun was just getting warm and I had a meeting in Ocho Rios with a man who wanted to organize a deal on some music equipment for me. Andre was supposed to go but he was sick. Casually dressed, I felt like leaving out early so I could grab something to eat along the way. The alarm codes for the house were changed three times in the past month. Obviously, that didn’t keep him out. And, deep down, I knew it wouldn’t. He sat there by the granite counter reading the newspaper. I sipped the tea and looked out a window at the city of Kingston. What should I say to him? That he cant be coming into my home like that. That he needs to start showing respect for me. Not because. I turned to him and I had no idea what I wanted to say. But the words came. “So how you and Bumpy”?, trying to maintain an unconcerned look. My neck started feeling tense. Without looking up from the paper he said “She good enuh. She pregnant”. I threw the teacup at him and he quickly shifted to the side, smiling. “Just joking. Easy nuh”. Bex, bex, bex, you couldn’t find another bex like me at that moment. Games. I didn’t want to fall in his trap. I watched him take up the pieces from the floor and dumped them in the bin. He returned to his seat. He always sat at that same spot when he is in the kitchen. “So yuh plan to behave and talk to me now”? He was looking straight at me. I hated him. I hated what he stood for. I hated him for the misery. That was the hate up to the moment I saw him this morning. He had stopped calling. The last time we spoke was at Marvin JR’s birthday party. “Mi nuh have one thing to say to you. So you can just leave mi out of your life and let me be”, I was in a no nonsense mood. “OK. So how the club going. Hear yuh opening in two weeks time”. Where this heading now? “Marco, I have somewhere to go and I cant stay and chat now. If you were interested in the club, yuh know where to get your information. And you quick to ask about Club which means you not interested in how I am doing. And another ting, how yuh just ah show up at mi yard just so. Yuh can call or use the intercom at the gate BEFORE yuh come in”, I had to bring the point across. He started folding the newspaper. “Yuh don’t answer my calls. The intercom needs fixing and the technician coming later. And mi deh yah from last nite”. Marco was cool and steady. He got up and walked towards the front door. I walked quickly behind him. He stopped and looked around at me. I stopped a few feet from him. What next? “If mi do you something, I am sorry”, and with that he opened the door and stepped out. I walked to the doorway and watched him go up the driveway, unhurried, easy, his form moving with muscled, masculine sexuality. He looked fine in that merino, in those jeans. He stopped by the gate and went on his phone. Still speaking he looked in my direction, turned, opened the foot gate with a key and left.

Maya Angelou once said that “Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean”. In the recent past, a dramatic scene unfolded in a flat in London that left many baffled. Money, lots of it, a relatively vast amount, disappeared on the eve of a major drug sting. Background. Over a period of time, the money was painstakingly tracked by the police from various sources linked to certain Latin American interests. And the occupant of that flat was one of the ring leaders in the transshipment of illicit drugs from the Caribbean nation of Jamaica to Her Majesty’s homeland. From information received, firearms, drugs and illegal immigrants were regular features in the block of Council flats, where this accommodation was, all under the direction and control of this particular mastermind. The successful arrest and seizure would have put a major dent in the operations of the conspirators, who for years believed their operation went unnoticed. Early one morning, the Police moved in swiftly and made an arrest of their target. However, no money, no drugs. Just trace residue of cocaine in a few small plastic bags in a garbage bin were found. The entire complex was under round the clock surveillance prior to the raid. No unusual movements were detected and no one who would have caused any concern entered or exited the property. It was if the money and the coke disappeared in thin air. And people who wore expensive suits and sat in plush leather chairs in key offices within the city’s Metropolitan Police Service were pissed. Their counterparts in Jamaica and Latin America were in mad and demanded answers. But there was a clue, and it sat in the Technical Services Division of Metropolitan Police. A cellular phone. Memory card and phone chip missing. Branded with the name of its service provider. Its serial number traced its point of sale to a small, relatively new Digicel phone dealership along Olympic Way, in Jamaica.
DashOut and several girls were recruited. Unlike the rest, DashOut didn’t need the money. It was sufficient that she was fucking the recruiter. Being part of a dance group based in the Waltham Park Road community, DashOut and her colleagues were rising stars. They performed at several major stage shows and were frequently featured in the Entertainment section of several newspapers. Originally from St. Thomas, she moved to Kingston just three years ago to Waltham Park Road, Wavell Avenue to be exact. She attended Kingston Technical High School and graduated with a no subjects. It was while she attended KTHS that she found an interest in dancing and quickly joined several fellow students to form a group.

Being the oldest of three girls for her mother, she knew it was up to her to set the pace for her younger sisters. Her mother supported her dancing efforts. As a higgler, the mother travelled frequently to Miami, London and Panama and put out a special effort to ensure that DashOut got the best of everything. That’s how she got her pet name, as she was famed for “dashing out” the latest fashions each time she went to a major show, and she never repeated. She passed on those clothes to her friends as her mother said that to keep them will be a waste of time. Within a year, the mother was able buy the house she rented, renovated and expanded it. Business was better than it was when the mother was in St. Thomas. Marvin and Marco made it even better after she met them in Kingston. At 33, the mother was just 15 years older than DashOut. She kept up her looks. She was independent and single. Three different babyfathers, several one off lovers and a bad relationship convinced her that men were bad for business. They all looked to use her. But not Marvin. Marvin was younger, but mature than men fucked. He wasn’t into a relationship as he had his woman, and other women. He was great in bed and he too had his money. So it was a “win win” situation for them both. The mother was no saint. She knew the hustlings from early days, carrying drugs to Heathrow and when the pressure mounted, to Gatwick. The links in the chain ensured that she was given safe passage from Jamaica. She didn’t ask but simply followed instructions as to which custom and immigration officers to go to. She was never searched. First it was smuggling in body cavities, then in body straps. That was discarded for a bigger picture. The suitcase crammed with tightly wrapped packages of cocaine. It paid well, extremely well. She bought the house, set up several small stores throughout Jamaica, and had a healthy bank balance. She could have moved to a middle class neighbourhood, but felt comfortable where she was. It wasn’t fully ghetto, although it was within reach of some of Kingston’s grittiest areas, including White Wing, but it was to her comfort.
When Marvin relocated to London, Marco took over the local operations. Marco was involved before but with Marvin gone, he was the boss, the only boss. Marco knew the mother, but he preferred DashOut’s company. Marco knew her from her school days. The men in and around Waltham knew her well and when she became a local dancing sensation, everyone wanted her. But she didnt want them. Just one man she had to have, Marco. Sometimes, she would see him at her home when he came to visit her mother, or at dances with his friends and women. But it was after she started hanging out in White Wing that Marco understood her intentions. It didn’t take long. She couldn’t get enough of him and even begged him to fuck her without a condom, as she wanted to get pregnant for him. That didn’t happen. But, she had Marco’s attention. That knowledge was enough to give her a voice, a voice to boast to her friends, to the cameraman and to Bumpy. Bumpy didn’t know what this little girl was up until recently. Bumpy would see her in the common in White Wing several times per week, hanging out with some girls and watching the football games that were played in the area. The football games that Marco played. And Bumpy was no fool. Something was happening and she heard the rumours. But it was at the dance, when the selector played that Lady Saw song and DashOut looked at her and mouthed the name “Marco” to her, that she couldn’t take it anymore. One hit with the bottle sent DashOut scampering from the dance with blood flowing from a wound to the forehead. Afterwards, Bumpy confronted Marco at home, when he came to visit the children, and a nasty fight occurred. Bumpy knew that Marco was a galliss, and he even controlled Marvin’s woman who lived in Stony Hill. But she wasn’t so much a headache now as this bitch DashOut who came to her dance, on her own turf of White Wing, and hyping. It hurt Bumpy bad and Marco knew how she felt about his women hyping on her.
DashOut and several girls were recruited as performers. Unlike the rest, DashOut didn’t need the money. It was sufficient that she was fucking the recruiter. The flight to Barbados was long and boring. After a stop in Antigua, it continued to the Grantley Adams International Airport. It was her first trip from Jamaica and DashOut was determined to soak up every inch of this country. Members the group were unaware of the scheme. They were hired to perform at several parties over several days. The harassment at the airport was minimal and the drive to the area known as Christ Church was short. The first thing that struck DashOut was the amount of board houses. Pretty and neat with some nice vehicles parked out front of many, but still board houses. But, the country appeared clean and beautiful and the bus driver was pleasant. The small hotel in Christ Church had no more than fifteen rooms and the group booked out the entire compound. Well, the compound was booked for the girls alone.
The parties were wild. DashOut enjoyed herself as she wowed the hungry spectators. Her group was the toast on each occasion and the other girls modeled and mingled with the patrons, as official Companions of the Promoters, as they were called. It was at the popular Harbour Lights Beach Club that the man approached her, just as how she was told. They laughed, as strangers just meeting, and after an hour or so, the chit chat made its way to the hotel. There, they were joined by two other men. The hotel was empty but for DashOut and her new found companions. The men worked feverishly and made the necessary adjustments to several suitcases belonging to the guests, changes that couldn’t be detected by the naked eye or even the most professional investigator. Hotel employees and the Manager were all busy, doing what they were paid to do that night, to see nothing and to hear nothing.
The country was outraged. Talk Show hosts were incensed. The Minister of National Security condemned the act of barbarity and vowed to give the police all available resources to bring the perpetrators to justice. I was at home when I first got the news. I didn’t even know that DashOut was away. But the details as reported on the news were horrific. A group of performers, who had just arrived in the island from a trip to Barbados, were held up and robbed in broad daylight just as the chartered bus they were travelling in left the airport. At least four cars blocked the path of the bus and nine heavily armed gunmen emerged and boarded the bus, demanding cash and valuables. Their demands were met and upon leaving, they opened fire on the unarmed, crying females, hitting three as well as the driver. The men then made good their escape with several pieces of luggage, cash and valuables. The victims were rushed to the Kingston Public Hospital where two were pronounced dead. One of the deceased, who lived off Waltham Park Road, had chartered the bus and accompanied the driver to pick up the group, which included her daughter. This woman and her daughter never lived to see another day.

Marvin’s case was put off for another date. He claimed he didnt know why, but he sounded more confident afterwards. Which was good, in a way. We talked about the Club, some of his friends, Marvin JR, his plans when his case was over (if it work out for him, but I was not the one to mention the word “if”). One thing. He kept slipping in that question now and then into our discussions/arguments/talking. As if he wanted to hear the words from my lips. Who I was fucking? He was informed of a lot of things that was happening in Jamaica and he always reminded me of that. So, I was sure that he heard the talk about me and Marco. But I wasn’t going to be the one to say anything about that. All when him keeping telling me that “me will understand”, “don’t lie to me” and I must be “truthful”, mi never carry him or bring him. When I asked him about the girl he had, he eventually admitted that he had a girl over there and it wasn’t anything serious. Dry eye and plain as day. Marvin wanted to know if I was willing to come back to him, to let bygones be bygones. I told him that I was in Jamaica where he left me and I had nowhere going, the only thing I could say. It wasn’t all nice and chitty chatty. When I said that he was more confident, that didn’t mean that he was open hearted. Every now and then he forcefully reminded me that it was his house and money that I was living off. Marvin coolly said that it was the history we had, what we both have been through over years, that kept him from doing certain things. He never explained what those things were. I never asked. I knew both of us were going around each other in circles now. With his Court case pending, that was all he could do, circle. With my situation out here, I just had to circle also. I blocked any thought of how my life would be if he should be set free. I will cross that bridge when I reach it. I asked him once to explain what exactly they charged him with. He didn’t want to go there over the phone. I still didn’t have a number for him. He made all the calls.

DashOut’s murder put a damper on things. The barbarity, such a young, talented girl. The dancehall remembered her with glowing tributes. And then there were the rumours. That this was no random act of violence, there was more to it. She got entangled with the wrong set of people and that there was some double crossing. That DashOut rob up some big man of millions and that she was actually leaving the island when she was shot. That she was involved with a man and his woman found out and that the woman decided to do something about it. Speculation and gossip. The police insisted that they were making progress in their investigations but refused to tell the public what information was uncovered. Marco and I spoke now and then. I haven’t seen him since news of DashOut’s killing broke. Busy. Sorting out tings. Both of us. I didnt really want to see him. Not now. With Marvin in my back every fucking day it was too much for me to deal with Marco’s presence. I couldn’t manage him now.
The fan didn’t help the heat. I hated this place. The disinfectant that was used was burning my nose and it failed to cover the disgusting scents. I looked at my watch and wondered how much longer I would have to wait. A couple hours earlier I was home, preparing to go on the road. The Club was scheduled to be open in a few days and last minute preparations had me mad. Andre Blingers was feeling better and he was to meet me at the Club along with the men who were to install the wiring for the sound system. I heard the intercom buzz and Miss Marcia was somewhere in the yard. The voices on the other end identified themselves as police. I looked outside and saw a few men in blue denim and a marked service vehicle, this time with registration plates. They were at the gate looking all over the yard. They said that they were sent by the Superintendent. I quickly called the Supe. He said that he sent them for me as he had a few questions for me. I told him that I would drive. He said no problem, as long as one of the men came with me. Now, here I was still seated in this room on a chair that rocked, a table that was older than me and an ineffective fan. Soon I was joined by the Supe and two other men who had square jaws and ill-fitting suits. They asked me many questions and one of them kept writing on sheets of paper. The Supe knew the answers to most of those questions already, from the day of the raid and the investigations which were “pending”. Then this episode got tricky, then uncomfortable.
“Marco and I are friends. He does things for me, drives me around sometimes. What you mean by what else him do apart from drive?? He is a friend, and he does what friends do for friends. No, me and Marco never had sex before. Of course I have heard what people say that me and him deh. Nothing like that!!! People just chat whole heap of crap when them ready*** trying my best to laugh off the whole idea of me and Marco together***. Yes, I know where White Wing is. I have been to White Wing, with Marvin to see some frens. His frens. Not mine. Marvin’s frens. Long time that. No, I do not make it my business to follow up White Wing. Huh? DashOut? What about her? I knew of her yes, she go dance nuff. No, I have never seen her or talk to her or anything like that. Mi hear about her. I am not Marco’s keeper so I don’t know of she and Marco knowing each other. Who Marco know I don’t necessarily know *** getting pissed right now***. I am not lying. Yes I have spoken to Marvin. Then yuh already know that him on bail. Yes, him call mi one or two time. No, me and Marvin never talk bout DashOut. Look here, stop ask me foolishness, Marvin never give me no instructions bout DashOut over nuh phone. Just what I hear on the news, that is all mi know bout her killing. No, I don’t know anything more”.
No permission was being granted for the Club to open, not until a review was done. I didnt argue, I knew that the pressure was on and I just had to bear it. But it was unfair. I left the police station. When I started to focus, I was sitting on the grass by waterfront, Ocean Boulevard, Downtown. I had a small stick in my hand playing with it. I looked at the key ring Marco had given me. I took it off and threw it in the harbour. I didn’t want it. I searched for the van with my eyes and found it parked in a parking area nearby. The way mi frass and out of it I had no recollection of how and when I reached here from I left the police. I looked for my phones and they were in my handbag beside me. They were already turned off. I remembered the final moments at the police station. The man who was writing stopped and all three stared at me. I was in the middle of a cuss out with the Supe, telling him to stop asking me the same questions 300 different ways. Then one spoke, “You know that Kelly was along with Marvin and Marco. She dead. In case you never know Marco was along with DashOutr ***my heart twitched***. She dead. DashOut madda used to fuck Marvin*** yes mi know that***. She dead. All yuh ah chat, all yuh ah lie outta yuh mout, yuh ah fuck Marco and Marvin. Yuh ever think about dat? These men are big timers. Dem in business together long time. Dem put business above all other things. EVERYTING! Suh dem stay from dem ah grow up. Yuh nuh know who yuh ah deal with. When it come to business. NO WOMAN, NO GAL, NO BABYMOTHER ever get between dem two. NONE”.
Strange enough, no one mentioned what this “business” was. As I remembered, my heart started beating so hard I think it would burst. I felt cold and alone. I felt a pressure move from my chest to my head, right behind the eyes and then to the mouth. Then it exploded and the tears came. Afterwards, I made my way to the van and got in. More fuckery. Today is not my day at all. I looked around but saw no one who I could ask for help. I turned on one of the phones and tried calling Paul. System busy. I tried calling Prince, then Andre. System busy. I sighed heavily and placed my head on the steering wheel. Why me! Each time I try to get further and further away, something always seems to drag me back to point zero. I knew what I had to do. I turned on the other phone. I didn’t want to. But I had to. It didn’t even ring two times when He answered.“Hello”, His voice. My stomach got tight. After all that happened today, I knew I should have no dealings with him. Not yet. Not so soon.“Hello?” Marco repeated. I took a deep breath, “The van naw start”.

“Sometimes you have to pick the gun up to put the Gun down” – Malcolm X . Bumpy sat on her porch watching the football game. Marco was playing. She took a draw from the spliff. Marco didn’t like it when she smoked around the children. But she wasn’t around them and she was her own big woman. He took command of the ball at times, quarreled with other players and directed the players on his side. His strong legs moved professionally around the dusty field. He was playing shirtless, sweating and was dirty. There were many athletic young men on the field. But it was his maturity and masculinity which stood out. In the early days she would be keeping a watchful eye for those girls and women who fixated on him too long. Not anymore. Marco had warned her repeatedly to stop the war mongering behavior and she should grow up as she couldn’t stop people from watching others. Bumpy. Those who didn’t know her from she was a girl thought the name came from her characteristic bumping into women and starting a battle over her man. That conduct gained her recognition and infamy in White Wing and adjoining communities. Now, she knew that there were still some women who feared her, women who had no taste for a public brawl. She knew what being Marco’s babymother meant. She took another draw, holding it in and letting the smoke tickle her senses. Bumpy kept a core group of women around her who acted as close friends and informers. They brought her news as to what was happening in the “scheme”, the latest from Payne Land, Majestic, Waterhouse and Tivoli, all areas she frequented. These were her eyes and ears. Some were family and the rest had proven their loyalty over the years. The football game ended and Marco come off the field and went and sat with the some of the players under a shed. Away from her. It was still his home, despite his fucked up behavior towards her. This was where she lived, their children lived. When Marco had just come to town from St. Elizabeth they quickly became teenage lovers. Now, they existed between the fights, random fucking and his refusal to move back in fulltime. He couldn’t leave her. They were coming from too far for anyone or anybody to come between them. No uptown bitch, no fuckery dancer, not even the dutty gal Kelly.
When Marco broke his leg while playing high school football, it was she Bumpy who begged the money and found herself beside him at the hospital. When he took sick with the flu, it was she who nursed him in their bed, ensured his comfort and brought him back to good health. They were coming from far. While attending school, he sold weed in the evenings from her mother’s stall by the Three Miles roundabout. This was for the Big Man. When he dropped out of school, he joined the Big Man’s gang full time, now an apprentice shop breaker, stealing electronic equipment from stores in the Molynes Road area. Soon he was promoted to chief runner, collecting and dropping off stuff, weed, money, women, depending on what the Big Man said. That was when he got his driver’s licence. Marco’s keen sense and determination soon made him one of the Big Man’s favorite. His good looks made him a hit with the females, especially the teenagers. But, as she soon found out, it was the women in the twenties that caught his fancy. Even as teenage couple, she knew he was sleeping with some of the big women, especially those who had some funds.
She looked across the field and watched as Marco placed an icepack on his leg, his bad leg. That leg always acted up, ever since he was shot by the police several years ago. The doctors left the bullet in the leg. She had warned him to be careful and ease up off the football playing. But he wouldn’t listen to her. Many nights she woke up to find him seized in pain and holding the leg. Painkillers worked now and then. Bumpy reached for a hot Dragon Stout that was beside her and used her teeth to pull the cap. Marco was the man who took her virginity, who remembered her birthdays, who was always there for her. Her lover, the man who made her achieve multiple orgasms during their once regular all night sessions. She recalled that as Marco’s profile rose within the gang, the better he was at providing for her and later his family. She burped and rubbed her chest. Their house at White Wing remained unpainted and was shabby to the casual observer. But on closer examination, the zinc on the roof was new, compared to the surrounding houses, the back and front doors sturdy and the louver windows intact and always closed. The dwelling was grilled from the inside years ago and was the first ghetto home in the area to be fully air conditioned. Now, the ceramic floors and the plush furnishings were seen by the few who got a chance to pass the doorway. From the days when the house was just a one bedroom board house, Marco insisted that the house was theirs and not a walk through for everyone. Now, even though he moved out some of his clothes, it was still his home and his rules remained. Him move out? No way, him soon come back. Marco is there almost every day, even if for a few minutes, slept there now and then, had his laundry done there and spent time with their daughters.
The Big Man introduced the cheque scam to the gang. It was the new frontier in the world of criminality. With the help of cronies and contacts, the Big Man would get his hands on cheque leaves that were “floating” around. Though only squeezing through Primary School, the Big Man was a self-educated man, knowledgeable in the areas in which he ventured and had a hard nose for finding where the money was. And the money was in the cheques. And the telephone directory and newspapers were always in arms reach. He would call a small owner operated business place and order

goods. Being told the cost, he would request a bank account to which he would lodge a cheque. Within the hour a cheque would be lodged in a sum greater than the figure quoted. The business operator would be contacted and informed of the “error” and asked to reimburse the amount by way of cash which should be given to his bearer when the goods were being picked up. The business operator would confirm with the bank that the cheque was there and would hand over the cash and the goods. Later, more than likely, he would suffer his losses in silence. Small businesses rarely made reports to the police about these types of hits and definitely wouldn’t warn fellow businesses about their disaster out of shame. Of course, it took quick thinking, planning and an agile tongue to pull off these operations. Not all were successful, some fell apart and the bearer would be caught or had to run leaving the loot behind. Sometimes the businessman would be on his guard. However, the cheques provided an opportunity in the inner city. Food, name brand shoes and clothing, cosmetics, high end electronics, and other items were always on the move into the Big Man’s house and then sold at cut rate prices. It started off by the car trunk load and quickly elevated to a large can or truck. Boxes and pallets of goods were the norm. Each member of the gang would get something in cash or kind, depending on the level of participation. Soon all gang members of the gang were well dressed and a few were either riding spanking new bicycles or scooters. Marco and a privileged few drove the Big Man’s motor vehicles or the numerous rentals he had from time to time. Those gang members who failed were guaranteed legal representation and being taken care of whilst in police lock up. Marco was never a failure. He was the Big Man’s Star Bwoy. Cash was always accounted for, the goods handed over intact, and smiles everywhere when Marco completed his bearer duties. Soon Marco became the enforcer who dealt with rogue elements within the gang, those men who dissed the Big Man and ran off with the monies and the goods. Marco knew how and where to find them. And he made them pay, normally with their lives. After the first few victims fell, everyone fell in line. Those who survived had the scars and broken limbs to remind them never to cross the Big Man again. Marco was soon anointed the community provider for the powerbase of White Wing. The Big Man controlled the communities surrounding Olympic Way from Three Miles to Tower Hill, but it was Marco who supervised his home field of White Wing. Basic food items were given to the needy on a weekly basis, school fees paid, birthdays, weddings and funerals subsidized and treats held. Marco rose from being the cute bwoy from country to the Real Man.
Marco slowly limped over to the house, his football boots in his hands, his shorts sagging, his face in pain. Bumpy had his towel, rag, body wash and clean underpants ready and on the table beside her. He looked at her and at the spliff and shook his head. She took another draw. Bumpy still wanted her own full bathroom. None of the houses in White Wing had showers and a few, including hers, had toilet facilities. She never understood why this was but that was how the place was built and remained. Marco said that using the enclosed communal showers made them a part of the community. It was a fucking intrusion on her privacy as a child and it is a fucking intrusion now. Fuck community, she wanted a bathtub, a real bathroom, not an elaborate toilet bowl space. “Weh di girls”, he asked as he took up the items. “Dem inside ah do dem homework”. Not a word more. He walked towards the showers. Frassman stood on the other side of the field and walked slowly to his usual lookout spot where he would faithfully remain until Marco finished. Why Marco even use dem toilet down deh she would never understand. It clean yes and him have one special one dat was under lock and key, but still. She hissed her teeth and rocked back in the seat. A cool breeze came along. She took up the bottle of Dragon Stout and sipped. Her eyes focused on Bully, Shaka and German. They were sitting together under a tree. Problems multiplied by three. Anytime they were together some shit always go down. That she knows. She wasn’t alarmed, just slightly curious. Shaka got up and went over to the abandoned building which Frassman had entered earlier. She saw shadows moving then Shaka emerged with a black knapsack and walked over to the other two and gave German the bag. All this was taking place so casually. After five minutes Shaka pointed a device at the X5 parked nearby, oh, the key, and the lights blinked. German got up and opened a backdoor and placed the knapsack in the van and closed the door. The lights went blink blink again and Shaka returned to the abandoned building. A few seconds later he came out and went in one direction. Bully and German went in another direction. Frassman, Bully, Shaka and German were original members of Big Man’s gang, Shaka being the cockiest and girl crazy one of the four.
In no time the Big Man adopted another form of scamming. When Mobay was introduced to the world of scamming, the Big Man and his accomplices already had it running red from Kingston. The credit card information of persons local and abroad was bought from key individuals on a weekly basis. Then the Big Man would start paying utility bills for persons outside the area for a fee. These were people who had racked up thousands and hundreds of thousands to the JPS and NWC and who were either disconnected or threatened with disconnection. For a fraction of the amount, in cash, the Big Man would use the credit card information to make online payments, clearing the bills and restoring service. Sometimes the utility company would catch on and the person would face major problems. But that was their problem, not the Big Man’s. Soon, the gang members found themselves being sent to remittance agencies with fraudulent driver’s licenses to collect sums ranging from $20,000.00 to a one time high of $1,500,000.00 in one go. The Big Man always had a link at several remittance outlets that helped his cause, for a fee. Marco had bigger plans in mind for the syndicate, as he liked to call the gang. Those days Marco often sought Bumpy’s advice on certain ideas, the big ones, and she was a good counselor. Too good. It was a Friday night and Marco spoke to the Big Man about the plans. There was a party being held on a plaza along Olympic Way and it looked like entire White Wing had turned out in support. Marco introduced the Big Man to his long time true friend Marvin, as he too was to be a part of this plan that would take the syndicate from dollars and cents to the real Big Time. The Big Man listened and agreed in principle. It was a night for fun and the following day all will be finalized. Marco couldn’t believe his good luck. The man who he saw as a father figure was going to give him the opportunity of a lifetime. No one actually knew what happened next. Some say that Marco got a call on his cell phone, others said that someone called to him from the street. Marco hasn’t spoken of that night, not a single word. What is true, is that little before sunrise, Marco left the dance and stood along Olympic Way speaking on his phone. A man approached him from the direction of Three Miles and spoke to him. There were rapid explosions and Marco fell to the ground. Frassman was the first to rush to his side. Reflecting, Bumpy knew that was the night things changed.

“No matter how big a guy might be, Nicky would take him on. You beat Nicky with fists, he comes back with a bat. You beat him with a knife, he comes back with a gun. And you beat him with a gun, you better kill him, because he’ll keep comin’ back and back until one of you is dead.” Ace Rothstein, from the Movie “Casino”.
She wouldn’t move till Marco returned from the showers. That was the routine, her routine. No matter how bad things got between her and Marco, no matter how much Frassman and the others played lookout, Bumpy had to watch all movements for herself. From where she was sitting she couldn’t look directly at the building that housed the showers, but she could see the walkways leading to it. Shaka, Bully and German entered the common together and joined Frassman in the abandoned structure. The side of their waists appeared bulkier. They were moving fast but not fast enough for her to miss the black plastic bag German had. Black bandanas were tied around their necks. When she saw them earlier those weren’t there. Shortly afterwards, the three exited. No bag, no bandanas, but now wearing different shirts. They headed in separate directions. Something had gone down. She was well familiar with the telltale signs. But, the men returned unharmed, their children will see their fathers later and some of the “food” will go towards a good cause. Bumpy leaned forward and looked up and down the field. All was normal, no one moving suspiciously, nobody on their phones looking frightened, everything was everything. Marco was walking towards the house, in obvious pain. Frassman emerged from the building and went in the X5. Before Marco reached the porch, the X5 was idling a few feet away. Marco wasn’t staying in. Whenever something went down Marco never stayed in. She got up and went to the kitchen. The girls were in their room watching TV. She shared the dinner into a plastic container and placed it inside a lunch bag. She couldn’t stand living like this. But she had to. She felt tired these days. Marco entered the kitchen, now fully dressed, took the bag, told her thanks, and began walking out. He stopped came back and kissed her on the cheek and left. Just like that.
The morning Marco got shot. Since that morning Frassman remained a trustworthy follower. No one knew what caused it, but it just happened. Bumpy was in bed when she got the news. She wasn’t feeling well. Within minutes she was in a taxi heading towards Kingston Public Hospital, still dressed in her bedroom t-shirt and a shorts, bare feet. Several persons were being admitted around the same time, so the whole compound was chaotic. A nurse who recognized Bumpy, took her aside and calmed her down, telling her that Marco was being prepped for surgery. The waiting was terrible. Frassman, Marvin and others joined her. She couldn’t eat or drink anything, not while her half was in danger. Sometime in the afternoon she was informed that the surgery went well and he was resting. Later, despite being pressed by several detectives, Marco refused to give a statement to them. Neighbours, businessmen and well-wishers all expressed shock at the attack on their community activist. Three weeks later, he was discharged from the hospital and it was Frassman who organized the ride to take him home. Marco could have gone to his aunt’s house in Meadowbrook but he wanted to go home. Bumpy was surprised to see him. She had asked when he was coming out and got no firm answer from the hospital staff. She had expected Marco to have said something to her. When she looked at him, standing in the bedroom, he was considerably thin, his face was drawn and his clothes hung from his frame. But his eyes were on fire. That could not be missed. Marco spent his days at home. Frassman sat on the porch daily from morning till night, then another would take over the shift. Persons who came to look for Marco had to stay outside and Frassman would take messages or organize for Marco to come outside if he could. Marvin had visited Marco in the hospital several times and he came to the house almost daily and didn’t have to speak to Frassman. The Big Man didn’t come. Bumpy found that strange. She asked Marco once about it, but he said to leave it alone. The Big Man called him once and spoke briefly, vowing to get the person responsible. Marco’s reply was a plain “Ok”.
The Big Man was the one who introduced Marco to socializing beyond zinc fences. What was the use in having money when it couldn’t be enjoyed? Clubbing and partying throughout Kingston was a given each week for the Big Man. Leading up the shooting, Marco and a few members of the gang were always beside the Big Man in the dances. From Seaview to Stand Pipe, Tavern, Rockfort, Rollington Town, Binns Road, Denham Town, Tivoli, you name it. Sometimes they would step freely into the clubs in New Kingston as the Big Man was known by all. Top shelf liquor was standard and all drank and enjoyed themselves. Marco would drink nothing more than a glass and always ended up chauffeuring the Big Man home. However, a trend developed, a sinister trend. No one seemed to notice except Marco. At first he was upset, but he said nothing. His life was comfortable, he had gained status and fame and he had the necessary respect. But the trend was still there. Macro’s brave face, laughter and jokes on these night outs masked the trouble that had settled in his heart. The Big Man would encourage his female companions to drink to the point of senseless intoxication. Most of these were girls from the Olympic Way area. Young girls. At the end of the night, when the other men had gone home, it was understood that Marco would carry the Big Man and his girls home. The Big Man’s home. Marco never stayed. Then there were the occasional boys. When that became the Big Man’s intention, Marco found his own way home. The others didn’t speak about it. Maybe it was because now and then a few of the younger members of the gang followed the Big Man home after the heavy drinking. Marco was never one to interfere with people’s lives as long as it didn’t affect business. And since the Big Man was who he was and kept things under wraps, it wasn’t up to Marco to even put his observations into words. He mentioned nothing to anyone, except his counselor and bed mate Bumpy. She advised him to keep his mouth and to just continue working hard and move up till he got his big break.
And his big break came through Marvin and the plan was to assist the Columbians in the transshipment of coke and weed. The basic network was already there, only to be fine-tuned, manpower accessible as well as hundreds of potential mules throughout the area. Marvin had been working on some contacts and a window had opened up, but not for long. The startup money could be accessed almost immediately. Marco questioned and cross questioned and examined every detail and he found the plan feasible. They now only had to sell the idea to the Big Man. With the Big Man’s blessing and cooperation, things would skyrocket for all involved. This was the plan that Marco and Marvin brought to the Big Man the night of the fateful shooting. The Big Man listened and agreed in principle. The following day the details would be scrutinized. After that the Big Man would no longer have Marco as a henchman, but as an associate alongside Marvin in the newly named syndicate. When Marco and Marvin walked away, they didn’t see the Big Man slip into a nearby deserted corridor. This plan was a shock to him and he was in a panic. He saw it as Marco and Marvin wrestling in on his territory, the ungrateful bastards. He didn’t know Marvin, but he expected better from Marco. It was he who made Marco who he was, from his one pants to him being the Real Man of White Wing. How long was Marco planning this? Who else was involved? Marco was obviously the ring leader. That fucker. The Big Man immediately called Bumpy. He was confident that after speaking to her she would put some sense into her man’s tough head. Bumpy, being ill and under medication, was in no mood to tolerate any calls from anyone so the Big Man and his emergency had to wait. The Big Man insisted. She was adamant that she naw discuss nothing over nuh phone. He called her a big hole bitch and when he heard the words “Big Pussy Battybwoy” he knew. He knew she knew, Marco knew and who to tell who else Marco told. He hung up his phone.
Marco had gone too far. He was just one step away from being the Big Man’s next in line. Apparently Marco had other plans in mind. The Big Man paced the deserted corridor. Then he made his way outside the dance, went into his van and made a call to someone who owed him a favour. Many people owed him favours. But this one needed a certain skill. Several calls to settle the details were made to and from the Big Man’s phone. Frassman was always curious and it was this curiosity that led him to the watch the Big Man’s unusual movements that night. So, while the Big Man was locked alone in his van, Frassman was a few feet away in the darkness watching. Macro and Marvin were in the dance enjoying themselves and looking forward to the morning when the big plans were to be laid out before the Big Man. So, little before sunrise when Marco stood along Olympic Way, speaking on his phone to the Big Man, he didn’t realize that it was a three way call and someone was listening in. When the man approached him, also with a phone to his ear, Marco

knew that something was up. The Big Man was speaking on the phone when the young man on foot asked Marco if he recognized him. Marco looked carefully in his face and remembered him partying with the Big Man at a Club a few weeks ago. From his vantage point Frassman saw what was happening and moved towards both men. Before he reached, Marco tried to move for his own gun. That was when the contracted shooter brandished the glock and started firing.

After Marco was discharged from the hospital, there was whispered talk of friction between him and the Big Man. Marco never spoke of the shooting so this wasn’t coming from him. He spent his time inside his house recuperating. He rarely used his cell phone, and when he did he kept the conversation short. He just wasn’t into cell phones anymore. The rumors grew and the Big Man got worried. Members of the gang didn’t speak about it, but he could pick up a restless, uneasy vibes about them. The activities of the gang went on as usual. German was filling the space left by Marco’s “sick leave”. German was told that this was just temporary until Marco was back on his feet. Frassman discretely kept the news flowing to Marco. Frassman had taken his “leave” from the gang and simply refused to take any further instructions from the Big Man. The Big Man sent German to reason with him. Frassman wouldn’t take any talk and German knew this when he saw the gun pointing at his head. That was when German knew that things had definitely changed. Marco remained quiet and indoors, hardly seen by anyone except when he went to the showers under the protective gaze of Frassman.
The Big Man made up his mind to settle this thing once and for all. It was a mid-week and by Friday another call will be made, this time to his contacts at the Hunts Bay Police Station. But, being Wednesday, the Big Man felt an urge. He decided to go on a move to a fairly new Club in New Kingston. That night he left out alone. The bouncer knew him as a regular. That night he spent just an hour as he had an aspiring dancer who had previously approached him about work. The dancer met him at the Club and within half hour the Big Man had him drunk. The “interview” was next. They made their way to the Escalade which was parked just around the corner from the Club’s entrance. The dancer was limp as he was assisted in the front seat. The Big Man went and pissed by a nearby tree and returned and climbed in the van and drove off. At the stoplight by Hope Road and Trafalgar Road, by Devon House, the Big Man felt the cool metal pressed against the back of his neck. He jumped, looked into the rearview mirror and saw those eyes. Marco told softly him to turn left and keep driving.
That was how Marvin became the new benefactor of Lower Olympic Way, White Wing, Mahoe Drive and adjoining roads and walkways. He wasn’t quite the Boss. However, he quickly gathered the support of the “community activists’ from White Wing. They didn’t need much persuasion from key elements. The critics saw Marvin as being young and unknown to them. What was his claim to fame? But the endorsements he received made him credible. It also helped that he had enough cash to fill the void left by the sudden death of the Big Man. It wasn’t going to be easy, there were doubts as to his capabilities, his background, what he had to offer the people. His unbelievable rise was like a politician who won an election and then afterwards asked which constituency he was representing. No one was able to pinpoint when all this took place. It just happened. The members of the syndicate all fell in line, following the lead of Marco and Frassman.

The beach was crowded, music from a nearby sound system was blaring away and the sun was scorching. Within the two hours we were here, we must have had about five bottles of water between us. The smell of fried fish drifted from the shops nearby. Business was good here at Hellshire due to a Fun Day being promoted by the Blingers Crew from Canada. Yes, the same crew that Andre belonged to. He was born in Canada when his mother went over there a few months into her pregnancy. Since then, he has been between here and there, spending time with family and friends between both nations. His friends in Canada, the Blingers, consisted of Jamaicans with ties to Canada, known for their parties and extravagance. The Blingers made their way to Kingston and their numbers swelled leading up to the ball that was held at LaRoose last night. Now it was their day and night to relax. By tomorrow they will be returning to the continent, with the prodigal Andre following them. He said that he will be gone for a few months and will keep in touch. I am gonna miss him, a good yute still. Sharon and I decided to attend the event, to shake off the black clouds that settled recently. The killing of DashOut created a tidal wave throughout the dancehall fraternity. Dances were being restricted, permits for them were like getting a visa, hang out spots being constantly raided and vehicles of certain persons targeted for searches and “routine checks”. I was stopped three times by police officers who were trailing me and after the extensive searches were done I was allowed to continue in my frustrated state. Sharon told me that a party that we were supposed to attend in Portmore several days ago was raided and the patrons detained, fingerprinted and processed on spot. No arrests were made. Fuckery. Discrimination. Bias. That was how they saw it and how I saw it. Ok, a lot of us lived uptown, whether from long time or by moving on up, but dancehall was our way of life. Some took it on full time, others part-time. But we all took note that the parties and session promoted by the uptown set were allowed to continue without a hitch. It was speculated that the Blingers spend thousands of dollars to keep the police away from LaRoose and today’s activities.

Andre was in the water with some giddy head or the other. She was wearing a string of some sort that rested on the nipples and covered little else. Andre was having the time of his life with her, splishing, splashing and using his hands to do various inspections. Dat bwoy yuh see. I was seated under a covered area by the shop and Sharon was beside me. A constant stream of persons kept coming over. “Mi hear seh Marvin get bail, dat good……”, “Bwoy, mi glad seh the Big Man get free up………..”, “Tell Marvin seh fi gimmi ah call………..”, “Yuh know how mi pray fi him fi come outta jail……..”, “When yuh ah start back di party dem uppa yard? Yuh haffi start set back di trend……” etc etc. Mi used to see dem bout before, at dances, on the road. But none mentioned Marco’s name. Other’s avoided speaking to me all together for whatever reason. Whatever their colours were, they operated under the same news network, CNN, as they all had it that Marco and I were together. Nobody never see mi ah fuck him. Dem know dat him was Marvin’s friend. So dem nuh must expect him to look after him bredren woman until such time, and dat nuh necessarily mean fucking. They have no proof. Hypocrites. Ok, so I was fooling myself. BUT, dem fi understand themselves and that’s the point. Thunder was now at the controls of the sound system and had the crowd wild. Selection after selection of gun tunes resulted in deafening cries for more. Sharon interrupted my observations, “Mi ah guh say something. Yuh never really too talk bout it to wi, well to me, cause is me talking”. “Wat you talking about now”? I already knew. “Marvin out on bail. Him might get off and come back. How you plan to deal with that”? she went on. “Deal with it how? Marvin free to come and go if him want but my life goes on”, I tried to keep as wide as possible. Andre was now in the middle of a group of six girls, who were all bare chested trying to pull off his shorts. One managed to get her hand down his waistband and screamed and laughed at what she found. “You and Marco, is that mi talking bout. You know dem have it that you and Marco is an item. You never really discuss it with me before and mi can understand why. But yuh nuh feel that things ah guh take a bad spin if Marvin return. You along with him best friend, living in his house and ting. Mi just saying”, she finished and sipped the Red Bull and Campari mix that was in her cup. “You saying alot. Mi naw lie, mi have some feelings for Marco and mi did tell you that already. But its just feelings and feelings cant take a woman through the world. Mi and Marvin nuh deh pon no good terms and from what mi see it naw get no better. But is mi man, even if it is on paper. Mi live in him house and ting AS YOU PUT IT. But mi sure that for all that mi go through, all the fuckery, shame and disgrace under him hand, mi know dat mi deserve fi enjoy myself IN DAT HOUSE AND TING. So please don’t feel dat mi intend fi just walk away just so if push come to shove”, I was getting upset the more I spoke. “No, no, nuh get mi wrong, cause you know mi have you back all the time”, Sharon claimed. I had to say claimed because right now I am second guessing everyone’s motives. From the corner of my eye I watched her make one big gulp and finished the drink.
More persons were pouring on the beach and I was getting uncomfortable. Our seat was boxed in by several persons who were drinking and smoking and my view of the activities was now limited. Sharon suggested that we changed location. To where? Change to where? She mussi nuh see that the place come in like when the Israelites did ah leave Egypt. Nuff and confusing. I somehow managed to get a glimpse of a familiar, brown, tattooed mess of a man with sporting a month’s old corn rows, a spliff in the corner of his mouth and vexation written all over him. This man passed a few feet away in front of me, keeping his head straight as he slipped through the crowd. He had on his sunglasses and a knapsack was on his back. Frassman. “Sharon, yuh know wat, since they having the dance later, a better bet is to go home and rest up and come back”, I suggested. “Is true enuh, cause mi woulda really love fi come back with the girls later too’, she said as she gathered her belongings. We said our excuses and made our way to the area where we had parked. Sharon had wanted us to travel in one vehicle, but I said no as I had to run some errands. Earlier that day I arrived at the beach before her. As I followed her to her car, she kept looking all around. I knew she was looking for the Range, but didn’t say a thing. Later Sharon! She drove off and I watched her, just to make sure that she made it to the exit. I then walked over to the car. It was something I borrowed from Paul. Again, the van was too loud and out there and these days I have been seriously considering getting another vehicle, something more low key. This car was tinted and unremarkable. Leaving Hellshire, I went left and within two minutes was outside the driveway watching a pair of electronic gates slowly open. My friend in Barbados, who owned the house, had it installed while he was away, to make it safer, and to keep prying eyes out. No one on the outside could see what was taking place inside the single level house or the yard, unless they climbed unto a ladder and looked over the 8 feet high walls.
As I approached the front door I heard the low beeping sound. The owner had installed a system. The front door could be opened by one of several a buzzers on the inside or by way of a key ring, and I had one of them. I hadn’t pressed the key ring. I knew that He was watching me on the security monitor. The central air condition unit was on and inside was cool and welcoming. I dropped my handbag on the chair in the living room and went straight to the master bedroom. The bag I had carried over earlier was nowhere to be seen, probably unpacked. He was sitting on the bed, dressed only in His boxers, speaking on the phone and watching the monitor for the various cameras in and outside the house. The TV was on but on mute. I noticed that he had a wine glass on the night table. He looked at me and smiled and placed His hands to His lips, so I kept quiet and went to the kitchen. Who He was speaking to? I felt myself getting heated. He promised me that this was going to be our time away from everyone. It was Marco who had rehashed the idea of using the Hellshire house. Not for his family. But for our own little getaway from time to time since the owner was not coming back anytime soon. I gave him a set of keys and it was He who got the water, light and cable reconnected and had the house cleaned and stocked with food. He promised me, there were no plans to carry Bumpy across. I poured a glass of wine from the refrigerator and stood looking through the kitchen window. The pool was cleaned also, he has been busy bee. The custom surround sound stereo system that was installed throughout the house came on and Whitney Houston’s “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” was playing soft and soulfully. My phone rang.“Hello”, my mind was elsewhere now as the wine started to have its effects. “How you doing”, Marvin said. How convenient. “I am cool”, I felt the pair of hands slip my shorts to the ground. “Where you at”? Marvin asked. “In Hellshire, the Blingers Fun Day. Sharon was here with me but left so I am just resting in the van listening to some music, trying to hide from the sun”, I lied. Lying came easy these days. “I was here thinking still. You know that me and you have history between us. All when… “, he rambled. Marco slowly turned me around and I slapped him on his arm. “Marvin, the battery dying, so let me get it recharged and you can call me in about …….”, I was unable to finish the sentence. Marco took the phone from me, in a nice and easy
fashion, and removed the battery and the SIM card. That shit! He has a childish grin on his face, standing there naked and erect. “So this is how its going to be. About you, your needs”? and I was trying to be serious, given the situation. He was selfish and controlling and he very well knew. We kissed and the blouse and panty went. I stepped away from him and again took up my wine glass. Bwoy, when yuh find yourself in these type of situations, what to do? Marco walked over. I knew that he was going to take his time, to have his own way. He took the glass from me and held my hand and we walked together to the bedroom. The blinds were already drawn and Whitney’s “Why does it hurt so bad” was now starting. “You know mi nuh like you at all”, I whispered in His ears as He lay on top of me.“I know. Yuh passionate bout me”, as He kissed me, long and warm. I wrapped my hands around Him. I missed Him so much and the excitement in me was reaching boiling point. “I just miss us being us, what we had when we just started”, I managed to say as He started His motions. We fell into a long, masterful and intoxicating rhythm. No more talking. No rush. It was the two of us again and nothing else mattered. I don’t know why, but it was moments like this why I love this man. He made me His own. When I am not around Him, all I could think of is not seeing him anymore and moving on, to get over him and survive. At those times I couldn’t stand him. I despised him. Yet I loved this man. I wanted him. He hands caressed my breast ever so often, smooth, loving. “Sorry I didn’t make it for your birthday”, he whispered.

As night fell, the Fun Day was transformed into The Blingers Beach Party. The sea was calm and the full moon illuminated the bodies on shore. Although it was sometime after two in the morning, the beach was still packed and the selectors were at their peak. Further up the beach, away from the gyrating bodies, the rum and the noise, a meeting was being held under a tree. Three men were standing and two were sitting on makeshift bamboo chairs. Andre felt uncomfortable being so far from the crowd, with this bunch. Their faces were fixed like stone and a few were smoking weed. Andre received the instructions a few days before when he was summoned. Then, he was at home when he got the call. He was frightened and didn’t know what to do. They promised that it was just a talk but he knew better than to trust them. He couldn’t keep them waiting, not with them so near and his parents and Marvin JR asleep in their rooms. He hissed his teeth and left the house to his fate. Andre walked down the road and he saw them where they said that they would be. Shadows under the mango tree on the front lawn of the abandoned house. Shadows soon revealed the men and their faces, including His. Andre knew better than to refuse His “request”, which was a small favour before he returned to Canada. Tonight, here on the beach, the instructions were carefully repeated by Frassman. Nothing needed clearing up. But just to double check. “So when mi come back, unno will organize for me to travel from Norman Manley to Donald Sangster to catch di flight to Canada”, he asked. “Nuh dat mi seh BAIT”, Frassman was getting upset. Why Marco choose this clown he will never know. Frassman got up and looked in the face of another frightened recruit. They all had the same look when they got this pep talk. Well DashOut was different, she wanted to go, anything fi please Marco, even if it meant fucking Frassman. Di fuck did sweet still. She did want Marco badly but Frassman knew better. As they walked off, German looked back at Andre and said “Barbados fi yuh ah mawning bwoy”.

No apologies. It’s been a long time since I slept out, away from the Stony Hill house. I needed it. Our lovemaking session lasted several hours and I was exhausted. It was a rigorous, well needed workout for both the body and the mind. The sun was up but the blinds were still drawn. I stretched and turned. The monitor for the security system was on and the music system was now playing a mixed reggae cultural CD. I got up, searched for something to put on and made my way to the kitchen. No breakfast. Not surprising since Marco left shortly before daylight. My phones were on the dining room table, both on. There were several missed calls from an unknown number, Paul, Miss Marva and others. I called Miss Marva, who was on her way to Church. She asked for a few days to deal with some family matters. No problem. Sharon. She was fretting as she couldn’t get in touch with me and wanted to know if everything was ok. Everything was fine. Paul. He wanted to know how my night went as it must have been a cocky mission that I was on. Mission accomplished. Then there were the voicemails. The ones from Marvin were funny, funny to me. From “please answer the phone” to “yuh ah fuck dats why yuh naw answer mi calls dem”. The last message had a woman in the background asking him who he was calling so often. The voice didn’t sound the girl I had spoken to. Same Marvin, cant stay still for long. I wonder when he will find someone who he really loves, who he will deliver his heart to on a silver platter. When Oh Lord when?? I walked to the beach, exercise was now something I started taking seriously. Hellshire was buzzing with activity. Already, orders were being made and breakfast served while others came out for their Sunday morning walk and swim. Small boats lined the length of the beach, delivering their catch, the fishermen making their early sales. Some of those on the beach looked like partygoers who stayed behind after the Blingers Beach Party. Then I saw Thunder. He was some distance away talking to a small group. His back was to me. Cant manage him so early. I turned away and started walking from the waterside when he called my name. Damn. I stopped. Run, turn around or simply act as if I didn’t hear him? I turned around. He was already in front of me, gut hanging over his the colourful shorts. “Weh yuh ah do so far, after mi never see yuh last night ah di party”, he started. “I was here and that’s true, yuh never see mi, yuh nuh see how the place did full. Just decided to come back and see how the beach stay on the Sunday”, keeping it pleasant. “Nuh badda try cold up yuhself wid mi, yuh know seh wi nuh roll dem ways deh. Di beach ah di same from when me, yuh and Marvin used to come out yah pon Sunday mawning time. Yuh memba when yuh drop offa di horse”, he laughed. Strange enough, I started laughing too. That day was something else. “Ah suh man want fi see yuh happy up yuhself. Enjoy yuhself and tap gwaannny gwaannny”. “I nuh gwaany gwanny. Is unno mek mi stay suh. Yuh know that more times mi have to just keep myself to myself and keep my eyes openl”, I pointed out. Long ago I used to have a good relationship with Thunder. Yes, as I described earlier, he did have a strong handcart man thing going for him. He was ok, when he wanted to be. When I first met him, he was the conductor on the bus I regularly took to high school. Always telling jokes, giving us free rides when we spent our money and looking out for us schoolers. That’s Thunder for you. He was handsome then and all the girls in my crew had a crush on him. We kissed once, well, more than once and some touching. On our date to Carib in Cross Roads, when I went to watch movies with him and some friends, Thunder wanted more. However, I gave him a 6 for a 9. My best friend Michelle’s date at Carib with him ended differently. And how it ended was the only reason everyone discovered she was fucking him. She became baby mother number 2. With the passing of time, two gun charges (he got off), several baby mothers and children, Thunder was off the bus step and now a major force in the dancehall community. Still, it was good to just chat to someone from my past, and that’s what we did, chatted. We ended up at Prendy’s where others joined in, some old familiar faces, and we chatted about times gone, about what was happening with people we knew, just chatted. Mind you, no Marvin, no Marco.
I took a taxi to the house. When I arrived, no Marco. I double checked my phone and no missed calls from him. I started feeling a way but when I saw his bag in the bedroom closet, I knew he would be back. I was about to take a shower when I got the call. “Yuh know dat him have two children who him love to death. And dem love him”. “Who this”? I didn’t pick up on the voice. Silence. “Hello, who is this”? I could never understand people who just ups and make these strange calls. “MI SEH, SINCE YUH NUH KNOW AH WHO, IS ME, MARCO’S ONE AND ONLY WIFE, DO YOU KNOWS DAT MARCO HAVE TWO CHILDREN WHO HIM LUV AND HIM LUV DEM AND NUH BADDA MEK MI REPEAT”, she emphasized. Bumpy. What is this on me! I never know whether I should answer her or hang up. “Bumpy, Marco loves his children, the whole world knows that”, I didn’t want to go into the wife part. “So why you doing this to me and to him? Yuh have yuh man, yuh house, cyars pon cyars, money, mi all hear seh yuh ah open Club too, so why yuh nuh just leave him alone? Tell me”, she sounded menacing. “I am not involved with Marco and whatever he does is his choice”, I couldn’t find anything else to say. “Yuh know seh yuh ah one wicked pussyclawt gal. Yuh salt nuh bloodcleet. Yuh pussy send Marvin gone ah jail, kill off him babymadda, rob up di man money, box food outta him son mout, yuh nuh have noting bout yuh. And now yuh want come involve inna mi and mi man life”, she outlined. “So ah your salt pussy mek DashOut dead den”, I shot back. She laughed, one big helluva hearty laugh. “Yuh bring up her name, yuh cant mek di recent dead rest, yuh nasty vampire. Mi hear seh yuh mout ah di tightest part pon yuh afta yuh dun fuck out di whole ah di Blingers dem and Frassman”, she continued laughing. “So why leave out Marco name off the listt”, I was getting pissed at her. “SOOOOOOOOOOOO, mi must put in MI MAN NAME, when yuh already seh yuh not involved wit him. BITCH, mek mi tell yuh this. Leave him alone. Yuh ah nuh di first, but yuh ah linger way too long. IF AH DI FUCK, tek it and gwaan, cause mi know him nuh fuck good, him fuck EXCEPTIONAL”. I despised this woman so much. “Mi have mi pickney dem fi guh look afta and if yuh did breed already yuh woulda have yuh hand dem busy instead ah fi ah suck off mi man cocky head”, and with that she hung up.
It was a busy day for Him. They were now on way to Montego Bay to sort out the differences. These differences had to be sorted out at his level, none of his soldiers could get involved. He could have sent any of the soldiers, but this had to be dealt with at His level. He was the one who called the meeting. Over the past few months they have managed to push Him in a corner. Each time He refused to talk to them, the push got stronger. The loss of a shipment was expected in these types of operations. It’s one of the costs of doing business. Monies paid to policemen, customs officers, other civil servants,flight attendants, airport ground handlers, were all costs that had to be accounted

for. The loss of an occasional shipment to the Babylon system is also a cost. However, when that shipment is dragged from out of your hands during a so called robbery, and the only two persons who were killed were intimately connected to the Kingston leg, that’s another matter. The Latinos heard. They knew that the Jamaican operations were passing through some rough internal conflict, so they sent the message – sort it out. The final push. And now Marco was in his way to reason with Champagne, to sort it out. The venue was the usual villa in Montego Bay. Is a meeting Champagne want, is a meeting him going to get. Champagne had shown that he wasn’t satisfied with the Mobay leg of the operations anymore, he also wanted Kingston. He wanted every fucking thing. That meant no room for loose ends or one time partners. How the situation today is handled determines the phone call the Latinos were expecting at 6 p.m. That call would be from them both or from a survivor. Marco took a drink from the Magnum bottle and started to make His fourth spliff for the day. The strain was getting to Him. Him just nuh like nothing badda badda Him for too long. And this shit has been going on long enough. Since Marvin left for London, Marco was solely in charge of the Kingston leg of the movements. Everything was moving smoothly. Then, without warning, things started shaking. Marvin’s arrest in London, the pressure of the local and British authorities on HomeGirl, the brutal murder of DashOut and the disappearance of a shipment all happened on His leg, the Kingston leg, under His watch. Mind you, that was only one of many shipments made, but the idea of the Kingston operations being unable to deal with its troubles raised eyebrows. Cracks in the system and cracks meant weakness. Weakness attracts predators. Champagne was a predator and a pussy. With this last shit storm that he created, Champagne had exposed his hand.

The scenery outside flashed by. “Yuh did give him the envelope”? Marco asked. The Toyota Corolla was now cruising through Discovery Bay, just another of several thousand Corollas that travel on Jamaica’s road. Although Frassman didn’t reply, Marco knew. By the time this meeting ended well, Andre would have landed in Barbados and it would be business as usual. If the meeting ended hmm, on a not so well note, other arrangements would be made by other people. People who Marco had no control over. And the first casualty of those arrangements would be Andre. Marco reached under the seat and took up the black plastic bag. He already knew the contents. It cost him a bundle to get that bag. But again, that’s the cost of doing business. Phone calls, several trips to Cassava Piece and Kitson Town and assurances given by him resulted in him getting the bag. He had no intention of keeping those assurances once this thing blew over. Fuck them. It was Frassman who organized the actual collection. Marco opened the bag and started rummaging through the tags. He had done this several times before. Some had dried bloodstains. These tags were for luggage belonging to several passengers who had arrived on a flight from Barbados. Marco held DashOut’s tag in His hand and turned it over and over while looking outside. Frassman braked suddenly as a taxi swerved in front of them and made its way to the extreme left to a waiting passenger. “Still nothing bout the suitcases?” Marco asked. Again, He knew the answer. Frassman already had on his gloves and Marco put His on. Champagne had gone too far. Dem never did haffi kill her star! Di bee never do dem nothing! So, dem did want fi talk to him, seet yah, Him ready fi talk now. The dark mood had settled on Him when He left Hellshire. Dem shoulda know Him by now, dat Him wasn’t into any bagga chat chat. Marco lit up the spliff. Mobay was near. “Big Boss, you the real man you know, the car ah give some trouble here. Meet me out by di little spot by the beach”, Marco spoke into the phone and hung up. From the case at his foot, he handed Frassman the Beretta and took the Glock for himself. The serial numbers on both were skillfully erased. He was in no mood for ANY long talking today.

Being in Hellshire was having an effect on me. I think it was the surroundings. The house was more manageable compared to back home and then there was the beach down the road. When I moved from the apartment to Stony Hill, I nearly forgot what housework was. But I wasn’t complaining. It wasn’t as if there were several persons going and coming and only one of the three bedrooms was being used. A man who lived in the area was paid to look after the gardens, so that wasn’t any stress on me. Originally my stay was just for the weekend. That turned into a few days. Anyway, Stony Hill deserved a break. This was my little holiday. But, there was one major disappointment. Marco. What else. He had called and said that He would be busy for a few days, something came up. That was from the Sunday. After that, all calls went to voicemail. If it wasn’t one thing it was another. I couldn’t force the issue though. He had a family, He had His commitments in His community, whatever those were, and I couldn’t expect to have Him all to myself. That was the reasoning I had to adopt. The life of the other one, that was me, the piece of the puzzle that just didn’t fit.
Bumpy didn’t call again, thankfully. Marvin, now he was a different kettle. He bitched away at how I kept disrespecting him. He found out that I wasn’t at the house and wanted to know where I was. On vacation. “This is how yuh plan fi do your ting. Yuh have yuh yard and yuh nuh inna nuh wants. And yuh deh yah ah tell me bullshit bout being on vacation. Wat kinda vacation yuh ah chat bout. Yuh know seh yuh pussy ah yuh problem. Cho. Yuh just ah guh gwaan and gwaan till somebody fuck yuh up”. I was driving along the Mandela Highway. “Why don’t you be a man for a change and say that you are going to fuck me up”, I was calm, being accustomed to his ranting. “Ah dat yuh want me say. Fi go implicate miself inna tings and mi bail get tek weh, yuh see how yuh mind corrupt”, he continued. I refused to answer him. He was being shitty right now and I just wasn’t in the mood to handle him. After a minute I heard “Yow”. “Yes Marvin, I am here”. “B, yuh go look fi Junior yet”? he asked. “That’s where I am heading. Did you go and speak to the lawyer”? “Nuh yet. Mi just ah wait fi get a ride and see if the funds yuh send off reach. This whole ting ah stress mi out. Mi nuh have no feelings fi food, mi little business ah get bug out, mi just want get this whole ting behind me, so mi can jump out and come ah mi yard and sleep inna mi bed wid mi woman”. Hmm. There he goes again. “And who will that woman be”? I just had to ask, smiling at the same time. “Yuh see why mi get ignorant more times. Yuh ah mi woman and nothing cant change dat. All when yuh down deh ah flip and ah yap yap and on vacation, yuh is mi woman, always remember dat”. “A long time has passed, many things happen. Face the facts. Marvin. The only thing keeping us talking right now is where we coming from. We are living off history. What we had dun long time”, simple. “Dun long time? So why yuh nuh just walk weh? Why yuh nuh just leave out mi life completely? Obvious seh mi nuh have nuh control over yuh, you are yuh own big woman. But yuh know seh mi ah di only man who put yuh on the mountain and mek every gal know seh yuh ah mi wife. Mi nuh fraid fi do dat. Mi fucked up with lots of tings and if mi coulda live mi life ova mi woulda mek whole heapa changes. Now, mi can only do the best that I can, and that is trying to make things better between both of us”, he reasoned. “No Marvin, yuh have to do better than dat. All the women, all the disrespect, all when yuh come from jail and how much distance away, yuh keep on disrespecting me and ah threaten bout this and that. Yuh nuh sound like someone who want things to be better”. “You know mi better than anybody else, all mi fucked up ways. Yuh should know by now that is you alone mi want to stand by mi side, to be my number one”. “Marvin, that’s it. I don’t want to be a number in your life anymore”. I am tired of being a number in anyone’s life.
Mavin JR was looking more like his father each time I saw him. I wasn’t quite sure but I think I was getting attached to him. He ran towards me when I came through the gate, a habit he developed recently. Together we walked into the house, holding hands, that twinkle in his eyes. The child hardly spoke. Just did what he wanted to do. Just like daddy. Mrs. Pendegrast was in the living room. She didn’t look so well. Lack of sleep she said. I asked her if she heard from Andre. Though he didn’t say when he was going to call, I had expected to hear from him by now. She had called her sister in Canada and she too didn’t hear anything about Andre. Mrs. P said she then made a few calls to some friends and they said that they were sure that Andre was in Toronto and that he was probably locked down with some girl or the other. Still, it was unlike him not to call. I knew what was going through her mind, the loss of a daughter under violence circumstances and all. I assured her that Andre was ok and probably just got caught up with some woman and that he will soon make contact. Plus, if anything had happened to him, we would have heard, so she must just relax and not fret too much. Mrs. P said that she had just taken a blood pressure tablet and wanted to lie down and excused herself. Marvin JR then insisted that we watch his favourite cartoon and so it was. I had nothing else to do for the day so I settled in. I called the contact number Andre gave me and that call wasnt going through. I then called his local number and it rang out and the voicemail was full. Maybe he left the phone with someone. But still, he should do better than that.
Frassman and Marco returned to Kingston the same night after the meeting with Champagne. Marco went to White Wing to think over things and to be with his children. For Bumpy, it was good having Him. She wasn’t certain how long He was going to stay, but having Him home was good enough for her. They fucked. Raw, clawing, sweaty fucking. She got a workout that first night that would last her a couple days. The lingering ache was pleasant. The girls were glad to

have Daddy around. In the days he remained in the community. Now and then He and Frassman would silently slip through one of the many zinc fences and go about their business, no driving for them. Bully, Shaka and German kept close since Marco arrived. Something was up. Fuck that, something was always up, that’s life in the ghetto. Things never remained the same, and the waters were always busy. It was His attitude, his behavior that kept her wondering as of late. She wasn’t getting the feedback from Him that she wanted. Yuh know, that special something between man and woman. And this has been the case for sometime. Fucking was good and they spoke on good terms. But He never spoke about the two of them anymore. That romantic edge, where they would lock the door and sprawl out naked in bedroom for hours, chatting, playing, hugging, the side she alone knew, or was supposed to know, was gone. The gentleness, the feelings, the emotions, it just wasn’t there. It wasn’t as if He was cold or uncaring. No. But she sensed the drifting, like something was breaking apart between them. She just couldn’t pinpoint that something that was missing. She couldn’t bring up the subject with Him because she know how Him stay. She know she will start talk tings and den Him ah guh vex and then all sort of shit will come up, and they will fight. And she nuh want go desso. Ok, Him might nuh fucky fucky, but she knew that He was fucking on her, just not in her face. She felt as if she was getting a cleare picture of what her problem was. Marco wasn’t just fucking outside, Him have a woman. Him just naw fuck her, Him HAVE her, start fi ketch feelings for her if it nuh already reach. What else would explain how Him ah move? Ah woman tek a piece, she can deal wid that. If she find out is who, she may go the extra mile and deal wid the bitch. You can always beat sense in a gal head. However, how do you deal with a man’s feelings? Discuss? Discuss what? There wasn’t anything to discuss cause she still nuh have nothing to put forward. Still, it not right. This gal come and just force herself pon her man and just ah mash up her life. Why else Marco woulda move out bout him gone up by aunty in Meadowbrook? That gal have Marvin. Marvin ah hot bwoy, him have him money and him ratings high bout the place. What more dat rass gal could want?
She was in bed going through the day’s receipts for the illegal cash pot operation. It was a recent venture and inflows were steadily increasing as the racket gained popularity. She took off her glasses and rubbed her eyes. Only Marco and the girls knew she wore them and when she did it was for reading purposes in the house. “Yuh duppy reach now”, she commented, still going through the books. He pulled on His leather jacket and was searching for something. “Yuh see mi red puma”, Marco asked while looking under the bed. “Dem in the closet my yute”, this time looking at Him. He had spent extra time putting Himself together tonight. Earlier Fatty did His hair in a neat design. “So where yuh going now”? He tucked his gun in the front of his jeans and took a final look in the mirror. “Yuh never usually ask mi where me going, so why now”? He then left, closing the bedroom door behind Him.

It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence. –Gandhi. As the policeman wrote the traffic ticket, Marco reclined the seat and stretched his legs. The pain was slight this time. He had visited several doctors and they all said the same thing. He hardly took the medication they prescribed. They made him sleepy and he needed to be alert. He should have been alert tonight as he wouldn’t be in the position of being ticketed for breaking the traffic light. It was the recent visit to Montego Bay that was on his mind.
As agreed, the meeting took place at the beach. Champagne’s men were milling around and eyed the suspiciously as it slowly drove into the parking area. Marco got out of the car and walked along the sandy footpath to the gazebo. The fat man was chatting to a beautiful young girl dressed in a bank uniform. It’s been a year since Marco has seen him. Marco noticed that his ears were now pierced and he had put on even more weight. Champagne asked the girl to wait in his car. He then motioned for Marco to sit on the bench across from him. “How Bumpy and mi god pickney dem”, Champagne asked. “Everybody ok. How Monica”? Marco replied. They weren’t really interested in these details, just their way of reminding each other how closely connected they were. “Monica move out gone live wid her new man down ah Negril”. The two men were looking at each other. Marco got the ball rolling, “Champagne, me and you ah come from far. When tings reach this level? Seriously. Tings get outta hand cause you just feel dat is you one must control everything. Is greed ah fool yuh up”. Champagne laughed,“What YOU call greed me call economics. Yuh talk bout greed. Is greed put wi where wi deh and is greed mek wi survive. Yuh know yuh ah fuck yuhself. When you and Marvin come and beg wi fi put up di money and buss unno pon di link, yuh never think bout greed then. Wi gi unno ah start, mek sure police naw badda unno. Is we mek unno reach the levels unno deh now”. Marco started saying something but was cut off. “I don’t want hear nothing from you. Months now mi ah try talk to you and ah pure guh round guh round. All wat yuh see ah gwaan, mi haffi show yuh seh tings will always be bigger dan you. That is my greed”. Marco edged him on a bit more, “Yuh wanted to meet me to chat chat or to settle certain tings. Wat yuh up to”. Champagne coughed and spat, “I am up to dollars and cents. Millions of them. Di latin bwoy dem want wi fi tidy up wi ting. It ah get outta hand now. Mi ah guh tek tings in hand fi ah while. Mobay and Kingston ah guh fall under one regime. When tings settle down and changes start show some positive results, den wi tek it from there”. Marco knew what the offer was before he arrived. So he wasn’t surprised that the proposed partnership was now a takeover. “So Parchie agree to this move, cause yuh saying ‘me’ and then you saying ‘we’, mi nuh get you”, Marco asked.“Parchie good wit anything mi seh”, fat man arrogantly replied. “Mi haffi reason wid Marvin bout this ting first”, Marco explained. “When yuh did ah fuck him woman yuh did reason wid him? Kingston ah survive widout Marvin so just mek mi know yuh answer now”. Marco got up and walked around the gazebo. After a minute Marco gave his response, “Do yuh ting Big Boss”. The fat man wondered if he should send his police boys to revisit Marco’s little uptown girl in Kingston and maybe him aunty in Meadowbrook, just to make sure Marco understood himself. How him end up fucking the same girl as Marvin, only God knows. But, man ah man and bwoy ah bwoy and Marco must be always be the boy. Champagne looked at his diamond studded watch. It was now 6 p.m. The Latinos stressed punctuality. He took out a phone from his shorts pocket, the phone they had sent to him with the contact number for this evening. It was always like this, a different phone with a different number for each meeting. Fat man dialed the number and in an awful American accent spoke, “All is good. We have sorted out our problems”.He then hung up and signaled to one of the men nearest to him and handed him the phone. The man then walked to the sea side and threw the phone some distance into the water. Champagne turned to Marco and continued, “Yuh send off di money off yet”? Marco was waiting on that question, to further confirm what he knew. “Yeah, one yute supposed fi be in Barbados now with the banking information”. Fat man was surprised and tried to hide it, “Marco, where yuh find 250,000 Uncle Sam money fi pay back di latin bwoy dem pon di loss? Yuh sure ah nuh yuh have di money weh missing from London”? Marco laughed and explaind, “No man, nothing like that. Mi did have to do some selling and juggling but it come through”. Champagne got up and walked off. The men on the beach followed their boss to the car park.
He had promised her a down payment on a used car. She expected to get the money tomorrow when he visited the branch. It was an effort that appeared in vain as the penis refused to budge. Then, after much sucking, it started moving. She had only met him a week before at the branch where she worked. For the price of a fuck, she will finally be able to get a car and outshine her friends. As a teenager she always heard of Parchie and Daddy Champagne. It never occurred to her that she would be positioned on top of fat man acting as if she was getting the fuck of her life. After ten minutes, he came with a gurgle and closed his eyes. Shortly afterwards she slipped out of the bed, went to

the bathroom and quietly put on her clothes. She then left the room. Champagne wasn’t sleeping but studying her movements through half closed eyes. He then got up and bolted the hotel door. She fooling herself to think he was going to drop so much money for her. She will get a change but no down payment for her. He then drifted off to sleep. He smelt the smoke. Something was burning in the room. Champagne struggled to raise himself off the bed. The room was dark but for a small fire on a table near the open balcony door. He adjusted his eyes and saw them. Frassman was standing in the corner beside the bed. Marco was taking some small paper out of black plastic bag and throwing them one by one in the flames. Champagne quickly felt under the pillows for his gun. No gun. “Don’t say a word. I don’t want to hear nothing from you”, Marco whispered, still throwing paper into the fire. The luggage tags burned quickly. The smoke drifted through the open balcony door. “Wah dis fah now! Wah dis fah! Yuh feel yuh can come ah mi town come kip up fuckery like wah yuh do ah White Wing”, Champagne was angry. As he tried to get off the bed, Frassman kicked him in his chest, causing him to fall back on the pillows. “My Lawd!!! Ah wah dis fah!!! Yuh mad?? Ah wah yuh ah try prove”? He screamed, looking straight at Marco. Frassman kicked him again, this time in the side. Marco held up one of the paper and said, “Dem yah show seh yuh ah real fuckery and yuh tun round ah try style man. Yuh mek mi nearly haffi sell mi soul fi pay back di man dem fi dem coke. Yuh never know mi woulda get di tag dem and get to the bottom of tings. And yuh kill di woman dem and loud up di ting”. Fat man pleaded, “Marco, just easy yuhself nuh, me and Parchie will sort out something wid yuh, just cool nuh”. Marco looked scornfully at the naked mess that was lying to him, “Parchie seh not even one drop ah di ting yuh gi him outta di shipment yuh hijack”. Fear rushed through Champagne, “PARCHIE COULDN’T SEH DAT. HOW PARCHIE FI SEH DAT? NO, NO, NOTHING LIKE DAT! MI NEVER HIJACK NOTHING, MI NUH KNOW WEH YUH AH CHAT BOUT”! Champagne inched towards the edge of the bed, closer to Marco, but Frassman slapped him across the side of the head with the gun. Fat man held the side of his head and cried as blood flowed from the wound. “MEK WI TALK OUT DIS TING NUH MAN……..”, Champagne begged. Marco sat on a chair and took out his gun. There was only one thing he wanted to know right now. What happened to the coke?

The young policeman handed Marco the ticket, driver’s license and motor vehicle documents. Marco placed the ticket in the ashtray along with the money to be paid on it at the Tax Office. Frassman will deal with that tomorrow. He replaced the driver’s license in his wallet. He had paid good money for it, along with the other three licenses, all had dissimilar names and dates of birth, all of which appeared on the Government’s computer system. Still, the fine had to be paid. His phone rang and he answered it, “I am on my way”. The X5 continued its journey to Hellshire, this time the driver making sure to obey the road code.

As he slept, I had my head rested on his chest. His breathing was steady, his face relaxed, his arm wrapped around me. It was now 8 in the morning, five hours since I fell asleep, and the rain was falling. And here I was looking at this handsome man who seems to have been a part of me for eternity. I felt at peace at this moment, to cuddle and he making me feel as if I was the only one who mattered to him. The stereo system powered up, based on the timer that I had set the previous evening, and Michael Jackson’s voice oozed “Lady In My Life”. Marco’s hand moved up and down my back, his fingers setting off familiar erotic feelings in me. He was now awake, a smile on his face, his eyes still closed. As much as I wanted this to last, I had to get up. It was going to be a busy day. I had a meeting with the Police concerning the Club. They called me and asked me to come in. It better be a final decision as this thing has been drawing out for way too long now. I was hoping for the best as things couldn’t get any much worst now. Andre, I really need to locate him. After the police, I had to go up to the customs broker about some things that Marvin shipped from London. Just that, things. No explanation as to what these things were. I was hesitant at first but then again I would examine the documents the broker has to see what Mister Marvin him was up to. For a man who was supposed to be living on limited means, his court case and all, I had no idea where he found money to do shipping. Then again, that’s Marvin for you. Later I wanted to go and look for Marvin’s mother. We spoke yesterday and found out that she was recently hospitalized. I haven’t seen her in ages and our phone calls were few and far between. She has always been supportive and kind to me and my gratitude to her was endless.

I was on the back patio having breakfast when He joined me, fully dressed. He bent down and kissed me. “Marco, I just spoke to Annie by the bank. The balance on several of the accounts was nil. She mention something about authorized transfer”. I had to ask. Though I didn’t put a dollar in the accounts, it was strange to me. Marvin called after I spoke to Annie and I told him of the situation. He said that I should speak to Marco about it. That was even stranger. Marvin didn’t seem all that concerned about those accounts. And his saying I should speak to Marco kinda had me a way. Was he speaking to Marco? I knew that both men were in business together, more than likely it was proceeds from that business that allowed those accounts to be so healthy, but still. Never once had Marco let on that he spoke or was speaking to Marvin. But still. I was the one who held the bag when the police came and seized and searched, I was the one being pressured, I was the one who was supposed to have access to the accounts apart from Marvin. I wanted to step lightly, because right now I didn’t even know what ‘business’ the men had going on. Did I want to know? Part of me suspected. This wasn’t a dollar and cents operation, it appeared to be something more. But did I really want to know? If Marvin had said yes, he knew about the money being withdrawn or transferred or whatever, that would have been a different matter. But saying I should speak to Marco, that was unsettling. And if they were speaking, did they speak of me? Marco sat beside me and was reading a newspaper. Bwoy, is nuff tings mi nuh know going on, cause I didn’t even realize he left and bought today’s newspaper. Shortly, without looking up, He said, “A situation come up and I had to deal wid it”. Fullstop. Sooo, was the money going back in? Should I ask what situation this was? Did I really want to know? Did I have the right to know? So many questions. But was I really in a position to ask Marco for details when Marvin himself didn’t give me any? I think it was best that I let this pass. My situation was ok, I still had funds at my disposal. So it is a better bet that I watch this issue about money. It wasn’t mine to begin with. Plus, there was more than enough left otherwise. Marco, eased back in the hair, still in his paper, “Money is not a problem for you. So don’t follow up any bankbook or whatever anyone want to say to you. All you know is dat yuh comfortable. You get a little shake up the other day, mi tell yuh everything was gonna be ok, you must just have some faith, and it working out”. I pressed on a bit, “So, can you tell me what exactly you and Marvin do”. He smiled, still in his newspaper, “Contract work here and there, little things to mek sure everybody is well provided for. So when people slip, it affect not just me and Marvin, but whole heap ah people”. “Soo, the less I know is di better, dats wat yuh saying”, just to get things clear on my part. “You have di Club fi sort out and yuh hands busy. Don’t put other things on yuh head”, he tried to be charming, though it was more like a gentle back handed slap. His phone rang and he answered. He immediately got up and walked quickly into the house, listening to his caller.
I crossed my legs at the ankles and clasped my hands on my lap. My hair (good quality well paid for hair) was in a tight bun, a very severe bun, and the hemline was just above the knees and my neckline dipped sufficient enough to peak the interest of any man in the room. I am convinced that the Superintendent wasn’t a man. No star, di man just siddung across from me behind him desk with vexation write all over him face. I got the attention of each man I passed on my way in and a phone number or two was offered. I wanted to be sexy yet businesslike for this meeting, a change from the dress down thing I used to do when speaking to him. But, for the first two minutes when I wasn’t offered a seat, but took it anyway, the man just sat there and looked at some files on his desk, glanced at me and continued reading whatever he was reading. The room was already stuffy and the air con unit appeared to be on the cheapest setting. Why is him one mi haffi deal wid? Is like him tek a set pon mi. Why dem cant put mi on to another man who is pleasant and nice and who not so stressful as this one. He just kept on reading. It was when I brought my left foot down hard on the floor that he looked up, took off his glasses and curled his lips for the better. I smiled, “I am sure you never invited mi down here to look at you looking at your desk”. He continued looking. “How you come look so pleased today? All dressed up”, his tone boring. “Just for you”, at least I was being honest this time around. The Supe pushed the paper on the desk before him towards me, “That is yours. Approval was given and you can open the Club. Let me tell you, its not my approval”. I took up the paper, which was signed and sealed by whomever. Maybe it was too much to ask for an envelope. I was happy as rass. I wanted to hug and kiss someone, someone pleasant, not Mr. End of The World who was across from me. So many things ran through my head, the final touches that had to be made, the staff to be hired, stock to be finalized, promotions, all sort of things to be done. Andre. Where the fuck was Andre? Marco, the girls, so many people I have to call and share this new development. I will tell Marvin when he calls. Marvin. How the hell must we be communicating and I have no number for him. No man, Marvin ah guh too far now. All sort of things happening and I have no way of contacting him. Stupidness. My thoughts were interrupted, “While you sit there smiling to yourself and mumbling, just remember that your so called Club must be kept on the up and up. No mix up, no drugs allowed on the premises, no harboring of criminals, no illegality. Watch the company you keep”. I left the office and immediately made some calls. Marco’s phone was off. I got through to couple people and then I tried Andre’s number in Canada. It wasn’t even ringing, no voicemail, nothing. I decided against calling his mother. That may upset her worse than she already is. Later that day I visited Marvin’s mom. She was in good

spirits saying that she heard from her son often. We didn’t speak of his case, but she did ask about her grandson. She wanted to see him even once. I thought to myself of the implications of this situation with Marvin JR and how people will deal with it should the truth be revealed. Even down to the child’s name will be a sore point. The longer things remain unchanged, the harder it would be for the deception to be accepted. There would be hurt all around.

By the end of the day I was exhausted. When I arrived in Hellshire (I am tempted to say home) it was sometime after 6. I was barely able to make a light dinner and sat down in the living room to watch the news. Haven’t watched the news in a long time. My feet hurt and I just needed to relax. I had made a sandwich and was about to eat it when the Item started airing. Hunger disappeared and I sat up in the chair watching keenly. I reached for both phones and called Marco, no response. I had saved Bumpy’s number and I felt tempted to call it, but no, not yet. As I watched the footage, I called Marco’s number several times. Where was he? Was he there? Why wasnt he answering his phone? I called Frassman’s number and that went to voicemail. No man, seriously, what the fuck was happening! Sharon called and asked me if I heard what happened and I told her I was just catching up on it. I reached for the car keys then stopped. What would I achieve? What really was I going to do? Who was I going to speak to? As I watched the news several citizens expressed outrage, denying that there was a shootout. Dozens of women and children with placards were blocking roadways demanding justice. Still no answer on the fucking phone. The excitement started when a team of police officers who were patrolling along Olympic Way saw some men acting suspiciously. Marco’s home ground. A shootout ensued and several of the gunmen were killed along with three residents. Road blocks, street protests and confusion erupted. Citizens of surrounding communities joined in the protest. Several men and women were taken into custody. The situation remained tense up to news time.
Then finally. “You ok, I was watching di news and see wat happening. Why yuh don’t answer yuh phone and you know dat people, me, would be trying to get in touch wid you”, was the first thing I said as I got a connection, didn’t even wait to hear his voice. “So many tings ah gwan down here but tings ah sort out still”, he sounded exhausted. There was loud talking in the background and some noise, I could hardly hear him. “I hope you no where near wat happening down there”, I asked, I had to know. “Naw man, mi nuh involve in dem tings deh. Is just some yute did start misbehave and di police tek tings to a different level”. “I heard that some people were shot and ting, Frassman and everybody ok ”? “Frassman good. Him over the house with the girls, Bumpy and others down by Hunts Bay”. Bumpy arrested! “Hunts Bay? Wat! She get lock up? Tell me yuh joking”, I couldn’t believe. “She know how fi handle her ting. Dem nuh have nothing pon her, just dat she did ah mek up some noise pon di road”. “So when dem seh she coming out”? “By later she come out, cause dem just ah try get tings calmer pon di road. Mi have to go, later wi talk”. And with that the call ended. I was glad that he was ok, that everyone was ok. I wouldn’t be seeing him later, given the situation. Not even a chance to share the good news about the Club. There was always a distraction, or business, or something to do, now this. Some selfish thoughts crossed my mind, but I couldn’t be unreasonable, I just couldnt. Marco’s children needed looking after. The children were safe. He had Bumpy to look out for too. Bumpy again.

I was looking for the van keys as I made my way through the parking lot. They were in this bag, somewhere. A car horn made me hold my head up and I stepped out of the way as it slowly made its way pass me. It was another playful Friday night and the girls and I had just finished dinner at a quiet little restaurant in New Kingston. I was tired and wanted to go home so I kissed my goodbyes and stepped away, leaving them chatting on. Searching, I wonder if I had left them on the table? But I knew I saw them somewhere in this mess. Then one of the cell phones rang. Unknown number. I wasn’t into any foolishness from either Marvin or Marco. I haven’t been on good terms with them recently. Marco would come over, he ate, talked about the club, gave some advice (ok, valuable advice), slept and then off he went. He was still around, but he had other things to look about, people to check, stuff to get done. Thankfully I had the Club to get underway and that kept my hands and my mind going. So, both of us settled into our respective routine shared only by the house on those nights he came over. Then it came time for me to return to Stony Hill. I had been away long enough now. Marco wanted to know why the rush to head back there. There wasn’t any rush, it was just that I couldn’t deal with my problems, my issues, by running away from them. And I couldn’t deal with effectively by hiding out in Hellshire, cause that was what I felt like I was doing. Stony Hill was my home, I had persons there who worked for me and who were not seeing me. I just wanted to get back now. But the truth was that I wanted to get away from him. To allow him his space, and to gain some for myself also. I was fooling myself. This pretentious living wasn’t heading anywhere.images (1)

I reasoned that the best way for it, this situation, relationship or whatever it was we had, the best way to maintain its mystique was to accept the reality and allow each of us to return to our worlds, even temporarily. Marco seemed to understand, though he still didn’t like the idea of me heading home. “But you have a home you have to go to, your kids, your responsibilities……..”, I reminded him. “….And Bumpy too”, he completed the sentence. I was packing my bags and tried my best to avoid eye contact. He was lying on the bed, staring at me, then he reached out and grabbed my hand and pulled me on top of his naked frame. “Say it nuh, I have to go back to Bumpy”, he repeated coolly, his hand now squeezing mine. I wrestled with him and he finally let go. I was now on my side on the bed, my back to him. “She is your babymother, and yes you have to go back to her, we cant just ah gwaan suh”, I let out. I felt his warm body pressed against mine. That was two weeks ago. He still had his set of keys for the house in Hellshire and he still visited me in Stony Hill. Sometimes he slept in one of the other bedrooms and I would only know that he was there when Miss Marva mentioned it in the mornings. She never seemed to mention his name when he slept in my room, but why would she.

Now here I was in the parking lot hunting for those f99999g keys and the phone just wouldn’t stop ringing. In frustration I answered the phone. My hands touched the van keys at the same time. The person said “Big woman”. Time literally stood still at the sound of his voice. I wanted to hear nothing else at this moment. It was a voice I hadn’t heard in sometime and which caused me to worry whenever I thought of him. “Andre? Where the fxxx are you”, I yelled. “Big woman, mi cant talk now but mi good”. I was moving quickly from excitement to annoyance, “Andre, you disappear for how long and nobody could find you and all of a sudden you come bout you cant talk now?? Do better than that man!!!” I stood swinging the keys in my hand, leaning on the van and waiting for an answer. Ok, maybe I sounded a bit overbearing, but he had to talk up. His breathing sounded heavy and in fact he did sound tired. “Ok, you say you good, I am fxxx glad to hear from you and I just want to see you, hug you and reason wid you. I really really miss you and you cant just up and disappear like that. Ok?”, I relented. “Mi will call you in the morning, but mi just ah guh hold a sleep now”, yep he did sound tired and I was now heading down the road of worry. “And you home? You want me to stop by and look for you”, I asked. He chuckled,“Not unless you can fly come ah Canada. Ah nuff tings guh down but I will chat to you and reason with you. Later yuh hear”. And with that he hung up. Just so. I looked at the phone number that he was calling me from and it was his Canadian number that I had. Well, good news, he was alive. Did he call his mother? He must have. I looked at my watch and it was minutes to 10, a bit too late in the night.
I looked in the rearview mirror I noticed it. That reminder. The bruise. It was right there on my shoulder near the neck, now exposed by the movement of the blouse caused by the seatbelt. My emotions swelled thinking about it. It started out as a discussion, then it escalated into something more. I wanted him to explain to me how he planned on living like this, this lie, this hiding things from me, the whole police saga, the women, what exactly he did for a living. I wanted to know what the fxxx was going on with him. Everything that I had inside of me, locked away tightly in that space in my heart just came out like a flooded river course. What the hell was happening and why was I apart of it? Why was I not being told what was happening? Assurances and reassurances were not enough for me anymore. I needed some rass straightforward fucking answers then and there. We were upstairs outside my bedroom when it started, the talking, the questioning, the discussion. The raised voices, well my raised voice, carried us downstairs, I following Him, and he was just saying ‘understand yuhself’. Now I was pissed. Understand myself? I was under investigation for God knows what, being questioned by police, being accused of things I knew nothing about, being pressured to sign off one document that was probably what got Kelly killed and I must understand myself? He took up his leather jacket and was putting it on and I held him by his shoulder and spun him around. Wat di fuck him ah do and mi ah talk to him!!“Marco, mi is not just yuh little fxx ting enuh, and mi naw mek yuh treat me like how you treat yuh rest ah gal dem”, I was pissed as hell. He grabbed me by the neck and pushed me into the wall “Ah wah di bloodclawt do yuh gal? Yuh nuh see she yuh ah mad!! Wah di bloodclawt do yuh?? Yuh see mi ever ah diss yuh yet?? Yuh ever hear mi ah treat yuh like nuh bitch??” His hold got tighter and I held unto his hands and was trying to get him to release me, the pain now shooting through my shoulder and the tears were streaming down my face. I looked into his eyes and all I wanted to see were lies, deceit, misery and hate. I searched but there was no sign. Then I got hysterical. I wanted him to hate me, to despise me, to leave me, kill me, to do something, any fxx thing cause I just could not go on like this anymore. I remember reaching down towards his pants waist but he moved quickly and in one quick movement tossed the gun to the floor across the room. “STOP IT MI SEH!! BEHAVE YUHSELF!! BEHAVE!!” Miss Marva was now beside him telling him to calm down, begging him to release me. The pressure eased and I fell to the ground crying. Miss Marva kneeled down beside me and hugged me and kept repeating that everything will be ok.
The bedroom door was barely closed when I wrapped my legs around him. We locked lips and kissed intensely. There was no effort in taking off our clothes, as we fell on the bed he undid his zipper and pulled up the skirt I was wearing. Marco was feeling, touching, grabbing, caressing and my hands were all over him. As we fucked he held my face in his hands, telling me that he loved me, that it was all going to be alright. I made no effort to suppress the screams this time. This was my moment and I wanted to enjoy every second of it. Somehow he managed to take off his shirt and his chest was drenched with sweat as we fxxx aggressively and without care. I ran my hands up and down his back, clutching, scratching, holding, squeezing as he ran his lips over my nipples.
That was last night. The bruise was not that bad and should disappear in a few days. As I neared the house I noticed several vehicles parked along the roadway. The gate was opened and I noticed that the lights were on both, on the outside and inside of the house. A man stopped me as I drove through the gate. Who the fuck was this? What was really going on? The windows were up and he peeped through the windscreen and waved me through. Waved me through to enter my own house!! What the rass ah gwaan tonight. Several bikes were parked on the driveway along with a few strange cars. The garage was open and the Lexus was obviously cleaned and sat shiny and pretty in her space. I parked and got out and noticed the man at the gate looking at me and speaking on a cell phone. I then saw movements in the shadows beside the garage and Frassman stepped out, a spliff in his mouth. He nodded towards the front door. Now this rass strange!! I grabbed my handbag and stormed towards the house because somebody better explain what the fuck ah happen and nuh mek mi get out in here tonight. There was laughter, healthy male laughter and as I looked down into the sunken living room I saw the men, some seated, some standing. A few women were in the kitchen chatting to Miss Marva. The gardener was also inside the living room. Along with others, they were apparently drinking from my very expensive wine glasses. A twitch came to my face and I stood there watching the scenery. No one seemed to notice me, yet. I saw Marco. He was sitting on one of the sofas and had a bottle of water in his hand, laughing to whatever stale jokes that were being shared. Then my eyes focused on him. He stood and came towards me. A lump formed in my throat and my legs went numb. He looked good, his swagger neat and tight. He stopped and looked up at me, stretching out his hands. The men were now quiet and looking at what was unfolding. The women and Miss Marva were now out of the kitchen, they too looking on. I managed to move one heel at a time and went down the steps, taking what seemed like an eternity. “Night sweetheart”, he said softly and sensuously, but I was sure everyone heard to how the place was still. I stretched out my hands and held his. He smiled and held up his hand and slowly spun me around as if on display to the followers. He then pulled me towards him and kissed me on the neck, just above where the bruise was. His cologne was striking. He always had good taste in that department. I then placed my lips closed to his ears, brushing his ear lobe with them, and whispered, “Goodnight Marvin, and how are you?”

I was looking for the van keys as I made my way through the parking lot. They were in this bag, somewhere. A car horn made me hold my head up and I stepped out of the way as it slowly made its way pass me. It was another playful Friday night and the girls and I had just finished dinner at a quiet little restaurant in New Kingston. I was tired and wanted to go home so I kissed my goodbyes and stepped away, leaving them chatting on. Searching, I wonder if I had left them on the table? But I knew I saw them somewhere in this mess. Then one of the cell phones rang. Unknown number. I wasn’t into any foolishness from either Marvin or Marco. I haven’t been on good terms with them recently. Marco would come over, he ate, talked about the club, gave some advice (ok, valuable advice), slept and then off he went. He was still around, but he had other things to look about, people to check, stuff to get done. Thankfully I had the Club to get underway and that kept my hands and my mind going. So, both of us settled into our respective routine shared only by the house on those nights he came over. Then it came time for me to return to Stony Hill. I had been away long enough now. Marco wanted to know why the rush to head back there. There wasn’t any rush, it was just that I couldn’t deal with my problems, my issues, by running away from them. And I couldn’t deal with effectively by hiding out in Hellshire, cause that was what I felt like I was doing. Stony Hill was my home, I had persons there who worked for me and who were not seeing me. I just wanted to get back now. But the truth was that I wanted to get away from him. To allow him his space, and to gain some for myself also. I was fooling myself. This pretentious living wasn’t heading anywhere.images (1)

I reasoned that the best way for it, this situation, relationship or whatever it was we had, the best way to maintain its mystique was to accept the reality and allow each of us to return to our worlds, even temporarily. Marco seemed to understand, though he still didn’t like the idea of me heading home. “But you have a home you have to go to, your kids, your responsibilities……..”, I reminded him. “….And Bumpy too”, he completed the sentence. I was packing my bags and tried my best to avoid eye contact. He was lying on the bed, staring at me, then he reached out and grabbed my hand and pulled me on top of his naked frame. “Say it nuh, I have to go back to Bumpy”, he repeated coolly, his hand now squeezing mine. I wrestled with him and he finally let go. I was now on my side on the bed, my back to him. “She is your babymother, and yes you have to go back to her, we cant just ah gwaan suh”, I let out. I felt his warm body pressed against mine. That was two weeks ago. He still had his set of keys for the house in Hellshire and he still visited me in Stony Hill. Sometimes he slept in one of the other bedrooms and I would only know that he was there when Miss Marva mentioned it in the mornings. She never seemed to mention his name when he slept in my room, but why would she.

Now here I was in the parking lot hunting for those f99999g keys and the phone just wouldn’t stop ringing. In frustration I answered the phone. My hands touched the van keys at the same time. The person said “Big woman”. Time literally stood still at the sound of his voice. I wanted to hear nothing else at this moment. It was a voice I hadn’t heard in sometime and which caused me to worry whenever I thought of him. “Andre? Where the fxxx are you”, I yelled. “Big woman, mi cant talk now but mi good”. I was moving quickly from excitement to annoyance, “Andre, you disappear for how long and nobody could find you and all of a sudden you come bout you cant talk now?? Do better than that man!!!” I stood swinging the keys in my hand, leaning on the van and waiting for an answer. Ok, maybe I sounded a bit overbearing, but he had to talk up. His breathing sounded heavy and in fact he did sound tired. “Ok, you say you good, I am fxxx glad to hear from you and I just want to see you, hug you and reason wid you. I really really miss you and you cant just up and disappear like that. Ok?”, I relented. “Mi will call you in the morning, but mi just ah guh hold a sleep now”, yep he did sound tired and I was now heading down the road of worry. “And you home? You want me to stop by and look for you”, I asked. He chuckled,“Not unless you can fly come ah Canada. Ah nuff tings guh down but I will chat to you and reason with you. Later yuh hear”. And with that he hung up. Just so. I looked at the phone number that he was calling me from and it was his Canadian number that I had. Well, good news, he was alive. Did he call his mother? He must have. I looked at my watch and it was minutes to 10, a bit too late in the night.
I looked in the rearview mirror I noticed it. That reminder. The bruise. It was right there on my shoulder near the neck, now exposed by the movement of the blouse caused by the seatbelt. My emotions swelled thinking about it. It started out as a discussion, then it escalated into something more. I wanted him to explain to me how he planned on living like this, this lie, this hiding things from me, the whole police saga, the women, what exactly he did for a living. I wanted to know what the fxxx was going on with him. Everything that I had inside of me, locked away tightly in that space in my heart just came out like a flooded river course. What the hell was happening and why was I apart of it? Why was I not being told what was happening? Assurances and reassurances were not enough for me anymore. I needed some rass straightforward fucking answers then and there. We were upstairs outside my bedroom when it started, the talking, the questioning, the discussion. The raised voices, well my raised voice, carried us downstairs, I following Him, and he was just saying ‘understand yuhself’. Now I was pissed. Understand myself? I was under investigation for God knows what, being questioned by police, being accused of things I knew nothing about, being pressured to sign off one document that was probably what got Kelly killed and I must understand myself? He took up his leather jacket and was putting it on and I held him by his shoulder and spun him around. Wat di fuck him ah do and mi ah talk to him!!“Marco, mi is not just yuh little fxx ting enuh, and mi naw mek yuh treat me like how you treat yuh rest ah gal dem”, I was pissed as hell. He grabbed me by the neck and pushed me into the wall “Ah wah di bloodclawt do yuh gal? Yuh nuh see she yuh ah mad!! Wah di bloodclawt do yuh?? Yuh see mi ever ah diss yuh yet?? Yuh ever hear mi ah treat yuh like nuh bitch??” His hold got tighter and I held unto his hands and was trying to get him to release me, the pain now shooting through my shoulder and the tears were streaming down my face. I looked into his eyes and all I wanted to see were lies, deceit, misery and hate. I searched but there was no sign. Then I got hysterical. I wanted him to hate me, to despise me, to leave me, kill me, to do something, any fxx thing cause I just could not go on like this anymore. I remember reaching down towards his pants waist but he moved quickly and in one quick movement tossed the gun to the floor across the room. “STOP IT MI SEH!! BEHAVE YUHSELF!! BEHAVE!!” Miss Marva was now beside him telling him to calm down, begging him to release me. The pressure eased and I fell to the ground crying. Miss Marva kneeled down beside me and hugged me and kept repeating that everything will be ok.
The bedroom door was barely closed when I wrapped my legs around him. We locked lips and kissed intensely. There was no effort in taking off our clothes, as we fell on the bed he undid his zipper and pulled up the skirt I was wearing. Marco was feeling, touching, grabbing, caressing and my hands were all over him. As we fucked he held my face in his hands, telling me that he loved me, that it was all going to be alright. I made no effort to suppress the screams this time. This was my moment and I wanted to enjoy every second of it. Somehow he managed to take off his shirt and his chest was drenched with sweat as we fxxx aggressively and without care. I ran my hands up and down his back, clutching, scratching, holding, squeezing as he ran his lips over my nipples.
That was last night. The bruise was not that bad and should disappear in a few days. As I neared the house I noticed several vehicles parked along the roadway. The gate was opened and I noticed that the lights were on both, on the outside and inside of the house. A man stopped me as I drove through the gate. Who the fuck was this? What was really going on? The windows were up and he peeped through the windscreen and waved me through. Waved me through to enter my own house!! What the rass ah gwaan tonight. Several bikes were parked on the driveway along with a few strange cars. The garage was open and the Lexus was obviously cleaned and sat shiny and pretty in her space. I parked and got out and noticed the man at the gate looking at me and speaking on a cell phone. I then saw movements in the shadows beside the garage and Frassman stepped out, a spliff in his mouth. He nodded towards the front door. Now this rass strange!! I grabbed my handbag and stormed towards the house because somebody better explain what the fuck ah happen and nuh mek mi get out in here tonight. There was laughter, healthy male laughter and as I looked down into the sunken living room I saw the men, some seated, some standing. A few women were in the kitchen chatting to Miss Marva. The gardener was also inside the living room. Along with others, they were apparently drinking from my very expensive wine glasses. A twitch came to my face and I stood there watching the scenery. No one seemed to notice me, yet. I saw Marco. He was sitting on one of the sofas and had a bottle of water in his hand, laughing to whatever stale jokes that were being shared. Then my eyes focused on him. He stood and came towards me. A lump formed in my throat and my legs went numb. He looked good, his swagger neat and tight. He stopped and looked up at me, stretching out his hands. The men were now quiet and looking at what was unfolding. The women and Miss Marva were now out of the kitchen, they too looking on. I managed to move one heel at a time and went down the steps, taking what seemed like an eternity. “Night sweetheart”, he said softly and sensuously, but I was sure everyone heard to how the place was still. I stretched out my hands and held his. He smiled and held up his hand and slowly spun me around as if on display to the followers. He then pulled me towards him and kissed me on the neck, just above where the bruise was. His cologne was striking. He always had good taste in that department. I then placed my lips closed to his ears, brushing his ear lobe with them, and whispered, “Goodnight Marvin, and how are you?”

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“First best is falling in love. Second best is being in love. Least best is falling out of love. But any of it is better than never having been in love.” ― Maya Angelou

The earrings, necklace and makeup were now removed and I sat there. The merriment had reached a height and the loud voices and laughter from downstairs forced their way through the closed bedroom door. A knock. I got up, put on my robe and opened the door. It was Frassman. He asked for the van key and I went and got the handbag from the bed and was looking for it. The bag fell on the floor and the contents scattered. He stooped down beside me and gathered them and handed the bag to me. Thanks. He then took the key and silently closed the door as he left. What now? The bigger picture. What to say? What should or can I say? I had no idea Marvin was coming or when he came or how he managed to leave England with the Court case still pending. Was it still pending? I really had hundreds of questions swirling in my head at once that I felt dizzy and ill. Marvin was back. Back home, to his home. Marco obviously knew that he was coming and didn’t say anything to me. When it was that he knew? My Lord, what is this that is happening to me now!! I made my way to the bathroom and vomited. I looked at myself in the mirror and I didn’t like the person I saw. She looked ugly, stressed, frustrated. Marvin. Its been a while since I saw him. My relationship with him had grown to be a long distance one. I was accustomed to his ranting and raving, his bitterness, his threats over the phone. Ok, it wasn’t all negative, we had our good moments, plenty of them too, but all over the phone. Our lives were connected by the phone and that was where my comfort zone was with him. He had his life, his women, everything in England. But he was now downstairs, looking better than the last time I saw him, muscular, an air of confidence and machismo flowing around him. My man was here, downstairs, home, in our home. After we greeted, he introduced me to those who I was seeing for the first time. I nodded to those who I knew before, a little chit chat here and there. However, I felt my life being on display before these men and women, I felt naked and vulnerable. Miss Marva managed to get the gardener from the living room and into the kitchen to assist her. The girls were now milling around, some standing beside their men, others apparently single and on the prowl. Marvin hugged me tightly as he stood behind me and spoke to the guests, thanking them for being in attendance and he went on…..
“People, this is my wife. She deh yah ah hold the order for me since mi gone. She never give up on me, never run leff me, she stay beside me through the thick and thin. Mi naw play di hypocrite. Nuff tings guh down, nuff tings happen and some may say this and that, but she stay right yasso and believe in me. When some woman woulda tek wah dem coulda get and move on, she nuh do dat. Mi nuh fool myself bout dat cause ah she control everything there is to control in Jamaica fi mi. Mi stay ah England, all when mi deh pon lockdown and hear all sort ah tings weh people say she ah do and how she ah gwaan. And hear wah, yuh know wat I tell dem LEAVE HER ALONE. Mi naw guh mek nobady come disrespect mi woman and feel seh dem can get away wid it just suh. She ah mi wife and mi love how she just keep her head above di waters, all when di police dem ah pressure her over fuckery, she never yet tun weak and say nothing fi harm mi. She nuh mix up and she nuh inna nuh fuckery wid nuhbady. She ah open up one Club, as you all know, and mi expect dat unno will support her and di place.”
Marco was there looking as relaxed as ever, as if everything was just as it was before Marvin left. He looked at me with such innocence that I found myself wondering if he was ok or if I was the one who was getting off. After a while I informed the guests that I was feeling tired and I turned to Marvin, kissed him on the cheek and squeezed his hand and excused myself. At the top of the stairs I noticed that the bedroom beside mine was open and the lights were on. That was where Marvin’s clothes and personal effects were stored when I moved here. From the doorway I saw a few suitcases and the room was obviously prepared for his arrival.
Now, standing in the shower, a wave of uneasiness and despair washed over me and as the water came down. My heart was not with Marvin anymore, I was almost certain of that. Almost. I wrapped a towel around my body and as I entered the bedroom I noticed that the radio was on and an open bottle of Remy Martin on the vanity table. Lionel Richie’s ‘Penny Lover’ was playing and Marvin was seated on the stuffed chair beside the bed. He was shirtless. Ok, despite it all, damn, he looked fine. As he sipped from his glass, his eyes were focused on me, watching, searching. “Looking good”, he said. “Thanks, you not looking bad yourself”, was my reply. I took my seat by the dresser and started preparing the body for bed. The ritual had started. He approached me with another glass and handed it to me. “Thanks”, and I meant it, I really needed a good drink. It felt good and it warmed the body. As I applied the moisturizer he stood behind me, silent, probing me with his eyes. I leaned forward and the towel came loose and my first instinct was to grab it and cover my body. But I didn’t and I wont. Why should I? It fell around me and I reached for the glass again. Our eyes were locked in a fixed gaze through the mirror on the dresser. He stepped closer and pressed himself against my back. I didn’t want to go there, not just like that. It wont be that easy. “Nice speech”, I complimented him. “Nice acting”, he smirked. Hmm, so we were on the same page after all. “What next? You really believed yourself when you talk since night, don’t it. You just come back, don’t tell mi you coming, not even the decency to call me and say dog, and its all good with one speech? Remember the history Marvin, remember it, and it nuh pretty at all”, I was calm and collected. Then he started, “You coulda leave when you wanted to all this time. Mi nuh hold on pon yuh, you coulda go ahead and do wat you have been doing since mi leave. But mi know you naw guh no where”. He held my arm and pulled me up and turned me around, facing him. He looked at me from my face to my feet, taking me in, all of me. He then used a finger to gently run over the bruise on my shoulder and shook his head. “And you know why you not going no where, cause me and you have history, di same fucking history yuh ah talk bout. We ah come from far and mi know you like a book. Mi know everyting bout you. And wat mi can count on from you is loyalty and devotion. You cant leave did, cant leave me. You never will. All the talk you ah talk you just as addicted to lifestyle now as any one ah wi. If you look inna yuhself, you will know is the truth mi ah talk. Yeah, yuh gwaan wid yuh fuckery but you still naw leave me cause wi belong together”, he said. This was a Marvin with a purpose, a purpose to destroy and manipulate, to hurt and to feed off the pain of others, my pain. A Marvin who spoke what I didn’t want to hear. I shrugged myself free and put on a t-shirt and panty. Marvin walked over to the balcony and stood looking out at the city. He took a deep breath and exhaled loudly. “You know how much tings you can see from here”, he said to no one in particular. I was pulling back the spread on the bed. “You know how much tings people can see in this room from out there”, he said. He deliberately caught my attention. “They can see you Marvin, they can see you and everything you stand for”, I fired back as I refilled my glass. He was not going to play that shit with me as if I was the only one with sin on my hands. I am not going to be swept in a corner by guilt by this man, not now, not tonight. He slowly made his way across the room to me and held me close to him. My head was resting on his shoulder, one of his hands running through my hair, the other on my ass. “Not tonight, mi nuh in the mood for nuh fighting tonight”, he whispered. “Marvin, mi tired of it all and soon, very soon wi have to decide wat we going to do. You know that and I know that”. “And Marco know that too”, he chimed. He then placed his hand under my chin and raised it up and looked at me. We then kissed. I felt his erection building in his pants and our bodies were now warm and our hearts beating rapidly. I wrapped my hands around him and then he did something unexpected. He pulled away. He pulled away!! I just stood there and watched the door close as he left the room.
The dance was in full swing in Tower Hill, along Olympic Way. Joan was keeping her Drink Out and it was an all out affair. Joan’s event was the last one to be held and it was definitely the biggest and most flamboyant. Streamers were everywhere, and the four towers of speaker boxes were belting away hits after hits. She was using Pilly Black’s Plaza. And her support was widespread, from Balcombe Drive to Penwood Road, from Bay Farm Road to Mahoe Drive, everybody knew that Joan’s Drink Out was the place to be. The mini bar she placed on the outside for this event was doing good business and Magnum and Guinness were the best sellers. The dancers were already out and some of the early spenders were buying away. The night was still young and the majority of persons were outside the plaza while the inside was filled with the few top notch persons and their entourage of hanger’s on. The BMW SUV made its way onto the Plaza and parked, facing out. Bumpy got out from the back seat and fixed her outfit. Marco then came out, standing tall beside his baby mother. She pressed out the back of his shirt with her hands. Ah long time now since she and Marco touch di road together. When he came in tonight and said that he was heading to Joan’s party, she thought he was joking. But when he left to take his bath with Frassman as his trusty lookout, she knew he was serious. Bumpy told the girls she had planned to travel with to go on ahead without her and she then quickly went into the bedroom and changed into a sexier outfit. Change!! She could sense a change in the air!! She had heard it from a birdy that Marvin was seen at the airport, but she never believed. No way. Despite what was what, Marco would have told her, she sure of that. So when she saw him come in and say the two of them going out, together, she knew that something into something. Now, as the selector welcomed Marvin over the speakers, Frassman got out from the driver’s side and joined them. The personalities in attendance greeted them and Marco started chatting with a few. Bumpy rocked to the music, all aglow in what was now a turning point in her life. Frassman drifted into the shadows behind Marco, his eyes constantly scanning the crowd, a red bull in one hand, the other hand resting under his shirt. Bumpy was convinced that if Marvin really come is a blessing in disguise cause she know dat she will stand ah good chance fi have back her man. Marco looked at ease, him happy, him round her, her life with her man can now sort out and ah dat she like. Full rass time!
Well, if Bumpy was paying close attention, she would have noticed Marco reading the text message on his phone, which he immediately deleted. Knowing exactly where to drift his eyes, he was barely able to make out Frassman’s shape in the shadows by some steps and he nodded. Marco’s mood was now for the better, and his conversations with the acquaintances more upbeat. Having just found the present Frassman had earlier secretly slipped inside her handbag when he was helping her to gather its contents from the bedroom floor, she sent him a text thanking him, especially for the handwritten poem attached to it. Marco was a man on a mission.

The van slowly made its way through the night time traffic. It was as if everyone was on the road tonight. Several events were being held throughout the city during this holiday season and mixed with the expected month end weekend rush, there was traffic in the major areas of the city, even at this late hour. Vendors were out in their numbers in Half-Way-Tree and pedestrians were walking both on and off the sidewalks. My head was turned to the right, taking in the sights. The occasional loud horn managed to disturb the silence of the van’s cabin. Marvin was driving. Since we left the house our conversation has been so and so, just as it has been since he arrived just over a week ago. We spoke about the Police, the bank transfers, well not really talk, because I expressed my concerns and he said that both he and Marco had things under control. The case in England was never brought up. However, I wanted to know, I had to know. After all, I was the one who had to be sending funds for the barrister fees, I was the one who encouraged him over the phone when he was down and miserable about the whole Court thing. But nothing, not one mention, and I didn’t ask. An extended absence had made us strangers tinkering on the edge. Everything was just complicated. I kept reminding myself not to carry the whole burden as there was more than sufficient blame to throw around.
Marvin was home every night, early to that. I wouldn’t say that we were totally cold and distant as we did manage to be polite to each other. In the nights Miss Marva would come and spend some time with me, bringing a cup of tea or otherwise making sure I was ok. She knew what was happening, I knew she did, but she was always discreet and maintained a non-judgmental demeanor. She didn’t mention Marco’s name. Nerves. I was on edge, especially when I saw Marco. He and Frassman still came by and discussed whatever it was with Marvin, sometimes all there leaving together. I was civil to Marco, but just couldnt forgive him, yet, for hiding Marvin’s return from me. Seriously though, Marco and Marvin were two pieces of work! How the fuck could they just operate as if everything was everything! Dem damn well know that each of them was fucking me at one point of the other suh mi nuh know how the fuck they can be acting as if ‘its just another day in the park’. Chills ran down my spine when I recalled what that asshole of a policeman said down by Central Police Station, right after they took me in for questioning following DashOut’s murder, “…….. These men are big timers. Dem in business together long time. Dem put business above all other things. EVERYTING! Suh dem stay from dem ah grow up. Yuh nuh know who yuh ah deal with. When it come to business. NO WOMAN, NO GAL, NO BABYMOTHER ever get between dem two. NONE” (confessions 33). But I wasn’t just any gal or woman. I was a part of their lives, Marco’s as well as Marvin’s, although things were far from perfect, well more like fucked up to di bone. Marco loved me, he told me so. His behavior, his mannerisms, his whole being told me that he loved me. We might not be together every day, but I was his woman. I was also Marvin’s woman, his longtime common law wife. That’s it, there was nothing there. What we have now was just a shell, a big empty fucking shell. Marvin had changed, somewhat. He wasn’t the same who used to pester pester and bitch over the phone. Since raising Marco’s name that night in my room, in terms of him being the bunna man (cause I knew that was what he meant), Marvin never yet raised any discussion about my unfaithfulness, real or perceived. And I wasn’t about to give him any fuel to throw on any fire suh mi just hold mi corners. And no, we didn’t fuck. Marvin hadn’t returned to my room and I didn’t go to his. But he wasn’t totally devoid of emotions either. Two days after he returned, I was in my room when I heard hushed voices on the outside below my balcony. I recognized Marvin’s voice and the gardener’s but I couldn’t hear exactly what was being said. All I knew was that I head something forcefully connect with someone and the gardener cried out in pain for his head. I cringed and then heard Marvin distinctly telling him to mind his own business. The gardener remained to himself after that.
All in all, I had my hands full, busy pulling together the final plans for the Club Opening. With Andre Blinger’s absent, it was hectic and pure stress and provocations. But I did have others who assisted me, but not to degree as Blingers would have. That was where Marvin and I were heading to in this traffic, the Club Opening. The front of the property was filled with vehicles, patrons and onlookers. People!! Jeezam, mi did know that it was going to attract a few but nuh suh much, not fi di first night. The plan was to do the Opening, work out the kinks then open for regular business next week, just for the weekends. There were no advertisements, no flyers, nothing, just word of mouth invitations and emails. Marvin did pass through a few times, speaking to the employees, looking here and there, making suggestions. He made it his duty to remind me that he was not in control or anything. But that wasn’t totally correct. Earlier, the Manager called and asked if I had ordered and paid for additional cases of liquor. I said no but when I heard that the delivery consisted of Remy Martin, I knew that Marvin had something to do with it. Then Marvin made a ‘suggestion’, as he called it, to the Manager that instead of persons paying for their drinks, a ‘contribution’ would be as requested, making the event all inclusive. When I heard what the ‘contribution’ was I nearly dropped the phone as I was then convinced that Marvin was more determined to sabotage what was planned and discourage persons from attending. How the hell him fi expect people fi find so much money pon such short notice? And who tell him to change up ting and nuh talk to mi first? I was pissed. But, I constantly reminded myself that the idea of the Club was sold to him by me as a legitimate business that would generate earnings which he could use to contribute to Marvin JR’s upbringing (confessions 31). After all, it was HIS MONEY that provided the start up. His funds but my business. That was something I would have to discuss, no, remind him. But, looking at the turnout tonight, he was able to pull off this ‘contribution’ thing.
We reached the Club and persons passing by gawked and stared at the spectacle that was unfolding in the night. But I should have expected it. The lights were spectacular and … fireworks? FIREWORKS!!! I leaned forward in the van seat and watched the night sky light up with extraordinary fireworks displays. How the hell did he pull this one off? As if on cue, as the Range pulled up to the foyer several ordinances flew into the sky and created a wonderful image of the Union Jack, the flag of England. It was so amazing!! I looked across at Marvin and there he was looking back at me with a smug look on his face. “It look good, Marvin, why yuh never tell me that you planned all this”, I asked. He had truly caught me off guard. “Is your big night, so mi just add a little something to it”. Marvin, Marvin, Marvin. He still had that touch. I reached across and squeezed his hand and told him thanks. The solitude of the van was broken when someone opened door and then the cameras, the music, the chatter, the laughter, all flooded in. I gently climbed out with the assistance of a young man and soon found myself on the royal purple carpet that led into the main hall. I stood there, my hair in a tight bun, a simple red Valentino one shoulder silk evening gown with matching Jimmy Choo pumps.

This outfit was waiting for me in my closet when I returned home this evening, they having been dropped off by a lady, according to Miss Marva. I immediately fell in love with the ensemble. When I was coming down the stairs Marvin, dressed in his black Armani suit, actually looked surprised. Now here we were, standing together, his arms around my waist, posing for the several cameramen and videographers.

We made our way towards the door, me waving and kissing cheeks, Marvin bumming fists and slapping backs and laughing. Some of the women remarked that we made a picture perfect couple. When we entered the main hall the Guest Selector promptly highlighted our presence over the mike. All heads turned in our direction followed by clapping and shouts. Tonight was billed as an elegant evening and persons for the most part were properly attired for the occasion. Marvin waved to the patrons and I stood beside him, smiling, proud of this evening, the support of so many people, Marvin’s involvement. Sharon and the girls came over and started gabbing away, talking about the dress, the Club, who and who were present. While they chattered, my eyes quickly scanned the crowd and I saw Thunder and someone who must be his newer and younger acquisition. I saw Prince and Paul, the gay couple, standing in a far corner chatting to some women. I scanned further and saw many whom I knew. But I continued to scan the room, looking, seeking out, but I didn’t see who I was looking for. I managed to see Marvin a few feet away, surrounded by some of his associates and they had him locked in. Our eyes made contact. For a few seconds I felt a familiar connection, something I haven’t felt for a long time. I was quickly ushered by the girls further into the crowd. The two bars were busy and the waitresses were working the floor, ensuring that certain guests were specifically attended to.
Then I heard the song. That song that spoke volumes of my life as it is now. Couples started slowly dancing away. Sharon was soon moving away with some man who I suspected was her date and the other girls were soon drifting away with other men. That song! “Are you the lady who runs this establishment”, a soft but masculine voice asked. I looked beside me and saw a tall distinguished looking man, with a fit build and greying hair. His face was handsome, his features solid. “Yes I am”, I replied. “I couldn’t help but noticing you standing here by yourself and I wondered why is a lovely lady standing alone on an evening like this”. He was intriguing. I blushed. “Well, maybe this lady wants to just have a minute or two to herself”. He let out a hearty laugh and continued, “Montego Bay could surely do with something like this.” Someone was waving him over and he said Unfortunately, would you excuse me, there is something that needs my urgent attention”. “No problem, see you later then. I didn’t catch your name, you are?” “There will be enough time for us to know each other better”, and with that he gave a toothy grin and disappeared into the crowd. I needed sometime to myself now and I made my way to the Manager’s office which was to the side, up some stairs. This office also had another door which opened to the back where the car wash would soon open. I slipped into the office, and went straight to the minibar. The lights from the Club shone through the huge one way mirror in the office so there was no need to turn on the lights. I poured a drink and as I turned to the mirror, there he was. Silent, his back to me, looking through the mirror at the party, hands crossed at the chest. I knew he was here somewhere, so I wasn’t that surprised. “You looking beautiful in that outfit, how you like it”, he asked, without turning to me. My eyes opened wide and I stuttered, “That was you?” All along I thought it was Marvin who had selected the gown and shoes for me.

As I sat speaking to Prince and Paul, Paul let out, “So why you never tell mi dat yuh roll deep dem ways deh”. “Wat yuh talking bout”, I asked. Prince, “Mi tell yuh dat she gwaan like idiot when it comes to man moretimes”. “You going to behave yuhself tonight”, I warned Prince who was obviously under his liquor. I turned to Paul and asked what he was talking about. We were sitting on a couch to the side as others milled and danced away, I sitting in the middle. Marvin was nowhere to be seen. Paul went on, “Den how yuh never tell mi di big man from out west was invited”. “Paul, just in case yuh never realize, is nuff big man deh here”, and I waved my hands in the air. “Mi ah talk Parchie, di one who control things out west”. Parchie. I heard of him but never met him. His name was legendary. A big businessman who was popular with the politicians. His had six sons, four of whom were killed by gunmen over a period of time. The last two were sent abroad to school and have not returned since. His wife Doreen was the head of one of the most prolific charities in St. James, sponsoring dozens of children in schools and she was always in the news. But it was his association with the notorious Daddy Champagne that stuck out. After Champagne was murdered by unknown men, the largest funeral in recent memory was held in Montego Bay and everyone was there, including Marco and Frassman. Many were quietly relieved at his killing. The police investigation into his death reached a dead end with the brutal murder of some girl who worked at a bank. It was said that she could have identified the suspects who were seen in Champagne’s company hours before he was shot multiple times. “I don’t know this Parchie, suh where is he”, I was curious as to who this man was, what he looked like.Paul immediately turned his head and I looked and looked. All I could see was the distinguished looking gentleman who I had met earlier. He was standing in the midst of several girls who were laughing away, champagne glasses in hand.





“If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.”
― Desmond Tutu

Mr. and Mrs. Pendegrast, Marvin JRs grandparents, were seated in the living room, trying to appear comfortable. But they weren’t. It was their first time in this house and it was big and strange. Marvin JR was somewhere in the house following Miss Marcia around. He had taken an immediate liking towards her when she greeted them at the door. The senior citizens looked around at the furniture, the paintings, the carpeting, absorbing each detail as they waited. The city view through the floor to ceiling high glass windows was breath taking and the drop to the gardens below was also a topic of hushed conversation. Marvin wanted to see his son and asked that he be taken up to his house for a few hours, father son bonding he called it. It has been ages since the grandparents saw Marvin, after all he missed the first years of his son’s life. Before Marvin called, Marco had stopped by on one of his weekly visits and told them to expect a call from JR’s father. Though Marvin was now in the island, they had some reservations about sending the child unaccompanied to see him. Up until now, the only true father figure that the child knew was Mr. Pendegrast and of course Uncle Marco (as he was called). Though Marvin had some sort of relationship with their now dead daughter, Kelly, that did not stop JR’s stepmom from providing support, both emotionally and financially. All in all JR was a child in need of nothing. And Marvin, though present, was in their mind an unwanted distraction. But he was still JR’s father, he had a right to see his son and that had to be respected. The couple was worried that this desire to see the child may extend to Marvin wanting custody of him. That was considered, worried over and prayed on. However, they were surprised when they arrived and were told that Marvin was not in, that he should be arriving in a few minutes. That was almost one hour ago.
The yacht was now making its way heading west under the midday sun, a mile or so off the coast of St. Catherine. The captain and a crew of two ensured that the vessel made its way smoothly on its journey and that the guests onboard were well attended to. Officially, the vessel was leased from a company in Panama by one of the top resorts in the island. Unofficially, it belonged to a very powerful man who wanted to keep his more extravagant assets under the radar. Parchie had summoned the others between 5 and 6 this morning. Typical Parchie. Things needed to be ironed out and it had to be done today, so he proclaimed. They were to meet at the Royal Jamaica Yacht Club near Port Royal and only those who got the call were allowed onboard, minus guns, phones and electronic gadgets. The vessel would be returning in a few hours and the drivers, girlfriends and hangers who may have taken the drive out to Port Royal would just have to entertain themselves on land till then. The guests knew or heard of the captain, whose reputation for absolute discretion was widely known. The crew was handpicked by him and loyal to the bone. Marvin was irritated as he was looking forward to spending time with his son. He even brought some presents with him from London and they were gift wrapped and in the bedroom he had retrofitted. New furniture fitting a child his son’s age, the latest gaming systems and computer equipment were also added. The changes were made quickly and quietly during the time homegirl was out. She spent her time on the road or in her room, so she didn’t even notice the transformation of the bedroom in that section of the house. And here he was, sitting on a damn boat heading out to sea. Parchie was his typical pleasant talkative self, making chit chat with the three men and kept insisting that they all try the oysters that were served. Marvin hated oysters and ate some of the crab cakes instead, not that he was hungry, but out to have something to do while he carefully studied the others. Marco wasn’t his problem now, but the other two. Marco on the other hand remained calm and cool on the outside, though mad as rass inside. He had a football match later in the Saturday afternoon and this move by Parchie only managed to fuck up things. But Marco was expecting something like this, he just didn’t know when or what form it would take. With Marvin back, the organization needed fine tuning. They all knew that. But who was the one to bell the cat? That was the multi-million dollar question that never escaped the lips of many. And fine tuning meant that things would have to be tightened, some would be in, others out. When Parchie came to the Club Opening, Marco knew that the fine tuning had begun. Parchie was invited, but he was invited to every event being held. It’s just that no one really expected him to come, he never did. He always remained in Montego Bay and whenever he is seen elsewhere, it’s with the big businessmen. But he came this time.
Also onboard the yacht of uncertainty was the Superintendent. The same Superintendent who tried to fuck Marco and Marvin over royally, who caused so much stress and pain, the very one who was out to destroy their operation. There he was, in a bright floral shirt, sitting with his back to the railing, drinking some rum and coke. The large dark sunglasses hid his facial expression, which was what exactly? Marco and Marvin found themselves sitting shoulder to shoulder across from him and Parchie was seated with his back to the stern or rear of the vessel, between them. Marco and Marvin held their glasses in their hands but they were not drinking heavily. Earlier, when they arrived at the marina, they found the vessel docked at a secluded berth, away from the prying eyes of the handful of persons who were on the property. When they boarded, they were dumb struck when they saw the Supe already onboard talking and laughing with Parchie. Marvin had met the policeman on several occasions since his return, in questioning and interviews about his assets, his relationship to Marco, his dealings in England and what he knew of Kelly’s death. On the advice of his lawyers, all three of them who never left his side, he refused to answer anything. Now, the man who wanted to send him to prison, or even worst, was here at sea with them, not saying a word. Parchie continued where he left off “…..I am really glad that Marvin has made himself available to deal with the questions you have for him. All this excitement about things that could have been cleared up only if we asked politely”. The Supe waved his glass at the two men across from him, “Cleared up? Cleared Up? Parchie, don’t chat fuck, mi know you long time, memba dat. Dem two bwoy yah ah gwaan wid pure fuckery and giving us a headache. Yeah, di bitch dem ah fuck ah hold her own and naw seh nothing. But dat ah she, and fi how long she ah guh hold her senses? I am not here to get involved in your dirty work, cause I have my work to do, which is to protect my pension and my bread”. Marvin looked at the policeman and hissed, “Ah better mi bredren fuck dat bitch who yuh ah chat bout than any wutliss police bwoy”. Parchie interrupted, “Stop the back and forth now. We are not on board this beautiful vessel on the Lord’s sunny Saturday for us to act like children. We are here, at my invitation, to iron out some wrinkles and I would like to get that done before we return to dock”. The Supe turned to Parchie, “Yuh can drop di society act now. Ah we siddung yah so. Suh nuh badda gwaan like say yuh ah nuh nice guy round ere”. Marco knew that what was being played out here was bigger than him and the best and only step was to listen and try and find a way to get to shore in one piece. Talk about him fucking Marvin’s woman had no effect on him right now, as he knew that it was business that was the order of the day. Parchie was not phased by the Supe’s outburst, “Its not a matter of a society act. It’s about business, your business, my business and the boys here, their business”. Marco noted that the boat had turned around as the shoreline in the distance was now facing him and not behind him as before. Parchie’s voice hardened, “Delroy, you have the benefit of working for the Government and having the law to back you. Do you think it is fair that you should have the upper hand and use that to the disadvantage of others?” Marco leaned forward a bit, as this was getting interesting. “Wah di fuck yuh ah chat bout? I am here to talk about these two fuckers who have been creating a headache for me and my work. Yuh tell me dat yuh will be able to solve tings if wi meet. I am here, they are here but yuh just ah talk bout me suh! Wat bout dem!!”, yelled the Supe. “You tried your best to interfere with their business. Yes, you may say that you were acting under orders, so don’t go there. But what is strange is that your actions while meddling in their affairs, resulted in an increase in your business”. The Supe’s back became rigid, “Wah yuh really ah talk bout?” Parchie just smiled and Marvin and Marco knew that something big was going down. “First of all, you really thought that you could get Champagne – God Bless the memory of the good days – to undermine me, mess round these boys here, and jeopardize my finances? You and Champagne worked hard to create problems between myself and the latin link. When you conspired together and killed DashOut, stole and sold the coke, shared the money, you really didn’t know that I would find out that you were involved?” Come on, you may be the police but I have the resources. Pressure, pressure, pressure, that’s all you did, apply more and more pressure. I lost over USD300,000.00 because of your pressure. And pipes must burst under too much pressure”, and with that Parchie took a sip from his glass, his eyes focused and mean. “Anything yuh want say, but that not going to stop me from bringing down these two fuckers”, snapped the Supe who was now showing signs of nervousness. “But bringing them down means bringing me down. You see, killing Kelly and DashOut is neither here nor there in this world. Women come and women go, especially the unmarried ones. But, when you bring down these two trying men, you affect the way in which I do my business, my credibility, my bottom line. That has to stop”, and with that Parchie put down his glass and faced the boys, as he called them. “Suh ah threaten yuh ah threaten mi? Yuh really brave yuh know!”, jeered the Supe, who was now using a paper napkin to mop his forehead. In one swift move, Parchie was up, grabbed the policeman by the scruff of his neck and wrestled him over the side, the body hitting the water in a big splash. The two men remained motionless as he sat down. “Now boys, is there anything or anyone else distracting you”, he asked politely. Marvin called out to one of the stewards for a stronger drink. Marco shook his head.
The day’s receipts from the black market cash pot business was steadily increasing. The one o’clock draw was the most profitable as this was the key one that determined the daily motions of the people in the ghetto, such as what to buy for dinner, lunch money for the kids, funds to give the banker in the daily partner. The girls who worked for Bumpy made their rounds and business was brisk, as it was widely expected that the chiney man would play #19, silver money. The BMX bicycle whisked through the lanes and alleyways off Hagley Park Road, across Waltham Park Road and then along a series of roadways. The rider was skilled and this showed as he dilly dallied around pedestrians, cars and barking dogs. A policeman cursed at him as the bicycle brushed the side of the radio car. Within a few minutes the bicycle was leaned up behind a shop and the rider was over a concrete wall and behind an old car in the back of a yard. In no time German was coming through the front gate. What ah way di fucker did say him haffi guh check him sister out East!! German scanned the yard carefully as he slipped around the side of the house and tapped a window at the back. The curtains on the inside moved, the window opened just enough for a key to drop in German’s hand and then it was closed again. German then opened the back grill and locked it when he entered. Frassman hissed his teeth and jumped back over the fence. Marco naw guh like this at all. Bumpy shoulda know better fi try guh round di her man. The chiney man played #3, dead.

“There are only two ways to experience joy and peace of mind in relationships; we either get what we want or we learn to be happy with what we have.” – Kevin Darne.
“But mi hear dat him come back, suh how come all now you don’t tell me that”, he mumbled. He sound hurt and mad. “Yes he is back, and the whole world supposed to know that right now. What that have to do with what we are talking about”, I rebutted. It had everything to do with him, with us, further complications to an already uneasy situation. “Come on now Andre, we are talking about you, why you disappeared for so long, what you were up to, and all now you cant give me any straight answers. What is the problem?” I had to press him. Andre Blingers, though younger, had touched a part of me and though we will never become intimate, I still considered him to be a good friend. He always wanted more than friendship and as y’all know the temptation has presented itself on several occasions. Silence. We have been talking for over an hour now, about his parents, Marvin JR, the Club, his new bike and all sort of things. “As I tell you before, I really don’t trust the phone ting and mi nuh really want get into that until mi see you face to face”, he finally spoke. “Ok, you don’t trust the phone ting, suh when am I gonna see you. You not working over there in Canada, you have up you woman dem an ah kill out you little body and is party party party you deh pon. No man, mi need you out here to help out with the Club and ting”, I returned to the issue of the business. “My coming back naw mek no difference cause I am not into anything with Marco”, and he sounded serious. “Why, cause you ah follow wat people ah talk bout him involve inna yuh sister death. Look here, memba dem did all tink dat MEEEEEEEEE was involved inna Kelly’s killing too, if you follow some people. Your sister and my ma…and Marco maybe did have something at one stage and that wasn’t something no one can change. And the way mi see how Marco love that little bwoy, mi cant see him ah hurt Kelly”, I reasoned with him. “Done di argument, cause mi know wah mi know and mi nuh want get inna nuh discussion about that right now. I am trying to fly in next month fi di Blinger’s Dance, so wi will see wat happen after that still”. That was the end of that. Men and their secrets, I just couldn’t figure them out. Andre just refused to talk about whatever it was that happened to him, Marvin naw talk bout England and how him case go and Marco…Marco is just Marco. I don’t hear from him unless I call or text using the phone he had given me. There wasn’t much we spoke about aside from my ‘hellos’ and ‘how are you’ and he never brought up anything concerning Marvin. I knew that Marvin was still rolling with him, and they see each other several times weekly and never once did either of them say anything personal to me about the other one. Some bullshit is going down and I just cant put my finger on it. But I was going to get some answers from next door.
I stepped outside to Marvin’s room and knocked on the door. I knocked again and tried the knob and pushed the door. There he was lying on his stomach and snoring, still dressed as he was when he came in last night. A half full bottle of rum was on the night stand and the television was on. I pulled the drapes open and opened the balcony door. I sat on the bed and used the remote to find the popular dancehall channel. Miss Marcia peeked into the room and told me good morning, with a broad smile on her face, and I shook my head and whispered ‘nothing like that’. She looked a bit disappointed and went off on her rounds. His head shifted and found its way on my lap as I sat with my back to the headboard. “You know I hate it when you sleep in your clothes. Yuh know you will sleep comfortable without them on”, I said as I ran my hand down his neck. “My room, I do anything I want in here. And good morning to you too”, he sounded hoarse. I sensed that he was drifting off to sleep and I shook him head,”Nuh badda with that right now, we need to talk”. Marvin rolled away from me and used the ruffled blanket to cover himself. “Yuh nuh hot under all that! Come man, we need to talk some serious ting right now”, I insisted. He got up, turned on the air conditioner and closed both the room and balcony doors. He then took off his shirt and undershirt, his pants and socks, scratched his balls through his underpants and climbed right back into bed, under the blanket and turned his head away from me in one big puff. Maybe now was not the right time to speak to him. But when will that be? I poked him in his back. “Wah wrong wid you? You wake up this morning and ah torment me inna mi owna room. Just cool nuh and mek mi get some sleep”, said he. “Marvin, when you was away and doing your shit, I had to listen to you each time you call and that was practically everyday. Mi listen to you, suffer through it, answer you. The point is, I was there for you when you did feel the need to talk. Now is my time to talk and I need you to listen and to answer, ok”. The head turned to me and his eyes told me that I had his attention. “You know that from you come back, me and you nuh……”, I tried to find the most tactful way of putting it. I didn’t want to sound desperate or confrontational. “Fuck”, he found the right word. “Call it that, but still, we are here, living under the same roof, well me just ah hold on cause mi nuh know your plans. But we living under the one roof, sleeping in two different rooms, supposed to be a couple, and yet you naw show nuh interest in me that way”, I was looking straight at him. “Just think over wat you just say to me and mi can say the same ting. But I know the reason why and mi nuh really ah bring dat up now”, he replied. “You ah gwaan as if mi is the greatest sinner since Judas. If me did have a one ting, you nuh feel mi have a right. You never deh yah, you have you woman dem over England and mi all talk to one, suh nuh put it all on me”, I was pushing for an argument cause I wanted things to come out. “I am not putting everything pon you”, he said as he sat up. “Then wat is it, you want me to leave, you want me out of your life for good, wat is it, I have to know”, I think I was getting somewhere. “Do you want to go? You want me to say you must go? Yuh naw guh hear dat from me. Tings happen, but mi naw guh mek dat distract me……”, he didn’t finish. Marvin had a lost look in his face. After a minute of only hearing the television I started “You were saying that you don’t want to be distracted. So you call it a distraction now?” Marco eased back down and turned his back to me. I knew that he must have fucked since he returned, and whoever was fucking him didn’t really matter to me, yet. Whoever he was doing it too, nuh matter if it was one, two or plenty of them, him never carry them up to the house or push dem in my face. False comfort I know, but him naw fuck me, yet we call wiself ah couple. Having sex with him would be good because that signifies a sexual bond or intimate interest between us, and without that bonding or interest what was left? Fucking is just the physical act but as a couple, it’s more than that. I looked at him and if mi never know better mi woulda sure that the rass just ah fall asleep suh like him have dropsy. Look how long him ah sleep! No man, him haffi come talk out this one cause it ah get to mi now. I reached across and was again poking him in his back and he muttered something. Then something on the TV caught my attention. I used the remote to turn up the volume. A news flash stated that the body of Superintendent Delroy Moxam was found floating off the coast of St. Catherine, having been recovered after he was reported missing following a boating mishap yesterday. The news went on to state that the policeman was among a group on a canoe that was left Port Royal for Lime Cay when he fell overboard. The Supe dead to rass!! The man who made my life a living nightmare, gone like Sammy mout. Damn! I was shocked and found myself speaking. When I got no reply I looked across and Marvin was snoring away.
Bumpy woke up and found the other side of the bed empty. As she wiped her face with her hands, exhausted from the night’s sexual journey with her man, she wondered where he went so early. She got up and went to the bathroom. Each time she stepped in that space, she felt more and more determined to get her own shower. She have standing in the area and she just tired fi haffi guh outside fi guh bathe like ah country she deh. Silence. She looked in the girls’ bedroom, but it was empty and the beds made. Sunday. Then she looked on the study desk and realized that their bibles were missing. Well, then, maybe their daddy helped them to get ready and sent them off. She forgot to buy the chicken for dinner and it was minutes to ten already. She instinctively dialed a number and when the line picked up, “Yow, yuh can forward and run guh down ah di wholesale guh buy something fi mi deh”. “Bumpy, you know seh him nuh deh bout now still”, Frassman replied. Now that took her by surprise. “Suh weh him gone suh soon my yute”, she asked, still puzzled as to why Frassman had German’s phone. “Weh yuh expect him fi gone? Him nuh deh bout and him leff him phone ah charge”, he said and hung up. Well, she just have to look outside and see if she can get someone to buy it for her. Meanwhile, around the road, the choir was resounding and magnificent as they reeled off another chorus. The girls were upfront, restless as they waited for the call from the pastor for the Children’s Church. Then, they will all gather at the front and after a few wise words, they would be sent off till to another section of the compound to join the teachers until the end of the main church service. They were dressed in matching pink outfits and their shoes were shiny and new. Their
attendance was a regular feature now and it was even more important today, it being the beginning of the study period for Sunday School exams. Marco sat quietly in the back of the service, his face beaming with pride each time he managed a glimpse of his daughters who were sitting with some other children near the front. If only he could get JR to join them, to have all his children together. The pastor called all the kids forward. His girls, hand in hand, made their way along with about twenty children. This was the second time he accompanied them to church, though they went most Sundays. His cell phone was vibrating and he looked at the number and ignored the call. There was another call from the same number and he locked off the phone. The children were now walking down the aisle, being quickly but gently ushered by the Children Church coordinators. The smaller girl waved at him as they passed by.
Boxes of shoes and t-shirts were being rapidly loaded into the truck. The wholesale distributor in downtown Kingston may have been closed for business on a Sunday, but as far as the men were concerned, it was another working day. The lane behind the business, where the truck was parked, was deserted, with rats scurrying in and out of the overflowing garbage bins. Sometime in the week the contents of those boxes will be sold at discounted rates to merchandisers in May Pen. Some boxes will be shared among the men and their families and the rest given to the other loyalists within the community. It was a win win situation for all involved. The businessman had found it increasingly difficult to continue as high interest rates and slow sales were killing him. With the stock and building heavily insured, the payout after the fire would clear his debts and set him on a better footing. Why should all the stock on the second floor be consumed in the fraudulent fire when it could serve some useful purpose? Plus, it was the only way the businessman could pay the firebugs who were hired to ensure that the blaze was thorough. Despite Marvin’s return, operations and strategy remained firmly in the hands of the real man. It was awkward at first, but those who mattered understood that there was no real fight for authority, just that Marvin was given his due as the man who had the connections that bonded Kingston and London. On the other hand, the real man was the one who called the shots on the ground and all the men, and women, were still answerable to him and him alone. After an hour the task was complete. With Frassman behind the steering wheel, the old Leyland truck fired up to life and thick black smoke belched into the air from its muffler. Bully and Shaka climbed into the box body with the cartons and a knock to the steel frame signaled Frassman that it was time to go. It would be sometime before the fire would be visible to anyone who happened to pass by and by then the inside would have been a raging inferno. Frassman answered his phone and spoke immediately “Four went to the market and three came back”. As it was Sunday, there were hardly any vehicles along Marcus Garvey Drive and within ten minutes he should be back home. “Yeah, mi still have di pussy phone”, and with that he hung up and eyed the police jeep as it overtook the noisy truck. A good fire is always a sure solution to a nagging problem.


The gas finish!! She peeked under the pot hoping that it was just her imagination. But it done fi true. The spare cylinder in the corner was empty. It was since week that she thought of getting it changed. Well, no porridge this morning. Cornflakes will have to do. She went into the bedroom and took down her nurse’s uniform and went over to the other room. The child was still sleeping but it was time for him to get up. They will have to be out by 6:00 in order to walk to the bus stop for a hassle free journey to Half Way Tree. There, she will walk with the boy up to the Primary School and then make her way down to the Park and catch another bus to work. She shook the bed. The boy didn’t even move. She held him his shoulder and gently rocked him and soon his eyes opened. “Mi tell yuh bout this late TV business enuh bwoy. If yuh feel dat yuh ah guh mek mi late for work today again yuh mek a sad mistake. Come, get up”. Thirty minutes later both were ready. She checked her handbag and realized that her cellphone was left in the bedroom. She went back in that room and her man was still in bed, sleeping. She really didn’t know how long she could manage this type of living. The arbitrary push door business was getting on her nerves. She constantly reminded him that he had a young son and he needed to set a proper example. Women weren’t the problem. Nope. When she found out that he was fucking Dashout and confronted him about it, he didn’t make that mistake again, well not for her to find out. But this lap dog thing he had going on to Marco, this devotion to that shit, sickened her. That bastard was using her man, just as how he used everyone around him. He must get some nasty satisfaction knowing that her man was always there as his backative, his shadow, loyal and ever present. But who was watching her man’s back? She noticed his cell beside his head on the bed. She looked at him, his eyes were closed and his chest moving gently. She reached for it. Is her man, nothing nuh wrong fi just keep ah little check now and then, just to make sure. Make sure of wat? It nuh matter, she have a right to know wat was happening. She took it up and the touch screen came to life. It was on silent and there were 25 missed calls. She punched in the code and it didn’t open. Him really guh change the password again? Ah wah do him! Instead of the phone opening she saw the words “DO NOT TROUBLE ME AGAIN”. Really now! She slapped him in his back and he woke up with a jolt. “Yuh change password again, ah wah yuh ah hide suh”, she demanded. He rubbed his eyes and looked at her. “I naw bother with you now. Gas done, suh change the TWO cylinders and make sure yuh pay di light bill and water bill dem later, mi cant manage the caveman living when dem come cut dem off”, she notified him. He nodded and felt under the pillow. She knew that he was just checking to see if that item was there. She didnt approve of it being in the house with their child but she knew why he had to have it nearby at all times. She walked towards the bedroom door and he rolled out of bed and followed them to the porch.
It was still dark outside and chilly. Cooreville Gardens was coming to life and by sunrise pedestrian and vehicular traffic would be clogging the main road through the community. “Please remember that today is the last day to pay for the school trip, so please hand over the money”, she stood, one hand on the front grill, the other on their son’s head. The child hated when she did that but he knew that it was her telling him that he once again failed to brush his hair. The boy went back inside. “Suzette nuh stop call me and ah bawl bout how German dead”, she whispered. Frassman couldn’t bother with this again, as this was what the argument was about when he came in at 1:00 that morning. “Suzette fi easy herself, ah wah she ah call call up yuh phone fah”, he grumbled. “She ah holla and ah bawl cause she nuh know how she ah guh survive now cause ah German did ah tek care of her”, his baby mom said. “She can tek care of herself, she work. She want a man put ah lock pon her mout…”, he didn’t finish the sentence as Corey returned, brushing his hair and looking miserable for it. He picked up things quickly and he was very intelligent for his age, something which forced his parents to exercise care about what they spoke and how they behaved around him. He was at the top of his class and his teacher even mentioned that he stood a good chance of getting a scholarship when he sat the GSAT exams in a few years. It was for the sake of their son why his baby mother insisted on returning to her parent’s house that was vacant after they migrated to Canada. She had to get away from White Wing and the stranglehold it had over the residents. For her, it was a matter of survival. Every now and then she visited the area to look for the few friends she had. Frassman still lived with his mother there, so it was his home. However, Frassman and herself have long realized that for their child to achieve any level of normalcy, Corey had to grow up outside the area. Not that good people cant come from the ghetto, but Frassman’s reality had to be considered. Having left Penwood with basic skills and joining the Big Man’s gang, and now being associated with Marco, they didn’t fool themselves as to what he had gotten himself into. She knew he wouldn’t get out, not alive anyway and not if he continued to par with Marco. Fifteen minutes after his babymother left, Frassman called the number that was trying to get him 25 times. “Hey gal, nuh call back di woman phone. When yuh nuh get mi, nuh come up wid nuh bullshit excuse and sikes fi call her. Mi have di something fi give yuh. Mi will check you at work”. He lit his spliff, which he considered to be his morning coffee. Once again he proved to himself that women nuh easy at all.
He was in town from the previous night. Though originally from St. Elizabeth, he knew Kingston like back of his hand, having spent most of his early years in the Jamaica Defence Force. A heavy deal had gone down and he made sure that he was in Kingston, just in case he had to step in. Hundreds of thousands of Uncle Sams were involved and he was not leaving anything to chance. The owner of the factory was paid extra this time for the 50 cases of juice that were prepared throughout the day. The owner had to source the labels of a popular food brand to place on each tin and that meant more funds. The shipping agent, the trucker, the security guards at the airport, the customs officers and the airlift handlers were all compensated on spot as soon as they played their part. The passenger plane left on time and confirmation was sent to the Latin Boys that all was good for the Jamaica leg. The boys in Kingston still handled the operations, but with the fuckery in recent times, he had to step a bit closer on this one. She was in the bathroom crying. Why these women always feel that they must read more into something that isn’t there. A fuck is a fuck and nothing more. Yes, he carried her to dinner, yes he was nice and charming to her, but this was how he was with all of them. He had seen her at the Club on opening night, and her sensuous flirting caught his attention. After all, just like the other women, everyone wanted a piece of him. After the precious cargo took to the skies, he surprised this one by calling her from the hotel. Now, after the wine, the fine food, the lovey dovey chat and the sex, she wanted to ‘talk about their future’. What future!! One fuck is not a future, it’s a simple hiccup in the game called life. And he told her that. He wasn’t looking a wife, he had one. If he felt like it, maybe they could have an occasional fuck, when he was in town, but nothing else. She then started the drama and the crying and ran and locked herself in the bathroom. Life went on. He got dressed. His driver, who always booked in a room opposite his in any hotel he stayed, was waiting in the car. He picked up his overnight bag and left the room. Downstairs, his driver placed the bag in the trunk. Before he climbed into the front passenger side of the tinted Mercedes sedan, he motioned to the driver of the SUV that was parked behind it. The driver of SUV walked up the window and listened to him, while at the same time handing over all original and copy paperwork connected to the cargo. Then the Mercedes quickly pulled away and left.

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That second driver now made his way to the hotel room and stepped in, as the door was not locked. He knocked on the bathroom door. “Leave me alone”, the woman cried out. Marco used his fist and struck the door. Sharon cracked the door and peeped out. “Sharon, Parchie says he had to leave and that the room is yours for the rest of the week because its paid for”. “You can tell Parchie to go suck out him wife pussy”, she yelled. Marco pushed the door open and grabbed her by the hair and pulled her into the room, marching her over to the bed. She struggled to release herself from his grip as he forced her to sit on the bed. “I don’t want to hear one more word. I don’t business with wat you and Parchie had. Yuh hear, HAD. The man give mi ah message and mi deliver it, suh nuh have mi as no fool bout to tell the man wat him must do to him wife. Ah cause yuh and di B ah fren wah mek mi nuh want diss yuh. Hold this envelope, cool yuh temper”, he instructed. Sharon wanted to say something, but thought better when she saw the ignorance in his face. As he left the room, Marco’s mind was buzzing. His instincts were hardly wrong. Sharon was just a one night thing but something told him that Parchie had his eyes on someone else.

“Relationships dont always make sense. Especially from the outside” – Sara Dessen. Something was up. He was fiddling with the breakfast. I had no appetite. We had the place to ourselves, Miss Marcia having left earlier for her prayer meeting. It was supposed to be a happy morning, after all, we had crossed the bridge together and were supposed to be on common ground. Heck, we were on the verge of making love last night, that’s how close we came. Last night he finally broke his plans for having JR over to spend a few days by the house. I knew that it was going to be longer than that, he was just trying to break it to me softly. It wasn’t just to be for a few days, so why else would be redo the bedroom and buy all those things. Yep, I saw the changes days ago, I just didn’t say anything. When I came home last night he met me by the doorway and there the conversation started. He was trying to be polite, yet asserting his right to see his child. There was no need to assert shit, because anything that was for the betterment of the child I fully supported. He didn’t mention anything about keeping him permanently, but even if that was so, I didn’t have a problem. Maybe because it was Kelly’s child he felt he needed to address the topic cautiously. There was no need for that. I loved the boy and to me he was family. Marvin was obviously taken aback when I told him it was great idea to have the boy around. That was last night. This morning he wasn’t talkative at all. Something else was weighing on his mind. “Everything ok”, I asked, breaking the silence.“Just some tings and tings”, he barely said as he put down his fork. His face looked sad and weary. “Anything I can help you with? Anything to do with JR or the Club or wat”, I pressed him for more. “The Club is your ting so dat cant bother me”, he said looking at me and then he dropped the bombshell, “The case nuh dun yet”. Time stood still. There was a dead and sickening silence that insulated both of us at that time. My emotions then jumped into full gear, a thousand thoughts racing through my mind at once.“Wat case yuh talking bout Marvin? Yuh in Jamaica, yuh fly come yah, so how you mean by the case nuh dun yet? Talk to me, cause yuh have me confused. Which case yuh ah talk”, I was agitated and bewildered at the same time. This was the first time since he has been back that he raised the topic of his being locked up. For how long, while he was in London, I listened to him over the phone as he slipped into near depression at times, lending him encouragement. However, since his return, not a word, nothing. At a point I was viewing his silence about what transpired as being disrespect, but then it was for him to tell me when he wanted to. But to now throw it out, so calmly, that things were ongoing, now this was unexpected. “The case did weak from morning, that’s why mi get the bail…”, he didn’t finish as I immediately cut him off. “SO IS RUN YUH RUN WEH COME AH JAMAICA?? YUH MAD OR WAT”, I screamed. “Just listen nuh”, he was surprisingly calm for a man who is wanted. “Nobady naw look for mi. Mi never run off. Mi get permission fi come back and return. Mi cant really explain the full thing, but cause di case did weak still, pon di major tings, the lawyer made an application for me to travel. I am heading back”. Then a lump formed in my throat as a scenario jumped before my eyes. Who ever hear of Jamaican charged with drugs case in London being allowed permission to travel when the case not finished. Then it dawned on me,“Marvin, ah tawk you go over there guh talk?? Is cooperate yuh go cooperate?? Tell mi wat ah gwaan, explain to me, cause this travel come back ting yuh saying aint shit”. He was looking for a way to explain to me, or was he formulating the lies….“The prosecution wanted time to see where they were going with the case, since they were not getting the cooperation of persons in Jamaica, people like you and Kelly”. I stared at him as he spent the next fifteen minutes explaining how I was just one signature away from putting the nail in his coffin. “…….so when mi guh back, mi just ah guh deal with wat dem have, plead guilty and deal with the consequences. Ah minor tings dem have leff”. Bullshit. “So, if is MINOR TINGS as you call it, why the fuck yuh haffi plead Guilty. Why nuh mek it try and see wat ah gwaan”, I didn’t know how it worked over there but that was the better step as far as I saw it. “Look here, when mi go back and deal with the ting, ah nuff tings ah guh put to rest. Ah just dat mi haffi say. Mi nuh really have nuh choice in the matter and ah just suh di ting set”. But him just ah tek it just so!!! No man, him just going turn the sacrificial lamb for some people, who all now him don’t name or even explain the exact nature of the dealings him and dem have. “Marvin, talk to me, tell mi the full story and don’t give it to me half half”. He was slightly angry now, “You ever consider that is cause yuh only know half half or nothing at all, why yuh nuh get draw further into this shit. I just come back to sort out some tings. That’s why mi want JR to come here and spend time wid you, under him daddy roof. All now I don’t know my son. And I don’t know how long this ting in London ah guh gwaan till I finally get it over with. Mi paper work solid over there so mi nuh feel that deportation ah part of end game. But still, I don’t know how long till mi return”. He got up and carried his plate to the kitchen. I just sat there, stunned, trying to absorb all that just fell in my lap, or rather on my head. I got up and went to him as he was washing what was in the sink. Marvin never washed anything before and there was no need for him to do so. I held his hands and removed them from the sink and used a kitchen towel to dry them. His eyes were watery and he had the look of someone who has been carrying the world on his shoulder. I felt the shivers starting and I knew that my tears were going to flow. “Why yuh never talk Marvin, why? Why yuh never just tell me wat was happening from day one”, I wanted to know why. He pulled me towards him and as we hugged. He gently rubbed my back, repeating that things will be ok. No it wont be OK!! How could it be!!! Why him bother come back in the first place and turn my spirit upside down.
Bumpy sat on the chair on the porch, watching the happenings in the White Wing compound. It had been a slow, hot and miserable day. The children were now filing in from school, some drinking their bag juice and eating their banana chips, kicking the dusty ground as they made their way to their homes. Why dem pickney nuh love tek care ah dem shoes. A number of women had gathered around the bingo table, a way to make quick money for some, something to pass the time for others. Around the compound, others were lazily sitting, chatting or smoking. It was now widespread knowledge that German had died in the big fire downtown. The talk was that while trying to leave the building, he slipped and fell and was burnt to death by the raging flames. Any speculation otherwise was reduced to whispers or quickly quashed altogether. But she knew otherwise. She was around this thing for far too long not to see the play. Yes, she and German did ah fuck every now and then, but it wasn’t anything serious, just a fuck. Marco was excellent in bed, never a physical disappointment. But the emotional fire wasn’t there anymore. And German, though involved with several women in the area, was there for her when Marco was out playing big bad wolf or Joe Grind with the whoring uptown gal. German didn’t have any inhibitions when it came on to the sheets and his oral skills were even better than what the girls in the area spoke. During the few sessions that they had, he pampered her body and handled it like a work of art. Marco wasn’t supposed to find out. Looking at Marco after each workout session, she chuckled quietly to herself, saying two can play the game. Mr. Area Leader who gwaan like is him rule this yah ghetto, him haffi tek bun right under him nose and love it up. She got the dream that warned her to stop whatever she was doing, but she dismissed it saying that dreams never came straight. Now, German body was down by the morgue, burn to a crisp. Dental records were used to identify him after Suzette, his live in woman, recognized the gold tooth in the mouth. Bumpy’s blood ran cold when she first heard the news. She couldn’t believe that the man who just days before fucked her till she screamed for deliverance was dead. She kept the calls to his cellphone on that fateful day to herself. But she knew where this was coming from. And up until today day, Marco never said a word to her about the death much less to call German name out of his mouth around her. Ah better him di accuse her, rush her, lick her over the affair. But Marco was never that type. He was always a cold hearted sonofabitch when it came to dealing with ‘problems’ that were personal, and anything him say is personal is personal. German was the first man from around here that she cheated with. The last man too. Suzette did put down ah piece ah cow bawling pon di front when she returned from the morgue, dem did haffi give her medication to calm her down. Poor Suzette, she did really love German.
A radio car pulled into the compound and slowly made its way to the far end, just topside the football field. Bumpy got up and watched leaned on the post, watching the two policemen, the one they called Power who was driving and a young probationer. Both were from the Hunts Bay Police Station. She knew all of them. Power was the one who locked her up during the disturbance. Power knew her from ever since, as they went to school together, and his reasoning was that it was better him lock her up than any of the other angry policemen who were on the operation. Power did beg her pussy yes, but she wasn’t going there with him, and him did damn well know what was what with her baby father. He must have just wanted to fuck around her head just to hear what she had to say and perhaps to carry back news. The radio car stopped by the group of men and the trunk opened. Frassman took a package from the trunk and replaced it with two carton boxes. The car then made a slow exit as small children ran beside it begging Power to turn on the siren so they can hear it. Marco emerged from the group and walked towards the house. Yes, yuh miserable shit, yuh do yuh fuckery and yuh in the place acting like it was all good. She knew that to him it was all good and normal, cause ah that him used to, ah part of him that. His hair was pulled out, his football shorts dirty as can be and he was limping again. The game had finished sometime now and the dirt had now caked to the muscles on his arms and chest. Marco needed a line up and shave. She hated it when he played football and wore his boxers under his shorts, she always insisted that he wear briefs, but he hardly did that, so now his penis swayed from side to side as he made his way over. From the corner of her eyes, she saw the young woman next door sweeping and watching him with a smile in her face. Man can get away with anything and it not supposed to be a crime and woman must always just stand by and bear it. The one time she tek a man from here


destruction happen, and it wasn’t as if she was throwing it in his face. And seet deh, him can walk and show the whole place him buddy print out inna him shorts and him expect that she mustn’t say nothing. Bumpy kissed her teeth and went inside. By time Marco reached the front door, she had the bucket with the seasoned chicken and smaller bowl with sauce waiting on him. The footballers were going to grill the chicken back and she had obliged by preparing the cases of meat that Marco had bought for them. The jerk pan was already smoldering and Marco made a shout out and Frassman made his way over and collected the items. Before Marco could say a word she started, “Ah just this alone leave outta the 60lbs and please tell them to mek sure mi get back mi container dem, cause ah nuh community property”. He looked at her and avoided the bait. Marco knew the reason why she was on the aggressive side. She has been like this for the past few days. As he stepped away from her, Bumpy couldn’t hold it anymore ,“Why”? Marco stopped by the door jam, not looking at her, “For you, for your own good”. That was the nearest they ever got to talking about that topic.

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