When the devil, or that other fellow, is going to fix you he, or she, she will fix you right. She does it well.
Are you a Christian? They wanted to know. Well. I couldn’t be a Christian, so I became a writer as the next best option. A fiction writer and poet is what I am now at the core. Here’s a bunch of my writing arguments, wrapped up in parchment. You’re sure to find something within on which to build another set of arguments, sent. So. Knock yourself out. While I hang around here and continue on, writing love letters to my beloved black brothers, and yes, sisters too. Each story is told with poetic flair, and snippets of Jamaican Patois inserted here and there throughout, as may be found fitting. Yeah man, yes, a Jamaica yaad mi cum fram. Oh! Sorry, I meant to say, I’m from Jamaica –okay?
Enjoy great original poems and stories such as these:
Heavy-handed Jamaican justice.
Spotlight on the heavy-handed justice of my beloved Jamaican father.
It’s Saturday morning, somewhere between seven-thirty and eight o’clock, look at that. Two young boys are on their way up the winding dirt track. Not too far from home yet, in fact, Levan is quite sure that he can throw a rock from here to land on the housetop down there, their own housetop, better not though, beware.
He’s strong alright, but dad is much stronger in might, and “…he’s the one who’s got the rod of correction in his hand -you hear, always.” Little brother steers Levan away from the wrong, he’s always saddled with Levan’s correction, “let’s carry on.” Said the younger one of the two to, guess who?
Raleigh is 11. Two years younger than Levan. But he carries around the smarts on his right hand, and the left too, most of the time. So “carry on” is what they’re doing, even now.
22 steps further along the path, yes, they’re counting them off, while walking. Now, look at this, and that. Here comes the “on again off again” friend of theirs, on the lot. In the person of O’Neil. Yes, the friendship is on again for sure, for now.
He who quickly catches and matches up steps with brothers and walks on in strides with them as the forks in the path draws nearer on before comes the bend, and hence, the splitting up of the clans. Of them leaving him by himself to carry on and to go their separate ways, again. Not a moment too soon for them. Well, mostly for Raleigh my –friends, but, listen up.
“Listen up Boys! Don’t you hear your father calling you?” yeah, that’s him. O’Neil’s big mouth is now threatening to throw them out, like, to “out” brothers and their whereabouts. Bingo. Lucky O’Neil’s wins go, again.
Father’s keen and discerning ears had just swallowed up each of O’Neil’s blabbering words, from all the way down there where he was. Father that is, he heard, and wants to know where the brothers are going. Since it’s surely not in the general direction that they should have been going if they were intent on going where he had sent them.
Father wanted the boys to gather Guinea grass for the tiny herd of cattle he kept in a pen near the backend of the 1/2 acre lot on which they lived and farmed the cows and pigs. Levan, a smart-ass wannabee, knew of a better place than him and me. Halfway up the road, on route to Jackson where, when not tending the herd and farm. Brothers attend primary school in that town.
The spot of which big brother speaks, and swears, the grass is much greener there. Definitely more mature, fuller, and better there. Better than those over in the already grazed-out lot where dad had sent them to gather and cut. So up the road headed those two.
Even after the intervention of and with blabbermouth O’Neil their friend who, had just featured so prominently in on outing them and giving their whereabouts away. They didn’t turn around and go back, as father had sternly instructed in the talk. They should have, as events will come to prove later on.
The winding dusty shortcut path they are now walking on leads to a point joining up with the road towards Jackson. Brothers are landing plumb here at this point of connection and are continuing on in Jackson’s direction.
Kickikicup kickikicup kickikicup. Hear that? That can mean one thing. Mr. Charleston and the horse again, well, maybe two. Mass Ivan also has a horse that he rides around these parts but it’s hardly likely to be him. He’s more likely to be out riding in the evening. Carrying the message of the lord to the many eager hearers near and far off around these parts and feeding. But, they’re coming, still. Horse and man, up the hill. Of course, it was him, Raleigh was right again.
He can pick out the man and his horse coming from a country mile away. The man on his mount quickly catches up with brothers and slows it down a bit. To allow boys to keep up with man and horse as they exchange greetings in small talk, and kick. They matched strides now as boys trotted along with man on the horse, until. Somebody is going to get lucky and very quick.
It was probably due to his height from up there where he was sitting in the saddle. Man saw a pretty shiny shilling grinning up at him from among the dust and gravel, lying there on the unpaved country road.
“Which one of you want a shilling?” The man is now asking while pointing down at the prize, waiting anxiously in the dust to be picked up by the willing, what a sweet surprise! Ten fighting right-handed fingers tasseled for the chance at being the lucky ones owning the buck. But I have a feeling that the prize will soon be going towards the split-up.
Kickikicup kickikicup kickikicup, man on his mount is speeding away again, leaving boys peering at him through mushrooming clouds of Saturday morning dust and eye-wiping. Boys walked on through the planning conversation, deciding as to what goodies each one’s pennies will get them at the end-of-school fair come next week.
The road continued on and led them towards the weed path that branched off into the Lindo’s banana plantation. Then on further through and to a somewhat secluded and seemingly neglected patch of the field where the most beautiful Guinea grass grew to a grown man’s neck height. But as for boys, they’re over their heads deep in the itchy green leafy things. No, this is not for joys, nor for weeping, but. The well-sharpened machete went to work chopping away at soon-to-be-hay, and placing grass in two bundles. One for the meek and one for the humble.
Look, look, here comes Henry, head cook and bottle washer around these parts of the property. But boys aren’t overly concerned about him today. “We’re just here gathering wildly grown Guinea grass as hay, to feed our father’s cows and calves.” Whispered Raleigh’s attempts to say. Calves too young to be out in the pasture at last. Yay!
“Make sure you cut it low,” said Henry on the go. I don’t want you leaving the roots sticking out like sharp stakes there to harm anybody –you hear. “Okay, sir.” Said the boys, in a chorus of joy, he was gone, Henry on the farm.
Enough grass now gathered to last a week, boys begin to bundle it all up properly. Getting ready to leave for home. Each boy heaves the haystack to the standing position like Joseph’s holy standing sheaves. Back over in the promised-land dead fields. Beckoning boys to bend down and worship.
Boys bend down yes, but to pry each bundle up. Shoulder first, then up unto the head from the neck. Picked up now the boy’s machete and headed for home, long before the time for bedding down should come.
Back on the road again, direction home. The weight of their errors is now weighing down on them. If they try to take another step under the heavily bundled burden. Somebody will be pulling their heads, necks, and spinal columns out of the seats of their pants down-home by nightfall.
Come to think of it, that might turn out to be a better option than what is already there awaiting the seats of their pants. As well as every other part of their backside on their return home at once. For having disobeyed father’s instructions to them. But first things first. Boys have got to lighten this load. While we hang around here and watch the node. Look, they’re loosening each bundle now. After removing a portion from each stack, look at that. Boys rebound each bundle with the binding strings attached.
Leaving the portion they had removed from the bundle right there by the side of the road, stranded and humbled is now the new code. Boys are once again toeing the road home. Vroom, vroom, vroom. What’s that sound? Look, Mass Peter’s pickup truck is coming on down, down, down on them.
“Oh my! A moment sooner and we would have been in luck, real luck.”
“Well, we’re in luck now as it is –no?”
“I know, I know but,” said other boy. It’s because we’re going to get a ride home with the grass. Had it been here five minutes earlier, we would have been able to get the whole batch home fast, and easier. And sweet?”
Yay. Anyway, no need crying over spilled milk I’d say. Let’s be thankful for the ride home on wheels. Instead of footing it all the way on tired heels. Boys are back home now with two lovely bundles, which seems good enough to appease father’s wrath somehow to be home good. But, is it?
Boys can always hope for that and this. For the rest of the day and into the night. Until tomorrow morning as a matter of fact, because. If they get through the night without the rod of correction being put to work on their backsides, then all is well, as far as dad is concerned. He likes to serve it up hot and boiling to burn.
Mom, on the other hand, is quite the opposite of that one. Such things with her are quite another story to stir. She will store it up until it’s most convenient for her, not for them. Then serve up the accumulated batch of punishment over however long a while, all-in-one. Luckily, this one’s for dad and him only, boys think, and hope. Yeah, hopefully, but nope, not really. All went well for the rest of the day and into the night on the prayers they’d prayed. But Sunday morning is coming down fast. Be afraid! “Levan Levan, we’ve got company –man.”
“I doan know, why not go see who it is for yourself.”
“Why do I have to do everything for you all the time?”
“Just shut up and go.”
Four eyes now peeping out through a crack in the window curtain.
“Oh, it’s Miss Edwards, of course, from over near Jackson.”
“Mrs. Edwards is the proper term here I’m certain, really.”
“What’s she doing here so early? What she want?”
“How am I s-posed to know, wise guy?”
“Why don’t you go ask her smart ass?”
“You go ask, you’re the clever one. No?”
“It’s none of our business anyway, go, “I’m going back to lie down and and to sleep.”
“And while you’re at it, don’t forget to pray, you’re gonna need it.”
“WA-aah’t,” brother reacts to other brother heel-kicking his back.
Mrs. Edwards is a family friend who lives in Jackson. Near to the school children. Who’s asking? She’s very kind to boys. Especially father’s overly willing-handed boys. Most evenings after school, boys can expect to receive some goodies and treats like food. Other children, as far as boys were able to say of them, weren’t so lucky that way, but then.
The devil was in such a mix, it would seem, from the first day on, and in. When something goes wrong in such setup situations, it becomes easy to point a finger at the familiar ones. The ones who are closest to the happenings, and known by all. Obviously, something went wrong on Saturday. Sometime around the morning way. That’s why Mrs. Edwards came to visit early today.
According to her story, as it was told to somebody, and then relayed to boys cruelly through their daddy.
“Levan and Raleigh came to Jackson on Saturday morning along with one other person.” Make a wild guess as to who that other person might have been and worsened? If you’d said, O’Neil, yes, you’d have been spot on right, and on the heels, in a dress. Maybe. When the devil, or that other fellow. When he’s going to fix you, or she, she will fix you right. She does it well.
Mrs. Edwards’ story went on to say that, boys, all three of them came to her house while she was out, broke inside, and stole things from her house, now, what a perfect fit. Of course, no such thing had occurred. Not from the boy’s perspectives and standpoint, you can rest assured.
All of their stories and timelines were able to corroborate their stories when checked out but. By then, the damage had already been done. But now, back up to where we’d left off in the story down-home.
How long it was afterward, after Mrs. Edwards arrived in the yard, one might never know. But the boy is waking up again in the cold hard grip of father’s cruel hand. That’s Raleigh, yes he is the first lamb up for the slaughtering. Correcting rod in hand, all ready to lay it on. Father now begin to began:
“Where did you go yesterday morning?”
“We went to the Lindo’s farm to cut grass.”
“Was that where I sent you?”
“No, but but Levan said that “no more grass was over there and he knows a place where the grass is greener and good,” so so we went there.
“Where else did you go yesterday?”
“Nowhere. We got the grass and then got a ride home with mass Peter.”
“You didn’t go to Jackson!”
“Who else was with you yesterday?”
“Nobody, it was just Levan and me.”
“Weren’t you with O’Neil?”
“No — yes yes, at first. we met up with him up there on the shortcut while we were walking through there, then we split up and parted company, he went towards Allensworth, and we continued on towards Jackson, but but we didn’t go that far. We didn’t go to Jackson. You can ask Mr. Charleston, he will tell you.
We saw him on the road going towards Jackson, then we ran behind the horse and him until we couldn’t keep up with him anymore. He rode away and, and we then went to the banana plantation where we saw mass Henry. He told us to cut the grass low, so as not to leave sharp stakes that may injure someone’s foot, near the toe. He left us there. We then gather the grass and leave.
When we got back out on the road we realized that it, it, the bundles were too heavy for us, so we stopped and lightened the load by taking out a portion of the grass. As soon as we left from there, Mass Peter’s pickup truck caught up with us, and we were lamenting over the fact that, if we had not “lightened” the load and left the rest of the grass up there, we would get it all home that easily, and with time to spare.”
Meanwhile, other than for adding his inputs here and there to firm up the story, in style. Look, look at him. Levan is just there making himself as small as he can in the farthest corner of the bed waiting for his turn at bat, you know, at the battering. Yeah, just waiting on them in the leftwing bullpen. As soon as Raleigh’s turn’s done. Father is surely going to be putting it on him.
Even though he’s obviously slanted towards believing his boy’s story. His logic and reasoning are that: had boys gone where he had sent them, and done what he’d told them to do, he would have chased that woman away from his door so fast that she’d have mistaken him for the pit bull, and you. But.
With all of that, the father’s righteous bouts of punishment were not done. To seal the deal, boys had forfeited their privilege, he had said, that of going to the fair he had promised them that they could, before bed. That was then, he further said. This is now. Boys still have a shilling in the pocket though, waiting for the split up and sharing, and for another show. Coming on down, slow.
The take-away here is this, in my father’s Jamaican household. Same as things are in some other places, so I’m told. You’re not there to think, you’re there to follow instructions and wink. Little boy was to learn more on this point later on, even as a big grown-up man. Other stories for other days. Perhaps. Yeah man, a Jamaica yaad mi cum fram.