The loudness of DJ Damien BadAzz filled my ears he was saying something about “if yu can’t hold your man, listen to Christina.” It was Christina Milano’s “I’m a show you how to make your man go ohhhhhh” I liked that song it was one of my favorites. I was at the Pentagon, it was the name of a bar/club, gambling den I owned. It wasn’t the Tunnel in New York but it was holding its own.
I had two sexy, big-batty bartenders, one black skinned and one “brownin” or lighter skinned so I could salve the racist preferences of my patrons who either held the view that “brownin” bad but dem bring man more attention, to other patrons, “the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice.” Their discrimination really hurt me and even pissed me off, but I had to sell rum. Hence, I couldn’t allow the politics of a Euro-centric back people to fuck with sales. After all this was Kingston, commercial rent alone was ridiculously priced.
Other staff members included one stock man, (Jamaican for small business accountant) and finally Bradley. Bradley was my Oxford-educated, always drunk, Janitor/Bouncer/Handy-man. I loved him he could hold his own with the best of the customers-customs officers, doctors, the occasional lawyer and even Victor the honorary consul to Ghana. Bradley could draw on his searing repertoire of expletives. A ‘bumbo-claat’ was never too far from Bradley’s tongue. That and his reverence for J. Wray & Nephew rum fostered a love-hate relationship for me and him. His motto if I get a boy I’ll call him “Rum-el” and if it’s a girl I’ll call her “Rumesha” just came to mind and as usual it made me laugh.
My childhood friend turned lover was across from me playing pool, I was bored watching him win so I got up to leave, our eyes locked and he smiled. I knew I was feeling him but Tony was dangerous. He was tall, dark and beautiful to look at, an above average IQ, face like King Tutt’s and locks he was envied for. Women literally threw themselves at him, especially in Jamaica where the US currency was ‘King’ and Tony’s currency of choice.
Initially, it used to bother me but over the years I had gotten used to it, after all I had known him since I was 12. My mother would say “Never you take a pretty man, pretty men make straight problems my dear. And wasn't she right? My mind ran on pretty ass Ice, but he was for later.
My mother would know, my father was a stalwart in the island’s trade union movement and of course a handsome Rastafarian. Growing up he changed secretaries as often as I got my report cards and we got three per year. Despite his shit my mother coped and they still loved each other. I had one sibling Darien, and my father still had to take ‘a shot of whites’ just to talk to him. Darien was openly gay and very proud of it. In our homophobic society and particularly because my father himself was a ‘gallis’ it was hard for him to accept Darien’s sexual orientation.
The first-time father was to learn of Darien’s gayness he had caught Darien and his friend Julian humping away at each other. This was particularly bad, as they were caught at my parents Portland beach home. Daddy had snuck into the beach house with one of his secretaries, only to buck up Darien at work. Dad had suffered a mild stroke and all hell had broken loose. Daddy really didn’t hate Darien he was just in permanent shock and mom was told of course about the secretary. Mommy on the other hand accepted Darien, she had been a nurse forever and had seen most things in her time. Regardless of their issues I loved my family though and thinking about them gave me a good feeling.
Damn, I needed a smoke though. Puffs of smoke streamed in my direction it was and the air was extremely thick. The pungency of marijuana filled my nose seared up my nostrils and made my head burn. I felt a buzz, my eyelids were heavy, my chest felt warm and I had not even smoked yet. Like instant messaging my wish for a smoke was about to be granted as I glimpsed my bredren Weedy. Weedy was a close friend of mine we grew up together and like his name suggests he always had weed. As he neared I could smell his Tom Ford cologne, he had on a New York Knicks jersey, baggy jeans and an old school Nike sneaker.
Weedy was real cute but stayed too high for my liking. His white teeth shone as he came up to me. “What a go on Jackie?” he asked.
Jackie: “Nothing Weedy, mi jus deh ya.”
Weedy: “You look like you could a take a smoke though.”
Jackie: “Mi glad you asked Darlin’ me been yearning to all night but mi just a get a chance.”
Weedy: “Here, mi have a good ‘draw’ from Orange Hill up in a Negril deh.”
Jackie: “Lord, mi overjoyed, mi know Orange Hill have di bes’ chronic pon di whole island.” I knew praising the potency of the weed would illicit another oz. or so from Weedy and it did.
Weedy: “Take care Jackie, seen.” (Take care, bye).
Jackie: “Later Weedy, thanks!”
That had always been the relationship with myself and Weedy though we go way back, we enjoyed small talk showed each other love and then parted. To everyone Weedy was like a hairdresser, everybody smoked, so everybody told him their shit but he was respected because he kept everything to himself. I pulled on the joint and mellowed, hating the effect my six-inch heels were having on the soles of my feet. I was dressed to kill as usual in a red bolero jacket, matching shorts and my famous stilettos to match.
Tony had wanted to ride his new Kawasaki motorcycle. It scared the hell out of me, but, I also relished the adrenaline rush that came with the fear. The bike’s sleek, cherry red paint had inspired my outfit tonight, we got dressed around twelve and rode out looking fine as hell. As we got to the party a massive crowd as usual was present and immediately I started mentally adding the many thousand-dollar bills and nannies I would amass by the end of the night. Nanny was the only female hero Jamaica had and her portrait was on the five hundred dollar note hence, the acronym Nanny.
Whenever Damien BadAzz passed thru a mega smile affixed my face. He played music well and the weekly patrons loved him. He knew how to attract the high-rollers, who would pull up in their high-priced European cars or the latest Japanese generic as I termed them. The new generic out was the Toyota Cygnus it was the replica of the Lexus land cruiser sold on US car dealerships and was higher priced than the land cruiser due to the inflated duty charged by the government.
We parked beside my friend Debbie’s Landcruiser and I climbed off the bike and with just the slightest lean on Tony I steadied myself. Breaking a heel in a crowd like this would be fatally embarrassing, I wasn’t trying to let that happen. We walked thru the crowd and I could feel the stares of some of Tony’s admirers. I was used to it though and he held me as we went up the narrow stairs to the VIP section of the club. This was where the gambling took place and though I rarely played I was sort of the croupier.......TO BE CONTINUED
ON TO YOU:
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