The music was loud, but Herbie slept. When the music stopped,
he woke. There was thirty minutes of noise while the staff of the
Guest House packed up to go, then silence.
When he could hear the sound of the filthy sea throwing
garbage on the rubble strewn beach, he left his room,
along the veranda, over balconies, to sit at the edge
gazing across Kingston Harbour, to the airport.
He didn’t think, so much as plan. As the sun was rising,
Herbie returned to his room and slept until noon. He’d
paid for two days, was going to enjoy them.
What added to his joy was that he knew the folks in Rockfort
were scurrying around, searching for him, to get the gifts he’d
He was sure that yesterday evening the march had begun,
and would continue throughout today and tomorrow.
He showered, went downstairs in the clothes he’d worn last
night, ate a hearty meal, looked at the sea, back upstairs,
watched some T.V.. Around four he left the hotel. He might
be back, might not.
He serviced the car, drove to Stony Hill, took another phone,
made a few calls. Shirley entered as he was speaking. She
lived here and was the closest he’d ever come to a ‘girlfriend’.
While her baby’s father, Murray, rubbed a sentence at Gun
Court, they’d played around. No one would suspect Herbie
of screwing a friend’s woman, or a woman of wanting Herbie.
They satisfied each other’s physical needs, remained strangers.
He’d moved her into this house because she was clean and
quiet and didn’t need to be told not to touch anything, not
to know anything, not to bring anyone here, not to recognise
anyone who came here, for many of his men came here to
cool out, to move things, to leave things.
“Yu ‘ungry?” she asked.
“Sure,” he said, although he wasn’t, but having her do
something for him balanced the equation. “I’m going to
shower, change my clothes,” he said, but took up a cell
phone and began dialing.
One of the things he insisted on was that there be a dozen
cell phones ready to go, each with five hundred dollars
Considering how costly a call to New York on a Cell Phone,
the five hundred dripped down quickly.
Shirley was to buy phones and phone cards with the money
he stored here so he never had to worry about communications.
He called New York on one phone, Philadelphia on another,
Bomber on a third, using each phone once. After a call, they
were ‘dead’ and Shirley would sell them.
When he’d completed his work, Herbie used the bathroom,
came out in fresh clothes, ate, then asked, “What’s happening?”
At this point Shirley was to give a complete and accurate
report of events since she’d last seen him. From who visited
the house, to who was pregnant for whom, to who got killed,
who was in prison, who was wanted. In two hours Herbie
knew as much as he needed.
He called Bush to find out how the ganja stacked; there was
enough for a shipment. He rang his pilots, gave them the code
for the field in St. Thomas, they’d arrive around three a.m.
He contacted Ugly, told him to set up a move, selected five
youths to help.
He’d just jacked up Ugly’s status a few notches, but liked
the guy, trusted him as much as he trusted anyone, which
wasn’t as much as Shirley, but more than he trusted Bomber.
He told Shirley how much money she could take from the
bag, after taking what he needed for tonight’s jaunt.
He’d have Ugly and Sammy deal with the outgoings.
He left the car, walked to Stony Hill square, took a taxi
to the Pegasus. He took another taxi to the Supermarket
in Rockfort. There, he rang Two P Roy.
Two P Roy picked him up in his taxi, drove him to
Rusden Road, where he took the box of ‘treasures’
up to 32 D’aguilar Road, and told Fat Sonia how he
wanted the stuff divided.
He back into Two P’s taxi and went
to meet Ugly at Martin’s Service Station.
Two P and Herbie laughed knowing what kind of botch Sonia
would make of the gifts. Neither would be surprised if a few
people died over them. Which is, of course, what Herbie
intended. Crabs in a barrel, was the apt praise. Each one
pulling down the one above it so that they all stayed in and
Herbie handed money to Ugly as they stood in the back garage,
and the scene was set. Tonight, five boys would leave the area
for America. Five boys would arrive in Philadelphia with
no papers, no where to live, having to follow the ganja to
survive, for there were no return flights.
When Ugly moved off, Herbie caught a cab to Halfway Tree,
took a bus to Spanish Town, then a cab to the Guest House
in Port Henderson.
While in the cab he rang Changy, who had a construction
firm. Talked about clearing a piece of land of a ‘house
Changy knew a ganja move would be made tonight, and as
he hung up, sent the word to the usual unemployable idlers,
who’d get $500 Ja for the night’s ‘work’.
Herbie didn’t need to motherduck the ‘move.’
Everyone was supposed to know what to do.
If there was a mistake, well…
That’s the joke about Jamaica. It was virtually
crime free. Every bullet had a name on it, every
murder was the culmination of a series of events.
That the police didn’t know what was going on,
that the media was so stupid they wouldn’t know
a pig unless it had a label, the idea of a thousand
murders a year seemed high.
There were probably about fifty murders a year; the
others, pay backs…
for if tonight didn’t go right;
“an unidentified man was shot an killed in Albion”.
Herbie spent the night in Port Henderson, then left
for the airport, stopping in Rockfort to get his suitcase,
lock his room.
Two P Roy was his driver. He gave him all the money he
had and his gun, left the cab and entered the airport. He
was back in Coney Island at sunset.
He switched on the television, watched an interesting
documentary about drug smugglers. He didn’t learn