Bugsy sat on Brucie’s old car in his yard eating an egg sandwich, Brucie’s wife had given to him. In the mornings she would always feed him, although reluctant at first, with some coaxing from Brucie to be nice to him and seeing that he meant no harm, she had calmed down and now treated him decent.
He wanted to return home but knew he couldn’t, at least not for now, he had left for quite a while now. He had violated the only parent he had by abondoning his sworn duty and what he had become was the consequence of his actions. He even wondered at times how was he even alive? He knew his father wouldn’t hurt him. He was a wise man and great at his craft, he knew the future very well and had taught Bugsy so much. Why he did not come after Bugsy spiritually, as if to mad him or blind him, Bugsy could not tell, only that he knew a side to him, he had never revealed to any one. Could it be that…
He shook away the thought. He had ran, when he had to make the choice, but he still was greatful for things he knew, things taught to him. His mind brought him back to the morning when he was in the tree and saw Fatty Sandra.
After they had left, he was sure it was she. When miss Maureen had questioned him about what he had told Mr. Henry, he had admitted to what she said and then she had asked about the part where he said he knew who was responsible, but him nuh ready fi talk yet. He scratched his head and told her it was because he wasn’t sure and didn’t want to put anyone under suspicion and it wasn’t them. She had interviewed him long, and he had been truthful if not a bit evasive.
As he left he turned back to Maureen and said, “Miss Maureen, anuh every family love each odda enuh, some family, especially di new one dem ah poison,” and with that he left. In his mind he had given her a clue, if she was wise she would follow up on it. Bugsy took a bite off the sandwich and got some bacon into the bite which tantalized his taste buds, he looked at the sandwich as he chewed and bit it again, “sweet” he thought.
A memory of that night when all the foolishness began at the Henry’s house flashed back.
After the people had left, Bugsy was sure that whatever they were sprinkling in the yard was no good. He knew that something was set for these good and kind people and he couldn’t just sit by and watch. They called him de Mad Bwoy, but they had no idea who he really was or his predicament. He had made the choice to leave his home, because he was being forced to make a choice he did not agree with, so he ran, knowing that running would only be for a time and that eventually he would have to adhere to his call, to carry on the family line as he was told or groomed to believe.
That particular morning, he had waited for an hour after the shadowy figures had left. In his same position from the tree, he had then come down from it and entered Mr. Henry’s yard. Shelia had walked over to him and he had played with her. He went over to where they had sprinkled the powder and saw that they circled the house with it. He knew from how it was scattered the harm it would do, and there was a familiar scent to it, one that brought him back to once upon a time. He walked over to Brucie’s yard for some concoction he always had hidden in the old car and then went back to sprinkle it over the parts where the culprits had sullied, while chanting incantatory words that would neutralize the job. When he got to the front door, he heard a noise, it was after four am. Not wanting to seem suspicious he had hid behind something and watched woefully as Miss Cecile came out and went to the side of the house and into her car. She was there for only a minute but he knew the damage was already done, unless she was protected, she had stepped over the bad work.
He also knew whether one of them had stepped over the powder or not, they would be affected in some way, but if he had the time to neutralize the work, it would not kill anyone. Miss Cecile had gotten the full message, a single tear had fallen from Bugsy’s eye. He abondoned his efforts for fear of getting caught and left. He wasn’t surprised at the events that followed. He knew his efforts had helped, with the exception of Miss Cecile, but then again if there is no sacrifice, there can be no solution. She was chosen to be it, by a force greater than them all. If only he could stomach to do the work his father did, he would be ok, but he wasn’t interested in the killing part of it and his father had told him that it was the dark road or nothing. He wanted to choose light. But he had been told that if he chose light, he would then have to pay for all that his lineage did in this work, and so life would not be pleasing for him and his seeds to follow.
He had been given three days to choose or leave the house, after years of training by this man, his father that everybody feared, he himself included, he had made his choice. He did not wait for the three days to come, he ran. He had a library of knowledge with him and knew that he could not be harmed spiritually. His father had fed him protection all his life. He knew if he went home the old man would accept him back, knowing that he would eventually come home, but he did not want the work so he chose to embrace life with the suffering, thinking that if he punished himself, the Universe would absolve him of anything his line had done before he came into being. People had been kind to him out on the street, but he knew it would get no better than this. He needed to go home, yet he was afraid to, but one thing Bugsy knew was that his father would never hurt him, after all he was his father, and although he would never admit it, he needed his son.
Killfuss sat in his outside kitchen which looked like a shed. It was early in the morning and he had been drinking some mint tea with a hint of cerese, which removed the mint taste completely.
“Arrgh, ” he expelled after a big gulp, it was very bitter. He wasn’t a big eater, but he loved tea.
He was expecting some people today, and they were coming with gunmen, he thought and chuckled.
“Mi did warn dem when dem fuss come up yah, and nung dem ah come wid threat,” he said to himself. “Ok oonuh watch an si. Si if mi Killfuss ah eediat, oonuh come.” He chuckled and felt a presence behind him. He perceived that it was Rufus one of his spirits. He smelled rum and realized that the spirit wanted some, and so he reached under the table he was sitting and pulled out a flask and went to a pot he had in a corner. It was a claypot, and this was where Rufus’s spirit lived. He was a harsh spirit who did not come out often, but when he wanted to work, he would rise the scent of rum very high. This also indicated to Killfuss that he was thirsty for blood. Killfuss poured the rum into the pot and heard the thirsty swallow.
“Dem sey dem ah come up yah Rufus, drink yah papa, drink dem blood. Full yuh belly and guh meet dem pon de way,” Killfuss chuckled as he fed his spirit, who audibly gulped with greed.
Sandra had seen Fatty with the pills in her hand as she went inside the house, and kissed her teeth. She looked at Fatty as she held the pills in her hands, as if trying to seek pity from Sandra, wishing she would beg her to stop. “Me? Tell har fi stop?” thought Sandra crossly.
“Not ah kill harself, she love food tuh much fi guh dead leff curry Goat and stew peas and rice har favourite.” Sandra walked pass her while hissing her teeth. She needed a bath, she was dirty and she smelled from sweating while she ran from “dis ole dutty nasty ooman, bout she a madda, jus wait man, ah gwine rally bop round deh back wid mi killa fren dem, or some wicked licky licky police bwoy.”
After Sandra had showered and changed her clothes. She saw Fatty in the living room sitting down, gone were the pills and Fatty had a bible in her hands reading silently from it.
“Yuh tek de pill dem already?”she asked snidely. Fatty ignored her
“Fatty,” she called. Fatty knew that whenever she called her that, it meant she was still highly upset. Fatty still did not answer nor look up, she pretended to read, her mouth moved in a whisper.
“Mi ah guh up ah dem bwoy dung ah we ole neighbourhood. Mi waan get Pringle an Nuffduppy fi falla we guh ah Westmoreland fi guh address dah wicked obeah man deh Killfuss, mi nah mek it guh suh” said an angry Sandra.
Fatty looked up from her reading, she removed her glasses, and looke Sandra over well, “Yuh ah bring gun man guh ah de Obeah man yawd?”
Shock was written all over Fatty’s face. “Dem fi falla who? Yuh figet wha jus happen to we just while aguh? Me ah big ooman an plus mi fat and fi si mi ah run dung de hill wid backle, stone and coconut ah buss offa mi? Suppose mi heart did gi whey Sandra? Yuh nuh have no heart to mi?… Oh, sorry mi figet, yuh sey yuh regret mi ah yuh madda”
“Hear wha Sandra you alone gwan. Mi one and God will be here, because mi can not tek no more ah dis,” said Fatty in a resigned voice. “Mi come home fi tek de pill dem, an yuh si mi and kiss yuh teeth, dat show mi sey, if it work out and we get de people dem dead an leff, yuh oodah plan Fi kill mi tuh!, imagine yuh si mi wid de pill dem an tep pass mi” said Fatty pointing to her chest.
“Yes, caws mi know yuh nah kill yuhself,” retorted Sandra. “Ah show off yuh ah show off an ah look pity. De man tek we money and ah ongle one smaddy dead and nung all kine ah sup’m ah haunt we. No sah, mi nah mek it guh suh. De ooman nearly kill we today, mi cyaan guh back a Spanish Town. Is ah good ting sey mi nuh know nobody dung deh, but all dat mi nah guh leggo, dah big fat elephant ooman a guh feel mi hand dem, watch”
It was then Sandra felt something pinch her within that moment. She jumped and shrieked, which frightened Fatty.
“Ah wha!” asked Fatty, nervously.
“Ah wha?!” mocked Sandra, who then hissed her teeth and left banging the door behind her, with Baby G and her companions in tow.
“Yeh Pringle, ah de man kill mi aunty and mi know fi sure sey ah him. Mi call him and him tell mi sey ‘if mi tink mi bad mi fi come’, Yuh know dem so-called Obeah people dem tink sey dem ah God and ah dem have powa.”
Sandra sat with Pringle, a short dark skinned slim lad with a lazy eye of about nineteen years, and another who was very dark and good looking who went by the name of Nuffduppy. She had known them when she lived in this community and Nuffduppy, who was closer to her age, was once her boyfriend.
Nuffduppy laughed as he inhaled his spliff. ” Yow Sandra,” he said lazily. “Yuh and Obeah man ah war star… Jah know… yuh always inna some trouble”
Pringle interrupted his laughter. “Yow mi general, dem people deh real, caws mi madda tell mi sey is one ah mi fadda ooman wuk Obeah and mek I man narly bline iyah, yeh man, dem did haff wuk pon mi fi bring back de eye, ah das why it look suh.”
“Top yuh nise, an move from yah suh man,” laughed NuffDuppy. “Ah cock yuh yie cock or ill shapeted an ah God do dat. Fyah bun Obeah, chat bout, move from bow yah wid dem argument deh.”
“Yuh gwan laugh my lawd,” said Pringle shaking his head.
“Yute, how much time mi tell yuh sey nuh call mi My lawd? My Lawd inna court, ah Sen yute guh ah prison, nuh mix mi up inna nuh court bizznizz. Fyah bun Babylon an dem system, chat bout. Di I ah ras, de I nuh deal wid no court ting,” said Nuffduppy.
They all laughed, but Sandra’s laugh was forced. She was being tormented by something constantly pinching her, and ever so often she winced.
“Sandra,” said Nuffduppy. “Yuh know de I and me go way back, but star mi nuh have bullet fi waste pon foolishness, I nuh believe inna Obeah, suh when yuh tell de I sey man kill yuh aunty and ah wid Obeah, yuh nah’ve no proof, ah me sey nuff duppy, suh I nuh fraid ah duppy and dem people, I mek duppy” , he laughed in between his statements and continued , “but de I nuh believe inna waste caws mi sistren”
Nuffduppy spoke in between smoking, laughing and letting out the air he inhaled. He had a lazy cool Jamaican voice, with a gold tooth on his eye teeth which added to his looks and charm. He was slender and muscular. He looked as if he belonged on the front page of a magazine called Rough, Handsome and Rugged. Nuffduppy’s name described who he was well. He joked and laughed a lot but he was very serious and not one to play with. He had known Sandra for quite a while now and if he wished to tell the truth, he did not like her. He lazily watched her as she chatted up Pringle who listened intently, seeming interested in her argument or perhaps fascinated with the prospect of killing an Obeah man. She was a trouble maker and twice she had reported lies to him, almost getting him to kill two people for her. He was a leader and not a follower, and so he had done his investigation and had not done the job. He had instead approached her with her lies and had pressed her to tell the truth. She had, out of fear of him, and when she did it the second time, he had left her alone. Yes he was a killer, but the kill had to make sense. Just watching them, he could tell that Pringle’s interest increased by the questions he was asking. He was eager to make a name for himself. The men in the community had given him the name Pringle because he was new and crisp like the chip, only two kills under his belt, and one of them was an accident while cleaning his gun. Nuffduppy did not like his mentality and had a feeling that this boy would not live very long.
“Suh yuh nah help mi out?” asked Sandra.
Nuffduppy inhaled his spliff, and released the air as he spoke. “Hear har nuh, bout ‘help mi out,’ yuh tink ah suh murda guh? Yow lata y’ear,” He stood up and left, knowing that Pringle would stay behind.
“Eehin, Sandra, suh tell mi lickle more bout de Obeah man,” said Pringle as he rolled another spliff. Sandra looked at him, and began a tale of lies.
When she was done, he asked her when did she want to go. She told him she would hire a car and they could go early in the morning. Pringle agreed to meet her somewhere and she left. Pringle sat and wondered about her story, something did not feel right, but he didn’t linger too long on that thought. Obeah people do him yie suh, “pickney use to tease mi ah school choo fuckery Obeah if him kill one, anuh nutten”. He felt hungry and figured it was time to get some food. He stood and walked out into the street.
“Si de bwoy deh!” shouted a voice behind him.
He had no time to turn around before a round of thirteen shots fired off into his back. He fell onto the pavement with a thud, and died on the spot.
Rufus stood over the body of the killer who had taken the job. He was told to meet him on the way, but Rufuss had waited for him to simply accept the job of killing Killfuss. The moment he made plans to go was good enough for him. All that happened to Pringle in the blink of an eye was orchestrated by spirit. Rufus watched as Baby G and her friends walked with Sandra to the bus stop. He would join along as well. He needed more blood, and the children were too young to have it all. Rufus smiled and wisped away.
Nuffduppy had not seen when Pringle was murdered, but he had heard the shots, as he sat in big batty Dawn’s yard. It was lafter sometime he heard that it was a Pringle, and it grieved him. Although the boy was stupid, he knew it was Sandra’s crosses that killed him. Sandra was crosses everywhere she went, and Nuffduppy contemplated on how he could have been killed also. He missed it by the skin of his teeth.
“Just chu dah crosses gal de enuh iyah,” he thought. “Yow ah guuda ah all she de bwoy dem whey kill Pringle use fi set wi up, but fadda mek mi leff before it happen.”
Nuffduppy frowned as it began to make sense to him. “Yow… yuh know sey ah she set up de yute,” he thought. “Yeh man ah she send dem pon de man dem and deh deh bout Obeah man, fi keep me and Pringle one place, Yow dah gal deh fi dead iyah.”
Sandra heard the shots as she stood at the bus stop, and people were running all about. She heard as she entered the bus that Pringle had been shot up.
“Pringle? she thought. “Jesus Christ!’ Pringle!” Sandra began to tremble with worry.
Killfuss sat in his dark room. Baby G had come back to tell him what had happened, and he smiled at the news. Rufus had left the minute he was fed. He knew how Rufuss worked. People either died by gun, knife or accident with him, he liked hot blood.
“Suh yuh guh hire gun man fi mi,” chuckled Killfuss. “Alright, Baby G, stop play wid dem, do yuh job and come home or Rufus aguh share inna yuh food.”
Fatty had not eaten since morning, she wanted to call Madda Charles and beg for help, but was too afraid of the woman, she stepped out of the house and onto the back porch, a large black bird swooped down and its wings hit her in the head, she fanned her hands and screamed, the bird drop dead at her feet.
Sandra did not like how the bus driver was driving. The bus was packed, hot, and smelly. She was tired and wanted to go home. What just happened to Pringle was too much. She wondered at it all. Suppose she was still there when the gun man came.
“Lawd God, mi miss death two time today,” she thought remembering the Madda Charles embarrassment.
She wanted to leave Jamaica and all the problems behind. A black shadow crossed her eyes and she jumped and wondered what was that, ” mine yuh lick mi enuh!”, said the woman next to her, cutting her eyes. Sandra said nothing. The pinching had stopped for a moment now, and she also wondered about that. The bus went over a huge bump and jerked everyone inside.
“Driva slow dung lickle deh nuh, mek yuh ah drive like yuh mad suh?” shouted an irate Sandra.
“Low de man,” a male voice said. “De whole ah we waan go home. ”
“Yes,” chimed a woman. “But not in pieces!”
“Driver ” said a male voice sternly ” easy yuhself man, yuh ah drive too hard!”
Before the statement left his mouth everyone began to scream as the bus turned the corner sharply, screeched loudly as the driver lost control. It then slammed into a solid wall. Sandra saw the crash coming and screamed the loudest, then all she saw was darkness…
Rufus removed himself from around the wheel. He had taken over the bus drivers body. Sandra layed on her side, alive, but unconscious and barely breathing, he licked her blood.
Fatty was home and felt as if she would black out. She felt a searing pain run through her stomach.
“Fadda!” she shouted. Ah wha kine ah sign dis, she did not know what to do, but she began to pray!
Maureen sat in her room praying. She felt her spirit moving and she cried out to her God.
“God beat dem!” she shouted, not knowing why. Somehow her spirit felt relief, yet she did not know why.
Mr. Henry was in his office, he suddenly felt very hungry. He had not been eating well since Cecile’s death. This new hunger was strange and he could not ignore it. He called his secretary, and gave her money to go to the canteen to buy him food and drinks. The sun seemed brighter than it was a minute ago. Some how the day felt good, for the first time in a long time, he felt renewed.
Sandra was rushed to the hospital. Many passengers had died in the crash but she was hanging on by a thread. Someone had taken her phone and had found her mothers number and had called the woman who said she was on her way.
Fatty pulled on her clothes and ran into a taxi. She had called Mr Henry, who was just finishing up his lunch to meet her there as she was afraid of what she would see. Mr. Henry had called and told Maureen and Sharon who both rushed to the hospital. They all arrived and was told that Sandra was in the theatre being operated on.
Tears sprung to Sharon’s eyes and she begged God not to let another one of her family die. Maureen felt numb As she prayed for the young girl. Fatty cried and fell onto the hospital floor. Mr Henry tried to console her. Baby G and her companions pranced around playing. Rufuss stood and smilingly watched Fatty.
The Doctors came out and the family all rushed to him. He told them that he and his team did the best that they could do, it was now in God’s hands. When asked if they could see her, he silently nodded yes.
They entered and Sandra was a sight to see. Fatty rushed up to her and wailed. Sandra opened her eyes as much as she could and for a moment she saw them all, but knew it was over. Everything hurt, her head felt s if it was a beating heart, she felt as if she was floating, she knew she could not go like this, the baggage was too much to carrry with her.
“Sorry,” she whispered and they all drew close to hear her. Mr. Henry shushed her, urging her to be still, but she continued to talk while looking at Sharon.
“Sorry,” she began again, willing herself to hold on long enough to make her utterances. “Sharon ah mi kill yuh madda and nearly kill you…” she said, her voice hoarse and barely above a whisper. “Ah mama and me dweet… ah we sprinkle yuh yawd ina mingle night. Ah she bring mi to de man choo we want oonuh property whey yuh did tell will mi sey yuh fadda change de will fi gi wi.”
“Almighty Father,” escaped from Mr Henry’s mouth, and a frightened nurse looked on in disbelief upon hearing this young girls confession.
“Heh hay!” shouted Maureen like a market woman, recognizing that her handiwork was playing out in front of her, de tun back blow.
“Fatty ah wicked,” continued Sandra who was breathing heavily and wheezing out her words. “Oonuh prison har… shi jump fi joy when aunty Cecile dead.”
“Almighty God,” shouted Fatty.
Sandra wheezed and gave three sharp inhales, before her last breath escaped her…
Fatty’s mouth fell at what Sandra had left her with. She turned and looked at the family. “Lawd Jesus,” was all she could say as six peers of eyes looked at her.
“Mi bredda,” she pleaded. “Figive mi.” Fatty cried and begged Mr. Henry.
“Mi nuh know why mi dweet, yuh and yuh family duh good to mi,” she turned to Sandra who lied dead on the hospital bed. “Mi one pickney bring mi so much grief, oh God…”
Fatty held her chest and wailed.
All the family was stunned and were without words. By now the door of the room had many spectators.
Fatty had fell to the floor with her arms atop her head, as cries tore from her throat and pained her chest.
Out in the corridor, one of the nurses had gone out and whispered the confession she had overheard to the head nurse. Others who were present, visitors and patients alike, overheard the story, and it began to circulate throughout the hospital.
One woman touched her friend. “Sass Crisse,” she whispered. “One dead gal just dead inna di room dung deh so. Har mumma in deh wid one piece ah cow bawling. Di gal confess sey ah she kill off de whole fambily, all har granny whey ah 98. Before di gal lef di ooman fi live wid just di few more years whey shi have, shi sen duppy guh box dung di ole ooman fi di ooman dead an’ lef.”
“Ah weh yuh ah sey to mi?” said her friend, aghast. “Ah weh yuh really ah sey? Ah lie!”
“Yes!” she responded. “Ah dat mi hear.”
A man chimed into the conversation. “Ah dat alone yuh hear?” he said. “All when dem tink di gyal dead, di gyal just get up back lickle while ago an’ dead back, but before shi dead back, shi confess sey ah shi kill di mumma husban’.”
The first woman replied, “Lawd ah massi! Ah lie!”
“Oonuh si oonuh ooman,” he said. “Oonuh bad an’ wicked enuh man.”
And so went the story throughout the hospital. All recounted their variations of the truth. Even the doctors sat and spoke about it. One made a passing remark to his colleague.
“Some people just fi dead an’ done, dat’s why some time mi ah operate, mi doh even try.”
The other doctors laughed.
Back in the room, Mr. Henry managed to speak. “The police will hear about this!”
“Onuh is a wicked set!” exclaimed Maureen. “Sorry fi mawga dog, mawga dog tun roun’ bite yuh…”
“Inna dis yah case yah ah two dog,” muttered Sharon.
Fatty wailed louder at being referred to as a dog. The stress was too much. Nurses rushed to her aide, while the family looked from one to another.
Fatty was admitted for a few weeks, she was told that the police wanted to question her when she was a little better. She fretted about her life and what was to happen. While she was in the hospital, Mr. Henry revised his will, took over the house he had given them and sold the bar.
Bugsy made plans to go home.
Killfuss sat beneath his mango tree. Baby G had just brought a new spirit in and Killfuss decided he would work this spirit the hardest. He slapped his knees and laughed as he welcomed her.
“Sandra, yuh come!” he announced. “Welcome. Mi tell yuh sey mi did ah wait pon yuh.”
He looked to his left and saw another spirit. “Pringle, gunman yuh come tuh?”
Killfuss couldn’t be more entertained. “I am an equal opportunity employer,” he laughed, spreading his arms.
“Baby G, bring dem go inna de dark room, ah coming…”