Ahh yes, Saturday, a great day to sit in the shade and watch the small fishing boats go by. A great day to just relax and watch the children playing cricket, splashing clear ocean water as they run. A great day to feel the hot sun that seeps through the leaves of the tree. Watch the fisherman put a fresh coat of bright coloured paint on his boat, his pride and joy. Watch his young son mend the fishing nets, preparing form the day when they can go out again. Watch the Rastamen walk by their black locks glistening in the sun. The lingering scent of ganja, the melody of they lingo. Ahhh yes, it is Saturday afternoon, beach time, do nothing, just watch the world go by.
So here I was, in the middle of the night, walking through the bushes. Tress lined the sides of the foot beaten path, it was real dark and I was sweating with fear. I bet you wondering how I ended up walking in the bushes at night eh? Well it all started when me friend Ras Burtrand ran into me in the city. He was all excited, his eyes that was usually dull from smoking ganja was dancing all over the place. He grabbed me hand and said, “Tall boi, leh me tell yuh, I just harvested some ah de best ganja ever, mon, you have to come over and tek a taste,” Well I for one did not need a second invitation, I mean Ras Burtran was known to cultivate some of the best weed in the whole damn country. I mean that man did not just have a green thumb, I mean this man had the golden touch when it comes to growing weed.
Later that afternoon, I went over to the village where Ras Burtran live. His house sat on a small incline, there was no grass, nor trees, just dirt. That man could gross some bad ganja, but he could never get the grass ton grow around his house. He saw me coming and jumped right up. I sat on a big rock next to the door of his one room wooden house waiting. He came out with two of the biggest joints I ever seen. I took the first puff, inhaled and boy did it hit me. and I swear to you I heard African drums playing, lions roaring, monkeys barking. That damn ganja took me back to Africa, I repatriated in me head. Ras Burtran leaned in and smiled, his teeth looking as big as a donkey’s, “What I tell yuh, I bet you feel real nice right now EH?” he said, inhaling a cloud of smoke. All I could do was smile and shake me head, well I believe I shook me head. Me stomach started rumbling and before I could say anything Ras Burtrand went into his house and came back with a bucket full of freshly picked mangoes, plumbs, sugar apples and guavas. We sat there eating and smoking and before I knew it, night had fallen. Around eleven or so I decided to get back to me village. I did not wanty to take the highway home so I decided to use the short cut through the bushes and boy do I regret that now. Here I was, high as can be, walking through this thick bushes.
I thought I saw someone ahead of me so I stopped, the person seemed to stop too except they seem to be rocking back and forth. I tell you, me whole body went numb and I heard meself breathing hard. We stood for a second, I wanted to turn back but that would have just made me trip longer so I braved up and started walking, the person did not move. As I got closer, I realized that this was no ordinary person, they seemed to have several hands all sticking out from their sides. Me heart almost stopped beating and without thinking I bolted, if they were not going to move I was going to run right through them. Just as I was almost on the person, beast, evil spirit, whatever it was, I changed me mind and took a sharp right, bolting through some vine. I was in full stride, being smacked in the face by branches, bushes with thorns ripped at me arms. I heard rustling in the bushes next to me, something big was running step for step with me. I heard what sounded like growl that echoed through the trees. Something big was after me. I speed up, me legs burning, me heart pounding. I busted out onto the highway and narrowly escaped being hit by a car. I heard the driver curse and watch the back lights fade away. I stopped and bent over trying to catch me breath. Suddenly the bushes from where I had come shook. I was too tired to run so I braced meself to ward off any beast, evil spirit or devil that came at me. I heard the hoofs before I saw the sheep standing in front of me, looking at me the way I was feeling, surprised. I remember saying to meself, not that explains what was chasing me, but what kind of monster did I see on the path. It was then I remembered, that was the plumb tree I used to climb when I was a boy. Ras Burtrand ganja was way better than I thought. I made a pack, never to smoke and stay late at Ras Burtran’s house.
So here I was, hanging out with the fallas and them. We were sitting on a wall outside a house down by the True Blue Highway. We were passing around a joint, and I was feeling nice for so. After we were all nice and toasty, we were just sitting there watching a car dive by when Scarecrow came up with a plan for action for the night. He jumped off the wall real excited, “Hey mon, leh me tell you wah we could do,” then he stopped talking, as if he lost whatever he was about to say in that ganja clouded head of his. “Wah you saying mon?” Another one of the boys said, “I know wah we could do,” Scarecrow blurted out, “We could go to dat new church down de road,” He said, I laughed and said “Boi, I man eh going to no church blazed up nah.” “Wey you fraid of eh, is church not hell, plus, I hear dey have plenty ah nice girls down day, I always wanted me a church girl yuh know,” We all started to laugh, I mean I was raised Catholic so I never had any dealings with them Protestants and them, “Man I do know bout dis, I hear dey jump around like dey doing Voodoo in dey,” I said, “boi, yuh fraid too much you know, all I know is plenty ah nice girl go be dey you hear, so leh we go,” Scarecrow insisted. After a little while we all agreed to go. So here we were, walking down the dark True Blue highway, four blazed up young men, on their way to church.
So we got to the church, it was real small, there were no more than twenty people in there. We snuck in trying not to draw attention to ourselves and sat down in the back of the room. They were singing, real quiet, I thought, this was not so bad. Then the preacher started preaching, at first he was calm, but as he went on he got more animated. He was preaching that fire and brimstone I used to hear my friends talking about. He screamed that as sinners we would go to hell, and I don’t know if it was because I as high or what, but I swear that man was talking directly to me. A sinner, sitting in church high as a kite. His words echoed in my head like a voodoo drum beat. Then he started talking about the end of the world and how the moon will turn blood red, and the Anti- Christ will rain terror on the sinners. I was shaking, I mean I was used to catholic mass, no yelling, just a bunch of words in Latin. All of a sudden, the preacher yelled something, the congregation went wild, they were speaking in some strange language that I knew was not Latin. They were spinning around and screaming “Amen,” That really confused me, all the people with they hands in the air, prancing, spinning. I could not take it anymore, I walked out of that building like the devil was on my heels. I walked out into the dark night, thinking I had to go to confession the next day. The moon was out, it was nice and quiet. When I got a distance away from the church, I lit up a joint I had in my pocket, as if I needed to be any higher than I was. I walked up the street to my house and for some reason looked up at the moon, as god is my witness, I swear the bloody moon was red. I panicked, I mean what the hell, that damn preacher just said, when the world is coming to an end the moon will turn blood red. I did not know if I should walk or run. My heart was racing up, I expected to hear trumpets, the sky opening up, thunder and lightening. I started to pray, “Oh god, if you take me with you, I promise I go never smoke weed again,” It was a strange mixture of Catholic quiet praying mixed in with what I just heard, that did not help, I did not feel any different, just really really high.
I got home, ran into the kitchen and there was Mommy Charles pouring herself a glass of lime juice. I was real happy to see her, because I know if Mommy Charles did not get caught up, then the world must not be ending. She walked by me, Hey Andatoo,” she said, giving that look, you know that look that you think you see when you high around your mother, that look that says, I know what you been doing. I remember saying to myself, “Damn I have to stop smoking so much damn ganja,”
The people in the procession began dancing to the rhythm of the drums their movement slowly becoming more emphatic, long white gowns covered their feet making it seem like they were floating. As the old woman danced by the crowd some of them reached out and touched she others jerked they bodies uncontrollable. The old woman stopped in front of the woman with the chicken, she took the fowl and spun it round over she head its neck snapped sending its body flying through the air. One of the men danced over to its twitching body, picked it up and drained a couple of drops of blood into a silver cup. Everyone in the circle was dancing now they bodies twisting and turning, they faces contorted yet no sound came out of they mouth. The old lady took the cup from the man and approached me and I was forced to me knees by a strong pair of hands, sweat poured down me body like I was in an invincible shower or something, I tried to get up but the hands were still holding me down. The old lady danced towards me, the cup raised above she head, she white dress twirling round she ankle, she eyes were so big they almost looked like stars that had fallen from the sky. I struggled against the hands holding me, but it was fruitless.
The old woman stood above me tilting that bloody cup, I closed me mouth, hell they were going to have to force feed me that damn potion. Someone held me head back causing me mouth to open and I felt the liquid fall into me mouth, oozed down me tongue and hit the back of me throat. Some of it escaped out of the side of me mouth and I brought me hand up and tried to wipe it away, a woman in the crowd was screaming she voice echoed in me head, the old lady was chanting imploring the spirits to come to me aid. Someone pulled me head further back causing some of the liquid to flow into me nose, I swallowed quickly so as to stop meself from drowning, I mean, what the hell were they trying to do kill me or something? The sweet, sticky liquid went down me throat settling heavy on me stomach and I fell forward coughing me head spinning like crazy. The rhythm of the drums ran through me like a raging river and to top things off I sprang to me feet and started dancing round the circle me body twisting in ways I did not know it could. I bumped into other dancers as I swung me arms around, then I felt it, this strange tingling feeling. It was the same damn feeling I had when the woman in white appeared to me, me head felt as if it had floated off of me body and I was looking down on the circle, the crowd became one big blur of slow deliberate movement and God help me but my head felt like the one time I tried smoking ganja.
The moon looked like it was bouncing round in the sky. It was then I realized that I was trashing round on the ground looking up at the starry abyss, sparks from the fire floated in the air above me, stopped then dropped to the ground some landing on me, but I felt nothing. Me stomach felt as if someone had placed a sack of rocks on it and soon I was throwing up me chest burning as the bile erupted form me stomach, then I lay there not moving the sour taste in me mouth the only thing I was aware of.