While passing through the parish of St. Elizabeth, we stop, my friends and I, at a roadside bar to get some light refreshment. We hear the slams and the animated comments, and notice in a corner of the bar, four locals playing dominoes, engaged in a hearty debate. Well, it isn’t really a debate since they are all in agreement with one another. The topic in question is none other than vigilante justice, extrajudicial punishment for those evildoers who had the misfortune of falling into the clutches of law-abiding citizens.
Apparently the conversation was inspired by the latest reports of an alleged rapist who had succumbed to mob justice. With an ice-cold Red Stripe in hand, I walked over and joined the conversation.
“So why you think it don’t mek no sense fi turn over the rapists to the police?”
They set the domino game on pause and look at me suspiciously for a moment. I take a sip of the ‘Stripe’ and the tension thaws. “Prof”, the leader of the group, I assume, decides to respond.
“Becausen sey dem a go tek too lang fi try ‘im, a too much palitricks dat, an wi no have no time fiddat. We wi wrap up the case quick quick quick. We want justice now, right now.”
“Dem fi heng,” ventures another.
“Yu si di goat tief wey dem chap up odda dey over yonda, mi jus sarri sey mi neva get a smite (pronounced sum-ite) affa im!”, slurred a gap-toothed third.
The buxom barmaid slaps the bar counter and chortles in glee.
We chat for awhile about Prof’s version of “ol’ time Jamaica and Old Testament justice, until my friends begin to get fidgety. Remember we need to get to Negril before three, I am reminded.
Before we step outside, I decide to ask one last question: “So why every time I hear ’bout murder, is two or three each time? That no sound good at all.”
“Miss,” explains Prof the Elder, pausing deliberately to throw his head back and down the remains of the light amber-coloured liquid in his rock glass. He swallows without a grimace, looks at me intently and continues, “Miss, bird cyaan fly pon one wing — come CeeCee, gimmi anadda one!”
As the entire bar explodes in laughter and the slams resume, I finish my beer, not sure to this day whether his last comment referred to the second drink order, or to the question relating to multiple murders.
Kadene Porter is a writer becoming accustomed to living in South Florida