Ace, Drugs and Bananas
The police arrested Ace on Thursday night in a surprise raid on prime suspects. There had been a plague of break-ins for over a month and residents were angry. Big mouth, big belly John was angry and determined to take matters into his own hands if the police would not act. “Why are we paying these taxes? So you can sleep at night while thieves raid our homes”. He told them.
Big John Confrontation
Big John had stirred it up earlier by tackling Ace, vigilante style, handgun pushed down his trousers, purposefully visible over his cowboy belt and large stomach. “Come here boy” he said. “Tell me why the hell this house is the only one that has not been broken into, You got some ideas on that?. No!. I don’t suppose you do, only I think you know too well. I think YOU don’t trouble this house caus’ Janet lives here and YOU are sweet on her. No coincidence if you ask me”.
Ace is not an easy man to tackle, gun or not. He has had his share of fights and knows how to use the knife he always carries. “Best you shoot to kill” Ace said, “or you going wind up with a knife in your throat.” Janet kept the two men sane, just by being present, but the fever was started then. The neighbourhood was riled and the police were pressed to act.
The midnight raid was a success of sorts. They got their man, Ace could not account for some hands of bananas in his home.
I will miss ACE and his frequent visits to sell me coconuts, bananas and breadfruit. I will miss his fast talk, his good humor and his craziness. Like the time I saw him coming down Horse Hill with a wheelbarrow full of fruit and nuts. His tall, slender fit body, clearly straining to hold the barrow from slipping away, to hurtle down the hill like a torpedo. “Where you get the barrow?” I asked him. “Borrowed it. Gonna give it back just now, don’t you fret man. It don’t help much anyway”.
Can’t Get No Respect!
Next day he told me. “Can’t run with the barrow, when the gang is chasing you. Got into some trouble taking it back too. Like I stole it or something. Wanted to cut me up or something. Been doing a bit of running, man. This place is going to the dogs. It’s crazy man, crazy. Got these people who think I doing break and entry. Got all them young local guys, just lazy man, hanging bout for no-good, it’s bad man. They is calling me names for climbing coconut trees and selling door to door like some sort of preacher. Got no respect man. I just want to stay out of trouble.”
Get High to Cope
Ace’s craziness is helped by some natural product. “Mushrooms and herbs” he says. “get me high man, time stands still, can hear a heart beat from the top of a coconut tree, awesome, man”. He was on mushrooms the night he came across some surfers partying on the beach. It was a beautiful full moon night for their picnic of champagne and salmon sandwiches, under the silhouettes of palm trees. They saw Ace at 2:00 pm, surfboard under his arm, going for a surf. “You can’t swim here Ace”, they told him. “It’s dangerous Ace, the rip tide is too strong in the full moon and the waves will kick you down under the reef ridge. Here, have a sandwich”.
Maybe it was Ace who broke into my house twice, who knows? Drugs, even mushrooms and herbs, can alter reality so that stealing is no longer a crime, just something you have to do. Harder drugs are in the island too. Cocaine addicts are not human when the panic need strikes. They will do just about anything for a fix. Drug pushers know it, but to them an addict is cash in the bank. Addicts are to be cultivated. Dealers give away drugs to the young and the older who are bored, seeking thrills or trying to be hip, just to get them hooked. The real criminals are the drug pushers, not banana thieves and those who steal to eat.
The names and characters in these stories are fictitious.
While some aspects may be based on individuals,
most is speculation, imagination and adaption.
Resemblance to any one character is accidental.
Source: Ian R. Clayton, Originally on Barbados.org