\”…don\’t bite the hand that feeds you, it\’s said. I\’ll chew the f@cking digits off the first paw that rattles my cage.\” – ib
Outside in the quadrangles bees hustle atop the daisies. Jockey and drone. Inch and fart. Strung out. Buzzing. Pursuing the amber dust which underpins their shantytown. I sit nursing the hole in my tooth while the half shogun slam poet from Negril lays down his Mocha. Chases a crumb from the dreadlocks fizzing onto his lapel. His giggle tumbles out the nostril like a finely tuned summer sneeze. \”Half past four is good,\” he trills. A master at racket ball, he squashes the opposition with a well timed glance to the midriff. He prides himself on his athletic bent. Less so, that priapic pilfering waist deep in the bowels of the lower third. It\’s a long way down from the twenty-second floor. The smile recedes abruptly and his eyes narrow as if surprised to find me there at all. He offers me a finger of shortbread. Berates the stricken of heart apropos of nothing and glances at his watch. \”Hmph,\” he huffs. I look to the spaces lurking between bookshelves. Newspaper clippings. Marley\’s martyr. Despite ghosts past he is astonishingly far from advanced in years. The skin peeking out from under crumpled linen a youthful laundered suit. Up here in the ivory nest where the bumbling hover the reception is peculiarly rarefied. I vow to flee before he smashes my ball down centre court. But not before I deliver up a map. Surrender it entirely. His head is still dizzy with hurricanes. That perfume etched in the seam of Irene\’s raw silk knickers. Some fool\’s nectar. It\’s why I read so little, these days. The fear of synchrony. Religious intolerance. Road rage. Pygmy villagers brandishing torches to light the failing thread from one paragraph to the next. \”Ah well,\” he concludes. \”I can\’t promise anything, but let me wish you all the best.\” He reaches across the desk to clasp my hand. The old magick. Invitations. Ropes which maim and cripple. Burn. And, lodged in the corner of his eye like an aristocrat in exile, something which resembles disdain.