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High Times in Jamaica

March 1954. Ashore in Kingston, Jamaica. As Scotty and I are walking up Princess Street, someone behind us is yelling, "Scotty, Scotty, Scotty". We both turn round to look. There is this huge Negro woman running down the street with a big straw hat on her head which she has to hold down with one hand. This is Agnes. She runs a saloon in Kingston called Aggie's Place at #7 Princess Street. Scotty introduces us and tells her our story. She says that we will come and stay with her until we sign up on another ship. I look at Scotty and he looks at me. He says, "Okay, Richard?" And I say, "Okay, Scotty". We pick up our gear, throw our bags over our shoulders, and away we go.

     What I thought would be Aggie's home turns out to be the saloon. Above it there are four rooms. A kitchen and a bedroom belong to Aggie and her little boy. Across the hall are two small bedrooms. Scotty and I are given the back bedroom, which has a big double bed and a smaller rollaway bed in it. It's just about big enough to make us comfortable. Aggie's saloon is sure as hell not the best damn place I have ever been in. It has a small bar and an old worn-out linoleum floor. It looks as if it was built out of old scrap lumber. Out back is a patch of dirt ground surrounded by a high board fence made out of old driftwood. There are dogs, cats, and chickens running around. Several girls are in the yard, sitting in the sun or washing their hair. They are getting ready for the business of the evening. The more I look around me, the more I understand this place is a whore house as well as a saloon.

     Aggie brings out a couple of bottles of cold beer for us. We sit down and talk about the trip from New Orleans and why we signed off the ship. Aggie is happy to see Scotty. She keeps hugging him and telling him what a great time we will have as her guests. Some of the girls come in and began to laugh and joke and talk with us. They want to know how long we are going to stay. There are calypso records playing. A couple of the girls begin to dance by themselves. Very slowly, very sensuously and suggestively. One of the girls comes over and sits down in my lap and puts her arms around me. Her name is Marjorie. Most of the girls are very dark-skinned Negroes. Some have Chinese blood and several are of Syrian descent. Most of them are pretty enough. We're going to have a great time staying here.

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     Scotty and I decide to take a shower and clean up. It's almost 6 by now and the Arnetta sails tomorrow morning about 8 o'clock. We decide to make a night of it and have a ball with our shipmate buddies before they leave for Trinidad. Aggie has several cases of beer put on ice and sends out for rum.

     The party starts out kind of slow. We sit around out in back and have some beer and rum and cokes. Several girls we haven't met that afternoon come in. It isn't long before everyone begins to loosen up. Scotty is really in his glory because so many of the girls there know him from before. Several people come in from the street to join our party. Marjorie, the girl who sat on my lap before, has taken a liking to me. If the other girls try to come over and make out with me, she says she will cut their throats. If I make eyes at any of the other girls, she would just as likely cut mine.

     The captain has ordered the crew aboard the ship in time to secure the hatches and winches and tie down the boom. They will be leaving anytime between 2 and 6 o'clock in the morning. About 11:30 the crew begin to amble towards the docks. I don't say anything to Scotty. I just sit there and watch him staring into a glass of rum. I know he's sorry to see them leave without him, he's sailed with them for many years. Many of the girls have left, but there are still quite a few people in the bar as there are other ships in the harbor. Marjorie is with me and a girl named Blossom is sitting next to Scotty, holding his hand. There is little talk or conversation.

     All of a sudden we hear the blast of the ship's whistles. Three quick blasts. Silence. Then three quick blasts again. Scotty stands up and says that he wants to go down to the docks and wave goodbye to his buddies. So we take off. Barefoot and with a bottle of beer. Several of the girls walk down the street with us and a couple of the seamen come along too. We walk the two blocks down to the docks and stand on the end of the wharf. It's about 3:30 in the morning when the Arnetta pulls away. I think Scotty is crying just a little. The crew line the side of the ship and begin to wave and yell fatherly advice to us. And then they're gone. Just a light fading in the gloom. On one of the ships tied up at the dock the crew begin to laugh. They think Scotty and I have missed the ship altogether.

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     Jamaica and the waterfront. There is little work to be had. Most of the boys make a living by begging, guiding tourists around, or selling souvenirs. You can hardly move without someone asking for a shilling or something to eat. The trouble is they mean it. They really need something to eat. They don't bother Scotty and me too much because they know who we are and that we are on the beach ourselves. But so many of the people who live around the docks, the wharves, and the waterfront actually have no place to sleep. When we get back to Aggie's from seeing the Arnetta off we find one of the girls and a couple of guys asleep in the hallways. Someone else is asleep in one of the chairs in the saloon. No one does anything about asking them to leave. When we climb the stairs to our bedroom, I'll be damned if there isn't someone in our beds. Marjorie and Blossom. Seeing that so many people don't have a place to live or sleep, I begin to wonder if Marjorie has taken a liking to me or my sack. Well, there's nothing to do but crawl on in with her. She murmurs "'Allo Dick, you like me, yes?" And she snuggles up nice and warm. A fitting way to end a full day.

     Next morning Scotty crawls out of bed and wraps a towel around him. I jump out of the sack and follow suit. The girls are nowhere around. We put on wooden sandals left by our bed for us and go clippety-clop down the stairs and out into the back yard. Everybody laughs when they see how we are dressed. I ask where I can wash up and Marjorie comes towards me. She leads me to the side of a small shed. There's a pipe sticking out with a faucet attached. She says I can take a shower. I wait for her to leave but she doesn't move. She just picks up a bar of soap and a rag and takes the towel from me. Nothing to do but to turn on the water. She proceeds to wash my back and help me take a shower. Well, I have never had anything like this happen to me before, but I'm sure not going to waste any time arguing about it.

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     After I shower, Scotty takes his. Then we just sit around in the sun in our towels, and have a beer. Aggie comes back from shopping downtown. She asks us if we would like something to eat, then has one of the girls fix us some fried eggs and potatoes. We talk a little about the fine party we had last night and how sad it was to see all of Scotty's old friends leave.

     It seems that Aggie is a pretty important individual in Kingston. She has quite a bit of political pull and is well known from one end of the island to the other. Many years ago there was a strike on the island against the labor situation and the wages. Many of the English factories had closed down, many Jamaican people were out of work and had no money to buy food. Aggie set up a kitchen in the saloon. She had people lined up continually, just like in the United States during the depression of the 1930s — a soup line. Most everyone considers Aggie their friend and because Scotty and I are going to stay here we too are their friends. Every time we go someplace from Aggie's, we have a small army following us. The girls go with us, the guys go with us, and we pick up friends along the way.

     After showering this morning and having breakfast, we decide to walk around the waterfront to see what ships are in. We are not even going to try to get a job on a ship for at least a week. We are just going to lie around, relax, and enjoy ourselves. That is O.K. with Aggie because she is real pleased to have us with her.

     Scotty and I walk around Kingston all day. At the docks, boys are begging or trying to carry the baggage of passengers for a shilling. We walk to a saloon called Dirty Dick's, about two blocks from Aggie's. Scotty knows the bartender — they are old friends. It is a nice place to just sit around, talk, and drink beer. We meet some Englishmen off a ship that docked here two days ago. A bunch of rough bastards, here with Jamaican girls. We are starting off on a little party when one of the girls gets angry as hell at something one of the fellows says. She starts to throw beer all over the place, so he knocks her right on her ass. Of course, a brawl starts, pretty soon the police come and everyone is yelling, and jabbering, and talking at once. Scotty and I just sit on the sidelines and take it all in. The police kick everyone outside and try to straighten it out. Actually, it was the girl's fault for throwing the beer and threatening to hit someone over the head with the empty bottle.

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     After the argument is all over, we go back inside and there we meet two Jamaican fellows drinking beer at the bar. We talk to them and I find out that one of them is Jack Anderson, editor of the Star, the Jamaican evening paper. We stay another two hours talking to Anderson and find him to be a very nice person. He asks that Scotty and I come to the Star office the next day to be interviewed and photographed. He will print a story in his paper about my trip around the world.

     Jack Anderson leaves but Scotty and I decide to stay around awhile longer. By 12, the bar is quite crowded. Marjorie comes looking for me and joins our party. By this time we are well on the way to a half-crocked great night. Scotty stands up on one of the tables and tells everyone to shut up because he has a speech to make. He says his friend will put on a show of acrobatics and tumbling such as had never been seen before in Dirty Dick's. Everyone bursts into a round of applause. I am a couple of sheets gone to the wind but I take off my shoes and socks and move some of the tables. I walk on my hands, turn back flips, do back hand springs, and dive over a table or two into a forward roll. All these acrobatics get us a lot of free beer. But no one throws money! We end up the night thoroughly crocked and staggering home in each other's arms, with the help of Marjorie and Blossom and several others. I go to sleep in one sack, and wake up in another. The trouble is that maybe I had a good time with Marjorie and don't even know about it!

     We wake in the morning, take a shower, sit around in the sun awhile. Soon, it is almost time to go over to the Star and see Anderson for the interview and pictures for the paper. On the way, we stop at Dirty Dick's and have a beer and a sandwich. Then we walk to the newspaper office and meet with Jack Anderson. We do our interview and have our pictures taken. He tells us that the story will appear tomorrow or the next day in the Star. Aggie is quite pleased with this idea of the interview — Scotty said that we were her guests at #7 Princess Street.

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     After the interview, we come back to Aggie's and find several seamen there from the English ship. The party starts up again even though it is only 4:30 or 5:00 in the afternoon. We meet an Irishman named Jim Sullivan. He has been singing songs in a whiskey tenor voice for the last two hours, but no one is listening. Everyone just keeps doing what they are doing. The girls are dancing, the music is playing, and everyone is laughing and shouting. But he just keeps on singing. He thinks he's great. It is getting darker now and the warm tropical breeze is coming in off the Gulf. The people are beginning to relax. We hum and sing a little. The phonograph from Aggie's kitchen is playing calypso music. Everyone seems to be happy and content. I have always liked going barefoot and for the last two days that is what I have been doing. The only time I put on my shoes is when Scotty and I go to see a ship's captain, or to the immigration department, or down to the harbor shipping master's office to find out what ships are coming in and when they will be docking.

*

The nights are languid and calm in Jamaica. All the confusion of the afternoon is gone from the streets and the moon comes up big above the mountain tops. Marjorie and Blossom and some of the other girls have said they are going to the movies tonight. I ask them what is playing and they tell me, Quo Vadis. I invite the girls to be my guests, as I have wanted to see Quo Vadis for some time. Strange that I have had to come all the way to Jamaica to see it. We leave for the theater. Six of us. We have several blocks to walk and as we pass through the crowded market streets, I notice the girls surround me. I ask why and they explain that sometimes a boy runs by, or a gang of boys, and they hold you and take your wallet or grab your watch off your wrist as they go by.

     The Queen's Theater. First of all, it is outdoors. Second, there are no real chairs in the place, only slat-like benches with fancy grill work on the back, sloping sides and an uncushioned seat. The seats in the higher priced sections are a little more comfortable. We get our tickets and go inside. It is crowded and people are arguing and jostling each other while they look for a seat. As I look around I realize that I am the only white person in the place. One among perhaps 150 Negroes. I begin to feel everyone is looking at me rather strangely. I feel that I as a white person really understand for the first time how a Negro feels among whites. What is that feeling? Well, in my situation, I think I can say momentary fright, for one thing. Uneasiness and uncertainty. I begin looking for the quickest way out of here just in case I have to use it. Fortunately, there isn't any need for that. We sit down. Soon the movie begins.

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     I can truthfully say that this is one movie that was never enjoyed as much in the United States as I see it enjoyed tonight in Jamaica. Believe me, what I see borders on the fantastic. I have never known people to become so emotional and upset over a motion picture. As they watch this film they actually believe it as if they were really there. Especially in the scene where the girl is tied to the stake and her bodyguard is trying to protect her from the bull. By this time, many of the people in the theater are crying. I see people on their knees praying and sobbing as they sway back and forth. When the bull makes the first charge at the girl, the big guy grabs the bull by the horns but is thrown down. Several people jump up and begin to yell, "No! No! No". Time and again, the man is thrown to the ground by the bull and the people in the theater are in a frenzy. I think someone's going to run up and tear down the screen. Then he grabs the bull and throws him down. He begins to strain to break the bull's neck. The people are standing on their seats and screaming and yelling. Even above all the noise, confusion, and emotional hysteria, I hear the neck of the bull crack. With this, the people give a cheer and seem to fall slackly into their seats with a great sigh, as if they themselves had accomplished the feat. For sure, this is an outstanding example of mob hysteria because when I look at all of those people standing on the benches and chairs, yelling and screaming, where the hell do you suppose I find myself! I'm up on top of my chair yelling with the rest of them. I can't believe it! I have never seen or heard of anything like this in my life! Everything that happens in the movie after that seems like an anticlimax. I feel like I have gone through the proverbial wringer.

     After the movie is over, we walk slowly back to Aggie's. Scotty and several of the others are sitting around in front taking it easy. There isn't too much doing tonight. We have a few beers, listen to the music, walk out back and talk awhile longer. I think that everyone feels they need a good night's sleep. I know I do! But the way this little Marjorie follows me around, if I even look like I am going upstairs, she takes hold of my hand. So, what can you do? I guess you just have to live with it! We go upstairs, and she gives me a rubdown. Scotty and I are having a hell of a lot of trouble with bed bugs. Wake up in the morning with a rash and lumps all over. Aggie has had the mattresses aired out and every night Marjorie brings a bottle of this fluid which is supposed to keep the bugs away. I lie there naked and she rubs me from head to foot all the time laughing and joking. Off with the lights, and that's it until the next morning.

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*

The Star comes out and, sure enough, big as life, there we are. Scotty and I right on the front page. There is a big story titled "WORKING HIS WAY AROUND THE WORLD". Then, this afternoon Jack Anderson comes round to Aggie's. He says that he has arranged an interview with a Mr. McMillan for me. He is a theatrical agent and owner of the Colony Site Club in Kingston. I am supposed to give an audition tomorrow night at 10:30. If I get the job, it will be a few dollars towards expenses.

     After a shower and a cup of tea this morning, I go over to see Mr. McMillan about the audition at the Colony Club. He tells me to show up at the club to put on a show in front of the regular customers. If they like me, I'll be on. About 9 o'clock, Aggie, Scotty and I, plus a couple of others, go over to the club. I do the audition for the patrons of the club, and Mr. McMillan hires me to do two shows. One on Friday night and one on Saturday night. After the act, I meet Mr. Powell, a representative for J. Arthur Rank Movie Productions in Jamaica, and the owner of several of the theaters on the island. He says he may place me for a few shows at his theaters, to keep the people entertained until the film starts.

*

I put on the show at the Colony Club last night and I think it went pretty good. When we went to the club we had quite a little party of people — Scotty, Blossom, Marjorie, Aggie, and the first mate off a Norwegian ship, North Star, an old shipping mate of Scotty's.

     I put on my act. Mr. McMillan had told us that the bill we ran up would be cut in half because of my working there. This included all my guests. We took over the place and turned it into a party. Needless to say there was not much left from my wages. I was a little stiff from doing the act, not from the beer. No matter how hard you work out, when the real thing is done you always end up with a few pulled muscles or a stiff back the next day.

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     It's Saturday night now. I put on the act again and by this time I'm used to and it and able to ham it up a bit. Ben Bowers, the MC, joins me in the act by leading me on in conversation. We pull off a couple pretty good jokes. All in all, I think we had a better act tonight.

     After a shower, I come back to the table. A waiter comes up to me and says that I have a phone call. I go with him and answer the phone. It's a woman. She says she saw my act last night and can't forget me. She asks me if I have finished with the show and if I would like to come over to see her. Of course, I go for this in a big way. She says she'll send a car to pick me up. This is great. I go back and tell Scotty about it. He's a little mad at first because I'm leaving the party. But when I tell him that maybe I won't leave Jamaica if this turns out to be the right thing, he understands. A little later the doorman tells me that a car is waiting outside.

     I was expecting a nice little limousine or a chauffeur-driven automobile but I'm not too disappointed when I come out and find a cab. I start to get in the front with the driver when I notice someone in the back. I know right away that she has come along with the cab. I open the back door and climb in. I guess I expected someone English, white, and about 35 years old. One whose husband is away in England perhaps or on a business trip at the other end of the island. I really didn't know what to expect. She is about 22 years old, Jamaican. She says "My name is Faye Sparks". Before I hardly have a chance to introduce myself, she slides across the seat and wraps her arms around me and gives me one hell of a big kiss. It doesn't take much more for me to know that this is going to be a very memorable evening. I only hope that I haven't been spending too much time with Marjorie.

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     We leave the Colony Club and she asks me where I would like to go and what I would like to do. I say that that's up to her. I have a little money in my pocket. I don't think she knows that I don't have too much. She says we'll go to the Chinese Gardens just outside Kingston. That's fine with me. Maybe I can talk to the proprietor about doing a night club act. We arrive about 2:30 in the morning. The place is nearly deserted. There are a few couples sitting around small tables and a calypso band playing on a stage overlooking a small dance floor. We order a couple of drinks and just sit there talking. I ask her if she would like to dance. We are the only people dancing. I'm three sheets gone to the wind. I am having one hell of a ball. We dance up a storm. With the rhythm of the calypso music beating and pulsating, along with the effects of some beer and rum and cokes, I really let go. We calypso all over the place and once in awhile we come together and cling in a passionate embrace. Then we separate and continue swaying to and fro on the dance floor. She is all sex and I know she wants me. We are the only two in the place. I have the feeling the waiters and orchestra wish that we would go too so that they can close up.

     We leave at 5 in the morning. Our cab is still waiting for us, the driver asleep on the front seat. We climb in and immediately fall into a hot embrace in the back of the car. I wake the driver and then go back to her arms. The next thing I know we are at a house on the outskirts of Kingston. I open the door of the cab and climb out. She follows me and without another word she takes my hand and leads me towards the house. It's getting lighter all the time. It won't be long before people get up and start their daily business routines. I guess that's what I'll be doing too.

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     It is a nice home, very clean, cool and comfortable. She leads me through the living room and into a small bedroom off to the side. I am really beat by this time, I just flop down on the bed all ready to pass out. But she shakes me a little bit and says that perhaps I would like to take a shower. I thought, well, this is going to be great! Just like Marjorie! But she gives me a towel and shows me the way to the bathroom. This isn't a little shed with a pipe sticking down. It's a real old-fashioned American shower with hot and cold water. I strip down and climb into the tub and turn the water on just as cold as I can. I take the shower and when I get out I'm beginning to feel pretty good. I dry off and wrap the towel around me, then come out of the bathroom, go over to the bed, and sit down. She smiles at me and says that she will be just a few minutes. She goes into the bathroom and closes the door. I can hear the water running so I know that she is also taking a shower. The lights are out in the room but it is still dimly lighted. I am feeling a little drowsy but after a few minutes the sound of running water stops. I prop myself up on my elbow expectantly and look at the bathroom door. The sight that my eyes behold I think I will never forget. There she stands in a silken, sheer, pink negligee. She leans against the door, in what must be the most provocative pose since Cleopatra. I smile at her and she walks slowly over to the bed. By then the sun is coming up over the mountain tops. All I can say is if there is something about making love that Faye doesn't know, it isn't a damn bit worth knowing at all!

     About 11 that morning, I crawl out of the sack, take a shower and dress. Sure as hell, there is the taxi outside in front of the house. I say goodbye still wondering what it was all about, not even knowing when I might see her again. I climb into the cab. Back to Aggie's saloon. When the cab pulls up some of the girls are standing outside, along with some of the seamen from the HMS Sheffield. They have a good laugh when I climb out of the car all pooped out. You can bet that I am going to see this girl Faye again if I can find her.

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     With the HMS Sheffield in port, Aggie's place is really getting business. There is a gang of the Royal Navy downstairs now and it is only 3 in the afternoon. They are raising all kinds of hell and having a ball. During the brawl one of the sailors begins to sing a song, "A Dirty Shirt". As he sings the first verse of the song, he takes off his shirt. He ends another verse with "My Dirty Pants" and takes off his pants. In about 15 minutes, he is standing there just as bare-assed, white, and naked as could be. Everybody is laughing and as drunk as the Lord and its only 4 o'clock Sunday afternoon.

     Today is my birthday and Aggie has had a small cake baked for me. Tonight is really going to shape up as an all-time brawl. I had my 18th birthday in Japan. I have had birthdays in Arizona, California, Chicago, Missouri, Minnesota and I spent my 19th birthday at sea on the way home from China. Now here I am having a birthday in Kingston, Jamaica, British West Indies.

     The drinking, the carousing, and the brawling start early. There are tables set up out in the back of the saloon. The chickens are cackling and the little old lady who does the laundry is smoking her big black cigar. The bottles of rum are on the table and the beer is flowing. Everyone is dancing and drinking — all on their way to sharing another memorable evening. The girls won't let Scotty and me drink the rum. They say it isn't good for us. They let the seamen do the rum buying and Scotty and I just drink beer. You should see some of these seamen, and the Jamaicans too, drinking that rum straight. Believe me, that stuff is powerful. If you take an empty bottle and drop a lighted match into it, the flames spurt almost a foot in the air from the fumes left in the bottle.

     About three in the morning, Scotty and Blossom, Marjorie, and I go upstairs and hit the sack. With the shutters of the windows wide open and the lights turned out and that big Jamaican moon shining through the open windows, it has turned out to be a beautiful night. The four of us sit on the double bed with our backs against the wall and talk and drink beer. It is noisy downstairs and the music sounds loud and brassy as it comes from the speakers in the back yard and the bar. Scotty and I talk a little about finding a job on the ship that will take us out of here. Marjorie pouts a little and says that she doesn't want that to happen. I ask her how she would like to have a baby by the red-headed American. This has been a joke here for the past three or four days. Aggie and several of the older women said that they would like to see Marjorie have a baby by me. It would give her something nice to remember me by. And they want to see what a red-headed Jamaican baby would look like. Marjorie says she doesn't think she would like that at all and we shouldn't even talk about it. We sit there until about 4:30 and then decide to call it a night. Just when it is beginning to get real quiet downstairs, someone starts to scream and yell. One of the women is hollering at one of the fellows and it looks like there is another fight in the making, But this one turns out a little differently. The woman is knocking the hell out of her husband right in front of Aggie's saloon because he has given another woman a baby. She doesn't like that at all!

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*

The streets are quiet at this early hour — 2:30. Occasionally a car goes by, a cat screeches and runs across the street. I pass the prison. I have learned these five weeks that one should not walk the streets alone at late night. Damn it, I want to see if anything will happen, that's why I started this trip. There are gangs that roam the streets, waiting for a drunk seamen or one who is alone. They climb in the trees or on the roofs of the houses. As you walk by they drop on you. I know that to walk in the middle of the street is safer. On the waterfront Scotty and I are safe. We are friends of Aggie's and very few would do harm to us. Here in the back streets there are no friends. The guys on the waterfront tell me that if I am walking alone at night and one or two begin to follow me, I must keep the same pace. When I hear the whistle it will mean others of the gang will be coming. I am about a mile from Aggies's when I hear them. I glance over my shoulder. There are two of them, walking on the sidewalk — close to the buildings — in the shadows. My heart gives a lurch and jumps into my throat. I don't think I'm so damn cocky now. I continue walking in the middle of the street. I hear the whistle — what the hell do I do now? I come to a small side street. The main thoroughfare of Kingston is at the other end, two blocks through an alley with one dim light in the middle casting its eerie shadows. I start into the alley. They close up quickly — two of them. I know I won't reach the midday point before they will be upon me. I turn, face them and walk right past them. They are stunned, momentarily. They turn and follow me. I have taken but five or six steps. I turn and once again start past them. I am almost by when one of them reaches out. I jump back to face them. My heart is pounding in my ears. I look right at them but don't even know what they look like. One says, "Don't be scared, sailor." I take my watch off and put it in my pocket. He says, "All we want is cigarette". I tell them I have no cigarettes. I put my hand inside my shirt. I say, "If you think I have anything else you want, come and try to take it." We stand there, the three of us, no one moving. They laugh, and walk away. I watch until they go around the corner. I am shaking, but not from fear. From exuberance. I did not run. I thought I was going to, but I did not. I was afraid but I faced them. I can face anything.

<  14  >

     I reach Aggies's about ten minutes later. Tell Scotty what took place. He is all for going out to find them. There is no use in that. We have a beer.

*

Scotty left early this morning. Sad farewell. Many of his friends come down at the dock to see him off. Blossom is crying and very sorry to see him leave Jamaica. We had a little party last night but there was no joy. We have had one great ball during the five weeks together on the island. Now I am on my own again. I go back to Aggies's. I am looking for a ship that is leaving for any other port of the world and that will take me along.

     On Saturday afternoon I speak to the German captain of a ship out of Hamburg, Germany. He looks at me for a minute. He says that he is ready to leave. "If you get cleared with immigration by 4:30 this afternoon, we will take you with us to Cardiff, Wales. It has to be this afternoon. Today is Saturday and the immigration offices are closed tomorrow."

     I can hardly believe my ears. I race down the gangway, all the way to the immigration offices. Back to the ship. I show my papers, all in order, to the captain. He says I can get my luggage and gear and come aboard that evening. I walk over to Aggies's saloon. I stop and talk to Aggie and the girls. I kiss them all a fond farewell, have a last glass of beer, and then go down to the docks, walking for the last time down Princess Street.

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