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“We’re gonna have to work on that ear a bit,” Bern said frankly.
Dolores passed him a joint. “Maybe this will help.”
Laying out on the deck as the boat moved out across the smooth
azure water, Roy examined Island in the Sunfrom cover to cover. He
concluded that Crash’s Santa Marta could be just about anywhere.
There were no clues that he could find. He tossed it aside. The book
had been too prosaic, too plebian to fit into the literature of his life.
Slipping the yellow novel into the Lindens’ bookshelf later he was
pleased to find an impeccable, leather-bound edition of Moby Dick,
orThe Whale.
By the time they reached Jamaica, Doobie Doobie Doo boasted
decent renditions of four or five songs. Roy’s voice improved quickly
and he had figured out the ukulele somewhat as well. There were two
of them on the ship, so Roy stuck to rhythm while Dolores moved up
to lead ukulele. Bern did his best to maintain a beat on the
“We’re gonna tear up the town!” he cried, though what town that
would be remained unclear. As it turned out, the resorts in Jamaica
uniformly rejected their act.
“The island’s full of bands far more talented than you,” one
manager gave it to them straight.
“No kidding!” Dolores replied, “But we’re a novelty act! Our
gimmick is that we’re not that good.”
“Don’t you know any reggae?” another asked them.
Bern rubbed at his shiny pate. “I think it’s too late to grow
dreadlocks. And I can’t play that kooky backbeat on my tambourine.”
They decided to stay in Jamaica for a couple of weeks, then move
on to less competitive spots. Roy took the opportunity to travel
around the island, eager to finally visit the fabled Blue Mountains.
They were even more beautiful than he expected. The mist-hidden
hills were studded far and wide with the same charming short trees
he had seen all over the world, but had never appreciated as much as
now. Like a child in a fairytale garden Roy wandered and hiked
through the plantations infusing himself with the heavy scent of rich
earth. It was the soil, above all, that gave coffees their distinctive
flavors. When no one was looking, he bent down to kiss it.
Periodically the clouds parted and came together, imparting a
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