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noticed the difference. When it closed for the night he stumbled back
to his hut.
Two men walked towards him with deliberation. They asked him
the time and then inquired if he would like to buy some ganja. Roy
said yes and fished around in his pockets for his wallet.
He woke up the next morning in the cargo hold of a boat surrounded
by piles of rotting old chum. The stench was so overpowering he
could barely open his eyes.
Staggering outside he looked up to meet an array of
unwelcoming faces.
“Wha de fuck you doin here bwai?”
“We got ourselves a stowaway.”
“Where am I?” Roy said, “How did I get here?”
“Maybe one of de big fish done puked you out.” They laughed.
“Seriously. Where is this boat headed?”
“Trinidad,” one of them said, “Look like you passed out under de
wrong tree last night.”
Roy slumped down on a crate and touched the spot on his head
where he had been struck. Dried blood had formed a crusty yamulke
on the back of his head. “I was mugged,” he explained, “I guess they
dumped me on this boat.”
“Well we got a problem den. How you gonna pay fah your ticket?”
The man’s voice now had an edge to it. Roy took stock and saw that
his watch was gone, his wallet was gone. Hernán’s necklace too. He
shrugged and threw up his hands.
“I suppose you gonna have tah work fah your passage,” the man
finally said, throwing him a broom. “Why don’t you get started
sweeping your lil’ bedroom.”
“How long is it to Trinidad?”
“A week. Get to work.”
“Can I get a coffee first? My head is pounding.”
“No coffee on dis ship,” the man said, “It’s against de Rastafari
creed. Now get started and you can earn a cup of tea and some
breadfruit.” He gave Roy a friendly kick in the rear while the others
As he swept entrails into a neat pile he cursed Crash. He cursed
Alec Waugh. He cursed Hernán. He cursed Dolores and Bern. But
most of all, he cursed himself.
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