Excerpt #5 – “Bastard Pickney: The Jamaican Journal”

Yesterday, the story stopped after Miss Regina “duck Anita with the hose”. Now we are probably wondering what is going to happen next. Anita is certainly running home to her mother now. What will Ivette do when she finds out that Regina has hurt her child? And, what about Barrington? Will he stand up for his child?

Let us not speculate any further.

We return to Barrington and Regina’s house and the saga continues…

_________________________________________________________________________

Regina

Barrington comes out of the house as I am turning off the garden tap.  I look up at him with murder in my eyes.  He attempts to take the hose from my hand but I swing it at him and he dodges, a look of complete surprise making his eyes bulge.

“Yuh better keep away from me!” I growl as I glare at him with what I hope is a no-nonsense look on my countenance.  I toss the hose down and hurry towards the house before he can say anything to me.

As I reach the porch, I hear him call out to me in a feeble voice that irks me to the bone.  “Regina…baby, why yuh do that?”

I slam the grille on his words.

“Um? Yuh mad? Why yuh really do a ting like that?”

I reach the living room and collapse on the settee just as he steps onto the porch.  I feel like I am carrying the weight of the whole goddamned world on my shoulders.  I still can’t believe this.  The gall! For three consecutive mornings this little feisty pickney has been coming up here making ruction.  I still can’t believe the audacity!

Barrington nearly wet his pants when he heard the voice calling on Saturday morning.  We were at the dining table with Brittany and Ethan in the middle of breakfast when we heard, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” Over and over.  “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!”

Of course, I ignored it; I didn’t have the slightest inkling that this person was standing at our gate.  But then the calls became more persistent and soon it was obvious that the shouts were definitely directed at this house.  Then, Salome came in and reported that, “Missa Parker, a likkle girl outside callin, sar.”

Barrington nearly choked on his fried dumpling.  “W-What!” He was stuttering and I’ve been married to this man for six years so I know him; something was up.

“A likkle girl at the gate, sar.  Ah hear the callin soh ah went to check.”

“B-But, t-that c-can’t be right, man!” My husband continued to stutter like a bumbling baboon.  “S-She p-prob-bably have the wrong house, man.”

I felt the headache creeping up on me.  My teeth prevented my tongue from speaking.  I am famous for my bad temper and my husband is notoriously afraid of me any time I fly off the handle.  He knows better than to get on my bad side.  I leveled a threatening look at him and he rose to his feet immediately.  I watched him as he crept towards the living room like he thought the child could see through walls.  He did not go out on the porch as I had predicted; instead my big, respectable husband went to the living room window, eased the drape aside and peeped out into the front yard.  As soon as he saw whatever the hell it was he saw, he ducked down and put a finger to his lips like he was signaling for us to be quiet.  Which was stupid since none of us was saying anything.

The kids had stopped eating and I was busy tapping my plate with the fork, fighting against the urge to get up.  And, as for Salome, she seemed to have forgotten that she had been doing the laundry because she had not moved from her spot in the middle of the dining room floor.  All of us were watching him.

“Barrington.  Honey? What is going on?” I asked through my teeth.

“Shhhh!” He dared to hiss at me and beckoned for Salome to come to him.

Salome glanced uncertainly at me before she obeyed.

“Sally.  Go out there and tell that little girl that I am not here.”

That was when I dropped the fork and folded my arms as I narrowed my eyes at him.  “Why don’t you go out there and tell her yourself, honey?”

He jumped up like a spring coming loose from a mattress.  “Y-Yuh mad, Gina!” He cut his eye at me before repeating his order to Salome.  As our helper rushed to do his bidding, he rejoined us at the table.  “This is all your fault, Regina.  The past can never be erased.”

“What yuh talking about, Barry?” I snapped.

“Stay deh act like yuh don’t know what I’m talking bout, Regina,” he said.  “You know…don’t try play fool fi catch wise.  You create this problem soh just allow mi to deal with it my way.  Awright?”

Those remarks silenced me.  All I could do was shake my head and suck my teeth.

Then yesterday, she came back again.  This time Salome was not here to do his dirty work.  It was six o’clock; I was still in bed reading when I heard the calls.  Barrington was in the master bathroom and I guess the kids were still sleeping.  I knew Barrington could hear her from inside the bathroom and when the shower stopped running after the third successive “Daddy!” rang out, I got confirmation.  I pictured him standing in the bathtub, tensed, peeping through the window.  I rested the Essence magazine on my bosom and focused my gaze on the ticking clock.  I watched fifteen minutes pass and my husband still did not emerge from the bathroom.  Neither did the shower resume running.

After twenty minutes, there came a knock on my bedroom door and my eleven-year-old daughter entered.  “Who is that little girl, Mommy?”

I could not look at her.  “Ask yuh father.”

Brittany is a perceptive child and she read my mood accurately.  “Sorry!” she mumbled, attitude plastered all over her face as she backed out and closed the door.

I counted a ten-second pause between each barrage of shouting and took advantage of one such lull to check if my husband was still alive.  “Honey?” I called out.

“Y-Yes, dear?” He was stuttering again.

“You really need to deal with that problem.”

There was a moment’s silence before the door opened and he exited.  He kept his eyes averted as he sat his towel-wrapped butt down at the foot of the bed with his back to me.  I heard his sigh as the calling ensued.

I was growing more annoyed with each passing minute.  “Yuh heard mi, Barrington?”

He shrugged his shoulders.  “Let’s ignore it,” he muttered.  “Shi must get tired eventually.”

But “eventually” dragged on for forty-five minutes more as Barrington’s ‘problem’ remained at my gate, bellowing at the top of her lungs – at seven o’ damn clock in the morning, until finally we heard a sustained silence.  And, upon returning to the bathroom to peep again, my husband reported, “Shi gone.”

So, of course, this morning I braced myself for her return.  Sure enough, the calling started at approximately five-forty-five.  She had come even earlier today.  Now, she was yelling even louder than before and the neighbourhood dogs were barking like crazy.  This was getting from bad to worst.  Yesterday, our neighbour, Liz came over and the first thing she wanted to know was, “Soh, Gina, is who was that little girl I saw standing at your gate this morning?”

I noticed that she was careful not to mention what she heard ‘the little girl’ saying.  And I just pretended like I didn’t even hear the question.  When she saw the look on my face, she did not dare repeat.  I could not, neither did I want to deal with this.  If things continued in this vein, I was going to be the laughing stock of Mona Estate.

Anyway, it is quite obvious that this likkle demon spawn came on a mission this morning.  Her mother must be feeding her some miracle food because the child had an incredible set of lungs.  I mean, she was hardly taking a breather between calls today.  She was just bawling out: “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!”And, let me tell you, there was a whole heap of attitude in her tone too like she knew that people were hearing her and had decided to use that to her advantage.

When the shouting got more intense, Peeping Tom Barrington ran to the living room to peep again.  I followed behind him, the kids behind me.  When Ethan turned on the TV, Barrington grabbed the remote from him and turned it back off.  “Yuh mad!” he whisper-shouted at my son.  “Yuh waan shi hear it?”

“B-But, Daddy –”

“What di raas wrong wid yuh? Ounu not going school this morning?” Barrington snapped.  “Gwaan goh get ready, man!”

I did not like the tone he was using with my children and as soon as they left, I got up in his face.  “Barrington Raymond Parker! Yuh forgetting yuhself? Who tell yuh seh yuh can talk to ma kids dem like that? Eh?”

“Shhh!”

I glared at him and he folded his arms and looked at me like this was not the time to challenge him.  He opened his mouth but closed it before saying anything.  He sucked his teeth and cut his eyes at me before returning to the window to peep out from behind the drapes one more time.

When I get upset, I don’t give a damn.  So, I ran up on him.  “I told you to deal with this, Barrington!” I used my forefinger as a weapon.  “Is soh you deal with something, eh?” I poked him in his neck back.  “Salome not here now.” I poked him in his head back.  “What yuh going to do?”

My husband wheeled around and bore down on me.  He is over six feet tall, big, black and muscular; I am only five feet nine but his anger did not intimidate me.  “Ah said what yuh going to duh? Yuh bastard pickney out there calling down scandal on wi! What yuh plan to do about it, eh?”

It was while we were matching each other glare for glare that the state of affairs outside took a drastic turn for the worst.

The calling stopped abruptly; the same thought passed between Barrington and I before we rushed to draw aside the drapery to look what was taking place outside.  That’s when I saw Barrington’s ten-year-old daughter bend down and pick up what appeared to be a stone.  Before the both of us could fully process what was happening, much less what was about to happen, she started raining blow after blow on our gate.

BANGBANGBANGBANG!

The dogs went berserk!

BANGBANGBANGBANG!

I went berserk!

Barrington tried to hold me.  I slapped him hard upside the head.  I barged out on to the porch.  That was it! She had gone too far.  Since Barrington was afraid to step up like a man, I stepped up like the woman my father raised me to be and did what I had to do!

Barrington now attempts to speak to me again as I sit stewing in the couch, mouth longer than Hope River, arms folded, huffing and puffing.  “Why yuh duh dat, Regina? Yuh crazy! Mi cyan believe yuh wet har up! Yuh know what going to happen now? Um? Shi going back home goh report this to Puncie now! An yuh know what going to happen after dat? Um? Puncie going to come up here come bring argument to mi! Is wha kinda crosses yuh bring dung pon mi now, woman? Eh?”

If looks could kill this spineless, man-frame that I call my husband would drop down dead when my eyes lock with his.  I suck my teeth and scowl at him, all the anger boiling over inside mi.  I am so irate that I can feel the steam whooshing out of my ears.  “Yuh said yuh going to deal with it your way, Ol’ Master! Soh deal wid it then! Man up!”

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