How fascinating to read Rick Wayne’s recent musings from the other side. At least now I can brag about having a friend who in less than one year died twice yet has never failed to video respond to my Skype calls. I suggest Rick could rake in a ton of dollars for himself and our deprived nation if only he would set up a little bar at the base of Petit Piton. Residents and visitors alike could then hear from his own teetotaler lips his personal experiences here and the hereafter, which of course would include his return journey from the spirit world back to the living.
Imagine the contributions to the Consolidated Fund as a direct result of Rick’s extraterrestrial adventures? Suddenly those promised “better days” don’t seem so farfetched after all. Judging only by the BB blasts, in recent times Rick seems to have acquired some pretty unique powers, which of course can’t be good news for poor Kenny. Those in a position to know about such matters having been saying the reason Rick was sent back was he got into too many debates with the Most High about how he couldn’t have done in six million years what Moses has everyone else convinced he had pulled off in under a week.
Then there are the reports that the top guy in the other place just wouldn’t let Rick on his hot property, for fear the whole world would soon be in on the secret of what really keeps his place sizzling regardless of time of year. The way the hotshot saw it, some say, those honorable forked-tongue devils with their red eyes and yellow teeth were ten times worst prevaricators than he could ever hope to be. Therefore, were far more deserving of Rick’s special attention. I especially enjoyed the story about Rick’s initial arrival at Valhalla. (Wonder why he never wrote about it? Or maybe he’s holding that for later—you know how he is about such things!) By special account Rick was scoping a joint called the Tabernacle Bar, more or less minding everybody’s business, when he spied old friends Brother George and the Papa Jab arm in arm.
The whole place was jumpin’ like a catfish on a pole, with deafening j’ouvert music and more gyrating naked flesh than you’d ever see at a million carnivals put together. Just when Rick was trying to determine his whereabouts, the Big Brother—who I hear has dropped a whole lot of weight and is now back to his Flying Darkie form—gently pulled him aside. Pointing a manicured forefinger at a particularly frisky group, he whispered in Rick’s ear: “Regardless of their doom, the little children prance!” The Papa Jab soon joined in. Addressing an astonished Rick, he said: “Don’t you believe a word he says. You think he had the gift of the gab before? Well that was nothing compared with what he has since learned to do with his tongue. He even had me going for a while.” At which point the Papa Jab laughed so hard, he popped his belt buckle. Rick could not resist.
Pointing to the Papa Jab’s ankles, he asked: “Do you ever keep your pants on?” Typically, the Papa Jab had already moved on. Now he was with another character that looked enough like Joe Cox to be his twin. Remember Joe Cox? The twosome joined Rick and the Big Brother after a few minutes together and when he had confirmed his continuing loyalty to the Papa Jab, the Joe Cox lookalike addressed the most recent arrival: “So how are things in the old country? I hear the King abdicated when the kitchen got so hot even the fat around his belly started melting? On the other hand . . .”
Brother George was chewing on something that might’ve been a fat chicken leg but couldn’t be since it looked more like a chunk of hairy pork, which it couldn’t been be either, considering where we were. With his mouth full, he said: “I hear my old protégé finally got what he wanted. But now he’s thinking maybe he should’ve handed over to Mario when he had the chance.” The Papa Jab was still socking it to the Big Brother: “Boy, you fellows all wanted to be me. Admit it. That’s the whole problem. You never realized there could be only one Papa. So now your friend is totally lost. With no way of delivering his empty promises, he’s banking on VAT to do for him what cheap talk never could.”
The Big Brother blinked: “VAT? VAT the hell is VAT?” The Papa Jab turned yellow. “Your mouth will get us kicked out of here. How many times do I have to remind you not to use that particular H-word around here. Anyway, VAT stands for . . .” “Victims of Kenny’s Taxes!” said Rick. “You guys left before the disease caught on. But then Papa you should know all about that. You were about to lay it on the people when Basil intervened.”
“I remember only what I want to remember,” said the Papa Jab. “That’s the right of every citizen of this place. You’re allowed to pretend inconvenient truths never happened!” “I get it,” Rick smiled. “I get it. Like your shit-tossing fights in the boulevard with the Big Brother never happened. Like Jessie . . .”
“Now wait a goddam minute,” the Papa Jab roared. “Didn’t I just tell you there are things we just don’t bring up in this place? People with names beginning with J-e-s is the first among them.” A ferocious look overtook his eyes. “How did you get here, anyway? By all I’ve read in the records you’re not due here until, well, not until you and Mr. VAT have decided on his replacement. Which means you won’t be here for a while. For once nobody wants to be top dog. Everything was in place for Janine but you let King and his merry men interfere with that. I was all set to . . .”
Seemingly out of nowhere the toughest two ladies you ever laid eyes on were on either side of Rick Wayne. Well, according to Rick, they were at least six-five tall, wearing women’s gowns and dainty white slippers on their feet. But their voices gave them away, Rick said. Deep was hardly the word to describe it.
One of them addressed Rick directly: “My name is Michael and this is Brother Peter, better known as The Rock but don’t ask why. Please don’t make fuss and come with us quietly. We have orders to get you outta here. Like now.” He turned to the Papa Jab: “By the way, we’re expecting someone you know quite well. ATA Saturday. Says he used to be a great friend of yours. Fella named Daniel. Ring a bell? St. Clair Daniel!”
The way Rick told it to me Friday morning, it was at this point that he fell off his bed onto the floor. He says he had dreamed the whole thing up. To which I say, maybe so and then again no. I mean, if what I heard about our former Speaker at the weekend is anything to go by, if it wasn’t just another BB blast . . .