Let me see my yutes…
It all started way back when mi was a little yute of 9 years old. Mi real name was Randall Swanson. Mi was at Gramma School pon mi home countryland of Bermuda. One day, mi best friend and first love, a gal named Katie gave I mi first kiss. Mi was moonstriked, as dem say. Mi boner did not go away for three days also. it was pure romance. Den, “HONK HONK!” go di horn of car, and mi get picked up by mi nanny Deidre (she was from Jamaica) and her son, mi other best friend, him named Sean. (him also born and raised in Jamaica) As a special present dat day, Sean give I mi first record. “Legalize it” by Peter Tosh. Sean was always being nice to me. Mi was a happy yute. But that day, tings were not so happy as dem seemed…
Deidre would always take mi back to her house, where Sean and I would play records and mash up di dance in his living room. Sometimes we go cross di street to see Sean’s Nanna Creesha, a wise old woman who look like Peter Tosh but with more facial hair. She run a business out of her own house, making her special iced tea to give out to di cancerous sick people at di hospitals and cancerous sick homes. She was a kind woman, and always had di best advice! Plus her tea give you wicked vibes.
Anyway, on this particular day when Deidre dropped I off at mi home, mi walk in to find mi mumma and poppa fighting. Me thought it was regular argument like di ones dem always have about which expensive restaurant dem wanted to go to that night, but mumma say something like “Daminit David! You’re the CEO! You can’t just leave!” To which him reply “I can do anything I damn well please woman! I’m leaving you and the boy! I’m joining the pirate ship and that’s all there is to it!” Turns out there was pirate ship in Hamilton Harbour that day, that was taking on new pirates. It was di kind of pirates dem dat eat Tofu and creep up on Whaling ships and attack from the back. Di name of di ship was di “Long John-son”, cuz di captain was named Captain Johnson. Dad said, “I’ve sold my soul to insurance for too long” Den him turn to mi and say “sorry son. But I can’t be the dad I want to be unless I follow my dreams. Whaling ships, watch out! The long-jon-son is coming to ram you from behind!” and with that, him walk out the door. Needless to say, me was crushed. When Katie call me that night me tell her love was stupid and her kiss was the jinx that broke up mi momma and poppa. Mi never spoke to her again. Or saw mi dad again.
Forward to 15 years later. Mi and Sean hangin out all the time. Mi nah finish school, though Sean working on getting into College. Mi smoke a lot and listen to tune. Then one day, pon the TV, mi see a famous actress! It was Katie! She had become famous and was still beautiful like she was in school! Mi heart pounded like the time Sean and I blazed that high grade from Cutty boy down Ord Road. ‘Cept me mouth wasn’t as dry. Mi knew then mi had to win Katie back.
We go to see Sean’s Nanna Creesha, for advice. She tell me to be worthy of the woman mi must first pursue mi dreams of becoming a reggae artist. But to become a reggae artist, I must learn about struggle. Me say, “struggle?” Me know what struggle is. Why, di teachers at gramma school said pon mi report card “Randall Struggles With Math!” she said “No. Real Struggle.” At that point, the FBI come in and take her away! They didn’t like her giving her iced tea to all the sick and needy! Dem chase Sean and I, as accomplices. We escape and board a plane to New York City. And now, we are fugitives. So we go to live and hide out in the basement of Sean’s cousin’s house at 1630 Parson’s Blvd, apt 3, in Jamaica, Queens. Sean is applying to harvard, and by day, mi go out and play reggae music for the people and fight against injustices. Just the other mi burn down a doughnut shop that was not letting its workers take home free doughnuts. Them yell at me and say mi put them out of a job. But they will know soon enough mi set dem free. Sean yells at me a lot because I always get us in trouble. But mi have to walk di walk if mi gonna talk the talk of reggae.
Dis is mi life story. But di real story continues…..
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