Saturday, March 17, 2018

I stood on the beach and waved to my wife and daughter as they waded into the sunset. Just then a ganja man appeared. Just as they always do, just about all the time. This time I decided to buy.

“How much for a spliff?” I asked.

He looked over his shoulder and approached me furtively, like we were accomplices in a crime. Which we were I guess, but it’s a crime that occurs a thousand times a day on this beach. Maybe this was theater. Make the sunburned tourists feel a thrill.

“Here mon, here,” he said, and tried to press a handful of fat joints into my palm. “Forty.”

“I only want one, man,” I said, pulling my hand away.

“OK, OK, OK,” he said in a displeased, slightly disapproving tone. “Here you go mon.”

Now I had three in my hand. His eyes darted left and right.


“No, no, I don’t need three. How much for one?”

With great reluctance he took a spliff back from my hand, leaving two. I figured I wasn’t going to do any better than that.


I told him I’d be right back, I had to get cash at our place.

“Yeah mon, come find me. Come find me,” he said, and extended his elbow for a bump. “Ree-spect.”

Back at the villa I got my wallet and took out the cash, thinking to myself what it’d be like to burn a Jamaican beach dealer. Would he glower at me in my shaded chaise every morning as he passed by on his rounds? “Where da cash mon?” he’d ask, and I’d shrug my shoulders and return to my paperback. Or maybe he’d kill me with a knife. Drag my carcass into a powered dinghy and dump me out at sea. Really I had no idea what would happen.

I returned to the beach and found him a few paces from where we’d met.

“Here you go,” I said, placing the money discreetly in his palm, and I did feel that little thrill after all.

“Yeah mon! You wan’ anyting else you lemme know!” he said, and I knew from his tone he meant cocaine.

“Thanks,” I said, and turned away, not knowing whether I’d been ripped off, figuring I had, not really caring, with one more joint than I needed in the damp mesh pocket of my swim trunks.