Home Archives Sections Business Directory ForumContact Us 

Contributor: Ian Christopher
Illustrator: Femi Adetunji
Jah Meek

A nineteen seventy- six green BMW slowed to a halt on Sixteen Street, alongside a huge silver tank which contained the communal water supply. Three men - identically dressed in dark suits - emerged from the car. They scanned the vast area of wasteland that surrounded them to ascertain that they were not followed. The absence of houses and street lights along the four hundred metre road left the immediate area in darkness. The men moved clumsily through the slightly bushy wasteland to the only house left undemolished. Their progress was aided by the moonlight and street lamps along West Road and Greenwich Streets which ran parallel, and were linked by Sixteen Street.
On reaching the small, disintegrating three- room wooden shack - the only one of its kind on the western side of Trenchtown - the men entered the open front door warily. They stood for several minutes trying to adjust to the ghost- like atmosphere of what must have been a bedroom.
Bunny Dixon stood in astonishment thinking about the place he once knew to be Trenchtown. Everything seemed so small, aged and broken. Maybe his discovery of the wide world had cast Trenchtown in a different light. He looked over his shoulder through the door at the black, gloomy wasteland and thought of ten years ago when he lived here. Casting his gaze towards the area where his little wooden house once stood, he visualised it standing, surrounded by the network of little rocky dirt tracks leading in different directions: Thirteen Street, West Road and Greenwich Street. The reality was that none of that existed anymore. There was just bare wasteland.
Byron and Vincent were less surprised because although they no longer lived here, they still paid frequent visits to Jah Meek?s old house on Greenwhich street and old friends from other parts of Trenchtown like West Road, Sunlight Street and Gem Road.
His eyes now accustomed to the dark, Vincent led the way across the old wooden floor, skipping over the gaps in the floorboards and broken bits of furniture. The door leading to the adjoining room gave an eerie creak as he pushed it open. The room was equally dark, save for shafts of moonlight which penetrated holes in the zinc roof. There was an old feather mattress in a corner of the room.
Vincent shouted, ?Jah Meek, yu de ya?? His voice echoed through the empty house, but he got no answer. The man he had arranged to meet had not yet come.
An ill shaped doorway led to a third room. A trace of smoke and the smell of burning wood wafted from that direction. Vincent moved briskly to the door. He was confronted by a roofless, makeshift kitchen with a dirt floor. Three large stones set in a triangle stood in the centre of the kitchen and served as a stove. A lump of smoking wood was placed between the stones. An old dutch pot stood untidily in a corner of the ?kitchen?.
Vincent pushed open an old wooden window in the kitchen. He could hear conversation and music coming from Greenwich street. Bunny Dixon and Byron waited behind him, impatiently. In a low, controlled voice, Vincent asked ?Wha time you have?? Byron fished out a box of matches from his breast pocket and lit one. He moved the match to the face of his watch and said ?five to nine.?
Vincent folded his hands behind his back and paced towards his two companions and then back to the window, muttering ?him wi? come by nine??
Then footsteps came from behind the large mesh wire fence that bordered the water tank. They grew louder and a figure emerged from the bushes and approached the little house. Vincent cautiously pulled the window half shut. The window creaked loudly. The approaching figure stopped about ten yards from the house, dived to the ground and pulled out a small black object from his waistband. ?Who in de?? He shouted, clinging to the object with trembling hands. Vincent gave a loud laugh and pushed the window open. ?A me man.? He said, still laughing.
Jah Meek rose from the ground, ran up to the window and jumped through it. Breathlessly, he asked ?Whe de man sen com I boss?? Before Vincent could answer, Bunny appeared in the doorway. Jah Meek froze in astonishment. It was as though the dead had come back to life. He could hardly believe his eyes. With great joy, he threw his gun to the floor ran across the room and leaped into the arms of Bunny, shouting ?de man com back from foreign, star??
© 2004. All Rights Reserved