"76," Clancy's journey. A story of love & romance, Jamaican Yardie style.
Set in the early eighties in small-town Jamaica, 76, Clancy’s journey tells the story of a gifted Jamaican schoolboy who was well on his way through high school and heading straight to University. But
as it the pulsating rhythm of the robust reggae music that progressively filled the air? Was that what had awakened him out of the sweet little nap he was having? He was not sure. It could have been the pain that was running up through his armpit and over the shoulder. Yes, it probably was that.
He was sitting on the low hanging branch of the huge star apple tree. His back up against the dominant trunk of the tree. The emphasis here being on the “hanging” more so than the “low” since no one wants to fall from this height to the ground.
Clancy was to have heaved up and rest the left hand atop the other much smaller branch of the tree. The branch which grew out of the tree right at the level of the armpit, as if it was cut-to-measure just for his fit. His head propped up by the round of his palm strategically placed under the chin. The tip of his fingers semi-circled in to rest securely at ear-level.
His chin cupped in the palm of his hand behind the hoisted knee. Which was pulled-in in front of his chest. The sole of his foot now rests flat on the same limb on which he sat.
The red, green, black, and gold Tam, (headpiece) which he had placed between his armpit and the tree limb, had fallen out while he slept. And left the bare skin to be rubbing against the hardwood.
Clancy was to have eased himself up from the lower branch. Hobbling now on one leg, because of the cramps in the right leg which had been hanging all that time. Would not allow him to put his full weight on it.After the feeling came back into the leg, somewhat. He picked up the T-shirt on which he was sitting and climbed down.
By then, the music was beginning to get closer and clearer. So he would have joined in with the lyrics of “the Rastaman Chant,” “I hear the voice of the Rastaman say, Babylon your throne has gone down…”In the distance, he could now see a couple of the automobiles in the procession as it rounded the corner like little marbles. As they rolled into view.
He had positioned himself strategically halfway up on the hills of mount Rosser. At a point where one could easily see the approaching vehicles as they passed by. Just outside of the town of Linstead.
It was very clear by then that the funeral procession was approaching. Clancy could feel the throbbing pulse, the blood pumping by the side of his neck. His earlobes heated up by several degrees. “It is action time now,” he said to himself.
The late great Robert Nesta Marley is being buried today. The funeral procession is passing right by this way. I may not be able to go to the funeral in St Ann. But no one is going to deprive me out of watching the procession as it passes by this way.
To make himself more comfortable. Clancy reached into his pocket for his pocket knife. Gathered some dried banana leaves. He then spread them out onto the ground and lay flat out on his stomach, resting his propped-up chin on top of his folded arms. And then, waited.
Clancy O’Connor was the name that his mother had given him. But everyone calls him “76.” Because of the number which he wears whenever he plays football with the renowned Dinthill technical high school team.
His fame had been spreading like wildfire throughout the Island in recent times. As he blossomed into becoming one of the most prolific goal-scoring machines the Island had ever seen. Not just in schoolboy football, was the roaring noise but at the club level too. And he was constantly being compared to the great, Allan “Skill” Cole.
To say that Clancy loves the game of football is an oxymoron. However, he secretly cherishes another burning desire, one of becoming an entertainer of some sort. A singer perhaps. Someone like Bob Marley, or Dennis Brown.
He particularly liked Dennis Brown’s style. He thinks and agrees with those who say that Dennis Brown is a better singer than Bob. And as for those who are close enough to Clancy to hear him sing.
He just beams with pride whenever they say that he sounds a lot like Dennis. “Maybe someday I’ll be belching out hits just like DB.” Clancy was to have reasoned within himself. But for the time being, Clancy is all about football.
There were two motorcycles leading the funeral procession as it makes its way around the corner. Just before passing right by the place where Clancy was stationed and watching. He was to be joined by two others by then.
The new arrivals were: Devon with whom he was quite familiar. They both attended Ewarton primary school together. Devon now attends St Jago high school in Spanish Town.
The young lady with him was not familiar to Clancy though. But she had a cool complexion and rather refined appearances, he noticed. A “foreigner,” Clancy immediately thought to himself. Must be his girlfriend.
He was interrupted in the middle of that thought, as Devon was to have introduced them. “Hey, meet Debbie, my cousin from London. ”Debbie, this is Clancy, my longtime friend from our primary school days.”
Hi.” They exchanged greetings with shaking hands. Then quickly, they reverted back to focus on the steady stream of automobiles. Which were by then, rolling through the winding up-hill climb of the Mount Rosser street.
For the next 45 minutes to an hour (or so.) Mount Rosser was transformed into an ocean of cars, trucks of all sizes and shapes, motorcycles too (mostly being ridden by a Rastaman and his pillion rider. Most of whom were to be wearing their trademark — black, red, green, and gold Tam (headpiece,) as usual.
They were to be there looking with an inquiring gaze. Searching for the appearance of the hearse which as of yet, they have not seen. Or did they miss it somehow?
The traffic stream was beginning to thin out. Signaling the end of the procession. But Clancy, as well as the other two individuals with him. Were to be thinking the same thing, where is Bob? (He could tell this by the puzzled look on the faces of his two companions.)
The closest thing that they had seen so far, to suggest that there was going to be a funeral. (Other than for the vehicular procession, of course.)
Were a few cars and pickup trucks laden with floral bouquets and wreath. And somewhere wedged in between them, was one pick-up van draped over by a top hauling. Hauling something, no doubt.
All three of them standing there. Had the same puzzled look on their faces. As Devon was to have turned towards the others, while pointing a finger in the direction of the tail end of the procession, he said, you don’t think…? Simultaneously they all burst out. No-o-o-o.
That's it for today, my friends. Please, join us next time when we shall bring you another episode of this thrilling Jamaican story. Don't forget, we post twice weekly. New episodes on Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings at 8. P M. Join us then. Until then, I am E K, the writingelk, and I am out.