“Did I take my pill?” He wonders, his thoughts slowly penetrating the chemically induced fog. “Mistress gets angry with me if I don’t take it and she doesn’t want to be angry with me. I know because she told me.”
He gives a disimpassioned smile with the association of his mistress and her reluctance to punish him.
He checks the time and sees it is 33 minutes past one o’clock. The thought that he may displease his mistress is sufficient reason to open the pill case and count the pills, “one, two, three...” he counts aloud and checks the time again, three, there should only be two, my six o’clock one and my bed time one, I am late taking my twelve o’clock one.”
He takes his twelve o’clock pill and return to his duties, dusting and polishing, knowing mistress doesn’t like it when things are dusty, she likes them to shine and sparkle. She tells him that he must do it and do it well, because it is very therapeutic. He doesn’t really understand what she means by therapeutic, he does know that he enjoys buffing the wood and polishing the paint, the silver and glass, making sure the ornaments are precisely placed where she likes them and he gets satisfaction from seeing everything gleam in the sunlight and pleasing her.
He is just finishing in her bedroom when an alarm sounds, uncertain as to whether he should answer its call, or finish the last of the polishing. Unusually for him, he wonders whether his pills make it difficult to make decisions, He knows he should go to the alarm, but can see that he only has to polish the mirror on her dressing table and arrange her personal grooming items to complete his task. Perhaps it is because he was late taking the pill, perhaps he is developing a tolerance, but from somewhere deep within, something of himself tries to surface, something buried deep within pushes and gives him the strength to enough to summon a little rebelliousness and he finishes in the bedroom before attending to the alarm.
After he attends to the alarm, he puts the polishing and burnishing equipment in the cupboard, the cloths he puts in the wash.
Following his instructions, he reads the menu mistress wants tonight
“Red stew, red stew now let me see, red stew?” He asks himself, confusion fills his mind for a few seconds until the fog clears enough to know he needs to check his recipe books. Pig’s tails and kidney beans are the base ingredients. Next on the list, is rice and peas and then fried spiced plantain as side dishes, “ah yes,” he realises, “it’s Jamaican food,” He knows that that means it is her friend Courtney that will be attending her tonight. He stops as another thought forces its way through the murk of his mind, did she say that Elbert would be joining him, “I’m not sure.”
He cleans and drops the pigs tails into boiling water and boils them for ten minute then pours the water into the slow cooker adding the now hot tails and all the spices including the obligatory scotch bonnet, the rice and plantains can be cooked when her men arrive.
Once the food is cooking, he collects the dry washing from the line outside, irons and folds it before taking everything up and putting some things in drawers or hanging others in wardrobes. Next, he checks another list and lays out the clothes she has asked him to get ready for her and then he goes around the house making sure everything is ready for when she gets home and for her guests. Feeling dissent, he reluctantly lays out saucers he knows will be used as ashtrays, and for some reason unknown to him, having to put out the silver tray his grandmother had given him.
After fulfilling her wishes, he rewards himself with a glass of water; the simple payment pushes any residual qualms he has of the usage of his personal effects from his mind.
It does not however remove the sense of trepidation he feels reading the next item on the list of chores. Only the chemically induced compliance moves him to complete the final tasks and he goes to the bathroom to wash and change.
He is running a bath for her when she walks in the bathroom; he asks for her permission to help her undress, she ignores the question and orders him to fetch her some wine.
He returns to find her soaking in the bath, her head and arms are the only things protruding from the suds of her bubble bath, intentionally hiding her body from his needful gaze. Kneeling before her in supplication, he holds the wine out for her to take. She ignores his offering, only when his arm begins to shake with the strain and she can chastise him for his weakness, does she take it from him. With a dismissive wave, she sends him away. Remaining on his knees, he collects her soiled clothes and leaves the room. He takes the clothes and puts them in the laundry basket before returning upstairs to wait, kneeling by the bathroom door in anticipation of her to call.
The call does not come. She exits the bathroom clad in a light dressing gown and goes to her bedroom, he moves and assumes his position by her door.
Eventually she calls him to attend to her; he brushes her hair and helps her on with her lingerie, dress and shoes. She dismisses him, again with no more than a wave. He goes down and checks on the slow cooker before peeling and slicing the plantain and putting the slices into a bag of mixed spices to dust and absorb the flavours.
He hears thumping sound outside, it stops and is replaced by the sound of mistress descending the stairs, just as she is reaching the bottom the doorbell rings.
He listens as she opens the door and hears he start to greet her expected visitors. “Court ... who are you?”
“‘Ello Jo, you old slapper, what’s for tea?”
It is a woman’s voice; recognition tries to push its way through the narcotised veils. He tries hard to remember who it is.
Mistress screams and her pet rushes to protect her. “You’re dead.” Mistress shouts at the woman standing in the doorway.
“Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m alive and kicking, thought I was dead eh, that’ll explain why my bruv ain’t been to see me while I been in hospital. Well stop gabbin’ an’ let me in I need to open the beaver’s dam.”
The leather clad woman presses her crash helmet into the others hands and pushes past her, giving Kelvin a wave as she rushes up to the toilet.
Mistress Jo stands by the door, impatiently awaiting her return. Contrary to her hurried ascension, her descent is more of a leisurely amble.
“Fuck me Jo ain’t you got the kettle on yet? I need some cha, what are you playin’ at? Now who’s the Doris?” gesturing to Kelvin as she turns toward him. The grin falls from her face as she recognises her brother under the wig, the poorly applied make up and the attire of a common dock whore. “What the fuck are you wearing?” she demands.
Kelvin looks to his mistress, unsure of how he should react. This woman, he knows she looks familiar, he knows that she is someone he knows, he cannot remember who; did he hear her correctly? Is she is claiming to be his sister, no, that can’t be right, he knows his sister is dead. Kelvin’s befuddled mind tries to comprehend the developing melodrama playing out in front of him.
Seeing little reaction from her brother, Colette moves to him and grasping his chin firmly in one hand she stares into her brother’s eyes. Noticing, the dull pallor, the lack of expression and the slow response, she reaches with a practiced hand to her rear jeans pocket and whips out a petrol lighter, flipping it open and igniting it she moves it across her brothers gaze, left and right, in and out and up and down. Recognising symptoms, she knows he is drugged, and suspects a hypnotic, something like valium or benzodiazipam. She pushes him away, simultaneously closing her lighter and demanding, “What’s he on bitch? And he had better have a damn good medical reason to be in this state.”
A large black man appears in the open doorway and says, “Ello mimampie, yo’man, ere, come cockitup some mmm hmm”[good evening my dear, I have come to make love to you doggy style],
“an’ den de batty boy can slurpie slupie, an my boy Elbert can can cockitup some more an’ den moore slurpie slurpie and some moore cockitup. [after I have finished, I would like to degrade your husband by forcing him to do disgusting acts of a sexual, no doubt considered by some as homosexual in nature, before passing you along to my good friend Elbert. He would also like to make love to you in the same manner and possibly also engage your husband with similar degradation. With or without your agreement, we shall continue this throughout the night until morning.]
“an’ we got it dem kokain an dem ganja” We shall further soil your home and your lives by encouraging you to partake quantities of illegal substances, namely cocaine and marijuana.
“An den you got de new guyl she fine, she like boom boom gud?” [You appear to have a friend, she is very beautiful and I find her sexually attractive, would it be within the bounds of possibility that she could join our intended liason?]
“Hey, you and you,” Collette’s voice pieces the air, and with a reasonable imitation of the Jamaican patois says, get dem bombaklaat arses guwaan. [Excuse me gentlemen, but I would recommend that you take your thrombic menstrual backsides elsewhere.] and then resumes her normal regimented military speech, “Now, off you fuck.”
“Oooh no sistah, you got two grindsman, when we dun wid you, you be big hole girl.” [Pardon me for disagreeing, but we are lovers of exceptional quality and I am sure once you have tasted our wares you will change your mind and be all the better for it].
“You think that two fobbit Yardies are going to manage what three dozen Taliban couldn’t, well fuck you and the banana boat you rode in on,” Speaking as she moves toward the door at speed, Collette ducks under the big man’s arm and before he can turn, she kicks the back of his knee causing his leg to buckle. Her same foot hardly touches the floor before it is launched at high speed and kicks him in the side of the head. A concussive snap from her elbow drives him to the floor. The other man stands almost motionless; his face frozen in shock, the only movement he shows is from his head as he looks at his unconscious friend, to the diminutive girl and back again.
Recovering from his shock, he holds his arms up in front of him and says “Whoa sistah, I an’ I is guwaan.” [Thank you for your hospitality, however I have just remembered a previous engagement that I must attend].
Collette walks back inside the house and says, “Jo, you’d better get that fucking kettle on, NOW.”
Jo transfixed by the momentary burst of activity, jumps at the word now and hurries to make tea. Collette turns and closes the door as Courtney struggles to his feet.
Kelvin still has not moved from the spot where Collette had pushed him to, Collette walks to follow Jo, pausing as she passes her brother and tapping him affectionately on the cheek a couple of times, she then gently tells him to go and put some “proper clothes on.”
He looks to his mistress for permission, an endorsement of the woman’s order, he sees mistress pouring hot water into the teapot, obeying the instruction he knows she has been given, if he were able, he would see the terror on her face. Indecision confounds him, he turns to go and change and then feels the need to return to mistress, for her to tell him what he should do. Several times he turns to her and then turns back until he sees his reflection in a framed picture and remembers his reluctance and shame and goes up to his room to change whilst trying to make sense of the evenings developing events.