76, Clancy's journey, an excerpt from the story.
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. Young Clancy was fast becoming one of the country’s topmost schoolboy football players, but then, his idol: Bob Marley died and Clancy’s life took a drastic turn.
76, Clancy’s journey is a work of fiction. Happy reading.
Here's an excerpt. Listen to it on the podcast too.
While he was still looking around and behind the car. With his head out the window. Debbie was to have said in a low tone of voice, “what took you so long?” Clancy, with querying surprise in his eyes. Pulled his head back inside the car. Looked across at Debbie who was now looking outside by way of the window on her side of the car. Clancy could not see her full facial view, nor her eyes.
He was to have looked up at the rearview mirror in the center top of the windshield and caught Devon’s eyes looking back at him. Before turning to look on either side of the vehicle by way of the outer rear view mirrors. As if nothing matters more to him at this point than the observance of the proper driving instructions which he would have learned in driving school. Oh, the silence was deafening.
Devon was the first to speak when they were well on their way towards Ewarton.
“You were awesome tonight dude,” he said. You absolutely nailed it.
“Yes 6, you killed it.” Said Debbie, while planting a soft but firm hand on Clancy’s thigh just above the knee.
“6? What team have you been cheering for? Nobody calls me 6. At least not anymore.”
“What do you mean by that, not anymore?” Debbie inquired.
“That’s what some folks used to call me until it started to cause confusion between me and Richie Reid. He plays for CC, that’s Clarendon College — by the way.” He would have hastened to say this before Debbie, fiercely protesting, was to have assured him that.
“I know what CC signifies. I’m not as dumb as you seem to think you know.”
“That was not what I was implying, I just wasn’t sure if you knew, seeing you are not…”
“Not what?” Debbie chimed in accusingly.
“Hold up, hold up.” Devon butted in before either of them got into saying things that they’d regret later.
“I’m sorry,” said Clancy, Debbie didn’t respond…
“Not from around here, I wanted to say.” Clancy continued.
“I am from here.” Debbie shot back, “Jamaican born and bred.”
Clancy did not utter another word, he realized there and then that he did not know enough about her. Should he have asked? Should he have tried harder, to get to know her a bit better? Is that the reason why she was so upset? She’s probably right to be, he thought to himself.
“You know what I was thinking back there at the club?” Ask Devon. “I was saying to myself that, it must have been that Heineken beer which you were there sipping on, which had loosened you up.
I never thought that I would ever see you drinking beer again after…”
“Hay, hay, don’t you even go there.” Clancy interrupted, but Devon was not about to stop before filling in all the juicy details for Debbie.
Debbie also, now sensing that she was about to be privy to something rather fantastic. It was all ears (and eyes) focusing on her cousin — Devon.
“The first time we ever saw him drink a beer, no, tasted a beer. That is the correct term here. We were on our way home from school one afternoon. Well, it was a whole bunch of us walking home, when we saw his dad drinking in a bar. Along with some of his co-workers from Alcan. Yeah! They all work there.
His dad called him in and offered him a beer…”
“It was a Red Stripe beer.” Clancy interjected, but Devon just continued rattling on…
“He tasted the beer, planted the bottle back down on the counter, and ran out of the bar. Spitting as he went along, and wiping his tongue on his shirt sleeve.
When we asked him why he did that, he said it’s because that thing tasted like piss.”
“How do you know what piss taste like?” Debbie asked.
“That’s what we all asked him at the time too,” said Devon. “His response was — it tastes like how piss smell.”
Clancy with his head thrown back onto the back of the car seat. Was not saying a word, he knew that he was not going to win in this little game of theirs.
He would just have to step aside now and allow both of them to exhaust the tickle. Or the tickle to exhaust them.
“Yu naaw guh a yu yaad bwuoy?” Devon asks, prompting Clancy to straighten up and look out of the window. He then realized that he was sitting in front of his own house on Charlton Drive.
Clancy reached for the doorknob to get out of the car. While sliding out, he grabbed his bag which was at his feet on the floor. “See you guys around sometime, perhaps.”
Before closing the car door. Debbie leaned over and said: “I suppose I’m not going to get an answer to that question — eh?”
“What took you so long? Dumb ass…” Devon shot back at him before hitting the gas pedal and speeding off.
Clancy threw his arms up in dismay, letting the bag fall at his feet in the same motion. While he was left standing there with nothing to do other than to watch the car as it goes.
He knew that they were laughing their faces off because. He could see the outlines of their upper bodies through the windshields. Ably aided by the street lights ahead. The motion suggests to him that they were having the time of their lives.
The car turned the corner and went out of sight. Clancy picked up his bag and went inside.
That night, although he was very tired from the events of the day. Clancy could not fall asleep. “What an eventful day it was?” He thought.
The game was tight, even down to the last minute. But we managed to pull it off. Sergio, the goalie, was exceptionally good that time too. He would have stopped not one, but two shots in the closing minutes of the game. Which could easily have tied the match and forced overtime.
The man-of-the-match award was well deserved as placed on him. Despite those who thought it should have been Clancy’s.
The bus ride back home was rather festive too. There was still there, a large group of people. They were waiting and getting ready for them to go and party at Dinthill when the bus arrived. But the team was exhausted and most just wanted to go on home.
Devon and Debbie were there sitting on the front doorsteps on the arrival of the bus.
They were as excited as all the others when the team disembarked off of the bus. But seeing how the crowd throngs them. They decided not to go and added more pressure on the boys. They remained seated until Clancy navigated his way through the crowd to come join them.
They both fell on his neck and hugged him. Then slowly they walked towards the parking area. Meanwhile, Clancy exchanges more pleasantries with his many adoring fans. Who (seemingly,) just wanted a little piece of him, like, to touch him.
It wasn't until the car pulled up into the parking lot at Club Jamaica that Clancy knew they were not going straight home. “Just a small pit stop,” Devon assured him.
There was no mistaking him. He was there, the coach. But other than for his brother. Who was, like, the extra man on the team since, (he’s always there somewhere around the team.) other than him, though. Clancy was the only other member of the team, or in particular, the only player there. And the coach would have lost no time in reminding him: “no drinking, you hear?”
From that point on, it was like a cat-and-mouse game between the two of them. Clancy tried hard to conceal his drinks from him.
At one point, the coach was to have caught up with him. With a drinking glass still in his hand. Clancy said that it was a baby sham. “Hm-hm,” grunted the coach, as he was walking away, and turning around at about halfway across the room. He was to have looked Clancy square in the face while pointing his index and forefinger at his own eyes. And then at Clancy’s and back again, as if to say: I am watching you — chum.
Clancy and his friends would have reasoned later on that: that was directed squarely at the on-lookers around him. Those who may later come forward and accuse him of allowing the boys on his team to drink alcoholic beverages. Rather than it being directed at Clancy personally.
There was never any further intervention coming from the coach for the entire evening.
Clancy had a great time there at the club. Including getting himself put on the spot to sing. But he had was to admit that, he enjoyed it.
Not so much so for the ride home though. He’d missed out on what Debbie was saying to him, and looked rather clumsy in the process too.
He almost got himself dragged into a quarrel with her, and then. They were to have had their belly-full of laughter, all at his expense.
But it wasn’t all bad, Clancy deducted. Debbie didn’t leave for home still mad at him. He knew that much by the way she seemed to be enjoying the jokes. All the way home. And if there was yet any doubt. She would have asked for the answer to the question of the earlier evening, as the last thing before leaving for home. Which suggested to him that the question was still relevant and the answer, much to be desired.