Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Some like it ROUGH

Or shall I call him Courtney? In hindsight, that name seems downright ridiculous. He will always be "Rough."

I can't recall if I met Rough during that tumultuous Accidental Weekend but odds are that he was drifting in and out of that experience, well below my radar, somewhere in the background.

Rough eventually became a constant fixture on my Jamaican landscape.

Rough could sleep on a two-by-four propped up on two piles of bricks. And if he tumbled off during the night, he'd drop asleep again before the dust settled. Man need fi sleep, so 'im jess sleep.

He once rode as the passenger on the back of a Ninja, as Peter drove them like one lightnin' ball from Westmoreland to Kingston, with speeds reaching above 120 mph. Big deal, you say? Mebbe so, but Rough would ride upon the back of that bike, lean his head gingerly against Peter's back and quickly fall fast asleep. Man need fi sleep, so 'im jess sleep, even at over 100 miles per hour.

But I remember that Rough liked his ladies soft. The bredren would chide him, tell him to clean himself up if he wanted to find a nice 'ooman. They'd scoff, "yuh frownsey, mon, yuh greeen an yuh need fi go bade" and hurl soap at him. But he didn't seem to lack for the ladies' attentions, particularly the full-figured women. Rough liked his ladies "mampey-sized". He couldn't have been much more than 5 foot 5 himself,  small in stature, but he loved those ladies who tipped the scales at well over 250 pounds.

I remember driving through Mobay with Rough in the back seat, the windows rolled down, of course, and listening to his commentary on the various ladies we passed. He suddenly leaped up and leaned half-way out the window, shouting "Heeeey, MY-Size!" to an enormous woman who was slowly strolling along the shoulder of the road. They grinned at one another and she waved at him as we sped off.

He eventually made it to the States. The paperwork was a bit shady, in typical Rough fashion, but it got him here. He had a baby mother and young daughter in Canada and hoped to work his way northward and settle down. Ahh, we thought, but he was still Rough. How would America treat him, and how would his rough ways serve him so far away from home?

Sadly, not too well.

Rough was stabbed to death in a San Francisco coffee shop.

There will always be someone else who is tougher than tough, rougher than rough.

Some Like It Rough
Ink and watercolor on paper
Print available here.


Anonymous said...

Oh no...I was happily reading your beautiful story about Rough then it had such a sad ending, poor guy. I love your words as much as your pictures. x (thats for Rough)x(and thats for you)

Anonymous said...

Well, there are people in our lives whose luck runs that way. We are (many of us) lucky to still find ourselves here. I can think of some people like Rough, none of whose fates I could have changed. Too bad.

Ron Southern

bj said...

Ah, yes, VK. Beautiful painting! I knew him as Ras I and a few other names as well. You are so right about the sleep and may he Rest In Peace.