Excerpt of “Her Fruitful Shore”
by Brian Reeves
“Take us somewhere people rarely go.”
The two American men sit across from Delroy, fanning themselves and sweating. Inside the rum shack it is hot and the cheap plastic chairs stick to the skin. An oscillating fan perched on a table gives short moments of relief.
Delroy takes a sip from his sweating Carib bottle and sets it on the plastic table. When he speaks to the men, he dulls his Jamaican patois. “What you like? Fishing? I know a nice hole out pon the reef. Deep. You can catch all manner of fish. Good for snorkel or scuba, but me nah rent out them things.”
The two men shake their heads. The other one, the one with the buzzed blond hair, says, “We just want a secluded beach. Our girlfriends would like to do a little tanning. Maybe go swimming all by ourselves. You know, that sort of thing.”
“I know the place you want.”
“You want carry there, gone cost eight thousand.”
“That’s pretty steep,” the first man says. “That’s, what, a hundred and fifty bucks?”
Delroy shrugs. “Going out that far burn plenty petrol.”
The men take out their wallets. Delroy sees their credit cards, photos of smiling white families, dog-eared business cards. Between them they sort out their shares, putting together a pile of colorful Jamaican banknotes, placing them in Delroy’s cracked, pale palm. He gazes down at the images of Michael Manley’s face. For a moment he thinks of war in Arnette Gardens, shots in the night. Then he tucks them into his shorts pocket.