It’s only just gone 8pm when I leave Juicy Patties, the Jamaican equivalent of the Cornish Pasty shop, I pop the paper bag of artery hardening treats on the passenger seat and set off home. Arthur’s Theme is playing and I’m singing along happily and loudly, I decide not to run the almost red traffic light as I’m busy lamenting Arthur Bach’s peril of being caught between the moon and New York City.
Almost instantly, a mans face appears pressed against my car door window, I’m on a dark side street and it’s like something from the Caribbean version of Blair Witch Project. I jump, do a weird scream and tell him to move on. I then return to singing along to Arthur’s Theme. Money, he shouts, gimmeh money, banging his fist hard on the window. I am friend of tramps but I don’t recall seeing this guy before. Now, he is really hammering on my window aggressively with what looks like a half filled bottle of Ting. Stop that at once, I yell. It then hits me, the horrible crushing thought and I can’t remember if I’ve broken rule 101 of Kingston car safety and not locked the car door on entry. I try to feel the lock button on the door but get confused and open a back window instead. I’m pretty certain he rudely laughs at my musical taste.
Bad tramp has now pressed his whole body against my door and as I glance down in the direction of the lock, he does too and in that split second I realise I’ve been busted and the car door clicks open. At this point many things should be going through my mind, the disregard for such a powerful song for starters. However, the predominant thought is Homer Simpson like: I only have four small patties (beef and vegetable selection) and I haven’t eaten all day.
I take decisive action and press my foot down hard on the accelerator and perform what feels like a Starsky and Hutch swerve around the corner onto a very quiet Hope Road. Though, on reflection I don’t think I get above 10mph so it’s less of a swerve and more of a gentle turn. Both I and my patties are safe.
Several days later, bad tramp reappears foaming at the mouth with mango juice and throws himself across my car bonnet as I wait at a set of lights at 6am on a Sunday morning. He’s writhing around, screaming to be taken to hospital. When I say ‘no’ confidently (and also a few choice expletives) knowing the doors are locked this time. He jumps off again and walks away smiling and I drive away happy that he’ll likely not bother me again.