Being hustled by road side beggars and young guys who insist on cleaning your car window screen as you wait at traffic lights is normal practice in Kingston. Everyone has to make living. You pay, get your window screen mopped with a dirty sponge and move along. But street hustling can turn violent very quickly.
Sometimes, you find yourself playing mediator between hustlers. In my case a young guy washing window screens and an older lady begging. Who can say who was on whose patch but he was shouting at her and she looked sad. Quit being mean man, I said in her defence, one love. He took it like a champ laughed and left. The other evening, as I waited at Matilda’s Corner, a beggar appeared and slammed a fist on my window screen. I’m no expert but that technique is never going to be a money spinner, I mused, turning up the volume on my favourite Justin Bieber song.
Beggar man then took street hustling to a new level and proceeded to punch my car bonnet. Such an incident can occur in any big city and whilst I’d rather have the man who licks your window to this aggressive fella. I decided to take prompt action. I released the hand break and rolled forward roughly 30cm whilst sounding the horn in the hope he’d stop. Then I ramped up the Bieber volume. ‘Cause I’m missing more than just your body‘, I sang loudly as bad tramp continued to perform various acts of badness upon my car. Bad tramp clearly wasn’t a Belieber as he attempted to break off my wing mirror.
Suddenly, a fellow driver comes to my rescue and I would like to tell that Jamaican man – thank you. Thank you for checking I was OK and for helping me. Unfortunately, bad tramp was still pushing for a fight at this point and chucked something at my Jamaican hero – who had had his window open. The Jamaican jumps out of his car enraged, points a gun at bad tramp. Suddenly there is also a second man stood infront of my car also pointing a gun at bad tramps friend (who had kindly come along to show solidarity to his chum). I decide the only sensible thing to do is duck down behind my steering wheel, avoid any stray bullets and continue my journey to KFC.