The Scammers -Chapter Two

by Stredwick
The Scammers

Austin Mitchell

Chapter 2

Syd was half asleep on his shop counter when he heard a car horn, waking him up. It was Cal! Syd jumped off the shop counter and greeted him.

“What happen, Cal? How you find me up here, man?”

` Cal shut the car door and the two men shook hands.

“Marge told me where you were.”

Syd walked around the seemingly brand new BMW.

“I like your wheels though. It seems brand new.”

“It’s the latest in the X series. That’s the latest and most expensive edition on the market.”

“You must be rolling in cash to be able to afford one of these.”

“Not exactly, but this is as a result of some wise investments.”

They had moved back to the shop and were sitting on stools.

“So how are things in this part of the world. The roads are very bad, man.”

“Yeah, I know, the trucks hardly want to bring any goods for us.”

“So where is Holly? I thought she would be down here with you.”

“Holly, no sir, I asked her for a child but she told me that I had to marry her first. I see lots of girls around the place having babies. I just sent her away. Right now is two baby mothers I have.”

“Since I went to Montego Bay I get two youths too, but it’s with one woman though.”

“When she came down here sometimes, she wanted to sleep in a separate room from me. I don’t quarrel with her or anything. I just waited until I was sure she was asleep before I left to sleep with one of my women.”

Cal laughed.

“I made sure that I returned before she woke up.’’

“So where is she now?” Cal repeated.

“I heard that she got married to a little Christian guy about four months ago.”

Cal digested this last piece of news about Holly.

“So you don’t want a drink?”

“Sid, I won’t distress you, but I have a little fridge in the car. I’ll get two stouts for both of us.”

Cal went to open his car trunk and get the two stouts. When he came back Syd was serving two female customers.

After the customers left and they were having the stouts, Syd said.

“God knows, you must feel proud. Imagine going to a dance, stage show or party and you can treat your friends to the liquor from your car trunk.”

“This is the way most of the top guys are operating these days. Some of them have sets in the back of their vehicle. They can hold a party anywhere. Car stereo contests are being kept regularly.”

Syd had heard and read about it in the papers.

“Cal, I need some help from you. I need a link, up here is too slow. I don’t want to stay in this place and rot. I want to go somewhere and make some real money.”

Cal looked around him at the dilapidated houses. Some were very much in need of a coat of paint. He noticed the overgrown hedges. It seemed that the district hadn’t yet recovered from the latest hurricane. He noticed that Syd’s shop and house were in need of repair and a coat of paint too. He couldn’t see any improvements to the building.

They had finished their stouts now. Cal went for two more.

“About how many years you’re down here, Syd?”

Syd thought for a moment.

“About four.”

“Another four, ten years and it’ll be the same. I want to get out of Oakley district, it’s the poorest part of Jamaica,” Syd lamented.

Cal took two swallows of his stout.

“I bet you never tell me who I saw down there?”

Syd drank some more of his stout.

“Who, Cal?”

“Think again, Syd.”

“I can’t come up with any names.”

Cal drank some more of his stout.

“Junjo, he’s so big, it’s a shame.”

“What, Junjo? It’s a lie you’re telling, Cal. Junjo living in Montego Bay. I doubt if he knows which parish it is in.”

“He’s down there all right. He’s driving a brand new Mercedes. He has his own business and lives in an upscale apartment.”

“I’m not calling you a liar, Cal but I find it hard to believe.”

Cal took out a cigarette and lit it. He lit one for Syd.

“If you never believe me first, I know you aren’t going to believe this. Junjo and Marge are married.”

Syd got up off his stool and went outside. He came back and stood in the shop’s doorway looking out. He turned to face Cal.

“But they had broken up after Marge discovered that he was a thief.”

“Well she doesn’t think so anymore. She’s driving a Toyota Rav 4 these days.”

“In just a little under four years Junjo and Marge achieve so much. I should

never have let Holly persuade me to come back down here. I’m glad I ran her away from me.”

A young woman came into the shop.

“Syd, what’s going on? Have you eaten lunch yet?”

Syd looked at his watch and realized that it was after one o’clock.

“Ariella, meet my brethren, Cal. Remember, I used to tell you about him. So have you brought lunch for me?”

“I hope it’s only good things he told you about me.”

Ariella, smiled and nodded.

She took some plastic containers out of a bag she had.

Syd and Cal were soon eating the meal of roasted fish and food. They were washing it down with coconut water.

“Ariella, come here, baby. Come and sit on my leg.”

The girl did as Syd requested. Cal could see that she was a beautiful girl of medium height and body. She was wearing a tank top and a jeans skirt and slippers.

The two men continued eating.

“Cal, this girl is my future wife.”

Cal swallowed some food before replying.

“If many more men taste her cooking, you are going to have trouble, Syd. Just for the food I’s marry her myself.”

Syd laughed and eased her off his leg.

“I won’t let you taste her cooking again.”

“You can’t do that to me, Syd. Don’t you have any more sisters, Ariella?”

“She has two older sisters, but they are both married and her younger sisters are both in high school.”

“Seems like I came at the wrong time in both cases,’’ Cal said and laughed as the both finished eating.

Ariella started to take up the dishes.

“I have some nice cousins,’’ she said and both Syd and Cal laughed.

“I’ll be back up here next month. You can introduce them to me then,’’ Cal said as the girl went inside to wash up the plates.

“Is she one of your baby mothers?”

“No man, those two girls live in other districts. Ariella is my main woman. I don’t plan to get her pregnant until I put a ring on her finger. She’s good to me. Sometimes she helps me out in the shop.”

Cal looked at his watch. It was a quarter to two.

“I’ll soon have to leave, Syd.”

Syd went to serve some customers as Ariella told them that she was returning home.

When Syd finished serving his customers he came to where Cal was standing near his car.

“Syd, I’m leaving now, but I’ll be back up here next month. I’ll be able to give you some more details about what’s going on down there.”

“I still can’t get over the fact about Junjo and Marge. Look what I did for that guy and he couldn’t give me a link.”

“I asked him several times. But he said you had threatened to go to the police about him.”

“He knows that I was only joking, but I’ll catch up with him.”

Cal got into his car.

“I’ll be seeing you Syd,” he said and drove away.

Syd watched the sleek movements of the burgundy colored car. What a powerful machine he thought. He had to get one or die trying.

That Sunday Syd went up to Bankie’s house to talk to him. He bought two ice cold bottles of stout at a nearby shop. As he and Bankie drank their stouts, Syd said.

“Tell me who came to check me on Thursday?”

Bankie gave him a blank stare.

“Cal, he’s driving a brand new BMW X5.”

Bankie stood up, then walked a few steps. He seemed to be in deep concentration. Finally, he re-took his seat.

“Are you serious about what you are saying, Syd?”

Syd took some more swallows of his stout before replying.

“He said that Junjo was down there. He’s driving a Mercedes and he and Mage are married. She’s driving a Toyota Rav 4.”

Bankie started to cough and then choke. Syd had to hit him in his back two times. He belched and held down his head.

“Are you all right, Bankie?’

“Yes, man, it’s just that I got a shock at what you just told me.”

“I’m shocked too. In four years they achieved so much. Cal even told me that Junjo has his own house.”

Bankie started coughing again.

“Mind yourself, you know, Bankie. Too many surprises are never good for anybody, no matter how young they are.”

“It’s all right, man, I can take it.”

They had finished drinking their stouts and put away the bottles.

“Cal promised to give me a link. He said he asked Junjo but he refused. But I must do him something when I reach down there.”

“Money must be lining the streets of Montego Bay,” Bankie remarked.

“I want some of it. I have a little queen whom I want to fix up regally. I want to drive one of those high end vehicles and I want her to drive one too,’’ Syd said.

Bankie called one of his sons and sent him to buy two more stouts.

Syd took a good look at the dilapidated building that Bankie called home. He knew that the man had only two rooms in this tenement yard.

“Don’t bother distress yourself, Bankie.”

“It’s all right, man, those two stouts won’t bore a whole in my pocket.”

The two men were sitting on a bench under a big mango tree. There was a cacophony of sounds in the yard as people went about their business. Women were getting dressed to go to the movies, roots plays, dances, stage shows and other places. He noticed the false hairstyles and the bleaching and the colorful clothes the women wore.

Presently the youth returned with the stouts and they started drinking.

“You ever used a gun, Bankie?”

“You forget that my brother, Nolan, was a top gunman for Stagger before the police shot and killed him.”

Syd remembered Nolan. The man must have killed about twenty persons, including policemen. Stagger was in prison serving life after being convicted on several murder charges.

“He used to show me how to use the guns. I went to the illegal ranges with him many times. I know how to fire some of the biggest guns that come into this country.”

Syd drank some more of his stout.

“Several bad men pass through Oakley district and sometimes they use the illegal range they have down there to practice. I go with them sometimes. I know everything about guns.”

Bankie drank some more of his stout.

“You think that you might have to use one when you go down there?”

Syd took some more swallows of his stout before replying.

“Based on what Cal told me. Junjo has his own gang. He’s going to try his best to keep us out. He might use his gunmen on us.”

Bankie got up and walked around the bench.

“I just can’t understand it. Junjo is driving a Mercedes, Cal is driving a BMW X 5 and Marge is driving a Rav 4. Those three vehicles cost more than eight million dollars each. Where they got so much money from?”

Syd came close to Bankie and whispered in his ears.

Bankie stood there nodding in acknowledgement of what Syd had just told him.

“They say that they’re in the import export business, but I know that they are scammers,’’ Syd said.

“I’ve heard about it, but I don’t understand how they make money from it.”

Syd finished his stout and put down the bottle on the ground. Bankie had also finished his stout,

“A whole heap a things you can do. All you have to do is to target some people who will believe what you tell them.”

“It’s not so simple as that.”

“I know, but I don’t want to say anything more until I go down there. I will see you, Bankie.”

The two men shook hands and Syd left for his more.

Two weeks later, Syd was seated on a bench in front of his shop talking to Ariella when a brand new Toyota Prado drove up and stopped. A medium sized man in his late twenties came out of the car and came over to them.

“You’re, Syd? Cal sent me to you. Can we talk somewhere?”

Syd looked the man over. He was expensively dressed. He had on chains, rings. Syd thought that he must have at least one hundred thousand dollars in jewelry on him.

“What’s your name and how did you know where to find me? How do I know that it was Cal who sent you to me?”

“I’m Keys, Delton Keys. Cal is one of my associates. You can call and ask him about me if you don’t believe me.”

The man took his cell phone, but Syd refused to take it.

“Syd, I’m going inside to lie down until you finish talking to this man,” Ariella said and departed.

The man went and opened up the back of the Prado and took out two stouts out of a small refrigerator.

Syd’s eyes lit up in admiration. He had to get one of those vehicles and begin living like these guys.

“Word got to Junjo that Cal came to look for you. He believes that he came to recruit you to work for his syndicate. I don’t know what you and Junjo have going on but he hates your guts.”

Syd drank some of his stout, Keys also drank some of his too.

“Junjo doesn’t want me down there. Is that what you’re trying to tell me? He can go to hell .”

Keys drank dome more of his stout.

“It’s very serious. Junjo is planning a hit on you.”

“Junjo is planning to kill me? But I haven’t done him anything.”

Syd drank some more of his stout. The bottle had nearly slipped from his hand. He looked at Keys but the man hadn’t noticed anything.

“That’s just it, you haven’t done him anything. He doesn’t want you to do him anything. He told everybody that you’re smarter than he. You have got to be on your guard, Syd. Look out for any strange vehicles in the area,” Keys warned finishing his stout and going to his SUV for two more bottles.

Keys drank some of his stout as did Syd.

“I told you that I didn’t know what the trouble was between you and Junjo. But I did hear that you went to his present wife with lies about him. He also accuses you of trying to take Marge away from him.”

Syd drank some more of his stout.

“I told her that he was a thief. I wasn’t telling a lie on him. They held him for shoplifting. It was I who got Cal to bail him. As for trying to take away his woman, that only occurred after she left him.”

Syd drank some more of his stout.

Keys finished drinking his stout and stood up.

“I hear that you have some nice girls up here.”

“You should have told me and let me tell Ariella to call one of her cousins.”

“I’m leaving, Syd. Cal will soon get in touch with you about the link,” Keys said and got into his car and drove away.

“Who was that guy, Syd?” Ariella asked as she came out of the house.

She took a seat on the bench beside Syd.

“Remember the guy who came to check me the other day. That guy is one of his associates.”

“So what did he want?”

“Remember the guy I told you about by the name of Junjo. He’s a friend of mine. He’s setting up something for me. Actually, he has a fast food restaurant and a nightclub. He’s thinking of expanding and wants me to come down there to help him.”

“Are you sure you’re telling me the truth? I hear it’s pure lotto scamming that goes on down there.”

“That’s what I heard too. I’ve checked out those guys and they’re only involved in legitimate business deals.”

“So are you going?”

“If I’m going to make more money, why not? I could leave you to run the shop for me. Don’t worry, baby, I’ll come up some weekends to look for you.”

“Suppose you find a new girl down there?”

“That won’t happen, baby. I have children with other women and yet it’s you I choose. I won’t let you down.”

She came and hugged him up.

To be continued.
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