Java was bemused after his run-in with the Secret Agent. It had all been quite accidental, but the possible repercussions were threatening his peace of mind and that, to Java, was a major bummer. It all started, as he related, when he was sitting at the Bareass Bar with his brew in hand, mulling over the prospects of another day with The Cherry Lady aka Cher.

Know whaat maaan? Dis all be yo fault. If yo hadn’t got me to help Cher out wit her sundry chores – dis be da last time ever, hear?

Anyways, so dere I was, brew in hand an smokin one of ma speshul roll-ups when up come dis dude an sit right nex to me. Sheeet! An I be da only one sittin dere. So I’m tinkin, dis cat gotta be eider gay or he be feelin reeel lonely an want som company, but I say nuttin – jus sit dere tokin ma smoke and sippin ma brew. Da man aks da bartender for a bottle of Chilean White an I can see he be checkin me out. I’m sittin dere pretendin I be engrossed in da Sarah Vaughn blues number dat ol Mo got goin in his sound room an I pay no tennshun. Den, his com on line:

Hey mister, got a light?

I turn roun and get ma fust good look at da man – pretty weird lookin dude – Levis, an wearin one of dose faded Trishaw Mafiosi tee shirts dat say Arrack Attack, ratty lookin pair of thongs, broad belt wit dis heavy outlandish buckle dat (I checked it out later) said Wild West Rodeo an had a buckin bronco in relief in da middle of it. His face look weathered and like somting outta a Humphrey Bogart movie – one of dose baad-ass mah fuhs – pencil mustache an all dat sheet, his hair be combed back – black an greasy slick.

So I feel aroun in ma pocket fo ma Zippo an flash him a flame – he be smokin B & H gold pack – an he lights up. Den he stick out his big ol hand an say in dis reeely weird-ass near falsetto-voce:

Thank you very much and what is your name my friend?

All in one go. Fust I near fell off dat stool at da soun of dis weird voice an den, getting ma sheet togedder an tryin to be soo cool, I tell him. He goes:

Java huh? What kind of name is that and where are you from?

He speak fast an witout much spresshun – an dere’s still no one else at dis bar. Mo has replaced Sarah wit Ella Fitzgerald doin ‘Thou Swell’, an her indescribable voice – it float tru dat open space, catch dat gentle breeze dat be blowin tru dose Araliya branches an com right up an blow pass us two at dat bar.

Dats ma Rasta name maaan. Yo be hip ta Rastafarians?

He look puzzle-ass an amused at da same time – if dats possible. On second tauts, I know I should’n have aks him dat an carry on da conversashun. Anyways, he replies:

Isn’t that some kind of cult from….

Yeah!

An I get back ta ma brew and take anodder deep hit from dat roll-up – now reaching da butt end, so I grind it out in da ashtray on da bar. I see him lookin at da stub, kinda curious. I shine him on an take anodder gulp of brew. He moves his bar-stool closer and lowers his voice:

Listen Java, you look like a pretty interesting fellow, how would you like to be of service to…

He looks around sorta furtive like, and jus den I hear dat familiar husky tone of our very own Cherry Lady:

Hey Java, sorry I’m late sweetheart, but I swear I’m going to make it up to you, okay?

She pulls up a stool and goes:

Say who’s your friend?

Jus what I needed – thanks be! I turn to da dude an say:

Hey maan, I didn catch yo name, dis is ma fren Cher who I be waitin on all dis time.

He’s checkin out Da Cherry Lady. He start from her legs, all shapely an fine, den go up her short skirt, check out her belly-button (she gotta have one of da cutest too!), his eyes be travellin up her midriff an den to her ample tits – nipples strainin agains dat tight-ass blouse of hers. His eyes linger dere for a bit an den he check her face out an smile his leery-ass smirky grin an say:

Pleased to meet you I’m sure, my name is Leon.

I see how Cher reacks to his weird vocal aberrashun, but she manages to control herself. She gives me dis look dat speak a whole slew of words, so she don have to say nuttin – we have dis unspoken language we do wit looks an vibes

Leon slips his hand into his pocket, pulls out dis card an gives it to me. Leon De Lay, it say – CEO, Spam & Jam Co. Ltd., Dealers in Spread for Bread. Gets me wonderin if dis ‘bread’ mean da reel ting or if it be da hip euphamisom fo ‘$$$’, but I say nuttin an put da card in ma pocket.

I’m looking for investors and also partners that can help with establishing my business, so if you are interested let’s get together sometime and discuss the possibilities. It’s a great business that I set up some time ago in Los Angeles and we deal in security and related areas of investigation and such. There’s lots of potential in this country and lots of money to be made.

He give us dis look of expectashun, waitin fo us to reack. Cher, curious as she be, can’t resist:

Just what is it that you really do? And ‘spam and jam’ and ‘spread’? Sounds like some processed food that you are dealing in – what does this have to do with security and investigation?

Leon gives us a whinny-giggle – sound weirder dan anyting I be hearin in a loong time, maan and den he say:

Weeelll, you know how it is in this type of work, one can’t be tooo obvious. ‘Spam & Jam’ has more to do with disinformation and inhibiting communications than with food. We do a lot of very secretive work with government agencies and private establishments, so with the current ‘situation’ in the country, my contacts have put me onto some very important people here who are happy to use the services I provide. It’s an opportunity to make significant contacts and lots of money.

Yo mean like detective work, maaan?

A little bit, I guess, but really it is more in the area of espionage and that sort of thing.

Cher flashes dat ‘look’ at me an she turn back to Leon:

So why is it you picked on Java and me?

Weeelll, see when I was making my preliminary research and analysis about this city and the types that would fit into my scheme of things, I found that a good place to make contact with a variety of people that are not really ‘run of the mill’ was this Bareass Bar and then the first time I walk in I see Java and think to myself – this has got to be auspicious, just look at that chap – and then a bit later you walk in! Just the very types I’m looking for and know will fit in with my line of work, so what do you say? Interested in hearing more?

Cher an I, we exchange ‘da look’– an dis one means dat she wants me ta take dis over. Meanwhile da Bar is slowly fillin up wit da Saturday morning regulars tricklin in. Mitty checks us out an waves, Bastin an his lady walk tru da courtyard but dey don see us jus den. Leon looks at us, impatient for our reackshun – his beady eyes shiftin between Cher an me.

Saay maaan, dis almos soun like a ‘dirty tricks’ type number to me. Is dis all legal sheeet yo be into? An what kind a re-mun-a-ray-shun yo be talkin bout here?

Leon gives us anodder of dose whinny-giggles an in his weird-ass voice:

Hell no my friends. This is all very much above board and extremely kosher – if you know what I mean. In fact, I have the entire cooperation of the most important members of your government, as well as some of the most reputable organizations in the country. I have even been approached (he lowers his voice) by the ‘other side’ – he gives Cher a wink – you know who I mean!

Den, before we know waaz goin down, he gets dis drum shaped ‘man bag’ out. It be a sleek lookin leather job dat has a brass tag dat say ‘RHYTHMIC’ (da brand, I guess) on it and at da lower left hand corner, a small embossed ‘LOSE PROOF’ – damned if ah know why! He unzips one seckshun an takes out dis brown paper package. He carefully open up one end an give us both a look, his eyes going back to dat package. Sheeet maaan, it be a whole bunch of hundred dollar bills – all green an crisp. An den he say:

There’s a whole lot more from where that came, so just say the word and we can take a drive to my hotel where I can fill you in and we can talk.

Cher and me – we do anodder of our ‘unspoken’ number wit dem vibes and look, an den, just as I am bout to tell dis cat dat maybe we can meet anodder time as we have som important work dat Cher have to get done today, dis big ol dude come up do da bar an tell Dan to get him a sandwich an a glass of red wine. He looks at Cher an me an he nods. Dis is a big-ass guy maan, swarthy, nearly black in complekshun, close cropped hair, heavy-ass mustache an dat hard-edged look dat only a certain type be havin. I nod at him in return and den look back to respond to ma maan Leon, to see him headin fo da men’s room, his Rhythmic ‘Lose Proof’ man bag slung over his shoulder. An dere, by his bottle of half-full Chilean White is his brown-paper package.

Da heavy lookin dude gets his wine an tells Dan behind da Bar to send his sandwich to his table, he give us a look an moves away. Da Cherry Lady an I do da ‘look’ number between us again, understandin perfeckly what each other is thinking. I leave her at da Bar wit ma brew, Leon’s wine an dat brown-paper package full of dose hundred dollar bills an go off to check da men’s room. I open dat door an dere’s no one dere – no sign of Leon. So I get back to Cher at da Bar – she jus look at me an she knows! We wait dere a while shootin da shit bout dis, dat an de odder while havin our drinks, but all da time wonderin bout Leon an his trip – not to menshun dose hundred dollar bills. I pull out his card an see a number, e-mail address an website on it, so I call da number an da voice on de odder side say dis number be out of service. Cher checks out dat website on Mitty’s laptop – no such animal! So we send Leon a mail an a few minutes later dat Mailer Daemon informs us dat da mail is undeliverable. So Cher an I, we finish our drinks, Cher puts dat package in her big ol bag, we wave bye-bye to Mitty, Bastin an Dan behind da Bar and walk out. As we pass da big-ass heavy lookin dude he nods at us again – an we leave.

So da Cherry Lady and I, we do her chores wit not a word spoken about Leon or his bread.

Java fixes himself a joint, gets up and gets the sound going – Jethro Tull – ‘Too old to rock and roll but too young to die’. Ian Anderson’s always good for some literary lyrics and near manic fluting. We get into the music and watch, as the smoke makes wispy patterns against the paneled ceiling

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