It’s one of those subdued mornings in the hills, WorldSpace has got some appropriate classical piano sonata going in the background to fit the mood, the early morning sun’s rays haven’t made it through the cloud cover and even the birdsong is muted. Thankfully Java turned up, getting my mind off the heavy stuff that’s taken place recently and that tended to depress.

Heeeyy maaan, like I be tellin yo, yo shoulda tripped out wit me an Alice instead of gettin into all dat sheeet.

I knew better than to try to justify my stance – about how expression of dissent against what is perceived to be injustice is vital to democracy, so I let it be.

So Alice an I taut bout visitin Wonderland, but hearin bout all dat sheet dat was goin down dere we decide to give it a miss an instead made our way down to Bareass Boulevard and… guess who we be seein dere – Leon, dat ‘spam an jam’ dude. Remember him? Leon be sittin at dat bar an damned if he aint got dat manbag of his – da one wit dat ‘Rhydmic’ bran and dat emboss ‘Lose Proof’ on it, still dat same greasy-slick hair an dat pencil mustache, sippin his Chilean White. He be spottin us comin up to dat bar and he give us dat leery smile of his an do a double-take when he see Alice. Now Alice be sportin her ‘Alice B. Toklas’ look, you know, wit dat headband and hippie lookin get up and lookin reeal cool. So I greet Leon an introduce Alice to him and he can’t take his beady eyes off her. An den he say, charmin as ever in his slithery way an in dat scratchy voice of his:

Alice my dear, what a pleasure it is to make your acquaintance and I must complement Java on his taste in women. What would you like to drink?

Alice give me dis look an I see where she be comin from, but she say real sweet like:

I’ll have a Bloody Mary, thanks.

An she pull up a stool an sit by Leon. I aks for a Buddy an get anodder stool on de odder side of him. An Dan behin dat bar get me ma brew an be fixin Alice her Bloody Mary – jus like she aks him to, wit som extra Tabasco in it. I be seein dat Leon want to talk, even tho he be havin a hard time not lookin at Alice. An like I taut:

So Java, it’s been awhile huh? What have you been up to and where’s that beautiful Cher of yours?

He give Alice a quick sideways look:

Oh well, yo be knowin how it be wit me maaan – jus trippin aroun, shootin da sheet wit ma maan, seein ma frens, you know, da same ol toro pupu. An Cher – she be full of tanks fo dat little ol gift yo be layin on her, she done gone trippin to Europe, da States and places like dat fo a while, but she be back now an mos proly be at her pad.

Leon, he lean over to me an furtive like in ma ear he say in dat weird-ass voice of his:

Listen Java, I have an incredible project happening and it must be more than just a coincidence that I ran into you here, as you were the one that I had in mind. I know that Cher isn’t the type to recognise this type of an opportunity, but you my friend, are a different kettle of fish, not one to let a golden break like this pass you by.

He look back at Alice to find she be movin over to the odder end of da bar an be rappin wit Mr. Z. So he get back to my ass and say:

You know Java, Cher was right, the work I am involved in is not meant for people like her, there are too many getting hurt from the actions – although, ‘no pain, no gain’ right?

An den he made dat gurglin, scratchy sound as he laffed at his little ol joke, but I be wonderin what dis cat had in mind. So I let him get tru his laffin and wait fo his spiel, dig?

But you my friend are of a different breed, if you know what I mean, and I’m sure you’ll see the value of my little proposition. It’s so simple, a walk in the park – especially for someone who looks like you. Hey, no offence friend, I’m sure you know what I mean – with that hair of yours and that slightly different demeanor that you have, no one will even pay attention, leave alone suspect that anything unusual is going on.

Leon take anodder look at Alice, who still be rappin wit Mr. Z, but now I see dat Dingbat has also joined dem an dey be laffin dere asses off at something, and den he look to see if I be payin tennshun to his rap. He call Dan over an order more Chilean White and a Buddy fo me, gets his B & H Gold outta dat manbag of his and lite up one of his cigarettes wit my Zippo dat I had layin beside my pack of Drum. So I roll one up fo my ass an den he get back to his rap:

See Java, it’s like this. The people I work for pay good money for services rendered, but they do get very annoyed with incompetance and this is why, so far, I have been held in high esteem by them – because of the success rate of my endeavours. I won’t get into details, but suffice it to say, I have worked the ‘spam and jam’ to perfection for them. Lately, however, they have been running into some bad breaks and the mood in those corridors of power is not good at all. In fact, the mood is downright black, and if I may go so far as to say, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get much better from what little I could gather during my meetings with them.

He take a drag offa his smoke an downs anodder glass of Chilean White, I take a slug offa my Buddy an drag on ma roll-up. He check aroun fo Alice to see dat now she be nearly surrounded by Mr. Z, Dingbat an two or three odders and dey all seem to be havin da time of dere lives, laffin an sheet an makin a racket on dat side of dat Bareass Bar. It be lookin so good dat I be wonderin what da fuck I be doin listenin to ol Leon’s buuull, so I say:

Heeey maan, yo wanna cut to dat chase an tell me what yo be havin in mind, or I have to be  makin like dat shepherd, hear?

Leon give me one of dose long sufferin looks, dose dat are worth like a thousan words and den he go on:

Okay Java, I just wanted to give you a bit of background, you know – anyway, to make a long story short, what I have in mind for you is this. I need to find a way to ….

Just then there was a loud knocking on the gate outside and I wondered if the power was down or if whoever it was hadn’t noticed the bell. As I got out of the door heading for the gate there was another series of bangs and when I peeped through the spy-hole I could see this large lady on the other side looking very upset – and then I also get this unmistakable smell of rotting fish. So I open the gate and ask her what it is she wants and point to the bell. She gets taken aback, as if she expected someone else, so I think she has the wrong house when she says:

Does Java Jones live here?

As I turn around to go get Java, I think better of it (that rotten fishy smell is also getting to be too heavy to handle) so tell her that Java shows up once in a while but that he doesn’t ‘live’ here and ask if I can pass him the message.

Tell him it’s an important message from Leon.Tell him that Leon says the deal is off and to call him as soon as he can to the special number that he has and he will explain.

And with that she got back in her car and as I shut the gate wondering what it was all about, that overpowering smell slowly lessened. As I got in the door I could see that Java was on the phone and, as he saw me, gestured to indicate silence, as he continued his monosyllabic conversation with whoever was on the other side of the line.

Yeah….yeah…. ahha… dat right?….how com?….no sheeet maaan…..wooowww….uhhuh.. an den what happen?…okay, so da deal be off den? Heey, no problem maan. Later maaan.

Java hangs up and gives me this look of resigned relief, moves over to the sound system and gets some classical music on. I recognize a Vivaldi concerto when the violins start up and wonder about his mood. He gets to the stash and rolls one up and then gets back to where he was:

Know what maaan? Dat be Leon an he tell me dat da deal I was goin to tell yo ass bout is off an I mus say I ain’t disappointed, cos altho it be an easy-ass trip for a lotta bread, somehow I weren’t feelin too fuckin great bout it.

He hands me the doob, turns off Vivaldi, replacing it with Soft Machine – an old album from the mid-seventies that starts off with ‘Hazard Profile Part One’, gets back to his position on the divan, takes back the joint and drags deep. I’m not going to push him for the rest of the story, as I know better. We listen to the music for a bit, passing and dragging and dragging and passing and then:

So here’s da deal maan. A whole lotta dollars, an I mean a whole fuckin lotta dollars fo me to accompany his ass to the home of a powerful client and play da part of his overseas consultant. He say he be tellin me what to say and when to keep cool an all I gotta do be to hold his manbag and never let it outta ma sight. So I tink it be cool, an even tho I be knowin dat ol Leon aint to be trusted, I figure fo dat kinda bread – like da maan say – a walk in da park, maaan.

Java stops to turn the album over and gets another doob rolled while the sound of Soft Machine’sBundles’ fills the room. He gets back to his lounging position on the divan, not really looking too disappointed at the disappearing dollar bills.

An yo kno what Leon jus now call to say? He say dat dis client we were bout to check out got his ass blown up bout an hour ago. Security be called out so he be advisin us to keep our asses indoors today.

Bundles’ done, Soft Machine eases into ‘Land of the Bag Snake’, as Java looks immensely relieved.