By Annabel Schofield

By Annabel Schofield

Chapter 1: Ocho Rios, Jamaica 1982

 Angelika was perched at the bar of the Shaw Park Hotel drinking a lethal rum punch and surveying the scene. Sweet, hypnotic lovers’ rock played and she instinctively swayed to its sultry rhythm. It was her first trip to the Caribbean and she couldn’t believe her luck. They were paying her to be here! Angelika had started modeling just two years earlier, and now, at eighteen she was virtually at the top of the game. It had been a hard slog at the beginning. The move to London in the coldest winter in decades – a frosty city to the outsider at the best of times; plus her Sisyphean battle against the industry standard of anorectic-thin and Amazon-tall had been exhausting. Angelika was shorter than the average clotheshorse and boasted an unfashionably healthy pair of tits, but she was blessed with a heart-stoppingly lovely face featuring strange reflective silver eyes that changed colour with her moods, coupled with a flinty will to succeed. She had experienced endless rejection from the cat’s-arse-mouthed celibates who ran the better magazines, but she had persevered. They were lapping out of her hand now, whether they liked it or not. Angelika’d had something to prove and she’d decided a while back that she was never going home again.

           The luxuriant night air was fecund with the scent of jasmine, jerk chicken and Coppertone after-sun lotion. The moonlit ocean gently teased the shore mere footsteps away. How romantic, thought Angelika, looking around, self-consciously trying to ignore the fact that she was the only single person present. To be sure, every man in the place had checked her out, and every woman had glowered cattily in her direction; but married, balding guys were simply not her speed. Angelika was yearning for adventure. She’d just read “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and her current aspiration was to be the female Hunter S. Thomson. An almost sexual throb of anticipation tingled inside of her.

             “Another one, please.” Smiled Angelika, passing her empty glass to the barman. The lovely man complied and obviously smitten, mixed her an extra strong cocktail.

             “Cheers!” she said to herself and after hastily draining the liquor, she sighed, relaxing. From somewhere down the beach wafted the heady smell of sensimila.  Angelika closed her eyes and breathed deeply, hoping in vain for a contact high.

             “Angel, there you are!” Angelika opened her eyes and exhaled. It was Peter. “Darling, Angel, light of my life!” Angelika grinned. Peter was the photographer on this job and he was a fashion industry legend, not necessarily for his artistic talent, but more for his equine constitution in the face of illegal substances.

                Peter's location trips were never dull and his models were generally chosen for their liberal outlooks and strong livers rather than their extraordinary physical attributes. Luckily, Angelika had all these qualities in spades. She grinned, marveling at Peter's perpetual pallor. He was sweating profusely, but to be fair, he sweated profusely in Clerkenwell in February. 

                  “Well, here comes trouble.” laughed Angelika, kissing him on both clammy      cheeks. She then surreptitiously wiped her lips with a napkin. The barman automatically  placed a double vodka and tonic in front of Peter, who gulped it down gratefully.

          “Angelika, darling, you have to come with us; Sophie, Raphael and I are going to the soccer place for some more good news. Are you in? Are you in? You have to come, mummy, you're the voice of reason. Please, please, please?” Peter pulled his best reproachful puppy dog face and Angelika smirked.

          “When I'm the voice of reason, Peter, you know you're fucked.  ‘Good news’ …and what pray tell is that?”

         Peter leaned in theatrically. She could smell the stale marijuana stink on his breath. “Charles, charlie, blow, nosebag, Bolivian marching powder...”  The thought of cocaine induced an involuntary frisson of excitement and Angelika shivered. Tonight was most definitely not going to be dull. 

         “Good news, indeed,” she laughed. “Lead on, Dr. Thompson....”

Angelika sat on the polythene - covered back seat of the rental car as it careened down the rutted, unlit back streets of Ocho Rios. She was jammed uncomfortably against the side door, as Raphael, Sophie’s weasly, Italian playboy boyfriend seemed hell-bent on sitting on top off her. Peter drove like a dervish, keeping up an hilarious stream of consciousness for the general edification of the passengers while simultaneously smoking a fat, reeking spliff. Sophie, a beautiful, posh and extremely wasted blonde rode shotgun while staring enigmatically into space.

             Raphael’s rank breath slithered wetly into Angelika’s naked and vulnerable ear canal. “Carina mia, you remind me very much of my sister. She ees very, very sexy.”

             Angelika wiped her ear, grimacing, “A close family. How touching.”

             Raphael imperviously leaned over and grabbed Peter’s shoulder. “Peter, Pietro, amore, I have much respect for you as photographer. It ees noble profession to make everlasting the perfect moment in zis shitty imperfect life...”

             Angelika caught Peter’s incredulous glance in the rear-view mirror and she rolled her eyes as he suppressed a giggle. Angelika tried desperately to find some common ground with someone in the vehicle. “When did you guys meet, Sophie?”

             Sophie, who was patently incapable of entertaining two conflicting trains of thought did not respond. “Peter, darling, we’re here.” she drawled, sounding rather like she should be ordering high tea for Prince Charles at The Dorchester.

             Peter stopped the car. It was dark as fuck outside. Dancehall reggae thumped from a ramshackle edifice set back from the road adjacent to a scrubby field. Peter who was noisily grinding his teeth turned to Raphael.

             “Raphael, come with me. Girls, hold the fort. Or the Ford. Whatever.” He giggled manically and exited the car. Raphael, after another futile attempt at a kiss, finally staggered after Peter into the fetid blackness.

             “What was that, darling?” murmured Sophie into the rear view mirror, finally registering something other than her own gorgeous self.

            “You and Raphael? When did you meet?” continued Angelika. Sophie had to put some serious thought into this.

            “Um, last weekend? Tramp, I think. Fucks like a stallion. Huge prick for such a skinny guy.”

            The very thought of Raphael strutting around naked with a stonking erection conjured up a nauseating image that even brave Angelika couldn’t stomach.     
           “Spare me the details, Soph.”

           “No, I'm serious, darling, you really ought to try him sometime.” 

           How generous, thought Angelika. “Great. Thanks, I'll bear that in mind. Can you turn the radio up a bit?”

           After an eon of fiddling with the dial, Sophie’s expensive Bedales education finally kicked in and a local reggae station started to vibrate joyously from the tinny speakers.

            Angelika leaned back against the sticky plastic seat, lit a Marlboro and closed her eyes, calmly grooving to the spidery, sensuous rhythm. Several heavenl, peaceful minutes passed and then, “Angelika, darling, we’ve got company...” whispered Sophie.   

            Angelika opened her eyes and squinted out the window. A police van containing eight muscular Jamaican policemen was idling ominously close to the Ford. The driver leered hungrily at the girls.

            “Fuck.” muttered Angelika, as a bolt of visceral panic shot through her system.The driver slowly exited the van, sauntered over and leaned into the open front passenger window of the Ford, while pointedly flexing his biceps.    

            Sophie vacuously fluttered her eyelashes and pouted at him. Angelika stubbed out her cigarette and attempted her best Julie Andrews.

            “Good evening, Officer...”

            The cop's eyes lustfully raked Angelika's face and body.“Now what are dese two lovely young ladies doing out here at this late hour?”

            “Um....our car broke down, sir?” said Angelika hopefully.

            The cop evidently found this statement side-splitting. Two other policemen exited the van, carrying hulking rifles and adjusting their not inconsiderable crotches. The first cop turned to the others.

            “Dem car broke down...” he parrotted and they all had a jolly good laugh at that.

            Suddenly he turned deadly serious and leaned in further.  “Now, I and I na tink you tellin I the truth, seen? Now why don't y’all tink again? Wha' happen wid dees two beautiful, lonely ladies? You tink now.”The cop swaggered back to the others. The three men stood talking quietly, glancing over at the girls and making crude sexual gestures. The remaining cops then silently exited the van, shouldering their weapons.

            Angelika pointedly prodded Sophie.  “Drive, Soph.”

            “Darling, I took a Quaalude,” slurred Sophie, “I'm totally wasted.”

            Angelika, frantic now, urged the blonde, “Sophie, I can't fucking drive. Pull your shit together, please.”

           “Darling...” a reproachful Sophie slid languidly into the driver’s seat.  At that moment, the first cop returned and leaned back into the window. His tone was suddenly ice-cold and his eyes were opaque with a dangerous mixture of hatred and desire.

            “You ever fuck a real righteous black man? That's what you white bitches come here for, truth?” Sophie's stoned eyes registered fear. She turned the key and  the car finally sputtered into life.

            “GO!” screamed Angelika. The Ford fish-tailed down the dirt road, scattering the stunned cops. Sophie was suddenly sober and scared shitless.  
            “Christ, Angelika! What the fuck am I supposed to do?”

            “Keep going,” replied Angelika, “turn the lights off, head for that parking lot down there. C’mon!” Angelika stared out the back window, the van was following, about thirty meters back. She suddenly realized that she had never felt more alive.

             “Jesus, Angelika, you're awfully good at this.” said Sophie, awed.

             Angelika had a distinct realization that this was true. Maybe she’d missed her calling; as a young girl, she’d had leanings to become an international super-spy, but had realized early on that she wouldn’t stand up well under torture. Shaking off the innocent memories, she rapidly impelled her thought processes back to the threatening present.

             Charlie’s Angels, big fan, small town, not much else to do. Quick, take this turning. Park over there and cut the engine.”

             Sophie steered the Ford into a dark lot, then slowed and parked between two pick-up trucks.

             “Head down, Soph.” Angelika peered through the condensation on the back window. The cops’ van glided past the parking lot and disappeared like a hungry shark into the darkness.

             Angelika finally got her breath back and spoke. “Fuck me.” 

             Sophie looked back at Angelika. “Well that was a major buzz kill.” Angelika and Sophie both started to giggle uncontrollably. 

             “Shit, Sophie. What about the guys?” asked Angelika finally. The girls abrubtly stopped laughing.
Peter was tapping his foot spastically to the heavy dub reggae that was pounding from the bass speakers in Oswald the Dealer’s ‘office’. The wooden shack was sporadically lit by a bare light bulb that swung drunkenly, casting twisted shadows on its occupants; six powerful, sinewy Jamaican males who lounged on benches, dressed in soccer kit replete with intimidating bulges visible through the shiny fabric of their nylon shorts. They were intently smoking and passing a huge chalice of herb while pointedly ignoring Raphael and Peter.

             Obese, nattily-dressed and exuberantly coiffed, Oswald the Dealer sat impassively behind his ‘desk’ - a two by four supported by a pair of enormous sub woofers. He was painstakingly ladling a glistening white powder with a desert spoon from out of a large, clear plastic ziplock bag into a crude square piece of paper that had been ripped from the pages of a porno magazine. An enthusiastic and physically challenging blowjob was featured on this particular piece.

             Peter stood nervously and started to pace the room, tugging at his prematurely thinning hair. Oswald continued the measure slowly, quietly relishing his momentary power over the white man. He indicated the six athletes as he spoke.

             Dem boys dere na but de cream of de crop, seen? Dem boys na tease. Dem watch all dem European soccer matches, mon. Satellite an ting, seen? Dem boys take nuttin’ but the best shit an' dis ‘ere is dem real pure shit, seen, white boy?

              Peter nodded, desperate to move the deal forward and to get the fuck out. Oswald, with Zen-like attention to detail, had started  to fold the cocaine-filled paper into a small and extraordinarily pornographic envelope.

              “Where dem ladies, now, say?” continued Oswald, “I seen dem wid you before.”

             Peter jumped, “Well, er...Oswald, um...I believe they're back at the hotel. Fast asleep. Nice girls. Lovely girls. Very innocent. Never been abroad before.” Peter shot a look at Raphael, who was covetously eyeing the sensimila - filled pipe. 

             “Dem in dem magazine an ting?” asked Oswald.

             “And ting. ‘s. Yes. Ya mon.” answered Peter, trying his hand at the local vernacular in an attempt to create some sort of semantic bond with this big, scary and very possibly heavily armed man.

             “Dem in dem porno?” leered Oswald. The soccer guys sniggered, suggestively. Peter hurriedly fished a wad of damp twenty dollar bills from out of his pocket.

             “No, no, no, mon...nuttin like that.  Mon. Here's the money, cashola, deniro.” Peter slapped the pile of soggy notes onto the table. Oswald greedily eyed the money and swiftly palmed it.

             In the far corner of the room, Raphael, who was incabable of tolerating another moment of being ignored, grabbed the pipe from his neighbor and sucked the powerful smoke down hard. The place erupted. Within moments he was surrounded by huge, athletic soccer players, their previously concealed knives and machetes already drawn. Oswald stood calmly, and with a well practised move, reached behind the desk for something. Peter lunged for the envelope of coke and cocked his fingers into a pistol approximation.

             “Nobody fucking move!” he screamed, “Raphael give the fucking pipe back.” Raphael immediately complied. The soccer guys and Raphael were all momentarily stunned by Peter's obvious insanity.

             “We're so fuckin' out of here! Don't one of you bastards move!” yelled Peter and then Raphael and Peter backed screaming out of the shack.

             The soccer guys looked to Oswald who casually fingered a sawn-off shotgun.

             “Dat white boy, ‘im crazy. I an' I like ‘im style.” He started to guffaw. 

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