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The Fop of the West Indies
Misfit was christened Winston Edward III no doubt while I and II looked on with pride at the heir apparent. Possibly that was the genesis of his claims to pre-eminence. He may never have said it but his attitude shone brighter than words.
They quickly diagnosed his superiority complex. While other boys played soccer and cricket, he went off for his morning’s tennis with one a Professors. His father was reputed to be the Commissioner of Police on a Caribbean Island. It was only natural that they kept their distance.
With each passing day the animosity grew. It worsened worse at the discovery that he drank wine; a most un-Caribbean pastime. Doubtlessly this was intended as an insult Rum.
His sartorial presentations were contrary to the prevailing mode. Young men just out of religious schools and with miles of water protecting them from the onslaught of their mothers, quickly grew unkempt beards and sprouted Dread Locks. Sparkling white shorts and shirt atop glittering white tennis shoe was an aberration. And so aversion gradually gave way to hatred.
Deep in their hearts the girls bore their own private grudge. It was too painful to be revealed to each other, least of all to the boys. He was a handsome—very handsome. That is but for a tiny lisp, which in their sight quickly deteriorated from sexy to emasculating. He was rich. He never dated any girl from the Hall. They had long enjoyed the privilege of being outnumbered two to one by the men. Thus, even the most homely girl was in demand. The agriculture and engineering faculties created a domination of male.
His flagrant rejection grew unbearable. He brought outside women into their home. Was none of them good enough? They consoled themselves with the notion that they would not have wanted him. They had, however, been denied their right of refusal.
Winston was often in the company of what even his worse enemy would describe as “Prime Beef”, the agricultural derived vernacular of the day for a good looking woman. This served to heighten the revulsion felt toward him. The rumour started that he was homosexual. The proof of which was his lisp. To make matters worse he was a good student. This was unusual for a lisper. Slow lips slow brain.
To add insult to injury he registered another onslaught against them and their values by playing Puccini. Music was Reggae or Calypso. They were definitely open to all musical forms. Barbados’s Spouge and St Lucia’s Cadence were allowed at parties albeit in small doses. Surely the issue of music had long been agreed to by all. What music is played in the Caribbean? Reggae or Calypso? It was not that the students at Milner Hall did not understand deviation, but Winston's variance was too far from the norm to belong to the group. He flaunted his perceived superiority.
As others students poured two deep into taxis for a night out on the town, his “Prime Beef” would arrive in a late model European sedan, destined for places unknown. Why all this secrecy? What was he hiding? Soon it was rumoured that they went to the country club. It must have taken some mastery of detection to secure this titbit since none of them had ever been there. Where was the Country Club anyway?
The vast majority of students in Hall were foreigners so they knew no-one that went to the club. Yet they knew he had been there. Soon, they heard about his boat. And with each passing day the boat got bigger. And bigger. With time it evolved into a veritable ocean liner. The size of the boat grew exponentially and in direct proportion grew the loathing. He was obviously a liar. No one had a boat that sized. He created the story to make them feel small.
Soon his tennis moved from the student court to the one assigned to faculty. He was said to be drinking at ‘Senior Common Room’ as the faculty bar was known.
He was seen in their pool. This confirmed his homosexuality. It also explained his good grades. Slow lips slow brains! He was having a homosexual affair with a Professor who rewarded him with undeservedly high grades. Which Professor it was and how it affected his grades in all subjects was a detail deftly sidestepped. Who knows what went on behind those high hedges? Only people with something to hide took the time to cultivate high hedges. Obviously there was a need to hide from decent students the den of iniquities lying within. Why else were we not invited?
As the year came to a close, the fury reached its pitch. His assumed oblivion to the fracas he had created just served to stoke the flame. Something had to be done. They could not continue to accept this unprovoked abuse. And so the brain storming started. There was unanimity within the ranks. Not a single dissenter. A plot was hatched. It did not seem sufficient to right the wrongs; but it was a start. And on a date decided, early Friday morning it was set in place.
He played tennis at six o’clock; every morning. He returned at seven o’clock; every morning.
At 6:05am his second floor room was broken into. Every strip of furnishing and personal belongings was removed. His room was recreated in the minutest detail on the front lawn.
At 6:45am the entire membership stood on their balconies awaiting his arrival. His alarm was set to go off at 7:00am; the time they knew he would cross the lawn. He arrived as schedule, he always did. The alarm broke the silence.
Luckily, you didn't have to go on a field trip with this snob.