TALES FROM THE CARIBBEAN
Barrack the Rooster Runs a fowl a Hungry Monk:
Nearly everybody, it seemed, was after Barrack. After Barrack either accidentally, or by good aim, dumped on the witch doctor he gained a powerful enemy. The shaman was especially dangerous because he knew animals, birds, bats, fish, snakes and lizards could read them like a dime novel, was an expert tracker, and knew the terrain, almost every inch of it. Barrack’s tracks were unique because they were twice the size of a normal rooster and he had an extra dew claw on each foot. The irate witch doctor nearly caught Barrack, after the Jumby tree incident, but he was forced to end his chase when he came to the boundary of Taboo Mountain. The shaman’s fear of powerful evil spirits living there saved Barrack’s feathers from becoming part of the Shaman’s headdress. Frustrated by his superstition, the Shaman returned to his hut, made a little figurine of Barrack and stuck it full of poisoned pins.
Meanwhile back in Governor’s Bay, during a conference call between Big Jessie, his lawyers, and the injured parties, Jessie made it clear that Barrack was his personal property and if anybody damaged his property (Barrack), hell would come for breakfast after he returned. Jessie harbored expectations that Barrack would be crowned the next Caribbean King of fighting cocks. When Barrack encountered a rival rooster, Jessie saw him dancing like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, and he knew Barrack had the potential to become another Mohammed Ali, a world champion.
Back at Taboo Mountain Barrack was unaware the witch doctor had ended the chase so he continued his journey until he crossed the peak of Taboo Mountain where he encountered a monk in a cave. The monk (Brother Lamb) moved to that cave in order to escape the ire of an Italian governor who had vowed to get him.
Brother Lamb had come from a sect of holy brothers who believed that every human soul was born with seven deadly sins, and that only by practicing the opposite virtue of each sin, could the soul experience rapture. Rapture was defined by them as a peace, joy and serenity our physical world can neither give nor take away; it was a marriage between the spark of the divine contained in every living human being and the Divine Master of our universe.
While he was still back in Italy, Brother Lamb had mastered six of the deadly sins– pride, greed, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth–was diligently meditating on lust near a waterfall when a young girl came into his view. Brother Lamb perhaps, had taken his vows of celibacy too soon, but he saw this damsel disrobing as she prepared to shower beneath the waterfall. He justified his gawking silence by saying he feared embarrassing her, but whatever his reason, the sight of her elegant young body lit an unquenchable fire and burning desire beneath his robe that a million waterfalls could not have extinguished. And, to make maters worse, it was the governor’s granddaughter who had become the object of his lustful obsession. The ever growing obsession in his mind threatened to send his quivering soul through purgatory and on beyond into the eternal fire of hell and damnation.
When the governor learned of Lamb’s obsession for his granddaughter he wanted him hanged and flogged. Then he decided to flog him first because it was no fun flogging a dead man? But, before the Church inquisitors could arrest him, Lamb took a sabbatical and sailed to the Caribbean, hiked up taboo-mountain, found a natural cave in the congealed lava and was surviving on fresh fruit, fish, coconuts, and—he prayed every day—for a wild chicken if one happened by.
So on this fine day, when Barrack suddenly walked past the mouth of the cave, the hungry monk saw at least, God be praised, two chicken dinners in one, suddenly handed to him straight from the generosity of the Almighty (or so he believed). The monk coyly offered Barrack some old rice with worms in it and Barrack hungrily accepted. Barrack feasted on the squirming worms and ignored the rice while Brother Lamb slowly reached for his catch pole with a slip loop at the end of it. To be continued.
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