Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Gordon Robinson | Haemorrhoid and the ass

Published:Tuesday | November 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM
File Robert Montague (centre), minister of national security, with entertainers Bounty Killer (right) and Ninja Man earlier this year. Ninja Man, real name Desmond Ballentyne, was convicted of murder last week.

Dessie and the Dunce were brothers, but, like many siblings, usually didn't see eye to eye, especially at dominoes.

We only allowed them to play together as a last resort, which was the case this particular Saturday afternoon. The Dunce had just killed his partner's double-four (with relish), and Dessie suggested (not particularly pleasantly) that he might have to "cut him with a domino".

'But is you cut four," the Dunce wailed.

"You nuh see sey di Bishop (my domino name after living in Barbados was 'The Archbishop' because back then, I was a teetotaller) playing pure five? If I don't cut four, he will use four-five, go two fives, and pass you! Why you always assume a man who cut card don't have di double?"

It was a perfect moment for Haemorrhoid to call a timeout by telling one of his famous shaggy-dog stories. Ernest H. ('Haemorrhoid') Flower's nickname combined his middle initial with his constant complaint about "piles and piles" of files on his desk. To buy some cooling-off time, Haemorrhoid told the story of the unsettled undertaker.

"An undertaker named Joe Rosenberg had an assistant named Barney. Standing beside a covered corpse on a stretcher, Barney asks Joe: "What's to happen with the new stiff, Mr Rosenberg? We embalming him or what?"

"Who is it, Barney?" asks Joe.

Barney peeps under the sheet at the toe tag: "Albert Frederick Schwartz, killed in a traffic accident."

"Prep Mr Schwartz for cremation; 2:30 tomorrow." Joe starts to walk away. Barney idly lifts up more of the covering sheet until he arrives well above the knee and reacts in awe. "Whoa, boss! Come and check the equipment on this guy, wouldja?"

Joe returns and takes a look. "Holy Moley! Thirty-five years in this business and I thought I'd seen everything. Barney, fetch my tools and a gallon of formaldehyde."

 

PRESERVED FOR SCIENCE

 

After Barney goes off to bring the necessaries, Joe takes another look and talks whimsically to the corpse "Well, Mr Schwartz, you can't be cremated with such an impressive tool. It'll be preserved in the name of science in my personal collection of unusual body parts."

Later that day, Joe comes home tired and hungry but elated at the conversation piece in his hand. "Hi, honey, I'm home," he announces to Irma, his wife, already pouring herself a glass of red wine. "Would you like a drink?" she asks lovingly. "Not yet, dear," he replies. "I have something to show YOU!" Joe takes out the bottle containing the organ submerged in formaldehyde.

His wife's wine glass shatters as it falls to the floor "OMG!" she screams, "Schwartz is dead!'"

I was reminded of Haemorrhoid's graphic warning against assumption (especially of innocence) when I learned of Desmond 'Ninja Man' Ballentyne's murder conviction. If ever there was a real-life example of the dangers of assuming, it's this matter that began in 2009 when Ninja Man and others were charged with the murder of one Ricardo 'Trooper' Johnson. As has happened to too many other matters, the case was held hostage by our system of injustice, enduring 23 mention dates and 17 missed trial dates before it was actually tried.

I suppose, by January 2017, it must've been considered safe enough to assume this case would never be tried. I can think of no other reason that would lead our national security minister to book the said Ninja Man to deliver a motivational speech to the same JCF whose murder charge against him remained pending.

To thunderous applause from police present, Ninja began "Everyone wonder, 'What di hell is Mr Montague doing?' (laughter) But I'd like to ask you people ... who is the most perfect person to give di officers of Jamaica a personal motivational speech? Isn't dis di man who 'ave experience of what it is to be with you, officers, in and out; ups and downs; round and round? (applause)"

As one of those who asked themselves, 'What di hell is Mr Montague doing?' but decided to kibba mi mout' until after the trial, I wonder if Uncle was relying on the presumption (or, which is different, assumption) of innocence or simply assumed that the case would never be tried?

Jerry Belson, a writer, director, and producer for more than 40 years, is generally credited with first publishing the catch-phrase, "When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME" when he included it in an episode of 'The Odd Couple'. Back home, it was one of sportscaster Bobby Fray's favourite quotes.

Peace and love.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.