Chapter 6: Seeding the deal
This week, Arts & Education begins a series of excerpts from Addeah Palmer's Macca Tree Manns.
In the following days, for two reasons much was expected of Kenneth's older brother and well-known farmer in Macca Tree, Darcy, with whom Kenneth did not speak. Kenneth, who had become a vagabond roaming the community, began worrying about the actions of his son, Ken. Residents reported that things were going missing in areas the child frequented. But it was Darcy's wife, Dolly, a 45-year-old born-again believer, who openly
displayed her disgust for her in-laws at every chance and vehemently insisted in her high-pitched voice that they return to Trelawny, where Kenneth was born.
With over-dyed silver-hair-turned-blue, Dolly was the village doctor who knew everything and had something to say about it.
But Gloria, who by now had won the confidence of the over-churched in Macca Tree, was now referred to as 'Prophetess' by those who dared not crossed God. Sporting plaid headwraps with two pencils ready to take notes, she remained soberly uncaring and did as she so pleased, disregarding the complaints about her son.
"Di whole a unu a liad. Mi pickney nuh need fi teef. Anybody come to mi wid such chat again, mark mi words, mi a go fix yuh business fi yuh. I will take yuh name to the throne myself! All you, Dolly, wid yuh head looking like a fowl roost, mind yuh mouth. Yuh can't talk against the prophet of God any which way yuh want!"
Still, Dolly preached: "I don't get why you can't care for your kids, Kenneth. I not talking to the heathen Gloria, but I think you have more heart and will listen to reason. Dem too young to be on dem own, and Ken is a little tief."
To this, he replied in a moronic tone, "Ms Dolly, Gloria change, yuh know."
But having her way meant Gloria was a god. Bent on starting her plan, she followed up Monica. This time, they chose the cool of night to meet. Being at the end of the road, there was no street light to illuminate the meeting at the Manns' mansion.
Prophetess Gloria divulged the sacred plot within the empty weightily webbed walls. Thoughts of money moved Monica mightily. And being a past partner in crime with school-aged Gloria did much to quickly seal the new bond. Sneaking into Macca Tree from
Top Road was hard for her because anyone could recognise that buxom body.
Monica wore a black hoodie and sneakers that night, passing only Tiger and Cheddy on the road, ignoring the sounds they were making as though they were losing air. "Pssst."
Finally, she made it to Gloria's. Cutting to the chase, Monica spoke quickly.
"So what yuh sey yuh want mi to do Gloria?" the pastor's wife straightened in her seat. "Tell me everything from scratch."
"I have an idea for di church that God relay to mi in a dream. It will get the whole community rich quick and with a rich congregation, yuh will have a rich church. But even though is my idea, I want you to head it. Macca Tree stomach you, dem respect yuh, yuh is the pastor's wife. Di plan pretty simple."
Gloria reached for her book. "First thing, get the Macca Tree, Top and Bottom road people dem to invest $5,000 each in a church scheme and dem will get interest every month. Call it a church building fund."
She explained that the first to invest will get back what they put in plus interest after two months, but they can only get their money back if they get two other persons to invest.
"So by the end of the first two months, we will have enough investors to pay the first set of people and since everybody bringing in others we will always have money!"
"This is genius!" Monica exclaimed. "A truly God tell you dis! We will call it planting a seed!"
"Yes! A so we must call it! Thank you Lord!" Gloria shouted.
Silence suddenly engulfed Monica. Gloria stared at her in anticipation of her words.
"Why yuh think anybody would invest wid wi? We is not a bank. Yuh asking mi to play wid God money Gloria?!"
Gloria was quick to the draw.
"Yuh going give Him back every penny. It will be a good venture for the church; just think bout it. Start it small and gradually include more people so the interest will flow. Next thing yuh know, di whole a Westmoreland inna it. Think bout the money the church wudda mek. Yuh cudda put on a whole heap a crusade, enlarge the church ... buy a new car?"
"Yuh sure it will work? I don't want to get in trouble yuh know." Monica mumbled.
"It will work because every mickle mek a muckle. Just introduce it in church on Sunday. Dolly won't suspect anything if yuh mek it look like a church initiative. She a di treasurer; she love money too.''
"Memba wha happen last time when yu run 'way wid di people dem partner money, Gloria? Trouble nuh set like rain yuh know Gloria."
"Ay, ay, ay! Yu still deh pon dat? What yu did do wid your share? Remember a nuh mi one did benefit?"
"Alright, alright! Mi ask forgiveness a long time ago and I hardly wear the frock mi did buy out of it. I just concerned. Whey Kenneth? Him know about dis?"
"Well him know I have a plan. Him a lose him head since I fired him from working for Mr McEnuff."
Unleashing her deadly charm, Gloria continued: "Yuh look good deh though for smaddy whose age drop off calendar."
"Thanks for di compliment, cousin." Monica smiled then continued again, "So is where you get the idea?"
"A man named Karl Hilton has a big one like it in town and it doing really well. Now is a good time to pitch the product, so wi can show people sey it work."
"So is not God give yuh di vision? You is a ginal yuh know, Gloria." Monica giggled. "Yuh can't tell anybody that though."
Monica proffered her commitment. "I will do it. Sounds like a good plan, and I never refuse money."
Gloria's relief erupted into a belly laugh. "Well you have a sugar daddy posing as a pastor and robbing the church money to prove dat!" she giggled.
"Ridicule not the Lord's anointed Gloria. If yuh gwine make fun of mi husband, mi might just change mi mind."
"Alright then. But nuh breathe a word yet sey mi a part a it. Introduce it without calling mi name to the church. I don't want people fi get antsy. Mi is a silent partner at the beginning, but mi will run things behind the scene," Gloria cautioned. "Dem neva call yuh pretty dunce fi nutten."
No need to argue with Gloria, Monica wrapped things up. Stepping back into the moonlight, she felt God retreating from her heart, her soul and her life; a feeling she had become accustomed to. There was no one outside to witness a godly conversion, no Gloria praising God on the top of her voice and no need for Monica to speak in tongues, flash holy water or read a Psalm. She simply disappeared down the asphalt; her impending utopia was her only company as she departed.