This is a short story. Concept credit goes to Ryan Viohl, Estevan Molinar, and myself.
“I’m sorry, sir, I have to ask. Are you Jeb Bush?”
“Puka shells be $5 lady.”
“I already said I don’t want puka shells, but I really think you look like a tan, bearded Jeb Bush. Do you know who Jeb Bush is?”
The Jamaican sun reflected off the white sand of the beach and made the man squint as he looked wistfully across the water.
“Jeb…Dat be a name I no hear in many day. I go by Jah dese days. Jeb be dead to me. A product of Babylon like all capitalism and political tings,” said the man formerly known as Jeb Bush.
“Ok…so you really are Jeb Bush. After your embarrassing loss in the Republican primaries of 2016 you disappeared. Many people thought you had harmed yourself. But you just came to this beach and tried to grow dreadlocks and you sell trinkets?”
“Jeb wa but a duppy of me true bein, now I a hawker on da beach. But not just a hawker of dese jewels, a hawker of da true meaning of life.”
“Um, yeah. Cool. I hesitate to ask, but what is the true meaning of life?”
“Da more man smoke herb, da more Babylon fall.”
“Isn’t that just a Bob Marley quote?”
“Who be Bob Marley? Come with me to me abode if you want to learn bout da secret of existence.”
“Yeah, there’s no way I’m missing this. Hey kids, don’t get kidnapped. Stay on the beach, we are going to Jeb Bush’s beach home to learn the meaning of life.”
“Da name be Jah.”
“Doesn’t that mean God?”
Jah lead them through the trees to a shoddy lean-to made of cardboard and a corrugated steel roof. Inside were copious bags of weed and a steel drum set up.
“Da secret of life be da herb. Why da governments and dis and dat wan stop man from smoking da herb? It make man feel so good.”
“Again, I think you’re just quoting Bob Marley. “
“I know not who ya speak of. Jah create all words in Jah own mind. Listen to a song I create in me own mind on da steel drum.”
Jah begins slowly and methodically trying to play “One Love” by Bob Marley.
“Jeb…Jah. That’s definitely ‘One Love’ by Bob Marley.”
He messes up.
“No be talkin to Jah while Jah be creatin.”
He messes up again. The permanent smile on his face starts to twitch.
“come on jah, you can do dis. you can do any ting ya put ya mind to. You can defeat ISIS. You can balance the budget. No! Stop TINKING OF DA POLITICS. DATS HOW BABYLON WIN. COME ON JAH YOU CAN PLAY DA MUSIC AND REVEAL DA SECRET OF ALL LIFE TO DESE GUESTS.”
He continues to give his Rastafarian stump speech to himself. He finally completes the chorus of “One Love” after 17 tries.
“See, Jah can do any ting Jah puts his mind to. Clap for Jah! Clap for Jah!”
But when Jah looks up, his guests are gone.
Back at the beach his guests find their kids and hustle back to the resort.
“The hotel staff was right, we should never leave the resort.”