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The Lunatic


The first-ever US publication of the Caribbean comic classic that is also a major motion picture.

$18.95 $14.21

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Excerpt from The Lunatic

There was a road in the mountainous countryside and there was a ragged black madman dancing on it. On both sides of the road the land unfolded in waves of pastures dotted with groves and marked by the dips and hollows of dried-up gullies and streams. The surrounding fields were green and lovely to look at, but it was to the antics of the solitary madman that the eye was involuntarily drawn. Sometimes he would leap up and down in one spot until he was too tired to jump anymore. Then he would start off down the road on an erratic course, weaving from side to side like a drunken pedestrian. And sometimes he would shriek like a child at play, and in the very next breath he would moan like an old man under a heavy load.

Exhausted with his antics and dancing, the madman rested beside a cut-stone wall. He was panting and blowing hard for breath when suddenly he heard a noise. Since talking cows sometimes sneaked up on him, and giant birds, and beasts that defied description, the lunatic quickly ducked behind the wall to see what or who now stalked him.

He heard a scratching sound first, which made him draw a sharp breath and hold it. Then he saw a woman coming out of the bush.

She was a woman from the village on the brow of the mountain, and she was taking the shortcut through the bushland on her way to market, a heavy basket of yams swaying on her head. But now that she had come to the cut-stone wall marking the path of the road, she placed the heavy basket on the ground and blew with exertion like a winded donkey.

Glancing furtively about her, she lifted up her dress, peeled off her panties with one deft motion, and began pissing from an upright position.

The madman bounded from behind the wall with a howl of outrage.

“Jesus God Almighty!” the woman screamed.

“No wee-wee before me eye!” the madman bawled, covering his eyes and turning his head.

Recognizing the village lunatic, the woman shrieked, “Aloysius! You make me wet up me shoe, you damn brute! What you hide behind de wall for? Look what you make me do to me shoe!”

“Me no want see no pum-pum loosen water before me eye!” the madman sobbed.

She spread her legs implacably wider and continued her pissing while the lunatic turned his head away and screamed at her to stop.

When she was done she tore off a branch from a bush and wiped her legs. Then she hoisted the basket on her head, climbed over the wall, and set off down the road.

“Damn nasty negar woman!” the madman shrieked after her. “Why you come wee-wee in de bush. Woman supposed to wee-wee in a toilet, damn nasty negar woman!”

“Go ‘way, you mad brute!” the woman yelled scornfully, without turning her head to look back at him.

The madman walked over to the puddle the woman had made on the ground and he took some cut stones off the wall and threw them on it. He scuffed dirt over the stones with his calloused bare feet until he had covered the dark patch her water had made in the earth.

“No come show me no pum-pum dat loosen water before me eye!” he screamed one more time.

“Hush up, mad brute!” came the faint derisive reply from far down the road.

Down the asphalt road that flowed through the green fields and between the undulating banks of two cut-stone walls, the woman trudged under the heavy basket of yams, and she cursed this damn country, this blasted Jamaica, a country where a decent woman could not even stop in the bush to catch a piss in peace without being terrified into wetting her own legs by some raving lunatic jumping out from behind a wall and carrying on like a Minister Without Portfolio. “Go ‘way,” she screeched crossly at the top of her lungs, for her feet were bawling about the hot sun on the hard road, and her belly crying for a cold drink, and her aching shoulders wondering why they had ever been born, just like an American teenager.

Yet she had not understood the ravings of this lunatic Aloysius, who now clambered through the thicket and who from a distance she might have mistaken for a grotesque and enormous black bird, his hair being matted and dirty, his appearance woefully shredded by life in the bushland.

For all his unkempt and wild looks he was still a man, and to a man a pum-pum is like a bone to a hungry dog. It is a thing a man will dream about even if he is hungry and sick. He cannot help himself, for Almighty God put pum-pum between the legs of women and then he put dreams about it into the heads of men, even into the head of a lunatic.

Every day Aloysius saw women in the village and smelled their rich black and brown bodies and stared as they wriggled past him, their pum-pums hidden under calico frocks and pink panties, guarded by watchful constables, suspicious boyfriends, and bad dogs. But all he had done for years was look at women and dream. Because he was known by everyone in the village to be a homeless lunatic, all the pum-pum in the parish was closed to him. No woman would permit him to put to her the feverish arguments that man is born to put to woman. And now this impertinent pum-pum, the first he’d seen in years, had the nerve to callously wee-wee right under his nose and then saunter away with a basket of yams on its head as though he were a stone or a bush and not a man starving for a woman.

What he had just witnessed, this lunatic was telling himself sorrowfully, was just such a sight as could shock a man into madness, and as he walked through the bush he fought to control his emotions.

“De woman was rude and out of order!” the lunatic screamed suddenly and fiercely to a lignum vitae tree.

Out of order: a parliamentary phrase that Milud and Milady of the fallen British Empire might use to scold one another at Whitehall. Yet after three hundred years of colonialism by the ancestors of Milud and Milady, it is a phrase that Jamaicans of all walks of life use to signify outrage, indecency, impropriety—even a woeful madman such as this Aloysius.