My protagonist, Richard, the detective, just slammed a suspect down on the ground after a chase through the ghetto. He’s trying to question him. The guy is Jamaican. He speaks primarily patois. What I need to know is whether or not I have Americanized the language enough for the average person to understand enough of what happened without feeling too alienated. I want it to be authentic. It won’t spoil the plot to read it.
“Bumbo! Wah di rass, mon!” the man sputtered, through gasping breaths.
“Don’t give me that patois shit,” Richard panted. “I know you’ve been in this country at least ten years.”
“Yuh got di wrong guy, mon.”
“Now, how do you know that when you haven’t heard what I have to say?” Richard didn’t wait for an answer. “You can start by telling me what you were doin in Melbourne July 4th, 2005. Tropical Border House Inn.”
“Long time ago, too nuff, too nuff.”
“You’re going to think I’m messin in your business if you don’t start talkin.”
“Mi cannot breath, lemme up.”
“Can you stay in one place?”
“I and I done nuh ting wrong.”
“How do you say, ‘badman ting?’”
“No sah, no sah. Ten year ago mi a young man makin love.”
“How’d that go?” Richard asked. He eased up on his back just a bit and released his head roughly, yanking off hair as he did. “Tell me about Maria. You remember her? Latina girl married to former mayor Timothy Morrison? Did she piss you off? Did she dump you? Did she tell you she couldn’t fuck you anymore so you decided to make sure she couldn’t fuck anybody? Did you stab her to death, or did she accidentally fall on your knife?”
The man heaved, “Yuh a chat bagga nonsense. Easy nuh. Lemme up.”
“I’m chill man, you do the talkin.” Richard eased off Jason’s back and released his left arm. They sat up in the midst of the field, knees up, with the sun beating down, wiping away the sweat and the sand and catching their breath.
“Sumady Murda. Yuh no mi sah, no sah. Hol it dung, mon. Mi and mi dupes en gayls meet at Firestone Club, pretty gyals from di Leisure Lagoon, pretty gyals. She give mi di hotel and di day. Mi dunno she married. She wonna mi eat unda sheet. She wanna cock it up pan me. I and I to di hotel on di day. She bring di babies and givem candies. Pum pum tun up. Rude gayl jus wanna have good times. Timothy Morrison, dat one be di ball an chain. And she all broughtupsy. She say big tings a gwaan. No woman, no cry. Put di babies en di car. I and I come home di mornin. See it pan di news, pan di televsion.”
“So you just met and screwed? Consoled her. With the kids there?”
“Awoah! Di lil babe an di boy. Jus di boy watch cartoons, eat di candy. Di babe sleeping, Nuh one hour.”
“You couldn’t come forward, tell what you knew?”
“Look a mi, mon, an sit en di white mon prison? Yuh gotta Jamaican mon, no mi suh. I and I nuh know he di brinks, Morrison, till mi read en di papers. Mi done no ting wrong cept by di mon, nuh by mi.”
“Jason Pauly, you don’t run no more,” Richard said while standing. He stuffed his hand in his pocket and relaxed his fist. “You stay around. If you do nuh ting wrong, you’ll be okay, but don’t run.” He brushed the dirt from his jeans, “I will find you, mother fucka” he added. He walked away leaving the man sitting in the sand.