What can I say about Tex – I wouldn’t know where to start. He was one of my best friends in Jamaica and helped me out in so many ways. Sadly, he was killed in a car accident several years ago. He collided head-on with a mini-bus while driving home late one night. Minutes after the crash he was robbed of all his money and jewelry, which I’ve heard happens often in Jamaica in such cases. When I found this out I had just arrived in Kingston, my friend/taxi driver Jah Earl told me and thought I had come down for the funeral which was in a few weeks. Kingston has never been the same since for me – a part of it is missing. I had often thought I could have been in that car since we went out all the time.
Tex was one of those people who was just a lot of fun to be around, always a beer in one hand and a carrot-sized spliff in the other, he always made sure everyone was having a good time. By everyone I mean the small crew of guys he was in charge of. “You mus respect the crew” was something he always said. Some say he was a gangster, a “badman” or a Don, but he was never anything but good to me (there was that one time he did threaten to kill me with an ice pic, but that’s another story) and always treated me well. He was definitely a tough guy, having been shot several different times and also his hand was chopped off below the wrist from blocking a blow from a machete (the hand was re-attached but was a bit crooked). The “Crew” would sometimes provide protection or a variety of other services for tourists for a hefty price of course, mostly Japanese wanting dub plates or to go explore off the beaten path in Kingston. Sometimes he would ask me to tag along for the ride and it was always an adventure. Tex was a guy who made things happen, got things done, provided various services to anyone who was interested. I remember once telling him of a certain person in town who owed me a lot of money – his response was laughingly, “You want we to kill ‘im?” His laugh was usually a signal that all was OK – as long as he was laughing everything was everything. We would travel all over the island, doing a week in Negril, or a few days in MoBay, a concert in Ocho Rios, and our favorite of all destinations, Port Antonio. There we would go to Winifred Beach and hang out all day, eating roast fish, swimming and drinking cold Red Stripes. Winifred Beach used to be one of Jamaica’s best-kept secret, hardly anyone went there, but unfortunately today the secret is out. The people at the beach would always love it when we came since Tex, a true herbalist always had a generous quantity of the best herb and spent lots of money – everyone was on the payroll, and I mean everyone. To make things happen in Jamaica it takes money and Tex made sure all the right people got theirs so that things would always run smoothly.
My favorite Tex story happened not long after I moved to Kingston to do my book Reggae Island. I had been in Jamaica a few months and had a few friends by now. One night we went out to some clubs and then came back home late night to continue the fun. I had gone to bed while one of my roommates was still downstairs with some (girl) friends. I got up in the morning and after breakfast I noticed one of my cameras was missing – I looked everywhere, it was gone! The first thing I did was call Tex and he came over right away. Like a detective he was asking me all sorts of questions, where I was, who was I with, what time I got back home. I told him, “I just want you to get my camera back and I don’t want to know how you do it.” Tex was the only person I said anything about my camera being missing, other than my roommates. The following morning I was awakened by one of the girls who were over the other night. She was sitting on the edge of my bed with a 10-inch kitchen knife, and she was being very polite. She asked me if I thought she had taken my camera. I told her no, but I did want to know how she knew it was missing since I didn’t tell anyone. She said she had been “approached” about it and wanted me to make sure to tell Tex and had nothing to do with it, then left. It was startling at first, but then I remembered I did keep a machete handy, stuck in-between the mattresses – you never know what might happen in Kingston. Three days later I got my camera back, with the film still in it. Perhaps the best part was when I had the film developed there was a super blurry photo of a naked woman in bed on the end of the roll. I thanked Tex and didn’t ask any questions about how he did it. This is a good lesson on why you should always carry more than one camera: crazy women with knives.