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Yellow Jackets

Protection means different things to different people. So does love. In the Gutter, it often comes down to the same thing. If you call that coming down.

Yellow Jackets by Geoffrey Philp

When the policeman opened the cell door, Georgie was relieved from the burden of his daughter’s memory. Her face had been so badly disfigured by the beating from her boyfriend that Georgie couldn’t bear to have an open casket funeral. Besides the rage at his powerlessness, Georgie didn’t want to remember her like that.
“Your lives are over! My lawyer will fix this.”
Georgie recognized Norman’s voice. Georgie had been Norman’s gardener at his home in Mandeville until Norman fired him for being “fresh” with Melissa, his stepdaughter, who, after her mother ran away to Miami, had changed into a sullen teenager.
Norman hadn’t even given Georgie a chance to explain why he had been hugging Melissa. Georgie tried to tell Norman that he had been protecting her from wasps when she tried to pick a mango from their neighbor’s tree. Georgie’s back was still pockmarked from their stings.
“But sir, I would never do anything to hurt Melissa. Before her mother left, I promise I would protect her.”
“Protect her? Take your ass out of my yard before I call the police.”
But now, Norman was in the lockup with Georgie, who had been arrested for weed just before he had found his daughter’s boyfriend.
“Cool down, boss. You’re here because you hit the sergeant. We aren’t arresting you because your daughter claims you’ve been raping her for years and now before her wedding ceremony,” said the policeman and walked away.
“Stepdaughter!”
Georgie rolled over on his side and looked over at Norman.
“Mr. Alexander?”
“Who are you?”
“I use to cut your grass.”
“You know how many people used to cut my grass? Why should I remember you?”

“When I am done with you, you going hope you can remember anything.”

Born in Jamaica, Geoffrey Philp is the author of the novel, Garvey’s Ghost. His work has been published in the Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories and the Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. A graduate of the University of Miami, Geoffrey teaches English and creative writing at Miami Dade College.