“Hey Reid the boss want to see you!” one of the guys said. It seemed as though everyone I met that evening had been told to let me know that the Boss wanted to see me. And so, before I appeared at the evening meal I stopped at his house and knocked on the door. Even before he opened the door completely he was, like a happy grandfather, telling me, “It’s a boy and the muchacha is doing well also!” “Thank you Señor for everything,” I said barely believing my ears. “I am going to see if I can bring them home tonight,” I promised. “You take a few days off and stay with your family,” said the boss in an affectionate tone.
And that was the way our baby came into this world making us parents for the first time. However, I was the one most interested in seeing if he had any resemblance to me. Knowing a little something about babies I knew that I had to wait, for time alone would help me detect if he was my son or not. That evening I took my sweet time and showered since, in those days, I didn’t shave at all- didn’t need to. I waited for the last train to Almirante. When I got there, I drank a beer then took my time getting to the hospital.
Upon arriving at the hospital, I was greeted with, “Where have you been? ” I played as if I hadn’t heard Pug standing there in reception holding her new baby. Instead I focused my look on the baby boy in her arms. He was decked out in a fine little outfit that made him look all the newborn prince. After a moment, I concluded that it was too soon to tell if I were his father or not.
“Let’s go see your mother until train time to go home,” I said to Pug and we walked over to see my dear mother-in-law-from-hell who openly detested me. She took advantage of this opportunity to show how much she hated me by setting up her face like a clenched fist. However, since I had heard about her reputation around those parts, I believe she caught on, so that we tried to stay away from each other, and if it weren’t for the baby she would have kept up her silent treatment towards me.
During the days that followed I, again, tried to stay home and get acquainted with my new family. The first couple of days we had visitors, most of them just curiosity seekers wishing to see this new baby of mixed Chinese and Black Westindian parentage. I put a stop to the flow of visitors, however, reasoning with everybody that he was too young to have so many people coming around.
One day, while we were home and Pug was in the small kitchen making baby formula, I overheard someone downstairs speaking to her. Standing at the top of the stairs I saw a policeman talking to her with a very serious, almost intimate demeanor, so that, by the time he came up, I was already expecting him. “The Corregidor has sent to get you down there,” he said sullenly. “What for?” I queried and he answered, “I can’t tell you that; I have been sent to get you over there.” This would be the first time in my life that I’d been summoned to the office of a Corregidor. After being paraded past my neighbors’ houses with the policeman at my side for a longer time than I’d bargained for, we finally arrived at the Corregiduría. We sat and waited for the functionary to finish with another case. At last my turn came and I was called in and so was a Westindian woman with the largest, angriest eyes I had ever seen.
The Corregidor wasted no time and said to me, “Why don’t you want to pay this woman her money?” Taken aback by his question as I had never seen or spoken to this woman in all my born days, I answered uncomfortably, “Señor I have really never met this Señora.” At this she piped up. “His wife ordered some clothing from me and now he doesn’t want to pay!” “Lady, if you had contacted me as a neighbor,” I said, “I would have paid you; but, since I had to leave home without any money to pay you or anybody else, I haven’t got it on me. But, if you Señor Corregidor would permit the policeman to take me back, I will come and pay this lady all I owe her.” He looked at the woman and asked her why she hadn’t spoken directly to me. At receiving no response he finally said, “At any rate officer, you go with him and then we will speak when you come back.
This story continues.