“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife and children, and brethren, and sisters, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14, 25-33

CW SWITCHED TO talking about history, and said he was fortunate to have had Sir Hilary Beckles for his thesis supervisor, that the majority of UWI professors were “still garbed in colonial castoffs. Rev, I’ve bad news for you. After those young men and women have passed through my hands, they won’t come to your church. That collection plate’s going to be empty.” He winked at Millington. “Just kidding. Naw. You fellows get to them before I can, and immunize them against reason and common sense.” His face clouded over. “Don’t take me too seriously.”  He grinned mischievously. “History isn’t all I’m making it out to be. It’s still mostly the conquerors’ narratives. Capitalist loot funds the publishing houses, even the academic presses. Attack the master class or race and you get told that your tone is wrong, your facts aren’t nuanced, your style is wooden. No one will say we can’t publish your work because our press is funded by the people you criticize. It’s what happened to my third book. It looks at neocolonialism in the English-speaking Caribbean.” He stopped speaking for a long while, seemed be in deep reflection.

“If I had the choice now, I’d study literature. Man, it takes me into the human psyche as nothing else could. I think that was why I didn’t object initially when my parents pushed me towards the Methodist ministry. But I found out just in time that religion is dogma and formulae and liturgy which I can repeat even in my sleep—a preventive, not an incentive, to look into the psyche. Literature. Eddy Brathwaite—famous Eddy Brathwaite—ditched history and took up literature. Wish I could do the same, and stop writing fucking boring academic papers. Ever read Eddy’s poetry? Man, it’s poetry like Wynton Marsalis playing his horn. Ever heard Wynton play? Eddy goes into all the nooks where colonizers hid the skeletons, and Eddy drags them out for the literate—alas, you have to be literate—to see and touch and feel and—for those with imagination—hear. Puts in motion all the resources of the black soul. Eddy Anansi Brathwaite!” His eyes blazed and his dark beige cheeks dimpled. A handsome man; symmetrical in every way: teeth, bone structure . . . His family had had the wherewithal to nourish him well. Millington’s face felt warm as he recalled that back at Ecumenical Theological College, CW had figured in one his nocturnal emissions. What would CW have said if he’d told him this?


H Nigel Thomas was born in Saint Vincent. Recently retired from teaching at Laval University, his published works include the novels Spirits in the Dark (1993) and Return to Arcadia (2007). His most recent book is When the Bottom Falls Out and Other Stories (2014). He received the Homage to Artists Award from Laval University in 2013.