David, Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Eighty-Seven

Previously: Mercenary Leon fails a mission because of David, the Prince of Wales. Socialite Wallis Spencer is also a spy. David becomes king. David abdicates, they marry and he becomes Bahamas governor. Leon dies and his son Leon becomes a mercenary. MI6 briefs the Windsors on the situation in the Bahamas.
Sidney bought a newspaper before he started walking across the northern hills to meet up with Jimbo. Word had made it over to Eleuthera that some trouble was expected tonight. It was a long time coming and not a secret. Details of the air field construction projects began to leak. Whites imported from the United States were to receive four times the pay for the same work black Bahamians would do. All of the crew leader jobs were going to be offered to white Bahamians.
A story on the front page of the paper stated the Duke of Windsor had cut his diplomatic tour of the Eastern United States short and had returned to the Bahamas to address certain government issues. Sidney grunted.
I guess they didn’t want to admit a race riot was about to break out.
As he entered the village, Sidney wadded the newspaper and threw it in the brush alongside of the road. Two fears held his attention: first, he didn’t want the Duke to be involved in any way. Sidney’s contact with the organization made it clear there would be hell to pay if any harm came to the island governor. Second, he didn’t like the way Jimbo was getting involved in the situation. He was a big boy, for sure, but he was still just a boy, much less grown up than Sidney.
He didn’t want to see his new friend hurt. Even though Sidney was only sixteen himself, he felt like a father figure to Jimbo. He was family. And Sidney knew families’ bellies must be filled.
By the time he arrived at the campground, Leonard Green was already preaching to the crowd.
“We are tired of feeling like second-class citizens.” Green’s voice was loud and intense. “We are the majority in the Bahamas, but we are treated like the minority! It’s not fair, and it ends tonight!”
“I’se a man!” a voice in the crowd called out.
“That’s right!” Green agreed. “I’se a man!”
The chant rolled through the crowd as they held their torches high. Sidney searched the mob for some time before he found Jimbo. He didn’t like the glint in his friend’s eyes highlighted by in the torch flames.
“Now pick up a stick, a rock, anything,” Green ordered. “We’re going to the Public Square right now!”
Sidney stayed right by Jimbo’s side as they marched back over the hills to the town square where the Governor’s House sat alongside the Parliament building and the Colonial Secretary’s Office. When they arrived, Green conferred with a group of older black men in suits who stood at the top of the steps which led to a plaza connecting the three buildings. He turned to address the crowd.
“I have been informed by this group of gentlemen that a representative of our new Bahamas Federation of Labor is meeting at this very moment with the Duke of Windsor about our concerns.”
A white man stepped in front. “I am Attorney General Eric Halliman, and I assure you the Duke is very interested in your concerns and will act on them within the fullest measure the law will allow.”
A low moan of disbelief went through the crowd.
“Now I ask you, most kindly, to go home and not to spoil the good impression you have made.”
Most of the men did as they were told and in due time turned back towards home.
A woman’s voice rang out, “Cheap talk! That’s all it is!”
“Let’s go shoppin’ down on that Bay Street they’re always talkin’ about!” a man shouted.
“We never even seen it before!”
“Yeah! They won’t even let us walk down the street!”
“Let’s see what they got down there!”
“Yeah!” Jimbo chimed in.
Oh crap. How am I going to keep him from getting killed?”
Before Sidney knew it he and Jimbo were being shoved downtown. Stones shattered windows. Rioters flung torches in the shops. The night sky glowed in orange and yellow. Women spurred the men on.
“Get me some of that expensive perfume!”
“I want a fancy radio!”
Small children danced through the ransacked stores, laughing as though they didn’t understand the dire circumstances of the insurrection.
“We declare war on the conchy joe!” another voice erupted from the crowd.
“No white man is passin’ here tonight!”
Sidney grabbed Jimbo’s arm. “Come on, buddy. Let’s get out of here!”
“No!” Jimbo replied in a shrill snarl. “They right! They right!”
Sidney looked around when he heard the thudding of soldiers’ boots on the cobblestones. The governor had called out the troops.
Jerking on his friends arm, Sidney hissed, “It doesn’t make any difference if they’re right if the soldiers shoot us dead on the street!”
Now Sidney heard the bells on the firetrucks arriving to stop the shop burning. His worst fears came true when his eyes focused down the street where a slender white man silhouetted against the flames stood directing the action. Sidney decided the Duke left the negotiations when he was informed of the rioting.
Damn. Who knew he was going to be a hero tonight?”
The situation exacerbated when he saw Jimbo pick up a shard of glass in front of the stores.
“Damn white governor,” Jimbo growled. “It’s all his fault.” He started stalking toward the Duke.
Jimbo’s not thinking straight. He should know the Duke was really on their side. It’s too late to explain it to him now. He’s hot under the collar. How can I stop this without killing anybody?
He ran to catch up to Jimbo and kicked him several times in the back of the knees, which caused the boy to collapse on the street moaning.
Sidney looked behind him and saw a gray-haired black man who looked as scared as Sidney felt. He pointed to his friend on the ground.
“He done got sick. Take him back to the camp, please.”
The older man nodded, leaned down to help up Jimbo, and they disappeared in the crowd. As soon as he was sure they were gone, Sidney looked back at the Duke and saw several black men creeping up behind him.
Sidney ran to the Duke, grabbed him around the waist and dragged him to one of the firetrucks. He shoved him into the arms of a firefighter.
“He’ll be safer over here.” Sidney told the firefighter as he began to walk away.
“Who are you?” a fireman asked.
“One of the good guys—whatever the hell that means.”
The Duke turned around, shook his head and looked at Sidney. “Come by the Governor’s Palace when everything calms down. I want to thank you, properly.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *