Police car comin to take you to Kingston, the coastguard officer said.
Flynn asked if he and Ramon could have something to eat, and they were taken to a cart man selling food and soft drinks along the pier.
And it was there, out on the pier, that he was recognized by the Indian ladies selling bangles and khus-khus perfume. The usually demure sari-clad ladies became agitated. One of them ran down the pier shouting, Errol Flynn . . . oh, God! Soon there was a small crowd around him - tourists and Jamaicans, including the previously distrustful fishermen. The harbors infirmary nurse appeared because in the commotion someone either fainted or fell. The coastguard officer was overwhelmed as the crowd started getting bigger. Finally the police jeep arrived; Flynn and Ramon were given raisin buns and sodas and taken to Kingston. The evening Star reported:
flynns fans faint
Women Fall Unconscious at Movie Stars Feet
It was not the sari-clad ladies who had fainted, and actually, the report was wrong: only one woman fainted, an English tourist buying straw baskets. She looked up when she heard the commotion and saw him - disheveled, unshaven, but unmistakably her matinee idol. (Chu! Esme said when Eli read this out loud, it was probably the heat why she fainted. No man, is how the women go on when they see him, Eli said.) After this report in the Star, fainting became epidemic among the young women of the island whenever they glimpsed Errol Flynn, or thought they had. Some pretended to faint so they could say they had seen him.
Ida and her father visited the harbor to look at Errol Flynns wrecked boat.
If his boat is here, he must come back for it sooner or later, Eli said.
A policeman was guarding the Zaca. He seemed disgruntled, and Ida could see why. Hed enjoyed some fame after appearing in a newspaper picture guarding Flynns damaged boat from onlookers. Now, a week later, people had lost interest in the wreck, and he had nothing to do but sit all day, waving away flies.
All the attention had turned to Kingston, where Flynn was being royally entertained and courted by the countrys richest families. He stayed in their mansions. The British High Commissioner had a dinner in his honor. He had numerous invitations and met with all kinds of Jamaicans - radio-show hosts, the Jamaica Nurses Association. People sent him baskets of tropical fruit, rum, and native artwork. The admiration was not one-sided. Flynn told reporters, Jamaicas more beautiful than any woman Ive ever known.
A wealthy Jamaican named Aaron Levy invited him to stay at his beach hotel in Ocho Rios. As Flynn was being driven across the island to Levys hotel, he was aware of a lightheartedness he hadnt felt in ages. Jamaica reminded him of the most enjoyable years of his life, the carefree, spirited years hed spent in the South Seas before hed become an actor. It occurred to him as he drove through the mountains, looking out on a landscape so rampantly green that the soil never showed, that he could be happy again. Here was everything he wanted: warm climate, wonderful food, deep-sea diving, sailing, peaceful countryside -and the people spoke English. Hed spend four or five months of the year here. It would restore him.
This must be the Paradise written about in the Bible, he said on a local radio show.
These words of appreciation delighted everyone and were quoted in local newspapers, living rooms, and tenement yards. Flynn Fever broke out, as one newspaper put it. FLYNN FANS FRACAS, another headline stated, describing the disorder that broke out at a cinema during a showing of Objective Burma when members of the audience thought they saw Errol Flynn sitting among them The article was written by the same reporter who had devised the erroneous headline FLYNNS FANS FAINT. Another of his headlines, in fact his last on the subject, was:
flynn fan falls dead
Excerpted from The Pirate's Daughter byMargaret Cezair-Thompson Copyright © 2007 by Margaret Cezair-Thompson. Excerpted by permission of Unbridled Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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