Number one. Lizards. All Jamaicans are terrified of lizards. I don't know if we're terrified. Actually, yeah, we’re terrified. I was going to say, we're not terrified, we’re just easily startled. But there are certain breeds of lizards where if they're in that house, everybody in that family sleeps on the street.
Number two. Flesh eating bacteria.
Number three. Getting older. Now I'm thinking, man I wish I could have done my thirties a little better. Well, I spent a half of my thirties in church. And by sitting out most of my thirties I missed out on, you know, the free love, and casual sex, and making all these horrible mistakes, and thinking how I've grown as a person because of all these horrible mistakes I made. I didn't get to do any of that. So in a way it's like I'm Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. You know, it’s sort of like, “Oh, dance clubs, what is that all about?”
Number four. Turbulence. It's always hilarious when you're on planes with Jamaicans because usually when we go through turbulence somebody screams for a moment of prayer. And I can't judge them too much, because I've done it. This is the thing, I like to say that I'm not religious anymore, but I can't listen to heavy metal on flights. I remember the last time, the flight was fine. I put on White Zombie and the flight turned into chaos. I'm like, you know what, God is telling me something. So no White Zombie, no Black Sabbath, no Electric Wizard, just in case God gets pissed.
Number five. The wicked queen in Snow White. There is a scene right after the wicked queen poisons Snow White, where you see this vicious, ugly, old, woman in a middle of the forest just laughing to herself at having murdered a little girl. And, oh my God, I remember for years I thought someone was sneaking up behind me. My mom would have to force me to go take a shower. And I wouldn't do it, or I had to have the door open, or somebody had to be in the room with me, because she's going to show up behind me.
Number seven. Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist. He's tall, he's big, he's lumbering. He probably hasn't had a bath in two years, he smells bad. He's just all evil and he brutally murders his girlfriend. He terrorizes Oliver Twist. There is absolutely nothing redemptive about him. He's just pure malevolence. I wonder sometimes if the reason why he scared me the most is that he's the most likely to appear in real life. Not Bill Sikes in general, but just men like that. I've come across men involved in some really, really, horrible crimes. So, they’re gang leaders, they’re godfathers, they rule their communities. And they’re usually beloved in their communities. But then they make their money from drug trafficking, and racketeering, and murders, and taking out hits on people. But in terms of somebody like Bill Sikes, like a pure psychopath…. nah.
Number eight. Lone white men on a college campus.
Number nine. Somebody killing me over my third book. Yeah, I mean, my last novel,A Brief History Of Seven Killings, was about what happened to, actually, the eight boys who tried to kill Bob Marley in 1976, and the people who enabled it, and the people who financed it. And a lot of those people are still alive. I mean most of these guys are now getting old, or are pretty old. But there's still a part of me that thought, this book went too far. This book exposed to many people. In fact, one person sent me an email. It was a very long email where he figured out every single real life person my characters were based on. And he couldn't... there's only one he couldn't get. And I was like, well, that’s the one person I invented totally out of the blue.
Number ten. Undercooked food. See, that’s another Jamaican thing. We just can't handle it. We can't handle this medium-rare thing.
My name is Marlon James and these are 10 things that scare me.