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Nanko The John Crow - A Cautionary Tale from my Childhood


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John Crow - A Jamaican buzzard (vulture).

Nanko, nicknamed, John Crow, was a legendary hustler from the second half of my childhood. For a hood guy, he had a rather privileged childhood as his mother and stepfather ran a thriving local business and his older brother drove a JUTA car (taxi that operated out of the airport catering mostly to expatriates). Nanko was the quintessential hustler. His favorite hustle was as a horse tout. He would find a race with about ten horses in it. From there, he would eliminate the three or four that had no chance. He would then take the remaining six or seven and pitch each to a different person, keeping meticulous records, of course. Then, whichever horse won, he would collect a healthy "commission" for his services. Preferably this would come in the form of his own tickets from an offtrack betting parlor purchased for him by the mark. As far as I am aware, Nanko never worked an honest job in the 33 years of his life. His exploits were well known, yet his fans found his charm compelling, supporting his tripe for his entire adult life.  

Unfortunately for Nanko, he was just as disingenuous in his relationships with women. His world came crashing down when his then live in lover discovered he was cheating with a former flame. This girl had a temper. She procured a vial of acid and proceeded to douse him with it. Poor Nanko sustained third degree burns and though he survived, was never the same, as he passed away three years after this sad incident. 

In many respects Nanko reminds me of a well know contemporary person. While he lacked the racist bile, his charisma and brazen dishonesty were similar. Where this will end, I don't know. What I do know is that there is a high likelihood it will not end well. If I am correct, hopefully it will not affect the broad populace and will be contained within his circle. To be continued ...

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