Saturday, 24 March 2012

Watch It Close


We are just the regular four, but Danny talks a bit today, quite uncharacteristically. Every one of us is waiting to let go the burden of duty in the late evening, and to go back to normal life - drinks, chatting up, love.

Things happen unexpectedly at this time, and that's why we spend the last two hours of our duty here, in the busy street.

"What if nothing happens today?" asks Danny, releasing the stale smell of a morning cigarette and a sandwich lunch. I think of rolling down the window glasses, but it's impossible, because it's raining.

"Things must happen. That's why we are here in this heavy rain..." mutters John, trying to sound like Sean Connery, giving an extra push to the sibilants.

"What do you think Ronnie, is the rain going to stop the regular action?" Roger looks at me. I just shrug my shoulders and keep tapping on the steering wheel. My duty is to keep the jeep ready all the time, and to interfere with what they call the action only when it was inevitable.

People stay away from us as a rule, seeing the 'Police' sign on the jeep. The fact that we wait twelve meters from the three adjacent shopping malls is what tempts the teenage delinquents who run out of them, in vain, every thirty minutes, holding the latest electronic toy stolen from some foolish rich man, or woman, or child. We catch eighty per cent of them, as per the records. That is, we are quite efficient in this kind of job. By night, we have the back of the jeep full, with a bunch of handcuffed, wild-eyed boy-men.

*****

Danny wasn't much excited about our new catch. He was dripping wet, and kept his stolen goods inside his t-shirt, as if to protect them from rain. He was a fast runner, but he ran into the hands of Roger who just had to wait for him at the next corner of the street. 

"Leave me, leave me..." the boy kept saying foolishly. I watched the three of them wrestle with the skinny offender, beating him up a bit when he tried to run away from their clutches. Danny managed to take out the things from his t-shirt, one by one. A couple of mobile phones, some electronic junk, an i-pad, and a picture - at which Danny kept staring. John had a peek at that and started laughing. 

"That's a whole stationary store that you have hidden inside your shirt, and see what he has here Ronnie - he's a believer!"

He flashed the picture of a Hindu God at me. The boy kept fighting for a few more minutes, but they got him handcuffed without much delay, and dragged him to the back of the jeep.

*****

"Can't keep your hands off things, son?" I asked the boy.
"It's for my mother."
"What? The i-pad?  Is she studying in the university?" I tried to make fun of him.
"No, the picture. She's in the hospital. I needed money. And I promised to get her this picture." He moved his eyes to where the picture was kept, in the front seat.
I didn't say anything. There are all sorts of people around - I thought. better not to trust anyone.
"Can you do me a favour?", the boy asked.
"What?"
"I will tell you the room number of my Mother in the hospital. Can you make sure that this picture is given to her?"
"And tell her that you stole it for her? Tell her that you are a bloody thief?"
"No, don't do that...", he sobbed.
"Who taught you that this is the way to do things?"
"Is there some other way for me?" - His voice was strong and determined. I looked back, and saw his eyes sparkle through tears.
"There are always ways...other ways...", I mumbled.
"Can you help me?"
"Yes, tell me where your mother is", I took a pen and started jotting down the address he gave me.

*****

Image courtesy:  http://creativewriting.ie/2012/03/12/creative-writing-prompt-march-12th/

2 comments:

  1. You have an eye for details and you write in a way that surprises the reader. The photo is used in a very interesting manner to build up the story. The speaker is speaking from inside a jeep while it is raining outside and until you say they are policemen the idea doesn't strike. You are good at building up suspense. Keep writing and perfect your skill.

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  2. Thanks a lot for the keen observations.

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