By Larry Sun Episode 5
I was confused. What has really happened? Why did he apologize? Was it really because he raped a virgin? Was he feeling remorseful for what he had done? Or was he not, maybe he did that so that I would feel sorry for him and not tell the police what had happened
—because I had seen his face? I did not know what to believe any longer.
I was crying, he was weeping and begging me to forgive him. When he saw that I would not say a word to him, he got on his feet, put on his mask and went to the door. Before opening it he turned back to look at me and said in a very solemn voice, “I love you”. It was so solemn that I thought for a moment that I had only imagined him say those words. Then he walked out of my room.
I rose up from my bed to meet him, to hold him, to tell him how I also felt about him—but it was too late, they had already left. The truth is, I fell in love with him too. I know you’ll be surprised that I fell in love with the monster that came to do us harm. That is love; it is crazy and wicked. Love doesn’t know what’s wrong; neither does it know the right thing. Love sometimes brings sorrow. I truly fell in love with him, it’s what you call love at first sight these days, but it was very potent in those days. I sat in my room thinking about him. He was really a gentle guy, not a psychopath as most people would view him. My mother came in and found me sitting on the bed with tears on my face; she didn’t need to be told what had happened. She joined me in crying, and we leaned on each other’s shoulder; one trying to comfort the other not to cry. Then we suddenly heard a fusillade of gunshots outside; the screams of agony were even more deafening than the gunshot sounds. We ran into the sitting room. My father was still lying unconscious. Fear gripped our hearts. What is happening? I thought. The robbers had surely turned against one another because of the loot. Maybe they are just shooting the night-watchmen on the street. I was afraid the former would be the problem. I was not ready to lose the person I loved—even if he was a criminal. Then the gunshots ceased suddenly. My mother and I rushed out to see what had happened—Mrs. Philip paused, she appeared tired of speaking. And Richard was finding everything difficult to believe. She kept such a huge secret for twenty-seven years? My God!
“When you went out that night to see what had happened,” said Richard, picking his words carefully, “What did you see?”
“Dead people, what do you expect? We saw policemen dumping the dead bodies of the robbers in their vehicle. How the police came around baffled me, they might have been passing by and told that there was a robbery going on. Two of the policemen were killed but all the robbers kissed the dust. You see, robbers have always been the kind of species lacking in sense and rational decisions. They always seem to be driven by some aching greed that would make them feed until they burst, like ticks. I have never heard of one who had ceased his evil job because he had decided he had enough money. They just get voracious until they die in some violent reward of their silly overconfidence.
“After the bodies have been dumped in the vehicle, the policemen drove away. That was their end—they were probably given mass burials or cremated to have a taste of what they would have to endure in hell. I don’t even know the name of the tattooed one; I don’t have a picture of him—only in my mind. It was after a month and a half that I realized I was pregnant. I felt like dying when the doctor really confirmed it was true. Imagine the shame I went through. I wanted to get rid of the pregnancy but my parents advised me against it—they were afraid I would lose my life or my womb would be damaged. I was their only child and they didn’t want anything bad to befall me. Besides, they believed abortion was sinful and taking part in it could damn us to Hell. That pregnancy I was forced to keep was you.”
The last sentence felt like a stab to Richard, he stood up abruptly and his body began trembling, sweats secreting from the skin of his forehead. He felt as if he was in a nightmare.
“You mean—you mean my father is—” he could not complete the sentence.
“Yes, your father was an armed robber and he died a criminal’s death. He was killed like—”
“Oh, please stop!” Richard interrupted sharply, “Just stop, this can never be true.”
“I know you’ll find it hard to believe but it’s the truth, I have no cause to lie to you or make you sad. But I just have to let you know the truth about your father before you become like him. I realized it was your father back again when you told me you’ll become a criminal. Your father robbed to make money until he was brutally killed in an avalanche of gunshots. How I wish the police had allowed me see his corpse for the last time.”
“I’ve heard enough of this.” He stood up, walked out of the room and banged the door behind him. He walked far away from the house because he needed time to let the revelation he had just got to sink in. Contrary to his reluctance to believe the story were some nagging issues that suddenly became glaring. It did not help situation; it only made it worse for him. Some of what his mother had told him about his dead father’s personalities corroborated with his. He was also a soft-minded man himself, and he knew he also had the gift of getting away with crimes. He stopped walking suddenly and returned to the house, his mind had been made up. Something must be done about his wretchedness, and he knew what to do. No matter what anybody mightsay, his mind was made up.
The street was an oven! It was a very sunny day; the light of the sun was sharply focused, outlined in heat. The sun kept its angry eye on the city. Beating everything that was visible to it and giving uncomfortable feelings to plants, animals and humans.
Richard was profusely sweating under the scorching sun, but he didn’t mind; he even cared less about his peregrination. Getting fried in the heat was preferable to dying of boredom at home. The thought could just not leave him alone. The revelation that his father was an armed robber and was killed by the police was too heavy on his mind. Sometimes, he would painfully bang himself on the head several times to get rid of the horrible thoughts but they would not go. They kept haunting him, taunting and torturing him. The frustration he was feeling in him was gradually evolving into anger, the anger mightlead to hatred, the hatred might generate violence, and violence was sometimes soothing.
Two uniformed policemen walked past him, they were discussing; probably about how they would share the bribe they had extorted from illiterate motorists. One policeman was a tall slim man with spotty skin and a face that was almost all nose. He was once a light-skinned guy, Richard noticed, but staying too long in the sun had changed the colour of his face to what Richard could not describe. The other officer was so slim that his waist was almost nowhere to be found on him. His fading black uniform hung on him like rag on a scarecrow; he was an ebony black man with hairless head. The two policemen were armed with nothing but a baton each which they swung mindlessly as they walked away.
Richard suddenly felt a flash of hostility and aggression erupted in him as he watched the two officers, he felt like strangling them. Since hearing the news about his father, Richard had personally disliked policemen—they had killed his father. Though his father was a criminal, he still believed that his father didn’t deserve to be killed. According to the story he had heard, his father didn’t have the nerve to put an end to another person’s life, so why must he be killed? He looked with hatred at the two skeleton-like policemen. He knew that if he had the opportunity to fight them he would probably beat the crap out of them. Policemen of nowadays were not as brave as those of the early 80s. Richard ignored them, they didn’t offend him and they were definitely not the ones who killed his pappy. He knew in the depth of his mind that he was still going to get involved with the police, perhaps he would have the chance to beat one to a pulp; he would really enjoy breaking the nose of one officer. A stretch limousine was driven past him; he was in the neighbourhood of the rich so seeing flashy vehicles should not have surprised him, but that particular limousine seemed too long to Richard;he thought it should have been articulated with a separate driver to operate the wheels of the rear section. Some young boys on bicycles stopped and whistled at the sight of the long vehicle. Something caught Richard’s attention and he stopped walking; at the front of a big iron gate was a small board which read:
A Private Drivers Needed
HND or Bsc. qualified in any field.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s episode. Catch the next episode next week M ,mmm