HE sat on the ground in the darkness, knees drawn up and hugged by long, muscular arms. It was a position of choice; one that he could hold for hours without moving. He was enjoying the gloom; the pitch black nothingness of which people seemed so afraid.
If only they knew what comfort one could derive from embracing the black void, he mused. If only they knew how all the senses became so attuned and acute in an undisturbed, friendly atmosphere.
As if on cue he closed his eyes, willing himself to concentrate on every sound: his own breathing; the noises of the city; the ambient sounds of the night. English was his best subject and even though school was a thing of the past, he remembered his teacher asking him to read a passage that had a particular poignant sentence: The night is dark, though the stars shine. So succinct, he reflected.
At first, darkness seemed to be claustrophobic and compressing but as he became habituated to the solitude, more and more he sought its influence. And, strangely enough, the acceptance had its benefits and advantages.
He looked around. Having developed remarkable night vision from constantly living in a house without electricity, he could see every object clearly outlined in the small oval room and even beyond in the corridor that snaked into the rear.
A bolt slid harshly. Hands akimbo, his mother appeared.
“Shawnie, I know you ain’t sleeping. You better bring back ‘a raise’ when you go on the road today. Other children does help their family, what about you, you’re the oldest.”
That subliminal message was not lost on him
Each word penetrated like a dagger and the adrenaline immediately began to pump in Shawn’s veins. Gone was the dreamy casualness as he crouched in the shadows of the washed-out double-panelled blinds.
The 19-year-old was transformed. That special visceral thrill was back. And not even those who thought they knew him well would guess that their genteel high school mate had crossed a line of no return. It was at that point that he had decided to become a permanent member of the burgeoning ‘CG motorcycle gang’ that was relieving people of their money on the way from commercial banks. The offer had been made by Kevin, his friend, the fearless gang leader.
The Honda CG 125 is a commuter motorcycle that was made by Honda of Japan. It was in production from 1976 to 2008. Then it eventually moved to Brazil and Turkey. The CG125 was developed from the CB125 for Third World markets. Due to the design success, several direct copies of the CG125 have sprung up (mostly from Chinese and Korean manufacturers ).
It’s the bike of choice for the young motorised thieves in Guyana. It’s a veritable scourge, and thankfully one that the local police are working overtime to eviscerate.
There is nothing more heart-rending than having your savings snatched from you and having to look on helplessly as brazen, unconscionable bandits dodge and slice their way to their horizons with audacious dexterity.
To blunt this craze, the police must adopt their own ‘War of the Flea’ tactics to dismantle this ubiquitous threat. Robert Taber’s timeless analysis would tell you to keep hitting the enemy here, there and everywhere to disturb their modus operandi. Today’s CG bandits are yesterday’s ‘trunkers’. They are getting bolder. Law enforcement must now be more proactive; not just reactive.
Within two weeks, Shawn had become champion biker, adroit and fearless. His reassuring words to all his pillion riders were: “Hold tight, I’ll get you there.”
He was pleased with himself. His brand-new CG was always polished. He now had more money than he had ever dreamed of and he had more girls than he could handle. His mother was now treating him like royalty, obvious questions unasked. The ghetto grandiosity was in full flow.
Four successful bank robberies in two weeks. That was a record. But NOTHING lasts forever.
Shawn began to have the uneasy feeling that someone was keeping tabs on him but despite extra vigilance, he could not spot anything out-of-order.
Until one night he noticed a black hearse-like vehicle pull up alongside his bike on Cemetery Road, and two bullets ripped through his body. A man with size 12 boots turned the body over and said to no one in particular: “You robbed the wrong man, Bro.”
Nothing else moved along the dark, lonely conduit. No birds chirped, and not even a soft rustle of breeze designed to disturb the trees. Then, unresponsive fingers slipped off the motor cycle’s throttle. Rider and bike lay unmoving under a colossal palm tree.
The wind now carried a plaintive sound. A few scattered leaves blew along the roadway. In the distance, a rotted palm branch fell. And suddenly a fat grey cat bolted from a culvert, eyes glistening in the dark.
At the funeral service, a ‘sympathy’ card was slipped to Shawn’s mother. A note inside told her what to do and when. It was signed ‘The Chief.’
Another chapter was about to begin and Shawn’s 18-year-old brother, Kevin, was eager to get among the dollars.