The Village Peeper: A Short Story (Part Two)
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LAST WEEK, I shared the first part of the above short story. It is believed that the village peeper was recognised by one housewife, but the peeper escaped leaving doubts. Ramlall, the husband, asked his wife, Dolarie:
Did you recognise the peeper?

Yes, it is the man with a limp walk
Are you sure?
Yes, but we will find out in a few hours.

The next morning the news broke out that the man with a limp was the peeper. He was spotted on the village’s east side, and a housewife threw hot water on him. The group of young men on the roadside was stunned to find out that he was identified as the village peeper. It was a mystery to them. He could not be the peeping sprinter. He was old and walked with a limp whenever he surfaced on the main public road carrying out errands for himself, his wife, and his son. No one was sure how he happened to walk with a limp. He had never been the talk of the village until now. “Was his limp for real or was it a show?” the group wondered.

Two days later he was on the public road carrying out errands as usual without any visible burn scars.
“I ain’t see any burning marks on him,” one young man declared.
“Maybe the housewife made a mistake or the hot water never landed on the peeper,” another young man wondered. Then as he passed, a voice from the group echoed.
“What is the colour of the housewife’s underwear?”

“Lift your mother’s dress and you will see the right colour.”
“Show us how fast you can run. Chase me.”
“I rather run with your sister, mother, and auntie.”

“Guyana is looking for sprinters with one hand in pants.”
Whenever he passed by the roadside group, the above exchanges continued mercilessly with neither the group nor did he think that their chants were inappropriate. He had become the joke of the village amusing the bored.

He was of Indian extraction. His grandfather was brought from India to British Guiana to work on the sugarcane plantations under a five-year contract. When his contract was over, he accepted a piece of land instead of his return passage and settled down in British Guiana, never returning to India. His family was supposedly from a high Brahmin priest caste that the villagers looked up to for inspiration and to resolve challenges and conflicts.

While his family was questionable since many Brahmins in British Guiana supposedly changed their low-caste status to a higher one on the sea voyage, his physical features appeared to fit a Brahmin from India. He was light-skinned and tall with a long, straight nose. He had deep-set, small eyes and a chiseled face. He was partly deaf and spoke loudly. He was a mild-mannered man.

These characteristics do not necessarily fit a peeping Tom next door. For some strange reason, his wife nor his brothers and sisters ever confronted him about being the peeping Tom, creating unnecessary anxieties in the sugarcane harvesting section of the village. Maybe, they did not want to accept that he was the peeping Tom or sexually deviant or they were waiting for him to be cornered and caught. Or, they simply did not want to interfere with his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde lifestyle. Or, was this all a speculation?

For almost a year, no one had seen the peeping Tom and discussions about him faded. Discussions centred on suicide, domestic abuse, alcoholism, and out-migration to the United States. Then, the roadside group heard a cracking sound out of nowhere around 10:00 pm.
“Wonder what that is?”

“Oh, that is Danjo and his usual weekend drinking and making noise waking up the neighbours”
“Let us go and see since it seems more than normal.”

There they saw Danjo almost drunk with a cutlass in his hand underneath his stilted house shouting to a man. “Why are you peeping at my wife?” Danjo swung the machete and the man backed out of the way. Danjo almost lost his balance and fell onto the machete. The man picked up the axe laying underneath the back step and swung it toward Danjo, missing him by inches and hitting one of the four stilt posts to the ground.

The man swung the axe again at Danjo, hitting the second post, and then there was a sudden crash followed by a painful groaning sound, “I am Ramgolee, the Peeping Tom” and then an eerie silence. (lomarsh.roopnarine@jsums.edu)

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