Sunday, 28 November 2010
The first step I take outside jail is near-fatal. Some crazy chap wanting to get home before someone got him back in the slammer. As a parting gift, I also got to hear some select expletives.
That’s what I experienced after 14 years of nerve-jangling jail time. Near-death. And profanity.
Maybe, just maybe, I deserved it. After all, I had run down a little kid in an open park. Yep, I was drunk, well and truly. 14 years it’s been, and I remember the incident as clear as daylight.
Or do I? No… I don’t remember the kid’s face all that well… but I was driving, for sure…
Meanwhile, in another part of the city...
“He’s out of jail, boss.”
“Reverend John II… of course you know who I’m talking about! Sam, that’s who!”
“He’s nobody. Why are you fretting? He has NO idea why he went to jail. Thinks he knocked over some pretty kid. He’ll probably run into you and give you a big hug.”
“Obviously, you haven’t read The Count of Monte Cristo?”
“That Dumas guy’s book? Yeah, I’ve read it. But there’s a slight difference—the count actually KNEW what to look for and whom to target. Sam has NO idea. Get a life, Rocky.”
“I don’t know boss… it’s giving me a bad feeling…”
“Chill man… I’ve got tickets to the game tonight… joining in?”
“A couple of lady friends would be coming along too…”
“Sure… why not! Perhaps that should cheer me up…”
TO BE CONTINUED
Sunday, 10 October 2010
As I walked out of the door, all the scumbags who I’d shared a cell with gave me high fives and wished me all the best. Funny how life works out—8 years ago I’d have got this reception from guys in white collars and black suits and ties. Thinking about it, I don’t think there’s too much difference in character between the two.
The guy at the reception handed me my things: one golden watch, one silk handkerchief, one golden money clip with NO money in it, and a mobile phone (it wasn’t your sleek smart phone, it was one of those bulky contraptions that looked like a cordless rather than a mobile phone).
I walked out... and I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was a limo, waiting for me. Probably my daughter had a change of heart after all.
When I walked up to it, some punk guy shoved me, got into it, showed me the middle finger and drove off.
And I stood there, all alone.
A man in my position, I’d probably say I’ve learnt my lesson. I’m going to lead an honest life. I’m going to start my life all over again.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not greedy for more. As I’ve always said, greed is good. Now, when I look at the limo, greed seems legal!
By the way folks, you’d better know me better—I’m Gordon Gekko, world famous corporate raider. Aha, no... why don’t you start calling me Gordon?
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
“HE’S DEAD DAD! DEAD! AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT! YOUR FAULT… IF ONLY YOU WERE THERE…”
That was the last time she came to see me in jail. My son had just died of a drug overdose. It was through the money I’d made for him and my daughter. My greed for money outdid his greed for drugs, yet what I got was jail and he got death. Funny kind of ‘divine justice’, I thought.
I guess what they say is true—dirty money meets a dirty end. Somehow, I’ve never been the same, arrogant man after that. It was as if something died within me.
Slowly, but surely, I had learnt to bury my guilt with anger. Now all I was greedy for was revenge. Revenge on that quack of an investment banker who ruined my life. And from tomorrow, it begins.
Part IV coming soon…
Sunday, 26 September 2010
It was like hammering a nail into my head. Just a week back I was the king. I helped create wealth for others, and I made more than a bit on the side. I was respected, even feared. Some called me the messiah... some called me a shark. But either way, I loved it. A nice, plush home on Long Island. A dumb blonde who didn’t ask questions as long as she got what she wanted...
Until I bit off more than I could chew.
It all started with that rumour. I thought I could pull down one of the world’s largest conglomerates. Everyone hedged their bets. I set the rumour rolling and we were all waiting for a big, fat prize.
Unfortunately, I had a rat in the team. He and my rival quashed the rumour and gave us up. And I was sentenced to 8 years for trying to create some prosperity. Instead, I am now rotting in hell.
But don’t you even think for a moment that I’m going to give up... I’m not. Jail time has given me a lot of time to think... and now, I’ve made up my mind.
Part III coming soon...
Saturday, 25 September 2010
But we do, don’t we? We’re HUMAN BEINGS.
It’s like getting your first share of profit at the markets. Quite like when an animal smells blood. It feels so good...
Out of the seven sins, I believe that greed is the worst. It’s like those ‘gold/platinum’ credit cards—NO LIMITS!
Oh wait! You may be wondering why I’m writing all this... I’m in jail actually. And actually enjoying every minute of it...
Part II coming soon...
Sunday, 31 January 2010
A loud cry in the middle of the night woke me up. The rain should have actually drowned out any other sound, but this cry was different. I woke up to find that there was no power (as usual). As I walked over to the living room, the cries grew louder. I opened the door and looked around. No one was there. As I turned back, my eyes fell on the porch. I got the shock of my life.
He was like God to his people, Lal sahib. He was the wealthiest zamindar in Allahabad. And the kindest. People from all over India would come to him with their problems and he would treat those problems as his own. And this man was about to become a father. His entire village was in celebration. In a few days, they were going to be blessed with God’s successor.
“DADI! Please get the lamp!” Dadi was 78 years old, but I knew that if there was anyone I could count on in such a situation, it was her. We’d been living alone in this village for more than 20 years now, and she was respected (even feared, maybe) by every person. When she came to see what was happening, she just silently shook her head.
Lal sahib had brought a doctor home. His wife was in labour. In those days, only the wealthiest could afford to bring a doctor home. Apparently, the doctor threw up words like ‘complication’, but Lal sahib would have none of that. He ONLY wanted to hear good news. A little while later, the doctor came out.
“UFFF! Are you going to keep that poor thing out?” Dadi screamed. She took the little boy in her hands, and dried him with the towel that wrapped her shoulders. I looked on, almost in disbelief. “Dadi, it’s a BOY! And as it is, we’ve got problems of our own? Why should we care?” I got one resounding slap.
"Please, don’t shout, the villagers are standing outside.” Yes. The entire village indeed wondered what was going on. This was supposed to be a day of happiness, of joy, of celebration. But Lal sahib was bellowing at the top of his voice, and things were flying about. There were pleas and cries for help, but no one moved. Probably the villagers were too stunned to hear their God, so angry, so out of touch with his usual self. And then, it was all revealed.
“Have you forgotten Dadi? Have you forgotten how we were humiliated? It was YOU who told me all those stories, Amma! You told me how my father lost his mind! You told me how he just kicked out a woman and her helpless daughter! You hated men, AMMA! YOU HATED MEN! YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN STRONG AND PUT THEM DOWN DADI! Now, you’ve slapped me for this BOY?”
“AFTER SO MANY YEARS, YOU GIVE ME A GIRL?? A GIRL?? FIE UPON YOU!” Saying so, he just kicked them out of the house. Both mother and daughter. In front of the whole village. Lal sahib was no longer God. He had transformed into something terrible.
“Don’t be a fool.” was Dadi’s riposte. “And don’t be under the impression that I’ve forgotten anything. I haven’t. That’s why I don’t want you ending up like your father. Now come inside and help me with this little lad. Looks like he’s going to need milk.”
Dadi could never forget Lal sahib. She had only forgiven him. And that was that.
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
1987, San Francisco
I was born in San Francisco in 1979. My neighbourhood was pretty rough—I was involved in backyard brawls since I was 7. But somehow, I didn’t end up on the wrong side of the law. I always wanted to be a cop, just like my dad, because when I used to see him walking around with a gun and people saluting, I thought it was a cool thing. Yeah, Chico Gonzalez Jr. (that’s me) wanted to be a cop.
But nothing was cooler than what my dad told me about somebody named Harry, Harry Callahan. Apparently, he hated bad guys to the point that he would just shoot them off in the head with his .44 Magnum. That sent shivers down my spine, but heck, I was willing to do it. The more he told me about it, the more I wanted to be just like him. Yeah, that was my ambition. To be like Harry Callahan.
2009, San Francisco
He was lying on the floor, his clavicle completely shattered (that’s collar bone to you fellas). I was late by five minutes and those scumbags got to him. But Harry did take out two guys, even in that kind of situation. It was just him.
“Don’t waste your time, sonny. Get out and after them. I might go any time.”
I couldn’t do that. I called 911 and alerted an ambulance. It’s the least I could do. I mean all my life I’ve wanted to be like him. Couldn’t let him go like that, could I?
Ah, there’s the ambulance...
“... and today, we have come to witness the last day of Inspector Harry Callahan as an inspector. It truly has been an honour. Please, Mr. Callahan, accept this award on behalf of our community. It’s because of you our children have been able to walk these streets at night without any fear. Thank you.”
I saw him walking toward the stage to collect his award. At 78, he still had that swagger. He collected his award and went hurriedly back to his seat, but was caught by the MC. “No, no, Mr. Callahan, you have to share something with us. You can’t get out of this one with your .44 Magnum.”
The crowd roared with laughter. Callahan too managed a wry smile. He walked up to the podium.
“Hey guys... and gals.” The throaty, manly voice was still intact. “All I want to say is... I hope future police officers aren’t scared of dishing out justice to those pricks out there like I did. Sure you don’t win friends, but you keep your enemies off the street. That’s all I have to say, thanks... and oh, all you lucky punks out there, you better not feel so lucky. I still have Smith & Wesson with me.”
Saying so, he drew out THAT big gun. The audience let out a gasp. Ol’ Harry just gave them a wry smile and put it back in.
I was put in his department. Homicide—where my father first assisted Harry. I saw some pleased faces on my way to the Police Department. Must say I didn’t like them. They were the pieces of dirt, the scumbags in whom Harry had put the fear of God. They felt they were let off the hook. Really, now?
“Too much loss of blood... we can’t give him too much of a chance.” The words rang in my ears. I told the doctors I’d be back.
Meanwhile, my assistant (MY assistant, lord it sounded so funny) was on the trail of those bad guys. They just wanted to get back at Harry, and get back they did. JEE WHIZ THIS TRUCK’S COME OUT OF NOWHERE, I’M ON COLLISION COURSE...
Chico Gonzalez Jr. assistant’s narrative
They were six of them. SIX of them. Chico had to take Harry to the hospital. I don’t know why. What was so great about this guy any way? An old guy with arthritis in his hands who thinks he rules the world. Not happening for me. For me, NO ONE is above the law.
Uh-oh. Bullets coming in from all directions. I think I had just run into them.
I could only see the silhouettes. They just started firing again.
I ran for my life. I hid behind cars, trees and anything that came in my way. In the ensuing chase, I lost all my bullets. So I had no gun and six crazed guys after me.
I turned back and looked at them. My time had come. They all raised their guns. Suddenly, I heard a few gunshots.
I thought I was gone. But I opened my eyes. Nothing happened to me. I just saw four dead guys, and two standing facing the other side. I checked my pocket and found one bullet left. I shot one of the guys with that. Now only one was left.
What I saw though, in front of me, was frightening. At the far end, I saw a shadow, in a sling, holding up what looked like Magnum .44, hair frazzled. And on the look of it, his skin on the outlines were wrinkled. The guy in front of me was shaking in his boots. I then understood why—I heard a familiar, throaty voice of that man.
I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking "did he fire six shots or only five?" Now to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and will blow you head clean off, you've gotta ask yourself a question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?
Back to Chico Gonzalez Jr. narrative
I found myself in a hospital, feeling all woozy. Suddenly, I realised, Darren (my assistant) had gone after those six mad thugs. I gotta get there. I somehow managed to convince a frantic nurse and a very anxious doctor that I was ok. I just picked up my gun and off I went.
I ran, without realising that I was lost and wouldn’t have the faintest idea where the crooks were. Suddenly, I heard gunshots around the corner. I ran.
When I reached there, I saw six guys with their backs to me. Obviously, they’d cornered Darren. I took out my gun—hey wait a minute, this is Harry’s .44! After I picked it up, I got a message from the doc on my cell phone—we’d lost Harry Callahan. Excessive loss of blood.
I couldn’t let him die just like that. I had a fully loaded .44 Magnum with more bullets in my pocket to spare. Aimed it at those b*#@$%s and BANG! BANG! BANG! Four down, two to go.
By this time, I suppose Darren had woken up, because the guy in front of me just dropped dead. Yeah, he was looking straight into me just like the last crook. But the both of them had this queer stare.
And then, with a bit of a flourish, I gave him that piece of talk which I grew up listening to. The last guy was so terrified, he shot himself in the head. Good thing, because I fired and realised I’d run out of bullets.
Darren came out of the shadows and asked, in fear more than anything else, “Harry...?”
I just turned away and walked.
Live on Harry, live on.