Part one of this story is here. Now we continue…
He was found as the first light touched the ground. At first Ddumba thought he had stumbled over a stone, “It’s too soft to be a stone, and darn, this feels like mud…” he thought to himself and removed his katorchi to see what he had stepped on. He’d hate to have muddied his shoes but at least he was close to home, he’d just go home, clean up and continue to work. He turned on the light and on seeing what it is he had stepped, felt a cold wave pass through him.
It was 7:15am, she was just waking up. She performed the ritual of any post-millennium adult; wake up, reach for the phone, touch the green speech bubble icon and scroll through. Many people did this every morning, like they expected some news that they had won the lottery, or had got a promotion or their crush wanted to see them. Phones were addictive in the mornings.
She saw the message in a group. She saw it and thought it must be a joke. She dialled his number; zero seven eight nine, nine nine one, one nine nine and placed the black Samsung phone on her ear. Nothing. It didn’t ring. She went back to the green app. Scrolled through.
Questions and commiserations.
He had not responded to her text the previous day. And now this news was all over her phone. She felt helpless. Like a conversation had been abruptly stopped and would never continue. Maybe she shouldn’t have sent it? Why didn’t he respond? She caught herself worrying about the text and not the fact that he was dead and worried that maybe he was right.
“You’re selfish.” Was the last thing he’d said to her. Her text wasn’t exactly an apology but now she regretted it. She decided to get up out of bed and make sense of it all.
Ddumba had not planned on spending his morning at the police. He wasn’t a criminal after all. All he had done was stumble on a corpse on his way to work, called the police and this was his payment. Inconvenience. He didn’t know the man, and except for the fact that the wound at the back of his head was the most gory thing he had seen in life, had no sympathies.
“When can I go?” Ddumba asked the cop at the desk.
“After we sort out a few things. Like you telling us you stumbled on the corpse yet we found you with clean shoes.”
“I cleaned them. I was going to work. I am late for work, don’t you see?”
“Why would you clean them knowing you were going to call the police?”
“To avoid inconveniences like this.”
“What inconvenience have you avoided?”
Ddumba stifled a cuss word and just slapped the wall. This could become problematic.
Right then, she walked in. Straight to the desk.
“Officer, we were told his body was taken to the mortuary but the suspect is here? Also did you find anything else?”
“Yes the suspect is here. Claiming he didn’t do it. As all suspects do.”
“Can I speak to him?”
“Are you a detective?”
She silently jeered at the thinks-he-must-be-clever policeman and continued to ask
“Do you have his phone?”
“I suppose I can’t see it.”
The policeman looked at her and looked away.
The phone wasn’t with the police though.
Somewhere in a slum on the lower side of the city, a small bodied teenager was beginning to kiss the threshold of sleep. The night had been long. He and three other boys were huddled up in a shack with their loot by the side, and a blood stained hammer in the corner. This teenager was fumbling with the phone.
“Did you remove the simcard?” The boy on his left asked.
“Yes. Do you think I am stupid?”
He found himself in the Messages and and found two messages to “Jewels”.
One was sent and read “Let me show you what a mad man can do…”
The other was undelivered…
He didn’t bother to read it. He covered his head to sleep and said to himself,
“Poor mad man”, he thought, “If only he had not resisted and just given me the phone.”
Perhaps there is part 3?
Photo : Lifehacker.