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  • Writer's pictureKirk Bhajan

Descending Upwards

When I was a child, my grandfather always told me, “Evil doh follow you, you does look for it, and then it does find you.” Not only is that true but it is also inevitable. Coming face to face with evil is something everyone will experience during their lifetime. You see, nothing makes any sense in this place. It’s like the more we progress the deeper we descend. Perhaps the following account will help explain my thoughts.

It was the Friday night before Independence Day and I found myself on The Cross in San-Fernando. I went for a gyro. Strange; I remember the days when you were drunk and sought sobriety you’d search for a hot doubles with some venomous pepper. Not anymore. Grecian food can now be considered a local dish. Well anyway, I’m on the Cross, the street is drenched with the smell of roasted meat and the mixture of sweat and perfume from Venezuelan girls. I bought my chicken gyro and I was ready to call it a night. I drove off, making my way back home, when all of a sudden I saw a woman frantically flailing her arms in front my car. She wore a bright red top that matched the colour of her skin. I thought La Diablese one time. Grandfather again. He always used to warn me about evil. But I figured it was much too early for demons to be roaming about.

She was under the orange glow of a streetlamp, her face contorted in a grimace like a piece of warped galvanize, and I told myself, “This woman really in trouble”. So I stopped. As I pulled the handbrakes, in my peripheral I saw a sliver of silver. A hooded figure held in his grasp a shiny handgun. With seamless efficiency I saw the gun grow larger until I felt the cold barrel kissing my neck. Then I heard his voice, faint yet firm, almost as if he was hissing,

“Come out the car.”

I complied. In the space of those few seconds I already made peace with the fact that I lost the car, my cell phone, sixty dollars change, a pack of cigarettes and my gyro. The mistake I made was I looked at him. He was young. Under the tattoo that stained his right cheek I could still see his mother’s milk.

“Get out the car,” he continued.

“Open the trunk.”

Had I not seen his face maybe I would have gotten off easy. Unfortunately for me, that possibility had long passed and now I was forced to take a little trunk ride. I had no idea where I was heading, or what I was supposed to do. They have PSAs about AIDS and earthquakes but you don’t get training on what to do if you get locked in the trunk of your car. Surprisingly, there was some light in there, albeit meager. I tried my damndest to unlock it but there was no way my hands had enough power to break the lock from inside. It also didn’t help I was beginning to grow nauseous from the barrage of exhaust fumes that kept circling the little air that was afforded me.

I knew I was somewhere on the highway because the road was smooth and the car was travelling at a decent speed. I can’t tell you how long the drive lasted, all I knew was I could hear the tyres shift from asphalt to gravel until it finally stopped. I closed my eyes and held my breath.

The trunk popped open and I felt his ragged hands on my neck.

“Get out!” he commanded.

I murmured something to the effect of, “I not looking” which was met with a sharp blow to my face. To be honest, the blow didn’t register. In fact, I was struck a number of times but I didn’t feel anything. The blows continued and following those I was blindfolded, stripped, naked as a doeun, and marched to what I was told to be a pond. I knew the man wasn’t lying; I could feel the earth beneath me grow soft and mulchy as I stumbled forward. It was in that trek to the pond I made peace with the thought that I was about to be shot. My first thought was, “way boy Kirk, this is the worst time to die yes. You only now starting off as a writer and now you go dead?”. I also considered that my mother would be very distraught, not knowing where her only child disappeared to, discovering my rotted corpse months later. I tried not to think about that too much though. My brain was now flooded with a cocktail of emotions, all churning to create something so very strange.

You see, we always perceive time as linear. But as I made my way to that pond I realized the saying that “Time is a flat circle,” is indeed true. In that moment past, present and future become intertwined into one. There’s no point where your life flashes before your eyes. You don’t fully understand what’s going on in the present. You don’t think about your future at all really. You become no different to any living orgainism that through thousands of years of evolution revert into a state of instinctual survival. All your brain tells you to do is keep going. Breathe. Walk. Breathe. Be. Calm. Say. Nothing. Stay. Calm. Stay. Alive.

And so I was taken to that pond, hogtied and left naked and bloodied under the night sky. The last thing the man told me was, “You give me your car, I give you your life.” It was more than a fair trade. It took me almost two full hours to undo my restraints. Not once did I ever become frustrated. My mind was stuck in that loop; do what you have to do, stay alive. Eventually, I freed myself, found the main road and then a police station.

I wish there was some moral to this macabre little tale. I’m afraid there’s not much I can say other than I’m very thankful I’m still alive. I wanted to write about the current state of crime in Trinidad and how it seems to be in a perpetual state of escalation. Instead, what I’ll simply say is I think we’ve reached a point of no return, where we exist in a state of daily survival.

The problem is we’re blinded to the reality of perpetual evil because we’ve reached a pinnacle of sorts in human achievement. We can bend nature to our will. We can split the atom, breaking the very nature of reality. We have access to information literally at our fingertips. But the more technologically advanced society gets, a strange madness has taken hold of us. Once, self preservation was the highest law but as time wore on the pack began to provide for us and we left our violent beginnings behind. But it never left us. It lies beside us always, lurking in our dreams. Waiting. And as it waits, we have become slaves to the very systems and structures that we built. Now everything is falling apart. We’re born into a world where violence and evil is weaved into the fabric of society. We don’t have to go looking for trouble. No Grandpa, trouble is looking for us.

It reminds me of Daniel Quinn’s sci-fi novel, Ishmael. The book is about a man who finds a highly evolved gorilla and communicates with him telepathically to discover exactly what is wrong with civilization and how things came to be. The wise gorilla tells him that when in freefall one quickly loses the sense of direction and can easily assume that they are flying upwards when in fact they are hurtling to the ground.

Maybe we’re in such a state. We’re in freefall. The further we advance, the faster we’re falling. Time will eventually run out though. Brace yourself for the impact.

Written October, 2019



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