I Was Probably Almost Shot, But Not By Cupid’s Arrow

Yesterday was Valentine’s day.  I usually don’t do anything special for that day.. it is safe to say that I have NEVER done anything special for that day but with new beginnings come new things. Without going through the details It quickly ended and I was experiencing a cascade of different emotions that were becoming overwhelming and not something I wanted to deal with at the moment so I called up a friend and went drinking/clubbing in Woodbrook. Tequila is a quick fix. I needed that, but my thoughts and emotions were forcing its way back and there was only so much alcohol I could handle before I become a hot mess. I wanted to go home… sleep and forgot the entire day ever happened.

After getting some doubles on “the Avenue”, we continued to walk to Port of Spain. While walking south along Richmond Street (still in my own head about the events of the day) my attention was drawn to a car that was parked in the middle of the road; no lights were on, and a man making an attempt to break into it, by a “what going on dey boy” from one of the young men who were walking just a short distance ahead of us along the same path. As they neared the vehicle, the man who was attempting to break in stepped back and went onto the side walk. They stopped. And asked him “what you trying to do dey?” he said that his keys got locked in and he’s trying to get in… Yeah…not buying that!

The group of young men and I approached the car to inspect to see if there was anyone on the inside, unconscious or otherwise. My friend stood back.  Maybe it was the alcohol in my system but I couldn’t see through the glass. It was dark inside so all I really ended up seeing was my reflection.  *a fire service vehicle passed* He asked us to help him get in the car. I said ok cool. Lemme call the police to help and asked my friend to dial 999 (for those of you who do not know our emergency number). The operator picked up. I told her that there was a in the middle of the road at the corner of Duke and Richmond Street and that there was a suspicious character hanging about. The license plate was PCT 8130 and it was a Silver Nissan something. (I don’t know car models). The guy was of African descent, unkempt hair, dingy white V-neck jersey and dirty khaki shorts. They said they’ll pass the information on. I asked how long would it be till the authorities arrive. She said she could not say and hung up.

By this time the group of fellas had started to walk away. I told my friend that he could go as well, but I felt the need to stay to see it through and bear witness. You see , when I intervene in a situation (like the baby that fell from Queen’s Park Oval, the UWI student who is struggling to stop using drugs, the highway kid) I tend to become invested in the outcome.  I don’t do these things to make myself feel like a good person, but I actually do care about the people that are involved in it. I find it difficult to dissociate myself from the victims; I’ve been described as an empath, but I not about that label life, call me Triston. My friend said he didn’t want to walk by himself and stayed as well… I wish he didn’t.

I am torn now! Do I stay and see it through or do I go with my friend. I want to do both but clearly I can’t. I pondered it for a moment and in that moment the Fire Service vehicle passed again. I attempted to stop it, going as far as going into the road… they drove around me. WHAT D F*CK JED! So they don’t think I am attempting to stop them for a reason? There is a F*cking car in the middle of the road! That at least should be of some concern! I pondered again. Two vehicles with flashing blue lights passed in the area; one to the top and one to the bottom of Richmond Street; none of which turned down. did they get the memo? I called the police again and inquired about their ETA. The Suspicious character left then left in haste, threatening something about “marking my face” and coming back with a gun to “shoot up my MODA CONT”.  For the most part I was unbothered, but I was there with my friend and I have him to consider as well. knowing better than to turn my back on a threat I kept my eyes on  the suspicious character and once he was out of sight, we left as well, taking a different route further and more convoluted than our initial one.

I am home with a hangover now and I have a lot of unanswered questions. What came of the situation after that, did the police eventually respond to the emergency call? Where was the driver of the stalled vehicle all this time?  Was the suspicious character’s threat sincere or just some scare tactic? If I were shot, would it hurt less than heartbreak? and when will this wretched hangover wear off! Only one of these questions I will know the answer to. The rest.. who knows?

gunshot_to_the_heart_by_chrispop

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Dive Roll for your life: An epic tale where preparation meets inopportunity

They say everything happens for a reason. Back in my High School days, I used to do gymnastics/ acrobatics. Funnest memories were of dive rolling through hoops for a presentation for the school. Folks like Jillia Cato, Roannta Dalrymple and Jivaan Bennett were also part of that troupe. Good times :). I just found the certificate from  the acrobatics camp we did in 2002 and realized two things. 1. My name was spelled incorrectly, and 2. the training I received there is still embedded somewhere in my subconscious and is perhaps what saved my face and quite possibly my life back in 2014.

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On Tuesday 17th June 2014, I walked away from yet another robbery attempt. For some reason I had recently become a person of interest to the criminal element. When would people realize that what I have that is worth anything at all is intangible? What I have is up here <Points to head> and in here <touches heart> and no one could never take it by force.  #ThugLyfe!

So here’s what happened…

I was waiting by Kaydonna on the Highway for a taxi to head to a rehearsal in Port of Spain. I’d been waiting there for some time.. about three green lights (If I can use that as a measurement of time) when a vehicle; which was later described by someone who made a police report as a “Silver Honda Fit”, turning onto the highway from the southern main road stopped in front of me. It wasn’t an “H” car, it was a “P” but that’s nothing out of the ordinary in our society, and heck, when taxis running scarce and you have somewhere to be P/H doh really make a difference. I noted that when the car stopped it didn’t stop in the way a regular taxi would stop.. ah mean, It didn’t flash its lights, so for a split second I thought it stopped for someone else… I even looked around to see who it could have stopped for, but I was the only one there, so I hopped in because I knew If i was late,  Carol would have had my hide. (I ended up giving my hide it to the asphalt instead.. but we reaching there). The car was being driven by a slim, possibly tall man of African descent, very prominent cheek bones, scruffy, patchy sets of facial hair and either plaits or dreadlocks… the inside of the car was dark.

Kaydonna

Kaydonna

Somewhere along the highway, which may or may not have been El Socorro, (the last feature I recalled was a walkover), a male voice in the back seat told the driver “Slow down here”. I thought.. wait na… somebody else here? but didn’t pay it much mind. When he slowed to a stop, an arm wrapped round my neck from the back seat and the voice said “Doh move!” initially I thought this is some kinda prank (as I have done similar pranks before… Karma may be coming back to me). I sat calm and uninterested but  when I noticed the driver motion, as if to lock the door, my survival mode kicked in and I immediately opened my door. I saw some men across the road by a Chinese restaurant and began calling out to the men…. I called and called and they just stood there and watched… I yelled “they’re trying to rob me”.. still not a flinch, not a look of agitation,  not a nothing… they just stood and watched. That annoyed the fcuk outa me… Clearly I am going to have to be my own salvation. From this point on everything happened very quickly… I was hit on top the head from the back a couple times and  the voice said “make noise and ah go shoot yuh”… I have said it before.. in my bubble, guns don’t exist. I am not intimidated by folks who tell me or indicate that they have a gun.. I dunno why.. but somehow that just makes them look weak in my eyes. (I think it has something to do with me being unarmed, which makes brandishing a weapon on their end quite cowardly) but I digress. I started kicking the open car door… It was my intention to break it or something… I’m not sure if a human can break off a car door, but it didn’t hurt to try. With the door still open; my legs kicking at it violently, and my range of movement limited by the arm from the unknown in still wrapped tightly around my neck – The driver sped off.

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Silver Honda Fit

While speeding, we passed a  guy standing by the highway (probably waiting on a taxi)… not too sure if he even knew what was going on. The area where the car was at this point was lined by businesses and industries, all closed at this time; up ahead – to the left of the highway was bush; lots and lots of bush, to the right, the Beetham; a village that is notorious for criminal activity and I would be dammed if I let myself be taken into, or stranded in that area. Plus, the longer I stayed the more speed that was being built up.  Forgetting that I was strapped in (seat belts save lives.) I made a failed attempt to jump out of the vehicle. My foot touched the floor… it felt like it almost broke. I processed that thought and wondered If jumping out was the best option. Before my mind could make up itself, my arms unbuckled the seat belt and I threw myself out. The meat of my shoulder made first impact; I tucked my head in, (in retrospect, the technique I learned in gymnastics from Mr. Robinson), then my butt hit and I tumbled a good few times on the asphalt before I stood up, (saw that the car had stopped, the door was closed, and then it sped off again). I walked very giddily for a considerable distance, passed the guy we passed on the highway (who made no attempt to assist while i stumbled toward him) before collapsing.

Everything was a daze, I could hear chatter, I could feel myself lifted and eventually rested on very itchy grass and I heard a male voice say “What we should do? Should we call 911?”.. Well now look how I up! It is absolutely mind boggling that there are persons who don’t even know the emergency numbers for their own country! 911??!! you for real?? I had to be dreaming!! I was still trying to make sense of that sentence/ question with the group of male voices still trying to figure out what to do. I swear it was absolutely depressing.I was lifted again…. well… supported rather, my arm over his neck and my face in his grey hair, an elderly man took me over to the chinese resturant .. the same one I mentoned before, the guys who were trying to figure out what to do were the same guys I was calling out to not to long ago. I later asked them “Did ya’ll hear me calling out to you before??” They confessed that they heard but thought If they went over they will be robbed too.. so they did nothing.. Well look how that annoyed me! One guy said that he and his cousin were coming over, but that was when the driver took off. In the short time I was there If you hear how the story changed among these men. By the time I left I was hearing that they stole my car, beat me up and threw me out 😐

Back to the old guy who carried me to the Chinese restaurant, I asked him his name, he said it is Ian Waithe. Now this is a man with sense. He said he was driving behind the car when he saw me tumble out and he said to himself “but what d jail is this!!” He turned around and came back. He said he also called 999.. Yes that is our emergency number for the police people and said the phone just kept ringing. He said he had two sons of his own.. grown like me and he would like to think that if it were his sons in my situ, someone would have done the same for them. Such a sweet old man he was. After a while he found that he been waiting too long and no authorities arrived yet (turns out someone called, got through but told the officers that it was on El Socorro Road… not the highway), so he took me to a Police station in the area… now this is where things get interesting. We were told that they don’t take police reports at that station, because it is the traffic branch and we’d have to go over to Barataria police station to make a report. Well to me that is a load of shit! so I said.. that doh make any kinda sense to me and negotiated my way into making a preliminary report. I also called my mum from the station and gave her the short version of the story. she asked how I was feeling- My response: “Like frigging batman”. While making the report though, I was getting the impression that the officers were more interested in the world cup than my situation… and lord knows I loathe bad customer service. Another annoying thing was .. I am telling my story to one officer and another officer would ask me a question or questions I have already covered… It was fcuking annoying. Let me finish my story and then you could ask questions… doh interrupt. And I was interrupted by possibly two or three officers. The same thing happened at the Barataria Police Station (Yup! I still had to go make the report there), but 8414 PC Maloney was a lot more attentive. So bug shout out to him 🙂  Surprisingly my dad showed up there… I didn’t know how he found me but at least I wont be travelling home.. I could have barely walked.

I went to Mt. Hope got checked out. I have minor cuts and bruises along my right side with my shoulder and butt cheek taking most of the damage.. hence the asphalt having my hide reference. God spared my face! 🙂  I expect that my back would hurt like a bitch when I wake up.. but on the flip side, I bounce up Adam Khan and another Georgian.. Ameera i think it is, in the hospital. Georgians everywhere boy!… but at least I kept my $11. I work hard for dat. You eh getting dat without a fight! Everyone who has heard the story.. the police.. the people who stood by and did nothing, Mr. Waithe all said that I was brave.. that word was being thrown around a lot. Thing is, I didn’t act out of fear, I was thinking about all the work I have been getting that I would have left undone. I’m a workaholic. Too many things going for me now for my story to end here.

My dad on the way home asked what did I have that’s so important to risk my life for? To that I responded

“The only thing I have control over is my own actions.  I saw an opportunity and took it. I cannot leave my salvation in someone else’s hands, If I let them take me who knows how that would have ended. I will be in control of my own destiny”

My brother said “I hope now you see that Chinidad dangerous and come out of that spirit finger bubble u living in!”

Trinidad is still a wonderful place to me. I am still not afraid to walk at nights and all dem thing and maintain that Trinidad could be a lot better If people band together to help persons in need and not always think f how it will affect them. here is strength in numbers. We must band together to overcome the criminal elements plaguing our society. Props again to Mr. Ian Waithe.

My brother also recorded my mother applying mentholated spirit to my bruises. we still laugh at that. lol.

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