Robbed!

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
How Shafi, a misguided young man learns his lesson, the hard way.

Submitted: May 31, 2017

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Submitted: May 31, 2017

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ROBBED!

 

“It looks like a real gun”, Shafi Said, his face red with excitement.  “Even a policeman can’t guess that it’s a fake,” smirked Kamaal bhai, his whiskers twitching.  Funnily, it reminded Shafi of a caterpillar crawling.  He quickly averted his gaze and asked, “How much?” “Normally ten thousand rupees for outsiders; but only seven thousand for you, my friend.” offered Kamaal. “No way, I can pay not more than a thousand, that too if i can sell my Dad’s watch without his Knowledge.” replied Shafi. “Hmm, what do you want to do with the gun!” asked Kamaal. “Rob strangers in the subway behind our slum and settle down in Mumbai with the money.” stated Shafi plainly.  Kamaal stared at him for a while and then started speaking slowly.

 

“You have dangerous plans, but I don’t care what you do.  I will give you the gun, on the condition that you pay me the money in a week.  After that it’s yours.  But if you fail to pay me...” Kamaal glared at Shafi, who winced and moved back.  The local peddler for smuggled and stolen goods, Kamaal was a giant of a man with a shady background. Shafi feared him, but his ambition of earning a quick buck that would take him out of the slum life was too great.  He hated the low life, the dirtiness, the poverty; everything and his heart ached for richness. “I Agree”, he said, taking the gun.

 

The subway adjoining Shafi’s slum connected the local metro Railway Station with the National Highway on one side and the city commercial centre on another.  Both the subway paths met at an underground junction, where signals hung showing passengers directions towards the station, the highway or the City centre.  Rich folks crossed the subway in the evening, some of their working late nights.  Shafi aimed at those people, who travelled alone when the station was nearly empty.  He could quickly disappear through either of the pathways into the safe maze of his slum home.

 

For the next seven days, Shafi’s life was so thrilling that he couldn’t sleep; he lay in wait during the day and as dusk fell, attacked passengers in the subway behind his shack in the slum.  He took care to single out old people and women, quickly grabbing their wallets and running, before they could recover from the fear of facing a gun.  His initial guilt slowly gave way to elation and his growing pile of ill gotten spoils made him bolder.  He stayed with his victims even after robbing them, allowing then to see him clearly.  Though he knew this was a risk, he basked in the power he held over them and drinking in the alarm / panic that their faces showed.  He felt like a hero, akin to the stars he saw in the movies.  His days were spent making plans for spending the money.

 

On the seventh evening, after his last plunder of an elderly woman, he counted his loot. Satisfied that he could now pay Kamaal’s and have a gala time with a lot to spare, he started walking towards Kamaal’s house.  “From tomorrow all the money I can squeeze out of these bozos will be mine, totally, “ he thought jubilantly. “Don’t move,” said a quiet voice behind him.  Shafi froze, turning slightly to see a tall, strong lad with a gun in his hand! “I know you have a gun too, Shafi, and I know it’s a fake.  I live your neighbourhood and have been watching you for the lost seven days.  Alas, mine is a real gun, unlike yours.  And I hope you will not make me test it on you.” The Stranger’s eyes were cold and glinted in the dark.

 

Shafi shivered slightly, realising he was on the other side of the table.  “What do you want?”, he asked. “Just the money in your trousers and your fake gun, a dangerous toy for kids to play with”, snickered the stranger.  Knowing he was defeated, Shafi took out the gun and the bundle, handing it over.  “Thanks”, said the stranger.  “And by the way, my name is Hameed.  I live in the other side of the Slum and if you want to buy real gun, you are welcome to meet me.”  He waved a good bye, disappearing into the dark like a cat.

 

It was a few minutes before Shafi regained his senses, realising he was in deep trouble.  Today was the last day to repay Kamaal and he had no life in the slum if he broke his word.  Kamaal was notorious for the way he treated his enemies, several of whom were not heard of.  He took a left from the subway junction and moved towards the metro station, counting the change in his pocket. He hopped on to a train to Mumbai, far from the sight of Kamaal Bhai and his hench men.

 

Epilogue

 

The tinkle of glasses and loud voices were drowned in the enveloping darkness, which was caressing the souls of the local ruffians and rag pickers to sleep.

 

The two laughed loudly, counting the money on the table. “What a sucker”, said Hameed, “he believed my fake gun to be a real one.” “That’s the beauty of this product, no one can tell the difference”, agreed Kamaal.  “Here’s your share”, he said, handing over portion to Hameed. “Thank you, Kamaal Bhai”, replied Hameed, the Robber.


© Copyright 2017 Vithal. All rights reserved.

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