Saturday, June 02, 2012

Relapsed Hoof in Mouth

T'wouldn't be the first time Donkey's been in the shit for cracking wise about serious and sensitive matters. 

Once, as an insecure school boy trying to generate some social currency, I loudly remarked to my sniggering peers how much of a shame it had been that the doctors had sliced off Sister Kathleen's huge knockers because now there was nothing good to look at during Geography.  This appalling remark had been delivered whilst the Mother-Superior smouldered silently, menacingly, behind me.  When I'd finally noticed that the cackles of my peers had exceeded even my comedic abilities, I spun around and flinched at Sister Sophia's detesting face protruding from forbidding, mission-brown from eyebrows to 'obnails.

The hectic confusion of the school corridor suddenly plunged into silent slow-motion.  I cowered pathetically as her piercing stare damned me to the eternal inferno with a hatred one wouldn't have thought possible from a woman of the cloth, and after a deliberate, seemingly endless breath, things sped-up very suddenly with her launching into a violent rage of verbal abuse which actually damned me to the eternal inferno.

More recently, it has been my recent, blasé spray about escaped convicts in Vanuatu which has sent me diving for the self-flagellation stick.  Despite my treatment of the subject as just a big, harmless old joke, things have taken a nasty turn around these parts recently with the severe beating of a long-term, well-known and respected expatriate by intruders in his home, followed the next night with the brutal murder of an elderly expatriate couple in their beds.

It was immediately, generally understood that the perpetrators of both incidents were none other than six of the twelve escapees which, everyone soon discovered, were still on the run, some two months later. 

Confirmation of this fact from the sheepish Correctional Authorities a couple of days later saw egg on both their and my ugly mugs, but the latter was soon sizzling away fit to explode when it was confirmed by the police that the escapees really were the prime suspects in both incidents.

The town went into lock-down as the rumour mill, known locally as the 'coconut wireless' went haywire.  Everyone's brother's friend's dog had seen the escapees hiding-out in the bush behind their homes, and every other punter's house had been burgled in the space of a week as bored young people took advantage of the e-scape goats at large to break into the homes of every expatriate in their neighbourhood to make off with those enormous TVs they'd been eyeing off for the past year and a half.

Amidst this genuine fear and panic, the additional, extraordinary rumour went out that someone's husband/brother/aunt works in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Minister had just issued an edict that the Vanuatu Mobile Force (VMF) – the poorly-trained, trigger-happy paramilitary arm of the Vanuatu Police Force – had permission to take up arms after dark and to shoot anyone on suspicion.

You can just imagine what that led to; better six nut-bags with knives moving through the night than 70 with officially sanctioned automatic weapons! 

Crikey!  I'll know never to take the piss out of a serious situation again.  I never could have believed that this tuen of events could have become this dangerous.  I've definitely learned my lesson; there's nothing ... absolutely nothing funny about living in fear for your life every night.  No more making light of such issues ... ever ... again!

Oh by the way, on those first couple of nights during which the VMF were on the loose, only a few gun shots were heard, but they appear to have been well wide of the mark, 'cause a few days later the Government issued a warning to the (now seven) escapees – "Turn yourselves in by midday on Saturday, or else...". 

Or else what?  They've been on the run for two months! ... and judging by the location of these two crimes, they've not been very far away from the cops that whole time.  "Turn yourselves in by midday on Saturday, or else ... we're really going to start looking for you"?  Hmmph!

Vanuatu's 'coconut wireless' works even faster these days with the aid of Facebook and email.  These pics (2 of the 6) were in Donkey's inbox accompanied by versions of the murder long before any official news of the incident were released.