Saturday, April 14, 2012

Crab Mentality (Part 23)

June 19, 2010 (7am)
                The storm had come. The steady sound of pelting rain was blocking all of the daily noises that could usually be heard from Chalano’s bedroom.
                Chalano woke up, and walked to the window. Strong winds were swirling outside. He tried to figure out what he was looking at. Someone was sitting outside the gate of their garage. The figure was on their driveway. Rain sprayed on the closed, glass shutters of Chalano’s bedroom windows, making it harder for him to see the figure. He hurried downstairs. “Mother,” he called as he approached his mother, who was cooking breakfast. “I saw someone outside the gate of our garage.”
                “Who is it?”
                “It’s hard to see in the rain. I can’t see if he’s a pig, or a monkey. If he’s a man, he has a physical deformity. He’s just sitting out there in the rain.”
                She finished cooking, moved the food to a plate, and placed the cooking pan into the sink. “Give me that umbrella,” she said, pointing to an umbrella that was resting beside their huge table. “I’ll see who it is.”
                Chalano took the blue umbrella, and handed it to his mother. She went out of the back door, and walked beside their garage. She stayed near their house to avoid the strong winds. Chalano stood beside his favorite chair near their table, and watched his mother through the windows. She went to the gate, and peered outside.
                She walked back to their house. She went to the back door. "He’s an old dog, Charlie,” she said as she stood in the doorway. “Hurry, get an old blanket. We should help him because he would die in the cold.”
                Chalano quickly ran up the indoor stairs as his mother walked back to the gate. Chalano hurried through the corridor. There was a tiny room to the left side of the corridor. The room contained old furniture, old clothes, etc. Chalano took an old blanket from the room, and ran down the indoor stairs. His mother had just gone back to the backdoor.
                “Take him, Charlie,” she said as she gave the little creature to her son.
                He was a black terrier. There were bald patches all over his body that seemed to have been caused by skin irritation. He was very old. And he was blind. Chalano wrapped the blanket around the trembling dog, and carried him as his mother locked the back door. She said, “Let’s bring him to the living room. He must be kept warm.”
                Chalano and his mother walked up the indoor stairs, and to the living room. Chalano left the little dog on the floor, and went to the corridor. He came back with old clothes, and more old blankets. As Chalano wiped the dog dry with the old clothes, his mother brought her iron to iron the old blankets. She was making the blankets warmer. Once the dog’s fur was dry, mother and son helped each other wrap the dog up in numerous layers of warm blankets.
                “A family nearby must have thought that the dog who had guarded them for years had become old and useless, so they brought him out in the rain, and left him for dead. I’ve seen people do that more than once. It’s a wicked practice,” his mother explained.
                “Oh, that’s betrayal to a loyal dog,” Chalano said.
                “Yes. What if it was done to them once they become old? They seem to not think about it.”
                A few minutes later, the dog began to struggle out of the blankets. “Let’s stop now,” Chalano’s mother said with a smile.  “It’s becoming too warm for him. He’s going to be fine.”
                “Look after him for a while, okay? I’m going to take a bath because I got wet in the rain,” she said as she stood up and left.
                The dog left the blankets, and began sniffing on the floor and the furniture. Finally, he found Chalano. Chalano stroked the dog’s wavy fur. He brought out his mobile phone, and called Kim.
                When Kim took the call, Chalano said, “Hey, we have a dog.”
                “Great! You bought him?”
                “We found him trembling outside our garage in the storm.”
                “Oh. At least, he got a home. What are you going to name him?”
                “I haven’t thought of a name yet …”
                “Why don’t you call him Douglas? Your neighbor’s dog is named Zeta, right?”
                “What does that have to do with our neighbor’s dog?”
                “Douglas. Zeta-Jones. Got it?”
                Chalano laughed, and said, “Nice idea. Okay, he’ll be Douglas.”

June 19, 2010 (9pm)
                It was a quiet night at the precinct. Callon was sitting before his desk in his narrow office, writing notes. They just couldn’t find a lead in the case. All of the evidences had been burned. The witnesses’ descriptions of the people who were last seen near the houses before they got burned were very different in different sites. They couldn’t find a particular suspect, and not even a particular group of suspects. The only pattern was that most of the arson took place in 4th Project Town. He had a gut feeling that Chalano knew something. Chalano had been showing an unusual interest in the arson.
                The boy used to be a member of a gang called Coal. Members of the gang had lived in 4th Project Town. They had created graffiti using coal and ashes. They had turned into Adhesive Gang, one of the most notorious bank robbers in the area during those years. An informant had identified Collifer Moneto --- the only son of a rich businessman --- as the leader and founder of the gang, and the police had arrested Moneto. More known by the nickname Cole, he had cooperated with the police by telling them about his gang members’ whereabouts, schedule, plans, and names in exchange for his own freedom. He had fondly described his gang as “like a family,” and bragged about how they had added members more than let go of members. He had mentioned that Chalano was the only member who quit the gang right before they turned into robbers.
                The police had trapped all of the other gang members in the gang’s next bank robbery. The whole Adhesive Gang was imprisoned, except Cole.
                A few months later, Cole’s house had burned. His parents had died, and he was traumatized and in severed condition. He had survived. The troubled teen had got sent to an orphanage, where he accidentally burned himself during an alleged fight with another kid. Callon just had to know more about Chalano …
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