20 February, 2011

Cops And Robber

Mid-day this afternoon, inside J&M Coin and Jewellery, I was busying myself counting a sackful of '67 silver quarters with the help of a coin counter. Inactivity is a grave sin against the company. Once you're caught, okay. Second time, count your days. Third, expect the obvious: oblivion.

Though I may sound ridiculously paranoid and exaggerating, the dread has always been ingrained in me, especially since the owner, Joe, began his dehumanizing staring assaults at me; due in part to the innocence reflective of my questions, and the blunders that came alongside learning and experience. In order to neutralize the pretense of a seemingly lazy and idle day, I did find myself one of the least favored works, of counting coins and bagging them; that not only messed your head from the continuous barrage of loud clicking sounds from every count the machine did, but also back-breaking work that it demanded.

Just as the machine had began the intermittent counting, my attention got snatched away, when I heard Joe shouting (which I would always presume suggestive of trouble), "Hey! Don't let him out! Don't let him out!" Then even before I could assess the situation that was now on red alert , Joe began chasing after the quick devil who absconded away with his treasures displayed in the jewelery section showcase. For a very brief moment, I was held back by shock and indecision. But seeing the old Italian don chasing after the crook out to the open bravely, while Mr. Fong, the soon-to-be retiring veteran of our department, also following suit, I was quickly galvanized into action, and began heading out to the exit door alongside my colleague, Sean.

When we came out, it was like a game between cats and mouse. If seen from third-person point of view, I and Shaun would have looked like we concerted to concurrently turn our heads to our left, and seeing nothing turn it to our right; but again, barely seeing anything. Fortunately, a bystander who must have witnessed the chase told us the direction (to the right). Then we began with the gungho pursuit. We crossed the first block without really caring so much for the cars passing by, then immediately spotting two bikes speeding down the alley to our right, moved our butts to that direction.

After a block or two more down that stretch, the bikers had suddenly veered to make a left turn, and when I and Shaun came to the corner, we realized the futility of ever catching up with them, as their lead had already drawn a huge gap between us. But then, my years of experience in first person action shooting games played its role in making me quickly determine the most feasible and strategic direction to go. So, I told Shaun, "Ah! Let's go this way," while pointing my head to the direction straight ahead and move there. The idea was to bank on the possibility of the snatchers, whom I thought to be the two bikers at that time, to go back towards the direction we were now headed, by making another swift right turn after they had just done one and disappeared from our sight.

When we reached the other side and turned left, I was not quite sure what to make of the situation. The two bikers were in front of us from afar, but did not seem to continue moving towards or away from us. At that moment, my mind was still juicing up on our next step while moving closer to them. "Should I attack the bikers?" I confusedly wondered. Then I realized that they were actually helping us, just by judging the way they were left mesmerized from the mysterious disappearance of the culprit. Then a black SUV abruptly stopped beside me and Shaun, the driver pulled down his window, and tipped us, "He's behind one of those bush against the wall of the building." So we searched for the bush nearest us, and walked our way inside the building parking lot, which was where we thought the man was pointing at (half-ignoring the tip).

As I moved along the steps of the staircase of the building, I thought, "I might actually die today for reasons I shouldn't be dying for." while I kept a vigilant approach to my surrounding. Seeing no one, we all grouped up in front of the main building - I, Shaun, and the two bikers (Joe and Mr. Fong were missing). We all agreed that we must have lost him, but wondered how it was possible to escape an entrapment from both sides without catching sight of him. After a brief moment, the man in the SUV went down, and pointed to everybody the exact bush the thief was hiding behind. And Shaun and the bikers carefully moved in, peeked from the sides, and exclaimed, "He's here! He's here! Get out of there! Get out of there!" and commanded, "Drop on the floor! Drop on the floor!" repeatedly.

Unarmed and not dangerous, he went out with his hands offering surrender and laid on the floor just as seen in the movies. It turned out, the building in front of the one he was hiding against the wall of was actually a police forensics building. And everyone started becoming cheery, laughing over the unlucky circumstances the now hopeless, tired, and anxious rodent literally brought himself to. Shortly, Joe finally arrived. His eyes were dimmed infuriated at the sight of the thief, but uttered nothing. Silence is his intimidation, and he carried it out well. Later, two policemen from the police forensics building came out, and handcuffed the pinned down thief. When another police car arrived, it became apparent that there was nothing more left for us there. So the boss looked at me and Paulo (another one of my colleagues who just arrived) and remarked, "Okay, you two go back to the store" so we did obediently. All along our way, we jogged back with a hint of cheerfulness gleaming on our chin. Justice had prevailed without having the need for violence. And to that, I was thankful.

Comment: My entire life being spent in the Philippines, I have never even chased after someone for the same reasons. I have never deemed the prospect of doing so, ever, for reasons I think agreeably rational. The irony of it all is that I did - and I did in a first world country. What an experience. I should add it up in my resume.