As a leader well known for the care he exercises over his people, Trinidad and Tobago Police Commissioner Gary Griffith would have been deeply concerned at the news that one of his senior officers was found dead in a hotel room in the countryside.
The official word was that senior police officer Sean Timothy had visited the Double Palm hotel where he fell, hit his head and died.
It was also reported that his female companion gave the police whatever information was necessary to clear on the air on this most unfortunate incident.
While we elders have been entertained by reports of numerous similar fatal episodes over time, this does not take away from the tragedy of such incidents which, it would curiously appear , seem to have occurred to a far greater extent with police officers in Tobago, the idyllic sister isle.
Students of Psychology or Psychiatry may find this an interesting area for academic exploration.
Indeed, citizens in that part of the twin-island Caribbean state still recall the legendary most senior superintendent who – as the nymphet later recounted to a persuasive community reporter – was actually biting out the third colored pill from the cellophane packet with his left eye tooth, when his eyes suddenly turned a bloody red and she could see his big heart bursting out of his khaki uniform, complete with brass symbols in place.
What could be the reason for this obsession?
That’s the question which has often caused national and international discussion go produce various narratives for helping us move forward to many a timely grave waiting for us adventurous geezers to step or roll onto, depending on your position of choice at the crucial moment.
This is what makes the FMG (F-Master-General) such an interesting character, if there ever was one, in the central Trinidad village called Balmain.
On many a warm morning, the FMG would leave his car at home and walk the long eight-mile or so journey down to the Poor House where his friend Pecos was a resident.
After being enthusiastically received by Pecos with a drink of his staple Ensure, the FMG (he hardly told people his name) would regale the home with tales of the many women he had “put some strokes on”.
Totally unaware of the excess urine sneaking out from his enlarged prostrate and seeping through his Bermuda shorts, he would excitedly recount the colourful history of a man who had “worked hard and played hard”.
And yet, no one outside his immediate family circle was even aware of the kind of neglect and abuse he suffered on an almost daily basis in the house he built while employed in the Oil refinery until he threw out his old wife.
Cause that’s when his the FMG’s troubles really started. He brought in a young “helper” woman who brought in a young man she called her brother who both began plotting to take his house from him by legal means.
This would explain the many walks which took him away from his house for lengthy periods until he reached home so tired that he would fall asleep in the couch she had placed in the garage with a small table where he could eat as needed.
As for the young brother who curiously slept inside her bedroom with his so-called common-law wife, FMG could only appreciate him in the absence of the rough harassment he often received with demands for money to buy cigarettes, a gas for the car, and – much to FMG’s dismay – condoms.
Like FMG and like those police men who find themselves peeping into dark holes in search of release from an often haunted home, many a lonely senior hurts and grieves inside the outer shell of the fancy T-shirt his daughter gave him and the expensive mobile device which he has not a soul in the whole world to call with.
Even so, he can be seen leaning bravely against his barbed wire wall on early mornings, confidently smiling the big front and waving at neighbours who pass by without a clue about the empty cave he exists in after clearing the mortgage and distributing all his retirement lump sum to the children inside and outside.
Hungry for a small tender touch from a warm female, these men become easy game for any discerning young lady who understands the power of aroma and the pull of the hot little feathered animal in their sole custody.
Like my good friend Scobie who, living at home with wife and children, built an apartment for the girl, furnished it, connected electricity but hardly visited without an invitation out of some sort of what he thought was respect for her privacy and pride.
Which was quite a different story for her. Cultivating the carpenter who actually constructed the house and received pay which Scobie gave her, she maintained him as the reliable hard word dealer who filled her gaps which Scobie could only smell, watch, pat and bounce a wad of bills on.
As the chemist woman told friends: “I have one for tool and one for honey”
When her girlfriend innocently asked: “And Scobie?”
“Oh! He’s my Number 14”.
“You know, like 14 in the Play Whe”
So that on that fateful day of arrival, little did Scobie realize he would be meeting her woodman fixing something under her bed which had cracked under the weight of her cannabis-filled head attached to a winding body which, unfortunately, could not recall inviting Scobie to come and eat at the same time the Carpenter was cutting through her young her softwood.
What a ting! As we old people like to say.
Summoning all her womanly wiles under another round of weed, she was able to ease out the teeth-grinding carpenter with a promise to pay him triple time rates later since it was a Sunday and also public holiday.
Meanwhile she got her little niece to signal the somewhat confused Scobie to park in an usual spot near the main road while Carpenter gleefully eased out the front gate and even got a light hug and kiss from his “wife” in the “pum
Scobie, tightly holding the brown, sealed envelope in his side pocket, sat in a low chair with a slight line of perspiration on his forehead, eager to hand over his pass-word to enter the valley of love which he would not see or smell for another 28 days.
He was always grateful once for the periodic moment when he could relish the wonderful smell of her inner feelings which he hoped had been retained exclusively for him and his rod of correction which he absolutely loved to hear her call “Tiger!” whenever he unleashed his tool on her waiting locally waxed and perfumed Mount of Venus.
As he tearfully confessed to her one night while riding the throne like a king: “Girl, you make mih feel young again!”
Say what, lonely old men like Scobie will face any danger to just catch the golden aroma of these vixens who exert power just in their manner of saunter- ing along the crowded aisles of the Central Market, bending over innocently enough to give the jaw-dropping old vendor a fleeing glance at the treasure chest from which she pulls out her money with full knowledge that he will hand her all the Red Fish she says she’s going to buy – for free.
So that while the Police Commissioner himself grapples with the challenges of his own mid-life crisis on the job, he will continue to find himself occupied with all his aging policemen who, as the old photographer once graphically described it in a caption : “He died on the box”
The same, eternal narrative continues for all old men of ambition, like my friend Scobie, the FMG, and even myself, spending most of our time checking out the state of our dentures or taking low hair-cuts by the barber and playing a Play Whe mark in the young thing’s name with the hope we could win some money to take her out and still squeeze back something to buy a bread for the retired nun at home.
As the saying goes: “After one time is a next”. The question for these fast-fading geriatrics would most likely however be :
“Time longer than twine”.
RIP, Pappy! Enjoy it now cause it may very well be the last day of the rest of your life.