Word Count: 870 | Estimated time to read blog: 6 minutes
“Buzz buzz…. Buzz buzz…. Buzz buzz…. Buzz buzz….”
The persistent ringing of the cell phone woke up Gady .R from his alcohol induced sleep. With groggy eyes, he picked up the phone and answered it. The speaker on the other end was ominously brief –
“Gady .R, if you don’t shoot Captain Suko this time, the contract is terminated and you are fired. This is your last chance. Bye…” and the line went blank.
Gady .R was now wide awake. He looked around his dingy room strewn with beer cans, cigarette packs and unwashed underwear and tried to clear his head. Nothing worked.
Picking up a pack of Indonesian cigarettes and a towel, he headed towards the loo.
“This should make me think and focus better”, he murmured to himself and lit the cigarette. The smoke had a mixed scent of cloves and tobacco which gave his troubled mind some relief and clarity.
Perched on the potty, he began to ponder on the events that had transpired in the past few days. Exactly five days ago he was comfortably nestled in his home with a bottle of whiskey for company, watching his favorite film, ‘An Orange Clock’. It was a lovely evening and he was in really high spirits 😉 But one phone call from his boss had ruined it all.
“We have received news that Captain Suko is holding a press conference in Karpala. He will also make a brief public appearance. Your tickets are booked for the 10 pm flight tonight. Hurry up and pack your bags. And remember, you have to shoot him this time. Needless to say, the security measures are stringent. So take care and all the best for this assignment…..”
Captain Suko was the latest leftist rebel on the political scene and was gaining increasing popularity among the masses. He was a wiry man with ringlets of hair and an ever-present smile on his lips. And he too had his share of idiosyncrasies. He was always dressed in army fatigues and Sprandi shoes – a combination that he took to after his Reebok shoes got stolen. Rumors had it that he ate beef and horse meat regularly to put on some weight. But it never added an ounce so he told others that he ate it to keep his mind agile and kicking. Till date, Captain Suko had ordered, stood on and then mutilated with a hammer, at least 25 weighing machines because they had always fallen short of displaying his expected 60 kgs or more.
Gady .R arrived in Karpala in the dead of the night. The place was a small township – dusty roads, quiet lanes and a very humid temperature which almost seemed Saharan. There were posters and leaflets of Capt. Suko’s rally all over the town. He had gone to the rally to accomplish his mission but he hadn’t anticipated the response from the local crowd to be so massive. The throng had overwhelmed him and he couldn’t even come anywhere close to Capt. Suko. And his equipment was highly unsuitable for shooting from such long distances. So he had to abandon his plan and return.
This failure together with the threat he had received today from his employer irked him. He had to complete this assignment and it was his last chance.
“Bloody aatankwadi1 son of a bitch, Captain Suko. I will shoot you today, come what may”, yelled Gady .R as he threw down his cigarette stub and flushed the toilet.
After a quick shower, Gady .R wore his regular denim, T-shirt and Brut deo. He checked himself out in the broken glass pane and adjusted his mullet. He then examined the equipment he had carefully hidden in a black bag. All the requisite items were there intact. He zipped it close and slung it over his shoulders before stepping out of his room. He was all set for the assignment.
Capt Suko was beaming and smiling as usual when he entered the press conference. He had managed to get a press badge quite easily and walked in without any scrutiny or inspection. Capt Suko was telling the press about his latest strategies on how he would eliminate poverty by taking some drastic measures and the scribes were eagerly noting down every word for the morrow’s edition.
Gady .R went to a vacant spot right behind the rows where the scribes were seated. He stealthily opened his bag and taking out his equipment, carefully began to assemble it. Within a minute, he was ready. It was now only a matter of time and opportunity. He began to concentrate hard.
Just then, the reporter in front of him asked a question in a lighter vein and Captain Suko burst out laughing. In this commotion, Gady .R realized it was now or never. Instantly, he brought his equipment in position and pressed the button.
The next morning, every newspaper carried the pic of a laughing Captain Suko. Gady .R’s job as a freelance photo-journalist was not easy but he had managed to do quite well so far. As he sat on the plane heading back home, he vowed to buy himself a zoom telephoto lens for long distance ‘shooting’ 😉
1. aatankwadi (noun): Hindi for ‘terrorist’