I thought I was seeing things but I was not. Trending yesterday on Yahoo! USA was Avocado Thief. Yep, Avocado Thief. At first I thought a local news story went viral – the news story about our local zaboca farmer, fed up of thieves, who claimed to have intentionally poisoned over 200 zabocas which were stolen and supposedly made its way to the markets – but it was not. It was, according to the Los Angeles Times, a story about “An admitted avocado thief in north San Diego County has been ordered to stay away from any groves bearing the popular fruit and prohibited from possessing more than 10 avocados at a time.”
What-ah-thing, I thought. Avocados, a.k.a Zabocas, seem to be the new gold of the North-western Hemisphere. Soon people will no longer hold up banks because banks tend to get very unstable due to internal greed. Robbers will soon storm zaboca estates while brandishing machine guns and 40-foot refrigerated containers. It will only be a matter of time before cargo trains and ships carrying tons of zabocas are hijacked by ruthless zaboca gangs. Cars with zabocas in the back seat or trunks will be broken into and the zabocas carted away. Laptops and iPads will be safe. Shortly there will emerge a Zaboca Godfather and a bloody zaboca turf war will give the law enforcers a new nightmare. Zaboca insurance will rise to unheard of and obscene levels. I cringe at the thought since me and my tree will no doubt be included in that turf and both will become unisurable.
Maybe our local judiciary will follow the American judge but I suggest 4 instead of 10 zabocas. I want to also recommend police conduct roadblocks and interrogate anyone who is found with 4 or more zabocas in their possession. The State of Emergency should be used to make a dent in the lucrative zaboca stealing cartel. Nip it in the bud, I say. If Kamla, Jack, Anand, Prakash, and Hubert really care about the people they should spare no effort in making the owning of a zaboca tree a source of pride and not like many Government projects, a source of income for thieves.
While the police was busy tracking down and arresting gang leaders, gang members, gun makers, drug pushers, lords and other assorted big fish, the Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, quite rightly, went to the United Nations and suggested “the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon consider the appointment of a special envoy to deal with the issue of non-communicable diseases.” Non-communicable diseases are a major killer in Trinidad and Tobago and the rest of the world, taking more lives than gangs, foreign-used car drivers and scrap iron yards. Wikipedia says “The World Health Organization (WHO) reports NCDs to be by far the leading cause of mortality in the world, representing over 60% of all deaths.” Also “the WHO’s World Health Report 2002 identified five important risk factors for non-communicable disease in the top ten leading risks to health. These are raised blood pressure, raised cholesterol, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and overweight.” Our current Minister of Health, Faud Kahn, wants to tackle MSG while the former Minister, Jerry Narace, wanted to zap sugar. Both are honorable intentions but we should take in front.
The police and regiment are risking their lives making Trinidad and Tobago a safer place, but we are celebrating the likes of McDonald’s and Wendy’s when they open their doors in Trinidad and Tobago. We complain about Mr. Big and Mr. Big Fish while chugging down doubles and washing it down with a Solo, completely ignoring the Big Killers that are more terrifying than an out-of-control Colombian drug gang, if human body count is considered, that is.
It would appear that the late Dr. Atkins got it more right than wrong, and we should read and understand the works of people like Gary Taubes, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick and Dr. Arthur Agastston just to get an understanding of the bigger and hidden picture. We have to forget what simply taste good and worry about what is good for our health. It will be no point taking guns and drugs of the streets while letting killer foods roam the country like an honorary citizen with diplomatic immunity.
Sources close to both the Government and Mr. Big told Big the State of Emergency (SOE) would only be lifted after a certain amount of guns and ammo was recovered. So Big hatched a plan and ordered his minions to disperse some old crocus bags filled with assorted illegal drugs and old guns through the country and inform the Big TV man where he could find these stashes. Big told his people to stagger the information so everything wouldn’t be found the same day thus making it look like real reality TV. He warned his people to tell only TV Big and not the police as the corrupt elements in the Force would gobble up the stashes like rats in a police station.
After the first find was shown on TV with amateur Blair Witch drama, Big wondered why they didn’t come in daylight. Maybe it would be better for TV ratings if they came at night, he thought. One caller to the program asked TV Big why they didn’t stakeout the site to see who was collecting the stash, to which TV Big replied in true political style “Timing is everything. Next Caller!”
Big knew he had nothing to worry about with the SOE as the country was a jokey country run by jokers and letters to the editor. One thing that had Big very amused was when he read how the President decided to take that much-needed vacation while the country was on a heightened security alert. That was like parents going on vacation just after admitting their child to hospital with dengue hemorrhagic. Big was even more amused when he heard the media reporting that the police was now acting on intelligence. It was the first time he ever heard the words police and intelligence used in the same sentence in the country. Big had to admit the police seem revitalized by the SOE especially the popular rouge-element that seem to be enjoying their new-found powers to beat man left, right, and centre. Big wasn’t worried about the alleged intelligence of the police as he knew people couldn’t get bright overnight, even in Trinidad and Tobago.
Naturally, with the country locked down, his business would slip a bit but where there is a demand, there will be a supply. His customers need him and he will not let them down. Big had big plans for the country.
Police suspect that the hundreds of gallons of diesel spilled on the highway last Saturday was deliberate. Also, nobody is saying anything about the cause of a ruptured natural gas line off Point Galeota, which happened over the weekend. I think these two incidents are connected and for these reasons I can’t help but feel something sinister is brewing in this country which might be the real reason for the State of Emergency. It might be organized crime run by Mr. Big and Co, Ltd. at work, but it might even be something more menacing trying to regain control of the country.
The plus side of extending the SOE and increasing the number of hot spots by eleven is that the criminal element will be even more dormant. But dormant means asleep and like all hibernating evil creatures, once awake will be hungry like a starving giant.
It was a morning like any other for Mr. Big. He woke up, stretched, yawned, and squeezed his flannel balls while trying to remember the names of the women in the his bed. He was bored and even the view overlooking the sea from his mansion on the cliff, the easy availability of shapely women, his golden toilet bowl or the State of Emergency didn’t excite him any more. Life was a bit too easy he thought with foreign exchange flowing into holes in his back yard like water from a busted water main. He was even running out of backyard space just like the Central Bank was running out of foreign exchange.
Mr. Big checks out the headline of a daily newspaper
Mr. Big went to the kitchen and was happy to see the newspaper on the kitchen counter. He poured himself his morning fix of freshly ground and brewed Colombian Coffee and started to read. He chuckled as he saw again that several people, including key politicians knew who Mr. Big was but somehow they never managed to call his name in public or say it to the police. Of course, they wouldn’t call his name as they were on his payroll even if not directly. What was more important to Big was that the politicians knew who was in charge. Mr. Big had so many people from all walks of life on his payroll, he had to use a computerized payroll system and hired some honest accountants to manage it.
Mr. Big was just like God – he was everywhere but yet never seen, but if you closed your eyes long enough and said his name over, and over you might even see his image on a bolt of cloth, a brown paper bag or a foreign-used car engine. Sometimes Mr. Big wondered if he was real or a figment of the imagination of a nation that preferred to buy pirate DVDs than a book. He often speculated why people thought he was so powerful and yet local. The inability of the authorities to even come close to capturing him made him feel like a small Big. Surely, Mr. Big thought, if he was that big and powerful and notorious, and for so long the Almighty Americans would nab him, just as they did to a certain ruthless terrorist in a certain ruthless country. Some even say Big’s real name is Keyser Soze. “WTF!” Big would say every time he heard this. “The Usual Suspects!” he would add before rolling on the floor with laughter.
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that… he is gone.” ~ The Usual Suspects
The State of Emergency has a long way to go as the police in my area seem to be arresting people in alphabetical order of the crime committed and I reported a zaboca thief.
I confronted the neighborhood fruit and zaboca thief in my yard only last Thursday and explained to him the State of Emergency and how police was rounding up everybody who in even small ways was a menace to society. The zaboca thief became quiet, and I could tell he was going through some deep introspection.
“So, for two zaboca dey go haul mih ass in jail?” The zaboca thief asked.
“Yes” I promptly replied “Even if dey don’t find the zaboca in yuh possession dey go haul yuh ass in jail and in Toruba too.”
“The incomplete, cracking up stadium dat draining the treasury and so much people get rich off and people still getting rich off ah?”
“Yes, that stadium.”
“Dey arresting de Stadium teif an dem too?”
“No, dem is bigger fish yuh see and de State of Emergency is only for big fish.”
“Dat is only for gang leaders who want to hide out with call girls and cell phones, not the arrested.”
Suddenly, he said he had to leave, mumbling something about no family down South.
“Wey yuh going?” I shouted as he skipped over the chain-linked fence and into the road with enviable ease and rod in hand.
With his back turned, he waved his hand and mumbled something about how he was late for an appointment in a nearby street. I started to wonder what the zaboca thief would do for a living now since the Government was bringing part of the national underground economy to a screeching halt, just like the official one.