Continued from “Who Killed Rosa?”
30th May 2014; 1pm
Karan and Abhishek had been in a story narration session since the morning. Abhishek was already in Dubai because of an on-going, large scale and multi-starrer project but Karan had just joined him the previous night. They were staying in the Al Burj Arab at the Jumeirah beach, a seven-star hotel. They had set up this narration session with Joe, the story writer a month ago through their office in Mumbai. They were a team of talented young film makers who were always on the lookout for new and unique stories. Joe had written to their office last year about a good story that he had written but he had heard from them only a month ago, however since then things had progressed very fast.
Joe had sent them a synopsis of the story and both of them had liked it so much that they asked Joe to reach Mumbai as soon as possible with the complete story but Joe had made a decision long ago, never to return to India ever again. He had left his home country four years ago with a resolve, never ever to return back home and to die and be buried in foreign shores. He had his own reasons for taking a decision like this and was very private about them. Karan and Abhishek respected his decision and therefore decided to fly down to Dubai to meet Joe and to hear the story in detail. They had had a strenuous morning narration session. They all were feeling extremely famished by now and therefore decided to take a lunch break. They were all in the dining hall facing a lavish spread of a continental buffet. Both K&A seemed to be very impressed with the story till now. They were so excited to get back to the story session that they were rushing with their food gulping down large chunks, pushing the food down their throats with great haste in order to get back to their room as soon as possible.
Joe, having sensed their eagerness had jokingly advised them to take it easy lest they choke on their food, then they would have to wait for him to die too to finish listening to his story. Hearing this, K&A had the most perplexed look on their faces but then over the years they knew much better, having dealt with many eccentric and creative guys in the past. Joe had a very dry and at times dark sense of humor, but he was a very straight forward and blunt guy, something which was apparent from this remark of his. Although both K&A were taken aback by his brashness, they chose to ignore it as somehow, they admired his frankness and guts. He was meeting them for the first time and was not at all in awe of them like many others would have been had they been in his position. He was a confident son of a gun they thought and till now his story was also really good. They wanted to eagerly hear the rest of it too.
They were all settled now in their room for the second and final session of narration. Both K&A looked at Joe to start. Their focus was commendable, thought Joe as he started....
“We had left for lunch when Sandy was driven by his guilt of killing Rosa, forcing him to commit suicide. Now we all have to go just a couple of days before this suicide....Sandy had actually got into debt again because of his gambling habit, he was a prolific gambler and used to place bets on the cricket matches. The goons whom he had borrowed money from were now harassing him. He got petrified and was so depressed by the entire state of affairs that he hit the bottle and that day he was drinking at one of the pubs in Pitampura since the morning and by the early evening he lost count of the drinks he would have had and he passed out in the bar. The bar staff were still contemplating what to do with him when another customer at the bar seemed to have recognized Sandy. Taking stock of his condition he volunteered to pay for his drinks and take him home as he claimed to be his neighbor. The bar staffers were very relieved and more than happy to get rid of their highly intoxicated customer. They helped search Sandy’s clothes for his car keys, located his car from the parking lot and helped to get him onboard his car. The Good Samaritan was an old man, grey haired, had a stocky built and walked with a slight limp. The bar staffers were glad to see him drive off with Sandy.
It was almost an hour’s drive before they finally stopped. The old man finally parked the car in a desolate place with farmlands all around. There was an old, dark house in a complete dilapidated state facing them. Sandy was still completely knocked out. The old man took out a syringe and injected him with chloral hydrate, a sedative which is rarely also used by some party goers to get high on by mixing it with alcohol. It was a very small dosage, enough to ensure that Sandy was dozing off for at least the next four to five hours. Then the old man picked him up and took him inside the building. Though he was old, but he seemed to be a strong person to have been able to pick Sandy up. Once inside, the old man laid Sandy down on the barren ground. Although it was quite bright outside, it was very dark inside the building. He was panting and grasping for air by this time because of the heavy load that he had to pick up. He stood up to catch some air and after taking a couple of deep breaths he seemed to get his composure back. He then trotted toward the car which was parked outside but within the premises and fetched a roll of tape and a rope from it, all of which he had hastily purchased on his way here. Very carefully he tied Sandy’s hands and feet, inspecting each knot meticulously. He was careful enough to tie the rope above Sandy’s clothing to avoid causing any marks of it on his body. Then he taped his mouth very clinically. Although he had injected an already knocked out Sandy with chloral hydrate to induce deep sleep, he taped his mouth as he was not taking any chances with him. He did not want Sandy to create any sort of commotion in his absence and disturb his plan even in case he woke up, although that was highly unlikely. The old man had shadowed Sandy for the last couple of days and finally got his chance when he found him heavily drunk at the bar and now he did not want anything going wrong so as to upset the last leg of his plan. He took out Sandy’s phone from his pocket and checked whether it was still switched off, as per the plan. He had taken it out of Sandy’s pocket while driving off from the bar and switched it off as soon as they had left Pitampura but only after sending a text-message from it. He took off Sandy’s shoes as well and wore them before walking briskly toward his car and driving it off in great haste.
It was around six in the morning the next day when he drove the car back inside the premises. He looked haggard. It appeared as if he had been involved in a fight with someone. He got out of the car and took out a poly bag and a plastic chair from the car. He stood on the chair and then placed the chair near Sandy, who by now was coming around. He removed Sandy’s shoes that he was wearing and slipped them back onto Sandy’s feet. He then took out a battery-operated lamp from the bag along with a bottle of water and his own pair of shoes. He lit up the lamp and started slapping Sandy’s face along with sprinkling water on his face to make him come around. The water did help in a way but could not help in bringing around Sandy completely back to sanity. Sandy was still lying there, sort of dazed... slowly he gathered enough strength to raise his wobbly head and stared at the old man as he was removing the tape from his mouth. Sandy was trying to focus on the old man’s face as if trying to recognize him but apparently he couldn’t make much progress.....until the old man pulled out his wig and the prosthetics that he used to make up his face look different. The moment Sandy saw the real face behind the make-up, he froze. His face became pale and his eyes widened, as if he had seen a ghost, He tried to let out a screech but did not seem to have enough energy for that. He started struggling to get up but could not do so as his feet were tied together. He even tried wriggling away from the other guy but again failed to do so due to his stupor. He was badly stranded and as this realization dawned upon him, he started to shiver like a leaf in the wind.
“Don’t be afraid. You aren’t seeing a ghost....I am very much alive....as yet!” the other man said in a somber tone.
“But....but....Bobby, they found your body!!” screeched Sandy.
“Yeah, however, that was not my body that they found....don’t look so flummoxed, you idiot. That was Joy’s body that they found.”
“What?! How on earth is that possible?” Sandy was flabbergasted.
“What did you think, after what you all did to me, I would just let you all go scot free and forget all the pain that you all caused my family and me? I had to sell my father’s house to settle the loans. He was shocked and could not recover from that setback of losing his house. He slipped into a depression, although he never said anything, but his sad eyes always expressed it all, all the time....till the time when death finally relieved him of his agony. He died in a rented house……how can I forget that? I lost everything because of you all. The humiliation I had to suffer at the hands of the creditors.....the court cases....the arrest warrants....the visits to the police stations....and all of this my family and I suffered ALONE!! I had decided on my father’s deathbed that I will avenge this humiliation and his death....that I will make each and everyone involved pay dearly. But, first I wanted to be financially much better off than anyone of you all so that Nira could have enough money to support herself in case something were to happen to me while executing my plan and when I achieved that goal to a certain extent, I hatched a plan to dispose of all of you meticulously one by one, after I met Joy at Mandi House by sheer luck. He was in a financial mess. I saw that as a good opportunity, I helped him, and I befriended him again. We kept in touch after that. I bought him a cell phone and also bought myself a new number on a fake ID, especially to talk to him. Then I used that very number to call up Damien but I also gave him my actual phone number and asked him that whenever he had to call me he should call me on my actual number as I seldom used the number that I was calling him from, all the while setting him up as well. I told him how I had been thinking of him a lot and his debt kept playing on my mind. I told him since technically I did not take the loan, I was not liable to pay up but I felt morally liable since my partners took it and then absconded. I told him earlier I did not have the money but then now that I did, I was willing to pay up, however I would pay only a part and not the whole outstanding amount. I knew that a greedy bastard like him would bite the bait....he agreed to meet me to negotiate and I called him at a bar where I deliberately got into a heated argument with him. I know his temper, so I kept instigating him till he completely lost it by the time we reached the parking. I also took care that I was noticed at the bar. The moment we reached the parking lot, I tried to go for a rod which I myself had planted there, on the road, next to my car. I knew very well that it was closer to Damien and he did exactly what I had expected him to do....he picked up the rod before I could and took a swing at me but missed me since I was prepared for it and moved out of the way easily. By that time the staff of the bar came to my rescue and broke off the fight. Damien threw the rod on the road and went away screaming expletives at me. As he drove off with Mateen. I also went back to my car, but I waited for the staff members to go back into the bar. Once the road was deserted, I wore gloves, went back out there and picked up the rod very carefully as I wanted it with Damien’s fingerprints on it intact. Then I called up Joy and asked him to meet me immediately, I told him that I wanted to introduce him to a contact who could give him work to fetch him enough money to pull him out of the financial mess. I picked him up from North-ex and offered to buy him some drinks to pass the time till his prospective employer turned up. Joy was initially hesitant, but it only took a little cajoling from me for him to agree. I told him that the contact was a dear friend and would also drink with us. We got our quota of booze and kept drinking and driving around town. I avoided getting drunk by throwing my share of booze on the sly at every opportunity I got, something which I had also done while engaging with Damien in the bar but Joy being oblivious to the fact kept on with his drinks till he got completely smashed....this was the opportunity I had planned and was waiting for. I first, got rid of the booze from the car and then used the rod with Damien’s fingerprints to strike on the back of Joy’s head. The moment the rod made its contact and the sound that it made I knew instantly that Joy’s skull was smashed and that he was dead but still to make sure I checked his breathing and pulse. Then I drove away, toward Alipur’s jungle area. I drove into a secluded, thick bushy area, just off the National Highway No.1 where I parked my car and moved Joy’s motionless body to the driver’s seat. I replaced his shoes, watch and wallet with mine and put my visiting card folder into his upper pocket to ensure that his body was mistaken to be mine instead. I then took the rod out of the car and threw it away ensuring that it did not fall far away but close enough to be recovered by the law enforcers later on. Then I took the canister of gasoline out from my car’s boot and I sprinkled the gasoline all over the car and very carefully over Joy’s body. I wanted to make sure that his body was burnt completely to give shape to my entire plan. I could not afford him to be recognized as the success of my entire plan depended upon everyone believing that that was my body which they would eventually discover in time. Then I lit up Joy’s metallic pyre. After the car had got completely engulfed, I hid there for some time. When I was sure that the fire was good enough and my plan was on track I left the site, however in the melee I realized that I had forgotten to leave the gasoline canister behind at the crime spot, since it was too risky to return I dropped the canister where I had reached at that moment hoping for it to be discovered by the investigators later on. With this, I initiated my plan of setting you all up. I knew Joy had no one in his family and that he was not at all social; that’s why I picked him up to play the role of my dead body as he was the safest bet. Before killing him, I had already set up Damien....now I had to get you,” hissed Bobby.
Sandy was aghast.
“I knew Rosa through a contact. I knew she was a struggling actress, desperate for a break. I met her and told her that one of my college friends who was in Bollywood and I, were making a new reality TV show where I wanted to cast her as we did not want to take any well known faces because of the demand of the concept of the show where she would have to lure a randomly picked, married person and pretend to be his lover and convince his family of the same. I told her that this show would be shot through hidden cameras in real time with actors, besides the targeted family and the sooner she was able to get her target to a situation where his wife was driven to divorce him, the sooner the episode would end, when the truth would finally be revealed to the warring couple. I told her that this was a new concept and that it would make her a household name and could be her ticket to stardom. However, she would be required to live alone and would not be in touch with anyone, neither family nor friends and shall not watch either TV or read the news as that was the demand of the concept. I knew she was desperate and would not ask many questions. She agreed immediately. I set her after you. I wanted you to be completely under stress with no room to think clearly. I wanted your life destroyed. I wanted Sona to divorce you, however then I realized that she would not do that since she had nobody left that she could turn to if she left the security of your abode. By that time Damien was also apprehended, charged with my murder and thrown behind bars. My entire focus was on you then onward. I kept a tight vigil on you from close quarters, so I followed you very closely wearing make-up lest I be recognized. I saw how you were being harassed by the goons you owed money to and how you were also going through the stress in your personal life because of the breach Rosa had caused between Sona and you. Then yesterday you gave the chance I had been waiting for so impatiently, for so long.....you got bloody drunk at that bar and passed out. I got you into your car and brought you here, almost forty kilometers away from your house. Once here, in the middle of nowhere I contained you and also administered you with a one gram of chloral hydrate, enough to keep you knocked out for the time I needed to go for another important errand. I went back to Delhi; once there I switched on your cell phone and used it to call Rosa. I asked her to meet me immediately as we had an unexpected shooting schedule. I took her to an isolated spot near sector 24 in Rohini, telling her that you were there with Sona in one of your friend’s apartment attempting a reconciliation with her and that we would want Rosa to disrupt this attempt by appearing there and trying to create a scene. She was very excited about the twist but soon started to get suspicious as I drove away from civilization and into the deserted area. I stopped at that spot on the pretext of relieving myself and took her from behind when she was least expecting an attack on her. However, I had underestimated her strength, she fought back with enough tenacity and scratched me along with throwing a couple of blows at me, some of which also connected....and connected well. She was like a wild cat. Finally, I got the better of her and strangulated her to death. I drove her back toward sector 18 canal where I found a nice and isolated spot. I dragged her out of the car and threw her in the canal. I made sure that her dupatta (a piece of clothing worn along with the Indian Salwar Kameez) was clung around a thick branch to ensure that her body does not flow away in the water but stays put till it’s discovered....which, as per my calculation would be around this time now.” He dropped Rosa’s phone on the ground. “It is only a matter of time till they track you down here through her phone,” laughed Bobby, slipping Sandy’s switched off phone back into his pocket.
Sandy did not know how to react to this sledgehammer like hit, “Bobby, please forgive me. I will amend all that I have done wrong to you... please…” wailed Sandy.
“You cannot do anything now. It’s too late to make this offer. Even if I pardon your trespasses against me, I cannot forgive you for Rosa’s sacrifice. I cannot let her death go in vain....what will she feel man?” Bobby had a wicked gleam in his eyes.
“You have gone crazy!”
“Ha....ha....ha! You really think so? A man who has outwitted everyone, including that shrewd and excellent investigation officer inspector Raj, can’t be crazy....I am BRILLIANT! I planned and executed with precision. I am the master puppeteer, and you all are my puppets!”
“I beseech you to let me go....” wept Sandy, knowing very well that he had to really think outside the box to get out of this situation alive. “Please think of Nira, how will she live without you? Especially now, that you cannot reveal to the world that you are alive.”
“You all knew that I am such an egoist, yet you all ignored that aspect of me and went on to hurt me. When you all screwed my happiness, I had decided then and there that I will destroy you all come what may. You know how I never hurt anyone to begin with but if someone hurts me, I don’t leave that person. Do you remember how I had beaten the pulp out of that stranger who had hit your car from behind and then instead of apologizing had started abusing you. I just saw red at that moment. Do you remember how close I had come to killing that guy till you stopped me? When I can do that to a stranger, how could have I let you all, my friends, roam around scot free after the way you scrambled my ego, hurt me, drove me out of my abode and caused my father’s death? When I had planned this entire thing, I knew that I would never see Nira again. I know it’s a big price to pay but I have to pay it. She is strong, she will survive.”
“Look Bobby, I know that whatever has been done cannot be undone but I would really like to make amends if I am given a chance. I will do anything....anything that you say.....I swear, but please don’t harm me. I have a small daughter,” begged Sandy.
“Alright if you are willing to give me the power of attorney to your entire wealth, I might think of probably sparing you.”
“Why would you want that? I have heard that you are so well off yourself now, why would you take such a big risk of letting me go just for money?” asked Sandy.
“I am well off but do not have much of savings as we invested almost everything in buying the house and now after my death my principals will take our business away from Nira since she is not from that industry. The only way for her to do well is to have her get your wealth. It’s not that she cannot survive otherwise but this will give her a comfortable life. Furthermore, you would also have to own up killing Joy and Rosa.”
This got Sandy thinking. This was probably the opportunity that he was waiting for, his only chance. He thought that as soon as he gets free, he would approach inspector Raj and tell him everything and get Bobby apprehended. “Okay I agree to do whatever that you ask me to do.”
Bobby stared at Sandy for a moment and then went out to the car. He returned after some time and was carrying some papers with him. He untied Sandy’s hands and lowered the papers along with a pen to him. Sandy could not see the contents properly due to very low light emanating from the lamp.
“Don’t focus on the words as there are none. I will fill in the words later, you just sign wherever I tell you to. Remember, I know how you sign so don’t try to fool me.”
Sandy signed where Bobby told him to. He let out a sigh relief when Bobby helped him to his feet, however he got really concerned when his hands were tied back again by Bobby. This time Sandy also saw gloves on Bobby’s hands, which he must have been wearing all this while and immediately Sandy could sense that things were drastically wrong and that he had been duped. Even before he could react further, he felt a sling around his neck and suddenly within a second its noose tightened. He felt a strong painful jerk and a choking sensation as he was heaved upward. Sandy was now suspended in mid-air, choking and gasping for air. Bobby had made all the preparations in advance. While Sandy was unconscious Bobby had made a hangman’s noose with the rope which he had used now. Bobby had used the ceiling plank like a pulley to pull Sandy up with the rope and had then tied the other end of the rope to the windowsill and its rusted grill to hold Sandy’s body weight. His body kept trembling frantically for about a minute or so and then it became motionless and just hung there. Bobby checked the pulse and once he was sure of Bobby’s death. He stood there for sometime gazing at Sandy’s face, then he placed the plastic chair under Sandy’s body and kicked it aside in such a manner that it appeared that Bobby stood on it and used it to commit suicide. He then looked at the papers that he made Sandy sign, folded them and placed them inside Sandy’s pocket.
He had lied to Sandy....the papers were prepared much in advance, as per the plan and had words already typed on them but the document was only completed after Sandy signed on them.
Bobby had seen Sandy’s laptop lying in the car when he got into his car the first time at the bar so while returning after killing Rosa he had made a small detour to get a portable printer along with him and planted it in the car too, therefore cleverly using both the devices to assist him in concluding his plan.
Mission accomplished, Bobby carefully untied Sandy and ensured that there weren’t any rope marks on his body before walking out of the dark house wiping the ground behind him with a large broom off his footprints....
K&A were so engrossed with the story that they did not realize that it was over till Joe got up to fetch himself a glass of water. They thought it was a brilliant story and congratulated Joe for having written it so well. “It’s a masterpiece,” exclaimed Karan. They decided to buy its rights and informed Joe of their decision.
Although Joe was thrilled deep inside, he did not let it reflect on his face and keeping a straight countenance said, “But we would have to change the names of the characters.”
“But why, we like the name as it is, there is no need to change them,” said Karan.
“Actually, I have based this story on a true incident that was reported in the local newspapers while I was in New Delhi a couple of years ago. While writing the story I kept the names of the characters the same as what was mentioned in the article at that time, therefore for all technical reasons we would have to rename the characters lest we have libel issues later on, which we surely would if we do not change the names.”
Both K&A agreed to the logic as none wanted any legal hassles since both of them were law abiding citizens.
“We hope that this story is fiction and not that real incident which you read. We would want you to give us a signed undertaking to that effect; we hope you understand our point,” stated Abhishek very categorically.
“That is not an issue. I will give you a signed undertaking that this is a very original story written and owned by me. The article was about how a man killed his cousin and burnt his body in his own car. It also had some information on the victim’s past. I was just inspired by that article, but the story is original and entirely fictitious.”
“Good! So, let’s get the formalities locked in. Let’s meet tomorrow at twelve noon and in the meanwhile we would also get the paperwork ready”
“Cool. So, gentlemen, I shall take your leave now.”
“Hey, what’s the rush? Stay on a bit, let’s celebrate this new partnership,” offered Abhishek.
“I would have really loved to but I would request you to kindly postpone it till tomorrow as right now I have to rush to the airport to welcome someone really special who is coming to Dubai for the first time; whom I would be meeting after almost half a decade today....and I am really running behind schedule. So if you gentlemen permit me I shall seek your pardon and permission to leave till we meet again tomorrow.”
“Someone special, eh!” smiled Karan.
Joe kept quiet but his blushing face said it all. K&A both smiled impishly and accepted Joe’s request. They set up the meeting for the next day and Joe rushed out to the parking. His pace was quick as he was already running behind schedule. The airport was at quite a distance from where he was, the only consolation being that it was early evening when traffic was lean so he still had a chance of making it to the airport within time to receive his guest.
Continued to The Guest