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Moët in the brass casket
Fictional diary entry of the widow of a gang leader in Trinidad.
“The nights is the worst. De chirren sleepin in we bed now but I still feel the empty space where you use to sleep with your mind awake, one finger on the trigger to keep we safe. You was still warm when they call me to show your body pumpin with bullets.
Your funeral was better that Pablo Escobar, your hero. Thousands come to pay their respect. I line up de whole street with all of we luxury car, music trucks playing Puff Daddy songs.
I dress you in white, cover you in gold with chain and medallians. I throw buckets of Moët champagne in your brass casket. I put your Timberland boots in de casket. It went in de fire with you. Nobody else could fill your boots, you hear.
You is de boss of de world. I tell de chirren, don’t cry in front of people like you always tell me. Fear. They will use it against you. So I stand there holdin it in till you was ashes.
People telling me, girl, take your young children and go, just get out, as if it that easy. Just go, Venezuela, Miami, just go. They kill your husband, they go come for you. I not leavin. I is not no fugitive. I didn’t do nothing wrong. You didn’t do nothing wrong neither. The papers say you live like a criminal, get gun down like a criminal. You work harder than all of them.
We was schoolchildren when we get together. A hunger in me, meet the hunger in you. Hunger for somebody to take care of we, for fame and power.
They feel it have only one type of people, with house, lunch kit, and mommies taking chirren to school and daddies workin and helpin with homework.
Like Indrani, in we class before we drop out. She is a big engineer in the oil company. She parents feel they better than we. But they were poor like we. When they see we hustlin she modder use to say “everybody makes choices” like they reach and we stupid. They skrimp and save to send she UWI.
So what, we is not people too?
We, you and me, didn’t get none of that. Nobody saving for we, nobody telling we to study. Nobody putting air-condition in we bedroom. Nobody coming to no PTA meeting.
We bathe by de standpipe every other day. We hustle on the hot highway for a few dollars. But you smarter than all them book people.
You see them politicians use to come by we, sniffing, offering we a bone around elections. Once they get we vote, they never come around again. We only seeing them in their big SUV with the sirens, racing past red light on the highway with dey glass up like we is not people. How they get away with theifing and people does call them Honourable, and you, who help thousands, give money, jobs, and hamper to de poor get call a criminal?
You take them boys, with no fadder, no hope, no education, no water, no electricity, no jobs, in wooden house and you was fadder to them. You give them a gun, white powder, and show them they is people too. Some dead, some wasted, but you do more for thousands of people than all of dem. You get more respect too. More gun than police, bigger house than high society people, more money than business magnate.
True you beat me till I get mash up but you know boy you no worse than them society people who does get beat and hide it. I shoulda just walk into dat pyre with you but I have we chirren to see about. These nights, when bullets so close, I think about Indrani mother saying ‘everybody makes choices’, like we ever had a choice.”
A 2012 United Nations Development Report declared that ‘gangs are the new law in urban T&T. In 2017 T&T police estimated there are some 211 gangs with 2,458 members in T&T, and calculated over a thousand gang-related murders between 2010 to 2017.
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