The Near Death Experience of a Petite Man

Tomos was a petite man in his 40s and could easily pass for a young teenager sometimes. Usually very smartly dressed in formal attire to look much older than his boyish appearance, he was on his way to revel with friends at a house warming party in Walworth, South East London. He had to walk a very long distance to get to the party since though dressed like a toff with an elegant suit, shiny shoes and a cravat, he could not afford bus or taxi fares. His masked intention of attending the party was ‘financial edification’; seeking bad loans and grants. Professionally, Tomos was an architect but had never designed a structure in his life. Somehow it was tough for him to get his act together. His mind was far too nefarious and preoccupied malevolent actions to hold a job in a professional setting. Enduring cooperation, collaboration and team skills were things he lacked. He was more excellent in the art of disruption, sabotage, mischief and chaos. You could comfortable rely on him to mess a good job up or bring a good man down.

At that point of the journey coming in from Camberwell, he decided to take a short-cut through the deserted Burgess Park, which would shrink his journey from then on by two-thirds to his destination. As Tomos turned into the park, he was surprised and slightly frightened when someone called his name, “Tomos!”. It was dark on a July night, and he could not make out who it was that could see and identify him so precisely. It turned out to be Balo, a person he knew very well. Balo and Tomos had for two decades alternated between being good friends and feisty adversaries, depending on what Tomos was up to at the time. Tomos had no qualms with hurting a decent and reliable friend to attain even tiny gains or advantages. Tomos had seriously offended Balo several times only to call for peace and get forgiven. For his latest offence, setting him up to take a fall at his gentlemen’s club, Balo decided never to forgive Tomos again. He had done so enough times and realised Tomos actually enjoyed hurting people then wooing them back – it made the petite feel in control.
Strong causations of treachery, destructiveness, slander, espionage and egomania were in the DNA of Tomos. In that same DNA, there were durable designs of obsequiousness, contrived glibness, an absence of moral scruples, a persuasive tongue, deceit, a false projection of friendliness and a hunger for power at all costs. Balo stood at 6 foot 4 inches and weighed around 18 stone; he too was in his 40s. A specialist cardiac physiologist he did everything he could to keep fit/healthy and had done several marathons in addition to yoga and martial arts. Balo was optimistic about human nature to a fault, often ignoring negative realities as exceptions, but he was a thoroughly decent and reliable person. He was thus amenable to be used and manipulated by Tomos.
When they stood face to face, the pleasantries they exchanged meant nothing. Tomos had recently sprung a cunning and evil trap on Balo, but it failed. Each time Tomos was unable to hurt someone, he simply kept trying. Balo broke the ice by asking, “Are you going to Kpeunas’ party?“, to which Tomos simply replied, “Yes“. They to walk together for three minutes in virtual silence then without warning, Balo seized Tomos’ collar and dragged him to a part of the park with trees and good lighting. Balo started to beat up Tomos eventually pinning him to a tree with his right arm in such a way his feet were at least a foot above the ground. Being left-handed Balo used that arm to punch the torso and groin of Tomos viciously, no face punches. No man spoke a word during this sudden sustained energetic but one-sided violence. Tomos’ torso was severely bruised and hurting, and the pain showed glaringly on his face – his eyes were glazed over like a snake just about to bite.
Balo soon felt he had gotten his revenge sated, and let go of Tomos and the punched man started to run, but he was moving in a manner only Disney movies could produce. Tomos was running with sense! Moving with numerous feints, little to the left and a little to the right, he was not doing so well in a forward direction. The petite man’s escape was made impossible by his own habitual and hellish craftiness. All those years of deceitfulness and evil cunning now worked against him. He could no longer do anything useful/straightforward even to run for safety without a well-rehearsed devious plan. Running away from danger is a good thing, yet he was incapable of ‘doing good’. Tomos had no spontaneity left in him, and his extreme instincts to cause harm to others certainly had critically dulled the wits he required for his safety.
Revolted by Tomos’ thoughtless attempt escape to safety, Balo angered, chased after and caught him. However, this time Tomos suddenly produced an ice pick and stabbed for Balo’s left eye but missed. This underhand surprise only further infuriated Balo. Balo raised Tomos full stretch then viciously slammed him to the ground. Balo exacted a second body slam with an even more devastating impact on Tomos’ body. It seemed as if the earth rejected Tomos’ body twice. As Balo was picking Tomos up for the third body slam, Tomos pleaded in a most childlike manner “Do you really want to kill me? I have offended severally, but I beg you with God and my children, please spare my life.” Balo saw two things in Tomos’ eyes at that moment. The first was that Tomos knew he was going to die and was genuinely sorry. The second was it happened to be the only time he witnessed Tomos being thoroughly honest. Balo, a usually considerate man, then decided conferred mercy on Tomos one last time but revenge had been gotten at least. Balo was smiling and Tomos almost in tears when they parted ways.
It turned out that Balo had already been at the party and through overhearing a phone conversation got the information and opportunity to waylay Tomos. Tomos ended up not going to the party while Balo returned to it and had a good time there. Conversely, bruised and embarrassed, it turned out to be a thoroughly unfortunate night for nutrition, refreshments and the intended resources gathering of Tomos.
Retribution by violence is immoral/amoral, no matter how justified. What do you think?
Grimot Nane

Photo: Courtesy

One response

  1. “Retribution by violence is immoral / amoral, no matter how justified”…

    A provocative conclusion indeed.

    While I concur “by half”, it would to interesting to know or explore why certain laws or foreign policies tend to promote an attitude of “might is right” in certain contexts???

    Interesting narrative with potential to create in the reader, likely ‘personae’ tagging, as it relates their experiences.

    One important question, can the narrator/author really assume a third party role in the story?

    Would be nice to read other views.



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