Hunting the hunter

December 21, 2017

I have to hunt down the birdnest cat burglar before everyone thinks it’s me. I know why no one ever sees him. He travels only by bicycle in darkness thru the labyrinth of plantation of roads and never uses the heavily trafficked trunk or main roads. He doesn’t ride a rotiman black bicycle…the tire marks suggest it’s performance threads…he rides very fast as the edges of the marks are scurried. He’s athletic and doesn’t shy from risk…some drop offs are over ten feet…he just flies above it all. A professional mountain cyclist.

This is no ordinary slipper thief.

He knows the art of war along with junglecraft. He rides only parallel to the axis of palms even if it takes him further and longer. Only planters would know this. As the moon will cast least shadows along this axis allowing him to proceed without lights and since old fronds are not lined along this axis, he can ride very fast. To do this he would need to turn the bezel of his sports watch to the three o’clock position and use it as a tachymeter. This would allow him to count off the trees and calculate the distance and speed…so we know he wears a divers watch with bezel.

Early this morning. I found the remnants of his camp. It was about three days old. Judging from the set up, he is very accustomed to living for prolonged periods in the jungle. He is proficient in weaving ropes from dry reeds. He curls the edges instead of cutting them to stop them from fraying and slips the ends neatly into a fashioned pocket, the way African sailors set their lines…they call it the devils knot as this was how slaves were once tied during the Atlantic wars….he’s worked in Africa before. But that is quite a common credential even amongst planters here.

He hunts. With what I can’t quite make out. He keeps the camp fire smokeless and without light by only using hard wood embers, that means he probably knows the art of invisibility. He sleeps on the tree tops by fashioning a hammock out of fresh fronts to stop them from creaking. His trail went cold by the river edge. It’s been dry for the last eighteen days, it’s turned into a creek, it’s pointless to try to track him beyond this point.

But the man has left a clue. No! Correction. It must have been deliberately left to be discovered. Two mini fridge bottles of Hennessy nicely balanced on a curved river stone next to a neat pile of freshly deshelled wild quail eggs. He must have taken a dip here before he changed and transformed back to his life. He cooked a french omelette by the river, very slowly and meticulously in a manner that suggest he was certainly home free, kicked his heels and watched the magnificent sun rise and washed it all down ever so slowly with the satisfaction of a fox who had just successfully curtained another raid. This was his big give away. A secret chapter that only a man who strives to get into the mind of what he hunts can decipher – a man of self rigid controlled soul who broke free from his moorings. The two mini bottles of brandy during breakfast were his prostitutes. His equivalent of the illicit thrill. A symbol of his defiance. As he emptied them. The man must felt something resembling arousal. He allowed himself at that very moment to feel the heat rising while the seconds allotted melted like ice to the creeping sun…..always trying to prolong that strangeness of feeling that swelled so suddenly in him, as if by doing so, he could some how stave off the sudden otherness of his other life that he had to return to. Yes those two mini bottles, they were his prostitutes…his metaphoric release from his corseted life of rituals, status and position. Soon thereafter his eyes would change and he would shed his skin as the cat burglar and forget completely the things he did and saw the night before, it would disappear forever in his other life when the sun rose… never to be spoken of again….I can go into his mind. I closed my eyes to see thru his – the slant of a shard of sunlight on an emerald fern, the sweet repose of a trickle of water on stone, rapping flight of birds, the nobility of mountains sliced in half by shadows and light and above all silence of the silence of just knowing that you are free.

I can understand….I can understanding even without judging it for what it is and what I imagine it must be.

There is to much poetry and sentimentality in this mysterious man. But I digress. This is what I know him.

The man wears a diver’s watch…he spent considerable field time in Africa…he’s athletic…he’s a technical climber proficient in the use of mountaineering devices and suffers from an incorrigible urge to escape his corsetted life of respectability which would probably make him a member of the aristocracy of the landowning gentry.

Nothing stands out, I am afraid. It could really be the profile of anyone and everyone. Could perhaps even be me….

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