Next afternoon, I was off-duty. I was with Aisha sitting and talking in my garden.
“You know my job is getting very tough,” I said, “and I’m worried that I’m losing my patience with the criminals.”
“Well you’re at a higher post now,” she reminded me instantly.
“Yeah, no doubt. I mean I know that in such less time I’ve progressed way more than any police officer would have done. Other cops are not usually quite capable of what I am, but still this job is heck of a trouble for me.”
“I’ve seen that you have more cars than you need. More watches than you need. Quite expensive clothes, and really a lot of stuff than you need. If you don’t mind can I ask why you spend your money so lavishly?” she asked.
“… It’s not that I’m spending lavishly,” I answered after thinking for a moment, “it’s just that I want more. I don’t know it’s just that I never stop buying because I’m never satisfied with what I have. I just want more and more.”
“That’s not a good thing Rizwan.”
“Yeah I know, I agree. One should not be too greedy.”
There was silence for a moment.
“So what about you?” I broke the silence. “How are things going?”
“Uh usual, you know, looking for a job and a place to stay.
Our pointless conversation went longer than I expected. And then after an hour, she left for home.
The following day, I was back inside the cell where Rafiq was locked up. This time he was handcuffed, so I began the inquiry.
“I know your background. Your father was quite an influential person with a lot of political support. But let me tell you something about myself, no one has had a chance to stand right next to me. I’m brave, powerful and cannot be threatened by any influential party.”
“You will be sorry,” he taunted.
“No dude, you’ll be sorry if you don’t answer my questions honestly… why did you kill your servant? What did you have against him?”
“I don’t want to talk to you,” he retorted looking towards me. “I know my rights. I need to make a phone call.”
“This is my police station. I won’t let you make a single phone call unless you answer my questions,” I warned him.
“You are just another cop,” he said, trying to provoking me. “I carry cops like you in my pockets.”
I got really angry and held his collar. “Say what!” I spoke fiercely, “say that again”
He gave an expression of fearlessness and looked straight into my eyes,
“I said that,” he spoke, “I can easily get cops like you fired from their jobs, so don’t mess with me.”
I left his collar, stood straight and moved back. I turned aside and closed my eyes for a while. What happened next was a storm. I jumped over his body and repeatedly punched his face. For an entire minute, I kept thumping him until one of my police constables arrived and pulled me back. I looked at him angrily and saw his forehead bleeding.
Some other cops arrived and gently took me outside the cell. While I was moving outside, I heard Rafiq’s words, “Start praying mister small-time cop, your bad time is about to begin.”
Anger issues. Yes, I have them. Yes, I need to control my temper. But the world makes me lose my patience. Someone once told me that if there’s something more destructive than fire then it’s wrath. I completely agree but I’m bound. I am a slave of my emotions. Self control is not so easy.
Days had passed, and I wasn’t interrogating the assigned criminal. I wanted some rest so I went to a nice peaceful restaurant the other day. While I was seated and drinking coffee, someone passing by stopped and looked at me. I looked back at this person and realised he was an old acquaintance of mine, Jaffar.
“Hello Rizwan, how are you?” he spoke somewhat delightfully.
“I’m good,” I answered, but I didn’t stand up to show any respect.
“How are you?” I asked him.
“I am also good.”
“Come sit,” I invited him.
He sat in front of me. Then I asked courteously, “So what are you doing these days?”
“I’m a 17-grade government officer.”
I believed he was lying but I smiled and gave an expression of encouragement.
“What about you?” he asked.
Before responding to him, I saw some car keys in his hands. I looked at them carefully and realised the keys were of a Mercedes Benz. I got quite surprised and asked, “Do you own a Mercedes?”
“Yes, I do,” he answered realising how I guessed.
I had no words to say. Getting curious on this person’s lifestyle, I asked curiously, “Where do you live?”
“Defence Phase VIII. Why?”
“How big is your house?” I asked straightforwardly.
“Why do you want to know? Are you looking for a house too?”
I had no answer but looking at his expensive watch on his arm made me realise that he was living a luxurious life.
Let me stop here and tell you something about this guy Jaffar. This guy was a shortcut expert and he never really worked hard in life. He was a college dropout and had no future at all. What’s really bothering me now is that how a guy like him achieved this position. He was nothing in the past and today he is richer than me.
“Rizwan!” he called my name out. “If you want to buy a house around my area then I can help you find a estate agent.”
“No it’s not that” I pretended, “I was just thinking if I could drop by someday just to say hello.”
“Oh sure, we can meet someday definitely.”
The conversation stopped for a while and we both were smiling courteously. I was feeling really uncomfortable inside, so I had no other option but to ask, “If you don’t mind can I ask you something?”
“Sure, go ahead.”
“No offense, but you were never a hard working person in the past. You dropped out of college. So how come you are so wealthy today?”
He chuckled and it teased me. He looked around left and right, and then took out a piece of tissue paper. He was writing down something with his pen. Then he handed it over to me. I looked at the tissue paper, he had noted down a cell phone number.
“What is this?” I asked.
“It’s the key to become wealthy like me.”
I raised my eyebrow in confusion.
“The first code is jasmine with an s,” he continued, “and the second is roze with a z”
I felt ridiculous after hearing what he had just said and gave him a surprising look.
“It was nice seeing you Rizwan,” he said while he stood up to leave, “we’ll meet again. This is my number.”
He left his visiting card before leaving. I kept both things in my pockets and looked at him while he was going. I was just jealous of him. His success created more jealousy rather than curiosity.
The next day my father was with me in the car and we were having a conversation while I was driving, “I don’t get it Dad,” I spoke to him regarding Jaffar, “why does he have so many luxuries that I don’t. I mean I’m not jealous but this guy never really worked hard the way I did. And look at us today…”
“You’re just being thankless,” my father interrupted, “God has blessed you with a lot of stuff unlike others. You need to be grateful for what you have.”
“I know and I agree, but I still think that I deserve more.”
“That old friend of yours might not be what he appears to be.”
“What do you mean?” I asked in confusion.
“Maybe you’re judging him incorrectly. This guy may look rich and successful from the outside, but maybe deep down inside he has a different and unseen story.”
I thought about what he just said and stopped my car next to the footpath. My father opened the door and stepped outside the vehicle.
“Okay, see you at home,” he said before leaving.
An hour later, I was walking on a footpath and wondering what if my father’s words were true. What if there was an unseen story behind Jaffar’s wealth. There was only one way to find out.
I took out the tissue paper from my pocket. I looked at it and saw a cell phone number. I reluctantly took out my cell phone from the other pocket and gave it a thought. Quite reluctantly, I dialled the number and as I placed it next to my ear, I heard the bell ringing. A woman answered my call.
“Hello?” she said.
I didn’t speak and waited for her to say something.
“What’s the access code?” she asked.
Hearing this, I disconnected the call and kept my cell phone back in my pocket. I kept the tissue paper in the other pocket and started walking. While walking, I was telling myself to forget about Jaffar and move on.
That evening, I was back at my police station and was walking towards the cell. This time Rafiq was standing up with his face showing a devilish delightfulness.
“Mr Inspector,” he said while looking at me, “I’ll be bailed soon and then you’ll be sorry.”
I stopped as I was about to unlock the cell’s door in order to get inside. However, I looked up and asked him, “Bail?”
“Yes, I’ve made my phone call.”
I was surprised and angry. I looked back at the head constable and asked furiously, “Who gave him the phone to make a call?”
“I didn’t,” the head constable said.
I walked towards him angrily and asked, “Who allowed him to make a phone call?”
“Okay, I can explain. He was blackmailing the police constables, so I had no other option but to…”
I yelled out and pushed him really hard. I lost my temper and kicked a chair that fell towards the opposite direction.
“Relax sir, relax!” he said to me.
“Shut up!” I said raising my finger.
The other cops arrived and tried to cool me down but I angrily warned them to back off.
“Don’t touch me!” I exclaimed.
There was silence for a while. I realised that I was losing my temper badly. I heard Rafiq’s voice, “Start praying my friend… your bad days start now.”
I didn’t look back at him and instead looked at the head constable, “I’m taking the day off” I told him and started walking towards the exit before I could do any more damage.
What happened today? Why did I lose my temper today?
I was thinking about it continuously while lying on my bed.
Something’s wrong I know. There’s something that’s really eating me and it’s not Rafiq’s attitude I’m sure.
Jaffar. Yes it is him. It’s his success and accomplishment that’s really bothering me. What should I do?
I held my cell phone and checked the numbers I had recently dialled. I called back on the mysterious number that Jaffar had given me.
“Hello?” the call was answered by the same woman.
“My name is Rizwan Rajput,”
“Do you know the code word?”
“Jasmine,” I answered.
She didn’t respond. So I added, “Jasmine with an s”
“So you want to invest in our multi stage business?”
Multi stage business. I never heard of anything like that before. But I answered anyway, “Yes, I do.”
“Okay… I’ll connect you with Ma’am Nimra. Then you can proceed further.”
She kept the call on hold and after a few seconds, it was answered by another woman, “Yes, who is it?”
“My name is Rizwan,” I played along to find out what was underneath, “and I want to invest”
“Okay Mr Rizwan, first you need to know that there are five stages of our business. The profits of investments don’t take longer than a week. But what you really need to know is that the first stage has lowest investment and the last stage has highest investment.”
“I see,” I could sense that they were just frauds.
“And higher the investment, higher the risk.”
“And with low investment, there would be low risk. Am I right?” I asked her.
“Not exactly… with lowest risk which is the first stage, there is no risk at all.”
How stupid of them to think that they can easily fool me.
“So how should I invest?” I asked.
“If you want to invest now, then you’ll have to tell us the second code word.”
“Roze with a z.”
“That’s correct… tomorrow nine o’clock. I’ll text you the address.”
The call got disconnected.
It was ridiculous. I mean who do these people think they are? Can they fool anyone and can anyone just believe them? Jaffar must be a part of this con group. But I will do something about it. I’m a cop and I can shut this down using my power.
That night around 3 o’clock, I was driving my car and going towards the police station. As I was passing through Jheel Park, I heard some voices from inside the park, while it was closed. I stopped my vehicle and parked it outside. I stepped out from my car and went towards the entrance gate. The two security guards sitting outside stood up but I showed them my police identity.
“Is there anyone inside?” I asked them.
“No, there’s no one,” one of them replied.
I felt as if they were hiding something so I said, “Open the gate, I’m going to go and check inside.”
“Okay,” one of them said.
The other one opened the gate for me to go inside.
A couple of seconds later, I was walking inside. It was dark and the weather was hot. I heard someone’s footsteps and yelled, “Who’s there?”
“It’s your sins,” a familiar creepy voice said.
I got a little confused.
to be continued...
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