” The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”
– James Arthur Baldwin
The heat had got so unbearable and he was beginning to come undone with every cop and police vehicle he saw pass him by on the road. Tiresh Devanayagam had less than a hundred rupees on him and that was not good. But right now the tall young man needed some respite from the heat and to gather his thoughts. He got off the bus at Borella junction and made his way to the internet cafe that he saw on the bus ride to Pettah which he always took to feed the hunger that was clawing at him mercilessly.
The internet cafe was open and thankfully it was air-conditioned. A hundred rupees would give him 2 hours to come up with a plan. He was also grateful for a private booth. That meant that he could watch some porn and jerk himself….relieve some tension that way. Between now and his next fix, that was the best alternative he had. There were others but it was just 10am on a Friday and it wouldn’t do to snatch a chain ion the middle of fucking Borella as that would ensure he gets thrashed the crap out of and that he ends up behind bars. No….he needed to come up with a way of getting at least 20 thousand rupees. He could buy 3 street grams of heroin with that and there’d be some money left over for food.
How? How? How? How? he asked himself as he logged on to his facebook account. Tiresh Devanayagam was 38 years old and he had just come out of a long and grueling rehab run by a Bhudist monk in Kalutara. Each day had been pure hell but Tiresh stuck to it promising himself that as soon as he was out he’d lock himself up somewhere and just get high for a week. There was just the small problem of his brother and the other was the probation services.
He had been released by the Sri Lankan prison’s department over 14 months ago after having served almost 20 years in prison for the murder of his parents and a soldier. In 1989 Tiresh was only 14 years old when the bough broke. He butchered his parents and the soldier who guarded his father who was an army officer. The story would have made headlines and received media attention had it not been for the fact that Sri Lanka was in the middle of a marxist uprising and death and destruction were the order of the day. Amidst tire pyres and rivers clogged with decomposing boies, a 14 year old murdering his parents was not news worthy.
Tiresh was blessed with a forgiving elder brother who did his best to save him from a life time behind bars. Though he spent an incredible amount of money to prove Tiresh had in a moment of insanity committed the murders, the Sri Lankan judiciary gave him 19 years. If that weren’t enough, Tiresh received bail before sentencing and his brother Presad didn’t realize that his brother had come out of prison with more baggage than he went in. In addition to his sociopathic tendencies, Tiresh now had a full blown dependency on heroin.
He stole from his brother, from his friends and from any one he could steal. Each time Presad forgave him and saved him from more legal woes. Tiresh decided that he’d have to do something drastic and resorted to an elaborate scam involving lottery tickets. That was what cut short his time out on bail. Even before he could see his scam to fruition he was arrested and remanded and while in remand for the lottery scam the murder case came up for trial and Tiresh appeared for the entirety of the trial from prison. He was sentenced to 19 years for the 3 murders and a few years later he was convicted for 2 more years as a result of the lottery scam.
While in prison Tiresh worked the system to his advantage. His ability to use a computer skillfully along with his fluency in English, Tamil and Sinhala endeared him to the Superintendent of the prison. The rest was a cake walk for Tresh as he manipulated the superintendent, guards and fellow prisoners at the Welikada prison. In prison getting drugs was easy…his access to the superintendent was highly sought after by the dealers at Welikada and they would always look after Tiresh. But only once he was out on parole did he realize just how tough mere survival was on the straight and narrow. Finding drugs and the money to buy them was not so easy.
Tiresh was desperate enough now and the withdrawal was making him think things that for a normal person would seem crazy. At this point in time Tiresh would do anything to get his fix. Anything. That was when he remembered the white guy who wore the Rolex and walked his dog near Vihara Maha-Devi park in the mornings as Tiresh walked back home after a night out.