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12 days of redemption (Christmas)

Livingston Tuzo

THE PROLOGUE“THE ARREST”The police entry into my home on this Christmas Day evening was orderly, quiet and efficient. Adorned in bullet proof vests, helmets and drawn guns, they just stood and stared at the collection of people sitting in various locations in the dining room. Looking at my son, Germaine, from across the room I could tell that he knew instinctively that they had arrived to arrest him. He centred me with his gaze and smiled his unctuous smile. He removed his niece from his lap and stood slowly. He looked at his son who was standing beside my mother, nodded toward him, turned and walked toward the police. Strangely, not a word was uttered by anyone in the room during this entire episode. With my handcuffed son between them, the entourage of police left my home the way they entered, QUIETLY.On this HOLY DAY, a mother weeps for her SON.***On the 1st day of REDEMPTION, my true love gave to me . . . COURAGE.(December 14)My Pastor told me that only when a person is at their darkest depths; only when hope is lost, does the catalyst for change raise a spark that turns into the flare of a thousand suns. That's where my courage to FIGHT my son was coming from.***On the 2nd day of REDEMPTION my true love gave to me . . .A NIGHTMARE!(December 15)I awoke with a start, drenched in sweat, pajamas every which way; and, as always, scared to death. The ever present nightmare of my son laughing as his snarling twin pit bulls surrounded me. My whole body was still convulsing and twitching. My head was throbbing. My pain was more emotional than physical. I grudgingly removed myself from the bed and staggered to the bathroom where the last part of the nightmare played out as it usually did; I vomited into my toilet.“God, this has to stop,” I muttered to myself.My fear of my ONLY son is destroying me. I slid down by the side of the toilet bowl and started to quietly sob. My grandson's thumping on the bathroom door awoke me from the guilt-ridden stupor that usually followed these episodes.“Hold on,” I mumbled to the door.***On the 3rd day of REDEMPTION my true love gave to me . . . A REALITY CHECK!! (December 16)My grandson, Harrell, who lives with me, was arrested at his middle school for selling drugs on the school site. His supplier his FATHER and my SON, Germaine.***On the 4th day of REDEMPTION, my true love gave to me . . . THE TAXMAN.(December 17)I have four children. Germaine, aka, the Taxman, aged 35, and three girls, Shawn, Samantha, and Shannon, 24, 26, and 28 respectfully. Samantha still lives at home with me and Harrell. Germaine lives between his houses in Atlanta, Barbados, and a stupendous home he owns on Lighthouse Hill in Southampton. The relationship with my son is strained. He tolerates me as I have court-awarded guardianship over his son, Harrell, whom he loves dearly. Although arrested numerous times on drug related charges, he has never had to defend himself in court. He is not shy about flaunting his wealthy lifestyle. He rules his cartel with intimidation, money and his twin, red-eyed, albino pit bulls, SWEET and SPICE.***On the 5th day of REDEMPTION my true love gave to me . . . SWEET AND SPICE. (December 18)His 2009 BMW has had its trunk customised so that the dogs can be transported around without being seen. He has five kennels, scattered around the Island. He constantly rotates the dogs to keep them from being maimed or killed. Seldom are two dogs kenneled at the same venue. The only way you can tell the dogs apart is that Sweet growls softly, Spice is mute. When out in public, neither dog is more than two feet from Taxman nor are they ever on a leash.***On the 6th day of REDEMPTION my true love gave to me . . . TERROR.(December 19)Being the mother of a noted drug dealer brings with it its own private and public kind of terror. My home has been ‘busted' seven times over the years. The shame and humiliation that one has to endure as they go through that ordeal can only be described as a living hell. The cacophony of noise, screaming children, barking police dogs, squawking of police radios and the smashing of furniture that resonates through your house after it is invaded by armed police at 5am in the morning is enough to make you throw up and wet your pants at the same time. Both acts done under the gaze of gawking and leering policemen. All of this violating, to both your home and your person, is being done while you are UNDER-dressed and being held face down on the floor by a man twice your size.***On the 7th day of REDEMPTION, my true love gave to me . . . FAITH.(December 20)This epic fight with my son requires much prayer and the support of my family.***On the 8th day of REDEMPTION, my true love gave to me . . .MY HIDDEN TREASURE. (December 21)Somewhere I read that ‘arrogance begets stupidity'. For years Germaine had grown so contemptuous of me that I became invisible to him. That proved to be his Achilles heel.My ‘invisibility' allowed me access to his ‘throw away' phones that he carelessly discarded in my garbage. He failed to notice that I photographed the cars that visited him at my house. Many times, because of his son, he would leave me itineraries and phone numbers from the various cities he visited. I knew the location of two of the safe houses where he kenneled his dogs. A hurt, former lover of his gave me copies of four passports that he used when he travelled outside of Bermuda, each with a different name. A police friend of mine, provided me with a written account of not only how the drug money was cleaned (money laundering) via two Crown and Anchor tables that were used at Cup Match and the Eastern Counties, but who OWNED the tables. But the ‘nugget' information that I was able to ascertain, was knowing the location of his RABBIT HOLE, as he called it, the place where he stored the money, drugs and weapons.***On the 9th day of REDEMPTION, my true love gave to me . . . SOLITUDE.(December 22)I spent this day at a printer-friend's house sorting, scanning and copying all the documents I had managed to acquire over many years. I was apprehensive, afraid and strangely enough, relieved that I was at this place in my life. Thankfully, the house was adorned in all things Christmas. Seasonal music by Luther, Lynda Randle and Kenny G played interchangeably and softly in the background. As either a sign of respect for or fear of me for what I was doing, my friend quietly vacated his house and left me alone with this arduous and heart-breaking task.***On the 10th day of REDEMPTION, my true love gave to me . . .THE MEETING.(December 23)My daughters, mother and fiancé met with me in my living room. The smells and sounds of Christmas are palatable in the house. Due to Harrell's allegiance to his dad, he spent the night at a friend's house.“A few days ago Harrell was suspended from school for selling drugs at his middle school. Germaine is his supplier. Both your father and brother got caught up in this foolishness and I stood by and did nothing about it.” I paused, and gazed at everyone gathered.“But not my GRANDSON!” I hissed.“You have in your hands a sample of one of the many documents that I have surreptitiously collected over the years on Germaine. It's not important at this time where I got them all. What matters is that I have packaged them and have anonymously turned them over to the proper authorities.”I could feel the low level hysteria that had gripped everyone in the room. It was as if they had the jaws of a rabid dog clamped to their throats. Samantha gave me a thumbs-up. Shannon stared at me with a sad smile on her face. Shawn looked bewildered. She glanced at her granny for guidance. My fiancé looked at me reassuringly.“I will NOT be deterred from the actions that I have set in motion. This has as much to do with ME as it does with keeping Harrell out of harm's way.”“Bah Humbug to you, Taxman,” my mother shouted at the night as she left my house. I could hear her cackling laughter as she ambled to her car.In an empty house, and knowing I was on an irreversible course of action, I took solace in the arms of my man and bawled my soul out.***On the 11th day of REDEMPTION, my true love gave to me . . . DANGER. (December 24)My exposing Taxman to the police could bring extreme harm to me and my daughters. Snitching is not an option in his world.***On the 12th day of CHRISTMAS, my true love gave to me . . . REDEMPTION!(December 25)THE ARREST.