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Journey into Disaster
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7.03. The end of the day
The German, Thomas Heger, has been arrested in the Philippines. Now he thinks about his situation.
Reading makes me tired. The newspapers are mostly written in English in addition to the Visayan language. I do not understand the Visayan text and the English often exceeds my linguistic level. There is nothing about me. Maybe in the coming Saturday or Sunday editions? I put on my imaginary shopping list: Buy newspapers.
It’s already after seven o’clock. How are the parents and friends in De Baron’s office? Whether the Witness Affidavits are already made?
Outside it is dark. The temperatures are bearable now, and the city comes to life. There are noises on the road: honking, starting and screeching brakes of vehicles. Roaring of motorcycles with small engines and missing silencers. Street vendors yelling against the traffic noise to sell their stuff. Every now and then music swells up briefly with a pounding bass, but quickly fades away again. Vehicles as rolling discos. Minibuses or motorcycles with additional space for passengers. I hear young teenagers screaming aggressively to announce the destination of the vehicles and attract passengers. Next to the street, there are small barbecue grills opening. Like every evening in every municipality in the Philippines.
The disco on the square in front of the police station is starting, because the bass already roars.
Just a week ago I was still free in Sendong City with friends in a restaurant. I ate fried chicken and drank a delicious cold beer. When thinking of a cold beer, I get fucking thirsty. A beer is now unreachable, and that’s hard to endure.
I’m sad and talk to myself: “Enjoy life. Doing what I want. Being happy. Not longer possible.” I compute the expenses of the last days. “That has been 20.000 Piso every day since Saturday. Six days and about 400 Euro every day. In total, that’s around 2.400 Euro. Plus the 120.000 Piso for the Attorney, which is also equivalent to about 2.400 Euro.” I startle and moan towards the cobweb carpet at the bottom of the bed above me: “Oh, my God! That’s already 4.800 Euro in just six days! With what result? The result is, I’m sitting in a stinking and dark dungeon!” The candle flickering on the floor illuminates the situation a little. While observing the cobwebs, I notice a spider the size of a thumbnail spinning a small insect in and preparing it for suck out.
Frustration arises: “The suck out has to stop! The parents and friends have to go back to the village, the children out of the BSWD or eat what they cook in the Youth Home. The basic problem is my damned situation! I have to get out of here. Do something, Tommy!”
Now I stand at the cell door and look into the sultry tropical night. The two halogen spotlights are apparently near the end of their service life and therefore only poorly illuminate the cell forecourt. The diffuse light of the spotlights in combination with the colorful flashes of light from the festival appears almost cozy under the palm and the huge mahogany trees. The only things that are missing are the sea, the friends, the good food and the beer. Then it would be like a beach resort. Enjoy life and freedom happily and carefree.
The gray cat sneaks past, stops moving forward, turns her head curiously towards me, sees me, meows invitingly and jumps away. “Is she mocking me?” I ask into the night and am angry. “This stupid cat is better than me! She is free and can do what she wants.”
Anger and frustration are in me: “Damn it, who or what gives the police the right to lock me down in this unworthy dungeon? Then these extremely caustic media people. Sniffing the sensation? And the non-governmental organization in the village of the parents. What does that mean? Certainly nothing good!”
Attorney De Baron and his stupid talking over the media and the NGOs. He is an oily aging womanizer, but — whatever — somewhere funny. Everything is not a problem for him. “Next week you go home!” he said.
I pull a tiny piece of porous rust from the steel bar of the lattice door: “Attorney Pizarro, who immediately threatened an extremely high prison sentence. That’s the business with fear. I do not go in his trap! Then Attorney Paternesto with his unrealistic offer. Does he believe he could rip me off? Does he not want the mandate?
I am also amazed at the police and scratch the rust on the steel door: “On the one hand, the police treat me very kindly. They even allow me to meet the little boys. In their eyes the five are my victims! They allow communication with my family in Germany and, on the other hand, the humiliating arrest, staged as a TV event. Then there were the disturbing nightly waterboarding, the crude story of the death of Vicente’s father and the persistent silence of the police about my story.”
The rust flake, which I previously broke off a steel bar with my fingernail, I snap into the night and come to the result: “It all doesn’t fit! On the one hand the enjoyable public display during my arrest and on the other hand this strange, overly friendly and courteous treatment in the police station.” I shake my head again today and go on quietly: “Asia confuses, shocks and disappoints me deeply! Asians suddenly become inscrutable and unpredictable! Before I wasn’t aware of this, I didn’t want to see it or I couldn’t see it through my rose-colored holiday glasses!”
From the other cells I hear soft conversations, sighs and snoring noises.
I am quiet now, although my inner voice screams: This is no longer a vacation and finally stop turning poverty in the country into romanticism! Tommy, in what stupid and danger situation put yourself? Unknowingly, blue-eyed and stupid!
On the lattice door I breathe the velvety tropical air and become calm. Back to the shaky bed, I lie again on the mat and the pillow. Both bought Mik.
I speak to the spiders who are undeterred and continue their work: “The parents of the children, my friends here and my family in Germany give confidence and hope.”
I close my eyes and admonish myself: “Tommy, finish the torments in your head!”
It actually only took a few minutes, and I fell asleep.
[End of Chapter 7]
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