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THE TOMB RAIDERS

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By Abdool A. Aziz

KNOWING that he would soon die of cancer, a man – who was a saw miller and sportsman- made two requests to his only heir: bury him in the churchyard and include all his trophies and medals. He believed like the ancient Egyptians in ‘Life after Death’. His son disagreed but he would honour his father’s sombre wishes. But he decided that the treasures will be fake. He knew of the tomb raiders. He would make sure that they would steal nothing. Even the casket had a secret mark. It would not sell.

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The funeral was huge. People from all ‘walks of life’ from the business community, the sports arena and officials from the government were in attendance. And among them were the ‘tomb raiders’. They looked so sanctimonious, dressed in black, reflecting their evil hearts. And they even cried the ‘crocodile tears’. Deep down, it was euphoria. For some mourners the placing of material values in the coffin was disheartening. But the criminals saw it as a bonanza. In a few hours they would strike ‘gold’ or so they thought.

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Past midnight, they entered the holy ground. No respect for the dead or God. They chiselled out the concrete door slab, pulled out the casket and grabbed the booty. They dumped the corpse in a nearby gutter. What a shame! A cemetery man saw the nefarious acts. He was scared of these hoodlums. The next day he informed the police. The son came, rescued his dad’s body from the drain and reburied him in their backyard. This time with the real trophies. No one can touch him but he left a curse on the robbers and a deadly one at that.

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His skin began to peel. Sores appeared all over and no medicine could help. He began to smell, his wife deserted him, leaving the fake medals on the fridge top. Night and day, he rolled in pain, his body looked like Lazarus. He pined away and died. Neighbours were disturbed by a pungent odour from the shack and called the police. They broke into the stinking house, only to find a decaying body. He got a pauper’s burial. Where? No one knows.

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The second bandit had a mysterious nervous breakdown. He could not sit or lie. He had to keep walking all the time. He relied on drugs and he patrolled the streets like a madman. One day he walked straight into a speeding lorry. They had to spade him up. He too lies in an unmarked grave. His share of booty was never found. Nothing sold, not even the coffin. The son had the last laugh

Later on, two boys catching birds came face to face with a dead man hanging from a jamoon tree. They ran straight to the police outpost. Though his death, looked like a suicide, the post-mortem revealed fractured feet and bruises. It looked like murder. He was quickly dumped in a shallow grave

Guyanese on a whole love to give their loved ones a grand send-off and will spare no change on spending on the cost. But there are those who benefit, sadly, on the decorated dead. Most folks opt for cremation. I, for one, wish for my body to go to ashes

Will the tomb raider come for my ashes? Perhaps. People stop at nothing to make a buck even robbing the dead in God’s eyes. This time they got nothing but the deadly curse. Stop the desecration, and let the dead RIP