Mistaken Identity – The Irony of Security

Yesterday at Mishref, I unwittingly became the very thing I cautioned people about.

Let us begin, as they say, at the beginning, for the rather bizarre turn of events that occurred that day, although more befitting of the twilight zone, require a detailed explanation.

In a previous post (link), I warned the general populace of the vile agenda of the Mishref Marauder, who hants the walkway of Mishref, awaiting their chance to strike at the forbidden treasures kept by their owners under lock and key inside their vehicles, oblivious to this villains diabolical scheme of attacking when they least suspect.

I had been charged by a group of joggers to stand resiliently and keep watch over their treasures as they go on a bi-weekly run. Armed with naught but my quick wits and devil-may-cry attitude, I patrol the parking lot, jogging at a brisk pace so as to keep warm amidst the cold, desolate black tar parking lot, a lone ranger keeping a watchful eye on hard working folks personal belongings.

Unlike most joggers, I enjoy surveying the surrounding area as I make my rounds in the near desolate parking lot, watching out of the corner of my eye for any sudden sign of movement, or any lurkers in the nearby bushes, that may believe themselves perfectly camouflaged in the dark of night. As my eyes wandered, I came across a deposit of debris, compromised of broken pavement, and an idea came to mind.

Believing myself to be an athletic superstar, I stooped down to pick up two pieces, one in each hand, and in a Rocky-esque fashion, proceeded to do a lap around the parking lot with pieces of rock in each hand, to break the monotony of simply jogging like “normal” people.

Sound judgment chose to forgo my reasoning, as just two days ago I had posted about the Mishref Marauder, whom I was out to counteract by keeping the peace. I knew that, 20 other runners knew that. However, the remaining population of Mishref were blissfully unaware of my vigilante antics.

As I did my run around the parking lot, with rocks in hand, I sensed a group of strangers entering the area, quickly dismissing this occurrence as nothing out of the ordinary as it was indeed a public parking lot, and they must be merely making their way to their vehicles, which unbeknownst to them, I was keeping guard over. In an effort to appear athletic, as I sensed them drawing nearer, I accelerated on foot, hoping to dazzle them with my fitness and determination.

The true effect, as I was to learn later, was exactly the opposite.

As I continued down the side of the parking lot, I felt a strange sensation, of feet slapping the pavement behind me; I turned around to see the same group that entered the parking lot were also jogging behind me. Or so I thought, I looked around and was just about to flash them a smile, believing myself to be the inspiration behind their second wind, however, the looks in their eyes made my smile die on my lips. They were in fact, giving chase!

The blaring music in my ears drowned out their voices, making their angry cries for me to stop fall on near-deaf ears. This in fact infuriated them further, as all of the sudden, rough hands grabbed me by the shoulders and brought me to a standstill.

When in danger, utter not a word in Arabic, especially if your assailants appear to be locals. The accent, and the interrogation method, made me aware that they were indeed locals, probably even residents of Mishref.

Two stood behind me, each grabbing the side of my shirt so as to prevent me from escaping, at that point I was still carrying those rocks in my hands, afraid to drop them lest they land on their toes and land me in an even murkier predicament.

The leader of the pack of 5, quite easily the biggest, was waving his fingers towards the rocks in my hand, then towards the cars parked around us, asking in Arabic, which I understood completely but feigned ignorance, what it was exactly that I was doing, running around an empty parking lot with rocks in my hands.

When he saw that I was not responding in Arabic, he switched to broken English.

“Why you carry rocks? You break car? You thief?” he asked, each question louder than the one before it. As I tried to explain my situation, the two thugs behind me shook my arms so as to drop the “weapons” onto the floor; then they closed in on me, trapping me in between them.

“What you do here? Where you from?” the barrage of questions continued, much to my chagrin, my mind was racing with possible answers, my car was right across the other side of the parking lot, the keys in my pockets. I was afraid to reach for them lest they think I was reaching for a weapon.

My non responsiveness was seen as a sign of weak defiance, so the shoving started.

“You steal car!” this time, it was more of a proclamation than an inquisition.

Finally regaining my wits, and speaking in immaculate English, I informed the human gorilla standing before me that I was not the Mishref Marauder, quite the contrary, I was keeping watch over the cars so as to prevent him from making his move. There was even a table for the runners right behind my car, with fruits and water, I informed him.

I heard them confer amongst each other, one stating that he had read about the mishref car thief on a blog called MyBloogle.

My excitement rose as I told them I was the author of that post! That it was all just one huge misunderstanding.

The reaction was not what I had anticipated. Not in the least.

If they were angry before, they had become living now, believing me to be insulting their intelligence. The guys on either side of me grabbed me by the arms as the ring leader, with his own two personal body guards, came face to face with me, white spittle on the corners of his mouth as he yelled into my face that I was a liar and a thief, and that they were calling the police.

What a strange turn of events, I sat there, anxious to buy more time, enough time for any of my charges to return to their vehicle, see the commotion and corroborate my story.

How could I at least prove that I was in fact the author of that post they read? As I racked my brain to try to remember, they ringleader was already on the phone, calling the police.

The answer materialized before my eyes in a heartbeat! How quickly we forget the obvious when in the midst of a life threatening situation! Bloggers Gathering had issued me a card, with my name on it, and my blog logo, when I joined! I was saved by the very people that drove me to re-blog earlier than expected as a result of a slight they offended me with.

I told the ringleader this, and for the briefest of moments, it seemed as though he understood. He motioned to his friends to let me go, and the 5 of them followed me to my car.

I reached for my bag, having come straight from work to the running track.

I opened my bag to search for my wallet, intent on clearing up this grave misunderstanding.

Digging my hand deeper into my bag, I searched for my wallet.

And searched.

And searched.

And searched.

Nothing.

I had left my wallet in the office, as I was prone to doing when rushing to meet the runners.

Not only that, but I had no form of identification on me whatsoever.

The ringleader did not look pleased.

Bloggers Gathering had the last laugh, forcing me to ask the question:

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? 

(Who is watching the watchers?)

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