Is Yogi guilty?
By DR. CAV GENO
Published Jan. 1, 2012
Yogi Patano had a perpetual misunderstanding with his wife. This always translated into bitter exchange of words and flurry of adrenaline- charged activities. They could break furniture, electronics, deface each other’s cars, or make dents on their house walls during their fits of rage.
But for this very day, things went over board as the couple flung things all over the house in hitherto unseen and unhindered rage. One would wonder where the kids were during such periods, since they had two children amongst them. Two-year-old Yuri Patalengo was largely unaware of the gravity of the issues, as expected! Eight-year-old Nuno Condeza wept in between and during the fights, and he could step in to help the mother; as she threw items at the father. Surprisingly, not even once did the couple sustain physical injuries, except the ‘self-inflicted’ from banging of the walls. They were good dodgers! It is equally surprising that they had never called the police on each other. The couple lived in a serene neighborhood, and it is equally surprising that no neighbor had called the police on them to complain about their loudness.
On Dec. 31 last year, Yogi Patano repeated their almost weekly charade of ugly innuendos that crystalized into loud noises, expletives and sounds of breaking material. It is reported that, Puri Mungy, his wife of 10 years had made it clear that she was ready to move into the New Year without such exchanges. She was intending to move out that very day and later file for divorce. Never before had she ever verbalized divorce as an option; she had been overheard several times saying that her husband will change for the better, with time, and the “mere jostling” was meant to test her love and resilience. She believed that such endurance was fortified with calculated interjection of both mental and physical might, in a force that matched the aggressor’s, who, in this case was the husband. She could not understand why Yogi Patano was spitting more fire and brimstone, too much for a single day. She had to reaffirm her grounds!
Divorce was so foreign to the couple, or so it seemed! So, in fits of rage and disbelief, Yogi Patano stormed out of the house, breaking things on his path like an angry elephant. Little Yuri Patalengo looked around with all the innocence of childhood, as she also broke her toys in mimicry. Nuno Condeza held his dad by the lower leg, as the father initially dragged him along, but he eventually changed his mind and gently nudged the boy off his leg; but not before the little boy drove his teeth into the thigh muscles of the unsuspecting Yogi Patano. Meanwhile, Puri Mungy exhaled her final derogatory statement, “grow up, you good for nothing sperm donor!”
Yogi Patano’s journey to the car- his car- the one he called a “designer car”, would normally take five minutes. He normally accessed the garage from inside the house through the kitchen door. Their garage was well ventilated, and at times it doubled as a space from where he practiced carpentry leisurely during his free time. He could leave the car running for a minute or two before returning to the house to say good bye to the kids. He always looked around to confirm that he had all he needed, and the kids were well taken care of before he could finally drive out.
But for this day he stormed out of the house into the open pavement. He kicked a few flower pots and banged on the outer house wall one more time. He then proceeded to the garage, attempting to open it from the outside, and it is at this time that it occurred to him that he had left the keys in the house. He did not have the garage door keys or the car keys. The remote entry gadget had been broken in the preceding fury. He mulled over this and kicked a few more flowers before finally sitting by a dust bin while still racking his brain.
It took him a bit longer to decide on his next move. He never wanted to go back into the house, but something told him that he had to. After all, he could not walk all the distance to his unknown destination nor was he patient enough to call a taxi. In any case, Puri Mungy had broken his cell phone during the altercation. He needed to go far, far away, where the memory of his family would fade, and he would be happy and free. The thought of the fate of kids sobered him a bit, but only enough to trouble him more with the realities of child custody battle. He was uncertain of how such eventualities would reflect on his career and standing in the society. He wondered, and wondered but he never had enough time to reach a conclusive decision.
As he stormed back into the house, he was stunned by an eerie of quietness, except for Yuri Patalengo’s clutter from the toys within the living room. Puri Mungy was nowhere, not in sight. Not long ago, she had stood akimbo with such a menacing look, just within the very living room! He heard sobs, juvenile sobs from Nuno Condeza, alternating with the words, “Bad mummy, get up mummy… mummy get up!”
It is unclear why Yogi Patano took the flight upstairs in quick succession. He was supposed to pick his keys and leave. Perhaps he had a premonition of danger. May be he had a sense of bravado, assuming that Puri Mungy had seen the error in her ways and decided to play second fiddle. It is possible that he thought she had decided to be just quiet and give their relationship one more chance. May be she was in prayer, holding a Bible over their wedding pictures. She told him she has done that in the past believing that such actions might appease troubled minds.
When Yogi Patano opened the bedroom door to the room from where Nuno Condeza’s quiet sobs emanated, a surprise awaited him. It was a shocker that saw him turn blue, red, yellow, pink and finally just limp and colorless. His reaction could have passed for a vasovagal attack, but rather atypical!
Nuno Condeza was holding a long kitchen knife; the one that was specifically kept for their periodic barbeque events, more especially when the grandparents visited and were presented with a semblance of a calm and functioning family. The little boy was bent on the knees, both hands on the knife. He appeared to be rocking the knife and attempting to pull it out. The knife handle was covered in blood, mostly from the boys little hands.
Tears were flowing freely down the boys cheeks, making solid reddish hues, as they mixed with blood on the boy’s face. It is evident that he had wiped his tears with the bloody hands several times; and that explains the color of the tears that were rather thick as they dropped down, down onto a body.
Puri Mungy was in bed, supine, quiet with a serene and deathly mien as the knife jutted from her mid chest level, slightly to the left. She was dead!
Yogi Patano collapsed in the room. Fate never gave him the opportunity to feel for his wife’s pulse nor call for help. But somebody else did. He woke up a few hours later in unfamiliar environment. He was handcuffed to a bed. And there was this man in police uniform who was staring him down in an acerbic manner with a knowing and sly smile that shouted, “I know you did it! Just tell us why!”
He had this slow but recurrent thought that he was not only heavily sedated and handcuffed, but he was also under this guard: The chiseled man whose six packs and rotund biceps sought prominence beyond the thick service uniforms. He was a potential pariah, or so he thought in his hazy recollection of events. He was frustrated, both by the incarceration and his inability to articulate himself. Every time he shouted out in anger, the nurse was called to subdue him with more medication.
The following day he was labeled “potentially suicidal”, and he was put on the suicide watch. A psychiatrist was assigned to him, not only to assess his suitability to stand trial but also to ensure he was medicated enough to “avoid harming himself.”
As he lay in bed, the thought of his little kids reverberated. The thoughts were like ping pong balls hitting him from all sides, and the balls had sharp pins and a generous rub of jalapeno pepper. This left him with excruciating pain that made beads of sweat stream on his forehead.
He wondered where Yuri Patalengo was and how she was doing; maybe she was still throwing her toys around in innocent mimicry of parental violence. He then remembered quite hazily that he had deep tooth marks on his thigh, courtesy of young Nuno Condeza! He felt like touching the apparently sore area, but he could not because of the sedation, and the hand cuff. His thought process remained slow, quite slow, but he hoped that the doctors had seen it and medicated him for human bite. His dad had lost a finger after an infected human bite. He consoled himself that, in his nudity, the doctors could not have missed the bite mark, and had therefore medicated him appropriately.
But the words “guilty as charged” hit him over and over. He started doubting himself. Is it possible that he had killed his wife before storming out of the house? Was little Nuno Condeza capable of doing it? But how could he have gotten the knife? If Puri Mungy committed suicide, then we needed her finger prints on the knife, or so he thought! How could he prove that the anatomical point of knife – entry was in keeping with self-inflicted injury? Or could there have been another person in the house all along?
Several days down the line, things were becoming clearer and clearer as the medication wore out. This day, in his partially closed eyes, and through the eye lashes, he could see the guard, a new guard. This one was not quite chiseled, and he appeared less menacing. In fact, he was seated not far from him, his head leaning lazily by his shoulders. He must have gotten bored and dozed off. The nurses had not visited for some time now, to his relief! The psychiatrist had said he could be weaned off the sedative. Some medication was to be given “PRN”, whatever that was!
At this point in time, he remembered the hidden cameras in his house. Voila! Consequently, he was preoccupied with the thought of rushing home and picking them from the fire alarm. These were very small gadgets that he had bought off “e-bay” and secretly installed for speculative purposes. Rather wacko!
Simple! His intention was to tip over the bed and stealthily pick the keys from the table next to the guard using his free (un-cuffed) left hand. He could easily free himself, dash home and prove his innocence! He might not have to hire a lawyer at all, given the circumstantial evidence from the videos. So, he stretched, and stretched, the bed tipped and tipped. He stretched more, and he fell over the guard! There was a short struggle from the startled guard. Three shots rent the air. There was a quick flurry of activity soon afterwards. And when the commotion was over, there was one lifeless body in the room, unchained, but still in handcuffs. A few termed it “suicide by police!” The guard kept on wiping his face, stammering in a bid to explain everything in one sentence.
What a way to end the year or start a New Year!