Sat Sep 1 2001
The main witness in the case was Andre F., the businessman himself. F.
testified he was abducted in March, 1999, from outside his subsidized-housing
unit. The 57-year-old said he was beaten, tortured with very loud Frank Sinatra
music and then let go after a week.
— The Gazette
Bailiff: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
Andre F.: In other words, please be true.
Bailiff: So help you God?
AF: Tell me why should it be true?
AF: I despise the same old lies … For me, it’s true.
AF: My friend, I’ll say it clear, I’ll state my case of which I’m certain.
Prosecutor: Sir, please describe the night in question.
AF: The air is rarefied … Wind came blowing in, it lingered there.
Strangers in the night, exchanging glances … what were the chances? As funny
as it may seem … something in my heart told me.
Prosecutor: Did you do anything or say anything?
AF: Something stupid.
AF: I love you.
Prosecutor: To your wife or your lover, yes?
AF: You can’t have one without the other.
Prosecutor: And so you saw these strangers. Where were they?
AF: Waiting round the bend.
Prosecutor: What then?
AF: I get a kick. Two drifters … standing there before me.
Prosecutor: Then what did you do?
AF: Nothing to do!
Prosecutor: What happened when they kicked you?
AF: Everything started to hum.
Prosecutor: Where were you taken?
AF: In limousines, their chauffeurs would drive.
Prosecutor: Do you remember anyone talking?
AF: Yes, there were times.
Prosecutor: What did they say?
AF: The best is yet to come.
Prosecutor: Anything else?
AF: You ain’t seen nothing yet.
Prosecutor: What did you say?
AF: Oh no, not me.
Prosecutor: Why would someone abduct you?
AF: I’m ‘A No. 1,’ top of the list. This could only happen to a guy like me
and only happen in a town like this. I’ve lived a life that’s full, travelled
each and every highway. And more, much more than this. This I’ll tell ya,
brother: I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king.
Prosecutor: What were you thinking as you were being led away?
AF: And now, the end is near and so I face the final curtain.
Defence: Objection! Thoughts are hearsay!
Judge: Overruled. Continue. Witness will answer the question.
AF: … Clear to me, you obviously do not adore me. I tried so not to give
in. I said to myself this affair it never will go so well. Why should I try to
resist? A warning voice comes in the night, repeats repeats in my ear: Don’t you
know, you fool, you never can win. Use your mentality. Wake up to reality! Ask
the local gentry: You’ll come to this conclusion.
Prosecutor: Why is that?
AF: I’d sacrifice anything come what might. For what is a man? What has he
got? If not himself, then he has not. To say the things he truly feels and not
the words of one who kneels.
Judge: Excuse me, sir?
AF: The record shows: I took the blows.
Prosecutor: Were you given anything to eat or drink during your captivity?
AF: A drink or two.
Prosecutor: At regular intervals?
AF: Dinner at eight.
Prosecutor: Did you eat the meals?
AF: I ate it up and spit it out.
Prosecutor: Can you describe your life since the abduction?
AF: The memory of all that, they can’t take that away from me. What now? How
can I live? Live through another day? My dreams turn to ashes and my hopes turn
to bits of clay. Ever since that night, I practise every day to find some clever
lines to say to make the meaning come true. Once, I could see; once, I could
feel. Now I am numb, I become unreal. I walk the night without a goal, I feel
the world, it’s closing in on me. Still, I’ll always keep the memory of.
Prosecutor: You’re suicidal, in other words?
Defence: Objection! Demands psychiatric evaluation.
Judge: Overruled. Witness will answer the question.
AF: Now, as tears subside … I’d be a fool to go on and on. No one would
care if I should live, if I should live or die. Now there is nothing … but my
Prosecutor: No further questions.
Judge: Court will recess.
Gazette reporter: Start spreading the news.