The Redundant Fugitive
John Sealey, author
The story subtly defines serious problems existing between good and evil, justice and injustice and unusual circumstances ruining a man's life, a good man with values who by being made redundant is innocently drawn into a world of crime. The story concerns Amit Somaya, a British Citizen, of Asian parents, married to Jaya. They have two children, Rayani, a boy aged 14, and Sarala, a girl aged 10. Amit, an experienced marine engineer, is suddenly made REDUNDANT (Hence the first part of the title) and finds it very difficult to get another job because of the scarcity of his kind of work together with racism in the work place. Amit, unable to find employment and beginning to get into financial difficulty is approached by Johnny Landor, MD of The Indian Ocean Shipping Company, who offers him a job as chief engineer on a ship waiting to return from India to the UK. Johnny Landor sweetens the offer by saying it will also give him the opportunity to visit his and his wife's relatives before joining the ship. On joining the ship, Amit is given no opportunity to service the engine, which, are clearly in need of a good service, as the Captain is determined to put to sea on the next high tide. Below deck, Amit works hard to keep the badly maintained engine running, even more so when the Captain suddenly signals for maximum speed. Amit warns the captain that running the engine at full revs, could damage it. Unknown to Amit, the reason the Captain is demanding maximum speed is because the ship is being pursued by pirates who are after the drugs they know the ship has concealed in its cargo. In the bad condition it is, the engine running at maximum revs soon breaks down, allowing the pirates to catch up to the ship. They clamber aboard; kill the Captain and crew, dumping their bodies overboard. Amit manages to avoid being killed, because the pirates, having found the drugs they’re after; don't bother to search the engine room. Amit oblivious to what has happened, trying desperately to restart the engine, and unable to get any response from the Captain, decides to go up on deck and tell him of the problem. To his horror he discovers the ship is completely deserted, the holds wrenched open, and the deck strewn with smashed wooden crates. Abandoned with all communication and navigation equipment smashed Amit has no way of contacting or signalling to passing ships. After several nights on the high seas, he spots yet another passing ship, and in desperation decides to build a fire out of the smashed crates as a signal to other ships. With the ship drifting powerless into a strong head wind, the fire quickly spreads out of control and in no time the ship is ablaze, and Amit is forced to abandon ship. A passing British Naval vessel spots the fire and Amit is rescued. The British Captain suspects Amit of being part of an attempt to smuggle illegal immigrants into the UK, but something had obviously gone terribly wrong, which is why he set fire to the ship. Back in the UK, without any documentation or means of proving his identity, Amit is held by immigration. The immigration officials even suspect him of killing the captain and the crew, setting fire to ship to destroy the evidence. He is even accused of killing the real Amit Somaya and impersonating him as a means of getting into the UK. Amit pleads to be able to visit his wife, who will confirm his identity. Jaya, his wife, confirms Amit's identity and he is released, but the authorities still suspect Amit and decide to keep him under surveillance. Johnny Landor suspects Amit found out about the drugs, killed the crew and set the ship ablaze to keep the drugs for himself and wants to know what he has done with his valuable consignment. Amit's pleadings he doesn’t know anything about any drugs or what happened to the captain and the crew are not believed, and he is forced into working for Johnny Landor. Amit suddenly finds himself drawn into the sordid world of drugs, prostitution, protection rackets and loan sharks etc. Amit is taught the ropes by Pregip and learns how he too was forced into working for Johnny Landor under very similar circumstances. He witnesses Pregip being shot for trying to escape from Johnny Landor. Amit discovers to his horror, the drugs he's been supplying have found their way to his own son who is suddenly rushed to hospital suffering from the effects of having taken an Ecstasy tablet. As his world begins to collapse around him and fearing for his family, Amit decides to fight back. Pressured by Customs and the Police Drug Squads, Amit agrees to co-operate to smash Johnny Landor and his racketeering. During a planned raid, Johnny Landor suspects Amit of being an informer and threatens to shoot him. A struggle ensues and Johnny Landor is accidentally shot with his own gun. Fearing he will be arrested for murder, Amit escapes, goes on the run, still without a job, REDUNDANT and a FUGITIVE.