Tales: Peeping Tom & Greasy Man

Below is an excerpt from a short story I wrote a few years ago called Land of the Endless Babblers. This short story is about all the interesting characters I grew up around. Here are two persons I think that everyone will get a laugh out: introducing the Greasy Man and Peeping Tom.

INSIDE AND OUTSIDE MY VILLAGE random silly things happened often.

Peeping Tom by Alphaeus Philemon Cole (1965) 

When I was in primary school, we had a Peeping Tom in our tiny hamlet.  For a very long time we couldn’t figure out who he was or his motive.  Naturally we assumed that the Peeping Tom was a “he” because our collective zeitgeist applied gender when it came to certain crimes.  Therefore we concluded before the identity was revealed that the village Peeping Tom was male. The tale of the Peeping Tom started when someone reported that they witnessed a man pushing a lit candle into their louvers.  They had just got up out of bed to go to the bathroom, and when they returned to their dark room they saw the shadow of the man with a lit candle in his hand coming from outside by way of their louvers.  The noise they made upon entering the bedroom scared the Peeking Tom off.  Once the news got out everyone was talking about it.  I recalled that the Police Department from a near by village responded to the reports.  Once the police was seen in my village this made the Peeping Tom story more popular.  One would think this was enough to cause the offender to slow down his activities, but it didn’t it increased tenfolds.

A week after the police made the inital report, my mother reported to her friends that she notice hands on her bedroom’s window ledge one night.  Since her bedroom was a few feet off the ground, the person had to climb up and hold on to the ledge to look in.  She said that when she notice it and yelled out, she heard the person jump down off the ledge and ran away.  The next time this happened to one of my female cousins, she awoke and found pink candle wax on her louvers.  Shortly after sightings of the Peeping Tom increased, and the description of the Peeping Tom got very strange; when both men and women described him as only wearing a white pair of men’s briefs while carrying a candle.

As soon as the word of the Peeping Tom spread, news about his identity sprung up.  We found out that the Peeping Tom was another villagers.  He was the awkward cousin of a friend of my mother.  Some would have described him as being mentally sluggish, but no one was certain what his medical condition was.  He was a guy in his twenties who displayed child like behavior, but no one imagined he was capable of being the Peeping Tom.  The thought never crossed any of our minds until he was revealed as being the voyeur.  Then certain events started adding up, and it all pointed in his direction. As soon as the word spread his family mustered up as much pocket money as possible and bought him a one way ticket to another island.  They figured the only way to protect his simple-minded childish naivety was to send him away to be someone else’s burden.  Perhaps they feared that the villagers would storm his grandmother’s home with pitchforks and rakes to seek their own type of justice.  Whatever their motive was a large part of their decision was based on embarrassment more than fear.

THE GREASY MAN WAS THE NAME OF ANOTHER STRANGE CHARACTER who haunted residences of Basse-Terre.  It was a nickname given to an unknown pervert who wondered around at night covered in a grease like substance.  This all started when a husband reported to the Royal Police Force that he returned home one evening to find a man peering into his kitchen window spying on his wife.  His wife wasn’t doing anything entertaining in nature, but the shadowy figure seemed engrossed by the act of watching her unknowingly.  When the husband yelled out and tried to grab the imposing figure.  The stranger quickly back away leaving a handful of grease in the palms of his hands.  The husband reported trying to run after the greased up man, but couldn’t catch him.  Upon reporting this incident to the police and news agency, others people started confessing that they often felt or saw signs that someone was watching them.  The official report made it to the nightly news and then more rumors and sightings started.

Since this event didn’t happen in my village, it was hard for me to collect gossip on this matter.  All I could do was watch it play out on the news or eavesdrop on adult conversations.  The stories about the Greasy Man became very popular and grew more elaborate, when other crimes that weren’t perpetrated by the Greasy Man were blamed on him.  The illusive Greasy Man was blamed for anything from poisoning pets, rape, robbery, stealing women underwear from clothes lines, taking livestock, taking domestic cats and dogs, and burning down homes.   Anytime a crime was committed someone was always around to describe the Greasy Man at the scene of the crime.  Unlike our Peeping Tom, the Greasy Man was eventually caught, but the only thing they could charge him with was stalking, trespassing, thievery, and other miscellaneous crime related to invasion of privacy.  The accusation of him stealing articles of women’s clothing was also true, but all the other strange crimes wasn’t his doing.  He mostly participated in spying on people unknowingly and his preferred victims were girls and women underwear. The Greasy Man held a certain mystic among us as his name was immortalized in song and dance.   While, his behavior was worrisome it was mostly comical. In the many boring lives of the islanders including the prime minster, it was entertaining more than it was harmful, and was perhaps the most exciting time for many as each of us took great joy in obsessing over his behavior.

The End…

2 thoughts on “Tales: Peeping Tom & Greasy Man

  1. Haha this is very entertaining to read! It goes to show how a little bit of gossip can snowball… And often suspicions are enough to ‘confirm’ that something is real to a group of people!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Its funny that you would say that, but this really is an part of a rough draft of a longer story which is filled with village gossip that is as silly as the greasy man and peeping tom. I grew up in a very strange place where things like this happened all the time. You should hear the other stories, as a child watching all of this made me thing adults were silly


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