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It’s time to call bob

Chris scampered to his cupboard to find his little wooden box.

As he tries to open its lock, his bloody hands are shaking. He can feel the blood loss taking away his senses. The world begins to slowly spin, one missed footstep at a time. He can feel one shoe soaking with the blood from the bullet in his thigh and the other one from the one in his hip.

Coming to terms with his condition, he realizes that there is no time to be wasted wondering if this is the right thing to do. If he is in this state, this has to be done. The point of compiling the best interest of everyone has passed. He was the best at his job and that is why he had been given the box. Because, nobody expected him to fail.

In the fight against the corrupt politicians of this city filled with history, the resistance had laid out many traps to stop their atrocities. One such trap was Chris, 32 years old, abandoned at a dead end by the corrupt hands of the law. He was supposed to stand up for the new form of law. The law of the righteous. He was going to bring to light, the dysfunction brought about from having power hungry men representing the people.

Chris had successfully gathered all the evidence that was required to put the king pin in jail. He had been working underground for 7 years now. He had forgotten who he really was. He hasn’t had a girlfriend or even just a girl who hadn’t ended up dead in an alley. Just as he was going to get the tape recorder he put in the king pin’s office, he had been made. They knew he was a spy and that they cannot let him get out.

He had managed to dodge all but the two bullets that have fatally wounded him. He had lost the tape in the struggle. There was only one way to end this now. Time to call uncle Bob. No more of going undercover, sacrificing time or lives of precious people. No more tapes, no more letting someone else serve justice. There aren’t anymore people who can put themselves through what Chris did. Nobody that believes in the same exact methods and values of achieving them like Chris did. He only knows now of the one person who cares exactly enough if not more for the end result, the end of King Pin’s reign.

He opens the box, takes out the little cell phone from it and sends the one word needed for Uncle Bob to fix this, to fix everything “KILL.”  Chris might have never trusted Uncle Bob for his methods or for his beliefs. But Chris knows that he can trust Uncle Bob to do this one thing. Chris had his word that Uncle Bob would avenge him.

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Calling Uncle Bob

Countdown from 407

bloody knife

With this new one, the feeling of discovering holes in his shirt had turned mundane to him. It did not bother him tonight. Tonight, he believes that he is going to afford some real food and for long too. From that very same belief. He did not go stand outside the service entrances of fancy restaurants to scrounge for leftovers. For the same belief, he did not head back home yet, because he does not want to go to the children empty-handed. From that same belief he is now carrying a knife concealed in his hands and waiting for the last train to come by this route. Tonight, he is going to do something that he believes he will not regret.

The train arrives and he gets in. He finds himself a nice spot close to the door and waits. The whole compartment has him and one other guy in it. This isn’t good for his plan. He is nervous now. He had thought that the only reason for him to get nervous would be if a ticket inspector showed up and he did not have a ticket with him. But to avoid that, he spent the last of his money on getting a ticket to make it one less thing for him to worry about. But now, this man on the train is not part of the plan. The entire train is nearly empty, why does this guy have to put himself in this last compartment?

A slight modification to his plan is in order now. The stranger he’s sharing the ride with isn’t what he expected his target to be like. An execution of his plan on this guy might not be as profitable as he had expected and worse, that lack of profit may compel him to do this all over again pretty soon. And that was not part of his grand plan. He fidgets around trying to find the best possible grip on the knife handle. Holding it like in the movie posters, with his thumb over the heel of the blade, restricts mobility and the number of angles that he can use it at. He discovers that putting his forefinger over the end of the handle and let the blade drop to the side of his forearms gives it a lot more mobility. One more thing the movie posters lied to him about. He musters his courage to stand up and walk to the stranger when the train pulls in to the next station and the man suddenly realizes its arrival to run out of the train.

A strange calm enters his mind and almost instantly is diluted by the fact that nobody entered the train and this is where all the big jobs are at. Somebody getting back from work should get into the train now. Somebody from that group of fat, overworked people who are always under-appreciative of their jobs was bound to climb the train and that is where his hopes had resided on. The train beings to move and he is now cursing his life and the lack of luck he’s had in it. He begins to regret that he should have gone for the guy who just got out, so what if the guy looked poor? He’d only have to come back in a week to do this again. Morals had never gotten him anywhere bright. That guy was as good as any. The train has now picked up speed and is almost at the end of the platform and to no surprise of his, jumps in a prime sample from his targeting pool. He has until the count of 407 to execute his plan and get all the money from this one. Look at him wearing his bright blue shirt with black pants and shiny shoes. Counting down numbers was his way of figuring out the time it took from station to station. 407 counts was the time he had now to change his luck and stop him from begging for food and live the life worse than a street dog.

The man in blue sits down on a seat close to the farthest end of the train and picks out a bunch of papers from a plastic bag and beings to go through them. He seems nervous and is sweating an unusual amount for this weather. All the more reason for him to become an easier target. He could be sick. These people never take care of themselves. All they want to do is make money! The knife in hand and mentally counting down from 407, he seats himself two seats away from the man in blue. Looking sheepishly at him he figures that the man in blue looks terrified now and is looking at photographs. For an instant he wonders what he could be looking at. But that isn’t important to him. All he counts on is that one minute loss of concentration from the man in blue and that’s his opening to shove the knife to his throat.

He has reached 298 in his countdown. 70 more and the bridge over the river arrives, which means a lot of noise from the tracks to subdue screams, if any. He gets up to approach the man in blue and the man in blue lifts his head up, eyes in tears and looks straight into his eyes. That stare makes him loosen his grip around the knife. Before he can clasp it tight again, the man in blue stands up, shows him the pictures of a man and a woman in bed, doing things that he saw his mother doing with countless men when he was a boy. The man in blue screams in anger, “That bitch is my wife!” and completely neglects the fact that a man in rags was walking dangerously close towards him. He slides down to the floor and sits there with his head between his legs, crying, and asks, “What would you do, if you found out this about your wife?” He gets a faint but firm reply, “I’m not married.” He thinks of his misfortune where he cannot even get advice from a stranger and lifts his head. He sees the man in rags holding out a knife by the blade and offering it to him, reassuring him with his eyes that his suggestion is necessary and viable.

The man in blue musters his courage and grabs the knife from him, looks at it and begins to stare. The man in rags smiles at him not for acknowledging his suggestion but for being in an even more fucked up situation than he himself was at. With no knife in hand, with no one around to threaten for money and no money for food, but with a lot of strange joy in his mind, he turns around to go to the door and enjoy the cold wind from the river that was approaching in

7,

6,

5,

4,

3,

2,

1…

He hears a loud splash behind him and he turns around to find out that the pictures are all flying around the compartment now, the knife he gave the man in blue is lying on the floor, but the man in blue himself has thrown himself out of the train and onto the cold river below.

What a coward! And such an asshole for taking his wallet down with him!!!


The monkey trap.

In a manner of pure genius, Robert M Pirsig uses the South Indian monkey trap in his ‘ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE’ to elucidate the idea of value rigidity. “The trap consists of a hollowed out coconut chained to a stake. The coconut has some rice inside which can be grabbed through a small hole. The hole is big enough so that the monkey’s hand can go in, but too small for his fist with rice in it to come out. The monkey reaches in and is suddenly trapped – by nothing more than his own value rigidity. He can’t revalue the rice. He cannot see the freedom without rice is more valuable than capture with it.” Using the basest sense from the resulting condition of the monkey, I present to you a series of short stories about traps sprung open due to human desires and the endeavors undertaken to fulfill them.
These stories are real, inspired, purely fictitious or a concoction of all of these possibilities.

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Flesh Wound

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What he was, was the man of her dreams, dreams from her childhood, dreams that had gotten detailed over the last few years. He did not ride a white horse nor did he drive around in a car without a top or doors. What he did was, take the same bus she did every morning. What he also did was look sharper than his age meant for him to be. She never could figure out what made him so, was it the way he kept his hair, cut neat and short, or was it the way he walked or was it those sharp formal clothes he wore with shiny black shoes? Yes, it had to be the attire. It was unlike what most men around his age wore. She tried real hard to gauge his age based on his facial hair, but he never let any grow out. He kept it clean and smooth.

All she wanted was to talk to him, even say ‘hello’ possibly. But he looked so preoccupied all the time. She never even got the chance to pass a smile at him. She had definitely caught him looking at her once or twice. Not in a creepy lusty manner, but like in a way that something caught his fancy suddenly and he wanted to be sure what it was and not just turn away with some speculated view of whatever it could be.

She went crazy in her mind the first time she caught him glance at her. She was already at the bus stand. He always came from the other side of the road and she could never figure out where exactly he lived. That day he seemed distracted, calm yet distracted. He probably thought that he got here late and had missed his bus. That is when his eyes caught her standing there in bright blue against the graying clouds above and walked towards her to find out if he had indeed missed the bus. She saw that his calmness had amplified since and she felt good to have been a part of the process.

Ananya never had any lack of male attention. She was the prettiest girl most places she went. There were always plenty of people who made her aware of this as if she wasn’t already aware of it. She was not just the pretty girl, but she was also the most sought after for a decent conversation by her friends or acquaintances. She was good at her job, was well on the way to being at the top of her game. She was a quick learner and made sure she followed through. She always had something on her mind. Always! And that kept her on her toes. She never once lost her train of thought.
It was mostly a job requirement. She worked as a freshly recruited nurse.

Even without her knowledge there were always an unusually large number of people in whose lives she found herself involved. She lived alone in the city and companionship was never important until a lack of it was made aware to her. She took extra care of her patients who were lonely too. She found a level of camaraderie in doing so. Like, she is doing her bit for all the lonely people everywhere in the world.

And in this very world, was the man of her dreams, always alone, but never seemed lonely. He never seemed to be in any kind of worry. As she sat at her table counting the number of syringes and needles in the inventory, she was called to emergency room to attend a fresh set of patients that were brought in from a car accident. The dedicated nurse that she is, she sprang into action and hurried to the emergency room to find a fat middle aged man in a suit soaked in his blood. His skull probably cracked in multiple spots or worse, shattered. His arms twisted beyond humanly possible and taking the third of his last four breaths. Had this man been alive and well right now, she pictured him standing around holding his phone and obnoxiously yelling at everyone for everyone else’s fault.

The doctor points Ananya to the next table with a gesture that tells her that it isn’t as bad as the one with the fat man who will be moved to the morgue in a few minutes.

As Ananya draws the curtain open, she finds the man of her dreams lying there with a bruised elbow and a minor head injury. She pulls the curtain close and checks for any fractures on his arm and knows for sure that his strong forearms have kept it intact. It’s just scratches. His forehead too has just a few scratches. She tells him that he is going to be ok. He replies by saying, “I know.” Ananya is surprised by both hearing his voice for the first time and the confidence with which he replies. She then asks him about the accident. He does not reply. She then asks him if he knew the man in the suit. He looks at her, pauses, gazes into her eyes and says, “Not much.” This time a chill tries to creep up her spine when she heard him talk. She keeps her composure and says to him that he is not going to make it. “He seems badly injured. Were you both in the same car?“ He nods with a blank expression. She has finished patching up his wounds. She puts his hand on his wrist and tries to comfort him with her eyes. But she is not sure if he wants to be comforted or not. She just feels that he could be hurting. He does not react. Ananya picks up her tray and tells him that she will be around if he needed anything and gets up.

He grabs her wrist tightly and tells her, “I was hoping that you would say that it was meant to be. Can you say it for me now? I thought all you doctors and nurses have been taught that as a script. Please?” Ananya sits down, puts her hands on his and says, “I guess it was meant for it to be like this. We should consider this as god’s will.” He sits up, puts the palm of his hands on her face, goes close to her face and tells her, “No baby, it was our will” and kisses her. Her eyes go wide for a second before she closes her eyes and kisses him back passionately, pulling his hair and thrusting her tongue in to his mouth, biting his lips. She climbs onto the side of the bed, pushes his head onto the pillow, she removes her head dress, slaps his face with her open hair and that is when he breaks the kiss and says, “You fucking bitch, you’re excitement will get us caught. Go find that fat fucker’s phone from this belongings. I have taken everything else to empty his bank account.”

Ananya climbs down from the bed. Pulls her skirt down and clears the folds off her blouse, grabs her tray to walk away but stops to look back at the man of her dreams, puts her finger into her mouth, turns it around to moisten it. Slowly removes her finger from her mouth and puts it on his bandage.

“This is for killing that bastard of a step dad of mine.”


The Monkey Trap.

In a manner of pure genius, Robert M Pirsig uses the South Indian monkey trap in his ‘ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE’ to elucidate the idea of value rigidity. “The trap consists of a hollowed out coconut chained to a stake. The coconut has some rice inside which can be grabbed through a small hole. The hole is big enough so that the monkey’s hand can go in, but too small for his fist with rice in it to come out. The monkey reaches in and is suddenly trapped – by nothing more than his own value rigidity. He can’t revalue the rice. He cannot see the freedom without rice is more valuable than capture with it.” Using the basest sense from the resulting condition of the monkey, I present to you a series of short stories about traps sprung open due to human desires and the endeavors undertaken to fulfill them.
These stories are real, inspired, purely fictitious or a concoction of all of these possibilities.

Shades in blue

Image from Jabong . com No copyright infringement intended.

Image from Jabong . com No copyright infringement intended.

It was a Friday evening. The weekend was here. It was hot too. One could sweat through two shirts in a day. Especially if sweating ran in the family like hereditary diseases could.

Every stone he found on the ground got kicked into oblivion today. He would probably begin screaming if he found himself with a shortage of stones to kick. Which was a serious possibility since the new buildings started showing up on this lane, fixing and beautifying the roads like it belonged to them. This short walk is all that stands between him and home, between him and solace. He passes a pretty girl standing and waiting for an auto. She seemed unusually cheerful to him. Even a dead crow would have seemed cheerful to him today. She looked clumsy. He hates clumsy! All that happened to him today happened because of clumsy. He found another stone to kick and moved on.

There are autos that can take him to his destination. But he was never one to give up on a walk. One such auto passes him by and he reaffirms to himself, the benefits of walking. It is a time to clear your head.

A few stepslater he spots it. Just lying there in his path, just like all those stones. Only, a lot more glory and relief if he kicks it. He does not even have to kick it. Just stomp on it and it would give him the happiness of kicking a thousand stones one after the other. It shone, it was blue, his favourite color too, and most importantly illegitimately lying there. Right there in front of him.

He takes another step. With his next step he can destroy its frailness and rid it of its glorious existence. Passing on his misery to the owner of this pair of blue shades. That is, if it ever gets discovered and identified. So much joy runs through his head within a split second.

He lifts his head almost instinctively to see if anyone will spot him doing it and there she was, walking towards him from the auto. He figures it out. The shades belong to her. She looked clumsy. He hates clumsy. By the time he has realized all of this. He has crossed over the object of redemption and walked a step or two. He turns around, picks it up and hands it over to her and tells her. “Here, your face would look a lot less pretty without it.” She does not know what to say. In all her cheerfulness, she offers to share the auto ride with him. Walking. It is a time to clear your head. A beautiful girl like her can also help you clear it for you. He kicks no more stones today. He sits next to a pretty girl in an auto today.


 The Monkey Trap

In a manner of pure genius, Robert M Pirsig uses the South Indian monkey trap in his ‘ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE’ to elucidate the idea of value rigidity. “The trap consists of a hollowed out coconut chained to a stake. The coconut has some rice inside which can be grabbed through a small hole. The hole is big enough so that the monkey’s hand can go in, but too small for his fist with rice in it to come out. The monkey reaches in and is suddenly trapped – by nothing more than his own value rigidity. He can’t revalue the rice. He cannot see the freedom without rice is more valuable than capture with it.” Using the basest sense from the resulting condition of the monkey, I present to you a series of short stories about traps sprung open due to human desires and the endeavours undertaken to fulfil them. 

These stories range from being real, inspired, purely fictitious or a concoction of all of these possibilities.