Category Archives: Fiction

Smoking Sadhu – Part Two

The Sadhu was taken aback and wondered if he was hallucinating. Deciding that there wasn’t much he could do if he was, he stayed put and observed the chair.

It’d popped into the room just beyond the PC. It seemed like one of those art installations. It had snakes, conch shells and blazing rings of fire chiseled all over it. The cushion was shiny black and seemed to be made of snake skin. The Sadhu was disconcerted by the fact that it had popped into existence on its own. He distrusted anything that forced itself to his attention. He was about to start thinking if something, anything else, when a blue man popped into the chair.

The next few things happened really fast in the Sadhu’s head. He was caught off guard . For a second he thought it was some high tech hologram enabled publicity stunt for a fantasy film. Then he rejected that notion as far fetched. The blue man was wearing only a dhoti. The Sadhu suspected that this man was a Gandhian and thus no good could come from his appearance. His next impulse was to fight him, but the Sadhu was a weakling and the blue man had a body from a gay magazine cover page. The Sadhu gathered himself and asked the blue man what any of us would have asked.

“What’s with the body paint?”

The blue man laughed in a poor imitation of Rajnikanth, at which the Sadhu chuckled, because of which the blue man stopped laughing abruptly.

“It’s my natural skin tone, peacock blue. Like it?”

The Sadhu carefully lit a cigarette.

“It’s okay” he nodded.

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Which witch?

“So what is it you wanted to talk about, Dennis?” Dana asked keenly from across the table.

Damn, Dennis thought to himself as he tried to find the right words.

“Umm yeah, so I was thinking,” he stumbled, before continuing reluctantly, “Maybe we aren’t right for each other.”

Dana leaned back in her seat, trying to take in what she’d just heard him say. Suddenly everything around her seemed infinitely more interesting as she tried desperately to turn her attention away – The big burly man seated behind Dennis, the waiter who just walked by, the soft music that was playing in the background. She resolved not to give him the satisfaction of seeing her cry.

“Go on,” she said as she steeled herself.

“It isn’t you, it’s me,” he paused, “Ok who am I kidding? It IS you!” he said frantically running his hand through his already dishevelled hair. “When we first started dating, your weirdness was alluring. Now it’s just… weird! I’m sorry. I’m sure there are a hundred guys out there who would be willing to date someone who believes she’s a witch. And I’m sure there are a lot more guys with fetishes for women who practice magic. All I’m saying is that I’m not one of those guys.”

“Hmmm.”

“Dana, I can’t apologize enough for having to put you through this, but there was no other way. We can still be friends right?”

“You’re an ass.”

“Please Dana? Friends?”

“Alright,” she replied calmly.

This was easier than I thought. No tears, no emotional outburst, nothing. I guess this girl turned out to be really cool after all.

It was settled. Dana and Dennis remained friends, and a very relieved Dennis drove home that night. Tomorrow was his first day at his new job, so without giving Dana any further thought, he tucked himself into bed and fell asleep swiftly.

***

It was 9am when Dennis pulled over in the parking space allotted to him. He took out two boxes labelled ‘Office Stuff’ from the trunk of his car and made his way up to the third floor of his new office building. His day so far had the makings of a perfect day, but just before he walked into his cubicle, he had a sense of unease in the pit of his stomach. His qualms hadn’t gone away when he sat down in front of his computer after setting up his new workspace.

“Hey man! I hope everything’s going great. I’m Mark and my cubicle is right next to yours.”

“Oh hello there, Mark…” Dennis trailed off as he suddenly put a hand to his ear. His left ear felt as if someone had just twisted it. “It’s nice to meet you. Everything is going just… great.”

“Shout across if you need any help!” replied Mark cheerily.

Dennis sat back down in his chair, still cupping his ear. The pain had barely faded away when his seat felt wet. Looking down, he saw a dark stain spread between his legs. What on earth was happening?! He was busy trying to get the stain off with the help of some tissues when he felt as though someone had stuck needles up his – that’s right – arse.

There was only one explanation for all of this, he thought furiously, Dana! That crazy woman is quite capable of having made a voodoo doll of me or something along those lines. This is madness!

Bubbling with anger, he pulled out his cell phone and punched in her number.

“Dennis?” Dana answered doubtfully.

“Who else would it be, you twisted fiend?! You were expecting me to call, weren’t you?”

“Is this about the break up?”

“Maybe it is. You tell me.”

“Dennis, what is the meaning of this pointless conversation?”

“Pointless? Haha. You always have had a strange sense of humour. You just have to rub the word ‘pointless’ in my face right after sticking pointy needles up my voodoo doll’s arse, don’t you?!” he screamed belligerently into the phone.

“I didn’t break down and cry or react the way you wanted me to last night, so you chose to call and ridicule me and my beliefs?” she asked, as her temper gradually rose.

“You think I’m stupid, don’t you? I know exactly what you’re up to, so stop doing what you’re doing immediately!”

“Whatever,” she said as she hung up.

Where’s that stupid lucky charm when I need it? Realizing he must’ve left it in his car, he made his way down to the basement and popped open the trunk. He spotted a third smaller box that he’d forgotten to take upstairs with him that morning. When he turned it upside down and hastily emptied its contents, he found his favourite stuffed animal – Eeyore[1]. However, there was something very strange about it. A box of pins seemed to have opened up inside the third box, in a similar manner to the box of paperclips and the ink bottle, because Eeyore had pins stuck in his ass, had an inky wet crotch and had a paperclip on his left ear.

Maybe Dennis was an ass after all.
-Devathi

This was from the halloween weekend’s meeting. Only a couple months late.


The Smoking Sadhu

The world had gone to the dogs. Rabid dogs. So it was all quite crazy. The Sadhu being one of the few sane people left decided to live as a recluse and smoke himself to death. He figured that since picking any affiliation is only choosing a different kind of crazy, he’d like to be among the dead people. The were the most sane kind of people he knew. His parents had horded quite a sum of money in their life time. Even after taking into account the inflating inflation, which every growing economy faces by the way, he would be able to maintain his lifestyle for a very long time. This was of course a safety net. He intended to smoke himself to death as fast as he could.

On his twenty fourth birthday he picked out a small flat in a small town far from the Capital where he knew no one and vice versa. He had two shirts and two pairs of jeans. He had a raincoat and a sweater. The room had a double bed he could roll in, a bedside table, a PC with internet access and an attached bath with running water all the year through. Within walking distance from the apartment was a tiny shop that sold tea, cigarettes and variations of pakora. It was all good. He didn’t bring his cell phone and ceased communicating with everyone he’d known till then. The first night he spent at the room was bliss. The morning of the second day he promptly started smoking.

Quite some time passed this way. He’d stopped checking his email and logging into his other accounts. The last time he’d logged into his facebook profile, everyone he knew had posted things on his wall. Photos, music videos, quotes, and he’d been tagged in so many notes which glorified his extraordinarily mundane former achievements – all assuming he was dead. He considered enlightening them but decided to follow that old dictum ‘fake it till you make it’. Besides, it was an excellent way to discover what his favorite songs were.

The Sadhu woke up. For a second he wondered if he was alive. Upon registering the fact that he was, he tried to go back to sleep. He couldn’t. So he propped up his pillow, moved the ash try to a more comfortable position and lit a cigarette. He fiddled to fit his toes under the blanket, took his music player out, selected Panivizhum Malarvanam and put it on loop. The day had begun well. When the cigarette was over, he stubbed it out and started singing along to the song. He was a terrible singer. The ash tray was still smoldering when out of nowhere a chair popped into his room.

(to be continued.)

– Kaber


Death Of A Hero

So this is the first prompt we’ve tried. The exercise was to convert an actual historical person into a superhero. The results were appropriately fun.

“Calpurnia, have you seen my cape?” said Julius from the next room. She found him standing there in his underwear admiring himself in the mirror. She shook her head wearily and silently went about looking for his cape. She found it later in the bath, where he’d use it as a mat to dry his feet.

“Ah, thank you Calpurnia. It’s in a wonderfully terrible state, isn’t it? You should’ve come yesterday. Me and Brutus did so many wonderful things. I’ve never seen him so invigorated before. I guess he decided to go along with my plan after all. Not a word, Calpurnia, not a word did he say about it all night. Not when we swept down on a bunch of Visigoth raiders, not when we pulled that cat out of the river, not one word about today at all.”

“Oh, Julius. If he kept quiet, it was only because he knew you were as stubborn as a mule and wouldn’t change your mind. You know, he doesn’t want you to go tonight. He’s as stubborn as you are. Probably why you make such a good team.”

“Calpurnia, love, I am very grateful for everything Brutus has done for me, but there’s a reason he’s the sidekick – I know better. Our powers are advantage enough. Anonymity is a greedy luxury that we have abused for too long. We have to put ourselves before the state and use our abilities according to the will of the people.”

“And you think Brutus now agrees with you? He was in such a black mood when you first decided, I thought he would do something foolish.”

“I love Brutus. You know I do. I would give my life for the boy. I have put it on the line for him often enough but he never seems to learn, so headstrong. He will soon realize this for his own good. He is becoming broody. Ever since we took care of the Soothsayer and he told us about that group.”

“What group? You never told me about any group.”

“It’s nothing, Calpurnia. Worry yourself not about it. Brutus is a much worthier cause. Brutus, Brutus, he was a changed man last night. He really did treat it like it was his last.”

“Thats good to know, dear.”

“Yes, well now, clean the cape, I have to go to the Senate.” He sighed. “The only problem, the only problem I have with this whole business is the stupid grin on Mark Antony’s face. He’s going to love this. He’s always had it in for Brutus and Me. I can see his big fat face right now. Bastard.”

And then Caesar shook his head as if to dislodge the thoughts from his brain, kissed his wife on the cheek and left the house for the senate. We all know what happens next. On arriving there, Caesar was ushered in and then stabbed by Cassius who as the blade came down whispered the words, ‘Greetings from The Ides Of March, Caesar’. A cry that was repeated by Casca and the others. Caesar struggled at first but when he saw his friend and loyal partner, Brutus too lift his hand he succumbed.

It was the death of a hero.

-Thomas


Because God Doesn’t Love You Enough

Fuck the government. Fuck good intentions. Why the fuck couldn’t they just leave the situation the fuck alone? Moral policing, looking after the future – that’s not their job! Whats their fucking problem? Didn’t they learn from the Gun laws? Ban guns and the only people who’ll turn theirs in will be the people you never had to worry about in the first place! Bad people don’t follow the law! And you know what happens, when governements fuck up? People die. And people did die. And it was all their fault. Now it’s all their fault again. It’s their fault I have to sneak into my own damn operation room in my own damn hospital at 3:00 AM in the fucking night. Why couldn’t they just let it be legal? Why couldn’t they let us take that ‘next big step in evolution’? I mean, if everyone’s special, no one is right? Right?

I’ve got to calm myself. Hands shaking like I’ve got Parkinson’s isn’t going to help this. Oh shit, what if I get it wrong? What if after I take the money, and then when the baby pops out there’s something wrong? Fuck. That won’t happen. I know what I’m doing and nothing will go wrong. People are doing it. Everyone’s probably fucking doing it. Everyone probably sneaks into their own damn operating theatres to cut bits of living foetuses off. Foeti. Fuck. I can’t believe after so many years I don’t know what the plural for foetus is. Maybe I’m not that good at my job. No, if you weren’t the best, they wouldn’t be putting so much money on the table. And so much more under it. No, you’re the best alright, you’re the smartest sexiest surgeon alive and you’re going to do this thing just fine. It’s going to be beautiful. A living work of art-What the fuck am I doing? But at least I know everyone can’t be doing it. They wouldn’t offer me so much if everyone was doing it.

They’ll probably be getting ready in there. I wonder how that lady must feel. Letting me poke around inside her womb – its her fucking baby! Isn’t she scared? Or is it just that the possible benefits outweigh the risk? These wall street bastards are all about risks aren’t they? Risk analysis, S.W.O.T and all that bullshit. But this is life and they’re pro-life. For fuck’s sake, they’re the most high-prolife pro-life people in the state! It’s not ok to kill a foetus in the womb but its ok to permantly disable it for life. Well, not permanently. I mean, thats the point after all. But fuck me, who’d have figured it. The Kasthuris. Of all the people. Of course, no little pissant would have this kind of money. And I’m doing it for the money. No, not the money! I’m doing it for Trish. For Jai. We need this money. That’ll be a birthday gift that won’t be topped. Here, Jai, look, we’ve bought you life. Now you get to live normally instead of cursing your body every goddamn day of your life.

Fuck the government again. Fuck them again and again. Who’s the motherfucker that didn’t put Watson’s Syndrome in the list? It’s got the same effect as the others! Who gives a flying fuck if it has an outward physical manifestation? It’s the disability right. It should’ve been on the fucking list. But can’t do anything about that. Can’t beat the system from within. Can write my fucking papers and start the fucking petitions but no ones cares. What I can do is do something very illegal so I can gets lots of money to afford the very expensive but legal operation for my son. And then retire to another country. Where no one will ask any quest..shit. It’s almost time. Got to calm myself. I’ll play something. Get my mind off.

“Have you ever loved someone so much you’d give an arm for? Not the expression. Literally.”

Got to love shuffle and mood detector. Oh, I have, Mr. White Chocolate. I have loved someone so much. Would I do this if I didn’t love Trish and Jai so much? I’m risking everything here, doing this for them. And I am giving an arm. Well, not my..but I’m giving him an arm. A super-arm. Ok, fine, technically, I personally am not giving it to him either. The government’s giving it to him! Those rat bastards! Fuck those fucking fuckers! Seriously, making it a rule that only the disabled can get prosthetics is ridiculous. So much research wasn’t put in to make the world a better fucking place! Would they have bothered developing these prosthetic till they were so perfect if they thought this would happen? Arms stronger than yours, that feel no pain, that seamlessly connect with your body – and its for allowed only to poor little disabled fucks? Of course this was going to happen! You think the Kasthuri’s with all their money, who have lived their whole lives knowing that they had the best of everything would allow their sons to be inferior to anyone?

Smart plan though. Giving the kid a disability before he’s born. He’ll probably never find out the truth. Probably live his whole life thanking God for the … opportunity he was born with. Why couldn’t Jai have been born with one of those ..opportunities? I bet thats what every mother and father’s thinking. Why can’t my son or daughter be born fucked up? With stumps for legs or hooks for hands? Well, I’ll tell you why, its because God doesn’t love you enough. Not like he loves the Kasthuris. But who needs God when you have me?

-Thomas


The Great Sandwich Maker

There once lived in a quiet, unassuming man in a quiet unassuming corner of the universe. Outwardly, there was nothing special about this man. The kind of man you’d pass by on the street and think “boy, that’s the kinda man you’d pass by on the street”. But, exactly like the billions of other people out there, he was completely different from everyone else. If there were two things that defined this man, they were sandwiches and marijuana. You see, our quiet unassuming man was a complete and utter pothead. But he also made the some of the best sandwiches ever known to humankind or any other kind. Sandwiches which have been variously described as “Utterly fantastical” and “The best thing since, well, sliced bread”. — But like with all great drug-addled artists, and let no qualms be made about that- this man was an artist, there was a catch. You see, he only made two sandwiches everyday. One for himself, and one for sale to the first person who asked to buy it. He would then proceed to use the money to buy himself some righteous mj and spend the rest of the day baked out of his head.

Now obviously, all this begs the question, why didn’t he flog his talents to a soul-less corporation for all it was worth and retire on the proceeds of the assembly line like any other self-respecting person would do?

Well, blame the drugs, blame the quiet, unassuming nature of his corner of the universe, but the blasted guy had gone and achieved a sort of inner peace, contentment, nirvana, the great up-above if you will. Normally people are all for this sort of thing. They queue up to listen to these people speak and spend crazy amounts of time convincing other people that they too should join the queue and so on, ad infinitum. Messiah types are usually well-loved, let alone a messiah who could craft the perfect ham and cheese. But the problem with our man was that he never spoke. Not much anyways. He wasn’t mute or anything, but stuff like “pass the salt” and “it looks like its about to rain” are hardly considered messiah worthy. In a perfect world, people would’ve realized he was a cut above your average Buddha because he didn’t feel the need to sit under trees bang on about how bloody enlightened he was. But obviously we don’t live in a perfect world and people didn’t realize that or anything resembling it. What they did instead was brand him a pretentious fuck. That’s right. The people, in their infinite wisdom, took probably the only man in the history of time to discover the answer to The question and not feel the need to lord it over everyone else, and branded him a hipster.

Now, one of the advantages of being enlightened is that you tend not to give a fuck about trivial things such as what people think. One of the disadvantages of being enlightened is that you also tend not to give a fuck about the machetes in their arms as they march towards you angrily. Self-realization’s a bitch that way. Asides aside, the people had decided that enough was enough and the time for action was upon them. And what do you do with a goose that lays golden eggs? Why, obviously you rip out its entrails, stick them on a mechanical framework and see if it still does its thing. As evil flash mobs go, this was a pitiful one, used as they were to the oft-referred-to quiet and unassuming nature of life where they lived. And it was no surprise that they failed in their rather lofty mission. You see, no one was really sure what the machetes they carried were for and the only methods of interrogation any of them seemed to know were “asking really nicely” and “with a cherry on top”.

In their quest to unearth the answers to the mysteries of our life or at least get a decent sandwich recipe out of the bargain, it appeared as though the people had failed miserably. But unbeknownst to them, they had actually succeed at a little. Or failed even more miserably. Depending on how you view the situation. You see, their feeble little inquest had produced one definite outcome. Depriving the man of his precious marijuana for a while and thus snapping probably the longest unbroken trip in the history of pot. On the one hand, this had the desirable effect of making him a little less enlightened and a little more stupid and human-like. But on the other, it also had the rather more undesirable effect of making his sandwiches decidedly average. Rather like every Subway 6-inch you’ve ever eaten.

-Visvak


Goolash

Chapter One

In the infinite vastness of space, no one can hear your planet explode. They might see it though. But because of the aforementioned infinite-ness, there’s is always something thats doing, what the french call ‘le grande sacrebleu’. Therefore, practically speaking, no one is really going to pay attention to the explosion. So, if there was a race (and this is pure conjecture – well, until the next paragraph at least) that was on an imperialistic campaign to eradicate all life in the universe, they’ll more or less go unhindered. Especially if they were very nice about it later.

General Globius was a man of massive bulk and few words. And of late, locomation had lost its dizzying allure, now it was only dizzying. His quarters had been fitted with everything he needed and with metal girders holding him in place, life was more or less tickity-boo. He ate, slept, read logistics reports and ran the Toby II without ever having to undergo the strain of movement. Leave alone the embarassment of finding out that most places you wanted to go to didn’t stock doors in XXXXL.

As of now, the General was keeping his mind active by dictating the entire Praexian dictionnary backwards. Praexian was his fifth favourite language and the process of pronouncing their fifteen syllable words always kept his mind at ease while he waited for his PDRs (Primary Data Reports. Sheesh. What are they teaching in school these days?). And almost as if on queue, just as he reached the letter ‘cxy’, a screen flashed on in front of him and the PDR appeared. Reading it carefully, his breathing interspersed with grunts of acknowledgement and surprise, Globius absorbed the information. It was the result of three weeks of intelligence gathering by his team and vital decisions would be made based on its contents.

The report was on a tiny planet in a completely dull and irrelevant part of the universe which would never have been located if it wasn’t for one of his technicians falling asleep on the job. The fool had accidentally turned the sensors a whole 90 degrees and when they finally woke him up, saw a blip on the map where, by all means, there should never have been one. They had scanned the area many times but it had never come up. It turned out the planet was completely permeated with some sort of all-encompassing apathy that made the sensors just give up when they reached it’s sector. But this time, that hadn’t happened and now, the Higher Ups were getting their antennae in a tangle over the supposed ‘intelligence failure’ and ‘incompetence shown by the Toby II’. Two teams had been scrambled off for full reports instead of just the usual one and the reports were interesting. Intelligent life certainly did exist on the planet, though of course, intelligence is a bit of loose word after the recent ruling of the Intergalactic Court that allowed even the Tarplons to qualify. But it was a discovery alright, Life, in this corner of the universe! Who would have guessed it?

When he got to the last page, he surprisingly was surprised. Being surprised is an action which while not odd in itself was very curious because Gen. Globius wasn’t prone to surprise. Or shock. Or any other emotion, one might associate with living creatures. He would’ve been very proud of that fact if he could feel pride. But he couldn’t so he wasn’t. In fact, his next action was to immediately summon his second-in-command, an admirably sane being. Not many previous second-in-commands could claim that particular adjective. Cups on the Toby II simply read, ‘You have to be crazy to be work here.’ And surprisingly enough when the second-in-command came in, he was carrying one such cup. The General ignored this detail though but still barked out a set of random insults in several languages before proceeding. He wanted the PDR on his screen to have reached his Higher Ups five minutes ago and he wanted it to have reached them five minutes ago now! The sane second-in-command blinked, creased in several ares of his body, did some mental wrestling and finally left.

Gen. Globius stared back at the PDR. And in his mind there was just one thought, Alcohol. So he closed the PDR and got smashed.

Meanwhile, the very sober PDR was a little blinking light on a far away computer, waiting for the attention of Higher Up Gorax.

(to be contd.)

– Thomas