Pooja checked to see that the road was empty and pulled her hood closer over her head. She took a deep breath and went into the basement of the building. Her footsteps echoed through the giant parking space as if a whole army was marching behind her. She paused once just to make sure she was the only one around. Silence covered the basement like a shroud. She continued walking deeper into the darkness of the basement parking lot. It was an office building that was empty at this hour. She walked past cars and bikes scanning the semi darkness for any signs of life. There were none.
She finally reached the place where they had agreed to meet. It was not cold but a shiver ran down her spine. She checked her phone and waited, he should have been here already. She checked for her purse in her pocket. She could feel the weight of the cash she was carrying. She adjusted her glasses and took a deep breath. This had to be done. Where was the guy?
She caught a shadow in the corner of her glasses and turned. A large man in a black hoodie stepped out from behind the car. Pooja gave a small scream and muffled it with her hand. He was here already. He simply stared down at her, “You are late.”
Pooja swallowed and tried to look into his eyes, “I am sorry…”
“Do you have the money?” she could still not see his face, not that it mattered.
“Yes…do you have the…” she could not bring herself to finish the sentence.
The man silently drew something from inside his pocket and held it towards her, “Is this the model you were looking for?”
Pooja felt her hands tremble, she could feel the sweat forming in her palms, what if they got sweaty at the moment and it slipped out of her hand. She pushed the thought away with an angry grunt and took the gun from the man.
It was just as heavy as she had expected it to be. She turned it around, moved it one way and another. Yes, this would help solve all her problems.
“How do I…” she asked the guy. He took the gun from her hands and showed her how to operate the gun. He gave it back to her and gestured her to try it out. She did. It was not very complicated. She pointed it at a nearby car, and put her hand on the trigger. The man lowered the gun, “No! Not here, the sounds will draw attention.” he said and looked around just to be sure.
“Will it sound authentic?” she asked finally catching a glimpse of his black eyes.
“As true as it possibly can!” he winked at her. She smiled at him and at the gun in her hand. Finally all her problems would come to an end.
She gave him the cash. He counted it and pocketed it, “Why don’t you come by the store sometime, we have several other models you can choose from.” He said casually as if her were selling mobile phones.
She was still smiling, “You know what? If this goes right I will, I will come and visit you!”
She waved at him and left
The next day Pooja fidgeted nervously with her backpack as she sat down for lunch. She could feel the gun’s weight inside the backpack. When she tried to take out her lunch box she actually touched its cold metal and felt her hands tremble. Just then she could hear Kiran laughing in the hall, followed with the guffaws of Mary and Nina. She began to count down…it would begin before she reached three.
“What’s up nerd?” Kiran shouted from behind her slapping her hard on her back, “What genius thoughts are you thinking today?” she pulled out her notes form under Pooja’s hand and began flipping them. Somewhere Pooja had scribbled Ajay’s name. Kiran stopped at that and showed it to Mary and Nina. They double up with laughter.
“You think he is going to look at a glass eyed nerd like you?” Kiran spat in her ears. “Have you looked at yourself in a mirror? You look like a chicken thigh bone that was sucked dry by a rabid stray dog!” There was scattered laughter everywhere. Mr.Shine was in-charge of recess and he could see Kiran, he knew what happened but he never did anything.
“I …I…I..” Pooja trembled
“What? What is it…”Kiran mocked genuine concern.
“She is practicing how she is going to flirt with Ajay, yaar, she is going to look straight in his eyes, tremble and stammer…” Mary said. More laughter.
“Ok, so here is the deal, you help us with the maths assignment today, and I will see if I can get Ajay to look at you, Ok? That’s a fair deal, is it not girls?” Mary and Nina both nodded as if to say Pooja could never do any better.
They all passed their notebooks to her, “Make sure we all get As” Kiran said.
“And remember you were supposed to get us your pocket money, contribution towards by homecoming dress.”
“E..enough!” Pooja managed to stutter.
“What’s that? Mary just take the money from her wallet and get this over with!” KIran ordered.
“I said enough!” Pooja shouted. Mary had her hand in Pooja’s backpack and felt the cold metal.
“Oh shit!” Mary said under her breath and withdrew her hand.
This was it! It had to be now! Pooja pulled out the gun and pointed it at Kiran.
Kiran’s eyes widened in disbelief and she slipped onto the desk and sat there like a ragdoll.
Nina saw the gun screamed and tried to run. Pooja pointed it straight at her head and pointed her back to where Kiran was.
Mary was muttering something under her breath her eyes tightly shut, it sounded like a prayer. This was funny. Pooja smiled. “Mary! Shut the fuck up!” she said, her voice was strong, it sounded like someone else, someone with power. Mary stopped mumbling.
Kiran had tears streaming down her cheeks, she was the one trembling now, “Please! Please! No, Please!” she kept saying.
Nina sat there breathing through her mouth, her ridiculous breasts rising and falling rapidly.
“How many times have I asked you guys to stop it?” Pooja said in that commanding voice.
Mary whimpered. “How many?” She shouted.
“Many times, many many times!”Mary began to sob.
“Did you stop? Kiran, did you stop?”
“No…no we did not!” Kiran said in a whisper.
“Don’t you think you deserve this?”
“Yes…I mean no…I mean…Please!” Kiran was the one lost for words now.
“Stand up Kiran!” Pooja ordered.
Kiran whimpered as she stood. She looked like she wanted to look away but she could not.
“Good bye Kiran!” Pooja pulled the trigger ‘Bang’ and again ‘Bang’
The shots reverberated through the hall. Everything stood still. Two red splotches blossomed on Kiran’s pristine white shirt. She stood there trembling wildly. Nina ran away screaming. Mary fainted. Kiran wet her skirt as she peed herself. Pooja simply sat down and finished her lunch.
It took almost ten minutes for Kiran to realize that she was not dying. Pooja finished her lunch just as Kiran was getting up and touching the red ink that had stained her shirt. Pooja made shooting motions at her as she passed. Kiran sat alone sobbing.
Pooja was taken to the principal’s office and reprimanded. But they could do nothing against her, she simply had a water gun that made a lot of noise.
Pooja never had trouble from Kiran or her minions again and she became a legend in her school. A badass nerd goddess! And soon enough Ajay was smiling at her and talking to her.
All in all it proved to be the right bang for her buck!