Blackout

I got up from a blackout on the cemented floor of a rundown grocery deli next to a gun and empty cases of nine mm bullets.

The back of my head had a blotch of an amorphous something and my hair strands were glued together in a thick syrupy red liquid, that could have been my blood or ketchup. My forehead had several linear bruises, like someone took time out of his day to scrape it precisely with a kitchen fork. And when I breathed into my palm, I smelled like I had eaten raw meat not too long ago. My gums, although still loosely holding my teeth together, tasted coopery and when I squished the edges with my tongue, a fountain of bloody juice shot up inside my mouth like the slimy pus when you press hard an acne or a blackhead.

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I looked around for someone – for anyone. But amidst the maze of pillars and layers of dust, all I found was my ownself restlessly fidgeting the unintended patterns casted by rusty ventilators and the lamp post light that entered through them. And all I heard was someone gasp in the back of my head, except I realized – much sooner than I thought I would – that my own voice sounded to me like it came from somewhere else.

The cars parked in the parking lot looked like they weren’t meant to be there; haphazard, out of line, with their suicide doors open half-way up in the air, engine perhaps still warm, an expensive jacket thrown on the passenger’s seat.

Who came to this garage like place far away from the city with a car that had suicide doors? A gangster? A rapper? James Bond?

The empty cases of bullets on the floor that rolled in circles and clinked against each other, were far too many in number and still not enough for me to draw conclusions of any sorts. Except for a blood spattered forehead and a round tiny scar right in the centre of it, and a distorted dental anatomy, I thought I was pretty okay.

Then who was shot? Where did these bullets go?

The wall took a few, yes, and few went through the windshield of the parked cars. But the rest of them? The whole deli looked like there was a massacre; blood stained clothes on the floor, bits of flesh on the ceiling or high up on the wall, gloves and other fabrics on the floor, all scattered here and there, calling for mercy or angelic intervention or redemption of some kind. But yet there were no dead bodies.

There were just tapes, orange tapes, fluorescent green tapes, stretched out from one corner of a random pillar to the other and then on to the next one, with no uniformity like that of a maze and I was in the middle of all of it, trying to make my way out.

I noticed the amateur drawings on the floor carved out with blackboard chalks. There was no sense of art in those drawings, the colors did not seem like they were colors I had known existed and the drawings on the floor looked like they were drawn by a kid – the outlines of a man’s body with no clear demarcations between his legs like a mermaids bottom flappers.

The stairway that led to the other floor of the deli was taped too and I made my way through it. Upon entering the other floor of the grocery shop, what I saw, did not just add on to the whole mystery but also left me disappointed. There were still tapes, more stretched out tapes than I had seen in my entire life. Tapes and tapes and more tapes and then some more drawings on the floor, on the four walls, on the cashier’s desk.

Needless to say, the shop was locked from outside, there were no guards, cops or civilians, no sign of life, except maybe a few rats spurting around in the light and munching on the leftover snack packets, Oreos and Pringles.

I wasn’t hungry or thirsty. Perhaps I had eaten right before the blackout or perhaps my appetite was rather secondary to my existence or perhaps I had simply lost the sense of time.

I opened the jars and fed the rats, from two rats to five rats to fifteen to fifty rats. The rats owned the place and hid themselves in the dark, like rats do.

And upon hours and hours of kicking the empty boxes across the room and shouting for help I broke a few racks and wedged them in the shutter, trying to uplift it, but none of that accomplished anything. Except it made me tired and sleepy.

Needless to say, the phone was dead and the TV on the cashier’s desk perhaps last worked when this place did.

So what was I doing here?

Did I end up here accidently after perhaps a drunken night at the nearby bar?

I had no idea and I stood clueless in the middle of this redundant colony of hopelessness.

Much much later or as it may have seemed, my eyes hugged the darkness of the place and I surrendered to what seemed like a new life of nothingness. And from what I can tell you now, I got up from a blackout on the cemented floor of a rundown grocery deli next to a gun and empty cases of nine mm bullets.

Come on Sarah!

Now that you had not seen this coming Sarah, it’s safer to assume, you are caught off-guard. Perfect. It’s time to put your training to use, and the training remember Sarah, as you have been told by Mr. Kyle repeatedly, is merely about strength, or agility, or tricks, it’s more about the awareness of your mind. So focus.

A man has broken into your house. You have heard the shattering of the window glass. It could be a wild animal too, but what if it is a man? An animal does not know you are home alone, a man does.

He knows you are alone and mom has said she will be late, so of course dad has a big enough window to go out and gamble. You be the secret keeper and don’t tell anyone, not even your brother Eddie when he comes back tomorrow, dad has told you and that’s fine. Let dad gamble. He is not an addict. Plus he is good at it. He is fine. You are fine. Everything is fine.

So come on now, do the thing where, facing downstairs, hands on railing, you hop down the stairs,  one at a time, when mom’s not watching, and it’s okay if it’s getting a lot harder now compared to how it felt a few years ago, because someone’s feet are getting longer every day.

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At fifteen, Sarah, you grow faster than ever. And people notice that sort of thing; “Hey! You are developing breasts!” Continue reading

Don’t talk to Bob

“Like, who talks to Bob anyway?” Bob said as he traced out the words written on the walls of a solitary confinement cell in the abandoned, maximum-security, prison that they were scouting for their latest horror movie shoot.

The rules traced out on every single available space in the wall were.

How to survive solitary confinement?

Stay calm

Eat your meals

Keep a track of time

And don’t talk to Bob

Bob of course was offended that a prisoner who died by execution, some twenty odd years ago did not want to talk to him.

“I mean, I totally get it. Like why would anyone want to talk to Bob? Bob is not even a name; it is a fucking sound. Like huh or hmmm or zzzzz.” Ben spoke as they relentlessly kept shooting pictures of the wall.

Rachel laughed, that deep throaty laugh of hers which had been sending slivers of pleasure down my spine since I first saw her.

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“Well, don’t you wonder who is this Bob is? The Bob; that the prisoner did not want anyone talking to?” Rachel asked. “I mean, like is it a figment of a prisoner’s imagination. But if that is the case why does the writing on the walls differ so much?”

“Yeah, Rachel is right. Look at this.” Bob said. “Throughout the cell the handwriting style has changed a lot. Some sentences are even written in Spanish and French. Wow, I can safely say that more than thirty prisoners who have lived in solitary confinement here did not want to talk to Bob anymore. This place is doing wonders for my self esteem.”

I sighed. This Bob was such a cry-baby.

“Bob you are such cry baby.” Rachel said. “Not everything is about you, you know. This is another Bob they are talking about.” I smiled as Rachel read my thoughts, literally.

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The Pervert Atheist

There you go again, bouncing on those stairs, and flaunting your round perfect little badonkadonks, inside that holy place and diverting my attention away from the drill machine, and shit, I am just one careless moment away from pegging a nail through my thumb, like come on, why would you do that on a Monday, on a Tuesday, on any goddamn day or night for any goddamn god?

It’s worth no trouble, plus your god, I say, if at all he is out there, is not listening to you, or your prayers, or your gospels, or your aartis, and he isn’t accountable for your mess or desires—he is busy. He is busy like I am busy, and I am busy like I am supposed to be, and I am supposed to be busy like I already am— being an obnoxious, breast staring, butt pinching, foul mouthing pervert.

But don’t blame me for how I may think, or behave, because your higher power isn’t blaming me either, and for all you know, he is perhaps pacing in his heaven corridor too, panicking and smoking a holy cigarette or a virgin joint—because he is the god and he is the virtuous one, and he doesn’t like adulterations and all that?—and man, I don’t know, maybe he is also kicking buckets and vandalizing heaven’s properties, because he is upset, and doesn’t have answers to all your prayers and maybe, he is also kicking a crystal pedestal lamp amidst the clouds from one end to the other, putting lives and people down, making some of you paralyzed for some shit you did in seventh grade, and when he is done throwing the towel, he is going like, this sucks, that sucks, you suck, your mom sucks, I don’t know why I agreed to do this shit, this whole program is buggy and this overall human race is fucked up!

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Plus, only, believe me, it’s not his beeswax, to answer your prayers on Facebook Continue reading

The last meal

His eye-bags are noticeable, as they always have been, ever since I remember, but today on his forehead, I also see unnerving lines; the slightly bulging blue veins, almost like a linear forehead bump.

He hugs me, let’s out a silent hiccup – his eyes bawling, nose watery and hands shaky. I hug him back and rub his spine, pat it a little.

“It’s alright” I tell him.

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He sobs and moistens my shoulders and my cotton stripes.

“Don’t, don’t, don’t…” I tell him, “don’t do that … let it go. It is alright!”

And even though he pretends to nod vehemently, as if saving himself an embarrassment, he isn’t entirely swayed by my words, on the contrary, I am sure he believes, that I am just an old man, who had his time and who is now trying to pacify a twenty two year old, of things that he has been and most certainly will be deprived of – forever. Continue reading

Brotherhood

I was at the back, curled up like a fetus, my elbows touching my penis—and Sam, Sam was mostly awake. And he often gawked at the pictures of bikini models and men in speedos (I couldn’t tell which one, when) on his primitive smartphone with joystick and compact buttons.

Tch! The Wi-Fi sucks”, he would grunt loudly, in fact, I woke up to his grumbles more often I remember I woke up to my alarm.

I was new to this. I was new to everything. Our dormitory smelt of cum, at places, of cum and piss. I would walk in, walk out, no eye contact or exchange of greetings—like a slave.

The very first day, he and they—all of them—occurred odd. I barely managed a “hello”, at the shorter, less intimidating and almost likeable guy in V-neck vests. He winked. Strange! I thought. Fourteen years of my life, and no one had ever winked at me. My dad used to wink at me, but he would do that only when he cajoled mom in getting me one more scoop of ice-cream after dinner or hide an entire packet of jelly beans from my elder sister, just for me, or things like that.

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That day I walked up to my rusty cot—it stroked like a swing, whenever I tossed or turned on it—carrying my backpack, a pair of sneakers, the dormitory guidelines Continue reading

A Murder

So, the first stone hit, not me though, but the zircon ruby I had nicked off Nisha’s bathroom window. Quite an achievement, I tell you, since I had to brave my way through thick steamed smog, with zero visibility and an over powering scent of jasmine. But the red, blood red twinkle that reflected against my eyes was completely covetable. It made that arduous journey quite an adventure.

Being in possession of that ruby, which I decided to call Rubina, brought my ex girl Peri gliding like a swan towards me. Days of snogging, snuggling and basically Peri rubbing herself all over me, still did not convince me to give away Rubina.

And that is why, before the second stone hit me, I realized that I had been a celibate for six months now. Although I still say, Rubina was completely worth the celibacy.

The second stone, scraped deep through my right thigh, before lodging into Mr. Knuckles. No…no…no not Mr. Knuckles!

I had to fight Dodo continuously for three hours before I could deeply injure him and acquire Mr. Knuckles. The fight eventually resulted in Dodo’s death, being squished by a tire.

Hell, I didn’t care. Mr. Knuckles was the most beautiful stone I had ever set my eyes on. Amber and smooth in texture, I could look into Mr. Knuckles for hours at a stretch and forget about anything else, except for the mystical adventures Mr. Knuckles promised.

I screeched as Mr. Knuckles fell off the branch, and shattered onto the pebbled road below. My screech was cut short just as a pebble lodged into my mouth, and I had to sputter for at least a minute to spit it out.

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