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Insanely Inane Thoughts

If fate doesn't make you laugh, you just don't get the joke.

The Test

Monday, May 30, 2005
A short story

"Tonight's the night," said Rajesh to Vikram as he bit into his sandwich. Vikram had been looking palpably distressed ever since Rajesh had hatched the plan and by the looks of it, Vikram might have been happier donating both his kidneys and live the rest of his life on a dialysis machine rather than to go through with the plan.

"Don't tell me that you are having second thoughts about it," said Rajesh as he observed the milieu of emotions running over Vikram's face.

"Actually, I'm well past second thoughts, Rajesh. I may well be into my thousandth thought right now," Vikram said sarcastically.

A smile flickered over Rajesh's face as Vikram stared at his lunch rather forlornly. The canteen was teeming with students and the din that they were creating muddled Vikram’s thoughts. He let out an audible sigh.

"Now now, don't be so worried over the plan. I have thought over every possible scenario and there is almost nothing that can go wrong with our plan."

"Not our plan, Rajesh. It's your plan."

"Alright, baba, alright. Nothing can go wrong with my plan but if the chickens come home to roost, I will be the one roosting the most." He then proceeded to roost like a chicken, which earned him looks that were reserved for, well, humans roosting like chickens while eating a chicken sandwich.

Vikram looked at Rajesh, who had reached the stage where one flails their arms while roosting, and he couldn't help but smile at him. It did relieve the stress for a bit but he still wasn't convinced. Rajesh had told him about the plan a week ago and ever since that day, his mind had wandered during the lectures. He had become so preoccupied with the plan that he lost track of his thoughts. He would break into a nervous sweat in the middle of a lecture and he would have felt compelled enough to excuse himself.

“C’mon yaar, you know how important the test is. It’s make or break for us,” said Rajesh as he stopped flailing his arms.

“Yeah man; it’s because of how important the test is that I even gave this plan of yours a thought,” said Vikram slowly.

The plan was simple. They had to make a copy of the test paper from the Principal’s office.

“So, you are definitely in?”

“If you thought that I was going to let you ace the test all by yourself, you are grossly mistaken,” said Vikram a little more resolutely.

“You are not going to regret this, Vikram,” said Rajesh as he high-fived Vikram.

“So where do we meet and when do we meet?” asked Vikram.

“Hmmm… you won’t be regretting this,” mumbled Rajesh, who had been eyeing an attractive girl sitting a few tables away. She caught him looking and flashed a perfect smile at him. He was going to smile back but shouted out an expletive instead. The girl looked away disgusted as Rajesh glared furiously at Vikram.

“Why the hell did you have to kick me like that?” asked Rajesh as he bent over to rub his shin.

“We have enough to think about already and we wouldn’t want some girl to be the one who brings us down,” said Vikram.

“That somegirl is a real looker,” Rajesh said as he tried to catch her attention once again.

“Once we are done with the plan, you can do whatever you want to do with your loins. Till then, we have to concentrate, Rajesh. C’mon yaar, you said that tonight’s the night. All you have to do is focus for one night. Theek hai?” Alright?

“Alright man; let’s do it,” said Rajesh enthusiastically.

“So, when and where do we meet today?”

“By the library; say 7-ish,” said Rajesh.

“How the hell will be able to get in at that time?!?” asked Vikram. Suddenly, the plan sounded very stupid to him.

“Easy. I’ve got permission to stay back in the library till about 8 in the evening. I told the Principal that I would like to stay back and study for the big test and he was more than happy to oblige --“

“That covers your ass; how will I get in without being seen?” thundered Vikram.

“Hear me out, buddy. I’ve got permission to stay back till 8. Now what you have to do is simple; ask the Principal if you can stay back and study for the big test. In fact, you can tell him that you wanted to get some doubts cleared by me and –“

“Bullshit. This is your plan? It’s not going to work. Even if it did, he would know it was us.” Vikram was shaking his head as he said these words. He was right; this was the stupidest plan he had ever heard.

“Hear me out,” Rajesh growled at Vikram as he caught hold of his hold.

“Listen, Rajesh. If you want to commit hara-kiri, I won’t stop you but don’t include me in this harebrained idea.”

Rajesh pulled Vikram towards him as he leaned in towards Vikram.

“What if I tell you that I’ve already been into his office?"

“So what, even I’ve been into his office. Many people have been into the Principal’s office,” snapped Vikram.

“I’ve been into his office after school hours, Vikram. When I was supposed to be studying late into the evening, I was in his office,” said Vikram as he let a small smile dance on his lips.

“You are kiddin’ me,” said Vikram as his eyes lit up with interest.

“Yep; I was kiddin’ you alright,” said Rajesh as he broke into a laugh.

There was such a lack of expression on Vikram’s face that it was an expression by itself. He stared at Rajesh with this unique expression as Rajesh laughed harder.

“Gotcha again. Relax; I’ve been into his office.”

“You can be such an asshole at times, you know that.”

“That’s what the girls tell me, Vikram,” said Rajesh light-heartedly. “Okay; all you have to do is get permission from him to stay back till late in the evening. That’s it.”

“I’ll do that,” said Vikram as the bells went off. The students began to clear off to their classrooms as the canteen wore a deserted look.

Chalo, yaar. We better get to class before we get crucified for being late,” said Rajesh as they walked off towards the washroom.

~*~*~*~

The rest of the day was a blur to Vikram. He had made his with into Principal Mishra’s office earlier in the day. He was more than happy to let Vikram stay back and study for the test.

The lectures were also a blur. Vikram rode on the wings of adrenalin for the rest of the day. Vikram was running late for a lecture and he almost ran over Professor Sharma as he hurried past the staff room.

“Ahhh, Vikram. Just the person I was looking for,” said Professor Sharma.

Vikram just smiled.

“Are you feeling alright, son? People have been telling me that you haven’t been yourself during the lectures. Now, we wouldn’t want a bright young man like you to be coming to school when ill, would we?” professor Sharma rambled on.

“It’s just a little headache, Professor,” said Vikram, tiring of Professor Sharma.

“Well, a lot of people get this headache before the big test, you know,” said Professor Sharma with a twinkle in his eyes. Vikram laughed with Professor Sharma before heading off towards the lecture room.

~*~*~*~

The fans whirred with a creaky harmony as Vikram and Rajesh made fluff talk. Both of them were nervous, Vikram more so than Rajesh but neither wanted the other to know. The air was rife with anticipation as the old librarian made her way towards Rajesh and Vikram.

“I’m all done for tonight, guys. Just make sure that you lock up the library before you go off for the night,” she said as she handed over the keys to Rajesh.

“Don’t worry, Helen. I’ve done this before, remember?”

“It never hurts to be careful, Rajesh. And don’t forget to have dinner, the two of you,” said Helen as she made her way towards the door.

Rajesh looked at Vikram and winked.

“It’s time, buddy. This time next week, we would have aced the test and we would be the envy of our school,” said Rajesh as he bundled the books into his bag.

“Let’s get hold of the paper first, Rajesh. We can start the celebrations later,” said Vikram, a little pragmatically.

“Don’t get all pragmatic on me, Vik. We are going to be stealing papers, remember?”

“It’s more like a sneak preview than stealing, Rajesh. Anyways, we won’t be taking it out of the room. We will copy it in Mishra’s office and we will be on our way. And, I hope you have got the candle,” said Vikram.

“Chillax, dude. I’ve got the candle, the lighter and the flash light,” said Rajesh, gesturing towards his bag.

“What about Anurag?” Anurag was the guard for the evening.

“No problem; you will be staying back in the library while I get into Mishra’s office. If Anurag comes by and asks for my whereabouts, tell him I had to make a little trip to the boys’ room.”

“How long will it take you, Rajesh?”

“I won’t be gone long. Getting into Mishra’s office is a breeze; I’ve done it before. Getting the papers off the drawers will be a little tricky. That may take me a few minutes. Once I have got the envelope, I will have to make sure that the wax seal doesn’t fall off. I’d take out the papers and take photographs; it’s all digital. The I’d have to light the candle and reseal the envelope –“

“I’m sure you have it all planned out. How long in minutes is all I want to know?”

“Say around fifteen to twenty minutes,” said Rajesh, jovially. He was in a charged up mood.

“So I stay in the library and have Anurag believe that both of us are in the library, eh?”

“Yep; that’s all you have to do.”

“Alright; go for it, buddy!”

~*~*~*~

Vikram did make a little trip to the boys’ room before heading off to Principal Mishra’s office. And to his surprise, he found the guard in the boys’ room.

“Still studying, eh?”

“Yeah, but today I’ve got company in the library.”

“Glad to hear that. Studyin alone can be a real pain, I tell ya. But I won’t keep you waiting; I’ll be in the yard having my dinner in case you need me,” said the guard as he made his way out.

Rajesh was overjoyed. Wow, things are going better than he had planned. With the guard in the yard, he wouldn’t even notice if the lights were on in the Principal’s office. He smiled to himself.

~*~*~*~

Click.

All Rajesh had needed to get into the office was a wire and a plastic card. Schools can be very lax when it comes to security. But truth be told, schools do not have a treasure trove stowed away in their offices so one wouldn’t be bothered with hi-tech security.

Rajesh entered the office and put his bag on the couch as the door shut softly behind him.
He removed the flashlight and a screwdriver and looked at the cabinet. There were many drawers to be busted open, he noted frustratingly.

He crouched down and began work on the first of the many drawers. He held the flashlight by his teeth and eased open the drawer. He rummaged through a lot of letterheads and stationary before deciding that this drawer was useless.

He repeated the process over and over again as the drawers came ajar one by one. Most of them contained stationary, daily logs, memos and certain forms that had to be sent out to the school board.

Finally, he found the drawer he had been looking for. He looked through the drawer and found the envelope with the seal. Using his flashlight, he confirmed that these were the papers he had been looking for. He took out the envelope and his pocket started jumping all over him.

“Jesus!”

It was his cell phone; he cursed the caller as he took out the cell phone. It said “Vikram calling”

“What the fuck, Vikram?!” hissed Rajesh.

“Dude, I was getting scared. Is everything okay?”

“Everything is okay; I found the papers, Vik. Another ten minutes and I’ll be done. Did the guard drop by?”

“Yeah; man, he freaked me out when he came in. But all he did was tell me that he would be in the yard having dinner.”

“Yep, that’s what he told me too. Don’t freakin’ worry and let me do the job without giving me a heart attack,” said Rajesh as he cut short Vikram’s call.

The call had startled him and he decided to hurry. He lifted the seal gently and took out the papers. Finding the ones he needed, he used his cameraphone to get the snapshots of the questions.

He put the papers back into the envelope and lit the candle. He used the wax from the candle and sealed the envelope as it had been before he had violated its sanctity.

He let out a sigh of relief and set about shutting the drawers properly. It took him another five minutes and in all, it had taken him thirty minutes to do what he had set out to do.

He checked the room for traces of a break-in and cleared the floor of any candle wax and then eased himself out of the office. His heart was beating at the rate of knots and his shirt was drenched with sweat. He freshened up in the boys’ room before going back to the library.

He found Vikram pacing frantically outside the library.

“What’s up, dude?” asked Rajesh nonchalantly as he sneaked up to Vikram.

“Fuck! Don’t do that man; I was almost ready to rush towards Mishra’s office,” said Vikram, frenetically.

“Relax, dude. Everything is in order. All we have to do is lock up the library and go home and study for the test.”

“Study for the test?!?”

“Yep; study from the copy of the question paper,” said Rajesh, allowing himself a smile.

“I hope we don’t get caught, man. Really, what if we get caught?!?” Vikram was going crazy, Rajesh thought. Anyone would have thought that it was Vikram who broke into the office.

“It’s not going to happen.”

For Vikram, this half hour had been an ordeal while for Rajesh; it was little more than a walk in the park.

“I hope that’s how it stays,” whispered Vikram.

~*~*~*~

A week had elapsed since the fateful day. The test had been very, very easy for them; as it should have been. The results were to be declared any day now.

Vikram had been in the middle of a lecture when Rajesh interrupted the class. That’s funny, Vikram thought. Shouldn’t Rajesh be in class?

“What’s wrong?” asked Vikram, perplexed.

“The Principal wants to see us, Vikram,” said Rajesh, a little anxious.

“What for?” asked Vikram, panicking.
“I don’t know, Vikram. But we have to go meet him,” said Rajesh, feeling a bit angry with Vikram for panicking so easily.

“Is it about the test? It has to be about the test!” wailed Vikram as he clutched Rajesh’s arm.

“This is it, Rajesh. The end of our career; we are doomed. A black mark; we will be thrown out of school.” Vikram was delirious with incoherence.

“Shut up, Vikram. People are watching you,” grumbled Rajesh as they made their way to the Principal’s office. Indeed, students had been watching the two of them; they made for an odd couple. One was as delirious as the other was stoic.

“Man, I knew that plan wouldn’t work. Why did I listen to you?” moaned Vikram.

“Lets see what the Principal has to say. Now, stop whining and be quiet. I’ll do all the talking,” said Rajesh as they knocked at his door.

“Come in,” said a deep, baritone voice. The voice further weakened Vikram’s resolve.

The duo walked in with conflicting thoughts in their mind.

“Ahhh, the partners-in-crime,” resonated Principal Mishra’s voice. Rajesh grabbed Vikram’s hand as panic darted into Vikram’s eyes.

“It depends on what the crime is, sir,” said Rajesh, good-naturedly.

“Indeed it does,” said Principal Mishra, mischief written all over his voice. “The two of you have set an unprecedented example; that was quite naughty of you two,” said Principal Mishra.

Rajesh stared blankly at him with a fake smile plastered on his face while Vikram grappled with his emotions.

“Tell me how you did it,” said Principal Mishra.

Ohhh God, he knows; thought Vikram. That’s it; maybe I can become a guard one day.

“We did what, sir?” asked Rajesh with a little edge that had crept up in his voice.

“Don’t act so naïve, gentlemen.”

“Sir, we have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Nobody has warned you about this so far?” asked an incredulous Principal.

“No, sir,” said Rajesh.

“All I wanted to know was how the two of you managed to top the Teacher’s Accreditation test?”

Hard Luck

Saturday, May 28, 2005
I shut the door quietly with an uncertain resolve. Mom had just gone to bed while Dad was busy watching the television. The moment that I had been waiting for all day long had finally arrived.

I turned towards the monitor and switched it on. The screen flickered into life as it flooded the relatively dark room with its bright rays. I turned down the volume rather hastily lest it alerted either of my folks. Once all the arrangements has been made, I settled down with my eyes firmly glued on the monitor.

A voluptuous woman started talking testily. I strained to hear what was being said but it didn't matter all that much as I had been through the rigmarole quite a number of times. Even then, some of the excitement was lost with the somewhat muted delivery. I cranked up the volume such that most of what was being said was audible.

Tiny beads of sweat glistened all over my face as I looked on towards the monitor with unwavering concentration. I was most definitely in a state of heightened perception.

Most of the introduction was done when my hand started moving back and forth slowly. My face became flush with excitement as I continued to peer into the monitor. I tried to take in as much as possible because every single frame was vital. Atleast for me..., it was.

As time went on, my hand movements became highly erratic. It was almost impossible for me to co-ordinate my movements with what I was seeing. Soon my fingers flayed all over the place; back and forth, sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left. It was safe to say that I was almost delirious with passion.

I could no longer keep up with the frenetic pace at which my hands seemed to be moving. My fingers felt tired and I let out my first pant for the night.

It isn't going to take me much more time, I thought to myself.

I should have stopped then and there but I had committed myself too far in to throw in the towel towards the climax of the night.

"Hem,hem."

Someone cleared their throat behind me. Startled, I looked behind anxiously.

A pair of angry eyes greeted mine.

I had been so enthralled with myself that I didn't hear Dad let himself in.

"I should have bolted the door...", I thought to myself. But I was too eager: to start; to please myself.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid...", I cursed myself.

Dad looked towards the monitor and then back at me. I looked down somewhat shamefully.

What else could one have done; especially after being caught red-handed. I couldn't possibly feign ignorance over the whole matter. I hope Dad understands. Even he must have done something terribly stupid back in his teenage years.

Marshalling my courage, I looked up timidly only to gaze down again as Dad spoke out.

"Son, which part of "not using the playstation to play Tomb Raider after 11 pm" didn't you get?"

Something told me that it was going to be a long night.

Know Your Superpower

Friday, May 27, 2005
Mine happens to be Procrastination. More on that later.

New Age Fantasy

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Rotter has got a complaint to make so he goes to Bumblebore's office

*knock knock*

Bumblebore: Come in.

Rotter walks in

Bumblebore: I should have known it would be you, scarface.

Rotter: I would avoid the name-calling, sir.

Bumblebore: So you would, jungleweed. But I'm the supreme authority over here and I shall do as I please, scarface.

Rotter: Very well. But I should let the 'supreme authority' know that wearing robes which are made up of flower themes is rather gay.

Bumblebore: So you are implying that you find me attractive, 0-gay-wan Rotter?

Rotter: Please sir; if we actually talk about why we are here we might not have to fight with our wands.

Bumblebore: But I like to fight with wands, Rotter.

Rotter: Whatever, old man. Now look, I have a complaint to make.

Bumblebore: Which is?

Rotter: The new Defense against the Dark Arts professor has failed me inspite of my good showing.

Bumblebore summons the professor

Bumblebore: So what do you have to say to young Rotter, Professor.

Handalf (to Rotter): You shall not PASS. *waves his wand*

Bumblebore: Now now, Handalf. Rotter is not a threat to the Republic; you should pass him.

Handalf: Sorry Chancellor; you are either with us or against us on this one. He-who-shall-not-be-named grows stronger by the minute. I am afraid that he has been taking a lot of steroids.

Bumblebore: Come off it, Handalf. Darth Bushius is no longer a threat; accept that.

Handalf: I have definite proof from the Republican Intelligence Agency(RIA) that Darth Bushius is trying to lure young O-gay-wan to the daft side. If we do not act quickly, young Rotter will no longer be with the Farce; the daft side grows stronger.

Bumblebore: What does the Yadi-Yadi-Yada council have to say about this, Handalf?

Handalf: That young O-gay-wan cannot be made a prefect.

Bumblebore (to Rotter): Young Rotter, I'm sure that Ho-da must have made this decision under extreme duress; but chin up. The sooner we get rid of Darth Bushius, the sooner will you become a prefect.

Rotter thinks to self

Rotter: I do not know what to do, Har-har-mione. The Yadi-Yadi-Yada council does not trust me.

Har-har-mione: Yousa don't worry. I trustsa you; you feelsa my chest?

Rotter stops thinking and starts fantasizing about the pity sex he will have with Har-har-mione

Bumblebore (To Rotter): Young Rotter; I hereby announce that you shall be an apprentice to Master Trump.

Bumblebore summons Master Trump

Bumblebore: Master Trump, from today, young Rotter will be your apprentice. Teach him well.

Trump (To Rotter): Now that you are my apprentice, I suggest that you carry a bottle of hand sanitizer every day. It's the secret to becoming a prefect; if you don't do as I suggest, I shall have to call you to the council room because loose cannons arent meant to become Masters'.

Rotter: I shall do as you ask me to do, Master Trump.

Bumblebore: Master Trump, I heard that Senator Stewart is also looking for an apprentice. Is that so?

Trump: You heard right, Chancellor.

Bumblebore (To Handalf): Isn't Dildo Baggins lookin after young Fruitcake Baggins? maybe young Fruitcake can become her apprentice.

Handalf: You may be right, Chancellor. I shall leave for the Mire and look for Didlo and Fruitcake.

Bumblebore: Take care, Handalf. If what you say is true, Darth Bushius would be aware of every move we make. Protect Fruitcake at all costs and make sure that Darth Bushius doesn't get his hand on the One Ring of Mass Destruction that Didlo possesses.

Rotter interjects

Rotter: So it's true, Chancellor.

Bumblebore: What is, young Rotter?

Rotter: That Fruitcake is the half-bred prince?

Bumblebore: You didn't hear that from me, Young Rotter. You cannot tell this to anyone; not even your friends, Porn Wheezly and Har-Har. Also, I wouldn't tell Professor Howling about this either because if she knows, then Trollkein would be mighty pissed that they know.

Rotter: Fair enough, sir.

Bumblebore: Another thing, Rotter. Although you have stated that Dragqueen Malfly and his father are in cahoots with Darth Bushius, we cannot take any action against them. Stay away from them and as long as you are in Bogs-n-warts, you shall be be safe

Rotter marches out of the office

Thoughts

Saturday, May 21, 2005
He stared at the blank page and the blank page stared back at him. Neither of them liked what they were looking at but they continued to stare at each other, transfixed.

He was a writer although people who had read his works begged to differ. For him, the worst kind of a nightmare was a blank page though others told him that a blank page could symbolize a womb where words were waiting to come alive; it fuels your imagination, coaxes ideas out of you and nurses them till they are able to fend for themselves.

He stared at the page with palpable anxiety. His fingers trembled with trepidation as he cursed with vehemence. The page continued to stare back at him, taunting him, jeering at him and quite possibly rejoicing at his hesitance.

He closed his eyes as the fans whirred with silent ferocity. Think, he told himself. Think fool, think. He stayed motionless for a whole half hour, his breathing mirroring his mental prowess; ragged and coming out in bursts. His temples throbbed and his heart fluttered like a caged bird. He opened his eyes and stared.

At the blank page.

He made up his mind as his eyes flickered over the page, which were pregnant with thoughts, one last time; a harsh reminder of his impotency.

So long sucker, he told himself as his fingers did his bidding.

An Alt+F4 later all that remained of his failure was a flickering desktop.

Walk

Friday, May 20, 2005
He held her hand tenderly as they waltzed across the busy road. She cringed at the epithets they were being christened with but he was oblivious to them. To him, the world began and ended with her; which was true considering the world was round.

To him, she was like the morning sky being painted with the golden hues of the rising sun; her beauty grew by the minute threatening to blind him if he gazed at her for too long.

To her, he was everything that was beautiful. Even right now as they were crossing the road, he breathed life into everything that was around her. The vehicles were not a lifeless mass of steel; instead, they were the chariots of desire that propelled people towards their dreams. Of course, the desire to capture one's dream can be so consuming that it can turn into a nightmare but he didn't convey this to her. He colored her mind with his brush of vitality and conjured images of grandeur and she loved him for it.

A car swerved and another honked; he had been looking the other way.

She let her fingers play against his palm and he looked towards the honking car. He waved his arm and smiled at the driver who swore at him passionately. She giggled as she let her fingers take a life of their own. He giggled with her as he guided her towards the sidewalk.

They made for an odd couple; yes. A blind and a deaf in love with each other but for them, it was this quirk of nature that made the world so vivid and beautiful.

Drunk Dialling: Yoda

Thursday, May 19, 2005
Trring Trring

*Click*

"Not at home I am; leave a message you will; prank call if this is, roast your weenie I will."

Me: *wheeze*

Whrrr

*Click*

Yoda (alert): Darth vader it is?

Me: *wheeze*

Yoda: Speak you must or else kick butt I will.

Me: Chill out, Yods. It's me, Rohit.

Yoda: Rohit it is?

Me: Yeah; the guy from Earth; you know, from where you got all the CD's from.

Yoda: Ahh yes, remember I do. The earthling who sold me the CD's with Dr. Cock you are.


Me: Dr. Spock, Yods. Not Dr. Cock.

Yoda: Dr.Spock or Dr. Cock; boring it was. Preferr Baywatch I did.

Me: *wheeze*

Yoda: Impersonate Darth vader you must not.

Me: Well, I have ulcers in my mouth so I sorta slurp and wheeze now and then, Yods.

Yoda: Call me Yods do not. have any reasons for calling me up do you?

Me: I thought we could talk.

Yoda: Talk I do when talk I want to.

Me: Well, I thought you might want to talk to me. After what you told me the other day ...

Yoda: Shhhh, not mention that you will.

Me: Relax, Yods. It happens to the best of them and you aren't a young *cough* monkeyhobbitjedithing *cough*, you know.

Yoda: Not young I am but not too old either. Mighty pissed she was.

Me: And understandably so.

Yoda: On whose side you are?

Me: Your side I am; but sympathize I must, Yods.

Yoda: Not mock Galactic Basic you must.

Me: Don't change the topic. So big deal; you and the senator were going at it and then you realized that the Force was not with you.

Yoda: Big disappointment it was.

Me: Like I said; you didn't measure up to it on that day.

Yoda: Not make fun of my height you will. Never happened to me in 900 years this has; young Luke, was mighty disappointed. So shaken up I was; sent young Skywalker to fight Vader I did; You are a Jedi now I said. Bless him, leave me a bottle of Viagra he did.

Me: Wow; so did the magic pill do the trick?

Yoda: Raised my expectations it did but went down soon it did. Again, mighty pissed she was. Abandoned me it has, the Force. So, the Jenna Jameson CD I saw.

Me: You mean "we saw", right?

Yoda: Only me who saw the CD it was. She has the Force with her I think; made my thing do funny things she did.

Me: Where was Amidala all this while?

Yoda: A little talk while she was stroking we had; not very happy she was. Always complaining about men these days she was; bitching she was and thinking about the new Starmates I was. Asked me something she did; know she had talked to me I did not. Whacked me she did and asked me to pay attention.

Me (spellbound): Then?

Yoda: "Bitch, leave me alone" said I. Confounded she was but find her voice she did. Started to bitch about me this time she did. Levitate I did; asked her if she was in that time of the month.

Me: Ha! That should teach the hag some manners; you did well, Yods.

Yoda: Make a note you must; never imply that she is going through that time of the month while she holds the passport to your future in her hands you must. very painful it was; the consequences.

Me: What do you mean?

Yoda: Leave I must; here with the prosthectics she is; the nurse.

Me: Prosthectics?

Yoda: Does not care about the age it does. Windu be happy he must.

Me: Windu?

Background: Yousa lika the new thinga?

Yoda: *Shush, Jar Jar*; Go I must; may the Force be with you.

Me: Jar Jar?

*Click*

The Killing Fields

Thursday, May 12, 2005
The alley was all but dead save for the vagrant who had made it his home. It was well past midnight and the rats were out in full strength. The alley was gobbled up by dilapidated apartment buildings on either side and a towering wall checked its progress. A car pulled up in the alley, startling the man. The man pulled up his blanket and stared at the car. If the lights were to have fallen on the man's face, one would have noticed his eyes. It was as black as the darkness that engulfed the alley; the eyes stared at the car; not with emotions but with frightening lucidity.

The car was an imported one. Its carbon black color sought the court the darkness as the driver killed the lights. The driver got off the car and looked around furtively. Rats scurried around his boots and he kicked them away, cursing in his native tongue. He paced around the car while throwing flitting glances at his wrist. He must have been waiting for someone. The vagrant straightened up from his slouch and grazed his fingers against the knife. He looked at his watch; it read 12:47. He was early, the fag thought to himself. But he was here just as he was told.

The other man was still pacing near his car glancing at his watch every few seconds. The vagrant couldn’t get a look at the watch as his sleeve obscured it. He was fashionably dressed as he should have been for the sake of his bank balance. The vagrant smiled but his eyes remained void of emotions. He knew that nobody was going to show up. He was told that when he was given the order to kill him.

I must act quickly, he told himself. He slinked towards the man who was busy keeping the rats at bay. The rats killed the silence that was so essential when making a kill. If there had been no rats then he would have heard the near silent footfalls behind him. There hadn’t been one but two men in the alley besides the vagrant himself.

He was very close to the man now. He closed his eyes and started praying for forgiveness just as he would do before every hit. It was an old custom he had picked up from his mentor. He wasn’t the religious kind but for him, it was more the case of preserving old habits than seeking redemption for his sins. The footfalls waded closer but still remained hidden over the chatter of the rats. The rats were trying to warn him, but once in prayer, he was oblivious to his surrounding for a full minute. This was his weakness but not many knew it.

He was about to open his eyes when he felt the arm slide against his neck. His eyes widened in surprise as he struggled to free himself from the death hold. The more he struggled, the stronger the grip grew. He tried to reach for his knife and his hands refused to take orders from his almost asphyxiated brain. His ears registered the deathly calm that had besotted the alley for a few precious moments. The rats were waiting for their midnight feast and it was then that his eyes fell on the watch. In that vivid moment when Death was almost at his doorsteps, the only thought that crossed his mind was how strikingly shiny the gold watch appeared to be.

~*~*~*~

"Who is next?" screamed the city papers.

A strange trend had grabbed the city by storm. It had fascinated the press and the people alike. Professional killers were being bumped off; one by one. The police was at its wits' end. No tangible clues had emerged so far and the few clues that they did chance upon, posed more questions rather than giving them answers. The latest murder of Elliot, one of the lesser-known but dangerous killers, fueled the imagination of the media. It was a time when sports and politics took a back seat and murder took center stage. But the spate of killings was also proving to be a boon for the killers themselves. It was proving to be a potential gold mine for the few killers that chose to stay back. They hadn't been in such demand for a long time and it bode well for the future of their profession.

~*~*~*~

The doctor was almost through with the endless stream of illness that kept plaguing his clinic. He looked at his roster and let out an audible sigh. One more disgusting body and I'm through, he told himself.

The doctor's clinic was located in upscale area of the city and his clientele consisted of the who's who of the city. He tended to both, the famous and the infamous, and he was the best in the business. He had no love for the profession and it had always been that way. He forced himself through medical college for the fear of his father, who was a renowned heart specialist in the city. His father had driven his mother to the brink of suicide, thanks to his abusive ways. He grew up under the shadow of his battered mother who refused to divorce her husband for the sake of her child. His father had made it abundantly clear that he expected him to go through medical college. If he refused to oblige, he was told that he would be "skinned alive". And he didn't doubt his fathers' resolve.

Well, here I am, doing wondrous business and making more money in a month than my father made in a year. But he had no one to share it with. His mother passed away soon after he graduated from medical school; one might say that she had kept her end of the promise by making sure that her son made it through college with all his appendages intact. He didn't date often because of the grueling work hours he put in. It wasn't for the love of money but he was afraid that he might end up as an abusive lover; he despised his father so much that he was afraid that he might try to beat his father by emulating his actions at a much larger scale.

He broke away from his reverie and buzzed his patient in.

"Good evening, how do you do?" asked the doctor as he greeted his patient.

"Not very well, I suppose. Otherwise I wouldn't be here, would I?" said the patient. The doctor laughed along with the patient.

"So, this is your first time here?" asked the doctor.

"Yes," said the patient as he leaned in towards the doctor. He held something between his fingers; the doctor had failed to notice it before. "I have some questions for you, doctor," the patient said as he plunged the plunger near the doctors' neck.

The doctor cowed with fear. He had never had such an unruly patient before.

"What do you want from me?" the doctor managed to sputter.

"Some answers," said the patient as he checked with his watch. The drug would take its effect very soon, he told himself. The doctor simply watched the man with the golden watch gaze at him as he slipped into a stream of unconsciousness.

~*~*~*~

The police found the doctor after an anonymous caller had tipped them off. He had been reported missing a few hours back by his father who was supposed to have dinner with him. The police found no traces of violence on the doctor and would have to wait for the autopsy report to identify the cause of death. The forensic team had searched the area for prints, fibers or any other clue, which might suggest foul play. They found none and approximated the time of death with the help of rigor.

The autopsy result took a few hours but it did state that traces of sodium pentothal was found in the victims' bloodstream.

"Now why the hell would anybody want to pump Sodium Pentothal into the doctors' body?" asked the bewildered cop.

"Sodium Pentothal?" asked a reporter.

"That's the chemical name. It's also known as the truth serum," said the cop as he munched on his sandwich.

~*~*~*~

He was given a simple order: to kill him. He didn't know who had given him the order since all contact had been via phone and as hard as he had tried, he had failed to get a definite trace on the call. He had thought of dismissing the caller as an idiot the first time he spoke to him but then again, getting his number would have needed a certain expertise. Subsequently, the caller had given him more information and, as promised, wired him half the sum on which they had agreed upon. It was a rather large sum but then again, he was the best of those who remained.

The victim was Jagdish Rao, one of the country's richest albeit slightly eccentric men. His history was fascinating. His father was one of the many rags-to-riches businessmen. He had worked hard to achieve it and ensured that his son didn’t have to do battle like him. He would have achieved a lot more if it hadn’t been for an assassin for hire who cut short Jagdish’s father’s success story. Jagdish’s father was killed at home; right in front of 12-year old Jagdish’s eyes. But Jagdish had coped with his father’s absence rather remarkably. The business expanded like never before and all was well for Jagdish Rao, the most eligible bachelor of the country.

For a man of his standing, Jagdish maintained a very low profile. He was also an assuredly naive man. He lived like any of us would live only a whole lot better. He had bungalows spread all over the country but preferred to stay cooped up in his penthouse. The penthouse was a thing of marvel: it was spread over 4,000 sq. feet and was connected to the apartments directly beneath it. The penthouse was centrally heated and had its own spa cum swimming pool. There was also a game room in which Jagdish fiddled around with his game boy for many a night. The penthouse also led to a very beautiful garden, if one may call it soon, which offered him a place of quiet. It also gave him an unimpeded view of the city, which would have decidedly beautiful if not for the haze serenading the cityscape.

The penthouse and the luxuries it offered were all but expected for a man of Jagdish's stature. But what one really had to marvel was the fact that a single guard who, by all means, needed to be guarded himself manned the entrance that led to the building. The guard was an elderly old man who held the world record for walking 100 yards in just under seven minutes and this was on steroids. The guard could get in touch with any occupant of the building through the intercom but they could hardly hear him over the dentures and the 1870's hearing aid. Another startling fact was that Jagdish Rao's penthouse didn't have any alarm system in place let alone CCTV cameras.

And he lived alone. It seemed like Jagdish hadn’t learned much from his father’s death. The adage ‘Like father, like son’ seemed to be written all over this kill.

All of this was told to the assassin. The assassin couldn't believe his luck. It was like having the best sex of your life and getting paid for it.

"I know your weakness, Barthez. If you fail, you won’t live to regret it," said the voice. The assassin laughed.

He never fails.

~*~*~*~

He waited till Jagdish left for work. He was of the opinion that getting past the security wouldn't be much of a problem; he was right. Getting into the penthouse took a little longer because the lock used by Jagdish was quite tricky to break into. He knew that he had time on his side; Jagdish wouldn't be back till late in the evening. It took him twenty minutes or so but he had the lock figured. Next time around, he would be in within a minute. Allowing a small smile to light up his face, he entered the house.

He let out a whistle.

The house was reeking of opulence. Inspite of all he had heard, the assassin was taken aback. The lobby consisted of some very fine artwork; including a Munch and Picasso. The living room seemed to have a trip system; the lights lit up the moment he walked into it. The blinds by the window rolled down and light music regaled his senses. If there were sensors around, who knows what else Jagdish might have installed. As abruptly as he had let his guard down, he perked up again. His eyes narrowed ever so slightly as he scanned the living room.

He wanted to ensure that the information he got was sound. There was no point in letting a minor oversight screw up the entire operation He took his time and did a thorough search but couldn't find any alarm system; so he was told the truth. The assassin knew that Jagdish had hired help coming in for cleaning and dusting; they usually came in by noon. He didn't have too much time to waste here.

He had already bugged Jagdish's cars and now it was time for some bugs in the house. He bugged the entire penthouse in less than ten minutes. Satisfied, he gave the penthouse one last look and let himself out. He knew he would be back soon. This time around, it would be more than cursory visit.

~*~*~*~

She pushed him lower, urging him as he played around her bellybutton. He continued to taunt her and she continued to plead. Her hips started bucking as he slid down slowly. She couldn't take it any longer and forced him under. It was a moment of glorious pleasure but the night was just beginning and she was in for the time of her life.

"That was fuckin' awesome," she told him as she nestled against his strong frame.

"That's what an Australian kiss is all about,” he told her as he stroked her hair. And what is an Australian kiss, she asked him with a twinkle in her eye.

"It's the same as a French kiss but it's done down under." Her laugh was muffled as she planted a kiss full on his mouth.

The assassin smiled in the dark. Jagdish was a wild cat, after all.

~*~*~*~

The car honked twice as the gates rolled open. Shyam hadn't been expecting this. This was the first time he had come home so early.

"Back so early, sir?" Shyam asked Jagdish as his car rolled to a standstill beside his post. Jagdish looked at the elderly guard with affection. He had been with him since time immemorial and it had been Shyam who had helped him stay strong in his fathers' absence. Jagdish had told Shyam to call him Jagdish but he seemed to forget it conveniently and always referred to him as sir. It was due to Jagdish's insistence that the guard had been held on for so long. The building committee had been clamoring for a change for years now but Jagdish's donations reduced their complaints to a whimper. Theirs' was a safe neighborhood and the police was especially alert in the area.

"I was feeling a little tired, Daaji," replied Jagdish. He referred to Shyam as Daaji, which meant father, as a mark of respect.

"You should really be looking after yourself," chided Shyam.

"I'll try, Daaji," said Jagdish as he revved the engine.

"I'll be seeing you in the morning then," said Shyam as he made his way to his post.

Jagdish didn't reply and drove on towards the basement. Today might be the last time you see me if things go as planned, Jagdish told Shyam in his mind. Sadly, telepathy wasn't one of old Shyam's forte.

~*~*~*~

The assassin had been listening to this conversation. It's time, he said softly. He had come to admire Jagdish over the course of the week and decided to make his death as painless as possible. A bullet through his brain it would be, he told himself as he planned for the kill.

~*~*~*~

The dinner had been an elaborate affair. It had taken Jagdish some time to decide on what to eat but he decided to go on with a full fledged meal; which meant a whole lot of rice, dahl, rotis, side dishes, pasta, caviar, dessert and champagne to boot. He made sure that he didn't drink too much; he wasn't a drinker but still collected wines just as his father did. It was the least he could do for his father.

The assassin, on the other hand, had had a light dinner that consisted of salad and orange juice. He was very particular about his diet as he was allergic to most of the delicacies. But he had made a note of Jagdish's extensive wine collection and had promised himself a drink in Jagdish's house after the kill was made. He might even sneak out a bottle or two, he thought to himself with a chuckle. It would be a waste for such wine to go unappreciated.

He was in the building and old Shyam was curled up in the post as he was at most nights.

Getting into the house was a breeze; just as he had predicted. He knew where Jagdish would be found and whipped out his gun as he went towards the study.

~*~*~*~

Jagdish was slouching over his printer when he heard that noise. He had been hitting away furiously at his keyboard till a few minutes back and was in the midst of printing out a very important document. He knew that he had very little time to spare and whatever he had to do had to be done quickly. He was about to turn around when he felt the barrel against his back.

"Do as I say," whispered the assassin.

"Who are you and what do you want?" asked Jagdish.

"Didn't you hear me? I said 'do as I say'," hissed the assassin.

"But you haven't said what you want me to do," replied Jagdish.

The assassin hit Jagdish near the collar with the butt of the revolver. Jagdish winced in pain as he clutched on to his printout.

"No more smart comments and I promise that your death will be painless."

At this, Jagdish started laughing. At first, the assassin thought that Jagdish was crying with fear but realized rather quickly that, to the contrary, he was laughing. The assassin couldn't make head or tail of it because he had never had a victim laugh when told that they were going to die.

"Why are you laughing?" asked the bemused assassin.

"Because you said that you would kill me," replied Jagdish, trying to keep the guffaws down.

"I wouldn't find being told that one was going to die very funny," said the assassin mirthlessly.

"Look, if you want money, just tell me so. The least that a dying man can do is give money to the needy," said Jagdish rather philanthropically.

"Do I look like a beggar to you?" asked the assassin, quite dumbfounded.

"Well, I haven't seen you so I would assume that you are here to steal. Stealing is just like begging; the only difference being that you aren't asking for the money but need it anyways," said Jagdish.

"Move five paces and turn around."

Jagdish walked onto the assassin's shoes and the assassin let out a curse.

"What the hell are you doing?" the assassin screamed.

"Well, you said move five paces."

"Yes, move five paces in front and not back," screamed the assassin.

"You should have said so. And keep your voice down unless you plan on being heard. Seriously, you are like the worst robber ever," said Jagdish as he moved five paces in front.

"Now turn around."

Jagdish turned around and saw nothing but darkness.

"Well, do I look like a beggar now?"

"I wouldn't be able to tell the difference in such bright light," Jagdish said, a little sarcastically.

"Don't talk back to me, you sonofabitch!"

"This is my house. I will say as I please."

A shot went past Jagdish's ear. Whoever he was, he knows how to use a gun; thought Jagdish to himself

"This is my gun and I will do as I please," said the assassin coldly as he turned on the lights.

What Jagdish saw was a man clad in black with a ski mask obscuring his face. He was well built, maybe 6'2" or so. He could say so confidently because Jagdish himself was a little over 6' and the assassin seemed to be loom that bit larger. From the leather boots he donned, he seemed to be quite well off. It was then that he noticed that the assassin had his gun trained at him.

"Rather well off to still be a robber," said Jagdish, a little tersely.

The assassin was about to say something when he remembered something that Jagdish has said.

"What did you mean when you said that you were a dying man?" asked the assassin.

"That I was going to die. What else can it mean?"

"Why do you say that?"

"Because just before you showed up with your little toy, I was about to commit suicide," said Jagdish rather matter-of-factly.

~*~*~*~

"Suicide," said the shocked assassin. Jagdish merely nodded.

"Why are you so shocked? Never heard of suicides before?" asked Jagdish with a smile.

"Of course I've heard of suicides. It's just that...", the assassin's voice trailed off.

"It's just that what?"

"Well, I'm an assassin and I was here to kill you." Jagdish started laughing manically again. "Now do you realize why I had started laughing when you told me that you will make my death as painless as possible," said Jagdish.

This had never happened with the assassin before. Hell, it wouldn't have happened to any assassins anywhere. Here he was, ready to kill Jagdish and then the victim tells him that he was going to commit suicide.

"No need to think so much about it. I will go on and commit suicide as I had planned before saving you the trouble of killing me," said Jagdish.

"No," said the assassin.

"No?"

"Yes."

"Great, so I can go on and kill myself as planned," said Jagdish cheerfully. He was taking the saying about meeting Death with a smile on the face too literally, the assassin thought.

"No, when I said yes, I had meant it for the no," explained the assassin getting confused himself.

"Wow, not only are you the worst robber and probably the most lucked out assassin, you are also one heckuva confused person. Make up your mind and let me know," jeered Jagdish.

"You cannot kill yourself," said the assassin as he glared at Jagdish.

"But I want to. Listen, I'm making your job far easier that what it is. All you have to do is collect the money and tell the folks who sent you that you made it look like a suicide. It's the perfect murder which isn't a murder," exhorted Jagdish. The assassin noticed the piece of paper that Jagdish was clutching to.

"What's that in your hand?" asked the assassin.

"It's the suicide note," said Jagdish.

"So you were really going to commit suicide," said the assassin softly. Again, Jagdish merely nodded his head.

"So why can't you let me commit suicide?" asked Jagdish.

"Well, I've been paid to kill you. If I let you kill yourself, it would mean that I reneged from the deal I had made. It's more of an ethical issue," explained the assassin.

"And killing people isn't an ethical issue with you?" asked Jagdish, a smile flickering through his eyes.

"Don't make this personal," snarled the assassin. Both fell silent for a minute.

"So, how were you going to kill yourself?" asked the assassin with interest.

"Well, to be frank, I hadn't decided as yet," said Jagdish. Then he thought of something. "Hey, why don't you give me ideas on how I can kill myself and if I kill myself with your method, it would be as if you were killing me. It might ease the pain you feel deep inside your soul," said Jagdish, earnestly. The assassin thought that it was a barbed attack but let it pass.

"What you say could very well be the only way out," said the assassin.

"So what do you suggest?" asked Jagdish. It almost felt as if a kid was asking Santa what he had brought him for Christmas.

"Hmmm; what about the old bullet through the temple; never fails and is painless."

"Hold on; why don't we have coffee while we discuss this. It may take sometime, you know," Jagdish suggested. The assassin agreed. Jagdish brewed up some coffee while the assassin kept an eye on Jagdish just to ensure that there wasn't any hanky-panky. He may have lucked out but he wasn't stupid. The assassin and Jagdish settled down on the futon sipping on the coffee. The atmosphere felt very informal; almost as if they were talking about the weather.

“So why do you want to kill yourself?” asked the assassin as he enjoyed the relative comfort of the air-conditioned room. Like the other day, soft music lulled the assassin into a fall sense of security.

“Why do you kill people?” Jagdish shot back.

“I asked you first. And in case you have forgotten, I’m in charge of proceedings here,” said the assassin, as he pointed to his gun. It was in the holster, which was also made of black leather.

Jagdish studied the assassin’s frame as he was talking to him. The assassin walked with an upright gait and his arms hardly swung as he walked. It might have looked funny if he were in a clown suit, but it added to his killer appeal in the presence of a gun and the ski mask. Jagdish put the assassins’ age at around 27-30 which was quite off the assassins’ age of 37. The assassin followed a rigorous schedule of yoga and athletics which helped him to retain his remarkable agility. The assassin spoke in a neutralized accent, which worked well in his profession. He must be proficient in many languages, Jagdish thought to himself.

“I was growing tired of life,” Jagdish said as he eyed the assassins’ gun.

“It didn’t seem so tiring when you were going on with that girl a few days back,” the assassin said without a hint of a smile. Jagdish tensed for a moment and then relaxed. He let his fist unclench.

“How did you know about that?” Jagdish said, keeping his anger in check.

“Ever heard of the saying that even walls have ears?” asked the assassin, enjoying himself thoroughly.

“You bugged my place.” It was more of a statement than a question. The assassin nodded his head.

“So, you are tired of your life?”

“Yes,” said Jagdish. He placed the cup of hot coffee on the table and stretched out his legs. He was growing weary of this.

“And what tires you so much?”

“I would rather not answer any of your questions.” The assassin played around with the holster. This was not lost on Jagdish who was busy watching the beads of condensation race each other; from the rim of the cup towards the face of the table. I should have brought a coaster along, Jagdish thought to himself.

“Why do you kill people?” asked Jagdish.

"For other people."

"And you feel no remorse for killing them. They could be somebodys' father, brother, son."

"Like your father, eh?"

Jagdish felt anger surge surge through his body but he acted non-chalantly. His fathers' death was still etched in his memory; he had nightmares about that fateful day, if at all he was able to go off to sleep.

"You know my history well enough."

"It's what every good assassin would do. Anyways, we don't kill people because it's fun for us. We are problem solvers; you know, helping out other people," the assassin said as he bit into the apple.

"Not all problems are legitimate."

"Well, we are a magnamious bunch; if people reach out to us, we can't refuse to help them. And the money doesn't hurt either."

"If it's money you are after, robbing banks would serve you better," suggested Jagdish. The assassin seemed to be relishing the tete-a-tete with Jagdish as much as he was with the apple.

"We are professionals; we are the best in this just like robbers are the best in their field."

"But even then, do you never regret killing people? One doesn't have the right to take away another persons' life like that," said Jagdish softly.

"There used to be regret; after the first killing. Then a little less regret as you go on killing others. By the time one has over ten killings to hisd name, regret is not something he feels. It's much like playing soccer; in your first international game, you might feel very nervous, but the pangs go away as you play more matches. Like I said before, assassins are professionals too. They are paid to do a job which isn't unlike lawyers or businessmen," explained the assassin. It felt good to talk about his business.

"I think that what you do to other peoples' life is terrible."

"Okay, now that I have had your thoughts on my profession, lets get back to why we are actually having this coversation. About your suicide," the assassin said abruptly.

"What about it?"

"Having such opinions about the right to take a life of a person, do you think you have the right to take your own life?"

"It's my life. I'll do as I please," said Jagdish, non-plussed.

"Fair enough. You are a smart man so I won't question your motives; however, I still think it's a bit mad on your part though. Now, lets talk what method will fit your madness appropriately," said the assassin.


"Alright. So where were we?" asked Jagdish.

"Bullet through the temple," said the assassin as he sipped on his coffee. "By the way, it's good coffee," he told Jagdish.

"Thanks, I got it from Colombia. One of the advantages of being really rich," smiled Jagdish. "Well, I don't like the bullet in the temple plan."

"Why not?"

"Well; for one; it would be real quick. Now Death isn't what it is unless you can actually feel it. Also, I don't want people saying I wasn't in the right mind when they look at the mashed brain," explained Jagdish. He sipped on his coffee.

"I see. Well, what about jumping off the penthouse balcony?" asked the assassin.

"Na; I've vertigo. I might fall off the balcony instead of jumping off it, so it wouldn’t be as if I committed suicide even though that would have been the intention when I stood on the railing. This is one time when the ends don't justify the means."

The assassin looked at Jagdish but said nothing.

"Take your time; we have the whole night to ourselves." The assassin pondered for a while as he continued to nibble on the apple.

"Cyanide?"

"Again; it's too quick. And I've heard that it has a terrible taste though I don't think any volunteers have verified that so far," said Jagdish.

"Then how about the slit-your-wrist-and-you-are-dead method?"

"Nope again; I've heard it’s quite painful especially if you don't get it right the first time. They say that suicide is painless but attempted suicide is not."

"Wow, for a man who wants to kill himself, you sure have some excuses ruling out the conventional methods."

"I want it to be perfect. That's all," said Jagdish, seemingly a little hurt.

~*~*~*~

"A little higher."

"Ummph... unngg…, is this alright?"

"No, no. A little higher; a little further up," said the assassin, sweat rolling down his face; his face turned towards the ceiling. He had started to feel slightly drowsy.

"Arggghhh, is this okay?" huffed Jagdish.

"No, a little more; yeah, that's it; no, no, a little lower; yeah, that's it. Perfect, perfect," exclaimed the assassin. He smiled at Jagdish.

"Well then, you think that the rope will hold?" asked Jagdish. The assassin looked up at the fan, reached up for the rope and tugged at it. "It will hold," he said with a smile.

"What about the noose? A good fit for my neck?" asked Jagdish.

"Yes, a good fit."

"So I get onto the stool and ease the noose over my head. Then you will kick the stool away, right?" asked Jagdish.

"That's the plan," said the assassin.

"Okay, so I get onto the stool, jump off it and then put the noose over my neck. I get it," said Jagdish.

"No, no. You ease the noose over your neck and then jump off the stool. If you jump off the stool before putting on the noose, you will look like Tarzan," said the assassin.

"Just show me the ropes, will you?" said Jagdish, gesturing towards the noose.

"What do I look to you? Stupid?" said the assassin.

"Come on now; haven't I done everything you have told me so far?"

"Yes but..."

"Alright, if you don't trust me then just give me your gun. If I make any move that is uncalled for, I will shoot myself when you tell me to do so. I've done everything that you have told me so far so what's one more thing?" said Jagdish.

The assassin just blinked at Jagdish. He seemed a little confused and he had started to feel drowsier.

"Okay, I take it that you don't trust me. After all that we have been through this night, you won't trust me on this?" Jagdish seemed more than a little hurt.

The assassin tried to say something all he could say was, "It's not that I don't trust you but ...". His voice left him and he thought that he felt a little spasm on his face. His lips started twitching as his eyeballs rolled in; his face was contorting rather scarily.

The symptoms seemed eerily similar to the allergy symptoms he had had before. But it couldn't be possible; he was always particular about what he ate or drank. He tried to remember what he had today. Salad in the evening and then some juice; the next thing he had to eat or drink was the coffee and the apple.

What could it be, he thought to himself as he slumped to the floor.

“Is there a problem?” Jagdish asked once he realized that there was something amiss with the assassin.

“I’m having a reaction,” the assassin mumbled out. Jagdish could barely make it out but he did hear it. He was waiting to hear these words.

"What is wrong with me?" the assassin asked. He was feeling very confused about the whole situation.

"Like you said, you are having a reaction. A reaction towards perinom, to be exact," said Jagdish.

Perinom. Why did it sound so familair, thought the assassin as he started foaming from the lips. Then it came back to him. As a kid, he had had an adverse reaction to Perinom; an anti-nuasea pill.

"But how?" gurgled the assassin.

"It was in the apple you had," Jagdish said. He wasn't being too helpful. The assassin curled up on the floor, twitching.

Jagdish walked towards the assassin and took away his gun. He then stuffed the suicide note into the assassin’s pocket. He went over towards the telephone and called up someone. The assassin couldn’t hear what was being said but the words he could make out were “man” and “dead”.

I’m not dead yet, the assassin though. Something was not right. With great effort, he reached out towards his pocket and pulled out the note. He opened the note and read it slowly. He read it once, shook his head or at least thought he was doing so, and read it again.

The note wasn’t a suicide note at all. All it had written in it was one terse sentence, it didn’t say much and yet it spoke volumes.

It said: Like I had said; if you fail, you won’t live to regret it.

Jagdish watched the assassin fumble with the note and smiled to himself. It’s time, he said softly. He went over towards the assassin and propped him against the stool. For a lean man, Jagdish was surprisingly strong. The assassin tried to fight Jagdish off but he couldn’t. The assassin had a terrified look on his face, the look that he would have often associated with the people he had killed.

Jagdish inched closer towards the assassin and whispered into his ears: Like I said before, Barthez; I know your weakness.

“This one’s for you, Father. Just like the others,” Jagdish whispered with a manic glow in his eyes. His arms curled around the neck as Barthez gasped for air. He was past struggling and wished for a quick and a painless death.

Shyam would be there to help him dispose off the body; just as he had always been there. In the alley the other night; in the house tonight.

The last thought that strayed into his mind was how strikingly shiny the gold watch appeared to be.

Jackson's Rock

Wednesday, May 11, 2005
This was supposed to be a writing challenge and 'twas to be about 250 words. I think I might have exceeded the word limit infinitesimally...

Luckily, there had been someone to help them.

Rhea and Aryan were newlyweds and had decided to go on a road trip across the country. Of course, they had been busy exploring contours other than that of the country around them but they put it down as wanderlust.

They had seen most of the country in the oppresive heat of March and had made it without much car trouble. Just as they were thanking their stars for such unblemished luck, they had a flat. In the middle of nowhere!


“Lucky for us, you were around to help us. We thought we had escaped the Ides of March but then, on the first day of the next month,” said Aryan to the old man.

“Aye; there ain’t no help around for miles, son,” said the old man while helping him with the flat.

“We were looking for a place called Jackson’s Rock a few miles from here,” Rhea told the old man while looking out for other vehicles. She hadn’t seen one for a long time now.

“Aye; there be a town called that but there be no people in it,” said the old man with a twinkle in his eyes. He let out a cough and then started fiddling with the pipe dangling by his breast pocket.

“How so?” asked Aryan, happy to keep the old man locked in small talk.

The old man was enjoying this immensely; it wasn’t everyday that he got to talk to such nice people. He puffed on his pipe and let out another cough. This led to a series of hacks but he still clung onto his pipe.

“Me lungs not what they used to be; the quack be telling me that it be pneumonia. Anyways, ol’ legend has it that a disease spread to all the people and the town be rid of ‘em.” There was that twinkle again.

“You know what kinds disease it was?”

“Nay; all me knows is that Jackson’s Rock been a ghost town since me diaper days," said the old man while his eyes sparkled in the evening sun. A faint smile crossed his lips before he let out a cough again.

Rhea giggled as she made her way towards Aryan. She whispered something into his ear and giggled some more. Aryan eyed the old man with apprehension as the evening sun inched towards the mountains.

“You aren’t a wandering spirit or something, right? Like the ones we see in the movies?” Aryan asked the old man with trepidation

“Don’t worry on me, sonny. I live just ‘round the bend in an ol’ hut with me sheep,” the old man chuckled as he puffed on his pipe. His eyes twinkled dangerously as he eyed them.

“I never did get to pose you young ‘uns. Where ye from and what ye doin’ in a dead place like this?”

A muffled roar traveled through the evening air catching the old man’s ears.

“Seems ‘sif ye sonnies in g’luck; that’s a truck, if me ain’t mistakin’ my ears. They not what they used to be,” said the old man as he turned towards Rhea and Aryan.

A lone note fluttered on the car’s hood. Rankled, the old man picked up the note as he let out another cough. “This cough be the death of me,” said the old man as he read the note.

“Jackson’s Rock be a ghost town alright; and ‘twas pneumonia that be rid of us.”

The old man clutched at the sheet of paper; beads of sweat dripping of his brow. He started to cough again when he heard a noise behind him.

"I don't like no monkey business and then they ghosts come to haunt me; just like in the movies," the old man mumbled to himself as he turned around.

"April fool!!" screamed Rhea and Aryan at the startled old man.

The old man was right. It was a truck which came to the rescue of Rhea and Aryan and helped them to take the old man to Jackson's Rock County Hospital. It seemed as if the old man was trying to play a joke on them. That would explain the twinkling eyes, Aryan told Rhea later on.

Only this time around, the joke was on him.

Skipping School

Sunday, May 08, 2005
"Not so easily," her voice thunders from within the confines of the laboratory.

Ashish's march into the laboratory is cut short right by the doorway.He stands still and looks inquiringly at the professor who had the gall to deny him entry into the laboratory.The class watches silently as the professor glares at Ashish with distaste.

In an odd twist of fate, her voice was everything that she wasn't.

She has an ill-fitting frame which hides the better part of her face behind, what seems to the most of us, a telescope.Her eyes, which are no more than slits, appear as big as fog lights as they blink through her glasses.Her hair is a complete mess and reminds us of a housefly with a toupee.Placed strategically beneath her frame, her nose seems to be on a perpetual launch sequence threatening to blast off in the thermosphere.Her lips shows no signs of life and are forever aligned parallel to the ground while adding further contrast with her nose.

Her neck juts out vertically and can give any giraffe in the zoo a run for his money.Whenever she is busy looking down at something and you startle her with words, her neck jumps out at you like a jack in the box.Her built is so slight that sometimes it is easy to mistake her for a badly tended bonsia plant from a distance.An aberration, in an otherwise unspectacular frame, is the slight padding she has built up along her stomach which probably acts as an anchor to help her stay grounded.

She stands at 5'2" and that is when she isn't wearing stilts.It would be easy to miss her in a room because of her demeanor, which is as fiery as an angry Gandhian.

And yet she has a voice which gives her that edge; not unlike the edge an amoeba with a boombox might command from an evolutioanry biologist.

"Excuse me, Ma'am?"

"Not so easily, young man," her voice booms out at Ashish.

"Not so easily as in, Ma'am?"

"You think you can skip classes in the morning and then turn up for practicals in the afternoon, eh?"

It was true.Ashish had been one of the lucky ones who had missed the morning session which had been as intellectaully stimulating as watching George Bush tackle calculus or trying to spell out nuclear.Cutting classes is frowned upon; much like farting during a presentation is frowned upon.

Ashish shifts his weight while trying to come up with a perfect answer.

"Well, what do you have to say for yourself, young man?".Boom boom.

"But ma'am, I only skipped your class in the morning." Saying this, he makes his way confidently into the laboratory while Bomsai plant looks on at him; apparently at a loss for words.

Well, if you can't beat them then just confuse them; usually with smart statements but sometimes stupidity helps you too.

Drunk Dialling: The Devil

Thursday, May 05, 2005
Trring Trring

*Click*

"I'm away scaring the bejesus out of people so please leave your..."

Whrrrr

"Ohhhhhh....ahhhhh....yes...faster...."

"Dammit; we are on the speaker phone again! Keep your voice down!"

*Click*
*Click*

The Devil (slurry voice): "Hell-o; Hell-o...."

Me: "In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost....."

The Devil: "What the...."

Me: "The power of Christ compels you; the power of Christ compels you..."

The Devil (clearly agitated): "Who in the hell is this?!?"

Me: "Shouldn't you know?!?"

The Devil: "Know what?!?"

Me: "If I were in hell; who in the hell I was."

The Devil: "Cut the crap and tell me who you are."

Me: "The power of Christ compels you; the power of Christ compels you"

*Cries of anguish*

*Static*

Me: "Hullo?!?"

The Devil: "For the last time, who are you?"

Me: "Did you just vomit?"

The Devil: "No, I didn't just vomit."

Me: "Well then, the power of Christ..."

The Devil: "Is that Rohit?"

Me (wonderstruck): "How in the hell did you know?!? Oops, sorry wrong choice of words."

The Devil: "I ran a check against your number."

Me: "You traced my call?!?"

The Devil: "You could say so..."

Me: "Isn't that kind of illegal?"

The Devil: "Not according to Alberto, it isn't."

Me: "Alberto?!"

The Devil (bored): "You know; Alberto Gonzales."

Me: "You mean the US Attorney General?!"

The Devil: "You may call him that; I call him the Devil's Advocate" *chuckles*

Me (wondering): "Say, what are you doin' talkin to the US AG?!?"

The Devil: "Well, things aren't as hep as they were some time back so I had to outsource some of my work up to the Earth."

Me: "Wow, you had to outsource, eh. Where did you outsource your work to, India?!?"

The Devil: "I was thinking of it but then the White House came up with a better alternative."

Me (amazed): "The White House......?!?"

The Devil: "Yeah, the White House; the CEO over there was telling me that he would try to send me cheaper labor in Hell and something about oil..."

Me: "The CEO?"

The Devil: "Yup; a chump named Geroge Bush; I helped him get re-elected and he promised to send more souls from Iraq and Afghanistan."

Me: "Wow...."

The Devil: "Actually, I was getting tired by getting overloaded with people from Iraq and Afghanistan; it seems they like it in the rear and it's much of a pleasure thing to them than punishment.Also, their cooking sucks."

Me: "So..."

The Devil: "So, I called up Geroge and told him that I like Chinese food; he said China is not possible but he will send me some North Koreans instead."

Me: "He always short changes on his promises."

The Devil :"Yeah, I'm was growing weary of him so I sent in my friend to shake things up."

Me: "Your friend?"

The Devil: "Prince Abdullah."

Me: "Ahhh, it makes sense...."

The Devil: "So why did you call me?!?"

Me: "Ummm, In the name of the holy Father, I condemn you to Hell."

The Devil: "Already there.It was nice talking to you but it will be even better when we meet face-to-face, which I am told, is pretty soon.Have a torrid day."

*Click*

Me (scared): "Jesus..."

*Click*

Jesus (panting): "I'm busy right now; don't take my name in vain."

*Click*

Me (even more scared): "Holy fuck!!"

*Click*

The Devil: "That's what I call it!"

*Click*

*Dial tone*

Dear Disgusting Train Traveller,

Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Have you ever had a toilet scrub shoved up your nose while it's still wet; you can actually feel the bowl juice run down your face.Well, I would hardly call it juice but then again, I do not know where your tastes lie.

Yes, I agree that it is quite an horrendous experience; scares me shitless, if you will.But still, have you ever had such an experience?

No?

Are you quite certain?

If you still insist that you haven't had such an experience, I guess I will have to take you for what it's worth, which isn't much.But I will have to ask you to desist from trying to force on me a crash course in scrubonomics.

What am I referring to, you ask.

What I am referring to, sir, is the overgrown piece of jungle weed that you call hair.It's bad enough to walk around with a style which has been out of fashion since it was first seen in Edward Scissorhands but what makes it worse is the fact that you find it necessary to use all of Iraq's oil reserves to supplicate it's growth.

While I agree that ours is a free country and that we value the freedom to expression but when your feifdom of expression begins to crawl all over my face, I have to put my foot down.You see, while you were dozing away to glory, your little minions of antichrist began a pre-emptive strike into my nasal airspace.Not only did they nearly choke me but they also left launched chemical warfare by leeching out a little of your foul smelling oil.

I almost overlooked this but when you slumped over me and started dribble out saliva like a cretin, I had to slap you out off your sleep.

Yes, it wasn't a crack of lightening you heard.

What I'm saying is that perhaps, just perhaps, it maybe time to shear off your dreadlocks.

And maybe think of a pacifier.

A Series Of Unfortunate Events - II

Sunday, May 01, 2005
Read Part I before proceeding to part II:

"You told her what?!?" Raj said disbelievingly.

"That I was dead broke and hungry and thought she might want to buy me dinner," I repeated again, each word killing me a thousand times.

"Let me get this straight; you had a thing for this chick for, what, two months; you then grow some balls and ask her out for dinner; you then go on to insinuate that what she is drinking is piss, burp on her face, throw ketchup all over her face and then when she wants you to tell her why you asked her out, you tell her you wanted her to buy you dinner?!?"

"Well, when you put it that way, it does sound quite terrible.But all of this happened so quickly that I had no time to think.It was one disaster after the another," I say defensively

"No matter how quickly it happened, you must have been fuckin' crazy to have told her that," he says shaking his head; apparently still in disbelief.

"Fuckin' crazy or not, I said what I could think of right then."

Raj is still shaking his head.

"And the bill was kinda steep too," I added cheekily.

"It's a wonder that you are still alive; if I had been her, I might have made testicle sizzler then and there in the bistro," he says caustically.

"If you had been her, I would have never asked her out; she would have been too hairy for my liking," I say, pointing to his beard.

He gives me the finger before proceeding to strangling me witless.

"E..nnn...o...u..ggg..hhh," I gasp, unable to withstand his smelly armpits any longer.He lets go of me just like he would let go of a disdainful fart.He walks around the room thinking while I take in a lungful of air.

"What did she say when you apologized to her?"

"Well; here is the deal.... I didn't get a chance to apologize to her," I whimpered.

"Speak up man, I can't hear you," Raj says forcefully.

"I didn't get to apologize to her," I say a little louder.

"Well, that's bloody brilliant; you take her out on one of her most memorable dates, for all the wrong reasons I may add before you start gloating over the word "memorable", and you don't apologize to her; that's just bloody brilliant," Raj says; he continues to mumble "bloody brilliant" over and over again as if to test his British lineage.

"It's not like I didn't apologize to her; after the whole "buy me dinner" sentence, she gave me a dirty look and stormed off from the bistro," I reply unconvincingly.

"Of course she would storm off from the bistro.What did you expect her to do; jump onto the table and hack on you mercilessly until she elicits an apology from you?"

"Well, I ran after her but the waiters convinced themselves that I had connived the entire fiasco just to escape from footing the bill.So they wouldn't let me off until I had paid for the food and by that time, it was too late."

"What do you mean "too late"; she isn't Marion Jones.All you had to throw out some money and rush after her," he says quizzically.

"Ummm, as luck would have it, I fell a little short on cash and then...," my voice trailed off.

"And then...?"

"Well, they made me scrub some dishes," I said hastily.

Raj bursts out laughing.

"Ohhhhh man, this gets richer and richer!"

"It isn't that funny," I say mirthlessly.

"Of course it is; it's like being told that the operation on your left kidney went really well only to realize that they were to operate on your right kidney," he manages to tell between bouts of uncontrolled laughter.He goes on laughing like a laughing hyena on ecstasy while I look hopelessly forlorn.I really did dig that girl.

"Okay, now that I've got that out of my system; let's talk about damage-control." He is till chuckling though.

"What do you mean: damage control?" I ask hopefully.

"Well, you need to apologize to her and you need to do it in style; before it's too late."

"You mean there is still hope?!?"

"There is always hope," he remarks haughtily. I hate it when he starts acting all smug.

"So I apologize to her tomorrow."

"Tomorrow, who said anything about tomorrow?!?Whatever has to be done, has to be done tonight."

"It's quite late; she might be alseep," I mumble. Holy crap, I didn't want to face her tonight. Besides, she is lodged at the Girl's hostel and getting into a maximum security prison would be a breeze compared to getting into the hostel at night.

"After the gala time she had with you, the last thing she would think about would be sleep.If I am not mistaken, she and her friends must be sticking pins into a voodoo doll shaped after you."

"Pins... voodoo dolls…," I say rather taken aback.

"Yeah; she's majorly into black magic and all; say, aren't you feeling any pain anywhere private?" he asks tauntingly. I show him the finger and tell him to shove it up his garbage chute.

“Wouldn’t getting into the hostel be next to impossible?” I ask him.

“Well, the trick is not in getting into the hostel but luring her out of it,” he says secretively.

He wouldn’t tell me more.

-----------------------


"So what's the plan?"

We were very close to the hostel, by a so-called garden which consisted of nothing but a few trees and some dead grass. It was pitch black and I thought that we looked like a bunch of fools carrying roses, candles, sheets, an expensive box of chocolates and a bottle of wine. I was feeling a bit hungry and I had asked Raj if I could have some of the chocolate. He threatened to torch my pole if I even as much as thought about it.

"Well, the plan is that I call down a friend of mine from the hostel.I'll tell her to bring Rhea along as well. I know that Rhea would be highly reluctant to associate herself with anybody on whom you might have even breathed upon; but knowing my friend, she will convince Rhea to come along," he rattles off like a strategist.

"Okay, so she comes down with your friend. Then what?" I ask him.

"Once I have called up my friend, you lay down the sheet over here and arrange all the candles around the sheet.I know that Rhea loves chocolates and well, who wouldn't like wine by the candle light. If you manage not to screw it up by being yourself, you might just about be able to notch up a few points."

Man, Raj may speak a lot of shit but he sure knows how to back it up.

"Okay; you better wait her and set up the sheets. Don't light the candle till I signal you to. The signal is an owl hoot." And he proceeds to hoot like an owl.Just as he finishes with his signal, another owl hoots back. I think Raj might have made an owl's loins tingle. He is just that kind of guy.

"And one more thing, don't eat the chocolates.being the nice girl that she is, she will offer some to you; so wait for a few minutes." Saying these words, he is off.

I spread the sheet around in darkness and squat on it. My adrenaline is pumping and I feel strangely elated. It's still rather dark and I suddenly feel the urge to relieve myself. Not wanting to light any candles, I rummage around for a twig or paper. My fingers fall upon something that felt like dead grass. I grab hold of it, bring my lighter close to it and say "let there be light".

What followed that was the loudest shriek I have ever heard. Suddenly a stinging pain surged up my right arm. The dead grass in my hand started to struggle against my grasp, much to my horror.

"What the....," I exclaim to myself and flare up my lighter again.

"Jesus; the fuckin' grass is a cat," I nearly shout to myself. It was a weird site; I held a cat in my hand and it's tail was on fire. I let go off the cat and it bounded off towards the hostel; it's tail still on fire.

I look at my hand and discover a long cut; damn damn damn.Why do shitty things happen to me?

As I was pitying myself, I heard an owl hoot. Raj!

And Rhea!

Hurriedly, I lit up the candles. and arranged the wine and the box of chocolate.

"What was all that racket, man?!?" Raj asked as he jogs over towards me.I told him what had happened.

"Dude, you are the only guy I know who is capable of torching cats before making up to his girl," he says wistfully."Is she here?" I ask him."Look for yourself," he says, pointing over my shoulder.

I turn around and spot Rhea coming towards us with Raj's mystery girl tagging along with her. Actually, it should be the other way around but who cares!

I grabbed hold of the chocolates and the bottle of wine and headed off towards her. She saw me coming and started a little. She hesitated for a moment and then continued towards me.

"What's this jerk doing here?" is the first thing she ask's Raj as she closed down on us.

"Why don't you ask the jerk himself, Rhea?"

Bastard!

"What are you doing over here, you sorry piece of trash?" she asks me.She seems a little miffed.

"Ummm, look Rhea, I am really sorry about what happened at the bistro. I know I acted like a total jackass and I'm sorry about that. Sometimes I let the humor get the better of me; it's not an excuse but still I'm really sorry," I tell her as she looks at me, unconvinced.

"Well, the truth is that I really really like you and just wanted you to know what a fun guy i could be; and you put me in a spot by asking me why I asked you out. I liked you but I couldn't say that out flat so I went to the best next thing: jokes."

She's still unconvinced.

I hand her the box of chocolates and the bottle of wine and tell her again that I was really sorry. As I was telling her all of this, I was also leading her towards the candle-lit sheet. The moment she saw it, I knew that she was floored.


She looked at the wine and the candle light and says," Are you trying to get me drunk?"

I had been holding her hand for a bit now and I think the blood from the cut started to make its prescence felt against her soft skin.It might have also fallen on her dress, which, thankfully, wasn’t white.

“Did you have something on your hand ‘cause it feels all sticky?” Rhea asks me as she looks into my eyes.

I didn't know what to tell her; not anything funny. So I just grab the roses and hand it over to her. She takes the flowers and takes a whiff of it. I would have thought that she might have said that the roses smell lovely or something to that effect but instead, she threw the roses at me.

I look at her, dumbfounded.

"Were they roses?" she asks me, haltingly.

"Yeah, they were.But don't worry, you smell even better than those roses," I said rather adventurously.

She wibbled.

Well, that's the best way I could put the noise she made.

A wibble.

"I'm all...llll...er..ggg...iiccc toooo rooo..sssesss," she wibbled again.

"What?!?"

"Are you alright?" I asked her as I flared up the lighter making sure they were far away from her hair.

"Aaaiiiii.......nweeddd....tooo...gwoooo...twoo...thwe....ospitle...," she wibbled again.

I took a close look at her face; it was bursting into spots and her eyes and lips were puffing up.

"Ummm; Raj...I think you need to call for a rickshaw," I shouted out to Raj. He ran over towards us; got hold of the situation and flagged down a rickshaw while I guided Rhea towards the rickshaw. Rhea's friend comforted her while giving me dirty looks.

Rhea and her friend got into one rickshaw while Raj and I fitted into another.

"Man, you have a real bad luck streak goin' on with you.How was I supposed to know she was allergic to roses?"

I couldn't curse my bad luck enough but I had one burning question in my mind as we raced towards the hospital.

"Raj, can I ask you a question now?" I ask.

"Go ahead, yaar."

"Can I have some chocolates now?"

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