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She was called Sin. Who gave her such a name I cannot say. Was it her professional name she would not say for silver or for my abject surrender to her wish the whole day. My persuasive speech and silver was wasted on her. She came in her street clothes a voluptuous red head on whom any dress didn’t do justice. I meant to keep aloof and keep the encounter strictly business like. No perfect specimen of her kind had I ever seen or made love to. Having bought love by galore from the day I became a man I knew I was the boss.
I placed directly an envelope into her hands. I noticed the dimple in her elbow and I could not help thinking she was well upholstered. She smiled and laid aside the envelope unopened with neither hauteur not rancor. ‘I will demand my price after my service.’ The rodomontade of a whore was not in her speech. It was more of woman of pleasure who had whole time to give pleasure and transport her clientele to dimensions they never had an inkling of. She knew it and the luxuriousness of oohs and ahhs during our sport was that of woman who was born to give pleasure.
Pleasure she could give like a tap running on and on. I asked her name and she said: Sin. Much to my annoyance she never budged. Her body could writhe and roll and add to the pleasure but her inner spirit was like a barbed wire, cutting and tearing my human frailties that must seek pleasure and pay and go on paying,- and in the end feel left out in the cold. She was correct and Sin chose to be correct.
She stuck to our contract; it was sealed over a written contract sealed and delivered to her three days before the encounter. She would surrender her body totally for the price she deemed fit. I knew how high the price was but that nothing compared to the wound in my innermost being. It was a rvage I could not bear. I wanted to her carnally and the knowledge was all that mattered. By midnight as she parted she merely nipped my earlobe so only I could hear it. ‘Price is paid for.’
The strangest sensation was the early hours of the night. Sin was completely erased from my thoughts! I slept like a log and the love-making had sunk into some dark pool like a boulder and not for once I could recall it. She had completely disappeared from memory.
In my forties I married a girl from the village where my ancestral house even now stands. Meanwhile I had become a man with power and influence and I was the Big Boss to great many.
Marriage of the Big Boss was an event and how the townsfolk bent backwards to make the wedding a success. I knew the bride knew my position and my prestige. She was docile and on the wedding night I would do my duties. One thing led to another and she was all for me to take. But the image of Sin lay before me. Incredible it was! My hair all stood on ends and sweat beaded on my fore head. The bride asked if anything was the matter. The shadow of Sin lay between and the lips of my bride had taken on the snarl of a cougar. However much I tried she just didn’t go away. My bride was all for sleeping off. But it was a vain hope. Sin had come back and she was demanding payment.
One night I just sneaked out of the house and I had not the heart to face the woman I had married. Let her live with the illusions she was married into power and prestige. I had paid the price Sin demanded. Her image merely would not go away was the price I paid.
benny

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The Man Who Could Hate Anything ©

‘In the midst of Plenty’ Bar was just the kind of therapy for me. I could meet all kinds of people and build up my shattered ego. I have been below par lately. Now that I am cured I don’t mind telling it. It was not paranoia but something just as bad: I had a feeling every one in my circle of friends was out to make me look silly. For instance when I wanted to speak of my vacation someone was sure to come up with a more exciting and exotic locale and it made me shut up. If I did suggest a diet that worked another would have one to make mine a fad. No wonder my ego trip was going nowhere with the kind of friends I had. I lost them one by one. Only one that stuck by me was my low esteem till I sought counsel. Dr. Appelbaum who treated me was sure ‘friends were not what I needed but some strong man-to-man talk with whomever I came across.’ ‘Be assertive, man,’ was the keyword. So I wanted a strong opening line whenever I buttonholed some one at random.
‘See that your approach makes the other at a disadvantage.’ I mentally quoted as I headed to do my thing. The bar was always full and it brought together customers from all walks of life. Sorry for this digression. For this story is about the man in a red blazing tie, almost loud enough to shatter my color sense.
I met the man slouched over his drink. His eyes struck me as infinitely sad. Having looked into mine he could not easily shake loose.
“Ah, I got you” I murmured with a touch of triumph. “My power play is having results,” I said to myself as I moved towards him.
Always the opening line was as embarrassment for me as the one that was the recipient. Having made the move, I could not back out now! “A bold tactical move speaks for you” I quoted the ‘Power play for the Wimps’ written by my shrink and was in the bestseller list for a while. With all his collective wisdom distilled in it I felt strong and at an advantage. I pulled up the chair not waiting for his response and sat opposite to him. I wanted to touch upon the weather. Before the snot of conversational kerchief could come fluttering into view, I sidetracked. His tie was so loud and it was swatting me all across my line of thoughts. I must have been so unsettled I said: “Nice tie”. Almost at that moment I bit my tongue in embarrassment. I was supposed to unnerve and not please him.
The stranger ran his fingers through his tie with distaste and almost spat out: “This rag! I hate its color. Besides, it is too wide.” He said it and his bilious eyes glided below his hooded lids. The pause was as painful to me as well as for him.
Gently I said: “Hate is a very powerful emotion. Try to say, it is only a tie, I can always loosen it’.
‘Oh yeah?’ he was combative in the way his lips curled. I could see he was in no mood to yield the ground to me. I said, ’you try to see it objectively. A tie is a tie is a tie. But I am in charge over my sartorial elegance.’
‘That is what you think.’ the man hissed, ‘I am on the road and if I loosen my tie, I will be breaking the office protocol for salesmen’s dress code’.
‘Such code is man made and you can break, if you want to.’ I stood the ground.
‘And be thrown out of my job?’
I was on the wrong track here. I knew it and he knew it.
I had already taken a plunge and I had to paddle around the painful silence that ensued. The more I talked I could get the better of shyness. Dr. Applebaum had encouraged me to use big words, another ploy to keep the other on the edge, and keep guessing. ‘So your tie is de rigueur, eh?’I do not know if my French made any sense to him but his eyes just bulged from some inward stir, ’I represent Acme Haberdashers, Inc.,’ I wasn’t sure if I were expected to respond to it but he added, ’this tie is the latest in the line of ties which I am expected to sell like hot cakes. But it is more like a garrote to me.’
He said as if to no one, ’I hate it.’
‘Hate is still a potent emotion…’
He just stamped his foot and asked, ‘Are you a salesman, yourself?’
I went pale somewhat and I mumbled, ‘Yes, I sell Kohinoor Dictionary to Colleges.’ A touch of levity was in order, the plan B, as suggested by my doctor. I said, ‘I sell words wholesale. Satisfaction guaranteed.’
‘So that was why you were dropping big words on me?’
“It was unintentional,’ I said with a flutter.
I hastily added that I felt no inclination to sell one after I had learned ten thousand words. ‘ I am still counting.’
He thrust his face forward to say, ‘I hate confidences from strangers who fatten on their line of trade.’
This was going out of control so I meekly asked, ‘is there anything you don’t hate?”
“No!” he spat out. He downed his gin in one gulp and studied his nails as if he were seeing them for the first time. “I hate every thing. This drink that makes me bitter. I hate the weather that drove me into this awful joint.”
For a full ten minutes he went on the monotonous litany of his hate which I could see was so pervasive that even the toothpicks neatly stocked before him in a chipped porcelain cup were not spared.
While his monologue seemed gaining second wind, I excused and said: “I hate to break up this meeting.”
It somehow made the contact. The stranger stretched his hand as if to say ‘hold it’. “ You also hate then! That makes you my soul mate!” He was sure he had not thought hate could make people want to connect.
He turned to the bartender and beckoned him. “Hey Joey, here is my pal. We both have things to hate. What would you recommend?”
As the bartender took a trifle too long, the stranger leant to me and said in a whisper: “We both hate bartenders who are slow, don’t we?”
I nearly choked and ran for life.
Months later I was walking along with Dr. Appelbaum stopping to watch the stalls during the Annual fruit and Vegetable show. My shrink had an interesting theory on man and his job and how it in turn shaded his attitude to it.
I asked what prompted him to touch on the topic that was neither here or there. Dr. Appelbaum mentioned of a patient who had for long suffered from same symptoms as I had and chosen a line of work where he had to meet people he would have in normal circumstances avoided. ‘I have a patient who sells ties and wears it to be noticed. Such a red tie,hmm…’ I was curious. My companion pointed discreetly at one whom at the moment was gravitating toward the stall next to where we were. Dr. Appelbaum said,‘ See the one with the red tie?’
I turned my head and there he was the man who could hate anything. I sighed. Fortunately it was not on me but a sad looking cauliflower on which he had fixed his attention. The same old sad eyes but biliously fixed on the vegetable. His tie was same red and as wide as last time. The man who could hate everything was still at it. His hooded eyelids did not hide his malignity and he stood with his feet slightly apart to give him balance. He had his hat still on and he bunched his hand with his first two fingers into an imaginary gun. He was about to send the wilting cauliflower to kingdom come.
Dr. Appelbaum quickly averted his eyes and said, ‘Let us leave. He is rather serious case.’ He said he had taken him without hoping for success. Before our man could spot us my companion dragged me away.
benny

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Changing values

In a curious town like Pye-in-the Skye there are many ways to be considered ‘mad.’ Max was not an idiot but the folks thought he was a borderline case. They didn’t take kindly to those who did not live unto their expectations. Nor did they warm up to those who stuck to their guns. As soon as he learned to assemble a refrigerator he knew he wanted to sell one. Where did he go but to the North Pole and naturally the rest sighed and said, ‘Good riddance.’
He wanted to sell refrigerators to the natives.
The Inuit didn’t buy a single one and he died a very poor man. All that he left behind was some ice boxes and a technical manual.
On the other hand Dr. Faustus having made a pact with the devil became the most celebrated scholar. He knew everything that went under the Sun, which passed for knowledge. How the crowned heads and scholars alike feted him! Then came the computers that made him redundant. He died in grief. He said that a machine beat him. Yes.
The world went a-changing! Then came a thaw and ice melted. The polar caps vanished as an icicle in a furnace. The people in Nunavut learned to live with the climate changes. Then someone found the papers of ‘Mad’ Max and it was a discovery that electrified the whole region. They began to make fridges themselves and control their houses to the right temperature.
The world in their own muddling ways saw a great injustice was done to Inuit. They owed to them a great debt for destroying their old way of life. How to repay them?
Nunavut became synonymous the home of refrigerators. The world leaders came to an agreement that fridges made there could be sold worldwide duty-free. Buying fridges made in Nunavut was consistent with principles of ethical living. Inuit prospered.
Who contributed to the welfare of the world more? A fool or a scholar?
benny

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Solid Fame ©

I wanted to try my hand at sea fishing like the way Hemingway did; so when I had a chance I chartered a boat for a day. Suppose I tell you the name of the boat was Harry Morgan. Wouldn’t you think I was far gone into it? I mean the Hemingway thing?
Call it a beginner’s luck I caught the strangest looking fish as soon as I learned to cast a line. The captain of the boat said, ‘It is a flounder. No doubt of that.’
It was not a Marlin that I had hoped for but a flounder. A monster of a flounder!


I said that it was a flounder but with the most peculiar habit of weeping. Captain Bill looked at my catch and gave a cry. He had never seen such luck as I had. The fish began to beat its tail, ‘Give my life back and I shall fulfill your wildest dream.’
The captain was standing next to me and I asked, ‘What shall I ask him, Bill?’
‘Fame! Fame!’ the captain hissed in my ear. So I told the flounder, ‘Make me famous.’
The fish wanted to know ‘famous for what?’
I couldn’t give the specifics so I said, ‘Fame, it is not all that difficult?’
The fish said my wish was granted.
At the end of the day I headed to the nearest bar. I knew what fame meant. ‘I shall be on every one’s lips.’ I said to myself.
The bar where fishermen frequented was choking full. But as soon as I stepped in those who hung out made way for me. I knew I was famous. They were all looking at me and in their envy I knew the flounder was a genius.
While ordered for a shot of whiskey I heard one comment, ‘He is very famous!’
‘Famous for what?’
A pause. The first voice spoke, ‘I dunno.’
It was greeted with a guffaw. I saw red and I went back to the end of the wharf. I was alone, and called out, ‘Flounder, flounder.’
The flounder surfaced and asked, ‘what will you be now?’
‘I want to hunt and kill a lion.’ The flounder said, ‘Go and you shall indeed kill one.’
I went to Africa for big game hunting. I shot my first lion and I went home. I was on every one’s lips. But no single one spoke in my favor and they all damned for having killed one of the last two remaining lions.
I was upset. And I had no use for such fame.
So I went to my flounder. I said, ‘Flounder make me famous. This time make it certain it is for solid reasons.’
The flounder said, ‘There is now only one way you can secure your fame. Are you ready for desperate measures?’
I answered, ‘yes.’
He whispered into my ears and I directly went back to Africa and killed the last lion.
Next day the papers were full of it. I was the cynosure of all eyes. People paid money to be photographed in my company. They wanted my autograph. Celebrities vied with one another to dine with me. They even followed me everywhere, cheering me all the way. In fact they never had enough of me.
‘Whoever heard of a flounder riding our streets? Or bagging a lion!’ So sang they all.
There is even a proverb, ‘getting a load of Flounder Fred’ meaning one is famous in whichever way you looked.( reprinted from Elves Bells)
benny

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Two Frogs ©

Mr. Frog from Osaka thought sixty years was enough to know his city inside out. He lived by a ditch but made it a point to catch up with hustle and bustle of the city.
Daily he walked up to Bay View from where he had the best view of the sea. On his way home he was sure to stop in front of the shop where his grocer always had something fresh and allowed him credit. Grocers like everywhere are proud of their wares. The grocer in Osaka was no exception. Urging him to sample his wares all fresh produce he would proudly announce that they were brought from Kyoto. Later he would call on the Mayor and when asked for news, the Mayor was sure he was neck deep in civic affairs.
Mr. Frog was sure the Mayor ought to do something about it. The Mayor said with a touch of regret that he wished he could take a holiday. It invariably brought him to ask politely, ‘Hon’ble Mayor if you had a chance where you would spend your holidays?’ Mayor was certain, ‘Kyoto, of course! I would like to go around the gardens attached to the palace of the Mikado’ Mr. Frog was impressed. Everyday he heard something or other about Kyoto. ‘Kyoto must be the most famous city,’ he concluded.
One morning he announced, ‘I shall visit Kyoto.’ By evening he was on the road. He hopped along and wondering all the strange sights and sounds that he would sample there. He was excited and was ready to write down all that were totally new and he hoped perhaps on return he might write an account of his adventures in Kyoto.
Meanwhile another frog much younger and eager to experience new sensations was heading from Kyoto. His destination was Osaka. He heard Osaka was a Port where ships touched from all over the world. He heard of the clubs that catered to sailors who had money to spend. ‘Dancing and drinking went on into the wee hours’ he was told.

Seeing one from Osaka Mr. Frog from Kyoto bowed and asked the elder frog where he was heading. Older Frog returned his salutations and said he could not let another day go without sampling the delights available in Kyoto.
‘Delights?’ Mr. Frog from Kyoto croaked.
‘Yes! Kyoto is first on my list of twenty things to do before I die’.
Mr. Frog could not believe. ‘Kyoto I have left behind for it isn’t where I want to end my days.’
The older frog was sure that he was mistaken. The younger frog insisted that he knew what he was talking out. ‘There is nothing in Kyoto that is as good as Osaka.’
The older frog was sure ‘Kyoto has everything Osaka didn’t have’. The younger of the two said Kyoto was a dump compared to Osaka. Thus they argued till they stopped short. ‘This speaks ill of us to argue with words. Let us have facts’ said the frog from Kyoto. The older frog pointed to a hillock and said ‘We shall stand over there and see the landmarks of our own city.’ The frog from Kyoto agreed.
They hopped and they stood at the top. Holding on to each other ‘You see Osaka by the sea?’ asked the elder Frog.
The younger frog similarly said, ‘My hon’able elder do you not see Kyoto?’
Yes they were thankful the sky was clear. The elder frog picked out the landmarks of his city, ‘There, you see Pizza hut. Don’t you? The red roof and the logo is unmistakable in whole Osaka.’ The frog from Kyoto pointed in the direction he came from and said,’ Kyoto also has one.’


The older frog in his turn pointed out to the giant billboard and said, ’There is McDonalds and across the street do you see KFC?’
The frog from Kyoto had to agree that his city also had all these. They bravely went on pointing out various novelties that had sprung up in their cities.
Abruptly they stopped. Looking rather silly the frog from Osaka,’ I am braving my catarrh and sciatica to see in Kyoto, what stares at me in my backyard.’
The frog from Kyoto felt ashamed, ‘Everyday as I go to work I get my eyeballs full of billboards. How I had wished that some typhoon would clear these ugly sores from my path.’
‘Imagine taking all the trouble to get a load of these in Osaka.’
‘Ditto!’ the elder frog said with feeling, ‘I’d rather keep some illusions left.’ Two frogs politely took leave of one another and returned to their own cities.(Reprinted from Elves Bells)
benny

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Long ago a traveler on arriving in El Dorado went to the king to pay his respects. The king was pleased and asked if he could help increase his revenues. He promised a share of it.
The stranger said he knew a way.
The king asked,’ How?’
The traveler said,” Taxes”.
The king liked the idea so much that he made him straightaway his finance minister. The man settled down in that land and amassed in course of time so much wealth.
The king died and a new king who came in found tax a convenient way to make money. The new king was very particular of doing everything strictly within the law. Thus he made it a law that all ministers who were till then exempted from paying taxes to pay up.
“ My ministers ought to set an example and serve the tax paying public.” The king insisted.
The ministers were given great many titles but their wealth were confiscated by way of tax, ‘Tax on titles’ it was called; The king had made a law of modernizing laws of the kingdom. It meant more taxes that left none.
Here we see the inversion principle.
* How keen are parents to see their infant walk for the first time! They take pride that their offspring can stand on its own and is normal like every other. That very moment also marks the beginning that child shall go its own way. It is only a matter of time.
Inversion Principle states that “ energy used by man in following a course of action will make its own motion,- that notwithstanding whatever success he may have had in making its impact on others, its backdraft will strike at the interests he represent.”
benny

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Thought and Memory©

It was twilight. Hugin and Munin as usual perched on the broad shoulders of Odin to recite the day’s events. The raven that represented Thought said: “What I said to you in the strictest confidence should remain so, within your godhead. Not even Memory has the right to hear it.”
Odin laughed and said: “I know. This is just what Memory told me. He also insisted that you had no right to hear what news he passed on in strictest confidence.”
When Memory was confronted with stealing his thunder Munin flapped his wings and said: “Your thunder! I merely spoke my mind.”
*There is nothing new under the sun.

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