Posts Tagged ‘story teller’
The man was becoming very sentimental. While sitting in a coffee house he told Mulla Nasruddin, ‘Mulla, Think I was once the apple of the eye of my mother’.
Mulla sat silent. He continued, ’My wife thinks I am her dog. She asks me to fetch things.’
My neighbors think I am their meal ticket. And my child treats me as a mule to ride about.’
Mulla remained silent. The man asked somewhat annoyed, ’See I am being used by all. And you hear it all unconcerned.’
Mulla snapped out of his reverie,’ No, no I am concerned’
‘How concerned you don’t say’ the man whined.
Mulla leaned to him in a very intimate gesture. ‘I am so concerned. I am. Can I touch you for a tenner?’
The Liars Club ©
One morning I woke up startled. Normally nothing short of a suicide bomber exploding him right on my face could make me nervous. What startled me was very mundane and I could have gone on my sleep had I a yen for it. You see my dream was asleep in my four-poster bed while I had my shuteye in the gazebo. Some must have a nightcap or count sheep but sleep under an open sky is de rigueur for me. Whenever the night is warm and stars are all out in the inky darkness above I sleep soundly without distraction. Dreams are the distraction whether they choose my bed or my head.
That morning my dreams like newspapers piled up by milk bottles not yet cleared startled me to put it mildly. My esteemed Members of the Club to which I aspire to be a part may naturally wonder, ‘Do I sleep?’
Some sleep like a log but must find a fetal position or curl around like a hound. No it is not for me and I sleep on my feet. As I feel magnetic lines zapping right through my crown to my soles I know my sleep shall be sweet. No dream can match my neon blue sleep what with my hair all up and muscles in a twitch. Wish fulfillment of dreams cannot quite match the pleasure I derive therein. Stars may fall in Alabama but sleep on my feet get me touch the stratosphere during my REM phase. Who needs dreams, I ask you.
Of course in my adolescent years when wet behind my ears to make any cap a shapeless wet rag I used to sleep like a bat from the tree house in my yard much to my dad’s annoyance. But then he understood the vampire was much to blame and he let me sleep anywhere even in the doghouse. But owing to my regards for Fido who never could have a shuteye with me around, I slept in the barn where my sleeping companions were much too dumb to wonder what I was doing from the rafters in the first place.
Well to cut short my request to the distinguished Club for allowing my company I also vouch that I do not snore or fidget while I catch forty winks. My sleep is bound to give no offense whatsoever to any distinguished member who may be catching his sleep of the just beneath the freshly pressed pages of his morning paper larded with gory details of murder and mayhem. Among my peers I am content to peruse the funnies while I rest my gray cells and my ivories. Lastly but not the least my fangs have never sought for the jugular of the dead. I am willing to abide by the rules and regulations of the Club scrupulously to the letter.
Chas. ‘Dracula’ Beddoes
Reply to the application came back and the letter carried only a line. ‘The request has been blackballed by the undersigned and refused with utmost regret that the Club cannot entertain a request from a living aspirant.’
Frank Stein, Hon. secretary of the Liars Club.
The name rang a bell and I knew the man who signed the letter. On the tenth grade he was my first victim and as a vampire I must admit my only unprofessional job. No wonder he has not quite forgiven me ever since.
Puss in Boots ©
The Chairman of Gridlocks Corporation retired and his town house together with liquid assets he willed to his eldest son; his home situated in the suburbs he gave the middle son and Randolph, the third son got his tortoiseshell cat.
Compared to what his brothers received the value of a cat was almost nothing. After the will of Pilkington senior was read and his earthly goods divided up his brothers thought their youngest ought to have received more. Directly they set out to make amends. Randolph got part of the furniture earmarked for disposal, some pots and pans and a pair of calf-leather boots. Having done this the two shut the door on the face of young Randolph and the cat.
Young Randolph had to think of a roof over his head. He moved temporarily to the house of a friend. Luckily Baron Balderdash had a castle and some hectares of ground. Before leaving for a long cruise around the world this baron was certain that he would amuse himself in his estate.
‘Worthington Castle is a pile of ruin. But what a ruin!’ the baron said as he handed over keys to it. Randy thus found himself in a castle where every stone was a slice of time chipped out and halls laid out with fan vaults an antiquarian’s dream. While his brothers moved to the suburbs to live in houses with two carports he had a castle moat with drawbridge. The only advantage he could think of was it would discourage bailiffs from coming in, if it came to that..
Worthington Castle was grand but drafty; its demijohn dark and musty. Randolph Pilkington found the wine cellar bare and the larder empty. The cat checked the buttery while the master found some linen to furnish the sleeping quarters. The young master had no choice but settle his few belongings in one room that later he found was the boudoir of Lady Worthington. Looking through the Norman window he had to agree the lady could look at some pleasant vistas while she sulked. He made it his home in transit as it were.
What money he had was quickly spent in food and fuel. Next day a shivering Randy looked morosely about him. He was all alone but his cat purred as if he was purposed to bring some warmth into his life. He asked his cat, ‘How are we going to survive this?’
Puss said, ‘It is a four letter word. But in a time like this I cannot soft pedal.’
‘Is it some riddle?”
‘No, master’ replied the cat, ‘Only work can help you now.’
‘Puss I didn’t know you could speak?’
‘Your mistake master,’ the cat said matter of factly, ‘May I remind you I have nine lives?’
Poor Randy groaned and lay in his bed. ‘If I don’t sleep migraine attack is sure to come,’ and he slept.
On the third day the cat came up to his master and purred, ‘I have one request.’
‘Well what is it?”
“I would like to wear a pair of boots.”
‘Mine or my fathers?’
The puss said he had his heart set on his father’s unbroken boots. Randy laughed his heart out. His migraine was gone and he saw a glint in the eye of his cat. It was queer of course. Then he realized a cat who wished to break a new pair of boots must be prince among cats. He threw the pair of boots with a laugh towards him.
‘You break this new boot, ‘he said, and let hell loose for all I care.’
The cat dug his paws into the boots.
Presto! The puss transformed himself into a man and the wonder of it was he was the spitting image of Randy Pilkington! The size was right and also the wave of his hair and mustache. The cat stroked the tuft of hair below his lips and silkily murmured, ‘mon panache.’.
‘Call me RP,’ said he trying his master’s best coat.
‘It fits me like a shot,’ said the body double after checking himself in a mirror. He admitted the only misgiving of his change was what to wear for an occasion. ‘Do I enroll myself in a suit or casuals?’ He asked his master whether he recommended a pinstripe or a mauve shirt for the morning. The master whose shock had still not died down jabbed his finger to a sober gray. RP had some reservations. ‘I am going to the university of Runnymede’, said he.
Not wanting to jump him needlessly he explained that he had rummaged through his papers and was sure a bachelors degree in computer application and information systems was right up his alley.
‘But I am dud in mathematics or in working out figures.
‘But I feel strong about the subject’
‘Well it is your funeral,’
RP thought his master needed to know a few matters between their relationship. ‘I intend to work and bring home the bacon.’
RP was sure from careful deliberation that he was right to say and say he did,’ Some people take to work like a duck to water and some don’t.’ His conclusion was his master would be a disaster in any workplace.
‘The more I see I know you will thrive only on your supine position.’
Young Randy knew his cat was all industry and eager to get ahead.
‘Trust me, master’ the cat announced as though he had read his thoughts.’I take your place from here and now.’
Before it sank in RP had all the papers in his briefcase and wallet.
‘What is your password?’
Ralph’s jaw dropped.
‘I have the bank statements social security number and other particulars.’ RP said and his confidence was awesome. Perhaps he was born to fill his dad’s boots, so thought Randy. So the master quietly clued him in.
‘But there is a heavy cutback and Tories are out to rub your nose on the gravel if you intend to work your way in?’
The cat gave a laugh that was tinged with diabolical cunning. He purred and said, ‘I am going to give work an altogether dimension. You need to learn how and what, from my example.’
There was something strange in the way he said it.
That evening RP came home and said he had to hang out with some students in a pub.
His observation was that picking all the loose information was good for the career. But he was reticent to answer questions in detail.
RP was good at his word. Everyday he went out and bought food from the supermarket swept the hall clean and polished his boots and cooked breakfast and it was quite a treat. Randy could on the strength of it bear life and the ghostly air of a castle as though he were in the Bahamas. The bleak countryside in his mind had brightened up thanks to his incomparable puss in boots.
Two months later a constable knocked at the door and demanded admittance.
PC. Potts the constable on duty said there was an armed robbery in the neighborhood. From several witnesses the law was trying to piece together the identity of the bandit. The law didn’t like the look of things. The young master burst out laughing, ‘And you come to me to solve it?’
The constable explained gravely a security van was waylaid and a bandit in boots had decamped with money. Randolph laughed and explained, ‘I didn’t go anywhere, I didn’t see anything or heard anything.’ The constable looked at him and his innocent face betraying no emotions hit him that he was wasting his time. Only that he asked in his line of duty if he could produce one who stood alibi. Alas the young master admitted he was alone in that castle and it made him feel very despondent to keep on with a conversation that was to no purpose.
The constable went off. His sixth sense said, ‘Master Randolph could not have even got away robbing old lady of her purse if he wanted to. But his experience tweaked him to consider two pairs of boots that stood innocently in one corner of the room. One had a peculiar cut and evidently made to order by some nob. He filed his suspicion away and went to the police station to report.
Meanwhile Randy did not observe the cat who had just ambled in his tail swishing and he silently jumped on to the cill to take in the back of a constable moving away.’ Well the caller drew a blank, didn’t he?’ he asked conversationally.
The young master wanted to ask how his study was getting on. ‘Application, application is the watchword, ‘he observed.
‘In what sense?’ Ralph asked.
‘Attending lecture is fine but applying it in real situation makes it all the more fruitful.’
Ralph had to observe, ’Work makes you take a moralizing tone as easily as baring your claws.’ Rather peeved he said, ‘I pefered you purr than drop pearls of wisdom. Coming from you it smacks of fish oil. ’
Strangely RP was not to be drawn in and he stealthily went out into the night.
PC Potts the constable went back to the police station made his report.
Five months later there was arson and an ATM was blasted. Money was found missing. Again witnesses found the culprit was seen moving in suspicious circumstances. Some witness could swear whoever it was intended mischief. Some swore the culprit carried dangerous stuff to blast open the ATM. None however could be sure of the height or his color. But all of them agreed on one point. His boots were very distinct. The detectives also thought there was something in it. PC Potts immediately unlocked his mental file and informed his colleague about seeing something similar in the Worthington Hall. He was sure it could help them crack the case.
Meanwhile the sergeant in charge of the case found the shoe imprint. Photographs revealed all the more strange feature. The sole of the boot merely imprinted a cat’s paw in the debris of plaster and mortar. The evidence of boots was shooting beyond the realm of probability!
It so happened Randolph Pilkington had to do some business in the city. He took a taxi and called on his bank and checked his account. His cash balance of Pounds 82 s.12 had overblown as though by magic into 3 million! His hand trembled as he pored over the statement. Below he saw a debit entry and it had drawn the entire amount leaving pounds 1000 in his balance. He could from the transaction understand his unknown beneficiary had created a special account for College education.
He probed the manager who was sure that he had come four days earlier and had an interview with him. In order to make sure he referred to his diary and showed the day and the hour. The manager asked if he had any doubts as to it. Quivering inside Randy shook his head and said everything was in order.
Randy took leave of the manager and all of a sudden scales fell from his eyes. There was no unknown benefactor but a criminal mind who had taken over his life.
That night Randy wanted to have a show down with RP but at that precise moment a team of police constables descended from a van. The sergeant who led them was to the point. Politely but firmly he showed a warrant and searched the premises. One had directly swooped in and collected the two pairs of boots. One pair was identical to the description but the sole was as ordinary as any boots of a man size 10.
The sergeant pointed to the sole to his subordinate and hissed, ‘There is no imprint of a cat’s paw.’
One took down the details and photographed the pair. He asked, ‘Whose boots are these?’
‘Mine of course!” Randolph said without blinking. He knew he had to brave it out with them.
They also understood there were none in the castle but a man and his cat.
As soon as the van drove away Randolph confronted the cat and said, ‘You robbed a ATM off Soho and waylaid a publishing form in the middle of the street. Do you deny this?’
‘It all depends,’ the cat asked,’ are you asking RP or to your cat?’
Randy sank into his sofa dejected. ‘Have you ever thought of loss of name or honor if this crime is found out?’
‘Ah,’ exclaimed the cat ,’this crime shall never be laid at my door.’
Randolph could appreciate the gravity of his situation. He sighed and there was a painful silence such as one got to have a machete to part it. Randy knew no rancor at what happened and also at the awful realization that nothing would undo the damage. He said controlling his mixed up emotions, ‘RP don’t you think we need to make a fortune for living in style and have the best address in town? Perhaps I could have an escutcheon at the entrance with a cat en rampant? ‘
The cat just purred and went around his pair of boots swishing his tail lovingly around it.
‘Tomorrow I have a test. I must read well into night.’ he said. He meowed and went to his corner.( based on Charles Perrault’s tale)
(Reprinted from ben4ben.wordpress.com-Elves Bells)
Posted in short story, tagged art, beauty, Benny Thomas, duties, Law, mercantile mind, obligations, Oscar Wilde, story teller, the Happy Prince, trivializing life on December 4, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
The Unhappy Prince ©
It was a sight that hit whoever laid eyes on it. The statue of a prince sheathed in gold and many precious stones was a marvel. More marvelous was that there it stood for centuries, a ransom for an emperor unmolested, in the town Square. As I said no one on seeing it for the first time thought of anything other than beauty.
Who was that prince ? No one knew. It did not however stop the viewer from feeling uplifted by happiness of being alive. There was an inscription chiseled in marble and gilded and it read ART. In that town with strange spires and gargoyles spitting rain water the statue of a prince made art synonymous with the most noble sensation of happiness. The tradespeople basked under its spell; so did the town crier whose stentorian voice often made the hearts of people feel dread of some bad news coming to their happy shores. The prince was called with one voice the Happy Prince. He stood as symbol of their happy state.
Far North under a gelid sky the statue of the happy prince stood warming the cockles of the aliens and natives alike. Visiting embassies of kings, diplomats,- jesters in their caps and bells or in pinstripes made a detour without exception to the Square and there they stood lost in admiration before they presented their courtesies to the king.
The happy kingdom stood the test of time and stayed in perpetual happiness since the happy prince stood vigil as it were, over their weal.
Of course time brought certain changes in their lives. The town came under the rule of a town council and all the elders of the city unlike in the olden days were chosen by certain rules of the law and Law was the thing and not the people. Law stated progress was the right of the people so those who lived cheek by jowl with every one else took to find how far did their rights go. They had their home turf surveyed and fenced so their rights were guarded. Unlike in olden times neighbors came only by invitation and not by any feelings of sociability. Then came the officials by the order of the Council to give number to each house. Rights of the householder was reduced to a number.’ It makes the work of Mayor Swallow-Tail easier,’said the Mayors office. Soon every householder had to pay tax for the privilege of keeping his rights. ‘It makes the ‘Town Council function better with money in the coffers.’ said one statement issued like clockwork by the Mayor’s office. Progress meant better informed people.
One morning the Mayor passed through the Square and he had a shock of his life. There were puddles of water at the base of the statue. ‘What made the Prince unhappy?’ asked the Mayor. Same day he called for a meeting . The Council found the town finances were in arrears. Mayor Swallow- Tail wanted to know why the Works department was behind schedule.’ We should have completed the Trade and Commerce Pavilion two years ago. What is holding up?
‘Our coffers are empty’ said the treasurer appointed for that year.
‘We collect tax don’t we?’ asked the Mayor somewhat hot under the collar. Money became a topic that made him edgy and he had no way to cure it. One Councilor piped,’People are defaulting on their payments’. The Mayor was sure penal interest would deter them from treating matters of money casually. The town council went about a Collection drive that brought in some. Soon it was seen the statue was becoming shabbier by day. And by night.
The treasurer had a bright idea. ‘Why not tax the people for maintaining the statue to its proper glory?’ One Councilor pooh poohed it and said the Happy Prince was covered from time immemorial with pure beaten gold sheets. ‘Silver and precious stones adorn every available surface of the chain mail coat of the Prince. You want to gild the lily in his hands?’ The Mayor was stunned! He had never for a moment thought of the statue in terms of its parts. ‘Silver!’ The deputy Mayor who was on nodding acquaintance with the real Power nodded,’Yes Silver. Its worth beyond measure.
The Mayor wanted the worth of the Prince put down on the Official Register.
‘So long no one had thought the Prince in terms of money the councilors exclaimed in confusion.
‘Progress means paperwork.’ hollered the Mayor,
Yes, paperwork means an official Archives,’the deputy Mayor chimed in dutifully. He suggested that there ought to be a building for storing all the official records.
Then it was the question,’Is it wise to keep 5 million gold florins and 60 pence that was the official worth of the statue unprotected? The law of the town had clearly stated public property worth more than twenty florins should be locked and kept away for safekeeping. They were breaking law if the statue was left unattended. It agitated them and they had a great respect for law! The Council after deliberations took to vote and they passed a law that the statue would be moved to the bank vaults for safe keeping.
However before the law could be put into effect the Mayor found some miscreants had systematically stripped every precious metal from the statue. Not even a brass stud that cost two pence a piece was spared.
How did the happy Prince become Unhappy Prince?
Progress had seeped into every pore of the townsfolk and the statue had to pay the price for strange sensations that overwhelmed them. It was not happiness or art that moved them but the awful reality of defaulting on their tax obligations.
Law of their rights had in equal measure imposed on them their duties. In its equation art and happiness were too abstract and superfluous.
No wonder the statue of the prince looked in the vault more like a scarecrow and the officials from the Mayor’s office, who from time to time took inventory had to observe each time, ‘The unhappy Prince!’
(based on the Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde)
Reprinted from Elves Bells-ben4ben.wordpress.com
The Tale of the Bull and the Ass ©
There was a merchant in Mosul and he had a wife by name Zainaba. She loved him to distraction. She wanted to engage him at all hours in conversation. While in the middle of crossword puzzle she was sure to ask whatever popped in her mind. It was her way of being of one mind. One day while he was testing his skills against so many other contestants ‘Who Want to be a Millionaire’ she called him up to ask if he remembered the last episode of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful.’ In trying to oblige her he lost his concentration and was eliminated at the penultimate round. Poor Faizal! There was no escape for him . She peppered him whether at home or by long distance.
So he took to his Koran and read at one stretch from the beginning to the end fifteen times. Every time he heard his wife’s footfalls he pushed a note for her, ‘Do not disturb! Angel Gabriel may strike me dead for impiety.’ Of course the ruse worked. Zainaba loved him as I said, to distraction. But to displease Allah, Oh no it was unthinkable.
On the fourth month Faizal was about to prepare for his evening prayer and an angel appeared and saluted him. The angel said he was sent to bless him for his devotion. ‘Such thirst for knowledge! Allah shall reward you, O righteous One.’
Faizal wasn’t sure what it was he wanted most. ‘May be you want to understand the mind of your devoted wife?’ the Angel prodded helpfully.
‘Oh no!’ he spluttered, ‘I would like to understand the animal talk. Cows chew the cud more than they care to talk. The ass may bray but only at the dawn.’ Faizal muttered aloud. The angel understood the drift and said, ‘Allah, the Most Benevolent is pleased to grant your heart’s desire.’
The angel warned Faizal not to tell this to another soul. Punishment for breaking his oath would be death, the angel had warned. Faizal was sure the chance to live among his farm animals and avoid having to answer all his wife’s questions was well worth the risk.
Thus Faizal began to show all of a sudden undue attention to his farm. His wife naturally wondered about this. Whenever she could buttonhole him he found excuses to remove himself. ‘The farm must need all the attention it can get,’ she said to herself.
One morning Faizal sat before the stalls to hear the Bull chat with the Ass.
He heard the Ass ask, ‘You think our master can follow our conversation?’
Mr. Bull said, ‘Our master is so pious that he only wants to make his wife think in the same lines as he does.’
The Ass exclaimed, ‘ If that is the case he doesn’t understand his wife at all.’
The Bull asked him to explain. The Ass said, ‘Every time I carry our mistress to the market or her folks she will tug at the reins or relax; and I instantly know what is expected of me. She tells me ‘I need to tell in many words to make your master do a thing. I wish he were as clever as you. Oh many a times I have nearly died of vexation!’’
The Bull nodded wisely, ‘Allah ought to have married her to you. Then our master would have been left in peace.’
The master burst out laughing. His wife came at that precise moment and asked, ‘What on earth has got into you!’
Faizal would not answer. It struck her odd. She came to his side, ‘No man laughs for nothing! Unless he is insane.’ She stood there and asked him to tell the reason.
‘No I cannot !’ Faizal replied. She became very amazed and suspected there was something very sinister in his laugh.
‘Why did you laugh?’ She pestered him for day and night. In the end wearied by her constant sulking and demands he thought it was better to be struck dead by the angel than living under the same roof with her. ‘I shall tell it all,’ he thought to himself, ‘and break my oath’.
Next morning he went to the Kazi’s office to set his affairs in order and came home.
The woman stood at the gate and asked eagerly, ‘Are you going to tell me or not?’
‘O woman,’ Faizal said wearily, ‘I will tell my secret after I have purified myself. For by telling it I shall die.’ Zainaba was so possessed by curiosity that she asked him to get ready.
While he was washing himself in an out-house adjoining the house he saw all the farm animals wore a sad expression except a cock that strutted among some fifty hens. The dog asked if he didn’t care for the fate of his master.
‘Why should I if he cannot manage one woman in his household?’ Faizal realized that the cock managed his harem as he deemed fit and the hens were all contented for his highhandedness.
After the ceremonial wash he went into the house. His wife approached him to ask, ‘Are you going to tell your secret or not?’ He reached for his walking stick and beat her till she pleaded mercy.
‘Do you still want to hear my secret?’
‘Oh no!’ wailed the woman.
He threatened to beat her if she ever irritated him with unnecessary demands.
She promised not to repeat this and said she had learned her lesson.
That night he went to make peace with her. After all they had lived some forty years and raised children. He tried to speak but could only bray. His wife wondered what got into him.
A month later she was going to visit her son and along the way she told the Ass, ‘I got the most wonderful husband. He is pearl among men. He loves my company and makes me feel like a woman. Only fault is that he brays like you. Then no man is perfect.’
Abdullah the fisherman was as poor as can be. He was wont to cast his net in the shallow waters. Those who launched out in the mid-sea brought home bigger catch. Many of Abdullah’s friends advised him to dare and go for bigger things. Poor Abdu! he quaked at the idea of exposing himself to needless risks. ‘What if I die in the enterprise? who shall feed my family?’ So he stayed at the edge of the sea and cast his net in the morning and in the evening. He just eked out a life as a fisherman.
One morning he cast his net and felt a tug. It promised a big catch. When he pulled it in with great struggle he came across an old wooden chest and it contained nothing but some worthless bonds. ‘Why Enron should entangle my net? It is more than I can understand’. Next he caught a bottle in which was a message. The King of Nigeria had promised untold wealth if only he remitted 2.5 million dollars to his account in Lichtenstein.’He looked at the golden crown burnished on the letter and the name of the king in rainbow colors. Finally he observed,’If the king of SCAM is so hard pressed for a handout from me, he must be poorer than me.’ He was sure that if the royal majesty would only open his largesse- safely stored in some Swiss banks, with his help he must be a man of straw.’ So he threw it away.
Next time he cast his net he hauled in a sealed jar he remembered the bottle he had just thrown away. He was about to throw but he heard a whimper. He was greatly surprised. He looked closely and saw the mouth was stopped with wax and against the red wax was the seal of Solomon. ‘Ah I must show some respect to a king who was mighty and wise.’
He opened it and saw puffs of smoke coming from within. It became bellows of smoke and a Jinn stepped out.
He said,’ The first thousand years I daily prayed thus,’Whoever released me shall be master of the sea. I hold the riches of the deep.’ ‘
Poor Abdul quaked and waited for the Jinn to finish his tale. ‘Next five hundred years I took an inventory and found how much my wealth was lying idle. I said whoever released me shall possess half the riches.’
The Jinn paused and began,’Next five hundred years I spent planning whoever let me out will pay with his life.’
Abdullah shuddered and felt his head reeling. He wondered how to get out of the terrible fate that awaited him. The Jinn shrilled to see the fisherman was keeping silence. He shouted, ‘ Who shall make good of my loss but you?!’
Then he said,’If you cannot I will have to kill you.’
Abdullah replied,’Killing me will not earn you interest. I have a plan to earn all the wealth that you lost.’
Jinn at first would not believe. Abdullah sensed that the Jinn what with his millennia of solitary incarceration had lost his reason. He saw nothing but wealth. Abdullah therefore had to go easy. He softly said he was sure he knew where King Solomon had left his untold riches.
Instantly the Jinn shrieked. The fisherman asked,’The name of Solomon makes you cry like a banshee. It is understandable.’
‘You do understand my feelings, don’t you?’ the Jinn exclaimed somewhat mollified. Abdullah nodded and said the best way to get back at the dead King was to steal his buried treasure.
‘Where is it?’ asked the Jinn eagerly.
‘It is buried under the Dome of the Rock.’
‘Come we shall go there instantly.’
‘Oh no’ cried the fisherman,’both Jews and Moslems are fighting for it. They have guns, bombs and many other weapons of war.
‘So what will you advise me?’
‘Get in the jar and I shall smuggle you across to Jerusalem. Then we shall see.’
The Jinn brightened. He knew he would get even with the king who had cast spells on him and put him in the jar.
‘You mean well. Do you not?” the Jinn was somewhat apprehensive. The fisherman assured him,’By the word of Madoff, my word is my bond.’
‘I quite believe you.’ the Jinn said.
He went back into the jar with a whimper. Quickly the fisherman closed the mouth with the seal of Solomon and cast the jar into the sea.
He was happy that he lived to cast his net another day.
Posted in Aesop, fables, history, Aesop and the Ass, modern fable, tagged allegience, Benny Thomas, buzz words, hollow sounds, humanity, laborclass, patriotism, story teller, wealth on October 26, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
The fat capitalist had its face pinched with mounting woes. It thought it could knock at the door of the ants and get help. So it waded through thick snow even as army of ants from abroad were converging there. Those ants hit by natural calamities knew the ants in so and so county were unaffected. To the incessant knockings of the grasshopper a door opened. The ant asked why had it come to them. The grasshopper narrated its difficulties.
The ant said it could not spare anything. ‘We are expecting great many mouths to feed.’ The ant said that the ants from all the affected counties were approaching them for help.
‘Workers of the world, unite! so says the Book,’ said the ant,’So our surplus should go to feed them. And not you.’
‘Why not me?’ asked the grasshopper,’ We belong to the same county. Where is your patriotism?’ The ant knew the grasshopper in spreading its wealth around and investing abroad to escape tax at home was merely fooling itself. ‘My patriotism is right where it belongs and it isn’t something we need to concern right now.’
The grasshopper turned away sadly but not wiser by its experience.
Posted in short story, tagged battle of the sexes, Benny Thomas, flash fiction, hands, mature reading, miracle, modern love story, short story, story teller, woman's story, writer on April 18, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
The Man Who Made Women As Good As New ©
by Benny Thomas
camp: Svandalen, Norway
19 April 2010
The man had no special gifts except his hands. And he had made the city his home.
The city was called Sin City. The particular adjective gave no air of anything even remotely hinting of moral or ethical lapse. In fact the city touted quality of life as its promise. Quality of civic life nevertheless made the name stick. The city fathers had given their solemn promise and through thick and thin of economic meltdown the city did not let go its virtue: quality of life for all. Yet the civic fathers failed them not for wanting to try but for something none could put his finger on.
Men made the city work for them but women found something go out of their lives.
They could not exactly say what. They made their homes and kept their budgets tight and in all that computing and meeting their civic obligations they ceased to feel quality of life, assured by statutory laws and it did not make them feel precisely as a woman should feel. Nothing between their legs or their biology suffered but a general malaise of being alive. At the same time of being made less than before. They shielded their own brood from the brunt of life they carried on daily basis. In making the nest they merely stressed their own strengths and these didn’t account for the empty nests the chicks would leave behind. Somewhat similar to this, women felt city had carried them high only to deny them something they could not find words for. Quality of life in their pursuit of happiness was not equal to what their femininity expected them as due. That gap merely became ever perceptible as time went by.
Somewhere in a woman’s life what she is born to and what she ends up with is a fault line and it creates symptoms. Some tried alcohol and another coke; some tried acupuncture and another yoga. There were many stimulants and sessions and every thing worked up to a point.
One woman tried massage and discovered him. How the man worked on her pressure points made her feel as good as new. He worked well and what he charged was worth every cent. She passed on his name to another. This made the out-of-towner to stay on. He was a masseur more of a complete woman than a body. He solicited custom on that point and women accepted it as the truth.
Each woman,young,fading,floundering or dithering felt as new.
Twenty years he worked with his hands and he could not yet say what made them exceptional. His hands were well padded but not fleshy; it was neither hands well shaped or that of a brute. His hands were such ordinary as hands that stuck out of cuffs neither calling attention to them nor to the cut. He was ordinary and the spanking whiteness of his shirt or his pants added little to to his evanescent personality. When he worked with his clients he was almost not there. His work-out made each woman count the professional hour as homage paid to her and he spoke not a word that was out of place. He was loathe to draw attention to himself. His hands worked silently. Even where what some positions of his workout could have compromised him he was cool detachment all through.
He lived and made the quality of the city pay him dividends. His office gave him panoramic view of the city and he desired nothing except what his hands could earn.
He put every client at ease and never he rose to a higher or lower pitch to give himself away. Part of the hour he let her sat on his lap or he bent over her while his discreet stance gave nothing that she could have benefited. Her private thoughts were all hers and if these put out tendrils of hope or nostalgia, and she seemed to float back in womb of time it was all hers. He merely let his hands touch pressure points and if his clients took off from there he chose to remain an outsider. His service was faultless as his distance from his clients was thoroughly cultivated by sheer will power.
He performed with clinical efficiency that his secretary kept strict watch over. Daisy from her cubicle saw the naked bodies of clients contort or go limp and if she grimaced or nod in approval it was over the client and not over the man. His hands were miracle workers and nothing more. She noted in satisfaction no woman remembered afterward the face except her. She took down appointments and arranged his daily schedule knew his worth.Her position was secure and won over as with the man by her professionalism. She greyed and somewhat frayed around her supple body in service. She didn’t mind, Her quality of life she wrested from the city by her iron will.
Each day she checked with her boss before the day. He worked by appointment. His office on the 10th floor was as unobtrusive as those who came in or went out.
Under the watchful eye of his secretary he learned to work as though he were a free agent. He never felt imposed upon by certain rules of office practice each expected from the other. His ten minute recess at the end of one hour session was strictly enforced and he appreciated she saw to that he had sufficiently recovered from the previous before he began the next. He was a miracle that paid for her bed and board and a place in the community. She was not going to lose all that by neglect. Her selfishness he saw as altruism. If he were not placed by society women in their social engagements or made calls it was not her problem. He had to have work. That was all he insisted upon. There was no let up from day one.
His anonymity gave his hands their mystery and women found it an exhilarating. Consider he had moved into the City with one valise and the clothes that he had on his back and in a matter of some 20 years every woman who made the city her home swore by them. His hands made them feel as good as new.
That day the women waited for their turn. She saw him take on the first patient. She saw the blond and saw her hair roots were dark. He jawbones relaxed she was not what she considered as a threat. She had a body that was far below the expectations her dress called out to all. She saw him in his kimono and he divested of his clothes and go through his routine. Five minutes later she heard the body of the blond turning over. He was still a machine that performed and only then she relaxed. She went through the papers and made notes. First two hours made her keep her mind alert that the day’s routine went on without a hitch. She was somewhat over alert and she noted with a frown. On that day sky was grey and the weather made its chill in her bones speak up. She was cautious as never before. It was on that day as though her mind sensed lurking dangers and every sound made her jump and noise broke the thread of her routine. She heard one speak with some elation,’Ah that feels good, I can cry!’ Her forehead furrowed, hardly letting go her own defenses. Perhaps age was catching up before she headed into the dangerous Forties.
Each day she had to keep watch and yet seem not inquisitorial. Each client took something of him and he was indestructible,- not a moment letting his guard down.
She remembered it was she who insisted he take a recess after an hour long session.Only that day made she was none special. She was on the wrong side of thirty!
She carefully scanned his face and gestures. She casually let her eyes rest around his boxer. He was relaxed and concentrated on his work. His movements didn’t hit any hitch but he was as cool and controlled as before. Again her mind took a defensive stance with the last patient and she could mentally describe every spot he covered or every sigh that escaped women feeling the waves of unease escape their psyche.
Daisy didn’t ask what made her feel uneasy that particular day. Fifteen years she had spent manning her station while the man prodigiously worked with his hands.Was it her hormones her age or what?
As the last patient made ready to leave she sent him sms to ask for an extra session.
‘Under exceptional circumstances, she pleaded.
He texted back:OK
When she went from her desk the man awaited his patient from the door. He was not a whit puzzled or complaining to see her. Before she removed her dress she asked,’ Do you feel embarrassed?’
He raised his eyebrows.
‘All those women who come to you see you as a machine.’
“I come to you differently.’ she stammered and feeling red. It was painful to express what was so long churning up inside.
She removed her clothes coming closer and closer. Her eyes teased him now. ‘They want to be put at ease.’
He stared at her puzzled.’I want to be excited. Feel my heart!’ She took his hands and put them against her heart.’You surely must feel something.’
‘No I feel nothing.’
Her face went pale. She had removed her panties and she let it drop.
‘I am lying down. Make me feel like a client’.
He just sat on his stool shadow of dejection expanding from his forehead to his chin.
‘Oh I had a hard day, and my hands are like wet rags.’
Daisy whimpered. ‘Twenty years I slaved for you. Do I mean nothing to you?’
He turned his head away. He heard her hands bunch up the hem of her dress. She let it fall on the floor in helplessness. He could not bear her accusatory eyes. ‘ I ask to be treated like any other woman’ Her voice trailed off in a moan. He sat there. ‘You have hurt me!’
Her voice faltered and she did not cry but shook in convulsions of despair and loneliness.
‘You are my wife, and not my custom.’
‘I put 200 dollars before I came,it is there in the day-book. Consider it as my fee.’
He rose mechanically and walked towards the curtain wall of glass that looked towards the sea. He stood there lost in thought as though he wanted to watch the rising mist from the sea. He could not bear meeting her eyes that were misted in tears.
He said,’Let us go home. After dinner we shall make love as we used to.’ He walked over to her and silently held his hand out. He felt her hand and he closed over it. He sighed. It was a relief. He felt the day was much more difficult than he ever thought it was.
They took the elevator down two figures numbed already by the awful silence of the tower that was easing itself for the night.