Saturday, December 12, 2009

Climax Redux

The man casually tossed aside two barrels standing one atop another to reveal himself, pointing a pistol at his adversary and arch enemy.

"You! But you … you're … you're supposed to be dead!" he spluttered, unable to believe his eyes. He rubbed them once to make sure. A dirty business that, with all the soot and grease on them. Escaping with a briefcase full of money from an abandoned factory was never a clean job.

"Yes, that. That didn't quite work out", sneered the pistol waving, black-jacketed hero. His enemy trembling before him, he took a personal moment to wave back his shiny, wavy hair. He spared another moment's thought for the soot hanging in the air around him. It would rough up all the good the new shampoo had done. Anyway, he needed to keep himself together now. Later, he would get his hair done again somewhere nice. To business for now.

He continued, "You will not escape me like the last time. This time, victory will be won. Defit will be yours!" At the pronouncement of the word 'defit', one would think lightning had crackled in the blistery afternoon sky outside. The hero, some variety of Vijay or Kumar, did a double-take of his intense eyes for a friendly, but imaginary, camera.

"This time? Last time? What last time? And why aren't you dead?" blabbered the graying, middle-aged villain, simultaneously stroking the well-laden briefcase he felt he may be parting with very soon. Oh yes, he had a feeling he might not now be taking that trip to the Bahamas. His widow would be furious over him cancelling again. Though, he had a valid excuse this time, didn't he, being dead and all? No. She couldn't care less. The woman was a monster to her core. Funny, a second voice in his head said, funny how you can think of all this while a dashing young man in tight t-shirt and low slung jeans points a pistol at you. He shook his head to clear his thoughts as much as he could possibly and asked again. "This time? Last time? What last time are you talking about? And what are you doing not dead?"

"You have a remarkable thirst for knowledge, old man. But I will humor now, before you die. I shall tell you the why and when of it as I point my father's pistol at you, as per noble tradition. First, you defitted me on the plains of the holy Ganga river when you slew my father. You had your men hold him from behind while you laughed and shot him like a coward. He fought you to his dying breath, pausing to spit on your face at the end when you peered down to see him struggle for life. I was there. I watched, old man. I swore vengeance. Since then, I have been chasing you." He finished with his eyes narrowing even further, as he took aim to make sure he hit the right side of the chest. His left, so … my right. Ya. Okay.

"The plains of the holy Ganga river? What was I doing killing him there? I don't remember doing such a scene," he reasoned. Not that he would mind having such drama to his credit. But this was just untrue. A pity that it was, but then again.

"Oh we had a house there. A little corny, and I never had many friends to play with. But my father liked it. Couldn't even play in the water. Holy water is not for you, son. Holy water is for the Gods. And the germs and bacteria, daddy? He didn't like the joke much. But anyhow, that's where we lived. How can you not remember? We had a big swing outside and a well so that we could actually sometimes have some clean water. Oh wait, you'll remember this. We had like this really noisy chicken coop. I mean, they'd be bawling all the time! You couldn't get them to stop."

"Oh that place! Yeah I remember. Annoying chicks, those. Hope you got rid of them. I killed your father, yes. True, that." He was glad to have at least remembered the reason for his impending death. "That was quite long ago. I mean, seriously, I don't mean to tell you what to do or anything, but let it go already? Get a life, or something." Sheesh, he thought inside, if I lived with so much hate held inside me, I sure wouldn't last very long. This guy is just a time bomb.

"Oh I will get a life. In fact, I am about to get one right now, old man. Yours." He felt good about that. He had worried incessantly - somewhere deep within his steely heart - on the way to the abandoned factory that once he got there he wouldn't really have a good line to say. Dialogue mattered so much in such things. But this was good. Very good. He chuckled as he saw the fear in his victim's face. Victory this time. Not defit.

"Pardon me again. But you said this time you would win. This pre-supposes that at a previous point, you met with defeat. Mark the word down by the way. Defeat, not defit", he argued reflexively. He knew he should be scared stiff for his life right now, but the young man's arguments just had so many holes in it. He couldn't help it.

"After you killed my father, you and your men laughed over his dead body for a good five minutes or so. I sat and watched from behind the well, petrified and teary-eyed. Then when you started walking away towards your Maruti, I ran shouting wild cries and bit your leg. You scraped me off with your other leg. As I was flung to the ground, I vowed revenge a second time. That was my first … defeat. But now, I will win. I did not die by the hands of your minions, you villainous brute. I was just sleeping. Prepare now to meet your end, old man and arch foe." He stiffened and pulled the pistol back up at the man, determined to not be distracted by silly questions anymore. It wasn't like he had nothing else to do. There was a dinner appointment to keep and he needed to be up early for the flight back tomorrow. So, to business.

"That was you? God, you were scrawny! I thought it was a bug or … something -", he began, suddenly delighting in this whole reminiscing business. The good old days were, indeed, good and old. Business was better, his liver wasn't being such a nuisance and he had hair on his head. A dashing hair-style, if he remembered correctly. Perhaps he should ask the young man? In case he remembered? He seemed to remember an awful lot. But then, that pistol was a conversation killer. And he was pointing it at him quite animatedly now.

"I just took time growing up! I wasn't scrawny, I was just a little behind the other boys. Some people need more time!" he shouted. Stupid, old father-killer, hitting him where it still hurt sometimes. Those other boys, all calling him Shorty and messing his hair up all the time. "Wouldn't let me play cricket even …" he mumbled half to himself.

"My boy. You have suffered. Indeed a lot. Let us sit here, you and I. Let us talk about this. Tell me your troubles. I mean it, I do. Take a barrel. Take two, be comfortable."

"Well, my father always told me I'd be big and strong one day. But those days I couldn't believe him. The other boys always bragged about gaining a half inch or a full, and I had nothing to show for myself. It was hard, growing up. Next to the freaking holy Ganga, for God's sake! It was so ... so hard." He opened himself to the villainous murderer of his father, seeing in his soon to be dead face a kind gentleness he hadn't seen in many years.

1 comment:

mayank said...

nice.. love endings like these