What is life made of?
A barrel of blood, a bucket of sweat, a pitcher of tears, a pot of piss, an ampule of saliva, a dropper full of semen, and a strange fluid that contains everything in its nothingness.
The air was gamy with the stench of gunpowder. The monotony of an arid nondescript piece of land was occasionally broken by dead bodies, lined up like scrubby cactus in an empty patch of desert. The dunes of blood soaked sand were skulking sporadically in the wind that was heavy with remorse. Underneath the land that has witnessed the worst genocide of its life; bereaved rebels were planning their next move in a covert subterranean bunker.
“You must not lose faith in humanity,” said a wise old man.
The flock seemed rather lost in its own agony and paid little heed to what old man had to say. A young lad sat in corner, weeping, until he was drenched in his own tears.
“I know a magician who once resurrected a pigeon. Maybe he could bring our comrades back to life,” his voice wobbled with restrained emotion.
He wept until his eyes ran out of tears and eventually died out of grief. Rebels were baffled whether to consider his death natural or suicide.
Suddenly, the harmony of grievous howling was interrupted by contemptuous laugh. A petty little barbarian emerged with gleam in his eyes and smile on his face. “Look at you,” he screamed, “crying like a sissy. The tears you shed are not yours. They are the tears of nation. And a nation cannot afford to cry, especially now. It’s about time we man up and kick those bastards out of our land.”
There was a chorus of assent. Every gaze in the room was fixated at the barbarian. The sobbing lad rose from the dead transiently to listen to him.
“I hope your intentions are not violent. We have had enough blood-shed,” said the wise old man.
“All we need is magic potion,” barbarian interfered. Crowd was astonished.
Before someone could ask, he continued, “In 50 BC, Romans had conquered the entire Gaul, except a tiny village. Those Gaulish barbarians were invincible. Do you know why? They had magic potion, which bestowed them with superhuman strength. No Roman would dare touch them.”
“But how do we get our hands on this magic potion? What are its ingredients?” asked a curious rebel.
“We are the ingredients of magic potion,” said barbarian.
A grizzly gentleman stepped out of his house in state of distress. His shabby seersucker suit was hanging rakishly over his slender body. The knot of his summer tie was as deformed as his existence. As usual, he dumped his dreams in the trash can and started running on treadmill that stretched from his home to office. His life was as mechanical as the machines he used to operate. But that day, he was more nervous than his usual self. Something was eating him up. Driven by dilemma, he changed his path and headed towards police station.
“Officer, I have a crime to confess,” he said in broken stream of words. His body was shivering; sweat trickled down from his forehead and soaked entire body in its disquieting dampness. He was the source of his own sweat.
“Yes, how can I help you?” asked the officer, immersed in his own work. He looked up to gentleman and immediately grasped the severity of matter.
“It’s all right,” he consoled and handed a glass of water to old man, “Here, drink this.”
Next instance, old man found himself, in what seemed to be like an interrogation room. Officer was sitting in front of him with a voice recorder in between them.
“Whenever you’re ready Mister…”
“I killed my boss,” old man blurted out, as if releasing himself from crushing wait he had been carrying since morning. He felt relieved for a moment.
Officer didn’t seem surprised. “Suppose, you tell me all about it,” he said plainly.
“It was 11 in night. I was still working. My boss called me in, to cross-check few transactions. I did it, as an obedient worker would do. Afterwards, I asked him if he could grant me sickness leave for couple of days. He strictly denied. Furthermore, he closed the door and said I was not to leave until I’ve finished the file I was assigned. Now, I like to think I am a tolerant man, but a tired mind can work tricks. Nothing is more lethal than stress. 19 years of slavery, and son a b*tch wouldn’t even grant me sickness leave. I bashed his skull with the paperweight lying on his desk. He was dead on the spot.”
Old man broke into tears.
“You must not lose faith in humanity,” said the officer.
Another officer came in and whispered in the ears of interrogating officer. Their silent conversation made old man even more nervous.
“Where did you say dead body is?” asked the officer.
“I didn’t move body. It’s there, in his cabin.”
“Sir, I’m afraid your boss is alive and is in very good shape. In fact, he wants you in his office right away,” instructed officer.
“What kind of joke is that? I killed him with my own hands last night,” screamed old man anxiously.
“That cannot be possible.”
“But why would I confess the crime I didn’t commit?” old man lost his patience.
“A tired mind can work tricks,” officer smiled, “Next time you kill your boss, make sure fu*ker is dead.”
A damsel was driving a red sedan, while constantly looking into mirror, applying makeup on her pale skin that gave her semblance of a ghost. She adjusted her dress to reveal just the right amount of cleavage. It wasn’t usual Sunday drive for her. She had to look perfect. It was funeral of her close friend after all. And grieving without glamour is an insult to dead.
She slowed down her car and pulled into fuel station. An attendant arrived as she started honking.
“Fill my tank,” she said.
Attendant nodded and urinated in fuel tank until it was full.
Woman drove off and didn’t stop till she reached her destination- ‘The Golden Cross Cemetery’. She screeched to a halt and sighed as she watched long queue at ticket window. She closed her eyes for a moment. She took out her phone and updated her status on facebook- “Attending funeral of @Rina, Feeling excited.”
After an hour of standing in queue, she approached ticket window.
“I want a ticket for funeral of Rina,” she demanded.
“I’m afraid that show is full. We have no seats available,” receptionist informed.
“Are you kidding? She was my beastie. I have all the right to attend her funeral. Plus, I’ve already updated status on facebook, and look, there are twenty three likes!”
“There is nothing I can do Miss. You should have come earlier if she was of such an importance to you,” receptionist rebuked.
“This is disgusting. Is there any other funeral at this hour? I’ve come a long way,” she asked.
“Yes, there is a funeral at section-2 in half an hour,” She looked at screen, “and there are few seats available.”
“Fine, I’ll take it,” said woman.
She entered the funeral hall expecting to get entertained. What she saw was polar opposite; an orgy of Death.
“It is your first time, isn’t it?” asked an elderly woman sitting beside her.
“Yes, it is,” she replied.
“Gone are the days when we used to bury the dead and get over them. Now we watch their corpse decompose. When water leaves your body, skin dries up, earth and insects pierce through your skin till nothing is left but bones. That’s when you feel death.”
Young woman almost puked.
Old lady wrapped arms around her, took her into her broad bosom and said, “You must not lose faith in humanity.”
Show ran for years. Those who survived gave standing ovation in the end. They said it was the best funeral they had attended in their life.
It was that day of year, when everything was decorated with flickering lighting, even trees. Air was saturated with twinkly jingle bells and symphony of smiles. Kids were unwrapping their presents, while parents were making love upstairs. A half-dead turkey couldn’t wait to be eaten up. And among all merriness of Christmas, a gloomy Santa Claus was sitting on a bench with clown mascot of McDonald. Struck by lifelessness of McDonald statue, old Santa began to talk with him.
“You must not lose faith in humanity. I am attuned to your grief clown. It’s not easy to laugh.” he started sobbing, whose intensity amplified gradually.
“You know who I am?” He continued, “No, I am anything but Santa Claus. I am a sex-offender. My parole officer set me up in some department store. The owner of the store required me to be Santa Claus. Of course, he doesn’t know that I’m a pedophile.”
People are not accustomed to see a sobbing Santa. There was an uncanny contrast between genuine whimpering of Santa and phony smile of McDonald clown. A passerby even tried to capture that in an image.
“They say it’s never too late to start again. That’s the biggest lie. The truth is your past is never behind you. I’ve got a bad record, and I’ve to live with it for the rest of my life. Man needs a job to earn living. So here I am, playing Santa Claus.”
Something unusual happened in the middle of that one-sided conversation. McDonald clown shed a tear.
“I have initiated neutralizing treatment,” Santa continued, “as advised by my parole officer. I’d become a dry leaf after that, an empty vessel that keeps rattling. What is a man without his sexuality? I’d turn into a walking statue.
I want to live, not just exist.”
Santa wiped out that smile from statuesque face of McDonald clown and he never laughed again. No one has sat beside him ever since.
Artist is a person who finds beauty in everything, even in ugliness. One such artist was idly roaming on the streets of city in ruins, seeking beauty. And he found it, in a beggar. She was an epitome of ugliness, summary of misfortune and draft of deformity. Moths had taken shelter in clumps of her tangled hair. Her forehead was wrinkled and lumpy, eyelashes matted and shaggy; her eyes could see nothing but darkness. Her yellow wrinkled face had almost dejected those dry crooked lips. Her askew arms were hanging loosely over humped shoulders. Her twisted legs could barely support her torso.
For quite a while artist stood there, ogling at blind beggar. Astounded by her staggering beauty, he couldn’t contain himself and finally approached her.
“I think I’m in love with you,” said the artist.
Blind beggar couldn’t believe those words were directed at her.
“Where were you hiding my jewel?” he reassured, “You’re the greatest piece of art I’ve witnessed in my life.”
Beggar was so overjoyed, she began to cry.
Artist took her into his arms and kissed on her dry lacerated lips.
“You must not lose faith in humanity,” he said.
“My happiness knows no bounds. Alas, words of praise cannot feed empty stomach. Would you be so kind as to spare few change for this wretched beggar?” she pleaded.
“Do not insult my love o magnolia of misery. Ask of anything and it shall be yours.”
“In that case,” she hesitated, “grant me what I deserve o noble man.”
Artist snatched bowl from her hands, filled it with something and gave it back to her.
Blind beggar felt it with her hands. Bowl was almost empty, except few droplets at the bottom.
“What is it o noble man?”
“That’s for you to decide.”
“Can it satisfy my hunger?”
“Yes, it can.”
“Can it quench my thirst?”
“Sure, it can”
“What else can it do my love?”
“It can produce life.”
Once upon a time, a flea made a heinous crime by creeping inside mouth of a beautiful princess, while she was dining. As a natural reaction, she spat it out. Unfortunately, it was princess, who had to pay the price, as it was the most serious offence to spit in the Royal supper. Next day, a panel of frogs sat to judge princess.
“Princess, you are accused of spitting while ingesting the Royal supper,” chief frog stated, “How do you plead?”
“Guilty,” princess declared.
“Court requires no further proceeding as the accused stand guilty,” chief frog said with a cunning smile.
“What should be her punishment?” asked a frog.
“Walk of atonement!” said one.
“Lock her in tower for a season,” another screamed.
“A thousand whips would teach her lesson,” an elder frog suggested.
Chief frog exhaled, as if demanding silence.
“Law is equal for everyone, be it princess or commoner,” said the chief frog. He continued, “The law of our Kingdom forbids spitting in public. Going by severity of princess’s crime, I command her head shall be smitten off at the crack of dawn. The court is adjourned.”
The judgement of chief frog left everyone in the court anguished. “Cannot she be saved in any way?” King begged, “Pray, kill me, but have some mercy on my child. She is the only heir to Kingdom.”
Alas, nothing could be done to save princess.
On the judgement day, entire Kingdom gathered. They had never seen execution of a princess before.
Princess said her last words, “You must not lose faith in humanity.”
She knelt down and executor swung his sword. In a single blow, the head of princess fell off, but she was still breathing. Everyone was baffled to see the headless princess tottering to and fro. King demanded to kill her, to put her out of misery. But frog denied his request, saying the punishment was to swerve her head, not to kill her.
Headless princess somehow managed to reach the lake of the Mighty trout. Grieved by state of her dear princess, trout put a lantern in an empty space of head. Princess had lantern instead of head. Her beauty was lost forever, but she regained her senses. Once again, she could see the world, listen to whistling of air, and smell the earth.
One night, princess decided to re-visit the site of her execution. She sat there for a while, watching her own severed head hanging on the spike. It still looked beautiful. She spat on her own head. That day, she was illuminated in true sense. That day, she became what she was destined to be- the light itself.
A petty little barbarian, a faithful employee, a decomposed damsel, a gloomy Santa Claus, a blind beggar and the Lantern princess entered a bar to drink something that would help them forget their pain.
“We serve only water here,” said bartender.
“Water it is!” exclaimed barbarian.
“Six glasses of water please,” Blind beggar requested.
“Coming right away ma’am,” bartender vanished to make drinks.
“Not for me,” Lantern princess clarified.
Santa Claus took a sip and exclaimed, “There is nothing like Taste of Water.”