Ding Dong. The bell rang, it’s high pitched tones forcing their way into my eardrums, making themselves heard. Hastily, I dragged myself out of bed and padded towards the doorstep, my cat, Minnie trailing closely behind. Who could be at my house this early? I rarely had visitors and when I did, none of them had the audacity of showing up before the crack of dawn. Minnie, interrupting my curiosity, whined at my feet, demanding breakfast. Sighing, I took a quick detour to the kitchen and slapped some fresh fish into her bowl, which she seemed quite pleased with judging by the approving look she gave me – that cat! Finally reaching my door, I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes to see a great big brown box. I tried lifting it up, to no avail, so eventually I just dragged it inside. It was sealed as tightly as a caterpillar enclosed in its cocoon before metamorphosis into a butterfly. Once I managed to open it up, I was graced with a peculiar sight: the box was full to the brim with seashells and earrings; an odd combination.
I once went on a trip with my friends to the Southside Beach. We made a plan and settled for 17th October. We were excited to check the beach in winters. Sooner afterwards, James rang the bell in my house as I was the one who had to take all my friends to the beach. I took James and picked Sara as well as Arthur. It took us half an hour to reach there. We quickly ran to the beach in excitement and found a couple of sea shells. Sara collected the ones she really liked. We also discovered a dead fish in plan sight, it looked unsightly. However, even after that, we went to get some food as we were famished and then we headed back home. Later onwards, I realised I had lost one of my earrings back at the beach. I was upset but I refused to drive for half an hour again.
When was the last time Wile E Coyote, also known as the coyote in The Looney Toons get pranked? Somewhere in the 60’s, I believe? Well…….. I got pranked, really hard, yesterday and it’s hard to believe how.
Brrrring! Went the school bell, time to go home. It was Math class when the school bell rang, however, I sat in the principle’s office thanks to Robert and Nick, my two good old friends from the first grade. They are real tricksters, for example, one time they deceived our Science teacher, into thinking that it was a holiday and that there was no need to come to school. Did it work? Sure did. Then, they pranked our school’s lunch lady into making spaghetti instead of a fruit salad and today they claimed they were magicians and cracked open an egg on our substitute teacher. Of course, they didn’t mind. But what did I do? Nothing. But the teacher sent me just because I was their friend. ‘Wasn’t that comic gold?’ asked Nick. ‘What are you talking about?’ I replied. ‘You know when we cracked open-.‘ ‘I know what you mean. How could you do that?’ I furiously questioned. ‘Chill’ exclaimed Nick. ‘It’s not that we got extra homework or did a hundred pushups or anything? ‘Oh, yeah, yeah, your right, there is nothing to be afraid of except being sent to the principle’s office while there is a risk she’ll call our parents and we might get to spend additional hours in school’ I sarcastically explained. ‘Come on Sally don’t be a sourpuss.’
‘I’m sorry, it’s just that I’m really stressed about my uncle. My parents aren’t home, they had to leave for a business trip to Budapest and now I’m the only one to take care of all the situation back home. I haven’t seen him for years, in fact, I don’t even know what he looks like. There isn’t anything I know about him. I was just 3 when I met him. However, I remember that when I got close to him, I felt this sense of safety and calmness and optimism.’
‘It’s okay Sally, we’re here for you. We are just one floor away from you. Anything you need, just call us and we’ll be right there.’ ‘Thanks guys, I don’t know what I’ll do without you. Oh! And sorry for yelling at you.’
‘No prob dude.’
As we reached our flats and parked our bicycles, we would be greeted by the lovely staff and the fragrance of that 24 hour buffet. Things and people, like these would rid my mind of the hard days I endured. However, there was one dweller next door: My neighbor, who is a completely inimical, grumpy, mysterious figure who would seem to haunt the hotel. I don’t know his name though, in fact no one does, weird cause he has lived next to my parents for eight years. People just see him as Frankenstein: They don’t know what he is saying, is expressionless, just demands for one item, in this case his magazines and if he doesn’t get them then boy, people are up for a big ride. Meanwhile, I made myself some lunch: mash potatoes and some vegan nuggets. Delicious! Did I mention I was a great a chef. Anyway……..
When I finished eating, I took out the rubbish into the dumpster. While I was there, I noticed something quite peculiar. Robert and Nick were by the dumpster, chatting to a silhouette. I shouted hello but they ran off as they heard me. That’s odd. I got confused and just tried to get rid of that image in my mind, so I went back, when I did, I met Robert and Nick again, this time entering Mr. Frankenstein’s unit. I was surprised because even they thought that he was creepy, then why all of a sudden? Quite suspicious if I’m not wrong. I went on a search to find out the truth. I traced back my steps to the dumpster, where the guys were standing. I went back and found a clue: a purple pom pom that looked as if it came from a boater. Strangely, I swore I saw this kind of pom pom before and I did! This was Mr. Frankenstein’s. My hypothesis was that the silhouette was Mr. Frankenstein’s. This pom pom could have fallen out of his boater. I continued to find out what was going on. I went towards Mr. Frankenstein and found a notebook and a pen under his mat that belonged to Robert. This time I had no idea what was going on. I knocked on the door, calling out for Nick and Robert. I was knocking when Mr. Frankenstein opened the door and I fell on his belly. ‘Sorry Mr. Frankenstein- I mean- Sir but is Nick and Robert here?’
‘They must be home.’ He replied.
‘But I saw them come in your flat.’
‘Were you spying on me?’ He yelled.
‘Spying? I just want to see if they’re here.’
‘Go home kid.’ It was at that moment I got my next clue. How did he know who they were. They barely came near my place, plus he’ll always be inside when they did come. Things are getting fishier by the moment. Speaking of fish, I had to make dinner. It was 8 at night. I was eating my meal when I heard Nick and Robert. I was glad they were here. They were acting quite surreal. ‘Hi.’
‘Hi guys. May I know why you ran when I said hello.’
‘Forget about that, we have a surprise for you.’
‘A surprise? Really?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Okay……..well don’t mind if I do. So, where is it’ I said after 10 seconds of awkward silence and sharing a smile to each other
‘Oh, yeah right sorry. Jack, we have to tell you something.’
‘What’s wrong?’ I started getting worried.
‘Jack Bob’s your uncle’ said Nick. ‘Bob’s my uncle?’ ‘Yeah.’
Then with a dramatic pause, entered Mr. Frankenstein. ‘Wait, is Mr. Frankenstein my uncle?’ I asked myself. ‘Hey nephew’ said Mr. Frankenstein with a sympathetic tone. ‘Could it be?’ Out of the blue, I started crying because of a motive I didn’t know about until I realised that he lived with my parents for eight years, they didn’t tell me anything about it. Suddenly, everybody started laughing even Mr. Frankenstein. ‘You have been pranked!’ screamed Nick. I was embarrassed from head to toe. ‘Are you serious?’ I shouted with anger. They wouldn’t stop laughing. Slowly, Mr. Frankenstein came towards me. I was kind of scared if he would mock me or yell at me again except he just grinned and said that he was a prankster himself and that he left pranking a few years ago, he didn’t tell why. He said that he lost happiness when he lost pranking and eventually found it again when he tricked me. I felt really bad for him. I guess he wasn’t a freak after all. Oh, and the clues? Well the pom pom did belong to Bob also known as Mr. Frankenstein, same with the notebook and pen, they belonged to Robert to jot down his ideas to prank me but it wasn’t needed so he just put it under the mat for some reason, even though he could’ve taken it inside. I mean Robert is kind of silly and careless. It was at that epoch I lost my mind.
‘But friends don’t do that’ I said.
‘See Sally Nick replied ‘that’s the thing. We are more than just friends: You’re the pasta, Robert’s the cheese and I’m the sauce. The cheese and the sauce need to add some spice to the pasta or it will taste dull. You need to relax and be easy.’
I chuckled and I need to be careful now.
(sigh) It had been two weeks since my younger brother Jacob had been lost. Jacob has always been a clever, confident young boy with unlimited energy and as mom likes to put it, “He’s an energy bomb!”
Basically, about two weeks ago, on his tenth birthday, my family and I went on a picnic to this breath-taking meadow surrounded by coniferous trees. There we sat on a hand-embroidered cloth while Jacob was very busy making new friends and discussing about whose football they should play with. “Don’t go too far Jacob.” said mom as she smiled at him. We were eating freshly baked cinnamon rolls when I looked to my right and Jacob wasn’t there. “Wait, what? Dad, wasn’t Jacob playing here a few minutes ago?” “What? Yes, he was. Where did he go?” said my father with a confused expression.
We started looking for him. It was like he vanished into thin air. Upon finding his friends at a distance, we asked them about Jacob. They said that he went after the football. So, my parents and I scattered and went looking for him at different directions. Our voices echoed, as we shouted “Jacob, where are you?”
Without any doubt, it was the sunniest day I had ever seen. The scorching heat of the sun was literally melting us and the thoughts of not finding Jacob was even worsening the situation.
There was no response. Jacob was nowhere to be found.
At last, we had realized that it is time to call the police now. So, we did so. My mother started weeping and I consoled her. The policemen were five to ten minutes away. As they reached, my father informed them of the situation and showed them Jacob’s pictures. They told us to calm down and went looking for him.
I felt as if my heart was shattering into pieces as I was pretty close to him. Probably, the closest.
The policemen came back and told us to go home while they would keep searching for him around this territory. We packed up our stuff, literally stuffed up everything in the picnic basket and drove off. As we arrived, we saw the main door of the house unlocked, we were quite astonished.
As I opened the door, there sat Jacob on the couch watching TV. I was like “Hold up, is this real?” He looked at us and said, “Oh hi, I thought that the picnic was getting quite boring and I saw my friend’s watch and remembered that it was my favorite football team’s final match…” Mom said, “What?” “Wait, let me continue, so I thought that as I am finally ten years old now, I’ll take a taxi and come home all by myself.” said Jacob proudly.
So, all that sweat, thoughts of losing Jacob, tears, fear, confusion, all those feelings. It was all for nothing? Wow, absolutely nothing.
I seldom wonder- not due to lack of thoughts, but time to think- “what if…”. It’s a bittersweet moment, the happiness comes with pain, I just want to smile a genuine smile again.
‘What if I was born a man?’ I’ll think to myself, ‘What if I didn’t have to waste the hardships of 19 years and actually been something other than a mother of children I never wanted, from a husband I never wanted and the domestic help of in-laws I never wanted.’
Maybe, I could have been the son my father wanted and desperately tried for. Complete my education; pick up a pen and create worlds in fantasy, but that itself is a fantasy because using my potential hurts my new oppressors ego. What if I said no, and enjoyed liberation for a while longer but, you and I both know we’d be kicked out and never allowed to show our face again.
Oh but my favourite, ‘what if I ran away to South Korea, met my idol, kidnapped him, fell in love because of Stockholm syndrome. See the world maybe? Just like the stories us three would make at the back of class. We were naive then, we thought it’d actually work, in the end, those were all for nothing.
Now I wonder and wonder, until there’s nothing to wonder about. Sitting in isolation in my mind, hearing someone else critique my tea.
Assef watched with repulse and sorrow as a man, lined against a wall, was yanked by his hair into an eerie looking alleyway. The strict, mullah regime had started a brutal, vicious crackdown on anything deemed not fit to mullah law. This frail individual had been caught in the clandestine act of consuming alcohol. He yelped a phrase in the crude local tongue, raising his hands in a plea for mercy.
The Mullah army officers snickered to each other and one proceeded to land a kick in the petite man’s gut. It was like he hadn’t anticipated it at all. His face appeared to have all air sucked out of it. He collapsed, groaning and grimacing in agonizing discomfort. His humiliating condition was deemed comical by the officers watching him. He seemed to raise his hand to protect himself from another assault, but conveniently was punched right on the nose. Plum coloured blood spurted all over his mouth and cracked lips. Assef tried to cover his mouth, to silence his grief for the man, as he knew what fate lay for him.
Collectively each army officer standing delivered a ferocious storm of kicks, slaps to the man. He lay limp, motionless. His cries and whimpers of torment that resonate through the concrete jungle in Lambuksh now had fallen silent. Despite his overwhelmed state, the officers continued their attack until one of the officers raised his hand. His peers complied, fixing a wrought-iron whip in his palm.
“They’re going to kill him”, Assef simmered and mumbled to himself. The Mullah regime had formulated a barbaric tool of torture, a whip that would transform your back into a heap of squirming tissue and flesh.
“I have to stop them” he irritably whispered.
In the midst of all the tyranny, he had an idea. Assef couldn’t sit in the shadow, always engulfed by fright and perturbation. His friends and family had been killed and tortured in front of his very eyes. Assef could not see another individual, punished for their ethos and varying morals, be robbed of their existence. He could do nothing then, but on this occasion, he was adamant that an end to this injustice be brought. Though his heart had crawled up to his neck, his arms twitching and shivering in horror, he mustered the audacity to bellow
The wild pack of jeering officers slowly turned towards him. Assef knew what he said was daunting. Perilous. Perilous enough for him to be killed. Yet he stood firm. The previous months of indignation, anger, that had steadily bottled up like magma in a volcano, let loose. Like a tiger in a cage of lambs. He shuffled through his waist coast, pulled out his pistol and began a wild west duel. With the flick and motion of his wrists, six bullets flew towards the 5 army officers. For good measure, Assef blasted three more rounds. The small battalion stood perplex, unknown to what struck them. The sky darkened, birds fluttered away in panic and the dogs barked in distress.
They crumpled within seconds, like a domino effect. Their faces screamed bewitchment and confusion. How could have they pre-empted, after endless years of harassing others and dominating them, could some un-portentous man like Assef finish them. Assef, the boy who routinely was hassled with whips and at the receiving end of their mockery. Assef, who urinated himself when he neared their pet lions. The boy whose family they finished.
Now that boy had become a man and stood right before them, bending over their dead corpses. Snickering and cursing their name as the army handcuffed him.
He took the bookcase and rode forth, anon! Anon!
The weary snowman didn’t know the lighthouse quipped a canon,
His poor frozen headaches,
Riding downhill, every chance he takes,
To protect the sacred cookbook he swore,
In this daylight snowstorm downpour.
Headstrong he dove into the flashlight,
Often considered sunlight,
Boom, boom pow! As the snowflakes rode with thunder,
The children’s heads filled with wonder,
This is the Ballad of the brave snowman down-under.
There are some places that are known for their landscapes, beautiful greenery and lush gardens. Some are better known for their bustling cities and monumental skyscrapers. Others have a vivid and exciting history behind the glorious historical structures that they alone exclusively possess.
But New Turkey was famous for none of these – it was an adorable little farming town somewhere in the vast unpredictable Texas – and it had been established as the most popular tourist destination for a very specific type of tourist. A type of tourist who was local and yet appeared for only a short amount of time only to disappear as soon as it did, letting everyone – even those outside the town – knowing that it had been there. It had the sort of presence like one of those hooligan motorcycle gangs. Those who roared in on those thunderous motorcycles while everyone looked at them and scowled, and the owners of bars and other properties quaked in their boots praying that they had insurance for the fight that did not yet happen.
The would burst in, with their fake teeth, queer necklaces and oversized punching rings, make noise with horrendous laughter, break a few dishes and more teeth that could not be spared, then leave shocking amounts of destruction for those who didn’t lose either. It’s like they had a vendetta against the town itself – a town that did nothing to them.
But the terrible visitor was not a motorcycle gang – in truth it is much worse than a drunk gang of cave-man like ruffians.
The visitor was more like a bully – like that mean kid who steals the scarves of littler kids every snowy day and uses it to whip them. But there’s no snow in Texas, is there? Maybe they’re more like those bullies who would steal your lunch money and push you over, steal your basketball and push you over, tear up your books and push you over, or just push you over for no reason at all. Or perhaps because it was fun to toss your tiny being around like a ragdoll.
The visitor does do that to everyone – but it’s not an angry bully with mental issues – if only it were.
Fortunately, the town was not completely defenseless and utterly hopeless against the invader. Even in Texas, they somehow had their own gypsy to predict when their doom would arrive. Every time it was thought to, she would rush out of her hut and scream, “It’s over, the end is near! Kiss your children, hold those you love dear near! Pray your home does not implode, that it’s somehow survives! Because it is nearly here!”
It was the same anthem of doom every time. The calm and serene streets would immediately wake up and begin to thrown all those upon then in all directions as if they were parasites on its being. The fleas would scatter and dive to anyone’s house and invade everyone’s privacy for their own survival.
Many efforts would be in vain – as in moments the dreaded visitor would say hello. It would be like it was being propelled by the eagle in Norse myths. The one with the great big wings that held responsibility for the winds. Except to conjure up this visitor, it needed a few steroids.
Yes, indeed the destructive power this regular visitor would bring cannot be conjured by anything alive – so what is it exactly.
New Turkey was famous for its bewildering and absolutely overpowering tornadoes that had no constructive purposes in their lives.