The Man I Never Knew

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By Kecia Sparlin

Keith drove me to the station. He carried my bags, bought my ticket, and waited with me for the bus.

“Give Emily my love.”

I’d stay a while with our daughter while I looked for a place of my own nearby.

“I’ll tell her.”

The bus rolled, and I turned to find Keith through the window. Twenty-five years of marriage, I thought I should wave goodbye to the heartless bastard even if he felt nothing.

The brakes shrieked. Passengers screamed. My head hit the seat.

“A man,” a woman shouted. “He ran in front of the bus!”

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Knock, Knock…Who Is It? (150 Words)

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A man knocked on the door of the old woman’s house.
“Who is it?” a squeaky voice inquired from inside.
“It’s the butcher,” he said.
“Who is it?” repeated the voice.
“It’s the butcher,” said the man.
“Who is it?”
“It’s the butcher!!,” said the man angrily.
To draw on his first call a stone deaf customer with a cracked voice…phew.
“Who is it?”
“It’s the butcher!!!!”, he screamed.
“Who is it?”
“It’s the butcher, the butcher, the butch…”
Suddenly the butcher fell to the floor his hands cluthching at his chest.
A little later the old woman came home and found a man lying on her doorstep foaming at the mouth.
‘Who could it be?’ she mumbled to herself as she rushed inside to call for help.
There’ll be no more taunts. Proud at learning a second sentence in her life, “It’s the butcher!” replied her pet parrot.
End

Source: eflclassroom.com and freeimages.com

A Tale From A Mango Tree (Children’s Story)

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‘You, know, I’m the one taking all the risks, sneaking into houses. You stand at a safe distance ready to run away at the first sign of trouble.’

‘And don’t forget you’ve no act unless I pick you up and drop you over the fence, keep watch and get you back same way.’

The two men, one short and the other tall, were arguing under the Mango Tree over their fair share of the loot taken from an unwilling wayfarer whose misfortune it was to cross their path early in the evening, .

As always their wrangle was inconclusive and it was agreed to maintain the status quo at 50-50. .

The short man now emptied the contents of the wayfarer’s bag into a pile on the ground – it was all silver coins. Didn’t amount to much belying the heft. Cursing their luck over the insubstantial returns for their efforts, he dutifully did the ‘one for you, one for me, watched over by a pair of wary eyes,’

The meager split finished, ‘Okay…means we’re not done for the night.’

‘You’re right. You have anything in mind?’

‘I have heard there’s an widow living all by herself in the village. Old money. I suggest we pay her a visit tonight. A real cinch – we should be done and gone before the clock moves.’

It wasn’t dark yet and a little shut-eye was in order before attending to their business usually conducted after mid-night. The coins were secured in  waist belts covered by the dhoti folds, the turbans straightened and laid out on the ground and in a few turns they were lost to the waking world.

The entire proceedings were watched with dismay by Kaaga, the crow. The hapless wayfarer had rested under the Tree and even shared his food before running into these men. And now they plan to rob the poor lady.

He turned sad:

‘The kind lady…never missed setting aside every morning some cooked rice for us. But how do I alert her to their nefarious plans? We don’t speak their language.’

Awash with despair, ‘A shame that I know what’s going to happen and still helpless to do anything about it.’

‘May be we could do something,’ said the Mango Tree, a mute witness to the happenings till now.

‘How do you mean?’

‘It might just work…go and get Mooshika (the mouse) here – we need him.’

Soon enough an excited Mooshika scampered to the base of the Tree – for, it was quite unusual to be called at this hour.

‘You’ve told me some time ago you hoard things people leave behind or lose at the village tank and it’s getting so full up that you find it difficult to move around in your own home?’

‘That’s right. Badly needs cleaning up – since she’s isn’t around I don’t mind saying this.’

‘Anything in silver? Not coins.’

‘Oh, plentiful – chains, rings, tiny bells fallen off anklets, small diya’s (wick-lamps)…you know we have no use for these.’

Thereupon Mooshika heard from the Mango Tree what was to be done, which it accomplished silently in the next few minutes, helped by a few friends.

Just when the tall man got the spell right to open up the treasure chest inside the cave, he was rudely woken up by faint sounds near his ears of bells tingling.

A light sleeper he was as suited for his trade, he was immediately alert. Unable to discern any immediate threat he calmed down. Nevertheless it was safer for them to be ready for any danger lurking close by; so he woke up his accomplice.

As the short man got up, a rain of silver trinkets fell on the ground from his garment.

The tall man’s countenance hardened.

He fixed the other man with a malevolent glare: ’So you hid these from me…you cheat’.

‘Don’t know what you’re talking about.’

The tall man silently pointed to the silver on the ground.

‘Oh…no idea, really, how they got to me…believe me you’

Trading mutual allegations, the feud heated up.

It was too late…the rising decibels had brought a crowd of unwelcome villagers to the spot.

Without a thought, they took off to keep the hide on their back…as fast as their legs could carry, stumbling and pulling themselves up and helping each other in their flight.

Never mind it was late, Kaaga cawed gustily, Mooshika and his pals danced unabashedly and the Tree sighed in relief.

End

The House (500- Words)

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The neighborhood was very busy at this hour; it was easy for the man to watch the house inconspicuously. And he had to move away in short time as there were other streets to cover before evening.

She came out to buy vegetables from the vendor. As she reentered the house she saw it.

This was going too far. The young men renting the room on the floor above had to be called and roundly ticked off, first in the morning. It spoiled the look of the stately house and, importantly, it would depress the rent the other rooms to be let out would fetch with prospects. Not that she was hard up for this income.

Draping the full-length balcony hand-rails lining the front, their clothes were hung out to dry, making an unseemly mish-mash of a facade for all to see. It had to be stopped forthwith. She was going to be quite firm – they must walk up to the clothesline specially fixed up for them at the back of the house.

It was true she needed her tenants, more to save the house from decay thru disuse.  Also it was good to have them around to run occasional errands for her. Even the downside – the problems they caused for her every day – in fact worked out to be an upside; sorting them out left her with little time to brood on her loneliness and life at large. She did have her hours of quiet when they went out to work during the day.

From the meager purchases, she must be cooking for one – just herself – he guessed. Did not see anyone else come and go. The house had the air of old money. It would be all quiet on sun-down with the shops on either side closing down. Just the kind of house he loved visiting mid-night. A real cinch, it was.

There was no need to look any further. Quite pleased with himself, he could have even hummed his favorite tune and not earned a frown from his brotherhood. He turned homewards – there was time yet for a refreshing nap. The job called for more than a tired body and mind.

Just then, perchance he looked up and his gaze fell on them.

‘Oh, s##t, he muttered to himself. ‘What bl##dy luck! I might have walked right into a crowd.’

It was those clothes in plural, flapping spasmodically in the breeze, from the balcony rails, like freshly netted fish in death throes…

End

 

 

Source: Image from clipart-library.com

No-Corpse No-Blood No-Gore No-Ghost No-Aliens No-Creatures No-Calamity Horror Story! (50 Words)

Is this possible at all?

Here’s one:

A girl returned home from the school and asked her grandmother,

“Granny, what’s a lover?”

“A lover?” the grandmother said. “Let me think. Lov…. Lover…. Oh, my God!”

She rushed to the wall, pulled aside the hanging rug, unlocked a hidden closet door…

…tumbling down from behind was a skeleton.

End

 

 

Source: Adapted from Nidokidos

A Tale From A Mango Tree (A Drabble)

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As the sun dipped out of sight below the horizon, the feathered folks were finding their way back home..

The Wise One saw a forlorn Kaga and knew at once not everything was right with the latter.

‘Kaga, you don’t look your usual self.’

‘Yes, my friend, you guessed right. These days when I go out, I’m not sure if I would be back in the evening with hair and hide in place.’

‘Why so?’

‘Well, you know I love those berries on the lone tall tree behind the mirasdar’s house.’

‘Yes, I’ve seen you stuffing yourself nonstop with those little things I don’t particularly care for. Am not surprised you’ve problems taking off after your fill.’

‘You with your evil eyes – it isn’t going to happen anymore.’

‘Why? Has the tree stopped producing berries? Has some one hacked it down?’

‘Mercifully, no.’

‘Then?’

‘All this time, no one paid any attention to those trees in and around – they were on no-man’s land. Suddenly the mirasdar is now claiming the trees are his.’

‘Still there’s no way he can fence them off to keep you away from the berries high up on the tree. Can he?’

‘An evil mind is devil’s workshop. He has a dog and a man to keep watch. Whenever I alight on the tree and take the first bite – mind you, I do it absolutely noiselessly that would not awaken an insomniac – the blessed dog somehow catches sight of me and starts howling his head off. This gets the man to the spot from wherever he is and whatever he is doing to launch a fusillade of stones and pebbles with his slingshot. He’s quite good with it – he almost brought me down earlier today… frightened the blazing daylights out of me. So, my friend, my favorite feeding ground is now out of bounds for me. Don’t know where the next meal is coming from.’

The Wise One commiserated: ‘So sorry to hear. It’s cruel to snatch the food off someone’s mouth.’

There was silence with either having little to say.

‘I’ve a suggestion to make, if you care to listen and do as I say,’ spoke the Mango Tree so far passively listening in on Kaga’s sad story.

‘Anything for those juicy berries, dear sir, as long as I live to see the sun set.’

‘Tomorrow, when you alight on the tree, don’t be sneaky. Make a show.’

‘Eh?’

‘Yes, no cawing – that’s not what I meant. As soon the dog begins to announce your arrival, tell him you’re not amused, display your temper by vigorously shaking the (tree) limb you’re perched…jump up and down on it like you were on a hot brick, push with your beak like you’re fighting off a vulture…whatever to show your annoyance. Keep at it for a minute and you’ll have a peaceful meal. After a while your friend on the ground may open his loud mouth once again. At which instant you repeat your act. If it ever gets hot at anytime like today with pebbles and stones beginning to fly around you, make an immediate exit without losing a moment. Go back if you must not before allowing an hour or two for matters to cool down.’

‘Well, sounds quite doable…no harm in trying it out. Anyway things can’t get any worse from here.’

Once Kaga moved away for the night, the Wise One threw a quizzical glance at the Tree saying ‘Man, have you gone senile?‘ and received a signal in response to wait and watch.

The following day was like any other day – the birds lodged in the leafy Mango Tree headed out early in the morning seeking food and adventure, and returned in the evening flapping their tired wings looking to a night of repose.

And there was Kaga gliding in gracefully. The glow on his face said it all. He thanked the Tree profusely: ’You know, after a few rounds, strangely the dog appeared to be amused by my act more than anything else. I almost got a feeling he opened his mouth now on purpose to get me going and entertain himself.  In the afternoon he even went so far as to wag his tail a few times! Thanks very much, sir, for restoring my lifeline.’

‘Just as I expected. Keep the show on and note all that jumping and pushing helps your digestion too.’

After Kagha took leave on this happy note the Wise One turned to the Mango Tree:

‘Just as you expected? All this song and dance – mind telling me what’s all this hooey?’

‘Nothing out of the ordinary…it always good to share…’

‘Eh?’

‘Soon Kaga will figure out for himself why it works for him. They are a team now –  the dog is hooked on the berries that Kaga shakes down!’

 

End

Nasiruddin, The Outliar

Mulla Nasiruddin’s tales like Akbar-Birbal’s and Tenali Raman’s are short and witty and some  downright outrageous, all the same enjoyable. Here’s one such:

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On a particularly cold night, Nasiruddin was stretching his legs in front of a dying fire,

He was joined by a villager given to gross exaggeration and sometimes outright lies. Much as he would have liked, Nasiruddin could do little to avoid him. It wasn’t long before the villager launched himself in full flow.

‘You know, these don’t bother me,’ he said punching the hard mattress Nasiruddin was sitting on.

‘Don’t understand why should my mattress bother anyone save me.’

‘This kind of dried grass is quite beneath me.’

‘But that’s where a mattress belongs – beneath you?’

Nasiruddin’s levity or naivety, whatever, was roundly ignored.

The villager rolled on: ‘Under the circumstances, I sleep over the air.’

‘Eh?’

’Yes, I simply levitate.’

‘Oh!’

Obviously it called for an explanation that was supplied without any encouragement: ‘I learnt it a few months ago from an itinerant Baba!’

‘Very interesting! And what a coincidence it would be if he was the same guy who taught me to see in the dark. Was he one eyed, toothless and in white robes?’

It was villager’s turn to be nonplussed: ‘Seeing in the dark? Really? Then…why would you do that?’

‘Do what?’

‘But I’ve seen you go out in the night always carrying a lighted lamp in hand – never without it.’

‘Oh, at my age collisions could be nasty, you’ll agree – a fall can break a bone or two. So the lamp – it’s for others to stay clear off me.’

The villager suddenly remembered at that instant he had to be elsewhere.

End

 

 

Source: Adapted from speakingtree.in and image from  nasrudinsblog.wordpress.com