Tag Archives: travel

“$0.99 Only”

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I was asked to write a story that includes some given elements, here are the elements:
1. Kermit, the klutz
2. Spelunking
3. Bobbie Sue (one leg), Grandpa (alien abductee?), Tookie (stoner dog)
4. Dark tone
5. Neon-pink umbrella
6. Nisha, Kermit’s exact opposite (met in a hospital)

This is my response, hope you like it…

Albeit a single bed, a small cupboard with an even smaller bathroom hardly makes for an house but for the sleepy head this ancestral home was much more than what he could have put up with his $3 an hour pay at ‘$0.99 only’. That night would have been like any other if it hadn’t been for that damn phone call.

it was half past 3 and Kermit was sleeping in his ‘bedrom’, coz two O’s demands a lot more space. The night was dark, there were no clouds and no soul in the street to break the deafening silence. With his trusted Tookie, a dog even more peculiar than its name, by his side guarding his masters belongings. Few utensils, some ugly photo frames, a pre WWII radio and a few clothes doesn’t really need any guarding but Tookie was up to it.  It was then, when the phone rang.

It was the Holly Family Hospital, His old man was in the psychiatric ward, ever since he went spelunking and was abducted by the aliens he hasn’t found this ignorant and at times mocking world very sane. Apparently Looney was refusing medicine. It took sleepy head  forty minutes of walk coupled with a a very expensive cab ride to reach there. But by the time he got there pa was back into his extra terrestrial dreams as if panic attack never happened, poor Kermit.

Disappointed and relived came out of the hospital he, looking for a yet another expensive cab ride, this time back to home. Also In search of the cab was someone else. Slim, about five and a half, looked his age, dressed in a black track suit she claimed to be from the same neighborhood , but he had never seen her. That was plausible since except his dad and few others from work sleepy didn’t knew anybody. And the only interactions he had with the opposite gender was with the chubby old ones that came to his store. Thrift, Kermit asked her to share a cab, she agreed. The girl had came to see her grandmother who also had a panic attack, poor girl.

The cab took almost an hour to reach its destination and our sleepy head about half an hour to ask her name, Nisha it was. They chatted a lot in the latter part of the journey; He told her all about his forefathers, she nodded a lot.  They were near their destination but decided to leave the cab and walk rest of the distance. Although he sternly protested but they shared the fare. He told her every story he could manage from his timid life, some of them were even real. Kermit’s house came first, as they were about to part their ways and were saying goodbyes. What kermit saw ran shivers down his spine, The bedroom light was on.

even with a history of klutziness, kermit was sure that he checked the lights before he left. Hurriedly and horridly they ran through the stairs. And to add to his horrors the door was ajar. They went inside, the whole house was in mess and sitting in the looney’s rocking chair old, wise, crocked, short, stocky with crutch in his one hand and a gun in the other and a hint of a grin peaking from the thicket that has grown on his face one legged Bobbie sue politely asked “Where is my gold ?”.

Gold! Kermit wasn’t sure that any one in his family has even seen gold. Even upon his repeated rejections Bobby sue didn’t acquiesced. He was in no mood to leave without his gold. He was sure that the gold he and Looney discovered while spelunking was hidden somewhere in this house. Bobby stood up pointed the gun at NIsha and asked for the one final time Whare izz mah ghold!..? . In reply sleepy whistled but nothing happened, to both nisha’s and bobby’s amazement he whistled again, again nothing happened. “Where is Tookie?” Asked Kermit. With a shimmer in his eyes “some where safe, but not for long“Sue replied.

Bobby left the building saying that they both have two hours to get him the gold otherwise he can forget “the damn dog!”. Kermit told her that she can leave but Nisha was very cooperative. She asked him wether his father ever mentioned or hinted at any thing to him about this, the reply was negative. Sleepy was sure that of all the conversations that took place in this house between him and his old man gold was never mentioned or hinted in any one of them.

They began searching the house, first they emptied the cupboard, although most of it was already on the floor. As Nisha was going through rest of the stuff. Kermit stood on his tows and with his arms stretched above his head, he searched the top of the cupboard with his eyes closed as he was trying to feel even the slightest of the things that could have been placed there.  Even with his arms stretched he couldn’t get to the backend of the surface. So he decided to jump and give a full swipe of his hand. He did the same and to his luck he actually hit something it fell on the ground but so did the klutzy.

It was the ugly photo frames wrapped in a thin clothe. The clothe wasn’t much of the protector, Sharp edge of one of the frames pierced the cloth, dented the wooden floor and also it self. The dull pink color from the edge came off and instead of the expected black color the frame was made up of some amber colored metal. He purposely scratched all three rest of them and they all were of the same build.

With glitter in his eyes and sheer bewilderment on his face he looked at the frames in his hand, they were quite heavy but he didn’t mind. It was then, when nisha snapped the frames from his hand and reminded him of Tookie, whom she never met, and his love for the dogs, nisha loved pet dogs.  The thought of running away with both the frames and nisha came to his mind several time but so did the happy memories of the stoner face. It was nearly dawn, With a heavy heart he went to the pre-decided meeting point and exchanged the frames for the damn dog. He patted Tookie, on his way back, he turned and ask NIsha “I guess you aren’t coming”  to which she replied “not without my dad and the Gold”.

Kermit was back at work, as usual he went up the ladder procured the asked item, came down the ladder. But this time was different, though he was at work his mind was somewhere else, he was thinking about the adventures of last night and how few hours back for roughly sixty minutes he had a fortune and a beautiful girl.As he handed over the neon pink umbrella to an old chubby lady, she asked “how much?“.
“$0.99 only” he replied.

Seeking Nirvana

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the day was like any other the sun was beaming hard, a lot of hustling and bustling in the street most of it was unnecessary, except it was a holiday. Although I cherish the rare breed that holidays are, but spending four back to back in a strange town with very few, hardly any, friends or acquaintances  was an insipid task. It was the forth day and my boredom was at its zenith. With absolutely nothing to do and a 1970 tv set which was showing (although flickering would be more appropriate) daily soaps in an incomprehensible local language. I sat on a rocking chair near the window with stone cutters from nearby under construction house providing background music. I tried reading but my heart was somewhere else, somewhere 1000 miles away where my family and friends were celebrating this festive season.

all these thoughts made my eyelids unbearably heavy and I dozed off. It was late in the afternoon when rain bombarding my tin roof broke my captivation. As usual  power was out,though power came here four-five years ago, even she doesn’t spend more than half a day here. Sluggishly I got my self out the chair, feeling a bit underdone in my belly and with my trusted umbrella accompanying me I went out to eat. But for reasons beyond my understanding, my regular dinner was closed on a ‘festive holiday’. With umbrella in one hand and misfortune in another, I went further down the road, starving. I was walking parallel to a tree line and the sudden showers had breath life into them.

the rain was more of a drizzle now and my umbrella was working as a cane. It was getting a little dark when I heard a whistle coming from the woods. Like the rain it was light but persistent. And as so many other stories go I too followed the sound. It was melodious, the whistle, definitely the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, I was no longer hungry. Deep inside the woods I went, desperately wanting to find the source of such euphonious sound. My walk turned into trot but the whistle was fading, as if the person was running away from me.

under a spell I persuaded the sound but of no use. No matter how fast I walk, the whistle was sneaking away. It was dark now with full moon providing the only illumination,that was a beautiful scene but I didn’t had the time. Tired and desperately in search of nirvana. For one last hurrah, with one last gasp of breath I ran towards the origin. I ran between the trees, smashing all the follower beds that came in the way. I was almost out of breath when I saw the cave. It was a black cave not big in size but large enough to let one or two person sit inside and play music. The sight of a cave in a thick Forrest after dark is both intriguing and frightening but holding my umbrella as the Excalibur I entered.

to my bewilderment the cave was huge from inside and had a waterfall in it. I could hear the sound loud and clear and it wasn’t fading. oh! the sound it was mesmerizing and it was coming from behind the waterfall. There was no point in leaving now, I had to find the truth. I went inside the waterfall and came out on the other end.

What I saw is very hard for me to describe. I was standing on a port with ships bigger than the football fields, bigger than what I have seen in the movies. There were more people than I have seen in my entire life. Bright and bold cars raced past each other. Shops had there personal huge tv screens displaying there signs. Streetlights everywhere not a single crook on the street was dark, absolute abundance of electricity.It felt like my own space odyssey.I wondered on the street for awhile. But my joy was short-lived. I got bored of it, sheer chaos it was. All the cars, the sirens on ships, people yelling outside their coffee shops asking others to come in and the constant nonstop ringing of portable phones were deafening me. I went there looking for a melodious sound, a sound which was soothing to my soul but all that purposeless honking, ringing, yelling and loud music all that noise was hurting my ears. I saw ships bigger than fields, buildings taller than mountains, there were more people on the street than in my whole country but the view wasn’t appealing, even the air was hurting my eyes. I couldn’t understand what was happening, where had I come. It was then, a newspaper caught my sight. I picked it up, the photographs were in color but the thing that caught my eyes was the date which read aug22,2012.