Z for Zero-sum (Part I)

Freida Dantas stepped out of the queue to look around. The machine wasn’t that far from here–only a few hundred more. She looked behind. The queue went on for as long as she could see. She too had started from the end of the queue many hours ago. The machine took only a second to judge, so the queue had kept moving continuously. But she worried if there were more hopefuls in the queue than seconds in a day. She had been queueing up religiously for her pronouncement every day since she had died.

She’d learned of the system the day she had arrived at the purgatory. Learned is probably not the best word to describe the process. She had woken up in the purgatory a week ago knowing about it instinctively, with no recollection of her prior life. She knew exactly when and where to queue up for the machine. The machine would tell her if it was her time to ascend to the heaven yet. She’d witnessed thousands of ascensions on her first day. The ascendants one after the other had stood under the

Magic


        “She’s coming. She’s coming!”, Vikram yelled, as he scampered down, and squatted behind the park bench. His comb was now working at full speed. Aanand lethargically took out his glasses from his front pocket and put them on his squashed nose. They were ridiculously small lenses, for a ridiculously big man.
        “She will go. She will go! Don’t let her go, idiot!!” Vikram pleaded from behind the bench. Aanand’s eyes flitted across the park for their target. Aah… There she was! Bucking gracefully along the dusty park alley, she was graceful! Her hair rose and fell like flowers in a zephyr.
        She was not alone. Her sister was running with her, or so he guessed - the two of them looked similar. Yet she looked a class apart, even from that distance.

        “What the fuck are you waiting for??” Vikram squealed, as he generously sprayed perfume on himself. “Go!” This time it was more like a scream as he pointed in her direction.
        Everything had been planned beforehand. This was going to be a routine filmy scene - ugly villains flirt with the heroine and the hero enters in style to save her. No glitch… no problems…. This was a tried and tested formula – always worked in films. Normally, it would have been a three villains and a lone hero scene, but Vikram reasoned that Aanand was easily a substitute for three lanky filmy villains. The two had rented enough CDs to have known every possible trick in a suave Hindi hero’s book. This seemed like the best one.
        Aanand started running behind her. He was soon puffing. He couldn’t remember the last time he had run. He ran with force; his legs pounded heavily on the park grass, leveling them in boot-shaped patches; she glided slowly, not leaving a mark, but of her scent in the morning air. Still, it looked as if he might never catch her. Aanand put in more force; he ran as if his life depended on this sprint, faster than he ever had… faster… faster…! He was closing in on her even as the sisters paced through the alley. He felt his burnout point, as the first droplets of sweat meandered across his round face and fell down like little pearls. They had not planned this. He slowed down a bit, but he was close to her by now. She was close enough to hear his puffing and panting and to feel his presence.
        In an inexplicably dilated moment, her face turned around, and their eyes met. She looked like a goddess etched in stone. She smiled knowingly at him. He was stupefied. She kept running.
Vikram came running from behind him in a few moments. “What happened? You just stood there! What did I tell you to do? What happened to you? Say something! What are you thinking??
        It was magic!



This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Every weekend, we give out creative writing topics for the love of writing. This time the entries had to contain the words 'idiot', 'perfume' and 'CD'.

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