Chekov’s Donkey

Once upon a time there was a farmer named Chekov who had a talking donkey. The donkey was prone to loquacious tangents and never gave a straight answer to anything. However the farmer loved his donkey and took it everywhere.

One day, the farmer was visiting a nuclear reactor. There was a malfunction and the core started melting down. Everyone was panicking as there was no time to get to a minimum safe distance.

The farmer bravely marched into the reactor room and had his donkey swallow the radioactive core. Suddenly everything was alright and the radiation levels returned to normal.

All the scientists were raking their brains about how this could be possible. The farmer just smiled and said …

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“Whatever happens in vague ass, stays in vague ass!”

[Short Story] PALINDROME

This one won the REVERSE WRITING PROMPT contest at HeavyGlow – a flash fiction magazine. The prompt was inspired by the movie MEMENTO (directed by Christopher “Dark Knight” Nolan), to write a story in reverse. I decided to experiment further and write a true palindrome, one that can be read in both directions. You can read the sections either from top to bottom or from bottom to top (the section flow goes in order of writing).

It was fun to write. The subject matter is kind of dark and violent though. You’ve been warned! 🙂

Sometimes you smoke, because you’re awake.

#

I can’t sleep anymore. For me, life is one never ending polar night. I don’t care if the sun comes up tomorrow morning or if it goes down the evening after. I sit on the ledge of my window-sill and look at the world outside, not actually noticing anything.

#

The knife clatters down to the ground. The world is spinning too fast and it’s hard for me to focus. The red haze slowly descends onto me. I feel my eyes close and I sink down to the floor. The floor is slick with blood.

Some of it is my own and the rest… Mara’s.

#

It’s a coronary. I just know it. Feels like someone poured molten lead down my throat. I’m flushed, been trying to cough it out, tried to beat it out of my chest even. It’s almost as if someone has lit a fire in my lungs. I take the knife and try to slit my ribs to let the fumes out, stab my arms again and again, just feel the pain, some acknowledgment that there are worse things than what burns inside me.

I bang my head against the walls.

#

The loneliness is gone and it feels like a weight was lifted off of my chest, as the realization hits me like a two ton truck speeding down the freeway. I don’t feel sad, because there is no sadness at her parting. That’s how it should be. What we had could never be forgotten or whittled away. I won’t let that happen. I’ll fight till the last shard of my sanity to hang on to that sweet feeling, move mountains to make sure I remember her.

#

The Mara I knew would never cheat on me. It must’ve been someone else, someone who hijacked her very being, corrupted her soul and made her a walking travesty of infidelity and debauchery.

Yes, that must be it. She’s possessed, or rather what remains of her is. What she was is no more, her mind purloined and her body commandeered by some demon from hell.

I make up my mind. I must free her from the foul entity that infests her shell. I’ll do it for Mara, for us, for the times we had together.

#

Is there something wrong with me? I feel guilty. I should be crying rivers, yet here I’m sitting quietly on the ledge, my legs dangling into the dark night.

#

Sometimes you smoke to stay awake.

THE END

[Short Story] The Unborn

He surveys his domain from atop the tallest spire of the largest construct.

Jake would have been ten today.

He is the sentinel of this realm, guardian of this place.

I miss Jake.

He is one with the four winds that caress the sleeping vista at night, his senses on high alert for a sliver of anything out of the ordinary.

Deb and I had planned a long time for Jake. They said it was too late for both of us. But we wanted a baby so bad we did not listen to them.

He feels the winds shift. His senses are abuzz and he turns to face whence the ripple has originated.

Deb was the first to know, to feel the genesis of Jake. It was as if the warmth of a life created inside her womb washed all over her psyche like the first rays of the sun on a chilly morning.

He senses the magik even from this distance. It never loses its novelty. Every time it happens, he feels the same. Another one has arrived.

Sometimes I would wake up in the night to find Deb sitting by the window-sill, singing to the baby in her womb. We found out it was a boy. Deb picked the name. Jake, she wanted to call him.

He rises in the air and flies towards the spot. His consciousness is blending with the ether and he seeks a name.

I still remember that night. The heavens opened their hearts as the rain came down in a torrent. Jake was not due for a couple of weeks. But Deb knew that it was time. I drove them to the city as fast as I could.

He flies over the grand structures that make up this place, so formless at first glance, yet for one who has the patience to look again, a grand symphony of beauty. He caresses a few as he passes them. They are his now, till the end of time. He tends to them and looks after them.

For ten years I have replayed that moment in my mind trying to find someone to blame. May be the truck driver was at fault, his attention having wavered for a second. Perhaps it was I who should have been more careful. But in that split second, my life changed. I felt the sharp pang of pain even before it happened. All I remember are the lights of the behemoth shining directly into my wide open eyes and then there was darkness.

He sees the new arrival. Glistening and glowing, shimmering like the ones before it. He lands nearby and walks towards it.

Deb did not survive the crash. In a way I feel that it was for the best. She never had to know that Jake did not make it. The doctors did their best, but Jake was gone too.

He embraces the essence of the arrival and feels his own course over it. It grows with the infusion and settles down onto the ground. He steps back and watches it grow, another structure taking shape in this Garden of the Unborn Souls, too pure and innocent to be judged.

My life has been a blur since the accident. I try not to think about them, but all I think about now are Deb and Jake. My therapist suggested writing as an outlet. So I write now. It is a small comfort as I shape and reshape my own reality trying to come to terms with what happened. For ten long years I have tried to let go, but the effort is as pointless as the torment of Tantalus. Sometimes I resist the urge to think about it, other times I rush in towards mental mirages of Deb and Jake smiling to me from beyond the haze of the absinthe.

I miss Deb a lot but what torments me most is the loss of the person I knew the least. I feel pained at what Jake could have become. Sometimes I weep in the night mourning chances lost.

The ether finally speaks back. He senses the word in his mind. He runs his hand over at the newest addition to his domain. A smile forms on his lips. It has a name now.

Sometimes I tell myself, may be it is a better place that Jake has gone to.

He looks lovingly at the new one and says, “Welcome home, Jake!”

THE END

Author’s Note
First published in HeavyGlow in 2007. The image is a capture from the movie THE CATHEDRAL.

Lascivious Intentions

(A repost from my old sulekha.com blog. This was written on the back of a napkin at Amsterdam airport while waiting for a connecting flight. contains strong language and graphic sexuality, might not be suitable for minors)

LASCIVIOUS INTENTIONS
by Saurav Mohapatra

They were having sex in a public place and no one looked.

The measly looking old man was banging the naked busty blonde right there on the floor of a busy airport lounge and no one even bothered to bat an eyelid.

Apathy, the greatest virtue of modern man! We seem to be born with it. We would revel in it if we could trigger the faintest bit of emotion.

Being apathetic is not a zero sum game. There is plenty to go around for everybody.

#

The old man was now lying flat on his back and the blonde was riding him hard.

Still no one cared.

Oh! My Lord! What the f#$% has happened to your world?

I sipped my coffee trying to drown out their moans and groans. It was getting on my nerves.

I still had five hours to go before my connecting flight left and I had to put up with this.

#

They seemed to have insatiable appetites. Now the blonde was kneeling over and the old man was pumping away furiously shouting in broken English, “Who Yore daddy!”. She was shouting indecipherable obscenities in a language that sounded German. Having watched umpteen pornographic movies, I could fill in the dialogues in English.

The racket was unbearable.

“Stop it.” I wanted to shout.

“Stop it now! I cannot take this anymore.”

I wanted to go over and kick them hard. They were behaving like mongrels in heat and deserved to be treated as such.

I finally got the nerve and stood up.

#

The old man was sitting there on the bench right across me, fully clothed of course and so was the blonde.

Did I imagine it?

Damn! This waiting is playing havoc with my mind.

I pretended to stretch my legs and sat down.

The old man was reading a newspaper. He gave me a courtesy smile as our eyes met and I realized I had been staring.

I smiled guiltily and looked over at the blonde.

#

Ahhh! There she was! Butt naked on the floor, pleasuring herself and of course no one looked.

I got in touch with my inner apathetic modern man. I turned my attention to my coffee and looked at my watch.

Four more hours plus change!

#

Still no one looked.

THE END

HeavyGlow Anthology

My first ever published short story was a flash fiction piece for an e-zine called Heavy Glow edited by Stacy Taylor. I really enjoyed writing small less than 750 word pieces for Heavy Glow and also wrote/drew a serial graphic short/web comic strip (gritty b/w crime/noir shorts) for them. In short, I had a whale of a time. Stacy was very kind and helpful with critiques and encouragement and I really relished writing/drawing these shorts.

Now looks like some of the stories have been published in an anthology called “Heavy Glow Flash Fiction – 2 years of burning brightly” on LuLu.com. It features some of my earlier short short stories (including one called PALINDROME which was a word prompt “story in reverse” contest winner and is one of my personal favorites).

Here are some excerpts from a review of the anthology about my HeavyGlow stories.

“Recharge” by Saurav Mohapatra – oh, I’ve been there done that. Very well done. The author perfectly captures a momentous moment in one’s life.

“The Unborn” by Saurav Mohapatra – this story gorgeously and heartbreakingly captures pivotal moments in an unborn life. This one hurt.

“Palindrome” by Saurav Mohapatra – inventive prompt results in an outstanding tale of broken trust.

Lulu Listing : HeavyGlow Flash Fiction: Two Years Burning Brightly (BUY) (REVIEW)