There’s virtually nothing that Manickam couldn’t do or get done. He very recently helped capture two corrupt undercover cops of his panchayat. Right at this moment, he is in the zoo un-teething a two-hour-old cadaver. He’d feed it to the lioness when this craft of his is complete. His accomplice comes and tells him. He’s rather cut short before he begins.
‘Why is it that, Rafeek, you’re good at nothing and why is that I end up doing everything you’re bad at?’
The accomplice scratches his cheek and tells.
‘This Youngness I couldn’t shoo off wants to see you right away. Highness, looks to me like we’re neck deep in thick soup.’
Highness rolls the diamond bracelet up his arm, blinks hard twice so as to feel his contacts. She’s already here clearing her throat. He knocks the molars out and pulls the dental speculum off.
‘Selvi’s not undercover, Brightness. Our clientele, insha Allah! First you collect the teeth, bury them in the pit, leave the pit be. Let the lion out and in its cage, then and only then the boars. Don’t you mess it up like last time!’
It’s past dusk and power out. She stands offish leaning by a tree, takes a call and swears the first word. Highness comes to her.
‘Everything all right? Guy broke a heart, I broke his head. Nothing personal.’
She clears her throat.
He lights the Petromax lamp and hangs it up.
‘Oh! Matter is he opened her chest as she still breathed, cut her heart out, squeezed it with his foot, caught half way eating it, got out with influence.’
She clears throat again.
‘Didn’t work out. Thoma wouldn’t go down first thing on me much as he wants me to. Gave it ‘nother shot this evening. Same thing – Sweetness wouldn’t go down first thing much as he wants me to. We broke up. Why won’t I get what I wanted? Can’t blame you—it’s him.’
Sweetness Thoma is a good kid. That Highness knew. There’s no reason why Sweetness wouldn’t want to please Youngness like she wants him to. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t. There’s a reason he wouldn’t stay married long if he ever did marry. There’s a reason there should be turbulence if he did. Brightness, ever since he got married, hasn’t been his old self. It’s time to seek replacement while Highness is still unconsciously not given away. Brightness could shift to a sober job. Highness is thinking.
‘Can’t see why. Don’t know why not. Thought the kid’s good…kid’s good at everything else he does.’
She isn’t mad except a little upset. It’d happened before, might as well happen again. Highness might want to hook her up with ‘nother lad except he isn’t certain.
‘Leaving town. Can’t stand it here. Nice setup this, by the way, here—running the zoo and all.’
Highness will live to sixty-five, plus or minus five years behind bars, and mete out blind justice until fifty-five. He will face a handful of sour defeats in the time to come but this is one defeat and the only one he will remember fondly. Youngness sought after him—she wanted to find some love was all.
BIO: Ahimaaz Rajesh lives in India, works for bread, writes to breathe