Archive for the 'Stories' Category

People, Dinners & Photographs

I slowly looked around this dimly lit room. What am I doing here? I thought. Who are these people sitting on tables all around me? They all look the same; with their matching black suits, and faces buried six-feet under an assorted combo of beauty products they saw somewhere on the pages of a fashion magazine, right next to an airbrushed picture of some skinny anorexic model named… whoever.

model

For a moment, my mind slipped back to an earlier time, two weeks ago to be exact; a dinner party not very much unlike this one. It had a lot less people, yet they didn’t all look the same. “Diversity” isn’t the right word, but it’s the first word that comes to mind.

The hall is divided into four quadrants, each of which has thirteen or so tables. I am on a table somewhere in the middle of this grand hall, seated with arguably the most normal, or closest-to normal people in a 5-mile radius.

I’m all for people changing and experimenting with fashion; doesn’t matter how outrageous or ridiculous. I’m fine with you wearing anything from Black overalls, to Larry-King suspenders, to tight ridiculous fuck-me pants, as long as you do it for you, and not just because a thousand fucking idiots are wearing it too. I believe your dressing should reflect more who you are, as a person, than where you are at that moment in time.

Maybe it’s because of this Facebook frenzy we’re currently all in. Everyone wants to get the best possible shots of themselves in those over-priced suits and dresses they blew all their pocket-monies on. Because they know that they might never get another chance to wear these expensive pieces of fabric ever again. Well, at least not until one of these events come back around, which, if they’re lucky, might take quite a while.

I remember one particular picture from that other dinner, two weeks ago. There I was, smiling, wearing a red graphic-tee, blue straight-cut jeans and red Converse All Stars. Just your stereotypical average anybody, from wherever. Beside me, on my left, was this guy in a brown business suit, looking very corporate down to his spotless brown leather shoes. He reminded me of that Enron dude from TV a couple of years ago. Next to him, was this other guy, dressed in what I’d like to call the over-sized white-trifecta: Shirt, Pants, and Sneakers, all 2 sizes too big. He was also rocking a huge shiny chain half the size of his head around his neck. All he seemed to be missing was a shiny pistol to match, and he’d be that rapper that got killed in that late night drive-by shoot-out you didn’t see in your local channel’s nine o’clock news. He had his arms around a girl, who was wearing a long pink tube-type dress covered in a multi-colored, mind-bending, hallucination-inducing flower print. Going strictly by our clothes, you would be crazy to think that we would even so much as hang-out together, let alone be these semi-strangers sitting on the same table at the same fucking dinner party.

There is a touch on my shoulder, and when I turn, it is this girl, wearing a little black dress, who might have been beautiful, and who I might have known from somewhere. Jamais Vu. Or maybe it’s just all these layers of make-up on her face that are preventing me from recognizing her. She says something, but I didn’t hear because I am looking at her shoes. They are bright yellow, bordering on gold. I guess that is her idea of standing out, being bold.
She wants us to take a picture together. I look at the camera, and for a split second, I zone out. I wonder what happens when this girl puts her legs together and clicks these shoes three times. Definitely not Kansas!

What breaks my heart is the fact that the jackass who shot us doesn’t know the first thing about taking decent photographs. I have all these things in my head that I want to say to the asshole. I know photography isn’t exactly rocket science dude, I’m thinking. But it’s still got rules asshole. Sure, they are not the gospel, but they’re fucking guidelines, at the very least. So for the love of God, just because it’s called a point-and-shoot camera doesn’t mean you can just point to wherever your dick is facing and fucking shoot! This is not the Wild West, and this, most definitely, is not your goddamn bedroom!

The picture from the dinner of two weeks ago was really good though. I was smiling, and everyone, in their own little way, looked great. The girl standing on my right added even more diversity to an already over-diversified line-up. She was wearing a black micro-mini skirt with a slightly smaller strapless top to match her knee high, black leather high-heel boots. Her face looked like something that broke out of a testing lab at a big cosmetic & beauty products company, one you might know from the cover of some fashion magazine you were never cool enough to come across. She was also spotting thick black eye-liner and heavy mascara. She looked like the stereotypical Goth-chick from all the Hollywood movies, if the said Goth-chick was also a hooker in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

Red Light District

Back at this event, I wonder why some of the people wear these suits and dresses, when they are so very clearly uncomfortable in them. Maybe it’s the delusion that they’ll look stupid or silly if they wore something a little more comfortable and different, which is very ironic, considering that’s exactly how they end up looking: Clueless fucking conformist-sheep! Maybe it’s in their blood. Maybe it’s inevitable. Maybe whichever way they went, they would have still ended up looking fucking stupid.

See also: Fate.

See also: Predestination paradox.

It wasn’t until the end of the night when I saw this one guy wearing a white muscle-tee under a sleeveless green hoodie that I started seriously doubting myself. He shattered my belief on fashion, diversity and everything I knew about standing out in social situations. It was the equivalent of being four all over again, and finding out that the whole tooth-fairy thing was all a big fat lie.

He was also wearing faded black baggy jeans to go with his huge grey military-style boots. A thick grey scarf around his neck and a single black gym-glove on his left hand to complete, what I assume was “the look” he was going for. I wasn’t exactly sure what look that was, but if it was the “Uber-Douche” look he was trying for, he totally nailed it!

Maybe standing-out isn’t such a great idea. After all, it was the quest to be different that made the Goth-Hooker chick from two weeks ago wear a crystal white diamond-encrusted wedding gown to this dinner party. Maybe it’s wise to heed the old proverb, When in Rome…

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Thoughts in the Men’s Room

There was no one in the men’s room when I walked in. At the sink, I looked at my reflection in the mirror; my face was dripping wet with sweat. The slightest dementia would have caused me to believe that I had poured a bucket of water on my head.

I left home in a hurry, tying my shoelace inside the elevator. I ran, the minute the elevator door opened, and then ran some more till I got to the school entrance. From there, I walked in a hurry, pushing past people as I made my way to the bank.

By the time I reached the ATM 10 minutes later, I was sweating like crazy. I couldn’t see properly because my sunglasses were covered in sweat. I wiped over them with kleenex from my back pocket. The neck and back regions of my T-shirt were soaked wet, and inside, I felt like an overheated engine furiously expelling hot steam. It was the equivalent of stepping out of a hot shower and immediately putting on cotton without toweling dry.

See also: Getting soaked in the rain.

See also: Taking a dip in the swimming pool fully clothed.

The tap at the sink is the kind you press at the top to get working. I pressed with one hand and collected the water in the other. Almost immediately, I splash the water on my face with both hands washing in a clockwise motion. Washing your face with this kind of press-stop tap requires skill.

The ATM makes that sound it makes when it’s counting your money. I always welcome this sound, especially when I use the ATM machine of another bank. It’s like music to my ears, because I know I’m going to get my money.

See also: Pavlov’s dog experiment.

See also: Classical Conditioning.

The machine opens up, and I take my money.

Almost immediately, I turned and started walking. Next stop, the men’s room.

“Freshen up” isn’t the right phrase, but it was the first that came to mind.

It was in that sorry state that I saw her. She was with some random guy that I neither knew, nor had any intentions of knowing. She was wearing a tee and skinny jeans, like she always does, with both eyes glued to her phone screen – texting.

I call her Ceey, because that’s short for her real name. We went out a few months back, and to say it ended really badly, will be a gross understatement.

She hasn’t seen you yet. Turn, take another route. I told myself.

“Al, are you balding?”, she said with a mischievous smile on her lips, “But it wasn’t that long since I last saw you”.

You just know this girl is evil from looking at her face.

“Oh no it was long alright”, I said. “Because I clearly remember the last time I saw you, you weren’t this pregnant”

Stop this stupid dialogue in your head, I told myself. Turn, run, she hasn’t seen you yet.

And I was just about to turn when I heard her voice. Hey Al, How have you been doing.

I looked at her. She was smiling. You could tell the smile was insincere because only her lips smiled.

See also: The clown from Stephen King’s It.

See also: The serial killer from Scary Movie.

I told her I was great.

“You’re sweating a lot”, she said.

Looking at the mirror over the sink in the men’s room, I say, Am I? Gee, thanks captain obvious.

I then poured more water in my face.

I told her I ran, hence the sweat.

I poured water on my face one last time before walking over to the drier. It was broken. There was a box of brown toilet paper by the side. I took one, hoping it was brown only because it’s recycled paper.

The guy that was with Ceey handed me a can of ice-cold grape juice. What’s this guy’s deal. No thank you, I told him. The ass insisted. I told him no, I’m cool. He said I wasn’t cool because I was sweating. Nobody likes a smart-ass. What would Jesus not do? I told him to bugger off because I don’t like him and I think he smells like poo.

For some reason, he took that personal.

Cool air hit my fresh moist face as I stepped out of the men’s room. I smiled, and wondered if all that I thought might have happened, would have actually happened, had I not cowardly snuck past them without saying a word.

I know there’s a 50% chance she would have been nice. But if she’s not, there’s a 100% chance she would have been much worse.

I was never good at statistics.

mensroom

I Believe in Harvey Dent

It started with a coin. No, it actually started with me, and my innocent mistake.

Thinking it was Thursday, I woke up fashionably late to get ready for my 11 am class. At 11:45 am, I was in class, but there was no one there. Had the class already finished, I thought. That can’t be possible, it is a two hour class after all. It was five minutes later that I realized it was actually Wednesday, and I didn’t have any class till an hour later.

I decided to get breakfast instead. Fish and Chips maybe, I remember thinking. Or maybe a light sandwich with some veges on the side to give the illusion of health. I decided to have some rice, I  was in Asia after all.

It was somewhere around the school’s ATM, on the edge of the steps to the cafeteria when I spotted Manisha. I remember saying something like “What’s up Manisha?”. She wanted me to sign up for the debating society.

I’ve never really liked the idea of clubs and societies. I think they are a con, much like weddings and pyramid schemes. But it was Manisha; probably one of the few genuinely nice people I know, so I said to her, “You got a coin?”

“What for?” she asked. I explained that I was going to toss it: Heads, I sign up; tails I fuck off. It was fine with her, so she handed me a 50 from her purse.

I threw the poor thing into the air, and we waited. It seemed as the coin elegantly rose to the heavens, time slowed down. And when it reached it’s maximum height, it came to a complete halt. For a second or two, it danced like a ballerina-fairy, before falling down to earth in full speed, turning and twisting like an Olympic diver. It came crashing into my palm, and I quickly covered it with the back of my other had and waited.

Anticipation, you could feel it mounting in the air. I stood my ground, letting it sink in. What would it be? Heads? Tails? Maybe neither. Maybe this is some Chris Angel shit and there isn’t even a coin between my hands.

Slowly and carefully, I moved my hand over, and there in the middle of my palm was the king’s head, facing the sky and praying to the lord for me to sign up. How could I let down a coin like that?

The first meeting was so much fun, but that’s another story entirely. Should I tell? Well that depends, “You got a coin?”

Coin

Trainspotting

It has been a while since I updated, and honestly, I still don’t have anything serious to write about, not that anything I write is serious, but I just thought I should write something… anything. Ironically, the only way to combat a writer’s block, is by writing. So here goes:

**********

The first thing you notice about her, is her body. It is not that it’s any more special than the next girl’s, No. Her chest is not exceptionally huge, and neither is her butt. She is not even as tall as most girls, nor is she shorter than the majority. But when you add all these little non-specialties, you’ll get what is arguably the most perfectly proportioned body that ever walked this little blue planet of ours.

It had been a really shitty day for me. I walked out of the train feeling shitty and not really giving a crap about anyone. My head was down and I was walking slowly towards the exit  when I stopped dead in my track.

It was like that moment in the movies when the guy sees the girl and everything goes to slow motion. I don’t know why I stopped. It was probably the boots: They were black. Not shiny dominatrix black, but sexy black that goes up halfway to the knees.

Slowly, my eyes moved up – The skinny jeans. It wasn’t too tight, like she was trying too hard to show her body, but it wasn’t too loose to suggest she didn’t care either. It was the perfect blue jeans made from the finest material moving up her legs in the most perfect fit.

The shirt, ah the shirt… that was special. It was a brown long sleeve check shirt that looked like it had been pulled out of a men’s fashion magazine. She folded the arms just about the elbow region revealing the most assorted collection of bracelets on both wrists. Her scarf was military – black. She wore it in such a way that it took much attention away from the guy-shirt without drawing too much to itself. It wasn’t really a girly look, but she totally pulled it off.

Her face was gorgeous and relaxed. She was wearing make-up, I was sure of it. But she was wearing it so well that another person might be fooled into thinking she wasn’t. It was a jedi mind trick only a handful of girls can successfully pull off.

Then her brown shades that goes perfectly with the check shirt, which she pulled way back into her shiny black hair. The hair wasn’t so shiny that light bounced off, no. It was just shiny enough to let you know that she cares how she looks.

I couldn’t understand why a girl would carry a handbag almost half her size. It was pretty. It was cool. And I guess the fashion Mags will say it’s sexy. I think it’s just OK.

She was listening to her iPod & playing PSP, which was then one of the hottest things around.

For someone in her early to mid twenties, she was pretty much intimidating. I could tell from the fact that no one was sitting beside her, and no one tried to. But maybe I was thinking too much into the situation. As I slowly walked passed her, she randomly looked up and gave me the warmest smile ever.

In that split second, all my problems flew away and disintegrated into a million negligible little pieces. My day was suddenly brighter than the midday sun.

It was in that moment of euphoria that I collided with the glass door of the station exit and fell to the ground. I was too embarrassed to turn back and look at her. I closed my eyes and prayed that we bump again in future, when our age difference wouldn’t be a problem.

Strange thoughts of that nervous night at the train station. Has it been four years now? Five? I still close my eyes whenever I step out of a train on a shitty day hoping I’ll see her cute little face playing her white PSP again when I open. The thoughts alone lift up my spirits. It’s something you won’t understand. There’s no amount or combination of words that will take you there. It’s just one of those things that you’ll have to have been there to fully appreciate…

How I Got My Ice Cream

I stepped out from the goddamn exam hall feeling like a convict on the first day of parole. The warm outside air massaged my face gracefully, relieving me of all the evil coldness of the hell hall I came out of. It was a very delightful feeling. This is my last paper, I though, what now? Where do I go from here? The possibilities seemed endless. God please show me a sign, I prayed.

It was exactly at that moment that the once soft gentle massaging hands of the warm outside air suddenly became harsh. I started sweating. The sudden change in temperature wasn’t good for me. This weather is killing me. I need to chill. CHILL! That was when I saw my sign… I realized that I needed a goddamn Ice Cream!

The question now was how do I get to my favorite Ice Cream Store? I don’t have car and the goddamn taxi cab fares are fucking insane; not that I blame them. It’s the fucking Economy! Somebody should please send this goddamn Economy on an all expense paid vacation, along with Shopping, Spa treatment and a hot High Class Escort on call 24/7. It needs to fucking chillax! Maybe when it comes back from the vacation relaxed, people can start affording shit around here again. Anyways, what I need right now is a fucking Ice Cream; and I’m going to get it, one way or the other.

Two minutes forty seven seconds later, I convinced three of my friends, one who owns a car to go get ice cream with me. They wanted to eat first, and since I was kinda hungry, I said whatthehell, I’m all for the Peri Peri. Seven minutes thirteen seconds after that, four hungry guys in a saloon car were speeding across town with one goal and one goal only – Get that Peri Chicken!

“Why the fuck do you care?”, I said in my mind when some crazy middle aged lady with really bad makeup asked why we ordered so much food. The whole time she was talking, I was thinking, Someone should get this poor medieval-age lady a modern day mirror, and teach her how to fucking use that shit. Then I realized mirrors probably haven’t changed a lot since the medieval ages. But then I also realize that it’s been five minutes and I was still talking to the weird old lady… and she’s fucking smiling! Are we bonding? I thought. This funny feeling in my stomach, is that our cycles synchronizing already? I sure hope not. It’s probably just hunger. Maybe she’s too goddamn old to even cycle. Why the fuck am I having these unhealthy thoughts on a dining table when there are three whole Peri chickens begging to be devoured? That’s just being rude to the tasty chickens!

I remember we were halfway through the meal when the “The Wristwatch” came up in conversation. I have a thing for wristwatches; I just thought I should mention that, but it has absolutely nothing to do with this story.

“The Wristwatch” was an awesome $10,000 wristwatch I saw on Fathers day when I wanted to take advantage of the sales and get myself another sweet timepiece. Who doesn’t like a discount? Moreover I’m probably going to be a Father some day, so it’s all good.

The thing was that my friends wanted to see “The Wristwatch”. The problem was that I had forgotten the shop I saw it, but then I love a treasure hunt! I immediately gathered all the bits and pieces of memory I had of the awesome watch and made a virtual treasure map in my head. Then I let the Indiana Jones in me lead the great adventure to the Kingdom of the Ridiculously Expensive Wristwatches.

We separated into two groups to look for the watch. The guy with the car and I were on the same team. It took us a good half of an hour to find the store. But the wristwatch wasn’t there. In it’s place, we saw a sign of the coming of the apocalypse in the form of a $13,500 timepiece.

“What makes this fucking expensive?”, my friend asked.

“How the fuck should I know?”, I replied him. “Why don’t you ask the goddamn bloody guy over there?”

The “goddamn bloody guy” in question was in fact not bloody at all. He was a very tired, hungry looking shop attendant that was most definitely bored out-of-his-mind from sitting all week alone with no costumers.

“Excuse me?”, my friend called the guy.

The guy sluggishly dragged his lazy feet over, and the conversation went a little like this –

“Is this thing made from diamonds?”

“No Sir”

“Platinum maybe?”

“No Sir”

“Some kind of rare metal no one knows about yet?”

“I don’t know Sir”

“Then why the hell is it this expensive?”

“I’m sorry Sir, I don’t set the prices here”

And with that the shop attendant dragged his lazy ass back to his lonely boring seat. I was the only one that actually heard what the guy really wanted to say –

“WHY DON’T YOU FUCKING KIDS GET THE FUCK OUT OF THIS MURTHERFUCKING SHOP SINCE YOU CLEARLY CAN’T AFFORD SHIT IN HERE!!!”

And with that, we left the Kingdom Of the Ridiculously Expensive Wristwatches heroes. Although I’m not entirely sure the nature of our heroic act, or even if there was any at all.

Oh, and the Ice Cream… I almost forgot.

Immediately after our legendary adventure ended, I walked to my favorite Ice Cream store and got two scoops straight out of heaven from the gorgeous counter girl who I’m pretty sure was an angel.

Now that’s the true story of how I got my Ice Cream!

The College Diary

There I was, sitting in a very big hall full of weird strangers half of whom were as confused as I was. It was quiet, in the sense that no one was talking. The only sound came from an army of rolling black pens mercilessly devouring helpless white sheets of paper. Look at all these poor bastards spilling ink like their lives depended on it, I though to myself. Sadly, I’m one of them. But how did I get here?

Twelve hours before that, I was in a place that closely resembles a prison cafeteria. But when the big old sun goes to bed, and the little stars sneak out to play, it doubles as a study hall for the poor souls known universally by the same sad pathetic name – Students.

There I was, like an out-of-job poor man’s music producer desperately trying to prove his worth, with headphones twice the size of my head, eyes glued to the computer screen, and body moving to the rhythm of the music. I was listening to Coldplay and thinking to myself, Holy fuck! This band rocks! It was at that moment that I had an epiphany – If you don’t listen to music that can be played on an instrument, Die!

“Any form of cheating, or attempting to cheat… Copying or attempting to copy… is punishable by death”

Fuck! I was back in that bloody hell hall. What is it with these goddamn people always repeating the same goddamn instruction? Do they think that we are nothing but senseless animals desperately in need of constant reminding? Or is this just one of those stupid legal disclaimer things that have to be said?

In no time, half the hall was empty and a stack of papers was starting to pile in front. The rest of us poor souls still seated had less than an hour before we will be forcefully thrown out into the cold, whether or not we were ready for it.

The decision to flee this hell came sudden. I’m pretty sure the fact that I had nothing more to write had something to do with it. I quietly put my sheets together and walked to the front of the hall were a suspicious looking man with an ugly tag around his neck that says “INVIGILATOR” collected my papers. He gave me a list that says “ATTENDANCE” on the top, and says that I must sign it. I had no idea why, since I was clearly present and my goddamn papers were proof. Maybe it was another one of those stupid legal things again. All I wanted to do at that moment was sign his goddamn attendance list and leave the bloody hell hall!

Adios paper! I hope I don’t fucking see your goddamn ugly face ever again!

EC – Uncerainties III

This is the third part of my Uncertainties series, if you haven’t read the first part, it’s here, and the second part here.

**********

Ahmed sat by the fireplace covered in the fuzzy warm blanket Mariam gave him. He was having mixed feelings about seeing Mariam.

Ahmed had been was hoping to find Mariam ill or something, so he could find an excuse for her not returning his calls. On one hand, he was glad that she’s good and fine, and on the other –

“So… Ahmed, to what do I owe this late-night-rainy-out-of-the-blue visit ?”, Mariam said, interrupting his thoughts.

Ahmed was part confused, part surprised. He could not believe what he had just heard. So he asked,

“Excuse me?”

“I said, what brought you to my place in the rain at this time of the night”, she was trying not to sound rude.

His surprise slowly turned into anger. He couldn’t believe that his girlfriend, was trying to throw him out. She didn’t answer his calls, didn’t call him back, and now this? Maybe she was really cheating. The feeling of anger and betrayal was in his eyes,

“I called you several time, and when you didn’t call as you promised… I was just worried!”, it was hard trying to sound cool in a situation like that.

“What call?”, Mariam had no idea what Ahmed was talking about.

“You said you’ll call me, remember? And I called you three times after that, all went straight to voice mail”

“Really? I didn’t even know that you have my number”, she said.

Ahmed could not conceal his anger anymore. If Mariam was playing a game, he didn’t like it anymore.

“Of course I have your number. I’m your boyfriend, duh!”, he was angry. He knew it, and she knew it.

Mariam was confused more than ever. Thoughts started running through her mind. She started thinking of Aliyu, and all the problems she had with him, and her father. Oh, her father that she hasn’t spoken to in 3 months while living in the same house…

Maybe it was the anti-depressants recommended by her psychiatrist, or the occasional weed she puffs to keep with her very dysfunctional family. Yes, everyone in her family was either stupid, greedy, paranoid, crazy or a combination of any or all of those.

To find out what’s happening, she needed to know, and to know, she needed to ask. So she asked,

“You dumped me 3 years ago on my birthday Ahmed and never called me since, so what the hell are you talking about?”