The Writer

The writer twiddled the pen over the blank sheet of paper for over an hour as his thoughts flowed right out the window, completely bypassing the pen. Maybe he should close the window.

He was in the twilight of his life and all he had to show for it were three-dozen successful books and a goatee. It was true the books were highly regarded and not the goatee but that’s how it was with goatees. It was also true he won the most prestigious awards for his works, but despite his successes he had this empty feeling deep down inside, and a little to the left. He thought it might be those damn mixed feelings again.

The local University was honoring him for his lifetime achievements and he wondered if they were going to serve phoulorie. It was not a Pakistani dish. He liked the speeches and tried not to fall asleep. Some of the best minds in the land were invited to ask him questions about his work so he pretended the sound system was acting up. But the public wasn’t fooled; it was a DJ Lallo system. The next day they forced him to wear a suit and sit in a hot room with three hundred exam-ready teenagers with zits. The teens asked him questions about the easy way to success and he told them go blog themselves. The press smelled blood but all he smelt was gas. That was when the effigy burning began. He even bought two to take back home.

For all his life there were only a few moments he ever wanted to give the young ones stock tips like do your homework, obey your parents, floss daily, find out who your father really is, but those moments had long since disappeared together with his once-prized Theroux’s inscribed first editions. In his opinion, if there was one thing the young ones needed, apart from a good pimple cream, was an early introduction to recognizing good books by their covers. If you want to fake intelligence you might as well go all the way, he chuckled.

Maybe it was his age or maybe it was the Johnny Walker, but she looked too good that day. He remembered his friends telling him she didn’t deserve him and he was better off with the scotch. He should have listened. Like all wives of celebrities, she became the object of insults and not just from him but the public. She created quite a stir and it felt odd reviewers now reviewed his wife as much as his books. They even speculated on the current state of his sex life and he didn’t like the intrusion one bit. His wife didn’t like his either. The writer felt his bed life was his private life, or as someone once said, the life of his privates.

She became the shadow he didn’t want and he became the bank account she never had. He wrote, analyzed, lectured, and signed only new books. She sniffed them for age, the books, that is. He was honored for his work. She acted like it was hers. He remembered thinking how a writer’s life was so difficult and how a writer’s wife could be so easy. But he was old, and needed someone to help him be obnoxious when he was tired. That is what they liked about him and that is what they hated about her. She was just what the PR people might have ordered to keep his audience curious between books.

The writer longed to return to his homeland since it was where it all began, and where the honorarium was good. With his enormous success in the literary world he didn’t need any more honors, but at his age, he needed to let people know he was still alive. And this he did, so they wrote about him in the newspapers everyday. He could tell they had mixed feeling about him so he ordered mixed drinks and wore shorts by the pool. It wasn’t a pleasant sight.

He sat in his first-class seat and pretended not to notice the flight attendant bending over just enough to make him happy to be alive. Then he looked across at his wife and wondered if they loaded all his baggage. Losing baggage is not always a bad thing, he thought. In a strange way it was sad to leave but he was taking back with him memories of a place he should never forget and a few little bottles of shampoo. It kept his goatee soft and manageable. The plane was delayed for only half an hour, but at least it gave him more time to figure out how to insert the metal flap into the buckle. He was tired. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and passionately squeezed her hand. She squeezed back as lovingly as any flight attendant could, considering how close his wife was. But she didn’t notice; she never does.

The plane took off and he rocked his seat back. The writer was happy for the first time since he was last happy. He was about to start a new chapter in his life.


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B.C vs V.S

My version of B.C vs. V.S

B.C – Sir V.S, I understand that even as we speak there is good-sized mob is burning an effigy of V.S. Naipaul in the car park. How do you respond?

V.S – Mimic Men!

B.C – But Sir, are you not a least bit disturbed by this vile and grotesque action?

V.S – No, and I am actually pro-effigy burning. I might even have said so in one of my books, but I don’t have them all in my head. It’s a lot safer than burning the author, when you think about it.

B.C. – Why would anyone want to burn an effigy of you?

V.S – Ignorance and stupidity can make people do the strangest things; look at politicians. I think people who have never read or understood my work want to burn me. But then there is the intellectual set who think they understand my work and want to desperately sound as if they do; British accent and all.

B.C. – I did a satirical piece on Miguel Street which was………

V.S. – ….My lawyers will be paying you a nice little visit in the morning. Do you have any court clothes?

B.C – Ahem! ok. Let’s move on. There is a classic question which people ask you that you don’t seem to give an acceptable answer. The question is……..

V.S – ….It was a simple omission, a bit of forgetfulness, call it Nobel fever if you will. How many times do I have to imply that I am sorry! Wives!!

B.C – No, that wasn’t what I was going to ask – the question I have in mind is “What advice can you give to budding young authors”

V.S – What are you, a school child! That is not a valid question, please, can we move on. You are a past-paper oriented society. Get out into the world and immerse yourself. Do the bloody work child, and if you are any good maybe one day someone will ask you to autograph one of your books. I have said it before and I will say it again, literature was meant for adults and adult literature even more so.

B.C – Sorry I asked!

V.S – They usually are.

Five Doubles, The Mindless-Mouth and World Peace

“Five doubles, two with no pepper, three without, six in all.” Naturally this order for doubles had the doubles lady cleanly stumped like a lackluster West Indian cricketer during a World Cup Match held somewhere, except Trinidad and Tobago, in the West Indies. Sometimes people say stupid things which can make a doubles line grow unbearably longer, and that was definitely one of those unbearably longer times.

We all make mistakes with our words when our mind has left our mouth to fend for itself for any time longer than it takes to say the shortest word in the world which, incidentally, is no longer floccinaucinihilipilification. I am yet to meet a mouth that could live peacefully without a mind and the mindless-mouth phenomena is the reason countries start wars, politicians give political speeches, men say I do, and young people drop dead from old age in slow moving fast food lines at Church’s Chicken in Grand Bazaar. The mindless-mouth is generally the cause for all forms of human suffering, except ingrown toenails and the reappearance of the dinosaur formerly known as extinct.

Some say the secret to world peace is to have more mind and less mouth, but such humans are not evolving anytime soon because of some genetic dispute with human nature and the low wages paid to sheep-cloning scientist. The non-believers and the believers, despite their disagreements on whether the Milky Way is really a galaxy or a chocolate malt-­flavored nougat and caramel bar covered with milk chocolate, have both agreed that the world not only needs more love, but less mouth. Personally, I believe that more mouth and more love can happily coexist depending on the technique applied. I also believe the world could do with a more equitable distribution of human fat and mirrors which make people look as good as they think they should. Judging from the success of the war and human strife channel, CNN, it appears that world peace is still as elusive as a Miss Universe contestant wanting something else.