Death and Taxes- The only two things assured in life, they say. He had always been ready for the taxman.
The coffees at Pete’s had never tasted so good. That’s strange, he thought, I have never had any coffees at Pete’s before. A full minute had passed since the last sentence muttered by either of them. Is that what you call, he mused, an uncomfortable silence? Or is this a comfortable one? Well at least I am comfortable. Wait a second! Why aren’t my feet touching the ground? Oh! I am floating already? Shame on me!! I am supposed to exercise control on my thoughts…
And with that he returned back to terra firma.
She had been looking at him all this while. He thought he saw something in her eyes. Was that love? Or was he over-exaggerating? Or was it? Oh well, too early to guess and too late to see it clearly…
She watched, amused at the struggle happening in his mind. She finally decided that he had been given enough time. She brought her hand to his face and waved as if wiping a Television Screen.
That seemed to do the job. He came to, and sheepishly looked at her.
She held a shining coin in her hands, “A penny for your thoughts, mister?”
He stared hard at the coin and soon his features hardened with the stare.
She took one look at his face and fearing the worst, popped the question, “Something… uh… wrong?”
“Yes.” He replied solemnly.
“Dare I ask what?”
“You sure you wanna hear it?”
“Uh… Yes.. I guess…”
“Then listen carefully. I ‘ll nead at least a million more of these thoughts if I ever were to buy you a decent ring. From what I can see,” he paused, dramatically looking at the penny, “it seems the exchange rate isn’t much!!”
His stern features relaxed into the barest hint of a smile. She realized that she had been had.
Relief washed over her like the rains of spring and before she knew it she was crying. These, of course, were tears of joy.
Why, then, did things go wrong? He stood on the platform and looked at the vast hordes of people moving about like ants. Scurrying away to destinations known only to them, carrying their work known, again, only to them, working for a queen called Fate and bound to a king called Time.
He crossed the station and found his way to the exit and started looking for a cab. A yellow and black machine sidled up to him and a head popped out with a question,”Where to buddy?”
“Ward number 42,” he replied off-handedly.
The taxi trundled along. The cab-driver tried to make some small talk.
“Been here for long, guv?”
“Planning on being here for long?”
“Dunno. No, I guess.”
The taxi-driver chuckled. “Everybody says that, mate, everybody says that,” he said in a sing-song voice.
“Here you are. Ward number forty-two.”
Without waiting for the cabbie to recite the fare, he held out a hundred rupee note and said, “Keep the change.”
“Thanks, guv. You’re a pal!”
He closed the door after him and disappeared within the confines of the room.
The cabbie turned to a nurse standing beside him. “He is so nice, I can’t believe he is not normal. If only, it were not for his super-hero shit, I’d say, he is hundred percent okay! Makes you wonder why such things happen to good people like these.” He said pointing his thumb to the closed door.
The nurse giggled and the duo moved on along the corridor their footsteps making an eerie hoof-beat noise on the linoleum as they marched. Far down the corridor, a distant click was heard.
The Lunatic Asylum had been secured. Not that anybody was about to escape. After all, where would… no… WHY would anybody go?
At the other end of the corridor, stood a figure cloaked in black. With a soft movement of the hand, the figure slipped back its cloak. A pair of hazel-green eyes looked at a door that had closed, but a few moments earlier. Had someone been able to look into those eyes, he would have very easily described them as misty.
“Soon, my dear, very soon….”
And the figure in black vanished, leaving no trace that it had even existed in that spot, a couple of moments earlier.
“If you are a figment of my imagination, and I, a figment of yours, then why do we fall in love?”