Note by editor: This story is an original and has not been edited.
Scene 1: The Advertisement
“Required!!! Required!! Required!!! A male controller to handle the official accounts of our kingdom ‘Zameera’. King Kawab Kodak Kutteenaathan, also known as ‘Great Toe King’, shall be taking the interview. No prior qualifications required. Walk-in interview on 31st May 2020 from 10 am to 12 pm. First come, first serve.
Hurry hurry hurry”, shouted the messenger as he walks the roads alone, his face covered with a black mask.
“You are a doing your Post Graduation in English right?? Why don’t you go apply”, thundered my mother.
“But Maa, I don’t understand numbers”, I replied.
“Neither does the King, Don’t worry. Now are you going or…”, Maa questioned my conscience, as she leaps high in the air, holding the weapon, her ‘inverted chappal’, aiming at my head.
Scene 2: The Interview
It was obvious that none of the able candidates got selected in the interview. I carried my shattered confidence, evident on my unprepared sleeves, as I entered the King’s chamber. I saw him sitting on the opposite side of the table, wearing a yellow mask. He signaled me to sit on the answerer’s hot seat. I leaned back in the chair, tossing my glasses, adjacent to the hour glass, firmly glued to the table.
“So who are you?”, questioned the King.
“I am who”, was my answer.
“That’s what I am asking who are you?”
“That’s what I am saying, I am Who.”
“No no, that’s incorrect english, You should say who am I?”
“Sir that’s what I say.”
“What do you say?”
“My name Sir.”
“What is your Name?”
“NO! What is not my name.”
“Then, what is your name?”
“No Sir, Who is my name”
“Sir I am Who, Wamanrao Hemant Omletwala,
double-you aitch oh, W.H.O.”
“Ohhh!! Interesting”, pondered the King.
“Would you take a bullet for me?”, he asked again.
“Aah round two!!, “, I murmured.
“Would you take a bullet for me?”, he asked again, a bit loud this time.
“Are you Him?”, I asked him instead.
“Oh oh!! I told you, I am Who, I am not him, Him is Him”, I said, trying to clear his confusion.
“Ugh!!! No I am not Him. I am the King !!!”, he declared.
” I know I know. I know you are the King.”
“Then who is.uhh.. I mean, whom were you comparing me with?”, asked the King impatiently.
“HIM, is his name, Hari Ishwar Mukherjee”, I replied calmly.
“So why were you asking me If I was Hari? “, the king was loosing his patience.
“Because once Hari saved me from the attack of the robbers who were trying to steal my grandmother’s antique wall clock.”
“Oh!! so did he get shot?”, asked the king.
“So did he help catch the theives?”
“No no, he was the thief, actually we both were”, responded I.
Scene 3: The One With The Secrets.
“What the Hell!!! You both were the theives. You stole the watch from your Grandmother. A watch!! How can you steal a watch in my domain. Don’t you know about us!! For generations, Kutteenaathan dynasty is recognized across the globe for their love for clocks. Can’t you see so many clocks here in the cabin. Also you aren’t wearing a mask.. I can put you behind bars you know that right??”
“That’s what I told you, he saved me from the robbers like you, robbers who call themselves officials, robbers like the police, like the King. Hari went to jail for me”, I replied as I shed some tears of joy.
King kawab Kodak Kutteenaathan was losing his temper. He was getting angier every second. His mask was now hanging loosely across his neck.
Though now standing, he was still foaming at the mouth about the incident, he just heard.
” You can’t do anything my King, if you know my secret now, I know yours as well”, I replied derisively.
“What!!! Ha??? What secret ha???”
“About you My king. I know the exact reason for you being called ‘The Great Toe King’, I was enjoying the interview now.
“Ha!! Ha!! That’s nothing new you are telling me. The globe knows this story. Once in a battle, I broke a toe when I got caught between a cross fire.. Still I defeated the Enemy. I strangled him to death with my bare hands”, replied the overly confident King.
* I laughed so hard that I accidentally kicked the table in front of me. It suffered a mini earthquake. My glasses tripped and fell down on the floor. Multiple fractures. Well it was already broken so never mind!!
“Why are you laughing?”, the king asked nervously, acutely aware of the arrival of an inescapable disaster.
” I know what’s there down under. I know that you are very fond of painting your toe nails, each with a different design and color. You have this strange dream of having the most beautiful feet in the world. Therefore you often spend, a majority of the official money of the state in order to make your forepaws pretty. Your Dozen wives, used coercion to force their ‘Toe king’ to wear those unfashionable ‘Kingly shoes’ inorder to hide the toe nails. Also it was your wives’ decision to appoint an accountant. Right!!”, I replied.
Scene 4: Discourse
King Kawab Kodak Kutteenaathan, was trembling with fear.. Like the sand, falling down in the hourglass, sweat began, raining down his forehead. The truth that was hidden for so long, inside a lost luggage was brought to light. His secret was finally disclosed. The beans are spilled. All is revealed.
He took out a handkerchief and used it to dab away his forehead moisture. Then he used the same handkerchief to blow his nose twice. He then sneezed, threw away it away in the dustbin and took out a new one. Rich people I tell you!!!
“What do you need Ha?”,
“Oh yes I know you need the job right, Congratulations you are selected”, squeaked the king,
“No, I don’t need that”, my voice now more manly.
“Then what??”, he asked nervously still wiping his forehead.
“I need your Toe Nail”, I said.
A thousand clocks, in the cabin, gave the king a sharp look. They all ticked off, simultaneously, breaking into million pieces. The king nearly jumped off his skin.
” My What??? “
“YES, I NEED YOUR TOENAIL. Well I think you are intelligent enough to agree.. otherwise you know, I know what others shouldn’t know..
Also where can I get some dew drops?”, I asked with an assertive tone.
Scene 5: The Hidden Truth
I came out of the King’s Castle. I had collected some fresh trembling dewdrops about to fall from a lotus flower, in a transparent bottle, which I was holding in my right hand. In the other, I was holding the King’s Toenail. I had a smile on my face, my glasses, now broken (twice) were sitting comfortably on the bridge of my nose. I rushed back home as soon as I can, to prepare the special potion.
Here’s the recepie, just in case you wish to try it out.
Step 1 : Chop, a toad, a snake, a new’ts eye, a frog’s toe, a bat’s fur, a dog’s tongue, a burrowing worm’s stinger, a lizard’s leg, an owl’s wing, a scale of dragon and a wolf’s tooth, into small slices, using a sharp knife.
Step 2 : Add 20 tablespoons of fox’s fat, to 25 liters of water, in a large earthenware pot, and mix it well.
Step 3 : Heat 1/2 tablespoon dew drops with butter in a large, heavy bottomed stockpot over medium flame. Add the chopped ingredients form step 1. Stir it well
Step 4 : Now add this mixture, in the previously prepared solution of Fox’s fat and water.
Step 5 : Now finally add the Victim’s Body part ( here I had the King’s toenail). Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil. When it starts boiling, add salt to taste.
Step 6 : Turn off the flame. Transfer the hot potion of youth, into individual serving glasses and serve.
“Maa, the potion’s ready. Come!!
Surprisingly, my Maa was already there, sitting on the sofa, in our living room, holding her broomstick. She wore her usual black robe. She recently had a nose job, and a surgery in her leg, in order to be in tune with the ladies of our kingdom. Though today she wore a crooked nose cap, a long devilish, conelike hat, an even longer ‘braid’ and her usual inverted slippers.
“Aaah!! It’s difficult to wear these slippers when your feet are straight.”, she laughed on her own sense of humour.
“Maa you look like a Daayan. Like the wicked witch of east.”
“Because that’s what I am son. Atleast I was, before this Covid-19 happened, before the operation happened.. Finally I can get back my true form. It was difficult to drain the king’s life form because of this stupid lockdown..”, she replied. Her voice, choking with a sense of grief.
“That’s right.. Now don’t be emotional Maa.. Hold this… Cheers to King Kawab Kodak Kutteenaathan of Zameera. Now Drink, Drink, Drink!!”, I replied clinking our glasses as we ‘aged backwards’.
The more we drank our respective potions, the more we ‘reversed to our original physical frame’. It was a beautiful experience I tell you.
“You did wear your Covid mask Right! “, she asked all of a sudden.
“Of course I did Maa”, I lied.
“I am a ‘ male witch ‘. We are immune to any such kind of stupid viruses. “, I
muttered in my thoughts.
** Corona Virus laughing at a distance. Ready to bounce in my living room, any moment.
He gabbled something, uttering the facial expressions of a psycho serial killer,
“Mr. WHO …
I think, we need to talk!!! ” **
The End… ?
Abhishek Dutta Chowdhury, 21, is a dreamer who wishes to create magic with his words. Reading once a hobby has now turned into a necessity. Currently, he is pursuing his Master’s in English Literature at the University of Allahabad certainly he chose a road ‘less traveled by’. A keen observer of the ordinary he finds his inspiration in the simplest of everyday things. He believes one’s words should have depth instead of complexity.His works generally deal with the struggle an individual faces in search of a personal identity.