12/04/2016 by Siddiqui Fayesal
He was walking at an easy pace. A pace that he had empirically proven signified a lazy stroll, a pace that reflected an unburdened heart and mind. He didn’t want people to know that he was in a hurry to reach somewhere.
His clothes were an odd combination of working pants and an un-tucked buttoned up shirt with full cuffed sleeves. On his feet he wore a sort of Greek sandal without the lengthy twine. It was a shorter version of it; these were closely cropped laces that snaked itself over his ankles and hid themselves under his pants. Nobody knew how high they went.
They here hidden by the pants.
If the dozens of men and women weren’t singularly paying attention to their respective cell phones, music players or tablet computers they would’ve found intense pleasure seeing a guy dressed in so overtly a fashion.
They would’ve clicked selfies with him. They would’ve ‘lol’ed him.
How he despised these people. He hated them
But, he also knew that ‘laugh aloud’ was a term usually used for something funny. He knew he wasn’t funny. He had tried hard to maintain that effect of ludicrousness and just-ran-away-from-the-asylum look. People would definitely laugh at him, but in their private moments in their toilets where there would be zero possibility of him hacking them to slices.
He spat his anger away. Maybe it was his anger that was making him think of so clear and graphic an arc of a thought process.
His face wasn’t scary though.
He had a month old stubble which was thick enough and lengthy enough to be called a beard. He had once argued with an acquaintance (he had no friend) that beyond 7 days was the ideal time when a stubble matured in a beard. He had won the argument solely based on his skill of putting his point across with such single minded vengeance and passion that his opponent never bothered to rebut.
He walked at the same slow pace. Only his face, bearded and pockmarked, radiated a simmering anger to evidence ay emotion to his slouching figure. He had his hands shoved deep down in his pockets within which they were tightly clenched.
Anyone who’d see him could only tell two things about him. One, he was oddly dressed. Two, he was just another lout walking around the city looking for his daily fix.
After walking for almost 20 minutes he reached the railway station. Anyone observing him might have assumed that the station would be a lout’s perfect destination.
They would’ve been very very wrong.
He picked his way through the crowd and beyond the ticket window. He crossed over the bridge and got off on the other side of the tracks. He sat on one of those stone benches and sat staring at the parallel railway sidings.
As I sat besides him he didn’t even flinch. He didn’t even flick his eyes towards me to acknowledge the presence of a fellow human being.
I had warned him about this very thing.
“You don’t learn, do you, Khurshid,” I mumbled, careful to not look towards him either.
“I do learn, sir. Very fast, to be honest. I don’t want to break character. Reacting to people is something I’ve worked hard to stop,” he replied while stooping to spit out a rather thick and pathetic glob of snot at the base of the bench after working on it loudly enough to be heard by the stupid idiots getting their shoe shined since they had arrived.
“Why didn’t you lose them?,” I asked after a lengthy disgusted pause. he might as well had spat that gooey crap on my face. The bastard.
“Lose them? Why should I? An alibi just strolls in behind me and gets its shoe shined and you want it lost? Are you still not satisfied, sir?, he asked softly. Soft enough to not be heard by Mr. and Mrs. Shine-my-shoe till death-do-us-apart!
I was playing that stupid Space Impact on my old Nokia at the loudest level to simply be a jerk.
“Khurshid? I need that. With these two idiots hovering around like mothers around us how the hell will you hand it over?,” I literally spat at him. I was angry. I could’ve killed him. the hard work, the decoy and the entire foundation would fall apart if he didn’t come through.
And I was sure he didn’t come through.
“I’m sorry, sir, but I won’t be able to hand it over. Not today. Not ever. It’s just not in my hands anymore. After all, you were right. I couldn’t make it right,” Khurshid mumbled. For someone who just botched an operation, he was still sounding obnoxious.
I sat stunned. I lost my bloody space shuttle too, and let loose a perfect timed string of curses.
I think I cursed my own mother. God forgive me.
Khurshid sat next to me and spent a long time digging his ears and nose with clockwork precision, alternating between them like two equally loved wives. he sat there smirking and digging his ears and tapping his foot.
A train came chugging and a dozen people got out and a gazzillion people got in; among them was Khurshid closely followed by the two inept spies. I said a little prayer for him and continued playing my game. I didn’t know what should be the reason for my anger; Khurshid’s inability or his presumed death.
Confused and, I can’t deny, a little sad at loosing another agent, I got up to buy a cold bottle of water. I walked to the counter and returned with a mango drink. Flinging myself on the stone bench and my eyes caught a sight of a metallic glint from somewhere near my feet. As I bent a bit to see if it was my coin, my heart stopped for an eternity and ended up throbbing in my throat. My ears went red and I realised that I wasn’t being followed for sure. For my sudden loss of composure was a sure tell for anyone who was seeing.
A small microchip was lying stoically embedded in a small wad of chewing gum, which in turn was surrounded with Khurshid’s thick and pathetic snot.
NB: Began this at home. Finished it on 20.12.2015 at Agripada, CCD.