Boredom

Bob (Bankim) Chawla was a succesful entrepreneur, settled comfortably in Detroit, and dealing cars out of his steel-and-glass showroom like eggs out of a poultry farm. He was more than just well-off, not unlike most other entrepreneurs in his city. He was however, unusually bored with life.

 

He owned many entertainment devices. Most were at his disposal 24-hours a day. Musically inclined, he had a 40-GB IPod packed with songs in 12 different languages, including Zulu. This extensive list excluded those which were solely instrumental of course – in “the language of silence” he would often wittily quip to his friends). He also owned another 500 MB MP3 player with only his favourite music, which he used in times of desperation – when the IPod afforded too many options, and the radio too few. No wires of course: his earplugs were wireless-reception capable and tuned simultaneously to his IPOD, MP3 player and phone. They also had an in-built microphone. His “phone” was a mini-computer loaded with every gadget modern man has been able to incorporate into those 7 square inches. A state-of-the-art GPS system, internet connectivity(obviously), games requiring only the most powerful of

video-drivers(which he also had, by the way), a camera with clarity to put a genuine Carl Zeiss lens to shame, and voice-enabled personal secretary named SimAss(short for Simulated Assistant) he could talk to, using the aforementioned mic.

 

He found all these avenues of mind-sedation not enough. Like he often told his friends- it wasn’t that he wanted more (how could he!), he needed the ‘right’ thing to satisfy his over-developed sensibilities for fun. SimAss did not have a real ‘Ass’ and did not laugh at his

jokes, he groaned. Day after day, his restlessness grew.

 

His high-profile friends seemed to have figured out the ‘right’ hobby a long time ago. Mr Bhatt was an avid golfer, and often blamed his pot-belly solely to the fact that he snacked too much sitting on the Golf-cart he used on the course. Mrs. Chesterton enjoyed playing

Counter Strike, often astonishing her friends with her fantastic knowledge of head-busting devices. Both of the Chadhas’ kids were into literary pornography. The brother-sister duo was often banished from the children’s playing areas during kitty- parties as they couldn’t

restrict their colourful discussions even in younger company. At least they were enjoying it, thought Bob sadly. 

 

Another Sunday came, and he was sitting in his spic-and-span, also-steel-and-glass living room reading the paper, sipping his tea, listening to Beethoven’s Fifth on his MP3, and dictating instructions to SimAss. His red couch was comfortable to the point of being

seductive, but Bob had not noticed that comfort after he first sat on it in the Prague International Comfort Convention. Such was the state of affairs when the drama of this saga began to unfold. 

 

His maid came in slightly late that day, and it afforded him the extreme discomfort of having to remove his earphones, put his paper to the side, put SimAss on standby mode, set his teacup on the glass-sculpted table beside him, get up, go to the door, and let her in. All because the maid was ten minutes late. His wife had already left for Sunday Fund-raising event, and she unlike this irresponsible maid, was never late. 

 

Bob made the long winding way down to the door, and let Mary in(or was it Margaret?). The rare displeasure of opening the door for her, though, was accompanied by a strange sensation of impossible attraction to this beautiful green-eyed, golden haired creature that

was Mary(Margaret?). He felt suddenly self-conscious and awkward. How could Bob be attracted to this hired help in Black-and-White uniform? This was most ungainly for a man of his stature and repute, and more importantly, his irrepressible charm. He was often called the Casanova of his group – a title he was privately proud of. Had he known the real undercurrents of those comments or the details of the conversation that occurred behind his back about his

clumsy overtures, he might have been slightly less proud. More on the embarrassed side, actually. Nonetheless ignorance was bliss this Sunday morning, and Bob was genuinely excited that such a desirable thing had entered his, the lion’s, den. More importantly, he was shook out of his mundane stupor by the possibility of an electrifying meeting. She was bound to be here for at least an hour or so – his house was not small. He set about to make her tasks as time-consuming as possible, busying himself with tousling this sheet, and muddying

that carpet, and dirtying that table-top.

 

He was done in approximately 7 minutes, during which time Mary had been firmly in the kitchen doing dishes. He realized he had a simple, subtle, yet suggestive opening line

already. He casually walked to the kitchen, opened the fridge, took out a box of fresh strawberries, and went over to the shelf with the plates. She was a foot away, and he could feel it.

 

It was time to startle her with his uncanny brilliance. He smiled to himself, thanking his father for this genetic gift of charm. 

 

“So is your name Mary or Margaret?”, he said with a stupid smile, his Ace of Spades played.

 

“It’s Molly, actually, sir.”, she said without giving him more than a glance.

 

“Oh I see. Well my name is Bob. Anything you need, I’m right in the living room.”

 

“I’m the maid sir. I definitely won’t need anything. On the other hand, you can call ME if you need anything.”, she snapped. Molly had undergone a most torrid morning and she was in her trademark no-nonsense mood.

 

“Uh, right. Um, ok, so, I’ll go then. Thanks.”

 

Not sky high anymore on confidence, he made his way back to his couch without the strawberries. He re-assembled his paraphernalia, and settled into reading about Detriot’s flailing car industry. Ever the optimist, he toned the volume of his MP3-player down significantly, just in case she did call. She did not.

 

He was quite irritated when fifteen minutes later Molly had not so much as looked at him. She had come all around the living room, with him ogling her waiting for eye-contact. She had even picked up the empty plate of toast from right next to him, and still, nothing. He was anxious to see some progress made, but he was getting nothing to work with.

 

The hour wore on, and he remained sitting in his position reading the same news clipping for the fortieth time without comprehending a single sentence. His pants were sweaty where his thighs met the couch, as was his back. His forehead was sweaty for a different reason.

Beethoven’s Fifth had ended long ago. His MP3 had now taken him to his little death-metal collection, and the Sunday suddenly felt very noisy and cramped. Molly was in the master bathroom cleaning.

 

Now, an unimaginably long year of lethargic, inane, mundane activities had left Bob craving for some excitement. His male ego was hurt beyond doubt by this lady today. His self-esteem, like most others caught in the rat-race of Detroit city, was on a low ebb anyway. Molly did not help matters at all. In the muddled head of Bankim,  he deserved some attention from the maid. Molly owed him, he thought to himself. But she wouldn’t, would she? Bob would have to change that himself then.

 

In times like these, human nature’s truest and darkest colours show. He resolutely got up, the smell of the fresh pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen urging him on. He made his way to the bathroom. Molly was down on her haunches, slowly rubbing the bathtub free of stains. Bob

could see her move back and forth with great control, and he was burning with desire. Emotions getting the better of him, he walked up right next to her. He squatted down beside her, his elbow touching her upper arm. She looked up startled, dropping her cleaning-rag.

Bob put both his hands on her arms and held firm. She tried to get up, working up a fright. Bob was a strong man, and she could hardly budge.

 

“Do you like me Mary?”

 

“What? No! Leave me! What are you doing!”, she shouted desperately, unable to understand what was happening.

 

“C’mon Mary be serious here, tell me, are you attracted to me?” His eyes were bloodshot, and sweat was running from his forehead like a dam just broke.

 

She was screaming by now, still unable to get up. She had tipped under her own weight. She was sitting on her behind with dripping Bob right at her nose, holding her down. 

 

“Shut up, shut up! Just answer the god damn question!”, he pressed, maniacal by now.

 

She continued to scream like a mad woman. Molly, street-smart, had looked around(while shouting) and found a defence weapon. All she needed was to break loose. She didn’t need to do much, as it were: Bob’s grip was loosening. Unable to deal with such blatant rejection, Bob was in a fit of mad rage. Yet, his palms were wet, and he was finding it increasingly difficult to maintain his death-hold. Fine, then I’ll just have to hurt her. Hurt her bad.

 

The next few events occurred within the space of a few seconds.

 

He looked around for devices to demean her with. His eyes fell upon his shaving blade on the wash-basin shelf. Murder was on his mind.

 

In the moment that Bob’s eyes left Molly, she jerked her head downwards and bit deep into Bob’s forearm. She had already a taste of his blood before he yanked her head back by the hair. 

 

Now uncontrollable in his anger, Bob looked at his arm, back at a scrambling Molly, and jumped up to the basin to get the razor. He failed to notice that Molly was scrambling in the opposite direction as the bathroom door, and towards the shit-pot. 

 

He swung round, with the Mach-3 in his hand, ready to cut the jugular, when something stone smashed squarely into his lower skull. His head spun, knees gave way, and the last thing he saw before passing out was the dash of golden hair on the backdrop of the bathroom’s blue ceiling along with flying white splinters(either fireflies, or smithereens of what just hit him, he thought). The Mach-3 clanked harmlessly down to the ground.

 

***

 

When he woke up, the hair he saw was jet-black, and the face not nearly as beautiful as the last one. His wife was sitting beside him, looking angry and worried at the same time, if that’s possible. He wondered what happened to Mary-Molly and whether it was still Sunday. His

wife saw he had come round, and immediately switched modes from angry-worried to angry-only.

 

“What the hell happened, Bankee?! The bathroom? The lid of the pot’s flush is in pieces all over the bathroom! Your head was bleeding, for God’s sake!! Tell me what happened!”

 

“Can we talk a bit later? I feel sore…”

 

“Oh YOU feel sore. You’ve been in bed knocked out a day and a half, and YOU feel sore? Please tell me Bankim, please tell me! I can’t take it anymore. Don’t you love me anymore? Because I swear to god that the doctor said there is a bite mark on your arm.”

 

He rolled his eyes, turned on his side to face away from his teary-eyed wife. The bite would need some explaining, he thought ruefully, hatred spreading itself in his system like a plague. But he wouldn’t allow that next time. Bob never failed at something twice.

 

He took his unhurt hand and put it on the bite wound, and started rubbing it, slowly at first, then with increasing violence until it began to bleed again. Seems like I finally found my unique recreation, he thought, as something sinister flashed across his face, hidden from his hysterical wife.

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