Killing the Red God

A serialization of my novel, "Killing the Red God". | Copyright: Hari Kumar | website: www.harismind.com | If this is your first visit, please start from the bottom (start of Chapter 1)

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Location: Singapore, Singapore

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Chapter 3 -- Part 4

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
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Now for the latest instalment....

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“What happened, Kavi?” I am concerned.
“Your daughter, what’s her name? Where is she?”
“I thought you knew. Didn’t you read my mind?”
“I came out the moment I saw her face…too shocked,”
“Why? What’s so shocking about Pooja? What do you know about her?”
“Pooja…” she says softly, “So that’s her name…”
“How do you know her? Have you seen her before?” Unable to contain myself, I almost shake her violently.
“Calm down, Dil, and listen to me carefully,” her voice is calm now, her eyes dry. She smiles at me, “I am so happy today that I have found her at last… My soul mate… Child of my heart.”
“I don’t understand…”


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(To be continued...)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Chapter 3 -- Part 3

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
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Now for the latest instalment....

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Just to humour her I think of my office desk. My computer, a Dell Pentium III. I see her nod, eyes still closed, she says, “It’s your office cube, I see your PC, a Dell desktop.” In my mind, I imagine the unfinished design of a Rambooster chip that I’ve been working on for the past week. My mind is in the circuit, its intricacies. “Jeez, Dil, for Christ’s sake, I am not a techie, awright! All these circuits don’t make sense to me.”
I see my boss’s bespectacled face. In my mind I say his name — ‘meet my boss, Tan Kok Lee’. “Your boss, Chinese, glasses, chubby man, name — Tan Kok Lee.”
This is ridiculous. I don’t know how she does this, but I want to stop this nonsense. “Please don’t stop now. Just one more thought. One tiny thought and I’ll come out of your mind. I promise.”
My mind shifts to Pooja. I see her radiant face. I see Kavitha suddenly stiffen. She takes a quick breath, gasps. She moves her hands to her mouth and opens her eyes. Her eyes are filled with emotion. She falls in a heap on the floor. She holds her face in her hands and sobs softly. I rush to her.

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(To be continued...)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Chapter 3 -- Part 2

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
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Now for the latest instalment....

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“I am psychic, didn’t I tell you that?” she says that as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
“Yeah! And I am Bill Clinton,” we say together in one voice.
Startled, I withdraw my hands from the box I am pushing as if it singed my palms. I stare at her wide eyed, disbelievingly. She bursts into uncontrollable fits of laughter.
I regain my composure and say, “You’re smart. A very clever guess!”
“Clever guess??…That wasn’t a guess… I can read your mind when I want to, Dil…Honestly, I am psychic,” her tone is dead serious. “Okay. Just to prove it. Now think three thoughts. Any thing under the sun. Absolutely anything,” her hands are moving animatedly as she speaks. She closes her eyes.


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(To be continued...)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Chapter 3 -- Mental Fundamental

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
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If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website www.harismind.com

Now for the latest instalment....

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“Come, now let’s unpack,” Kavitha says brightly, “and go through my history stored in those cartons,” she winks at me as she brushes past me to the living room. “But first…let’s put on some music…Pankaj Udhas it will be.”
“Why not Adnan once more?” I ask.
“Nah. I am afraid, we’ll forget our cartons and end up making love on this carpet.”
I look at her delightedly. For a moment I wonder whether she is really real. I wonder whether she is just a product of my fantasy, of a deep-rooted yearning. I approach her, as she is bending to slot in the CDs, and pinch her buttocks.
“Yeow!” she springs upright with a start, “What was that for?”
“Just checking whether you’re real,” I smile at her.
She gives me a kick to my shin.
“Oof!” I cry holding up my leg.
“Satisfied?”
The voice of Pankaj Udhas floats in.
“Come, lets stop fooling around and get down to business…The cartons marked ‘R’ — help me push them to Rohit’s room. All his stuff. He’ll unpack them when he returns.”
We push and drag the three boxes to the spare bed-room in the lower level of this duplex penthouse. They are too heavy to be lifted. Books or maybe files, I guess.
“Both,” she says.
“What?” I ask.
“Both books and files,” she says to my surprise.
“How do you know that’s what I thought?”

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(To be continued...)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 19

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website www.harismind.com

Now for the latest instalment....

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That night after we returned from dinner, she dug out a small address book from a bag that I have never seen her open. She had the phone by her side while she pored through the scribbles in the book. Just before lifting the receiver, she looked at me and said, “Can I have some time to myself, please?”
I left the room.
“Mr. Jacob, please,” I heard her say.
“This is Nisha,” and after a pause she said in an irritated tone, “your daughter, who else?”
(pause)
“Well, I want something from you.”
(pause)
“Yes. It is money…why else would I call you…? You realise you did not spend a paisa of dowry for me, don’t you. While you gave away fifty lakhs plus house plus car for Neena, you gave me nothing…You got yourself a son-in-law for nothing.”
(pause)
“So what if she married a ‘good Catholic boy of your choosing’. So what if I eloped! I eloped because I could. I was pretty, that’s why. And she could not because she was ugly. I am also your daughter. I too deserve what I should rightfully get. So what if my husband wasn’t a Catholic! (her voice is raised) He is an Engineer, from a very well to do family. He could have easily got twice that much from his community…”
(pause)
“What do you mean, you don’t have money?! I have been tracking you ever since you and Ammachi separated…Only the other day I saw your contented mug in the Dubai Lions Club web page, with that whore you’re living with…Hello…Hello…Shit!”
I heard her key the number again.
“I know he doesn’t want to talk to me…Just tell him that if he doesn’t talk to me now, his fellow Lions will be roaring with laughter seeing pictures of their President Lion rollicking in the nude with three Kodambakkam pussies…Yes I’ll wait.”
(pause)
“I don’t care what you call this…Blackmail or whatever…I want what is rightfully mine…once I get it, I won’t bother you…No, I can’t give you my word…Well, that is how it is. Take it or leave it…Hundred thousand US dollars…No, I am not crazy…look, I know it’s peanuts for you…LOOK, I AM YOUR DAUGHTER, MAN. A DAUGHTER YOU’VE FORSAKEN. OF A WIFE YOU’VE ABANDONED…” her voice was shaking.
(pause)
“I’ll send you my account number by email tonight…okay.”
On the second day in spite of Nisha informing me that she had sent my account details to her father, my heart skipped a beat seeing my account balance with so many zeroes at the end of it.
“Buy a car for thirty thousand,” she remarked studying my passbook, “keep another ten thousand in your account and transfer the rest to my account, which I opened in POSB today…I am going to do some courses…expensive ones…computer…MBA…and then let’s see what I can achieve.”

**************END OF CHAPTER 2
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Lookout for Chapter 3 -- Mental Fundamental

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(To be continued...)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 18

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website www.harismind.com

Now for the latest instalment....

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One evening, while waiting for our order at the neighbourhood hawker stall, she broke the silence by asking in a quiet voice, “Dilip, how much money do you have in your bank?”
“Very little. Just the month’s pay that came in today…Why?”
“Never mind,” she looked away, her eyes were glazed.
“Tell me, dear…if you need money, we can get a loan…”
“I am a failure…a complete failure…married to a failure,” she sobbed. It was the first time I saw her like this. She looked suddenly so vulnerable.
I patted her arm trying to console her, “Come on, Nisha. Don’t say that…don’t make a scene.” Luckily the place was largely deserted.
“Whatever I do is a disaster…whatever…I just want to get out of this shit-hole we’re in…But the more I try, the deeper I am falling in.”
“Come on, Nisha…It’s not so bad…try to be happy with what you have…”
“What do I have? Nothing…I am living among people who get drunk and piss in the lift, puke in the corridor. Among fish vendors and toilet cleaners. Among depressingly old folk…”
“We’ll move up slowly. But steadily. Be contented, dear. We’re still young…” I reached and squeezed her hand gently.
“No, I will not,” she said, brushing my hand aside and wiping her tears. Determination flashing in them. “I will not be contented…I will rise up…I will realise my dreams…with or without you.”
“Fine,” I said backing off.

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(To be continued...)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 17

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website www.harismind.com

Now for the latest instalment....

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As we stepped out of the room, Suppiah smiled toothily and told her with a wink, “We come see you after you go bank, okay, maami. You blanjah us, can?”
I heard the woman shout out a string of Tamil words that I could not understand.
Suppiah winced and said, “Wah! Fierce woman.”
While we were walking towards the Tekka Mall, I asked Suppiah, what this was all about.
“Well, maami’s regular customer come for facial today. When customer saw your wife, haah, she very happy. She tell your wife she wan’t to be pretty pretty like her. And your wife say something not right…” Suppiah chuckled.
“What did my wife tell her?”
“She say to customer, ‘you come wrong place…you go see plastic sergeant,’ she tell her.”
“Plastic sergeant? What is that?” I ask.
“The doctor, lah…The face cutting nose fixing doctor…You donno, ah?”
“Surgeon, you mean.”
“Ya lah, same lah… The woman go back crying. This make maami so mad, she shout at your wife, and rest, you know, lah…Any way, you very lucky that we come. If Chinese feller come, haah, he sure book your wife.”
Nisha sat brooding the entire journey back. I tried to stretch a comforting hand to her. She raised her’s and said, “Just… leave me alone…please.”

For a whole week she was very quiet. Her eyes were always distant, deep in some faraway thought. She barely uttered a word, answering my queries in monosyllables.

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(To be continued...)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 16

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website http://harismind.com/emailme.html

Now for the latest instalment....

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“Five thousand dollars? Isn’t that too much? For a small slap?” I ask trying to bargain. My bank account was in the month-end double digit. I’ll have to take out my credit-line chequebook.
“Small slap??” the woman exclaims, “I cannot attend my customer for next week orready! Who come to beautician with one cheek like panniaram? Who pay for my loss of business, eh?”
“Uhuh, okay okay,” I say, quickly taking out my chequebook. I was never good at bargaining, anyway.
“Wah! You big business man, eh? Stylo milo carry cheque book always!” Suppiah said with a smile.
I was about to write “Cash” against the “Pay to:” section of the cheque, when I changed my mind and asked the woman whom I should address the cheque to.
“Letchmi D/o Balagopal,” she said eagerly. Her anger had completely vanished.
She almost snatched the cheque from my hand, as I was about to extend it to her. She studied the cheque carefully; the date, the amount, the spelling of her name, my signature. She blew at the cheque a few times to make sure the ink had dried and then slipped it into her blouse.
“Aiyah, maami, don’t keep there, lah. Why you so kiasu? Your cheque be like kiam chye and bank don’t give you money.” Suppiah said.
The woman glared at Suppiah, but retrieved the cheque from her blouse and kept it carefully in her handbag.


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(To be continued...)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 15

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website http://harismind.com/emailme.html

Now for the latest instalment....

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“She called me the daughter of a whore! I should have slapped her other cheek too!”
“HOW DARE YOU…”
“PLEASE, LADIES, PLEASE. I throw you both in jail if you don’t calm down, NOW” Suppiah now raised both his hands and stood in between them like a traffic cop. Then turning to Shanmugavel, he said, “Shanmu, you take Madam Nisha and wait for us at the Tekka Market bus-stop.”
Suppiah closed the door behind both of them and said to Madam Letchmi in a voice that was almost pleading, “Please, maami don’t make me register this…Very bad for your business osso.”
“But she slap me…It hurts, no. Pain cannot thahaan,” Madam Letchmi was holding her fleshy cheeks in her hand, as if she had a tooth ache.
*****************************************************************************
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Suppiah looked at me and smiled, “We work something out, right Mr. Dilip?”
“What I can do, I will do,” I said, getting the drift.
“Well…If case register, Madam Nisha sure kenna fine. Minimum five kay. Maybe even short jail term. Plus court fee, lawyer fee etc. Altogether minimum ten kay plus jail. And what you get, maami? Nothing… bad business summore…So I suggest, haah — Mr Dilip, you give maami a small sum of five kay and everyone go makkaan be happy no worry…What say you?”


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(To be continued...)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 14

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website http://harismind.com/emailme.html

Now for the latest instalment....

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I gingerly opened the door to find, besides a harried Nisha standing stiff, two Indian cops in uniform and a mountainous lady who, I guessed, was in her fifties. For a moment I wondered how that woman could have squeezed through that narrow stairwell. It was a small room and had a single salon chair occupying most of the space. The big woman was sitting in the salon chair looking up at the cop who was talking to her. On the walls there were pictures of Khushboo, Jayaprada and a few other actresses whom I did not recognise. Facing the chair was also a large mirror, the sides of which were dotted with bindi stickers of different patterns. Beneath the mirror was a low cabinet crowded with different types of lotions and creams. One of the cops was telling the woman, "Enna maami idhu. We all same blood, what. Settle and be friends, lah…" when he saw me enter.

*****************************************************************************
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"Dilip, right? I Shanmugavel," the other cop said extending his hand. "This my colleague, constable Suppiah,"
"What's the problem?" I asked as I shook his hand hurriedly, just to get it over with.
"YOUR WIFE…" the mountain woman was on her feet, like a bull about to gore me.
"Aiyyo please, lah. Maami, we handle this, okay. Cool down, lah. Please," Suppiah said raising his hand in an attempt to calm her.
Then turning to me, Shanmugavel said, "Your wife, haah, slap Madam Letchmi. She call us in to register a police case against your wife."
"Here, look what that girl do," Madam Letchmi cried, pointing to her dark cheeks, "My eyes see stars, yuno!"
"Why don't you tell him why I did it?" Nisha retorted.



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(To be continued...)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 13

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website http://harismind.com/emailme.html

Now for the latest instalment....

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Even six months after her “graduation” her attempts at finding an apprenticeship were a complete failure. She had completely neglected the “racial” aspect to these kind of jobs in her initial calculations. When finally the truth dawned on her, she tried to get a job in the few shanty Beauty Parlors in Little India. But there, her newly learnt skills of Eye-Brow Tattoo, Lips-Liner Tattoo, Eye Lashes Perming, Breast Development & Firming Treatment etc were not in demand. Instead their requirements were different. They wanted someone who knew skin bleaching, henna hair, mehndi designs, bridal makeup, black head treatment, threading, facials, special herbal treatments etc.

Finally and after swallowing her pride and agreeing to work for free (“It’s just for experience”), she landed a job as an assistant to a Madam Letchmi of “Minerva Beauty House” in Serangoon Road. I wouldn’t have known these details had I not received a call on my mobile on the third week of her “job”.
“You, husband of Madam Nisha Dilip Nair, IC no. S2654128Z?”, it was a male voice, very coarse.
“Yes,” I replied cautiously.
“Come immediately to Minerva Beauty House, No 23, Serangoon road…Have you taken that down?”
“I can remember…what is this about? Who are you?”
“I am constable Shanmugavel. Your wife is in some trouble. You have to come now.” He hung up.
My heart beat faster as all kinds of ugly thoughts passed through my mind. What could it be? What has she done now? What has she done now not what has happened to her? For a moment I was surprised how my mind had reacted. Is it really her or is it actually me? I didn’t have much time to dwell on these spiralling thoughts since the cab journey to Serangoon was quite short.
No 23, Serangoon Road was a narrow opening between two busy vegetable shops, which led to a dingy and steep staircase that was littered with half empty sacks of potatoes and onions. There was a door at the high end of the staircase on which was painted “Minerva Beauty House, call Mdm Letchmi for appointment.”

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(To be continued...)


Monday, October 03, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 12

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website http://harismind.com/emailme.html

Now for the latest instalment....

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Then came the Cosmetology craze.

A few months after the hotel fiasco, Nisha decides she wants to be a Cosmetologist. I wasn’t sure what that was when she announced her intention. I had assumed it was some high tech profession that’s got to do with outer space — comets specifically — and thought it unusual for Nisha to turn into a stargazer all of a sudden. But then the ways of women were so unpredictable, so I left it at that.
When she showed me the brochure of “The Mona Lisa School of Cosmetics and Make-up Artistry,” things became a lot clearer. The three-month MAD (“Make-up Artistry Diploma”) course made a dent of three thousand dollars to my meagre savings account, but it occupied Nisha for that period; so I was not entirely miserable. Moreover, she seemed so very gung-ho about the whole thing, that her enthusiasm was even infectious at one point leading me to think that this course was probably worth more than the money I paid for it. “This is ME!” she would say excitedly, “O how I wasted my time on that stupid hotel job! Shoulda done this much earlier. Just watch, Dilip. As soon as I get my Diploma, I will work in one of those upmarket Beauty Salons for maybe a few months. And once I learn the finer tricks of the trade, I’ll go solo.” (Now at this point, I must emphasize that this Nisha was the Nisha Dilip Nair, ambitious yet ignorant; maybe even a tad too naïve. She had this tremendous desire to achieve, but her goals were far too nebulous for any clear plan to be drawn up.) She was in for a surprise. A very unpleasant one.

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(To be continued...)


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 11

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website www.harismind.com

Now for the latest instalment....

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The invites tapered off and, thankfully, we soon became forgotten in the social circuit, when I politely turned down many of the subsequent invitations.

During the early years, when she wasn’t working, she whiled away her time reading women’s magazines, the newspaper, management books, weighing her breasts, keeping track of her waistline, loitering around Shenton Way, calling up her bridge-pals etc. These were certainly more important than the dreary, thankless chores of the home. Then after Pooja was packed off to India, she found a job as a front office assistant for a medium range hotel.

One Friday evening, after five months on the job, she came back from work in her natty maroon uniform and threw her handbag on the couch with much ferocity. “What do these pigs think I am, huh? A smiling machine? None of us at the reception protested when last week they introduced a rule saying that all front office staff should smile at our guests and — you wouldn’t believe this — must show at least eight teeth when doing so. Eight teeth! Can you believe it?! Eight fucking teeth, like a fucking Dinosaur!” her cheeks were flushed with rage, “We thought it was just a joke. How the hell are they gonna implement it? We asked ourselves. But then, on Tuesday they install a camera pointing at us. And yesterday I get this insane memo from the management saying that out of the thirty-one guests I serviced on Wednesday, on twenty eight occasions not more than four of my teeth were visible. CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? I rush to my supervisor and tell the fat bitch with all my politeness: ‘Madam, please understand, my mouth is small. I have small, sexy lips. If I show eight of my front teeth, my face will split into two.’ and she replies in a condescending tone, ‘How come everyone else can do it, but you?’ I tell you, this pisses me off. So I tell her, ‘because everyone else has a BIG BLOODY MOUTH. Like yours.’ She gets up, shakes her droopy tits, says, ‘I don’t want to talk to you,’ and storms off in a huff. Within a minute the manager calls me. A tired old white man with a face like the Hush Puppies Bassett Hound’s. He gives me a long fucking lecture. About rules and regulations and this and that. About service quality, ISO, continual improvement and all such meaningless gibberish. He says: ‘since we are planning to get our ISO certification in a year, every aspect of our service should be measurable. Frequent audits will be done and our service must continually improve, year after year,’ at this point I interrupt him, ‘Sir,’ I tell him, ‘with all due respect, in that case next year the target would be sixteen teeth and the year after that it would be thirty two, I guess. So if I am to remain in this great hotel for the next three years, you’re telling me that I must be prepared to surgically implant an extra set of dentures and open my mouth wide enough like a circus hippo for a whole minute until the guy behind the camera can count all my sixty-four teeth every time an unfortunate guest pops in.’ I said that in one breath. Mr. Hush Puppies glares at me and says in a slow measured tone, ‘I think you’re too smart to work here. I suggest you collect whatever dues the hotel owes you from the HR, and vacate your position immediately,’ and then I tell him that he can shove it up his stinky pink ass and I walk out of there. On my way back, I stop at the reception to say bye to my colleagues. I see them grinning like Lady Dracula about to pounce on the unfortunate guest who just walked in with a large backpack bending his frame. The man sees their teeth, scratches his head, says, ‘I am not sure I am at the right place,’ and takes the next cab outta there.”


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(To be continued...)