07 January 2008

A Train Ride

It was seven o? clock in the morning. There was a light shower, which seemed to cleanse Dallas Railway Station, leaving the passengers feeling fresh.

Near the platform, in a local pharmacy, a young teenager was looking at a bottle, which he was clutching. The lad seemed to be about to make a crucial decision. After looking at the bottle for a while, he finally paid the shopkeeper. He quietly slipped the bottle into his knapsack just as a train was floating into the station.

The passengers clamored to get into the train, and the youngster managed to wriggle his way into an empty compartment. He threw his knapsack on a seat and sat next to the window. He was staring out of the window, when the compartment door opened and a man along with his son, got in. The youngster eyed the man with suspicion. The newcomer was rather short, looking typical in plain shirt and pants, stroking his beard with delight. His son was about 6 or 7 years, the youngster judged, and seemed rather a bit old to be playing with toy cars.

The train began to move out of the station and it was a full minute before the man began the conversation. ?What?s your good name, my son?? he asked.

?Norman? the youngster answered coldly.

?I am Ahmed, and this, is my very own Ali!? Ahmed beamed with happiness and pride. Norman looked at the boy and then stared out of the window. He wasn?t in the mood for conversation.

Norman was a rather unusual boy. He was never moody and quite like this before. But all of a sudden, he was lost in thought, contemplating something.

Ahmed restarted the conversation ?You know Ali is now in 2nd standard. Yes, he passed the 1st standard. How much did you get Ali?? Ali stopped playing for a moment and answered, ?I got 58%?.

?Yes, 58%! The teachers were very proud of him. He did much better than they expected!?.

Norman, who was trying to keep the conversation at a minimum, couldn?t help but wonder why Ahmed was so delighted. According to him, 58% was horrible for a 1st grader, even by a failure?s standards.

?I?m sorry, but didn?t you say that Ali was in 2nd standard??

The smile on Ahmed?s face vanished. He looked sad and depressed all of a sudden. ?Ali, could you go out and play with your new friend, Vickie? I am sure that his mother will allow you two to play,? he asked. Ali stopped playing and said proudly, ?Vickie is my new best friend!? There was an innocent gleam in his eyes.
?Well, you must be wondering why I am on cloud nine when Ali passed 1st grade. To explain the reason, I have to give you a bit of history. You see, seven years ago, Ali?s mother gave birth to him. But, something went wrong in the delivery room, and the doctor told me that some severe damage had been done to Ali?s brains. According to him, this would severely impair his I.Q. Well, at that time, that wasn?t the worst thing. My wife, Fatima, died during the delivery. I never clearly understood the reason why.

It was the greatest tragedy of my life. My wife had passed away, and my son was retarded. For a while, I was too shocked to do anything. Then, God Almighty blessed me with courage and faith. I raised him, and enrolled him in the local nursery. It was tough to teach him. He understood things four times slower than others did. When he reached 1st grade, it was horrible. He spent the whole day at school, and the whole night at home, studying. I would sit and teach him, while his friends would enjoy cricket outside.? Ahmed?s voice began to quaver. ?I remember a time when I was teaching him the alphabets. It was 10 in the night, and I fell asleep on the table. The next day, I heard him say the alphabets perfectly. He had spent the whole night, learning just 26 alphabets?without sleep?I?I...? Suddenly, Ahmed?s eyes swelled with tears, and he was no more able to control the tears. He burst out crying. ?He, he could not understand what his teachers were saying. Yet he spent six hours every day, studying without an ounce of entertainment. He never grudged it, nor did he complain. He only studied and said his prayers. For him, school was the only thing in life. Poor Soul!?

Norman looked dazed as he stared out of the window. He couldn?t think of anything to Ahmed, nothing to console him about. Norman felt lost in his emotions.

??. (Sob)? (Sob)?you know, sometimes I think that Ali is blessed. Whenever I read the news or see the papers?.I really feel that Ali is lucky!? Ahmed said.

Norman could not understand what Mubarak was saying all of a sudden. ?What do you mean sir?? he asked respectfully.

?Oh, I?ll tell you. Don?t you read the papers? How many children are wasting their lives because of their exam results? Suicides committed in the millions due to 3-hour exams. Souls are wasted! And when I read all this, I feel that Ali is blessed. Do you know why? Because God was kind enough to make him a retard. I tell you that was God?s way of protecting Ali from committing suicide. Every time I see Ali puzzling over something, I praise God for not allowing my only son to tie ropes and buy poisons. He is truly blessed.

Norman was quite and tears were streaming down his face. He quickly wiped them and stood up. It was his stop. He grabbed his bag, and after saying a quick word of farewell to the weeping Ahmed, walked out of the train station. Just as he was getting down, he saw Ali playing with Vickie. Ali was trying to fit three pieces of a simple jigsaw puzzle together. Something that Vickie had completed ages ago, and was now looking bored. But Ali was stumbling over what to do. He repeatedly tried to fit the three pieces together.

?He will never stop,? Norman thought, ?He will keep at it till he gets it!?

Norman came out of the station and was standing near the road. The train hadn?t started moving yet. He put his hand into his knapsack and pulled out a bottle. Without even having a second thought, he tossed it into the drains nearby.

As he walked, a paper fluttered out of his knapsack. Anyone passing nearby would have managed to see it. On it was written:

Name: Norman Mueller
Marks (total): 162.5

In the drains, the bottle lay, pushed forward by gushing water. On its label was the title: POTASSIUM CYNADIE


Norman was now walking with a reassuring smile. He no longer had that plan in mind. He was thankful that he had met his angel.

In the train station, just as the bottle of poison was broken open by the gushing water, and all its contents destroyed, the train began to pick speed. Inside the train, Ahmed was smiling with joy as he saw the last glimpses of a troubled soul, walking with a knapsack. And besides him, was an angel. Ali had finally managed to put the three pieces together.

There was a triumphant smile on his face!

06 January 2008

The Airport Story

This story is very dear to me, since this was the first story of mine that was ever published (in a regional magazine called Young Times). The reason I'm called a budding author today, is because of this story. Not great in literary merit, I agree, but irreplaceable in emotional value. Let me know what you think about it....

?Excuse me sir. Would you like anything to drink?? asked the airhostess. I was sleeping and in a sleepy mood shook my head to indicate no. However, the man who was sitting next to me asked for the orange juice. I turned my head a little to see who it was, but the whole airplane was dark. Every one was sleeping, except for us. I was flying from Paris to Los Angeles. It was a seven-hour journey with two stops, one at Amsterdam (half an hour) and another one at New York (Three Hours). The man started talking to me. Although I pretended to be asleep, I soon found out that the man was keen on talking. ?Cant he go and talk to the air hostess?? I thought. Nevertheless, I listened. The conversation quickly became about Baseball. Although I was a businessperson, I had a liking for The NEW York Yankees. The man asked me who would win in the match between New York Yankees and Boston Red Socks. I told him that for sure New York Yankees would win. He started to dispute that, and within minutes asked if I dared to bet.

Although I was offended, I betted him, 50 dollars. He raised it to 100. I then went to sleep. The man, however, got up and walked towards the toilet?

Half an hour later, the man and I ate our dinner. While eating, I was wondering about the baseball match when the man again engaged me in conversation. ?Now, what bet does he want? I thought, slightly annoyed. He talked about the market condition and finally ended by saying that the Day would end with the NASDAQ losing 6 percent. I could not resist challenging him. I told him that due to Hurricane Katrina, NASDAQ would go down by 10 percent. ?Any common man would know that? I thought. The man challenged me and once again, I bet 200 dollars that NASDAQ would go down by 10 percent.

I put on my headphone and waited for the in-flight movie to start. The man got up moved towards the toilet. ?The fellow has grown attached to the toilet,? I thought. For the next two hours, I did not see the man. After the movie finished, he came back. I was bewildered and asked him if he had spent two hours in the toilet. He laughed and said ?No, of course not. I just talked to a few of my friends who are on this flight. I asked if I should exchange my seat for his friend?s (so that the fellow would leave me in peace) but before long, the conversation was about Movies. ?You know, Brad Pitt must be sad that he hasn?t got a movie to act in? he said. I sensed another bet coming up, and after informing him that Brad Pitt had not one, but three movies in the making, boldly said that I would challenge him 300 dollars for a bet. He agreed, and I felt mischievously happy. I had a friend who had a friend whose cousin was the Agent of Brad Pitt, and he assured me that Pitt was working on three movies.

I felt that I needed a few hundred dollars from this fellow and happily listened to some music. The man however, went to talk to some of his friends.

Soon, the plane landed in Amsterdam, and the man came back from his chatting, looking excited. When I asked what he was so excited about, he said that the latest addition of TIME, WALL STREET JOURNAL, and SPORT STAR was to be gotten from Amsterdam. He went up to the front of the plane and took the magazines and came back (he had by now made it a habit to walk around the plane as though it was his own house)

He opened SPORT STAR, and I lost 100 dollars. The New York Yankees had lost, the magazine said, badly. Then he opened WALL STREET JOURNAL and again I was surprised to know that NASDAQ had only gone down by 5 percent. Grudgingly I flung the 200 dollars at him. Then he opened TIME magazine, and I was so surprised that I let out a gasp. Brad Pitt had not gotten any part in a movie. Still shocked, I took out the last few dollars from my wallet and handed it to the man. He happily put it into his pocket and got up. For the next hour, I bitterly cursed my luck. ?Why did every thing happen to me?? I thought. I had lost 600 dollars.

When the plane was about to land at New York (Where every one would have to go to the Transit section to wait for the next flight) the man came back. I was bewildered when I saw him counting hundreds of dollars. I tried to ask him where he had gotten it from, but he merely smiled.

The plane landed, and the man raced to be the first to reach the airport.

I was walking towards the Transit area when I noticed a few magazines. Suddenly I stopped. Something had just caught my eye. I quickly grabbed TIME, WALL STREET JOURNAL, and SPORT STAR and did not pay (I did not have any cash with me). I quickly read the main news: INTERVIEW WITH THE YANKEES, WINNERS OF THE 2005 BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP, ECONOMY UPSET AS NASDAQ FALLS 20 PERCENT, BRAD ENJOYS THREE MOVIES.

I could not understand what was going on. The magazine, which the man had, said that none of these were true (and as a result, I had to pay 600 dollars). I quickly walked towards the transit area to find the man.

After searching the transit area, I still could not find the man. I asked an airhostess if she had seen him. She replied that the man had left the airport. I then asked if there were any more magazines of TIME, WALL STREET JOURNAL, and SPORT STAR in the airplane. The airhostess looked surprised and said, ?We only have the old issues of these magazines. Our planes don?t stock them when we are on a transit flight sir?

I sat down on a chair in the transit area. My head was about to burst. I did not know what was going on. The Yankees had won, NASDAQ had gone down (not that he was happy about it) and Pitt had gotten three roles. Then why did the magazines in the flight write false news? In addition, there actually were not any magazines in the flight (except for the old ones) that could only mean one thing?

My thoughts were interrupted. Men were fighting. Some were saying, ?Yankees won? while others argued ?Boston?s won?. As I had a reputation for solving problems, I asked them what the matter was. One of them said, ?Look, a guy asked us if we wanted to bet who would win the Yankee-Socks match. We betted and the guy took down our names-??How many were there?? I asked, not feeling easy. ?Well, about twelve. The guy took the betting from almost every one in the plane. About hundred of them? I was shocked. ?Well then, the guy brought magazines and proved to us that Yankees lost, and collected money. Lots of money. But we find out that the Yankees did win-?the man was interrupted by another man who said,? No the Boston?s won? and so the fight started again. I interrupted them and said,? You are not going to like it, but that guy cheated you. The magazine he showed you was a fake. He made duplicate copies of the magazines, and then betted. And how much did he get?? A man said,? He took about hundred from each of us?

That night, as I lay in my bed in my apartment in Los Angeles, I thought over all that had happened. The man (whose name I do not know) had cheated every one of 100 dollars. It all added up. He never introduced himself, and got away with Ten thousand dollars. Ten thousand dollars. The flight only cost 5000 dollars... The man must make a couple of hundreds every month.?

I remembered that I had not informed any one about this cheat. Not even the Airport Police or my friends. My worry changed into joy as I thought, ?The man took 600 dollars from. Let him take 600 dollars from another man.? With that happy thought, I went to sleep.

05 January 2008

Brain Box

A completely cheesy story, that was written to feel like a Stephen King story, but ended up feeling like it does now - like a B Grade horror flick. Anyways, failure is the stepping stone to success...

?Well, Joseph Blake was executed yesterday, wasn?t he?? I said, looking at the newspaper in front of me. I was hoping someone would talk to me. ?I wonder whether he deserved it? ?Of courser, he deserved it!? said a man. I looked at the man who had just spoken. He was tall and lean, and had a thick beard. He wore a thin round specs and a long white coat.

?Oh, really, and why is that?? I asked. The reason that I wanted to know was because I was a reporter and was covering the story. William Blake was a serial killer who had killed thirteen people. He was finally caught and executed.

?So, tell me your opinion, Mr.?? I asked. ?Dr., Dr. Andrew.? The man said.

* * * * * * * *

A month passed by. I and Dr. Andrews became close friends, and one night, I was talking him in his house. It was quite late. ?So, Andy (that was his nick name), what do you think would be the right punishment for a person like Joseph Blake.? I asked. For you see, Andy was of the opinion that Joseph Blake?s execution was too soft and that it wasn?t good enough.

Andy didn?t reply and just stared at me. ?Andy? Is anything the matter?? I asked. Again, he didn?t reply. He seemed to be thinking of something. A minute passed by and then, he sprung up from his chair, and grabbed my hand. ?Come with me? he said and ran up the stairs. ?Where are you going?? I asked. ?Come to my study? he said. ?The study?? Andy never showed me his study before. He had said something about it being ?personal?.

As I stood near the study door, he took out a key and opened it. Inside, it was quiet dark, and warm. He motioned me to sit in a chair, and moved towards a cupboard. Once again, he took out a key and opened it. I couldn?t see what he was looking at, but a moment later, he put a black device on the table next to me. The device looked very strange. It seemed to be made of an extremely thick metal, and had slits all over it.

Without looking at me, Andy sat in a chair next to me, and fell silent. He seemed to be thinking something. ?Andy? What?s the matter? You seem troubled? I asked. Andy looked at me, still lost in thoughts. Then he said, ?You remember the time when you asked me what the right punishment for Blake would have been?? ?How wouldn?t I?? I asked, a bit surprised, ?I asked you just a few minutes ago!?

?Yes, yes I know. Now, Ahmed (that was my name- Ahmed Yusuf) listen to me very carefully. I asked myself the same question, about six years ago. At that time, if you remember correctly, a man nicknamed Doctor Death was being sentenced to death for killing about a hundred people wasn?t he?? I shuddered as I thought about the fact. ?Yes, I remember? I said. Doctor Death had poisoned his patients.

?Well, at that time, I talked to many of Doctor Death?s patients, just before they passed away, and I asked them what pained them the most. They all told me the same thing!? Andy?s voice was now shrill and excited. I leaned forward. ?They told me that the pain was excruciating, that it was beyond their tolerance. Many died just of the pain! Ahmed, this set me thinking. Doctor Death had killed so many poor souls, and he was being punished by the death penalty. But think about it. In the electric chair, you only feel pain for half a minute, right?? ?Well, I wouldn?t know, since I have never been in one? I said, but Andy didn?t laugh at my joke. Instead, he became more serious and continued, ?In fact, Doctor Death didn?t feel a fraction of the pain that his victims felt.?

?So what are you driving at?? I asked, half angry about him not laughing at my joke, and half annoyed about his lecturing. ?Are you saying that we should torture murderers?? Andy shook his head. ?No, there was something more that the patients told me. They told me that the emotional sadness that they felt was equally bad. They told me that they were depressed, mentally and physically.?

?So you?re going to torture the culprits mentally too, is that it?? I asked, in a mock voice. To my surprise, Andy laughed. He stood up and began walking around the room. ?Ahmed,? he said, slowly. ?Let me tell you something. The brain controls every action that we take. Every feeling that we feel too. The brain lets us feel pain, joy, sadness, and so on.? I nodded my head. I knew all this primary stuff.

?Now, Ahmed, there is a portion of the brain, located in the cerebrum, which controls emotions. It is called hypothalamus. This organ-tissues-what ever you call it, controls every single one of our emotions, understand? Which means that if the hypothalamus was removed, we wouldn?t cry, laugh, be afraid, or do any other behaviors.? His voice became sharp. ?It also means that if the hypothalamus was tampered with, we would feel emotions that weren?t real!?

I was beginning to realize where this was going. ?So,? I said, trying to frame my question properly, ?you are saying that if the hypo- whatever, was tampered with, we would laugh even if nothing funny was going on-? ?Yes, and we would cry even if nothing sad was going on, we would feel pain, even if nothing painful was going on!? Andy said.

I fell silent for a while. ?Andy,? I asked in a small, frightened voice, ?are you going to make people feel artificial pain??

He sprung from his chair, his eyes gleaming with greed, his mouth twitching with joy. ?YES!? he yelled, his voice a changed one. ?Yes, I am going where one man has gone before. Don?t you see, Ahmed,? he asked, shaking me. ?Don?t you see? Using my instrument, we will be able to punish criminals, murderers?every one who does wrong!?

I stared at the metallic black box, wondering whether it was his ?instrument?. He picked it up (I moved away) and began walking around the room. ?Ahmed, every emotion that we feel is due to nerve impulses that are sent to the brain, you know that right? Well, these nerve impulses may send signals of pain, laughter, sadness, joy, any thing in the world. Now, these nerve impulses are essentially electrical impulses. Now, listen carefully! The types of electrical impulses that are sent to the brain are not all the same. They are varied. The impulses sent to the hypothalamus are electromagnetic!? He looked at me triumphantly. I didn?t understand the greatness of this information and asked Andy to explain. ?Electromagnetic impulses in the brain are similar to the electromagnetic impulses that electronic equipments send out. Now, put one and one together Ahmed!?

I looked at my friend, horrified! Was he implying that?? ?Ahmed, this box, which I call the brain box, is made up of special components- solenoids, copper, alnico?- which can be used not only to send out electrical impulses, but to control it as well! Meaning that if the brain box was connected to someone?s brain, I would be able to-? but he broke off, his expression changing. ?You know what? I think I?ll-? Again he broke off the sentence.

The man was crazy, I thought. I didn?t understand his idea. Using the brain box, we could effectively make a man feel all the basic emotions. But how? Would it work? I knew that Andy was strongly against those who did crime. But was his hatred so great that he would create an instrument to punish them?

And besides, I had a nagging feeling that I should tell him something. Well, it would have to wait now.

Andy picked up a phone and dialed a number. ?Who are you calling?? I asked. He didn?t reply. Instead, he spoke in a frenzied voice to whoever was on the other end of the line.

He put down the phone, and before I could ask, commanded, ?Go down and wait near the front door. A man will arrive soon. Collect whatever he gives you?.

I didn?t know what Andy was planning to do. But whatever it was, it wouldn?t be good?

A few minutes later, I returned with a cute little monkey. A man from the zoo had given it to me. Upon seeing the animal, Andy yelled, ?Strap it in the chair!? That was when my eyes fell on the metallic chair. I felt a wave of horror sweep me.

?Are you-? I asked, feeling horrible, but Andy cut in, ?Yes? .His voice was cold and rude. I put the cute, little monkey in the chair. Feeling disheartened, I only strapped his chest to the chair.

?Finished? Good. Now come here? he said. It was more of a command than a request. Before I moved away from the chair, I put a banana next to the monkey. ?What is it?? I asked, feeling angry. ?Look here,? he said, pointing to a small monitor, which was connected to the metal box. I stared at the monitor, while he strapped a metal cap on top of the monkey. ?Andy, what are you going to do?? I asked, feeling worried. Without replying to my question, he looked at the monitor. ?Look!? he squealed. Lines were forming on the monitor, lines that form on an equalizer when sound is produced. ?You know what this is? (Without waiting for my reply, he continued) The metal cap scans the brain for electrical impulses. Now, monkeys have similar brain structure to ours, and I think our experiment will work.?

Work? Was he going to create artificial emotions for the monkey? He was mad! ?Look!? Andy squealed again, pointing at the monitor. Now red lines were forming over the already visible blue lines. ?Andy, what are these lines actually?? I asked. Every thing was now a complete mess. I couldn?t understand anything. ?The blue lines are electrical impulses in the cerebrum. They show how much emotions the monkey is having right now. See this,? Andy said, and waved his hand at the monkey. The monkey moved back a bit, in fright, and I could see the blue lines changing formation. ?Amazing? I said. ?Then what are the red lines, Andy?? ?The red lines are the formation of electrical impulses that I am now going to create. Wave like formations show that happy emotions will be created.?

Andy moved towards the brain box, and turned a knob, labeled A. The red lines on the monitor changed formation. I looked at the monkey, prepared for the worst. Surprisingly, it began to laugh, and show its teeth. It stood up in the chair, and caught the banana; seeing it make sounds made me happy. Then, suddenly, Andy turned another knob, and the red lines formed a low line formation. The monkey?s happy expression vanished, and instead, it just sat in the chair, looking depressed. ?What did you do?? I asked Andy, feeling angry. To my resentment, he smiled, in the most devilish way! ?This, Ahmed, is what I have been working for. To see the culprits feel the same sadness that their victims felt. Don?t you see, by just turning this B knob a little, I can make people commit suicide. I can make they feel the real sadness.? There was menace, and devilish joy in his voice. ?But what about-? I was about to ask, when suddenly, the monkey?s face became pale. The veins in his arms bulged outwards, and his eyes became bloodshot red. It moved its head from side to side. ?What are you doing?? I screamed. Andy smiled, ?This is Pain. Pain that is delivered right to the brain. Pain that cannot be resisted. This, my friend, is how criminals will be punished!?

It was horrible. I saw the monkey?s face change. It tried to get loose, but the chain bound his to the chair. It grasped the banana, and began squashing it. And then? the ear piercing cry. The monkey was in pain! Its eyes shed tears, and in its animal voice, it tried to beg for mercy. I looked at Andy. My friend had transformed into an animal! He sat there, looking at the monkey, devoid of all emotions. ?Andy?? I called out, with tear in my eyes. The metal chair began to rock, the animal tried to escape? Then, there was a deathly silence. The animal stopped screaming. I looked at the chair. There was a deep silence. Then, Andy got up, and said, in the quietest voice, ?It?s dead?

* * * * * * * *

For the next 12 months, I did not see Andy. He was in his laboratory, working on that thing of his. I felt anger at him. Deep resentment. I had a nagging feeling that I should tell him something. Well, forget it, I thought. I wasn?t going to tell him anything. I wasn?t going to talk to him. Then, one day, the chief Prison warden of the state prison called me up and asked if I could come. He didn?t tell why. When I reached the prison, I saw a large crowd, gathered around a glass chamber. Inside, sitting in the metallic chairs, were six men. The warden came up to me and explained. These six men were murderers that had been caught six months ago. They were awarded the death penalty. Now, they faced the brain box. ?The brain box?? I asked, looking startled. ?Yes, don?t you know? Your friend, Dr. Andrews is doing it.? Then he pointed towards another smaller chamber. Inside I saw the man I used to call my friend. And next to him? was the brain box. ?Sir,? I said, panicked, ?You cannot do this. Stop the execution. You don?t know what will-? ?Yes, I do.? The warden said.

Then, as I stared at the six men, he explained, again, that the governor had authorized the execution after witnessing a trial test. Six metal caps were fitted on the heads, as I looked at the young men, I somehow felt sorry for them. Somehow?

When Andy turned Knob B, I left the building. As I unlocked my car in the parking lot, I heard the ear piercing screams?and then?the deathly silence?

* * * * * * * *

Three months later, I went to the local police station to file a complaint against vandalism. To my surprise, I saw Andy there. A man called out to me. ?You must be Ahmed. Hello, I am detective Stiller. Please, could I have a few minutes of yours?? I nodded my head and followed him to the interrogation room. ?I was planning on calling you. Please take a seat.? Said Stiller. I took a seat far from Andy. He looked, (to my astonishment) devastated. ?Ahmed,? said Stiller, handing me a folder. ?Inside the folder you will find the report of the 6 gang case. Have a look? I read the folder. It was about the six men that had been executed three months ago. ?I already know this,? I said. I had written a report on the gang. ?Yes, I know. Now comes the part that you don?t. These six men are innocent.? ?What!? I cried. ?Yes, all six of them. We mistook them for another gang. The night the murders took place; these lads were at the wrong place at the wrong time. They are just farm boys.?

I stared at Andy. So that was why he was looking so sad. ?So, the execution-? I asked. Just then, Andy burst into tears. Stiller left the room. Unconsciously I moved towards Andy, and patted him. I was consoling my friend. ?It?s all right, it?s all right,? I said. ?It?s not all right. These- these? Andy said, in between sobs, ?These lads worked for their parents. Do you- do you?-? He voice broke down. I looked at the folder. There was a picture of the six men and their parents. Both of the parents wore black glasses and had a walking stick. They were blind? ?What kind of a beast am I?? Andy cried. I consoled him. My head was filled with that piercing screams? of loving sons.

Now, I could no longer ignore the nagging feeling that I should tell him something. I said to Andy, ?Andy, I tried to tell you something, but I pushed it away. Now, listen to me. God Almighty will punish the wrong doers in the hereafter. They will rot in Hell fire. We are not the ones who decide the right punishments for the wrongdoers. How many times could we have incinerated Hitler for incinerating 6 million people? Only once. And we wont know who are innocent and who are guilty, will we?? Andy looked at me, his tears drying up. ?You?re right, Ahmed. I was foolish. Men cannot decide the right punishment for men. God will see to that. Ahmed, Let?s go home.?

A few days later, the mayor called the two of us. ?We will need the Brain Box for another execution,? he said. Andy smiled. Just then, there was a loud sound. ?What was that!?? the mayor asked. ?Why don?t you find out?? I asked, smiling. The mayor sent one of the assistants to find out what had happened. ?No, sir. We cannot give the Brain Box. You see, it?s a long story? said Andy, and with that, the two of us left, leaving the Mayor baffled. A few minutes later, the assistant rushed back into the office. ?Sir,? he said, ?we found the men?s restroom blown up. And in one of the dustbins, was a black, metal box, blown out of shape. I wonder what that device was?...?

03 January 2008

The Nuclear Report

This is an unusually long short story, and perhaps not worth reading. However, if you want to really know the evolution of my writing style, I would advice you to read this story, and then read some of the better off ones....

Adam stared at his PC monitor. His had clicked a picture. It took approximately two minutes to display the complete picture. At first, it would show the hair on a person?s head. Then it would slowly go down to the eyebrows. Within the first minute, the face would be displayed.

He had thought of getting rid of his computer for a long time now. It had been with him for ten years now. Three times, it got over heated. Fourteen times, the data in the computer was lost. Still, Adam kept the computer with him, for a very simple reason. It was too valuable to replace. Getting rid of it would mean getting rid of ten years of his life. However, he soon found a solution to that problem. One day, a hard ware storeowner was talking to him, when Adam casually spoke about his problem. At once, the man gave a solution. Remove the hard drives and put it into a new computer.

Three weeks later, Adam had finished the change. Now, the computer responded at the click of the mouse. Adam worked as a software expert. At the time of the replacement of his computer, he had 15 clients. Now he had 67 clients.

Soon, he began to get bored of his job. The problem was that when he had the older computer, things were done much slower. Now however, he finished a day?s work within half the time. Adam began to seek thrill. That was how he decided to hack. There were many files on the Internet, which could not be accessed without paying money. Adam changed that. He hacked into the sites and illegally downloaded software. Once, he even succeeded in ordering a movie from Amazon without paying a penny for it. Life suddenly became fun for Adam.

One day, Adam woke up late. He switched on his computer and went to eat his breakfast. He suddenly realized that he had an appointment with his doctor today. Therefore, he gulped down a cup of coffee and stuffed a few pieces of bread. He then made the computer to scan the Internet for files. However, in his hurry, Adam forgot to specify which web site to scan. That meant that the computer had the liberty to scan anyone out of the eight billion sites in the internet.

?Late again, Adam?? Dr Fuller asked as Adam entered his office. ?Please take a seat. Now, shall we continue from where we left off?? Fuller asked.

Adam had a problem. He began having strange dreams about nine months ago. It then became more serious and he even had black outs and headaches. He had decided to consult Dr. Fuller. Ever since then, he had been with Dr. Fuller.

?Well, Adam, do you still have dreams?? Fuller asked. Adam nodded his head. Just two days earlier, he had a recurring dream. ?Now Adam, I thought about your problem. And I thought,? Why not try Hypnosis. It is a great way to recollect things subconsciously?

Adam nodded his head. ?Ya sure, you are the doctor Fuller. You can do any thing you want. Just get rid of the dreams.?
?Okay now, Adam I need you to relax. Relax your muscles and mind. Be at ease. Do not think about anything. Just relax.?

It took three minutes of silence for Adam to completely relax. ?Now, let?s start out hypnotism?,? said Dr. Fuller. Back in Adam?s house, the computer was scanning the internet for files. After a while, however, the computer became stuck. Then in small letters, DECRYPTING FILE was written. It seemed that a file was protected by a very powerful password, which could only mean one thing. There was something confidential that someone was very keen on keeping secret.

?You are dreaming Adam. You are dreaming Adam. You are dreaming Adam,? Dr. Fuller kept saying. That was how Adam was going to be hypnotized. Slowly, Adam felt sleepy. Within minutes, he was laying on a bed, sub consciously listening to Dr. Fuller. ?Now, Adam, what do you see?? ?It?s dark all around. Then it is slowly becoming white, until it is bright white all around. Slowly, slowly?? ?Yes, good, Adam good, keep going?

?Slowly, I can see things. I am on top of a building, a tall building. I look down and see people. They are strangely dressed people. There are cars, small cars, fast cars, big cars, and even trucks.? ?Okay, Adam, Do you know where you are. Is there any kind of indenti-??The statue of liberty, the statue of liberty? I can see it. And I can see cars around me.?

For a moment, Dr. Fuller was confused. ?Wait, I thought that you where on top of a building?? ?Yes I am on top of a building. There are cars. There is a Ford?. a Ford Fleet, And a GMC Cortex.?

?What!? Dr. Fuller asked, confused, There were no cars called Ford Fleet or GMC Cortex in the market. Adam must have made a mistake. ?Are you sure Adam? Are you really sure?? ?Yes I am. I look down and see Starbucks coffee shop. There is a sale.? Adam smiled.

Dr. Fuller began to understand. Adam wasn?t dreaming in the present, he was dreaming about the future. Dr. Fuller was sure that there was no sale in Starbucks that morning, or for the coming month.

?I see? I see a huge tower, in the middle of smaller buildings. It has the American Flag on the top. Moreover, a huge statue was placed next to it. The statue was of a soldier

Back in Adam?s house, the file was still being decrypted. What ever the file was, it was getting very tough to open it. If the computer managed to open it, then Adam would be happy, or would he?

?I also see-?Adam said but stopped short. ?What was is that you saw Adam. Tell me.? ?What?s that?? Adam asked, fear in his voice. ?What?s what? What are you talking about?? ?Don?t you hear that noise? The?.the earth is shaking.?

In Adam?s mind, he was recollecting what had happened. The building was shaking. At first, it was a slight tremor. However, it slowly grew into a huge shake. Adam clanged onto the rails on the side of the building. Down, he could see people falling. Cars were swerving of the road. Suddenly, there was a huge explosion. A petrol truck had crashed into a petrol station. The resultant explosion was deafening. Adam almost fell off the building. The shaking was increasing gradually. A few minutes later, there was another great blast. Adam looked to the road below him. On one side of the road, was a huge hole, created by a train.

?A train? But trains move underground don?t they?? Dr. Fuller asked. He was listening with absolute attention.

?The train had broken the road and made a huge hole. It was due to the earthquake. Then, then I almost fell? Arrggh? HELP?.Somebody HELP?? Adam?s sound was getting louder and louder.

Dr. Fuller did not know what to do. In a moment of haste, he snapped his fingers. Immediately, Adam came back. He was no longer hypnotized. ?You may leave, Adam, our session has ended? Adam was surprised by Dr. Fuller?s behavior. However, he went out of the room, not knowing what he had just told.

Adam returned home and rushed to his computer. ?Well, well, what do we have here? Oh, files, new files!? Adam always liked to dramatize any new file he scanned. He stared at the screen.? What! ?He cried. ?So many files. I didn?t?? then he understood. He had not specified any particular web site. He then stared at the last file name. In small letters it was written: THE NUCLEAR REPORT

Adam took a long time to open the file. Who ever had made the file had made sure that no one would be able to open it. No one except Adam that is.

However, at first he did not understand what the file was about. He sat down and read it.



?What is this about? Some joke or something?? Adam thought. He was about to delete the file when he noticed what was written on the bottom.


?What did that mean?? Adam thought. This was Pentagon?s file. At first, Adam did not believe it. Then he looked at the last sentence?.and the whole document. It talked about atomic bomb. That could only mean one thing. Adam shivered as he thought of it. There was an atomic bomb off the coast of North Korea.

Adam called Dr. Fuller. ?Err?Doctor Fuller, could I ask you a riddle?? There was a pause. Dr. Fuller was apparently wondering what kind of a riddle Adam would possibly want to ask at 10 in the night. ?Yes why not Adam.?

?Well, I read in a book that supposes an atom bomb was placed on the coast of?.North Korea?.and it would detonate on 2006?what would happen?? Dr. Fuller was confused. ?Is this a trick question Adam?? ?No, Doctor, it is a general knowledge question.? Adam said. ?Well, I took physics when I was in university?.and I suppose?North Korea would be washed away by? either a tidal wave or by an earthquake. If it were a tidal wave?then the whole of North Korea would be washed away. However, this is a stupid question Adam. Because, Atom Bombs do not self detonate like that. Except for old bombs like?. KLWE-570?. Which is an old bomb made in the 60?s .So Adam?Hello? Adam where are you? Halloo? ?Adam didn?t feel like replying. He only said: ?Dr. Fuller, I think you come here right away.? There was something in the tone of his voice, which made Dr. Fuller grab his keys and dash towards his car.

After Adam told Dr. Fuller about the Nuclear Report, Dr. Fuller sat silent for a few minutes. Then he picked up his mobile and called Dr. Grant.

Dr. Grant was a seismologist. He had been a respected figure in America. ?Hello, Grant, its me Fuller. Could you come to ??? Twenty minutes later, Grant too sat silently for a minute. Then he asked Adam for a wet towel and a dry towel.

He placed both the towels side by side. He then raised his fist and tried to slide the wet towel. There was a raise in the towel. He then tried to raise the dry towel. This time, there was a huge raise in the towel. ?You see, the wet towel is a tectonic plate found in America and surrounding parts. The dry towel is a tectonic plate that is found near N. Korea If the atom bomb detonated near the wet towel, it would not cause much effect. However, the dry towel will easily move or even break. The plate near North Korea is that of the dry towel.?

There was silence. Adam finally broke the silence by asking,? How bad will the effect be?? Dr. Grant looked at him for a minute before replying. ?You see, near the weak plate is active magma. That means that if the weak plate cracks or moves, the magma will spill out. If, thanks to god, the magma does not spill out, then, the plates will move into one another, causing a massive earthquake. It will be felt even in New York.?

The last words of Dr. Grant had an amazing effect on Dr. Fuller and Adam. They looked at one another. They were thinking: What if the dream Adam had was this.

?But we will have to contact the Pentagon? Dr. Grant said. ?No, no we can?t.? Adam said. ?Why?? ?Because I ? I did this illegally. They could jail me for this.? Dr. Grant looked at Adam for a moment. ?So you are worried about serving 9 months in jail. Than saving millions of people, are you? This did the work. Adam left with Dr. Grant to contact the Pentagon. Before leaving, Adam told Dr. Fuller, ?Doctor, I have an encyclopedia, if you want to use it go ahead.?

Dr. Fuller was not much of a computer user, but he was amazed by the depth of the encyclopedia. He read about Psychology and the atom bomb. He even read about Hypnotism. However, when he read the last few sentences of the page he face grew pale. It was written: ?..Although it is widely believed that hypnotism can reveal dreams, Sigmund Freud proved that Hypnotism only lets the hypnotist know of the patient?s inner feeling and doings?

Dr. Fuller was confused. That morning he had hypnotized Adam and he had revealed his dream. However, the encyclopedia stated that Dreams could not be revealed in hypnotism. Then was Adam lying? , Or was he revealing what he actually experienced? It took a few minutes for Dr. Fuller to fully understand what that meant. It meant that Adam had traveled into the future.

?Listen Sir, Mr. Arnold is busy right now. He will see you in a few minutes? the secretary of Arnold told Adam, Dr. Grant and Dr. Fuller. They were in the outer office of Mr. Arnold, head of the database section of Pentagon. Arnold controlled what amount of information came in and went out of Pentagon. Adam wanted to meet a higher official, but Arnold was the only man who was available. A few minutes later, they were called into the room. ?Please have a seat,? Arnold said. Adam quickly launched his story. Ten minutes later, Arnold was looking at them baffled. ?So, you are saying that you hacked into the Pentagon and read a file called NUCLEAR REPORT? But how?? ?It doesn?t matter how. The important thing is the nuclear bomb could detonate anytime in 2006. Don?t you see, millions of people could die?

Arnold picked up the phone and dialed a number. A few minutes later, a bespectacled man named Perkins arrived. He heard the story and too was confused. ?But you can?t hack into Pentagon, Sir. It is impossible. How exactly did you find the file?? ?I found it when I scanned the internet for files. I was-?Adam stopped short. He just had a brainwave. ?Maybe-Maybe- Mr. Perkins, do you format the computers in the Pentagon??

?Yes, we do. Every four years. Why did you ask?? ?Because you see. I bought my computer from a hard ware store. In addition, they said that they had gotten it from computer centre. Could I use the phone??

Adam called Jenkins the Hardware store owner. ?Hey, Jenkins, it?s me, Adam. Jenkins, where did you get the computer you gave me. It?s just that I want to know about it.?
?Well, lets see, that was 10 years. I must be having it on the registry. Let me see? Yes, from a man named Thomas. He was from?? but Adam did not wait to listen. He hung up and asked Perkins, ?Did you have a man named Thomas who formatted computers?? ?Yes, it was a long time ago. He erased the data on the computers and then resold the computers to computer stores. However, are you telling me that the Nuclear Report was in the computer that you bought? Nevertheless, that is impossible! We completely erase all information on the computers. You could not have gotten it.?

Adam sighed and looked at every one present in the room.? You see, information is stored in 0?s and 1?s. So, when you erase data, it is rearranged, so that you cannot see it. However, when you retrieve information, the data is rearranged. Therefore, you see I lost information many a times. So I created software to retrieve information.?

Perkins looked at Adam, surprised. ?That?s stupid. We use state of the art technology to erase data. You?re explanation is baseless.? The phone rang, and Arnold picked it up.? Yes?Okay?.and ?You are sure... okay.? Arnold looked at Adam,? Sir, The FBI called. There is no Nuclear Report in your computer. They scanned your files and hard drive. You have no evidence.? ?But that?s impossible. I saw the report yesterday. It should be-?Now Adam knew what had happened. His computer must have short-circuited. ?I can prove it to you. I can retrieve the Nuclear Report.? ?Sir, we have the best computer experts scanning your computer. There is no evidence of anything.?

Arnold called the security and asked them to escort Adam, Dr. Fuller and Dr. Grant to their cells. ?Cell! What! Now are you locking us? After all, we told you. But we are telling you the truth.? ?I know, but we get many calls saying that there are bombs and earthquakes. Many, almost all the calls are fake. We cannot be sure, that you are telling the truth. You will be detained until we come to a conclusion. There will be a meeting of the heads of the pentagon, and I will raise the issue. Till then you will have to stay in your cells.?

They were escorted to their cell. There was a guard posted outside the cell. Dr. Grant asked Adam,? Now what are we going to do? We will be here until tomorrow. In addition, even if we are released they will not believe us. And you should have saved the Nuclear Report and showed it to Mr. Arnold. Adam? Adam? Tell something??

?I am going to prove to them.? Adam said. ?What are you telling about?? Adam looked at the window above him and said, ?I am going to escape.?

The next day, the guard opened the cell door and saw Dr. Fuller and Grant. However, Adam was missing. Minutes later, Arnold was informed of Adam?s escape. ?Well, inform the police. Nevertheless, do not make such a commotion. It?s not like he is a convict.?

That day, the police were informed. They half-heartedly looked for Adam. Three miles away, wrapped in a piece of cloth, Adam was walking towards a hotel. His head was filled with ideas. He was thinking: I need to get to my house. I need to prove that there really is an Atomic Bomb off the coast of North Korea and- A poor man waved a book and asked Adam if he would like to by it. ?No, no I don?t want- wait a minute, show me the book on the cover of the book was written: Golden memories of Pentagon

Adam paid for the book and checked into a hotel. In his room, he began to read about the various achievements of Pentagon. Adam was about to close the book when a small column caught his eye. A man in coat and Suit was holding a certificate along with another man. Underneath the picture was the Heading: Dixon saves millions
Neville Dixon the head of the Computers department in the Pentagon, secured a deal with ABS Computers, whereby Pentagon could sell ABS formatted computers and ABS would sell new computers to Pentagon. By securing this deal, Dixon saved millions of dollars. As tribute, the new office in the computers department will be named Dixon?

A brainwave struck Adam. Of course, now it made perfect sense to him. The deal was secured in 1960, and ABS would get the computers. That meant that the Nuclear Report was in one of the computers. Which was the site from which the nuclear report was downloaded? Yes, now Adam remembered it. It was from abs.com. Adam closed the book and went out of the room. Tonight, he thought, I am going to get the Nuclear Report.

The guard locked the main entrance and went away. Adam came out of a bush and unlocked the door. He then went into one of the rooms. But it was only when he opened the room that he understood the magnitude of his task. He wanted to find the Nuclear Report. It was in one of the computers at ABS. However, which one? There were hundreds of computers in the building. If he were to search each one of them, it would take days. Adam decided to do something crazy.

All night he worked. In the morning, the guard opened the door and walked around the building. What he saw made him faint. The computers were all connected together. In addition, there were many wires tangled in between. The guard quickly called the police and the manager. An hour later, the manager understood what had happened. Some one had connected the computers together and scanned the hard drive. Apparently, the thief had not found what he was looking for, and had left the wires as it was. The manager was overjoyed. For months, he had thought of connecting the computers together. The thief had taken the pains to do it. And what was better, it did not cost a penny.

In his hotel, Adam sat in front of his laptop. He was reading the Nuclear Report again. He had gotten the report, but no one had noticed it is loss (since no one knew that it was there). He was wondering what to do next. He could go to Pentagon with the Report but no one would believe him. He could hear a man sing: Do what is necessary, what ever it maybe, for a man?s got to do, what a man?s got to do. Adam was going to do what was necessary.

The police later on tracked Adam to being within three Kilometers of Wal-Mart store. He had used his credit card to purchase a computer, satellite receiver, cables and many more things.

In his room, Adam was doing something he had never done before. He was going to hack into a Satellite. Adam worked day and night, week after week, relentlessly. Sometimes he would not eat for a whole day. Still he kept on working. He connected wires to the ground and started jacking into the Satellite.

A month later, on day, three hundred and forty channels in the US did not receive signal from a Satellite. It was eight at night, when the maximum number of people watched the TV. Even the satellite operators did not know what was going on. They tried all the frequencies, but nothing worked. Then suddenly, they received transmission. However, they received transmission of a sea. People later on identified it as the Sea of Japan. The satellite zoomed into the coast of North Korea. Slowly people could see something coming into focus. The video switched into heat sensing. Now people around the world could see fish moving. However, there was also something stationary. It looked like a ?.

A voice was now speaking to every one on earth. ?People? that missile like structure you see now in your television screens are an Atomic Bomb. It was placed there by US military during 1960. If not removed as soon as possible, it may explode and millions of people may die.? The voice stopped narrating. Moreover, satellite transmission came on again. News Anchors around the world now spoke about what was going on. The anchor on BBC was speaking so fast that the camera operator had to reduce the speed of the camera.

Things quickly came into focus. World leaders discussed what should be done and A US NAVY ship was given entry into the Sea of Japan to diffuse the bomb. People began to gossip. Who was it that was talking? How was he able to control the satellite?

For the next 24 hours, news channels were pouring out information. The next day, newspapers recorded a massive increase in the sales of newspapers (some even had to print extra copies.)

Then the president of US made a statement in which he said that the Atom bomb would have exploded if it were not diffused in time. And it was suspected that the satellite was controlled by a man named CHRISTOPHER ADAM. Police were on the lookout for this man he said.

However, how much ever the police searched, they could not find Adam. They searched his hotel room, but found no trace of him. Dr. Fuller gave information that baffled the police. He said: I think Adam must have traveled in time to the future. The police ridiculed him, but the fact remained that they had not found Adam. Within months, hundreds of awards were conferred on the missing Adam. People from all over the world sent flowers to Adam?s hometown.

Far away, lost in time, two rescue workers were looking for survivors under a collapsed building. There was a major earthquake in which New York City had collapsed and rescue workers from other cities were asked to help. The two workers found a man?s hand sticking out from the wreckage. ?Hey Joey, who?s this?? one of the workers asked. ?Well, these people here say that this man saved them from a falling bricks-??and got killed in the process didn?t he?? asked the other. ?Yes that?s what happened.? They observed the people who were saved. They were two women and three little girls. ?He saved five lives didn?t he?? one of them asked. ?Yes he did. He should be given an award. Well, all that we can do is bury him now.? Therefore, they buried Christopher Adam, not knowing that they were burying the man who saved millions, a man who was forever going to be remembered as Adam the savior.

02 January 2008

The Party At Ten

Frankly speaking, I wrote this about two years ago, and I cant make head or tail out of it. I was trying to emulate Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle....and ended up emulating no body but myself. Please bear with me and read the story...

The New Man walked into Turner?s house. Hector Thompson was twenty-five years old, but anyone who knew would think that he was five years younger. He had joined the New York Police Department as a trainee. Inspector Joseph who was known for his ability to spot new talent picked him. Hector was 6 foot tall and thin. He was amazingly strong. The trademark of Hector was his glasses. He had frameless glasses that slid down his nose and rested on the tip. Every time Hector thought of something interesting, he would push his glasses up his nose. He walked behind Inspector Joseph.

The Turners were hosting a small party. They had invited Colonel Melvin, Johnny, Mr. Williamson, Inspector Joseph, and Mr. Thompson. Colonel Melvin was a hefty military officer who had led a battalion during the Gulf War. Johnny used to work for Mr. Turner but now owned a small shop. Mr. Williamson was a part time author. The party was set to start at 10. It was five now.

Mrs. Turner was busy preparing food for Dinner. Her house cleaner had taken leave and that left Mrs. Turner all alone. Hector offered his help but Mrs. Turner said that she would be able to manage by herself. Hector walked around the living room. He was a quiet kind of man who only talked when needed. He looked at the books stacked in the self and look THE ANIMALS OF NEW YORK, Inspector Joseph was watching TV. Mrs. Turner sensed that the atmosphere was dull and at once launched on of her latest tales. ?You see, Yesterday, I was cleaning the toilet in the first floor when I noticed a face of an animal looking at me from the window?... ?She dramatized the incident and finally ended by saying??. It was a horrible squirrel ?. Mrs. Turner had that rare talent only found in old women (she was 45) of exaggerating a small incident into the story of the century.

Inspector Joseph made a wise decision and pretended to go to the bathroom in order to avoid her stories. Hector however was deeply engrossed in THE ANIMAL... Book so much so that he almost finished reading half of its 120 pages. Mr. Turner walked into the room and greeted hector, and then went to make sure the party decorations were ready.

Half an hour later, Johnny came. He was about 30 and looked shabby. He had not shaven for days and there were stains on his shirts. He greeted everyone and rushed to the kitchen to get a drink. By then Hector had finished reading the book and was walking around the room. Mrs. Turner thought that another story of her was needed to get rid of the apparent boredom in the air and so launched another story-this time of her father. He was a general in the Gulf War of 1991(not only did she think that the guests were bored, she also thought that it was her responsibility to teach them when the gulf war took place). As usual, Joseph made another trip to the toilet, and Hector found another book to read. It was the diary of Mrs. Turner?s granddaughter, Alice. She had written a lot about her family. Hector had doubted whether it was right to read a girl?s personal diary, but all doubts were wiped when he read the tile of the first page: Welcome to all readers.

Alice was good at describing her family. She described her mother as a fat Diana. Her father?s face resembled George Bush when he looks annoyed. Her grandmother was a sweet angel with wrinkles. Perhaps the funniest description was of her father. She described him as a fat version of her pet Kathy.

At 7:30, Mr. Williamson came. A correct description of Mr. Williamson would be one tenth of a sumo wrestler. The skin on his face was hanging. The first impression Hector got of Mr. Williamson was of a loud mouth obese man. He walked in and sat next to Hector. At once Hector knew that Williamson wanted to talk to him. Therefore, he closed Alice?s diary and listened to Williamson. Although at first Hector felt bored, Williamson talked to him about his new book. It was based on Colonel Melvin?s life. Colonel Melvin had fought during the Gulf War under Mrs. Turner?s father. General Carter was a great soldier and had led his battalion into Iraq. However, after the war Colonel Melvin was expected to be promoted but was not. Instead, another soldier had been promoted. However, ten years later, Melvin was made a Colonel. Williamson looked at Hector for ideas. After giving him a few tips Hector got up and went to the toilet. He found that it was locked. ?Joseph, you can come out now.? He said. Joseph came out, looking for any sign of Mrs. Turner. ?Thanks Hector,? he said. A few minutes later, Colonel Melvin came. Now Mrs. Turner felt that it was her responsibility to entertain her guests until the dinner was ready. What better way than to tell another story, she thought? She began telling the story of her father, Carter. She described how he had been a great soldier in the gulf war. Colonel Melvin quickly went to the toilet, but Joseph was quicker. As soon as Hector came out, Joseph sprang into the toilet. Colonel Melvin then hid himself behind a big statue, on which there was an inscription: Hid not from your fears and guilt.

Carter was the officer of Colonel Melvin at the time of the Gulf War. Mrs. Turner spoke with great pride. A few minutes later she ended by saying??, Dad, and Melvin are friends to this day. In fact, Melvin saw Dad yesterday before he went to Florida for his vacation.?

Colonel Melvin fell from behind the statue in surprise. His surprise quickly changed into curiosity. ?How did you know?? he asked. ?Well, we were coming home after shopping when we say Johnny walking near our house. We asked if you were home and he said yes.? ?Well lets all eat.? Mrs. Turner announced. Hector spotted General Carter?s photo. It was a photo of his 70th Birthday celebration, two weeks. In it were his whole family and a few friends. ?Mr. ?? Mrs. Turner called out to Hector. ?Thomson, Hector Thomson.? Hector said. They all sat down to eat. Mrs. Turner had taken up the task of refilling every one?s plates. At first, no one minded her constant refilling. Soon, only Mr. Williamson did not mind. He also dominated the conversation. Johnny was sweating badly. ?Would you like some beef Johnny?? Mrs. Turner asked as she tipped beef into his plate. ?No, No? Johnny cried and pushed away the plate. Everyone stared at Johnny. ?I?I have an allergy? he said. Mrs. Turner looked a bit offended. ?What kind of an allergy, Johnny?? Hector asked. Johnny stumbled and tied to let something but Hector cut in,? I think you can not eat beef because you have skin problem don?t you?? Johnny looked at him gratefully and said, ?Yes, yes?

After dinner, Hector needed to make a personal call. Mrs. Turner offered the phone, but Hector preferred Colonel Melvin?s mobile. Although at first he was surprised, Melvin gave him the mobile, adding that, he had received it as a present. Hector went out and talked for a long time.

Mrs. Turner brought a tray and handed dessert to every one. Hector came in, feeling a bit happy and grim at the same time. He did not give back the mobile, but Melvin did not ask for it. Mrs. Turner sensed boredom again and so launched another story of her. However, this time, Hector interrupted her. ?I will tell you a story of mine. Once there was a man. He was a really famous and respected man. Under him many people worked. HE was not, however friendly with another man, named Y. The man, named X, did not promote Y, because he did not like him. Instead, X insulted Y. However, no one knew of this. Therefore, y had to pretend to like him. Many years later, Y got tired of X, and thought of taking his revenge on him. He studied X?s movements and one night killed him.? When Hector stopped narrating, there was complete silence in the room. In any other occasion Mrs. Turner would have launched one of her stories but now she was speechless.? Is this a true story?? she asked. Hector smiled.? Then you see no one looked for X, because everyone thought X had gone away somewhere. And Y sat happily. In fact he is sitting right here amidst us.

Inspector Joseph seemed to have been prepared for this, and had his gun pulled out. Mrs. Turner ignored the presence of the gun and asked Hector, ?Who is it, please tell us?. Hector surveyed the room. Mr. and Mrs. Tuner, Johnny, Mr. Williamson, and Colonel Melvin were all looking at him. Hector quietly said, ?Colonel Melvin killed him.? There were loud gasps, and Colonel Melvin sprang up, anger in his eyes. As a precaution, Inspector Joseph pulled out his gun and pointed it towards Melvin. ?Sit down Melvin? he said. ?You must be joking!? Melvin said. ?No I am not, Melvin.? Hector said.

?It all started when I read the book of animals and in it read that Squirrels are not found in Eastern USA, due to the climatic conditions there. However, Mrs. Turner said that she had seen a squirrel. Now I thought that there were three possibilities. Firstly, Mrs. Turner may have lied in order to entertain us, secondly she may have been mistaken, and thirdly it may have been true. But then I noticed that Mrs. Turner wore thick glasses, and I can tell you quiet definitely that any one who wears such thick glasses will not be able to see things a meter away.? Hector paused and pushed his glasses up.

?Then I began to read the newspaper, and in it was a list of all the flights out of New York. And believe it or not, there were no flights to Florida!?. ?But then how did Dad go?? Mrs. Turner asked. Hector pitied women who talked too much. Such women never listened carefully. Hector ignored her question. ?Then I read Alice?s diary, and in it she described Mr. Carter as having a fat face of her pet Kathy. Now tell me Mrs. Turner, didn?t your grand daughter have a pet squirrel when she lived in Chicago?? For a minute, Mrs. Turner was amazed by Hector?s sharp senses. ?Yes, yes? she said. Hector smiled. ?Now I when I begin to suspect something. To my help comes the wonderful Mr. Williamson. He tells me every thing about Melvin, because he is writing a book on him. I understand that Melvin was denied promotion when he was working under Carter. Naturally, any one would get angry. And Melvin was an amazing soldier too.?

Melvin burst out,? I would have been a general by now if it wasn?t for that rat.? Hector continued,? I knew that there was a chance of Melvin killing Carter. However, I needed evidence. That is when Mrs. Turner tells me about Melvin?s frequent visits. I begin to suspect something. But I am distracted by Johnny.? Johnny looked up, startled. ?I didn?t do anything.? ?But you were shaking as thought you had done something. I begin to think, and just then, I hear that Johnny was seen walking by the Turners house. I put one and one together. During dinner, Johnny proves that he is having skin infection. No wonder he drank so much milk. Now, if you will all follow me? Hector stood up and proceeded upstairs.

In the upstairs bathroom, he drew a knife and opened the window. He cut something and moments later, there was a dull thud. Mrs. Turner shrieked and ran downstairs, praying it was not her father. ?Colonel Melvin, I hereby arrest you for the murder of?? Inspector Joseph said as he pulled out his handcuffs.

Hector took Johnny to as side and inserted something into his pocket. ?What is-?Johnny asked. ?Shhh, it is an address of a rehabilitation centre doctor I know. Go there first thing in the morning. Hope you recover soon.? Then he left.

?Well, Hector, I must say that I am impressed. I recruit you and you already solve your first case.? Joseph said as they drove back to their flat. Hector pushed up his glasses.? Well, I thought I could warm up a little.?

They laughed loudly. They had no idea what cases were to come their way.

01 January 2008

Best Posts of 2008

Here are the best posts of 2008, as chosen by the readers of this blog:

#8: What's Wrong With My Hello?

#7: Once Upon A Time, When I Was Cute

#6: Me And My Decisions

#5: What's Up With Your Hairstyle

#4: Think Of Ajay

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The Victory Bridge

This story brings a smile to my face, not because of how it was written, instead, why? I got the inspiration for this story during my English examination (CBSE Board Exam). There was a picture of a road, clogged with traffic. I was supposed to write something about traffic problems. Instead, i picturised this story.....

Even if the story isnt great...i got 95% in that examination!

Fog descended on the bridge, as dozens of cars patiently waited to get out of Victory Bridge. It was with an amazing sense of civic responsibility and peace that the cars moved, inching forward, and the sound of horns almost silent.

Inspector Stallomiere switched on his walkie talkie. ?Alright, the convoy is on Victory Bridge. I repeat it is on Victory Bridge. Remember, everyone keeps to their positions.?
He looked at the innumerable number of screens in front of him, and smiled. There were several cameras all over town, except on the bridge of course. It would be impossible to get a camera signal from a bridge so high.

The Victory Bridge was one of the best bridges in the world. Besides being the tallest one, it was also one of the most longest. 1000 cars could be placed on the bridge at the same time without any problem.

In almost the centre of the bridge was a convoy. There were two unmarked police cars in the front, followed by two limousines, four Toyota cars and closed by two unmarked police cars again. This was the important convoy that Inspector Stallomiere was entrusted with. His job was simple. Get the convoy into its location at the right time without any trouble,

As the two police cars in the front inched forward, a GMC Suburban slowed down. Not that it was moving fast, but the driver looked into the rear mirror and spoke into a secure radio connection. ?Convoy in position. Request Action 1?

The command came back. ?Roger that.?

The Suburban turned off its ignition. Thirty seconds later, the two police cars realized there was a problem. ?Hey mate, get moving will you?? One of the police officers cried.

The man in the Suburban came out, and tried to check the tires. ?I think I have four flat tires,? he lied.

The officers cursed and reported it to the Inspector. ?Who cares, drive on.? Came the reply,

?Sir, but we will have to break formation.?

The formation was that in the three lane road, the two police cars left the middle lane free. This was in case of an emergency. The middle lane could be used for escape.

The Inspector looked at his watch. There was just twenty minutes left. They had to move.

?Break formation!? he cried.

As the traffic moved along, the GMC Suburban owner tried to get his tires in order. The two police cars squeezed into the two lanes besides the car. The driver of the GMC smiled and spoke into the walkie talkie. ?Action 1 complete!?

?Roger. Start Action 2?

Meanwhile, the two limousines behind the police cars realized that the formation was broken. Not that it mattered to them. The men inside were politicians, not policemen. They were engrossed in a serious debate. Within twenty minutes, a city debate would start. The lives of these men were in Inspector Stallomiere?s hands.

The two police cars inched past the Suburban. ?Begin Action 2?

As though out of nowhere, six newspaper vendors appeared. Three of them, stood behind the two police cars. Two of the vendors had newspaper stacks. They took out spray cans from it, and began spraying the rear windows of the unmarked cars. The third man made sure that the police men were distracted. Five minutes later, the frozen air particles in the can, made sure that the rear windows of both the police cars were filled with layers of fog.

?Action 2 complete!?

Inspector Stallomiere was feeling restless. He knew that he had the plan under control. The route of the convoy wouldn?t be revealed to anyone. Only after the convoy was back in the city, would the route be revealed. Besides, the Inspector was worried about the threats that were received.

The newspaper vendors heard the command. They moved forward. As two of them reached the limousines, one of them accidentally hit the other. The stack of newspapers fell to the ground. As both men stooped to get the papers, they attached few bugs onto the limousines. ?Action 3 a success!?

Now, things began to get hazy. The fog was still thick. The limousine drivers felt restless that the traffic wasn?t moving. The six vendors got into their positions. Two men stood near the limousines, while the rest covered the Toyota cars. They stood in their positions, looking nervous and still?

?Hey, look at those guys,? the two police officers in the rear Police car said to their partner car. ?They?ve been standing like that for ages. I wonder why??

Two seconds later, as a huge cement mixing truck came roaring behind them, they knew the answer?

Inspector Stallomiere received the news twenty minutes later. Someone tipped him that the convoy had been attacked.
As he rushed to the bridge, the Inspector?s heart was pounding. He looked at the traffic on the bridge, and was shocked?

There was a large cement mixer, crashed into two police cars. The police men were unconscious on the road. As he walked up to them, the Inspector realized that it was extremely foggy. He couldn?t see what ten meters in front of him was. AS he ordered the paramedics to come, he saw the side rails of the bridge.

There were three columns of rail, broken off, leaving a huge gap in the side of the bridge. Half a dozen cars could go through at the same time. ?Oh my god!? he cried.

The police were called, along with the Coast Guards, after three cars were found bobbing in the river below.

?What happened?? An angry commissioner asked the Inspector. ?Sir we still aren?t sure, but I think the convoy was plunged into the sea by the kidnappers.?

?What! But why??

?I don?t know sir.?

The Coast Guards arrived, in all their might, to recover the cars. Half an hour later, they reported. ?Sir, these are brand new cars. Perhaps just from the showrooms. No one was found inside.?

The Inspector was stunned. ?No bodies??

?Nope. But we did find some anchors at the bottom of the sea?wonder where they came from??

The Inspector walked back onto the bridge, his mind racing with thoughts. He knew what had happened. The cars were rammed over the bridge, and then dumped into the sea. But then why was there no trace of the original cars?

As he stood near the rails, a thought hit him. The rails had a dark red color glow, as though? ?Oh God!? The Inspector cried.

?Coast Guard, I want a rapid routine check on all ships that passed under the bridge!? ?Yes sir?.but its take three minutes!?

As the Coast Guards checked their list, they came across a name. ?The Vanisher?. ?Hey, which is this ship?? The Head Guard asked. The computer files were checked.

A man in a black mask smiled as he stood onto top of his ship. It had been extremely easy, by his standards. The muffled cries of his captured politicians could be heard behind him.
?Sir, I think there was a problem!?

?What is it?? The Inspector cried. ?Well sir, you remember the time when you requested full Coast Guard support? Well that was the time when a ship, a cargo ship, was passing by. We would have checked it...but you called us??

The Inspector closed his eyes. His phone rang again. It was the chemical analyst. ?Well, you are right, Inspector. The rails on the bridge were broken using thermite explosives. Doesn?t cause sound. But gives off a lot of white smoke. Would have to be a lot of explosives, though. Probably a jeep full of it!?

The man on top of the ship smiled. The GMC Suburban was filled with thermite explosives. It was all well planned. The vendors properly placed the electronic signal jammers under the limousines. Within seconds, all electronic systems, including alarm and locking systems would be jammed. Then, there were the four unarmed Toyota cars. They were handled easily by the vendors. It was the two police cars at the back which created problem. Though nothing that a cement mixer couldn?t fix.

After that wonderful crash, the policemen in the front were bound to be alerted. But, yet again, the ingenious composition chloroform injected into their car?s air-conditioning system?there wasn?t a glitch.

?Commissioner, I am sorry to say that the targets have been kidnapped.?


?Well, there was an ambush on the bridge. They were overpowered.?

?On the bridge? But I thought we had officers guarding the exits of the bridge! How could they escape??

The Inspector waited before breaking the news. He was sure that the Commissioner wouldn?t like it?

Twenty five minutes ago, a cargo ship, with its empty containers moved under the bridge. Just then, the driver, paid a hefty sum for stopping the ship, pulled the brakes, and jumped off the ship. Ten seconds later, the thermite explosives blew off the rails. After that, the kidnappers jumped into the cargo ship and used the iron ropes. Within three minutes, all six cars were pulled into the ship, with the help of a ramp. Then, the scene was checked for one last time.

After that, with politicians and businessmen worth millions in ransom money, ?The Vanisher? vanished into the thick fog?

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