When I stopped rowing the boat to catch my breath, Salvador lunged towards me, grabbed the oars and threw them into the sea.
“Congratulations,” I said. “We’re now adrift.”
“Stop moaning, Luis. Do I mind if we lack means of propulsion? No. And look behind you at René. Is he troubled? Definitely not.”
I glanced at René.
“He’s not bothered because he’s sleeping and dreaming, as usual,” I said. “As for you, Salvador, you’ve deprived the boat of its oars because you’re frustrated. Your latest artistic effort has yet to sell, so you’ve reverted to your characteristic puerility.”
Salvador stuck his tongue out at me and stared at the clouds.
“I discarded the oars, Luis, to create a stimulating situation. For weeks, you’ve been grousing about how your ideas for your next film are dull and repetitive. You need something to galvanise you.”
“Does this help to ‘galvanise’ me?” I asked, gesturing at the two oars floating away.
Stan stood motionless, the ruled sheet of paper trembled in his hand. A grip, cold as ice clutched him, just where his heart was meant to be. He sighed.
Their marriage had come to such an end that when he walked in through the door, he hadn’t even noticed that she was gone. It was the letter, leaning next to the toaster oven when he went in search of dinner, which spelled out the facts.
I’ve tried to tell you, but you were always too busy.
On first reading, the line welled in him with anger. When, just when did she try? He ransacked his mind. She always wanted too many things. Like the holiday she was always proposing. Just the two of them. Those ridiculously expensive cooking lessons. Just the two of them. She sulked for a week, wouldn’t even look at him, when he refused her. Then she was besotted with the whim that led to joining a book club since he always said he wished he had more time to read. Just the two of them. She also had silly notions, like volunteering together at the shelter, since his hectic schedule wouldn’t allow time to have a cat or a dog. Just the two of them.Continue reading “Just the two of us”
Prof. James Pickett, a prominent theoretical physicist at the Sorbonne University, Paris, was following the live e-announcement of the first photograph of a black hole (the holy grail of the field) in a distant galaxy. As the first picture began to appear on his computer-screen, he adjusted all the control buttons (magnification, brightness, and orientation) to feel as close as he could be to the real thing. The background announcer explained how in the illuminated lower portion, the forceful gravity was bending light to enter into the central death-zone of total darkness in the middle, from where nothing could escape. What amazed him most was the intergalactic entanglement of light and darkness. Prof. Pickett felt a shiver flowing down his spine.
Later in the month, Prof. Pickett flew to Mumbai, India to deliver an invited lecture at the country’s prestigious atomic research institution BARC. His hosts arranged for him to stay in one of the prominent hotels of the city, frequented by foreigners, popular movie stars, and cricket players. However, this multi-religious and multi-ethnic, but secular country had been on an emergency alert, due to a recent border-confrontation with its religious neighbor and subsequent fear of any extremist group’s infiltration. Continue reading “The Black Hole”
“I’ve had enough, Jack.” Jill labored to speak through panting, short breaths. “I’ve climbed this hill for the last time.”
“Now Jill, you’ve never complained before. What’s the matter?”
Jill wiped the rivulets of perspiration from her reddening cheeks. “I’m tired of fetching water from that well for Mother Goose misfits.”
“Darlin’,” Jack stopped to catch his breath, “they’ve been your friends for decades.”
“Some friends; wish I had a dollar for every time I climbed this hill, lowered my bucket into that well and carried it back down again just to satisfy Little Miss Prissy Muffet’s thirst. She does nothing but sit on her tuffet all day eating her curds and whey. Have you noticed the spread on her…?” Continue reading “Aging Rhymers”