M. S.

Aladdin’s Lamp

Absolving himself in Himalayan water, the salesman with a crick in his neck enters another corridor of endless knock-knock jokes in search of a punchline that pays rent. He wades through destiny streaming from piss-dank corners, first unveiled by his grandmother’s spittoon, the clink of the cover that never fails to jar him from his world of make-believe. All hail Aladdin’s lamp, spit-shined silver, yesteryear’s symbol of style and money. All hail warm tonic of phlegmatic bowels crimson and grey. Grazes knuckles, seeps through flesh and rick-rickety joints that survived flood and stampede. He, just another millennial who awaits instant glory, the first among his peers with his hand pressed between velvet thighs, his grandmother’s throat in his ears, astonished to find no digested chunks of betel leaves under his nails. He, just another millennial with his breast pocket an eager trill of a popular ballad adulterated with Punjabi rap and his sweat-drenched forehead a constant throb of wife-centric arguments past and future, her third eye the conjuror of a boy with a cricket bat twice his size that guffaws an insult to complete today’s emasculation. All hail city-worn and crow-shit speckled grandma’s sidekick. She, from a time when neighbours commingled to exchange recipes of the fluffiest rice cakes and the heartiest stews and children leaned from verandas that bloomed with roses and bougainvillea to greet passers-by with a smile, now prays for graveyard bliss while he, just another millennial, counts corpses.

My morning was infested by a rain-induced gloom

Nowhere Land has a theme for every mood. If you press pause long enough you can hear the reaper sharpening his scythe. Too soon, grey clouds churn the creamy sky and you wonder about the crow in your ears laughing at you or with others. The serpent tattoo on your left breast is on stealth mode and the rectal burn, the only remainder of last night’s condom-less game of charades. The taxi flips you off and the kebab doesn’t taste as funny as you imagined. You are an origami swan, complex and exhausting. Your creases smell of fumes, spices and the aftermath of birth. Except that the daddy in this movie wears corduroy pants and a wife-beater, stalking you until you feel a tail curling around your neck.

M. S. writes flash fiction and poetry. Her work has been published in online literary journals and magazines. Read her latest in detritus.

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