Short Story: Ten Minutes

This short fiction is part of the marathon blogging challenge that I am a part of. Though I know that I have been off for a week, but I am back and back with lots. The road trip diaries shall be live by tomorrow and the movie reviews of The Hobbit, The Last Act and Hotel Transylvania are also coming in. Till then, read on and shred it to pieces. The underlined part is the common start given to the group. Cheers! And Helloww!!

********

I ran. Fast. Out of breath. Lungs bursting. Legs hitting the earth. I thudded up the path, around the corner, right up the stairs and reached the door. I flung it open and picked up the phone. It must have been a total of one missed call and six rings on the second, fifteen steps on the staircase leading to the room on the first floor, a city in summer and a temperature of 42 degrees, and an overweight person head over heels in love to achieve that exact state of affairs. My younger brother (bro, as he prefers) still could not get used to it. A panting, gasping me on the first floor of our duplex house. He had started calling the stairs “The Milkha Way”. Well, bros can be like that.

We had never been apart despite the age differences. We weren’t very similar either. In more ways than one can imagine. For instance, I was slim once upon a time. And he is slim at this very moment. I am overweight this moment of time, and he was obese once upon a time. And at least in my case, the obesity phenomenon had happened in the last three months that I had been in India (I am awesome at defending myself, by the way and he is not!). He is funny, I am bore. He is ubercool, and I am traditionally awkward. He has hobbies, and I have work. Anyway, I digress. He usually doesn’t.

I had picked the call (before the seventh ring, if you remember), and a tiny hello came out between gasps of breath. Or, gaps of breath as bro would refer to them later. It wasn’t the call I was expecting. The call lasted about 90 seconds. My role on the call was limited. I had to do the cellphone conversation equivalent of nodding my head. And so vigorously that the other person could feel it all the way from here. The alternate was to talk like my grandma. She always felt that a long distance call meant that you had to scream louder, just in case the voice does not reach the village std booth from where my chachaji must have been calling. The longer the distance, the louder she would talk. I chose nodding vigorously. Especially since I had nothing to say. For once, in the last six years, I had nothing to say.

I disconnected the call, and kept looking down for I don’t know how long, but bro could sense it. His typical response at these moments is the Budweiser Wazzapppppp, with me joining in chorus of course. “‘vrythin ok bro?”, is all he said.
“I need to use the laptop.”
“C’mon man. Intense warfare happening. Can you give me one more hour?”
“Now”
“You suck man!”
“…”
“‘aight. I get it bro. Gimme a min”.
“And just leave me alone for ten minutes, ok?”
“Ya. Whatever man!”

Those were the longest ten minutes of my life. I kept staring at the screen. I didn’t want to open the mail. But I knew I had to do it. Your past always catches up with you. For once, I looked at every key of the keyboard as I typed my password. It seemed to take longer than usual to open. And then it did not. “You have exhausted your free usage. Click here to add more to your data plan or continue browsing at 256kbps.” The message seemed like a sign from the heavens at that point. I smiled. A dry smile, if someone else were noticing me. And I continued with the paleontological era speed of 256kbps.
All I could think of as I typed my password again were the last things I had heard on the call – I need to hear back from you in the next ten minutes. Or… ”

I opened the email. I clicked open the dreaded attachment. Seven years of research and a decade of planning had come to naught.  I had to accept the revised funding terms within the next 10 minutes, or it would be assumed that I am not interested in continuing with this alternate arrangement.

I kept staring at the screen with such disbelief that my eyes could have popped and fallen into the next person’s glass of Martini. Assuming I was in a bar. But I was not. The mail was a very standard mail that everyone has read. More often than they realise. Or, at least more often than any other average email. I carefully checked the sender’s email id to ensure that the mail was from the highest authority in the field of astrophysics. These alternate sponsors were ready to offer me about 150 million dollars. It was only the last line that caught me with my pants down.

I quietly picked up the phone and dialled a different number. The person did not pick the call, as expected. I cursed under my breath. And typed a short response. However, I changed the replying email id to another alias. Coincidentally, it was the same as the sender’s.

Oh. And the last line of the mail was – “BAZINGA!”

 

*Inspired by the millions of spam mails offering more than a hundred million dollars on behalf of the Nigerian president.

* Bazinga –  made famous by Sheldon Cooper in the TV Sitcom – The Big Bang Theory.

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About Amit
Conventional, boring, believer, poet, Shayar (to be precise), lover of music, musical instruments, and all that can be called music (theoretically or metaphorically), jack of all master of none, more of a reader less of a writer, arbit philosopher, foolish debater.. and many more such things.. like so many people!

2 Responses to Short Story: Ten Minutes

  1. Simran says:

    LOL!! The end just made it so hilarious!! Bazinga to you too 🙂

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