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The Sea-Snake #1.5

The Sea-Snake

A serial

Chapter One Point Five or The Mezzanine

<Temporarily suspending in time the events previously mentioned>

Same day, Madras of 1940

 

 

Drops of sweat fell to the ground silently as Detective Inspector Second Class Murugan B.A drank his coffee in the middle of the Officer’s Mess, Teynampet Police Station.

A picture of English Royalty hung on one side of him and a picture of an English politician on the opposing wall; he knew the politician’s name and he said that to himself. No reason.

The time was when the sun would reach a spot in the universe that is directly above the Officer’s mess.  The shortage of staff in the mess was not much noted as the shortage of air, while a man who should have retired thirty years ago dipped his trembling hands in brown water as he tried to wash the coffee remnants out of the white porcelain cups. His name was Javed something, even this the Detective Inspector Murugan knew.

Unaffected by the noise made by the washing of coffee cups, Murugan walked out of the mess, unconsciously checking and rechecking the weapon in his holster. A sentry saluted him as he walked past, which Murugan duly ignored.  He could afford it.

<A Coffee before a killing- interlude>

Some days ago, Murugan was having coffee with a man of questionable character, but with a scientific bent on crime.

“The European lady can’t sleep without it” he said “She needs some more”

“Which European?” Murugan asked.

“Look Inspector, I cannot give away my clients, it is only because I guarantee them absolute secrecy…”

“Look! I cannot be seen talking with you, I am an officer”

“Second class, that’s the highest you’ll get. They don’t promote Indians unless you are willing to wipe the shit off British shoes”

“This isn’t about where my loyalties lie” Murugan tired to reason, but this time a little softer than before, his eyes turning vulnerable.

The opposing man who now seemed to Murugan to posses every quality of the devil said, “yes I know where your loyalties lie” punning correctly.

Murugan did things with his hands that he had never done before, locked them on the sides of his forehead and clenched his teeth in shame.

“I’ll take that as a yes, same time next week, and usual place” the man left, sliding between the gap that the wooden table could offer the chair. Like a snake.

<End of interlude>

The Classic still reserved the balcony, that mezzanine floor was the standing memory of the wall that divided the city into the colonials and the brown masses who thronged below. Exceptions of course could be made in case.

The Monday morning show brought no crowds, Murugan walked into the otherwise empty balcony, showing “Of Mice and Men”. Detective Inspector Murugan had not seen it, he had no intention of seeing it. He would wait, saying thus to himself he closed his eyes.

Sometime had passed till the devious bald man had appeared, but no one could say exactly when this small man had taken the seat behind Murugan and hissed into his ear, “Have you got it?”

“Yes” Murugan said, tapping lightly on the gun that clung to his right leg and smiled in the darkness.

“You are professional as I was told, you would be” Murugan tried to turn and look behind when he was advised quite strictly by the man.

“Leave the package on the seat next to you, and walk without looking back; we shall part as friends and without bloodshed” the man said, it seemed that he had practised this dialog a hundred times.

“This is it” Murugan thought to himself, this is the moment between me and freedom from all this.  Having placed the token package as instructed, the inspector deftly took out the covered pistol from its holster thus terminally alarming his adversary.

“This, inspector is a big mistake; you know I’m not the only one who knows and i don’t like guns…they are noisy”

“Who else knows?” Murugan now pointing directly to the head

“Who else knows?” again, this time louder.

“Killing me would not serve any purpose…killing me”

“This land would be subtracted of one dirty middle-level pimp, now tell me who else knows”

“You know Murugan, this is actually what I did expect, after all the talk of what is coming… i hope to die before…you know”

“You do realise that I do have a lot of time” the inspector interjected “and I will not hesitate in killing a man such as yourself”

“tch.. then do it, you will not get any name from me, but ….”

Muffled BAM!

Murugan looked around to see if anybody had been alerted by the noise, but blood spurted out like ants coming out of a mechanically disturbed anthill.

Death instantly swooped from above and claimed the bald devious man with deadly secrets, his name would soon be known. He did not carry a gun.

Satisfied,Murugan walked away briskly not noticing the pamphlet that was in the pocket of the man whom he had just killed.

<Meanwhile somewhere on Marina Beach>

Something as large as three medium sized fishing boats joint together, washed ashore. So breathtaking was the sight, the people who had gathered there instinctively started to calculate its dimensions.

“It could eat all my goats back in Chingleput” said one concerned

“And mine too” said another

“Mine too, but I have none” said a steely voice that pierced through the concentrated gathering of anxious people who had stayed behind.

Three in the crowd gave way and Malayappan, the snake charmer with a mustache as swirly as the creatures he tames walked and spoke thus

“Where have you been all these years, my friend?  I’ve been waiting for you for a long long time”

The thing that had just reached the shores of Madras was so tired that it quietly ignored the attention it was getting, it was used to being alone in the sea bed that it never realised it was the last one of its kind. It slept.

Meanwhile Malayappan had announced to the world that ‘it’ was actually a ‘he’ and was duly named Rajan.

“Oh! Now, I’m called Rajan” thought Rajan the sea-snake and closed its eyes dreaming of the desolate sea bed.

 

     <Meanwhile in a press not far away The Madras Mail had just decided to the print the story of a murdered Chemistry professor from Madras University on the third page as they could not get a good picture of Silver Star Bama.>

 

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The Sea-Snake #1

The Sea-Snake

A serial

 

Author’s note on the writing

I would consider myself a very poor scribe, if these stories are not read far and wide in this world; for it is the failure of the writer and not the subject.

Future generations who by sheer bad luck come across this document will wonder if such  a story ever happened, but that is only because I believe that future generations will not be as smart as us (the present) as how we are the dumber miniatures of our ancestors.

Good luck to you all

Publisher’s note on the publishing of this document

I used to run a small press usually used for publishing marriage invitations on yellow slim cardboards, it is obvious that I was forced to publish this dreary account of events, sometimes I feel i have undergone much physical torture and mental agony while the publishing of this document and I am quite happy to let you (the reader) know that your troubles will be miniscule when compared to mine.

This is my monster.

Go ahead read it.

Origins of an unknown enemy (OR) Chapter One

<1940 Madras, the time when dogs sleep and man is awake>

“For any good story, there must a good villain” the teacher said to the class of three people who sat huddled in a rather large class room.

The smartest of the three could not however speak, deprived of his voice; he wrote down “BULLSHIT” in the corner of the university supplied stationary.

Only later did he realised that this was indeed university supplied stationary and crossed it out with irritation, the pencil lines criss-crossing the paper, generating highly unnatural audio waves for an unusually empty class room.

However, him being the smartest student much of this was tackled by the teacher with a slight raise of eyebrow.

As with every story that begins with three characters and finally funnels down to two; the third of the boys will he happily ignored for now.

 <Inquisitive readers can avail themselves with an extended back story of the third character as time goes by; for now let us say he gets married and becomes rich>

Now that you have removed the third student from mind your minds, let us then proceed to the second student.

<Actually wait; let’s stick to the smart first kid for now>

Small as he might be in age, his mental faculty had been steadily climbing day after day and that is why perhaps he is in this class when the rest of the city had gathered at the beach awaiting a spectacle.

 

<Madras 1940, time concurrent to the above setting>

The newspaper men had never seen such a gathering at the beach in all their small time on earth and it was quite odd as to how a rumour had spread across thousands without their help.

“Do you really think this Raja Naagam is big as they say it is?” one innocent man was heard saying, while the man next to him did not answer; the woman slightly away but still at hearing distance shouted.

“This is exactly what my grandmother said, look for the big snake on the beach and the world will end in 14 days after that”

An English Botanist who was actually an Australian burglar in disguise was also a witness to this conversation, and he saw that time was fit for him to join in, and thus he spoke his first lines in the story.

“My names is James; and I collect folklore”

The woman who appeared to have a speaking knowledge of English nodded at James, as though she had known him before, this irritated James.

“The myth of the sea-snake has been around for a century now” said another elderly man.

As these were great times, people were more vocal about their thoughts; the crowd spitting out opinions randomly and hurting everyone except themselves in the process. Another man with a false beard and half knowledge, who wore dark glasses finally, took to a raised platform; where later a statue of a great leader would occupy.

“I am the official representative of the Office of Disbelief, I assure you there is no humungous snake that is going to wash over the Marina today; please do not waste your time and I request you to get back to your duties, even going by your beliefs it is not safe to be here when a monstrous snake attacks a city, please leave” The bearded man shouted into a megaphone, considerably reducing the enthusiasm across the spectrum of people who had gathered.

“This is the last warning, I cannot shout anymore; if you do not heed we have no other option but to run you down either by horses or let the dogs out on you; both these animals are being readied as we speak”

That however was the catch, nobody wanted to be chased by dogs, and the crowd turned around and started to leave. That was the moment when fantasy had ceased and reality had begun.

It was just at that moment, the waters of the sea gently parted.

Not far away, in the hallowed classroom the boy who could not speak wrote in the corner of a page, “It is here”

End of Chapter One <or so we think>