Monday 20 May 2024

Four Micro-Fiction (Drabble) by Snigdha Agrawal

 



Mistaken Identity 


Lying on the lower berth of the sleeper coach, I settled down to read Stephen King's "If It Bleeds", downloaded on my Kindle. The passenger on the upper berth was asleep. His reading light was switched off, and a blanket was pulled over his head. The ticket checker knocked on the glass sliding door, before entering and asked for my ticket. Mechanically he punched the ticket and returned the stub to me. He didn't check the upper berth passenger's ticket, probably already verified when the passenger had boarded. I must have dozed off with the train's swaying motion. The dampness in my pants made me sit up. Had I peed in my sleep? Impossible! How then did my pants get wet? A puzzling thought. Dismissing the wetness, I went back to sleep, setting a wake-up alarm on my mobile, thirty minutes before arrival schedule at my station. That would still allow three hours of uninterrupted sleep time. My co-passenger was lying in the same position as noticed when boarding the train. Suddenly a cacophony of voices reached my ears. I woke up with a start. The cabin was filled with light and men in uniform, guns tucked in their side pockets. The wetness had spread. They handcuffed me reading out the Miranda rights in a staccato voice. Just that! And pulled me out of the cabin. The passenger on the upper berth had not stirred in all the commotion in the cabin. The cops had not noticed the blood dripping down from the upper berth. 



Friendly banter 


Audrey ...did you see the teen with his lips pressed to the window pane, blowing a kiss? Adrian... come on, he's just a kid, high on hormones, exploring, practising for the prom night. Audrey...I get it. But how can you discount the old man with a walking stick, sneaking like a thief, to grab my rear? Not once, but twice, when the supervisor's back was turned. Utterly shameless! Adrian...now...now... don't blow your fuse. Poor guy hasn't in a long while felt a woman's contours. That was his way of remembering his youth. Once the village hero. Audrey...I'm done, being displayed, touched, and fondled. Stepping down from the podium is my resolution. Tonight, please break my arms and legs. I would then be trashed. You would be doing me a great favour. I wonder if the real world is better or worse! Adrian...Gosh! you are so naive. Just you step out into the real world and you would forthwith change your mind. Ours is far better, held captive, surrounded by glass. They stood frozen! Mannequins behind glass partitions.



Nostalgia 


She wakes up greeted by silence after a long yawning day. When was the last time she had fixed herself breakfast? Ages. Gets it all wrong when starting the coffee machine. Obviously. Unused since he left. More than a decade. Chipped, stained coffee mugs, with their faces, upturned behind glass panes, have stories to tell. The time when they had run out of coffee pods and a fierce argument followed. Blame game.

...You should have checked ...You should have checked

Slipping into his coat, he had sprinted across the street to Starbucks, right opposite their home. She had rinsed the cups with mug shots of their faces taken on their wedding day. HERs with the lace veil over her face. HIS with his hair slicked back, looking the picture-perfect groom. Most used. Coffee always catalysing love.

The screeching of the ambulance siren had her jump out of her skin, knocking the cups with her elbow. He was lying in a pool of blood and spilt coffee. Gone. Knocked down by a speeding RV. Thereafter, she had to drag herself out of bed. Coffee avoidance trick.



Control freak

 

Listen.

Listening.

No, you're not.

What makes you think so?

You're not looking at me.

Come on, I listen with my ears not with my eyes.

OK...repeat what I just said.

Huh! Didn't you just say the price of tomatoes had doubled in the last fortnight?

See, you were not paying attention. I said potatoes, not tomatoes.

Whatever... it's all the same. Cribbing about inflation. As though we can do anything?

That's not the point. I've noticed your indifference towards me.

Gosh! You take the cake. Your mind has not grown beyond the embryonic stage. 

So used, to being listened all your life, you have forgotten to listen.





Snigdha Agrawal (nee Banerjee), has an MBA in Marketing and Corporate work experience of over two decades. She enjoys writing all genres of poetry, prose, short stories, and travel diaries. Educated in Loreto Institutions (run by the Irish Nuns), and brought up in a cosmopolitan environment, she has learned the best of the East and West. She is a published author of four books, apart from her submissions being regularly featured in anthologies and online journals, published from India and overseas. A septuagenarian, her passion for writing and travelling continues unabated.

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