FLASH FICTION FOR THE PURPOSEFUL PRACTITIONER- 2017: WEEK #30
Hosted at https://flashfictionforthepracticalpractitioner.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/flash-fiction-for-the-purposeful-practitioner-2017-week-30/
CAT’S OUT OF THE BAG?
By Neel Anil Panicker
Ali struck out the back of his palm and squatted a mosquito that had settled on his bare legs.
The standard issue prison uniforms were too short for his six foot tall frame. The half length cotton trousers barely reached below his knees. This coupled with a half sleeved collarless shirt made his body a healthy hunting ground for a swarm of blood sucking mosquitoes who lorded over the hapless prison inmates and attacked with a sadistic delight only seen in hardened criminals. It was ironical to see mere flies practicing their deadly skills on hardened prisoners who in the outside world were capable of putting the fear of the devil in the minds of fellow human beings.
Al, the master criminal was slowly getting to learn that the nuts and bolts of prison life were quite different from the world that he came from.
A slight vibration tingled his bones under the trouser pockets.
Ali looked around at his prison mate. He was lost to sleep.
He looked past his cell gate into the long corridor that loomed ahead. It was pitch dark. Not a soul in sight. He strained his ears against the iron bars. Not a single sound either.
It was two hours past midnight. Still a few hours before the change of shift.
The inmates, the guards…everyone was in sleep mode.
Stealthily, he retreated to his corner space and crouching against the wall, retrieved the phone from his inner pocket and then pressed the green button.
The phone came alive in an instant.
“How are you, Ali Bhai?” It was Moosa’s, the man with the whisky scarred voice.
Only Moosa addressed him as Ali Bhai. For all others he was simply Al.
Moosa’s was the first and only voice he had heard from among the gang members ever since his incarceration.
‘You know me, Moosa Bhai. I am an action guy. Can’t sit alone for long.
This jail thing is so boring.’
“Have patience, bhai. It’s just a matter of time.”
A matter of time, bullshit. Today is my fifteenth night in this God forsaken place. The maximum I have ever been in prison.
As if reading his thoughts Moosa answered, “I know, dear. Usually we are out by a week.”
‘Moosa, I’m losing it. I feel trapped here.’
“Ali Bhai, I feel for you. I wish you were outside; that we were together, zipping off to the countryside__chatting, binging on movies, gorging on aloo paranthas, gulping whisky…VAT 69, you know …
The thought of what he was missing made downed Al’s moods further.
‘I wish the same, Moosa Bhai. I wish I were outside. I wish I were with Liza.’
The phone went silent for a second.
All Al could hear was the uneven, slow snoring sound of his fellow inmate.
“Are you alone there, Ali? Is there anyone around?”
‘I am alone. You can speak. What’s the matter, bhai?’
“I’m hearing something. There are rumours…whispers actually.”
Al pressed his ears to the phone.
‘About what? About who?’
“About You. About you and Liza.”
‘What exactly did you hear?’
“Can’t really say. Just a hunch.”
‘Just what’s it, Moosa? Spit it out.’
“Just a conversation. Over the phone. Yesterday…while entering the den…”
The den? Ali knew he was referring to Afzal Bhai, their boss’ private room, the one inside which his boss confabulated with only his very trusted men.
‘The den? What did you hear, bhai?’
“Boss had called me about the Dwarka case. He was just ending a phone call. I just heard a few bits…just snatches of it…his last words caught my ear…They were “you don’t spite the hand that serves you” and then… “ I will teach the bastard a lesson he will never forget”.
Sheer cold wave ran through Ali’s spine. He felt a stab of pain in his chest as slow beads of perspiration began to form on his temples.
‘Did he mention a name? Was he referring to anyone?’
“No. He just slammed the phone down when he heard my footsteps.”
‘What do you think? Is it about Liza and me? Does he know about us? Is that what he was referring to?’
“I don’t know. I can find out if you want. But in the meantime, Ali, my bro, be careful. Be very careful.
Al wiped his sweaty hands across his face and said,
‘I will. I will for sure. Thanks, Moosa bhai.’
“Got to go now. Shall call you after I dig some more info, bye.”
As Al slid the phone back into his trousers, he looked upto to see his prison mate
smiling down at him.
It was a slow, hesitant curve of the lips, and in the dead of the night,
it was enough to spur Al’s already racing heartbeats.
#neelanilpanicker2017 #parteightofdangerouslove #dangerouslove#fiction#cat’soutofthebag#795
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PART THREE: https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/neelwritessundayphotofiction03ofdangerouslove30072017/
PART FIVE https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/neelwritessixsentencestoriesepisodesixofdangerouslovefiction/
PART SEVEN https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/neelwritesgaffarmian-alifeoutsideprisonwallsthreelinetalesfiction188words/