How much is enough?

2

Tom was eleven. He was a good lad with a good family of four. His younger sister was seven. She was grounded in fear of the worst. Tom blamed his parents for being too harsh on her. He would understand better if he were a father. It’s not easy greasy to wear someone’s shoes and walk in them. It takes effort. You got to feel what they are going through. It’s not simple. It wasn’t for Tom. He was a child after all.

He was tilling the field when he was grabbed and dragged. His mouth was squeezed such that he couldn’t let air out. There was no sound by him. He started praying and became unconscious.

He woke up in a den reeking of rotten meat. The smell was nauseating. He pushed out whatever he had inside his stomach. His mouth hurt. His belly ached. He was desperate to find a way out. But it was dark and he sat and shivered. He sweated and cried for help when he heard a noise. A rumbling sound came on his left side. He turned and shrieked in pain. The monster squished his arm and drained it of blood. Tom felt numb in his left arm. Blood gushed out when he shrieked again. The right arm’s turn took him by surprise. He couldn’t feel his fingers. He felt nothing down his elbows. He cried not in pain but in the anguish of losing his arms.

“How does it feel? I love it. I will have more,” someone said.

Tom didn’t know who it was. It was a weird, heavy sound coming from behind. He thought there is someone else. He cried, “Help! Please help!”

“Help! You think so. Help!” the voice came. The voice was so terrifying that Tom wetted his pants. He thought he was in hell. Maybe, he was.

A moment later Tom stopped sobbing. It was over. The pain was gone. He was gone.

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How much is enough?

1

“Behold the Almighty! For I once roar. You may have me, but not my soul,” Ron shouted.

This was just before he was torn into pieces and sucked dry. Three liters laid to the hunger of the giant beast. He took a moment to devour the boy’s life running through his veins. The blood gushed out of the boy as if the blood vessels were connected to a vacuum outside. His cells dried and died. Eyes contorted to a minuscule. He looked like a corpse.

Ron was the fifth son of his parents. He was only nine. His elder brother was taken by the monster at the age of 10. That was two months ago. The rest also perished somewhere between him and Ron. This was the end of the bloodline of Richard’s family. He prayed each day that he would leave an heir behind. He was shattered. Furthermore, his wife took her life after hearing about Ron. He wanted to die but he wanted to fight. He swore he won’t cut his hair until the beast rests in peace. He will pull out liters that the beast took out of his five children. 16 liters to be precise. He wanted to measure to make sure he gets his revenge.

Rumor had it that his neighbors went missing after Ron’s demise. Richard didn’t see them in the past two weeks. How was their absence related to the ill faith of his children? They were brutally annihilated in the fields. It’s not like the beast was targeting one house after another. If he had, it would be insane. The villagers would flee and make adjustments accordingly. But this was not the case. He seemed like a mindless beast with a lust for the blood of young ones. He was out for the blood of children who were yet to attain maturity and reach their teenage years. Little children were always clinging to their parents throughout the day. This was a necessity. The beast used to avoid grown-ups. This might sound like a relief. But it was not. Even the grown-ups were scared to death. They couldn’t abandon their homes and expect that luck would favor them elsewhere. It’s not like people didn’t try to resettle. It’s just that the reach of the beast was far and wide. And this is the year of 1809. People saw the Rum Rebellion in Australia. It was time that they saw a rebellion against the devil.

Wild type

2

“Hey, get back in line! Where do you think you are going?” an elderly man said.

“I got a baby. I can’t be out for so long,” Jimmy said.

“Well, that’s not my problem. Is it? If you can’t take care of your own produce…” the man continued.

Jimmy is standing in a queue at Costco. He is a man of big discounts. He likes to slurp beer and has to get it from here. This saves him a lot of bucks. People are wondering why a guy is shopping for alcohol with his kid. How irresponsible and lame!

Well, Jimmy is a lousy father. No better than Sharon’s mother. Still he as no choice. He won’t give away his baby. She’s all the family he has got. His parents died before his marriage. He is not in touch with his relatives. This came from his parents. They didn’t care much about people. They kept to themselves all their lives. They attitude called for it. Freaking bohemians! No wonder Wendy was attracted to this family. She is a bohemian at heart. She thoroughly enjoyed her in-law’s ways before her marriage. She was left to bereave for months after their death in a car crash. Bohemians indeed.

Now coming back to parenting, we hardly get to see good parents in the world. Most are busy reproducing rather than nurturing. If they think they are doing the right thing, then often they don’t. They don’t observe their children properly and give proper care. It is not easy to raise children. But one asks for it when one reproduces. No excuse is enough to justify the improper care of a child. Sharon is just another child with just another parent. And it is just another day in her lousy life.

Loaded with bytes

9

“Guys, this is Randy. He joined my team today. He’s from Canada and he’s black,” Chen said.

“Nice to meet you, Randy. And Chen, seriously! He’s BLACK?” Ravi said.

“You know what your name sounds like in an Indian accent,” Mann smiled.

“What?” Randy asked.

“Well, it means a hoe in Hindi,” Anil said.

“At least he’s a guy. Imagine someone who doesn’t know how to pronounce his name. What will he do? It would sound incredible. And sickening in a girl’s case,” Mann said.

“Then it’s good that I am not a girl,” Randy said.

“That’s the best thing about being a man,” Chen said.

“Chen, you don’t get a say in this. Let us look at your name. It sounds like some Chinese dude. No wonder you are gay,” Ravi said.

“Are all of you racist and sexist? Completely unbelievable!” Randy said.

“And what about names such as Laura and Lund?” Mann said.

“What about them?” Randy asked.

“Well, Laura means phallus and Lund also means phallus,” Mann said.

“And Hindus and Japanese worship phalluses round the year. What’s your point?” Ravi said.

“My point is that it’s funny…” Mann said.

“IT’s funny only because you are twisting it. You can’t mix two languages and expect to make sense out of it. Can you?” Ravi said.

“Guys, just leave it. I think we had enough of lame name jokes for today,” Randy said.

“Every culture is rich…” Chen said.

“Shut up already. Enough with cultural differences. Let us not make life hell for Randy,” Ravi said.

Everyone burst out laughing. It took some time for Ravi to realize that he uttered the name in an Indian accent. The new addition to the group was a welcome delight for the four friends. They are having issues in their personal lives. Imagine what a Randy can do in such a situation: Wonder.

Loaded with bytes

8

“Hey, Vijay! It’s good to see you. Been a long time. Which company are you working for?” Ravi asked.

“Fidil. I couldn’t get into a better company but the pay is good. What about you?” Vijay said.

“I am in Bytes Load along with Anil, Mann, and Chen,” Ravi said.

“It’s good that you guys are still together…” Vijay said.

“You know what, I am getting late for work. I will catch up later. Goodbye,” Ravi said.

Ravi had to cut short the conversation when he saw two colleagues. One was in bad shape. He had trouble walking.

Ravi asked, “What happened, Sunil? Why are you limping?”

“I am not sure how to say it. He broke something. And it’s hurting,” Tarik said.

“What’s broke?” Ravi asked.

“I can’t say it out loud,” Tarik said.

“Christ! I get it. But how?” Ravi said.

“Man, it was a girl I met yesterday at a bar. She got naughty and reckless,” Sunil finally opened his mouth.

“The best part is that you didn’t find her on Tinder. I have heard horror stories. That world is dark. But the real world is not far behind,” Ravi said.

“True, man. It totally sucks. You can’t trust girls nowadays,” Sunil said.

“Yeah, and what about boys? They are human after all. Why do people keep at women? Aren’t men the ones who are the harbingers of ill fate on mankind?” Ravi said.

“Let’s not get into argument over this. Just let it be. I am unable to bear this pain. I am going to see a doctor. I should have gone tomorrow. I hope it’s not too late. Stupid witch!” Sunil said.

Sunil is a colleague of Ravi. He was brought down to his knees by his femme fatale. Damn women and damn men too for getting drunk and acting stupid. Seems like the world has a lot left to surprise us.

Loaded with bytes

7

“Rational bum, don’t cows have a heart or a soul? How do you treat them with such contempt? You do so by squeezing out their milk which is meant for their calves. Imagine what if someone grabs hold of your wife and starves your baby. Imagine the molestation. Could you?” Ravi said.

“All right, irrational bum. How about we humans do whatever we feel like? We rule the world for cow’s sake. How about sharing and caring?” Anil said.

“Do you share? How much have you? I was never invited for a delicious milk tasting or a milk bath,” Ravi said.

“Are you out of your mind?” Anil asked.

“I am just saying from a cow’s perspective,” Ravi said.

“They don’t have one,” Anil said.

“And you don’t have a heart,” Ravi said.

“Well, well. What’s going on? Started already without me. I am shattered,” Chen said.

“Shut up and sit down. I am eagerly listening to Ravi’s perspective from a cow’s point of view. And how a cow would like to come home and taste someone’s milk in my family,” Anil said.

“Wait…What?” Mann asked.

“It’s all so stupid. Let’s just let it go. I have something important to share. I met a guy yesterday and found him a husband material. He’s looking for a class apart. I believe he’s the one,” Chen said.

“Well, if he’s looking for class, then he’s looking in the wrong direction,” Mann said.

“How would you know? You don’t even like guys. Men and women are different. We look for different things in each other,” Chen said.

“By we, you mean queers,” Mann asked.

“You think it’s a joke. You don’t know how difficult it is for us in this country. I fear for my future. I spend sleepless nights. I lie to my family. My mom is expanding her dream of a soon-to-be marriage. What am I supposed to do?” Chen said.

“It will be all for the good. Make sure that this is the right guy. We will do a background check. Don’t you worry. We will be there when you tell your mother about this. We have your back, but not your cock. That’s what friends are for. I have some deadline to meet. So I will scoot. See you guys tomorrow. Same time,” Ravi said.

“Yes, don’t worry, Chen. We are with you,” Mann said.

Anil also gets up with Mann with an encouraging smile directed towards Chen. Chen felt comforted for the time being. His friends had his back, but not his cock.

Loaded with bytes

6

“It’s only true if you believe it. So shut up and eat your lunch,” Ravi said.

“What’s the matter with you? I didn’t say anything. I just got here,” Mann said.

“Exactly. Before you start, I did the inevitable. So you can thank me later,” Ravi said.

“Guys, please be quiet. It’s time for Mann to discuss his story. Let us all be quiet. It’s going to be super annoying,” Anil said poking Mann with his elbow.

“That’s right. Go ahead. I am not opening my mouth,” Mann said.

“Don’t be impossible. Today we want to hear from you. It’s a good thing that your mother or any family is not on Tinder to see your status. My goodness, my mother will kill me if I don’t do as she says. You are lucky. A queer can’t get his way around with a mother like mine,” Chen chipped in.

“Don’t worry, I will make Aunty get out of your dating life. Tinder can go to hell for you. I must say it has served me well. I hooked up yesterday with this. Now ain’t she nice?” Mann said.

“Yes, she is. You are living the American dream brother,” Anil said.

“And you the Indian dream!” Ravi said.

“What are you guys talking about?” Chen asked.

“Well, Anil is doing a very normal thing like most of the Indians do. Keep a low profile, marry young, be faithful forever, blah blah blah,” Ravi said.

“And you think I am living another life. Let me tell you, my friend, India is morphing. It’s in a state of flux. There are foreign elements creeping into it. And you can’t even start to imagine it,” Mann said.

“You done with your engineering degree! What gets into you to start babbling about physics, I wonder. Can’t you behave like a normal person? I thought Ravi was the nerd in our group. And now we have to bear you as well. Get out of here,” Anil said.

And the friends parted their ways after their lunch was over.