The Children of Rape
I knew it was a dream and that I would soon wake up. But that did not reassure me. The room was dark and the round mahogany table where we sat was lit by a bulb that hung from the ceiling. Swaying to and fro slightly, it made the shadows dance all around us.
The short, stout man sitting in front of me was reading my manuscript. Small eyes, beaded on a chubby face with droopy cheeks gave him a bulldoggish appearance. His jet black hair was long enough to cover his ears entirely but had been combed carefully to conceal the balding forehead. His thin,black moustache bent and drooped from above his lips, moving up and down as he read softly through the pile of pages that had taken me a lifetime to scribble. His porky forehead was divided by a thick forehead line on which rested small beads of sweat. The plump dwarf-like hands turned the yellow pages with a crisp sound at regular intervals.
I sat frozen, for what could have been a few minutes, hours, or days. I did not want to budge even a tiny inch of my arse on the painfully hard wooden chair. I feared that even a slight movement would wake me up. I did not want to wake up until he had finished reading it. After all, even in dreams, it is not every day that one gets one’s book read and commented on by Honoré de Balzac himself.
I sat anxiously, waiting for him to finish reading my ‘book’, wishing with all my being that Shankar would not turn up with his bloody popped-out eye yet again to ruin my dream.
As if what the mere subconscious thought of him was enough to send him signals of my location in the dream realm, he banged open the door and walked in. His all too familiar bald head, popped-out left eye dangling on bloody veins and the elongated tongue that hung to his chest frightened and disgusted me as always. I was also embarrassed of the fact that he, like always, was dressed in nothing but his famous red underwear, parading his hairy body in front of one of the most distinguished French authors of all times.
“Shankar! Please not now. I beg of you ... just this once ... please!”
Incapable of speech due to his elongated tongue that rested on the left nipple of his man-boobs, he shrugged and gave me a puppy-look with his eyes that said that he had nowhere else to go.
Mr Balzac, at first looking at the intruder with suspicion, had gone back to reading my manuscript without commenting. I took this as a good sign and signalled Shankar to stay quiet. He nodded, shaking his popped-out eye and elongated tongue and stood rooted next to the table in silence. Balzac kept turning pages at regular intervals as Shankar and I exchanged nervous glances.
After what felt like an eternity, he turned over the last page and closed the manuscript. He pushed it on the table towards me. I could hear my heart pumping in my chest. I had read somewhere that it was quite possible to have a heart attack while sleeping. I was positive that if the two-hundred-and-fourteen-year-old man sitting in front of me did not speak up quickly, I would have one pretty soon.
He took a deep breath and scratched his moustached upper lip. He threw a disgusted look at my mutilated friend and then finally looked at me with his penetrating black beady eyes.
“C’est de la merde.”
I felt my stomach rumble with disappointment. It was as if someone had pronounced the death sentence on me. I turned to my already dead friend who was staring at me with questioning eyes. I had forgotten that Shankar did not speak French. Well with his current facial features he spoke no language at all, but when he had been alive, he was a student of Germanic studies. So I translated the verdict for him.