When Vinu’s cousin Vinita visited our place from the land Vinu often fondly recalled as United Colonies of America, him being a half-baked distributist, I said to her howdy and she smiled and smack in the middle of her mouth we witnessed a Maryland bridge and again and again between her all smiley thankee and howdy was that bridge and then in a blink when she shifted gears to Tamil that but for few occasional intonational glitches was pukka Thoothukudi Tamil, Vinu smiled his one corner at me, she then sipped on Bovonto and just as we talked about the scarcity of Anjol aluppu tablets and recalled my speaking in tongues, I began to worry about phrasing inappropriately my disinterest in M.I.A., laughing too hard and exposing too much of my chipped tooth.
Oooo sha bha labalaba riba bha sha laba ribariba rha bha bha reeba riba oooo sha labariba was how I’d feigned speaking in tongues back when Vinita’s dad, Muthappan, wanted us both supposedly impaled by the fiery sword of the Lord because we were supposedly too savage to the point we would often put our tongues out and pretend Mariamman but then Vinita couldn’t pretend tongues on fire, nor could she stand her dad’s putdown, which was why she’d picked that fight by the hand pump next day, tackled me to dust bite, having punched me in the face upon my bouncing back, got punched in her face, nose bleeding it was she who’d lolled her tongue out first, then I, too, knuckles bleeding, and she didn’t know I had had my tooth chipped, too, until a week later via Vinu.
Vinu, back then, was tucked away in a convent, a school scoundrel, with his parents self-exiled in a forest, allegedly afflicted by the Brownman’s Burden, penniless and skinny, bringing the allegedly abominable tribals to the Lord – he would during one holiday get me a Michael Learns to Rock cassette, a Bon Jovi on another but it was when he got me an AC/DC mix-tape did we really connect the fuck out of dudeship, bicycling the length of our bumpy, dusty town not really humming rahh a rah hah a rahh ah but inadvertently screaming at a Daliesque mustachioed sorehead teacher to get my knuckles violated the next day and to get even called stoopid Sampath the very eve by Vinita.
Vinita, back then, was close yet far away, unlike back, back when, about when her dad was found dangling from a tree branch due supposedly to his sister accusing his wife of infidelity and whatnot – she was often witnessed by the side of her grieving mother or if not cursing her dad and/or her dad’s sister or waving her chappals at some super-moronic neighbors, by when I was too weak in spirit from being not able to jack off to anything for months together, by then sort of adopted by her mother’s sister she caught her first flight to the land Vinu often bittersweetly referred to also as the Land of Opportunists, him having come across some half-baked objectivist, whence in a decade she twice and just that once emailed me the link to one tinymixtapes’ review of Björk’s Biophilia wherein the writer Ed Comentale puts in the artist’s stead Steve Jobs to eventually put the man in his rightful place, p.s.’ing the mail – There are neat nearly white gentle gentile’s here, from there of course, that think of themselves as, grr, brown. Sampath, you who’re too non-brown for your town, you who’s most likely fisting to X-Art babes, I promise you I will never ever love or put (as in fcuk) anyone except a pure brown boy, p.p.s.’ing it – It’s that time to visit the Catholic church to resume my reading of Sadeian Woman, the cover of which is replaced, guess by who, with the cover of Four Loves, p.p.p.s.’ing – I look forward to going to the Big E with Melissa, sight-seeing, counting the porcelains sunburned in Cape Cod, as we query around for tortillas.
I shan’t vouch as to her too high a fidelity, I’d rather she fail at keeping her too stupid a promise, and it’s not like I’ve got too thick a tan now I’m pure brown, but god promise it’s due certainly to her link that I’ve got my fix of pitch-perfect porn and my even more jouissant fix of the oceanic no-one-listens-to music and while it’s a shame I wouldn’t dare clicking at Vinu’s link to post-metal’dom (when he couldn’t catch the drift in my po-m’dom is an inevitable hegemonic extension of m’dom) or couldn’t stand his admonitions such as dude you should elope with a heavyset Caucasian peahen visiting Madurai, I could always skim through Vinita’s iPod playlists, find something unique and rapturous amid things too crappy and overrated, get glued to her Tank Girl comics as she gets to steal my Muthu comics, ask her whether getting called critters back there now is as off-putting as getting called loosu back here then, ask her if she prefers Zero Degree in English or Tamil and tell her something so lame as you still couldn’t see the foreshortened future of Sigur Rós to which she’d pretend she didn’t listen and instead say listen tell me no if you didn’t hit on Deepa because she was too brown for you and it was my promise you didn’t know you wanted to keep to which I wouldn’t say yes, or no, except bare chipped tooth and all my teeth to which Maryland bridge and all — seconds before that pervasive cast of silence — she’d so burning brightly smile.
Ahimaz Rajessh, a Best of the Net and Pushcart nominee, has been published in 7×20, Strange Horizons, Pidgeonholes, Cuento, 200 CCs, Flapperhouse, SmokeLong Quarterly, தளம், பதாகை and so forth. His writing is forthcoming in Milkfist, unFold, and மணல் வீடு.
(Next story: Bicentennial by Peter Grimes)
(Previous story: 9×9, or how we sold toys at the end of the world by Elizabeth Morton)
Feel like submitting? Check out our submission guidelines
Art by தகவலுழவன்