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SEXUAL CHRONICLES OF A DYSFUNCTIONAL RACE




ONE


People were standing before the rosewood casket, tears in some eyes, excluding the immediate family. Ethan leaned towards his older brother, “Do you think grandma would have approved of all this,” he asked matter-of-factly, “she was an atheist all her life.”
“I know,” answered Adam, as he unbuttoned the first mother-of-pearls button of his off-white linen shirt. Adam was a business magnate who had his tentacles spread over Asia, most of Europe and parts of the Unites States of America. He had married countess Mirella, the bewitching young widow of an earl. The earl had passed away in an accident while touring India — a hit and run case where the culprit was never discovered. Adam had found him bleeding by the road. Mirella and he had met when she had rushed to the spot of the accident, and as fate would have it, they had found themselves irretrievably in love. “I can almost imagine her opening the casket and asking everybody to stop the drama,” he continued, chin dunked down of his determined jaw, as he scanned the circumambient most restlessly. Everybody had this languished look on their faces of being lost in their own thoughts, like they were recollecting moments with the deceased. Adam nudged Ethan. “Why is everyone overdoing it,” he asked indulgently, “to brood in a way to show that any other form of behaviour would be considered blasphemy is rather stupid in my opinion,” Ethan gave him a look of agreement. “And what on earth are you wearing?” he asked, as Ethan threw him a furtive glance and caressed his tee lovingly, enlightening Adam that he not pretend as if he were unaware that he was wearing a bespoke Burberry and dared him not to mouth another word against it. Adam rolled his eyes and whined a ‘whatever’.
Ethan had obtained a business degree from one of the most prestigious institutions in England, as would any child from the rank and background of the Rain’s. He had the most beautiful face, and people often compared him to the dashing Douglas Booth. Ethan smiled shyly every time such a parallel was drawn and made light of the situation by annotating that it was a small world where everybody knew everybody, and he had to investigate in all earnestness what his father was doing around nine months before the time that Douglas was born. An independent mind, he was not particularly eager to find himself entrenched in a fixed pattern of work anytime soon. ‘I want to soak in life’ is what he told everybody who asked him — What next?
“When will you ever outgrow your adolescence,” griped Adam rubbing his forehead with loss, “perhaps finding yourself an affable wife might help you mature sooner.”
Ethan smiled, “No smart man would readily marry,” he said and asked Adam when was the last time that he had seen their grandmother.
“I don’t know,” came back Adam, calculating the years in his head, “about ten years ago.”
“I see,” said Ethan, “do you think you’ll miss grandma?” he asked thoughtfully.
“Not sure about that,” replied Adam, “but what I miss is missing my orgasm before getting onto the flight,” he disclosed in melancholic, hushed tones, “say if the aircraft had crashed, I would’ve died an unhappy man then.” Ethan smiled knowingly. Adam had to have everything planned out in his life to the last condom. If he had found flavoured ones in place of the ribbed, he would get terribly rattled and find his life in complete disarray. Adam sensed what was going on in Ethan’s head and pinched his nipples in a quick sweep. Ethan let out a loud ‘ouch’ that caught the attention of some of those around.
“Do you still wank three times a day?” asked Adam.
“That was when I was a teenager for god’s sake,” he growled, “and it’s been close to six years since we last met.”
Bethany stepped forward as the soles of her Salvatore Ferragamo crunched on the pebbles, “It used to be five.”
“Bethany,” fussed Ethan as Adam titled his head and looked at her. She made an expression that conveyed that she was certain about what she had just said.
“Five, really?”
“Yes,” said Bethany, “he has emptied his man part sooooo much that I’m almost sure the plumbing is rusted by now,” she winked with her dazzling brown eyes, “and that explains why he has no further plans.”
Bethany was a popular lawyer. She had the finest hips and most alluring flair to convert even the toughest clients into soft sponges by her sprightliness. She was crazy about cars and presently drove an Aston Martin that in turn drove the men insane and gave them instant boners when they were around her.
“I’m not sure whether you had spied on me like a cat or a ghost,” said Ethan in a soft but agitatedly challenging voice.
“Neither,” she said with a half-smile, “your room was next to mine and your umps and ahas used to be so—”
“OK, stop,” said Ethan, as his features shrunk with embarrassment, and he turned to Adam, “what’s your story?” he asked with curiosity, trying to change the subject.
“Seriously, five times a day?”
“Fuck you, Adam.”
Adam smiled widely and scanned the surrounding in order to evaluate the mood once again. He hated weddings and funerals. Given a choice he would have gladly missed this one too, but it was his wife who had received his father’s call and he was left with no choice than to adhere to her wishes. He noticed that everybody’s attention was directed towards the priest who was quoting lines from the Bible.
“I was only a few minutes away from shooting the bullet,” he rubbed his hair on his head, “but Mirella was being Mirella,” he announced with a touch of grief, “her prim and properness is driving me nuts…more than my own bloody finickiness to be precise.” Bethany and Ethan bartered wily glances. “She gave me a lecture before I boarded the flight about how I could even want to continue when she was told that grandma had died. And about how I had to conduct myself at the funeral until she arrived.”
Ethan studied Adam sideways, “You mean she picks up calls in the middle of—”
Adam nodded, “She says its rude not to answer them.”
“Fuck,” laughed Ethan, “you were always after over-cultured cunts.”
No sooner had Ethan completed his sentence and Adam had found himself fumbling to give him a befitting response, Eva, their mother moved nearer. “Will you boys stop,” she said through clenched teeth. The boys apologised. Unable to control himself, Adam sneaked a peek at his mother’s boobs. “Don’t you dare steal glances,” she hissed in her sensually hoarse voice, “your father wanted some volume so I got myself some volume,” she inched closer to the boys as this look of immense mischievousness reflected from her features, “now that they are bigger and better your father sticks his huge cock between them,” she halted and took a satisfying breath, “he’s incredibly well hung you know.” She was about to elaborate on the hung from the looks of it when Ethan held his hand before her. “We are at a funeral for god’s sake,” he retorted.
“Exactly,” added Adam not losing a second.
“How is it all right for both of you to talk about orgasms and masturbation at the funeral and it’s considered a violation when I describe my sex life with your father,” she pulled her glares down the bridge of her nose with her middle finger, “it’s just sex after all, boys,” she moved her fingers from her glares, and adjusted her boobs ever so slightly, “and don’t you kids forget that these are the very same ones you suckled on.” ‘Mama’ chorused the boys in unison, whilst Bethany snaffled a smile. Eva dropped her head down with a naughty grin. Alex, her husband and their father, glared at them with furious eyes from the other side of the casket. Ethan erupted in laughter and controlled himself immediately when his eyes fell upon the Bentley approaching in the distance. Adam took a deep breath and muttered that the show had just begun. Ethan heard some of it and smiled to himself. The Bentley came to a halt as two uniformed men with Adam and Mirella’s monogram on their front pockets and shoulder flaps sprang out from the accompanying BMW. One rushed to the rear door of the Bentley and opened it, and the other opened the umbrella and stood waiting for her to step out. Step out she did with utmost grace in a fine black Chantilly lace top with a matching hat that had her marble-like face covered until her nose with a pencil-thin net. The contrast of her deep-brown-horn-rimmed Tom Ford glares on her flawless complexion made it appear like night and day. Her skirt was tightly wrapped around her shapely buttocks and ended about an inch beneath her knee. Her Christian Louboutin Maralena flame sandals embraced the gravel allowing them the honour of her solely love. She dipped her head with poise a couple of times at the people as she approached the congregation and greeted her father-in-law with a short quick bow. “I am terribly sorry for your loss,” she uttered in her splendiferous accent presenting Alex with a hug, and nodding at Adam just as she was ambling up to Eva. “How lovely to see you, mother-in-law, albeit in such tragic circumstances,” she conveyed in her euphonious voice, as they touched cheeks in greeting.
“We all have to find ourselves there one way or another, one day or the other,” replied Eva pointing to the open grave.
“Without escape,” rejoined Mirella as she grinned at Ethan and Bethany and smiled at the people close by enquiring if they were doing well.
“The traffic in Bangalore seems as atrocious as it is in London,” she confessed softly to Eva, “it has taken me more than an hour from the airport to the cemetery.”
“Pity cemeteries aren’t equipped with helipads,” said Ethan as Adam gave him a cruel stare and complained that the sun was blistering his skin and that if they didn’t get out any sooner, the chapping would begin to flake in a day or two, making him look no less than a langur.
“Good lord, Ethan,” exclaimed Mirella disregarding Adam’s grumbling, “I thought you would have outgrown your childishness,” she halted and bent her head ever so slightly in acknowledgment at somebody who had looked at her and grinned, “but alas some roots are harder to uproot with age I see.”
Ethan stepped away and exchanged the ‘how do you manage her’ look with Adam. Adam shrugged his shoulders. “Why didn’t she fly with you?” asked Ethan as if to pick on him for his wife’s inanities.
“She has a time affixed for everything,” said Adam making certain he was discreet enough for her not to get wind of his words.
“What do you mean?” asked Ethan studying her and envying her body.
“Will you stop doing that,” said Adam, almost pleadingly.
“She’s stunning,” said Ethan with a drawl, “but forget her, I want to know what you meant by a time affixed for everything,” he implored, “you mean there’s a schedule for sex, and for how long the foreplay has to last, the latitude and the longitude, the vertical limit and blah blah blah.”
Adam laughed, “She won’t ring somebody at nine in the morning because it is time to relax after they’ve had their breakfast. She won’t visit anybody at noon because it is just before supper. Not at four in the evening because it’s tea time.”
“Supper’s had in the night, you fellow,” shot back Ethan interrupting him.
“Oh, no, not in their books…in their books supper is anytime after evening. It is a light meal, and dinner is anytime after breakfast.”
Ethan gaped at her, “She’s weird,” he observed as both of them chuckled. “You mean to say if somebody happens to die at any of those affixed times she won’t visit them?” he highlighted affixed in this intonation.
“It would be troubling them in her scheme of things, yes.”
“Does she ask you if she can come before she comes?” asked Ethan with a smirk.
Adam punched him on his arm.
“Think of it,” said Ethan, “you are one lucky man because no one would come to her funeral considering she hasn’t been to anybody’s funeral.”
“Arsehole,” said Adam.
Ethan laughed, “She’d be letting the dead go in peace, quite literally.”
Adam took a quick look at Mirella.
“I think you’ve forgotten something,” said Ethan.
Adam looked at him enquiringly.
“Your dog collar,” pronounced Ethan hilariously.
“Shut the fuck up,” said Adam and watched as his wife was chatting with his mother. He slipped his arm round her arm. Eva felt an inward thrill upon seeing them this immersed in love. Knowing Adam, she had her own reservations about their marriage, but she was glad that Mirella was easy enough to let him be, and controlling enough to keep him under her thumb when the need arose. While Eva was admiring them, Mirella spotted a couple over Adam’s shoulder. The man was lying on the granite grave and the woman was on him as they were making out. “How very uncouth that people don’t even let the dead live in peace,” she remarked, her eyes turning away from the couple.
“Wouldn’t it be a great idea for you to start an NGO that would provide them with a private space for private things,” suggested Ethan who had snooped in on their conversation, “you would be doing mankind a favour by helping them spread loooove, don’t you think.”
“What a splendid idea,” she said with some significance. “since I gather you aren’t currently employed, I reckon you could be of some help in drawing up the plans.”
Ethan frowned. Bethany concealed a smile. She knew it was going to be a wondrous funeral now with Mirella’s appearance where Ethan would always be spoiling for a fight with her, and she was more than clever by not giving him grounds for one. 


Kindly NOTE

This is the first chapter of the novel SEXUAL CHRONICLES OF A DYSFUNCTIONAL RACE. It is available to publish in print, digital or app format, chapter-by-chapter or as a single novel. Do get in touch via the contact form if interested in order to discuss how to take it forward. Thank you.  



 

BETWEEN THE SHADOW AND THE SOUL



ONE


A hand went up. Fardeen looked towards it and indicated with his eyes that the young woman ask him the next question. He was at the auditorium as a guest writer at a workshop for young writers. His story on a character christened Kidz he had been working on had been read to the people present there and questions followed thereafter.
“Evening, sir,” said the woman in a gentle manner, “would it be asking much if you could list three of the things you most dread.”
The moderator, a healthy woman in a silk sari and big eyes roared in her hoarse voice, “You cannot ask personal questions, madam!”
“No, no, that’s all right,” said Fardeen noticing an unusual excitement in the woman’s eyes.
“If you must, sir,” announced the moderator most unwillingly and returned to her seat.
The woman watched on for a response as Fardeen seemed to recount in his mind what three things he might loathe, “Cockroaches,” he finally answered softly as the onlookers burst into laughter, “I’ve been afraid of them so long as I can remember.”
She smiled and remained silent for more.
“Ah,” went on Fardeen, “solitary confinement if I may add.”
“You mean being alone?” somebody questioned from the listeners.
“Not really, I am rather comfortable with my own company,” announced Fardeen with immense composure.
“He meant that he doesn’t need to be sent away to a remote island or the prison, if his Kidz stops speaking to him, he’ll crumble and whither away without a murmur.”
Fardeen curved his eyebrows.
“You speak of the character he has invented as if it were some person!” someone guffawed from the gathering.
The young woman said nothing in response and seemed to wait for Fardeen to continue.
“I don’t quite know what else,” declared Fardeen rather directly.
“Nothing, really,” she asked in a mild questioning manner.
“I don’t know, really,” said Fardeen feeling a strange sense of being beguiled for the first time by intelligence than the mundane questions that followed after his book readings over the years.
“Sex,” uttered the woman without inhibition.
“I beg your pardon?” thundered the moderator rising from her chair.
Fardeen held his hand so as to stop her midway and glanced into the eyes of the woman, “With a man, yes,” he revealed without any qualms.
There were whisperings and mutterings in the crowd.
“Just so you know sex was considered a form of worship between both the sexes, and freely, until the pre-Christian era.”
“So I’ve learnt,” admitted Fardeen.
“Knowing everything you still sadden me with your slighted view.”
“Then or now, we all have our own preferences now, don’t we.”
“To die for the ones you love is easy,” she carried on in her clear and comely accent, “but can you live each day by putting yourself through the torment, if you had to, by living with cockroaches or being denied a few moments with your Kidz?”
Fardeen smiled knowingly.  
“No, sir this is not a game of psyche,” she claimed, “but yes, I am trying to get to know a writer from an angle not many might have attempted to know,” she said and took her seat.
“Perhaps,” said Fardeen inhaling deeply, “I might find myself unable to survive the ordeal.”
“Really?” she asked standing up, a glint in her eyes.
“Um hmm.”
“But, say your Kidz’s life was in peril, and if the people who were holding a gun to his head would say that they would let him go if you gave yourself up to them….”
Fardeen felt this uneasy warmth in his cheeks, “He’s merely a character I have crafted,” he retorted with a fragment of distress.
“Let me put it this way,” she said a bit more loudly than before, “you would do anything to protect your Kidz from harm I understand.”
Fardeen collected himself and grinned with nonchalance, “The advantage of fiction, my dear lady, is that it provides you the range to play with anything so long as you possess the imagination.”
She gazed into his eyes, and Fardeen felt something inside him stir.
“I’ll tell you,” she said with a smile, “if worse comes to worse, you’ll live in a room full of cockroaches for him. You will agree for solitary confinement if it could save him from the same, and even give yourself up to a man, without a wink, if it came to that.”
Fardeen grew pale as she walked up closer to him, “I apologise, sir.”
He dabbed the sweat off his forehead with a tissue and shook his head ever so slightly.
“Truth reveals itself only when you shed all inhibitions,” she said, “and your Kidz is that truth.”
Fardeen drew in a breath as the moderator broadcasted on the microphone that the question and answer session had come to an end.

Fardeen came upon the young woman in the gallery where the refreshments were being served.
“The name is Missy,” she said sprightly.
“Nice to meet you, Missy,” said Fardeen shaking hands with her, “you know me already.”
“Do you know who you are?” she asked letting go of his hand as her leather bracelets brushed against his skin.
He smiled, “I think I do.”
“I’ve studied your work and although you maintain that this Kidz is unreal, he is what you are when you aren’t your sober self.”
“I’m sorry?”
“He is what you want to be.”
Fardeen laughed his classic denial laugh.
“We all keep secrets from people, but between you and him,” she paused and held his hand by his wrist, “there’s nothing hidden. He might play hide and seek with you, but your life is transparent before him.”
“Have you considered writing?” asked Fardeen more amused than surprised at her speculations.
“Van Gogh had once said, Old Gauguin and I understand each other at heart, and if we are a bit mad, what of it?”
“That you say you have trailed my work closely––” said Fardeen and stopped, diving into his thoughts.  
“No human life is more important than the work of art,” she said cutting him midstream, “but when that art enters the human fibre then it’s impossible to discern which is imitating what.”
He didn’t take his eyes off her, “How old are you if I may ask?”
She giggled with childlike innocence, “Any of us would willingly trade our lives for it.”
“For living with someone who is unreal?” he asserted narrowing his eyes.
“They say that the real must be fictionalised in order to be thought.”
“Who are you?” asked Fardeen with a wee bit of fear creeping in him.
“You are a rare man to have to be living with someone who is unrealistically real.”
There was a prolonged moment of silence amongst them that was shattered by the waiter who held in his hands a platter of cottage cheese cubes in pesto sauce. She lifted a square, chewed on it for a few seconds and made known that it was delicious. Fardeen scrutinised her quietly. “Thank you,” he said as he grasped her hands in his hands and repeated the thank you.
“This time the pleasure is truly mine,” she said and disappeared into the darkness of the night.


Kindly NOTE

This is the first chapter of the novel BETWEEN THE SHADOW AND THE SOUL. It is available to publish in print, digital or app format, chapter-by-chapter or as a single novel. Do get in touch via the contact form if interested in order to discuss how to take it forward. Thank you.