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Ex Men Origins and the Scavengers Initiative

She was an environmentalist on a research mission around Fukushima. Her superhero story is one of over-reach; she tipped over and fell into the waters. An irradiated killer whale tried to take a chunk off her but made a hash of it. A quick rescue that has since had the world debating the wisdom of it. Watch out for the flippers. And that destructive retractable dorsal fin. And the 4 tons of crushing mass.

Whale Woman.

If you think this is one is outlandish, read on. You’ll be spaced out by the end of it. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s happening inside someone’s head or not; it’s all real. It’s on Wikipedia.

*****

Lost, half-blind and fully-famished. He grabbed something and made a meal of it. That Spangled Tipsy Salamander was the only one of its kind.

The Slinking Salamander.

Beware his spasmodic shimmy – it’ll turn you blind and give you a headache to last a lifetime.

*****

She was born near a sewage dump. She was swallowed by a reticulated python when she was but a baby. Not your cuddly-cute baby, she. More like blood-curdling, toxic ugly. The snake spat her out in disgust and proceeded to end its life in the throes of a myocardial infarct. Unlike other superheroes, she wears her mask most of the time. She only peels it off to wield her numbing superpower. Even the blind go catatonic when she does that.

The Reticulated Pythoness.

*****

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Frogman. Technically he should be called Toadman but some idiot journo in the nation’s biggest selling sell-out daily known for getting its facts twisted in knots gave him his name and it stuck. No, he was not licked by an irradiated toad. Baby, he was just born this way.

*****

The ornithologist was watching. What the fuck do you think ornithologists watch? Unbeknownst to him, a Pied Kingfisher quite near him swallowed a strange berry shaped like nothing on this earth – a seven pointed snowflake. The bird flew up and dropped its intestinal load right as it was flying over our birdman. Maybe it hit a raw, exposed nerve but his transformation to an Ex-Man was complete in seconds. Yeah, shit happens and how!

The Kingfisherman. Stages a magnificent dive (not even a football fan though), the world’s foremost catcher of fish, free frequent flyer. All in all, the true emperor of good times.

*****

He’s the only man to have survived a bite from a Komodo dragon. Actually he was not a man and not quite a woman. Maybe that’s why; who knows? His power? He just turns a beady eye on you and you slink away like a lizard. Has no effect on The Slinking Salamander though.

The leader of this band of freaks, these Ex-Men (and Women) – The Komodo Dragon (the uppercase D to distinguish from the lizard of the same name).

Wait. What band? KD got this idea to to put together a bunch to clean up the festering filth of this world. He calls them The Scavengers.

P.S.: The reptile that sank its teeth into the man who became The Komodo Dragon? It choked on the toe it bit off. Good riddance too.

P.P.S.: The original irradiated-killer-whale-bite-survivor was a man from Tamil Nadu in South India. Religious fanatics would not have a Whale Murugan. That and representative politics engendered a reboot – as is the norm now – and thus was born that whale of a woman.

P.P.P.S.: I wrote this entire post just so I could use the word “unbeknownst”. Achievement unlocked. The feebleness of which reason also defines the quality of writing.

Fairy Tales, Of Sorts

The softest pillows and mattresses in the land. Real golden, soft human hair – no less – made them so. Business flourished and coffers were in demand to hold the coins pouring in. For sure, the odd trouble popped up. No one knew why but once in a while, a stray pillow or a petulant bedding would let its hair down; hair that would snake its way around the sleeper a little too tight. But the coffers would be quickly opened and a generous flow of its contents would burn away all memory of such unfortunate unpleasantness.

No one knew why? Well, not quite – SHE knew but SHE was locked up in HER high tower. And SHE had given up on HER prince. HER prince, now king, had come to rescue HER once but he stayed only to love HER hair more than HER; hair that meant gold.

*****

The fair pretty girl was on the floor. The old, sour-faced woman stood looking down at her, armed – as it seemed – with a broom. The door burst open and the midgets trooped in with loud yells. They took in the scene and saw the desperate plea in the girl’s eyes. Furiously they tore into the old woman. No one saw the look of bewilderment in her eyes. The girl with the snow white skin got up. No one saw the cold gleam that lit her eyes and the chilling smile that slashed her face to open up the cruelty beneath the skin. She shrugged. Oh well! The old hag knew too much. And her sweeping had got too sloppy anyway.

*****

There she was, a beauty laid to sleep in an open casket of ebony and ivory. The light of the crescent moon lent her fair skin the colour of a paler shade of alabaster. The prince stood in rapture awhile. Then he bent low and kissed her on her blood-red lips. Mmm…wet. Wet?!?

She opened her eyes, beautiful dark eyes.

She stepped out of the casket, all grace.

She sank into his neck, one inch fangs.

*****

The king was rich beyond measure, for he was married to a treasure trove that filled his coffers with coins golden as her hair. The king was miserable and lonely. The king knew not the reason. No, not even a block for him to stumble upon and discover why. He walked the long corridors of his castle, head bowed and hands clasped behind his back; a walking Atlas shouldering his vast gloom. One day, he found himself himself by the door of a musty old closet. He walked in. All he found was a mirror. A half-forgotten childhood story wafted into his conscious mind and stirred him to ask haltingly and not without some sheepishness:

“Mirror…er…mirror on the wall
Haha; Who’s the fairest of them all?”

A voice cold as the far hills came rippling out of the glass:

“Who else but you, my Queen!”

The dazed king staggered out of the closet.

 

Age Is A Number

It’s strange how a piece of music can set your thought wandering seemingly unconnected paths. I was listening to ‘Comfortably Numb’ when my mind went rambling into notions of age and of ageing. From that was borne a series of lines mostly silly which I tweeted. I’m carrying that a little further and dropping it here (some of it is too obscure for minds that are not quite as twisted as mine).

* Age is a number. It numbs you, not necessarily comfortably

* Used to be broad-chested. And then age and gravity did a down-shift

* When “letting your hair down” is no longer literal

* When “Who am I?” becomes literal and no longer indulgent philosophical introspection

* When you wish someone would invent a Google to find your glasses (your eyes lit up when Google Glass was announced but no, that wasn’t it)

* When “What Was It You Wanted” becomes your theme song

* When with each year you move further away from Douglas Adams’s answer to Life, The Universe and Everything Else

* When you get recognised by the back of your head

A Short Circuit

Arguments were rife at the table of this family of 6 – grandpa, ma, pa, two elder sisters and himself. Nothing violent, just normal differences of opinion that are likely when a group this size gets together. He was the only one who kept his counsel. As the youngest, his pronouncements were likely to be dismissed anyway. He turned his attention to the newspaper. What is this!?! “1 in 5 people likely to be mentally ill”.

“2 of a family of 6 murdered in cold blood” screamed the headlines two days later.

He had reduced the odds, hadn’t he?

************

A few minutes after reaching home – 4162, Laburnum Lane – she cranked up her laptop to post about the MAN who stalked her on the quiet stretch of road from office to home that evening. “Creep”. She tapped out her righteous anger to her six hundred and seventy-two followers on Facebook. She had met only thirty-seven of them ever.

The MAN walked on and turned into his home at 4159, Laburnum Lane.

************

And it hit him then. HE had the answer to Life, the Universe, EVERYthing. Thrilled, he started expounding in the spirit of sharing and caring.

He couldn’t hear himself.

The duty doctor on his rounds in the Neurology department raised a quizzical eyebrow at the nurse. She shook her head. “Still the same doctor, as the last 15 months. Other than his left eyelid fluttering for a few seconds two hours back, there’s no response.”

************

He settled down at the table of that familiar dim-lit bar. And they came and sat with him, his girls. All make-up and cleavage. His eyes started scouting customers.

Loner. No one to talk to. It had not entirely deadened this orphan but it was killing him. He silently and fiercely envied those with families, even the ones that didn’t look too happy about it.

“F mily B r & Rest ur nt”. The lurid red signage drew the orphan in. The pimp smiled. A likely one, this.

************

She worked on the “Science” beat. She had found one of those random studies (who does these and why?) – you know the ones that tell you that a mole on your right elbow significantly increases your likelihood of suffering a paralytic stroke before the age of 80 – that predicted probability of insanity in any given population. The editor had okayed it for publishing the next day. Her day was done.

Orbituary

If I puncture a few – or many – chests puffed up with pride, it’s only because I’m an obnoxious, cynical, ignorant prick. I have the utmost respect for the scientists who worked on the Mars Orbiter Mission. So it’s not you; it’s me. In a nation of over a billion I must be a rare one, maybe even the only one, who had no clue why we have a mission sent to/around Mars. Everybody else is chest-thumping (careful there, you might bust your coronary), desk-thumping, tub-thumping (careful here too; an obscure one-hit-wonder band might just sue you), fist-pumping, tear-jerking in ecstasy. Members of various communities want to suddenly recognise their ‘brothers and sisters who did the community proud’. FB and Twitter have gone into overdrive as the Iyers and the Nairs, the Mehras and the Mehtas hunt down their own. I suspect when they do that they’ll see that unassuming fellow next door whom they scorned as a geek and a nerd. Yeah, that should be a fun meeting. The real estate maven are drooling and the autorickshaw (tuk-tuk to you foreigners) drivers are rubbing their hands in glee, their greedy eyes popping at the very thought of the out-of-this-world fares that they can demand. Everybody else knows what this is all about and how much the human condition will be elevated as a result of this great spin-off. Whereas me, I’m just going around in circles much like the Mars Orbiter (that’s an ellipse, you say?). My terrible ignorance has had me riding nightmares through hellish landscapes these last few afternoons (yep, that’s right). No, not Mars; that is obviously a rapturously lovely planet. Heck, what is this mission? What, WHat, WHAAAAT?

And then a group of people mentioned that it was to prove that men, and only men, are indeed from the 4th planet. That’s when it struck me that everybody else is an ignoramus too – it’s just that they don’t know it yet. See, Mars already has this.

Dejah Whew
Dejah Whew!!

So now you know; your mission is a dud. Wait, wait, wait unless you meant to bring Capt. John Carter back to earth…er…Jasoom.

P.S.: If any of you is offended by this, didn’t you read the first three sentences? Lighten up. Levity (Red Bull, suck on this) gives you wings and sends you flying without spending billions of dollars.