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.

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