14 December, 2012

A Writing Prompt - Two birds and one stone

(When no real life incidents demand to be penned down, I usually turn to a writing prompt to get the thoughts going.  This was one such prompt which said - Put a used car salesman, a banker and a movie addict in a bus.  Add in a flat tire and an empty window seat.  One of the three starts laughing hysterically.  Write out the scene.)

(Picture courtesy : schoolnew.discoveryeducation.com via Google)

It was the horrendous cackling noise that caught their attention.  Their tempers were already frayed and the guffawing was just making it worse.  The whole situation was tense, febrile at best and it reminded one of a whole keg of gunpowder just waiting to go off. 
“This whole hooting and chortling is going to set someone off” thought Raj, to himself.  “Pity that there’s no popcorn around.  Things should get interesting soon” he thought to himself with a rather smug looking making itself apparent on his face.
“Atleast someone in this world is happy and carefree.  Look at him laugh.  What I would give to be in his place – to just be able to throw my head back, throw caution to the winds and laugh – a deep, rumbling laugh that starts out from the pit of the belly.  Speaking of laughter, I wonder when I laughed last ?.  For the life of me, I can’t remember” mused Mr.Tiwari.
By now, the laughter had gone up a few notches and Raj could see the man on the ground – literally rolling with laughter.  He had tears streaming down his eyes and his face was in the process of turning a deeper shade of red.  He was physically holding on to his humungous belly as he laughed.  He was laughing so hard that one could see the ripples spread across the fat bags on his body.  He laughed, his whole body shook and rumbled. 
“It will be quite some time before the bus can resume its journey” yelled the conductor, in the midst of all this din.  “The spare tire which was on top of the bus was also damaged.  I will have to hitch a ride and go over to the nearest town and get the mechanic.  It will take atleast three hours for us to move from here” he shouted, in an effort to make himself heard.
“Arrey – someone stop this guy !” said Mr. Chowdhury, who was a retired army man.  “Stop him before he ends up blowing one of his arteries” he said, looking quite worried.
“He seemed perfectly normal on the bus” said Mr. Tiwari, joining in the conversation with Mr. Chowdhury.  I saw him sitting on seat 24B.  I noticed him because the window seat next to his seat was empty and I wondered if he had bought out both the seats.  God knows he is fat enough for two seats” added Mr.Tiwari, rather nastily.
Both men made their way towards the fat man who looked all set to roll down the small hill atop which they were perched at the moment.  “He’ll roll all the way down to the foot of the hill laughing” grumbled Mr.Tiwari.    
Raj, who was tired of sitting around, got up, dusted the seat of his jeans and walked towards where Mr. Tiwari and Mr. Chowdhury were huddled.  “I’m Raj” he said, extending his hand towards both of them. 
The laughter seemed to be decreasing and pretty soon, the fat man stopped laughing.  He was still chuckling with the occasional snigger but the unstoppable cackling had come to a halt.  People slowly, gingerly edged closer to him as though he were some kind of explosive that would go off if people walked towards him too fast.
He eyed them the way the ringmaster in the circus eyes a bunch of tame lions.  He was amused by them – it showed in his eyes, which were still dancing with laughter. 
“That bus conductor is a liar.  He and the driver are hand in glove.  They always make sure that the bus breaks down somewhere along this road because the conductor then goes off on his secret tryst with his mistress.  He does not go over to get a mechanic.  He’s having an affair.  His wife is one of the daughters of the local goon and the conductor dare not have an affair with his mistress in the open.  If his father in law gets wind of this, he’ll kill him.”
“Yeah – but how did this make you laugh ?” asked Mr. Tiwari, grumpy as ever.
“The goon and his henchmen should be driving past any time now.  I’ve told them where to find the conductor and his mistress” he said, the laughter threatening to erupt again.
“How did you know about all this ?” asked Raj, his usual poker face now displaying a degree of perplexity.
“Ever heard of killing two birds with one stone ?”.  “His mistress is none other than my wife”.
The three men stared at him in horror as the sound of cackles filled the air, yet again.

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