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Friday, December 10, 2010

Tit for Tat

He felt a bit queasy. It was like something was growing inside him; threatening to take over. His insides were knotted. One of the Big Ones had just confirmed his worst fears. The Big-un broke the news to him and then laughed, pointing at him repeatedly. He gulped and realized it to be a mistake. He asked the Big-un if he did not have water for the next whole week, wouldn’t that automatically kill it? He was answered in a typical roundabout Big-un-ish manner. It had something to do with life somehow finding a way. All in all, it didn’t bode too well for him. He brooded. He sulked. He frowned. Finally, he thought. He thought hard. He had the answer. But there was just one problem.

He tried to recall that conversation with another Big-un, the one with the whitest hair and also the one whose ears were comically sprouting hairs and who smelled funny. That conversation was the key. He could always go up to that Big-un and ask but he was tired of being laughed at. He roamed around restlessly. Another Big-un tempted him by making funny faces. He laughed heartily at that Big-un, also stuck out his tongue. He stole a cookie from the table when none was looking and ate it.

His stomach gave a satisfactory grunt. All of a sudden, he was reminded of his problem. This caused much agitation. He wondered if precious time was already being lost and whether it will be too late soon enough. Now he remembered. The whitey Big-un had told him once that the pests have to be killed as soon as they turn up or else they will breed and take over the house.

He kicked himself as to why he had to eat the water-melon seeds. He looked at one of the melons in the kitchen and compared its size with himself. The lemons lying next to it looked much smaller. He could easily see a big melon tree growing from his stomach and eventually branching out of his head. He was depressed with the prospects of having to walk with a treetop for a head for the rest of his life. He wasn’t sure whether it will come out of his head or his ears, though. He thought about it and established that it must first come out of his ears. This brought him to a shocking realization - Whitey must have eaten some seeds as well.

He was concerned for Whitey. He went up to him and warned him. Whitey laughed at him as well. He was embarrassed and told himself never to talk to a Big-un ever again. But he did tell Whitey that he was going to drink some pesticide to prevent the tree from taking over the house and that Whitey was welcome to join him.

This brought about the silence he expected. He must have impressed the Big-uns with his intelligence. It was about time that they showed him the respect that he deserved. There was a lot of shouting and yelling. Whitey was towering over the original Big-un who was cowering away. He chuckled – The Big-uns were so funny. He reckoned that if everybody was so afraid of Whitey then it might not be so bad to have some tree branches peeking out of his own ears as well.

Amid the commotion, he stole another cookie from the table and ate it. He patted his tummy and fell asleep.

PS – The term Big-un was originally coined by William Golding in the book “Lord of the Flies”.