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At Least Once

by Sri Ram

 

According to Tharani, anything should be tried at least once. Anything really means “any damn thing.”

Even now, in that pungent-smelling, faintly-painted, never-maintained 3rd-grade lodge, he had promptly made his presence only to try “that.” Needless to say, that was his first time.

From Bidi to Cigar, Beer to Marijuana, he had tried everything—except sex—up until now.

To try anything at least once in the only one life that we have got, was the only lesson he picked up quickly from the many lessons that his father had taught him as long as he was alive. In order to support his preaching, his father had also carefully explained to Tharani that culture, tradition, purity, are all concepts created for the human race by the human race and of the human race. Deep inside, there is nothing more than desire.

When Tharani entered the Single Room, Broker Sekar came behind.

“What kind are you looking for, Ustad?” Sekar said.

Though he only came for it, Tharani was not sure how to put across what he wanted, in simple words, to Sekar. That’s when he realized he was not even sure, what he wanted.

“Someone beautiful . . .” Tharani swallowed the rest.

But that was more than enough for Sekar to understand. After all, he was a professional.

“Once you have come to me, you will come back again and again to me. That is the kind of service I give, Ustad. I will send you someone,” he said.

“OK,” Tharani said.

He filled Sekar’s pocket with four 500-rupee notes.

As Sekar moved out of the room, Tharani undid his shirt and pants and kept them hanging inside the cupboard. He wore a lungi and took his right hand inside and pulled out his brief.

For a moment, he held it close to his nose. He always liked the aroma of his own genitals. He then kicked it under the double cot bed.

Then he sat on the corner of the bed and switched on the TV, using the remote.

A young girl who covered herself in hijab entered the room and locked the door.

Just like any other hijab, the one that she wore had left her forehead, her eyes, her hand, and her foot uncovered to tell the world that some men thought only those parts of a women’s body did not ignite men’s testosterone.

Her beautiful, petal-like fingers had thin long nails which were polished with red color. Her eyebrows were thick and dark and were properly lined. She looked so whitish that Tharani thought, Even a slight touch would make her skin go red.

“Do you Blow?” he asked.

She now turned to him and stared without words.

“I can pay you up to a thousand for that,” he assured her.

“I am so hygienic,” she said. “My dad had always taught me to try anything at least once, since life is just one.”



War

 

by Sri Ram

 

 

Recession is still on. . . .

 

My seat is not secure yet. . . .

 

Your estrogen 

is protected by 

a layer of testosterone

in the name of lovers. . . .

 

Now

I need to make a difference. . . .

 

How many wars

do I have to fight,

to win your heart?



 

Sri Ram works in the IT industry and lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He has written several novels in his native language and his works are forthcoming/have already appeared in The Magnolia Review, The Boston Literary Magazine, The Quail Bell Magazine, The Literary Yard, The Tongue (UK), StaticMovement (UK), The Inclement Poetry Magazine (UK), The Taj Mahal Review (India), Yellow Mama (US), The Recusant (UK), The Poetry Pacific, The Ascent Aspirations (US), and The Mad Swirl (US).

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