Saturday, January 06, 2007


Hello reader,

This is possibly the first time I have not been able to think of a suitable topic for this piece. Needless to say it is one more in my 'Slice of Life' series, but somehow I invested too much emotion in it to summarize it with a few words as a title. Some help and suggestion would be appreciated.

Thank you.


HIS VOICE IS BURIED in the cacophony and chaos that envelopes the crowded street. Everyone in the world seems to be taking a walk on that mile long narrow strip of cobble stones and a thousand songs. He looks around impatiently hoping that his smile will make a passer by pause. Hoping that the wait will translate into a vision that can see what he has created. The immaculate seeming version of his latest idea. The product of various anxious long nights with his sweat, blood and tears in them. He continues to request strangers to have just one look at his work. All he wants them to do is glance at it before walking away. Never to be remembered after that one fleeting moment. He watches as his neighbors do brisk business. Selling their wares and flipping through their collections in greedy guffaws. His silence is all he has to show for the sting of jealousy and anguish that burns in the pit of his stomach.

‘They are not better than me,’ he says to himself ‘yet they seem to get all the good ones every day. Those thieves. They steal ideas and reproduce them. Mine are all mine. Just mine…’

His thoughts are interrupted by another passer by. He notices a stray visitor spending more than one second at his corner. He rushes to her with his enchanting smile all the time greeting and encouraging her to come closer.

‘Come mem sa’ab. Please come’ he says with his arm ending in an open palm pointing towards his dusty little hole in the wall.

‘Original work, mem sa’ab. My own work mem sa’ab. Not duplicate mem sa’ab, Hard work mem sa’ab’ he continues with an honest tone in his young voice that ejects out of his humble smile.

The female visitor stares emotionlessly from behind her sunglasses. He cannot make out what she is thinking without getting a look at her eyes. Her sun burnt face seems to get set for a faint smile when a loud distraction breaks her focus.

‘Half the price mem sa’ab! Original quality! 200% genuine!’ shouts one of his neighbors trying to persuade her away from the young man.

‘Please mem sa’ab,’ the boy continues clinging to hope ‘those are all duplicates mem sa’ab. This is an original piece. I worked on it for a whole week mem sa’ab. I cut my hands doing it mem sa’ab’ he says flourishing a few healing cuts on his palms.

The visitor suddenly frowns and moves away from him in unhidden disgust. His neighbors laugh at his sad attempt at trying to share his story with a stranger. He watches in silence as she hops along to the next hole in the wall, and studies the goods there with equal concentration.

He hides his aching palms from the view of the world and looks back at his latest creation. It seems to smile back at the beads forming in his eyes.

‘Don’t worry,’ it seems to say ‘your day will come. Don’t worry.’

He quickly wipes his hopeful eyes with the sleeves of his long shirt and sniffs a fresh gulp of life into himself.

‘Original quality sa’ab! Genuine work sa’ab! Did not steal sa’ab! Excellent piece sa’ab!’ he continues to yell out at passers by with a smile that hides it all so well.


3 reflections:

ShaluuBhucchar said...

The Original
The Original Copy
The cuts in my hands

My favored suggestion? "Cuts..." depicts how badly it hurts and the cuts on the boy's hands.

This is a beautifully written piece at the end. I got a little lost in the beginning. But the end brought the same tiny beads to my eyes.

And that's the makings of a good story :)

Good luck.

Samba said...

Simple but extremely poingnant portrayal of the pangs of creative disgust.

Here's my suggestion

"Journeyman Starved on Black Friday".

Black Friday might come as a surprise. The mening is as follows. Black friday is when the thanksgiving sale happens in the US. Every things is sold at rock bottom prices. This mentality of the 'market' to seek deals starves this creative artist.

shakri said...

Thank you very much for your kind comments Shaluu and Samba. I like the suggestions. 'The Original Copy' was an interesting one. I might sleep on it for a while. I wanted a title that does not have the word 'Cuts' since that part of the story is a surprise - as you read it. I like the word 'Journeyman' so I might consider using that as well.

Your feedback is truly appreciated.