01 March, 2009
The Hunt : Honour Regained
“As time goes by” wafted up to my ears from the ancient Steinway Grand. It surprised me as Sam had been told never to play it. looking up I saw her as she walked into my bar. "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world she walks into mine " She looked just the same as she did in my memory. The last I had seen her was in Paris, when the Germans wore grey and she had worn blue.
Sam never played this tune when she was away, but now he did and she silently acknowledged it. The cool eyes glacial from earlier suddenly became a warm grey and shone as they rested on Sam. His black face split into a smile as the tune tapered off. “Play it again Sam” said she…
I lit a cigarette and through the curling smoke spiral Bogey in black & white stared at me from the mirror behind the bar.
Something was wrong with the tune now as Rick Blaine ( me ??? ) with his saturnine expression looked back at the mirror with the trademark tiny crease on the wide brow… Ilsa too turned ..It was a persistent buzzing sound.
Znnnnnnhmmm went the drone. The Jerries would never attack Morrocco or would they, and as this thought flew thru my head processing the next course of action I felt the sting. I brushed it away. This is the irony of my life, just as she walks into my life again and I see her face it fogs into fuzziness. Znnnnnhmmmm again the sound and again a sharp sting. Ilsa faded away and my eyes fluttered open to a dark room. As the eyes adjusted to the dark, she was lightly snoring beside me but the Znnnnnhmmmm sound persisted. My hand furiously scratched the place where I felt the sting. It itched gloriously now and the scratching had a rasping sound and gave such exquisite relief, almost pleasurable.Why aren’t you sleeping? The voice of my wife came out of the sleeping form beside me and my world suddenly opened out in technicolor.
It was a dream and not a bullet from a German gun. A pesky mosquito who had not only stung me but also taken me away from Ingrid Bergman, just when she was within my grasp. The wife murmured something about me dreaming again of Ingrid and turned her back and started snoring lightly.
Hot rage hit my head at the pesky mosquito who in a flash had converted this situation from the gloriously momentous to the absolutely ridiculous. I am gonna get him or them. Dharamendra from Sholay got into me : “Chun Chun ke maarunga” ( Individually would select each blighter and annihilate him ) and the hunt began. Patiently my eyes sought out all the possible spaces where the villain was likely to be sitting with his posterior full of my life giving fluid. In my heightened state of aggravation I thought that the pest has exhibited no respect even for my blood. He stores it in his ass for crissakes. I am going to definitely get him & then spotted him.
He was resting on the handle of my wardrobe bobbing his tail up and down. What did he think it was, a bottle of guava nectar that carried a line “shake well before you pour”, that he needed to do that? Irritation mounting I allowed him to settle down. His butt jig finished, the pest had achieved a state of perfect repose. This was a hunt reminiscent of the greatest of the safari’s . Let no one fool you that hunting mosquitoes is easy. It’s an art form as I was going to amply demonstrate to all beginners. I could just as easily have sprayed him with Baygon or some such chemical. But principally I am against chemical warfare. The battle had to have honour. Mano-O-Mosquito ( can’t say man to man can I? ) one on one, it had to be this way. He had drawn first blood and thought the battle was over. Silly guy. Today he would know who he was dealing with, unfortunately for him this learning would come to him in the very last moments of his life. These thoughts running in my mind, I closed in on him. The mosquito was sitting on the slim long steel handle of the wardrobe and I could not use the wide handed smack. The approach needed to be absolutely subtle, no shadow to be disturbed no wind to be cut in the swipe. This was a truly profound battle strategy, the Art of War, in the best traditions of Sun Tzu.
I curled the fingers of my right hand into the palm and stretched out the middle finger, long and straight out. The gesture universal in its understanding was to be used as a battle weapon. It was fitting. Anyone who separates me from my Ilsa, to be murmured and snored at ignonimously after the awakening, was a grave slight on my honour. The weapon not only had to finish him but strip him of his pride hence the middle finger.
Closing in down, swiftly sent the weapon like a lance & cleaved through the enemy in a splash of blood. Success in a single swipe, this was pure class. Seeing the pesky one squashed against my middle finger was sweet retribution. Honour was regained and proudly I returned puffed up back to bed. The wife turned over put her arm across me and murmured in my ear.."had your fun, now go back to sleep, one of these days you will break the finger, it has its uses too you know darling.Sleep. Now okay?"..Snrrrrr went the sound in my ears as the eyes started to close.