Eraser

Nchum wanted to steal an eraser. That particular emotion silently steamed as he gazed down on a pencil scrambled word in his notebook. Two sticks for every mistake you make, his teacher had said before they started writing an essay on ‘My Dreams for the Future’. Nchum licked a finger and started to rub the mistake out. It turned into an ugly dark blotch near a solitary preposition.

“Alright, that’s enough! Bring your work one by one. You,” Nchum’s heart skipped a beat, “Bring me your notebook.”

The kid sitting two desks in front stood up and nervously walked toward the teacher. His face was unnaturally pale given his light brown complexion. He placed the notebook on the teacher’s table.

“So, ummmm…..A boxer huh?” The teacher mumbled to himself as his eyes scanned the notebook uninterested. There was a dilation in his pupils.

“I told you didn’t I?” he turned to the kid. “Two sticks for every mistake you make.” He licked his lips. “Turn around and face the wall.”

The teacher brandished a thin cane – which he called ‘Excalibur’ – and rained down six rapid burst on the kids poor butt. Pat,pat,pat,pat,pat,pat.

The kid had a lone silver slanting snot dangling, and tears were streaming down his face by the time he returned to his seat. Nchum uncomfortably squirmed – his butt cheeks clenching – watching the scene. His small heart palpitated like the rapid sound Excalibur made in a rhythmic trance. Pat,pat,pat,pat . . .

Time seemed to move faster then the second hand clock in their classroom, which was infinitely ticking away running on half chewed batteries. Finally it was Nchum’s turn to walk up to the scaffold. He deliberately slowed down his walking pace, but of course how long did he think that would delay the inevitable? Time seemed to move faster.

The last scene he saw before he started to cry was the sharp rolled cuff of his teacher. He looks like a bartender, a random thought flashed inside his head as something wosshed down from above. Patpatpatpat.

#

The soft sensation after the stick left an amazing numbness. He ran a hand over his butt, quite sure that by now you could almost practise cursive writing on it.

It was break and all the other students had left the classroom. Either playing outside or – most probably only that. What do kids ever do but play? Or spent the rest of their other time wanting to play?

But sometimes they get other urges. A dark spot in their small universe(s).

Nchum had always noticed the girl who sat beside him was not as bright as she looked. She had very little to no friends, as loyalties in friendship change like diapers in their kingdom. She was always the last man whenever they lined up for lunch. The last to submit her homework. She had wet herself the week before – unable to speak up that she needed to go to the bathroom. The whole classroom was entertained. She stuttered like a pop song when their teacher asked her why she hadn’t asked for permission.

What mostly tempted Nchum was that she owned a Barbie themed school box filled to the brim with stationary. That particular observation was not new, it was something he had always noticed everyday, but now a new possibility came into realization inside his head and attached itself to it. Astronaut Barbie waved and smiled at him beneath Achumi’s desk.

He went over and opened up the contents of the box. Two huge, white Apsara erasers shone at him like flashlights from beneath, coupled with two mechanical pencils with bountiful refill, and a unsharpened traditional hexagonal wood pencil.

Astronaut Barbie found a new home in Nchum’s school bag that day.

#

To Nchum, the thought of getting caught was as foreign as Europeans venturing outside of their continent. He slept peacefully that night, hell, even with hint of pride and contend. No dreams, no nothing. Just deep sleep.

Nchum went early to class the next day. The enthusiasm and adrenaline from yesterday had died down, and the fact that he had stolen someone’s School box was nearly forgotten. The regularity of his everyday classroom scene also cajoling him into completely erasing that fact. The bell announcing the start of first period rang aloud. Everyone quickly settled down in their seats.

The classroom was quite, the only sound that swept was a low murmur which gradually seemed to increase. A few minutes passed and still there was no sign of their teacher. No one in the classroom could care less, and none one in the classroom had caught on on Achumi’s empty seat. As for Nchum, he had noticed both, and oh boy was it a deadly combination. The realization and implications of his act yesterday surfaced like thin vapours. Slow steam of dread and fear.

The door to their classroom sprang open. His teacher walked in brandishing Excalibur, with Achumi following behind like an obedient squire. He set the cane down and sat half-butt on the table. Achumi stood frozen, unsure of how to react. Nchum was frozen too, staring at Excalibur and his teacher’s sharp rolled cuffs. Astronaut Barbie smiled inside his bag.

The teacher clear his throat in a sigh.

“I am disappointed in you lot. Never in my five years of teaching have I encountered an incident so low as this. You may not be aware but I pride myself in my teaching and even more so when it is reflected on my very own students.”

Nchum couldn’t care less what his teacher was going on about, he was so rattled he did not even register a single word his teacher had been saying. His stomach somersaulted and sumo wrestled.

“But of course, what can I expect from you? How can I expect you to understand what I am trying to convey? After all, you’re all just snotty little brats.” His teacher scoffed, picked up Excalibur and twirled it around his fingers.

“What I want from you, is honesty. Completely honesty. I want you to be really honest and tell me who stole Achumi’s pencil box yesterday. Complete honesty here. Come now, hurry up.”

The then silent classroom followed a pronouncing of innocence and shock, ‘I didn’t steal anything’, ‘check my bag. . .’ and some other statements along that line. The snippet of ‘check my bag’ was what brought Nchum back to his senses and assess the gravity of the situation. He knew in his guts that he was toast; the canning from his teacher, the shame, the guilt, his mom’s beating. Things would never be the same anymore; he will be forever tattooed a thief.

Inside the classroom, Nchum was not the only one in despair. Achumi had never in her life been ogled by that many pair of eyes. She flashed back to last weeks incident. She began to cry softly, not out of shame but the poor girl was just overwhelmed.

“Quiet down!” The teacher gave a sigh. No one noticed but he was honestly really tired; the dark circles around his wrinkled eyes, the patchy stub for a beard, his book yellowed shirt, all was a subtle reminder that no child in the class room could pick up on.

Nchum looked at his teacher; his stomach still unsure whether it was a wrestling arena or an organ. His heartbeat, a cool Trance.

“I’ll give you till the end of the day. You either give back the pencil box to Achumi or you bring it to me when no one is around. Don’t worry, I wont reveal your identity or punish you. You know yourself.” Saying that the teacher took his seat and told the sobbing Achumi to take her’s too. And so she did. And so did everyone. If you had listened closely, the sigh that the students let out almost resembled a tyre being deflated.

#

In the end, Achumi found Astronaut Barbie inside her bag, smiling at her almost as if she never left. Achumi was glad, Nchum was relieved, and their teacher was both. He had gambled you see, if the thief had been smart enough he could have just hid the box or disposed off it and no one would ever know. No one was going to check no one’s bag (at least not till he was pressured by Achumi’s mother.). Or it could have been that the thief had already disposed off the box keeping the contents. Anything was possible, but he still gambled. Because deep down the teacher knew that none of the kids he taught had a speck of dark spot in their hearts. And he intended to keep it that way.

Snot Bubble

“It’s called a snot bubble alarm,” He said, scratching a red patch on his neck with his dirty nails.

“How do you make one?” The rookie asked.

He a grin spread over his face on seeing the rookie’s confusion,having expected that question.

“It’s easy,” He began with an air of authority and with a certain pleasure derived from it, “First you think hard, as hard as you can. Say you want to wake up at five in the morning, then you think of that number, Five – nothing else, for five minutes. And mind you, I say five minutes because I can do it in five but you may have to try harder. Might even take you a whole hour since you’re still a new, random character.” He said and bursts out into an uncontrollable laughter.

The rookie felt slighted, he swallowed hard and scoffed. “So you were saying?”

“Oh yes, yes, as I was saying, think of the time when you want to wake up, as hard as you can. After you’re done with that, comes the easy part. Make sure you have a runny nose when you do it, make sure it is thick enough to inflate and deflate as you breathe and even if you can’t do that, don’t worry. You’re a stupid character so I’m sure you’ll just get one anyway. Ha!” He broke into one of his laughters that took two or three panels to die down.

He eventually did and rubbed a tear from the corner of his eyes.

“If you follow all the things I’ve said then you’ll surely be able to make a Snot Bubble Alarm that pops and wakes you up at your convenience.”

He spread a stupid grin on his face after finishing his tutorial. A vein popped on the rookies forehead. The guy he was talking to had fifty seven chapters of experience, while he, our rookie, had been introduced in the plotline only three chapters ago.

The rookie quickly gave his thanks and headed to his spot, four panels away to the bottom. He jumped and passed through scenes and dialogues, once hitting his face on a big ‘!’ hanging in the air.

“Be careful” someone had commented.

He reached his panel and set himself down to apply what he had learned. He thought hard, for about a minute or so, and was quickly asleep with a snot bubble inflating and deflating as he breathed.

Stupid characters do pull it off easily.

The next panel was small. It showed the snot bubble of the rookie- transparent with a small whitish gleam on it. Two panels from where the rookie slept the snot bubble suddenly bursts.

Next page. Top panel. The rookie is weary eyed with fashioned bags under. He looks at the digital alarm clock drawn inside the room. It blinks steadily at 5:00. He yawns, moving on to the next panel.

Little Boys

Rieneir wanted to spent some time alone. Away from his mother telling him to clean his room before Mr Rabbot arrived, away from his father inviting him to leaf up a tobacco roll, away from his little sister nagging him to play tarot; away from all people. The reason for his sudden feeling for the need of seclusion was because of a)even if Mr Robbot arrived they were not going to entertain him in his room for christsake b) nor did he like the smell of tobacco, c) and he felt was too old to play with his little sister anymore but most importantly d) he wanted to spent time with me.

He escaped to the place only he knew. His secret base. But don’t let Rieneir know that I told you. He is touchy about this kind of things, he may consider himself a grown up but to the rest of the world he was only a young boy of twelve.

I am his uncle. His secret base is my room behind little Rieneir’s closet. Only little Rieneir and I know about this place, nobody else, not even his parents or his sister.

One of these days i might invite her too.

He comes to me whenever he wants to be comforted. And I do that quite well, he likes spending time with me and I like spending time with him.

Oh, little boys, full of tender youth. How I love little boys.

Paranoid: Killing my DoG. Short Story .

I woke up at 10 today and I’m bored. He has nothing to do. I have nothing to do. I realise holidays are such a bore. You’re so free you don’t want to do anything. Is it just me?

I know you too have those thoughts. I think i’ll kill my dog. I wonder how’d that go; Wringing the life out of that ball of happiness.

Keeper would never see it coming. He’d just come wagging his tail if i call out to him. Blind faith that. We love that shit don’t we?

Then i’d pin him down. Gently at first, then steadily, then slowly slide a sturdy grip on his neck. I’m sure his tongue would be out and his black eyes penetrating your soul.

So black and so innocent and so full of trust. Blind faith, i love that shit.

But will he know when my friendly grip on his neck turn doubtfully strong?

Will he still trust when it finally becomes abnormally hard to breathe?

Will he doubt?

Will he bark?

Will he cry?

And god forbid will it try to bite me as it gaspses for a drag of empty air?