He was an abominable, pitiable and lecherous man who transported himself into any piece of poetry or prose he read. He was nearing forty, but all sense of responsibility still eluded him; flew away like a muse that can’t be trapped. He got some cheap sexual thrill when he read anything, and that instinct made him retreat into someone primal or base, and sucking on his thumb or playing with his balls, he’d feel some sickening delight. But cheap thrills are drugs, giving you nirvana before plunging you into a hellish pit of drama. And having regressed for the umpteenth time, he’d then resort to theatrics. He’d gather his friends, point to some author’s prose, and scream, “She had me in mind when she wrote this! That bitch!” And then soaked with jealousy, hate and sick fetishes, with a wet thumb and a wetter other thumb, with his saggy paunch, man-tits and a face that snarled, he’d counter on some obscure blog, thinking the established author will read and give a damn. He’d write something pseudo-mystical with an undercurrent of his idiocy running through it – ditchwater of sewer rat corpses and shit. And then imagining that the author countered him again in her next book, he’d regress further and babble about integrity and respecting the ‘fine contours’ of art. I tried talking him out of it, saying, “The author constructs out of things that shape her imagination and her life, and how can someone who doesn’t even acknowledge your existence write about you? Think man!” But he cut me short by cutting the call. He’s probably still sucking on his thumb and playing with his dick. But I stopped calling him a long time ago.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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