Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Room 406 – a Geek, a Nerd, a Dork, and Flirty Banter

ROOM 406
Fiction Short Story  A Romance 

It is late and the bar at the Savoy in Mussoorie is almost empty.
There are just three people in the bar.
A couple, a man and a woman – probably in their thirties  sit together on a sofa. 
And on the couch just behind them sits a solitary man  unseen  in the shadows – drinking quietly
It is quite dark as the lights are dim.
In fact the lights are so dim that the man and the woman can hardly see each other’s face.
They have been drinking for quite some time.
The woman appears pleasantly drunk as she engages the man in some light-hearted banter.
She slurs loudly as she speaks. 
“She dumped you, isn’t it?” the woman says to the man, her drinking companion.  
“No. That’s not true. Leena did not dump me. It was I who left her...” the man says emphatically. 
“Come on, Anil. Do you think I don’t know everything about you two?” 
“You don’t. You know nothing. It was I who left her. I told you once – and I am telling you again! Leena did not dump me. I dumped her. I did not want to live with Leena  so I left her. Yes  it was I who dumped Leena.”  
“Don’t fib...!”  
“Fib...? Why should I fib...?”  
“Masculine pride...!”  
“Masculine pride...? What nonsense...!” 
“When a man ditches a woman she gains sympathy  but when a woman dumps a man he becomes a laughing stock, a subject of ridicule.”  
“That’s why you ran away from Bangalore after spreading false stories all around that you were the one who had split up with her  when actually it was Leena who had dumped you unceremoniously,” the woman jeers loudly. 
“Talk softly,” the man says.  
“Why? You are afraid of the truth, is it?”  
“I told you it is not true. We had our differences. And I wanted a change of job.” 
“Anil  do you know why Leena dumped you? Because you are a bloody ‘loser’. A born loser!”  
“Who told you that?”  
“She did. I will never forget what Leena told me about you. Anil  do you want to hear Leena’s exact words? Listen carefully to what she said about you: Anil is a born loser who is content to wallow in the gutter and see others climb mountains. That’s why she left you. Leena was very ambitious. She wanted to go places  she wanted to have the best things in life. She did not want to ruin her life with you  she thought you are a man with no future  a namby-pamby who has no ambition, no drive. Leena told me that you were a namby-pamby good-for-nothing geek.”  
“Namby-pamby? Good-for-nothing geek? She called me that?”  
“That’s what she told me.”  
“She told you? When? Where?”  
“Last year. In Pune. During this same annual IT Seminar. She had flown down to Pune from the America. She even presented a paper – I’m sure it was plagiarized from something you had written – or from the notes you kept giving her about your work and research.” 
“I am not interested!”  
“Leena is real smart  a real scheming bitch. She mesmerizes you with her wily charms  uses you to get ahead  and then jettisons you  just throws you away when she’s got what she’s wanted. Like toilet paper!
“You are calling me ‘Toilet Paper’?
“Shall I use a better metaphor than toilet paper?” the woman starts giggling, and says, “She treated you like a bloody pad – a sanitary napkin! Use and throw  straight into the dustbin.” 
“Shut up, will you?” the man shouts angrily, “Let’s go now. You are drunk.”
“I still remember our Bangalore days when you used to grovel at her feet  your tongue drooling like a lapdog. And now look where she’s reached – she is the hot shot CEO of a top IT company while you wallow in your self-made misery as a Nobody in some nondescript place.”  
“Please, Nanda! Let’s go,” the man says, exasperated.  
But the woman is in no mood to go – so she ignores him – and she continues talking loudly, “Leena is smart! She told me she’d managed to hook some NRI Head Honcho. He’s an American citizen too. Her life is made!”  
“Maybe, she’ll use him and dump him too!” the man says sardonically.  
“Hey! You have accepted it! You have accepted that she dumped you. I was right! That calls for a drink.”  
“No. You have already had three big bottles of beer.”  
“Who’s counting?” the woman says happily, lurching from her seat, “Okay. If I have had too much beer  now I’ll have whisky!” 
The woman picks up the man’s whisky glass  drinks the whisky bottoms up in one go  and she exclaims at the top of her voice: “Cheers! Down the hatch!”  
“What’s wrong with you?” the man scolds her, Don’t you know – Beer and Whisky – it’s risky.”  
“Risky! And frisky! I want to feel frisky.”  
“You shouldn't drink so much.”  
“Someone may take advantage of you!”  
“Ha! Maybe I want to be taken advantage of – yes – it’s been a long time since anyone took ‘advantage’ of me – come  take advantage of me,” the woman says loudly.
Then the woman snuggles up to the man, and she says to him, “Come on, Lovey-dovey. Cuddle me. Do something naughty to me  like you used to do to Leena. Remember…”  
“Shut up. Someone will hear!”  
“Come on sweetie-pie, don't be such a killjoy,” the woman says snuggling even closer, “No one will see, no one will hear. We are all alone. There is no one here!”  
“We are not alone,” the man whispers gravely, noticing the solitary figure in the shadows for the first time.
He moves close to the woman and says softly into her ear, “Don’t look behind you.”  
“Where?” the woman shouts in surprise  and she turns around.
The drunk woman sees the silhouette of the man  and she brazenly calls out to him, “Hey Mr. Eavesdropper! What are you doing sitting all alone? Come, why don’t you join us?”  
“Thanks. But it’s okay. I’m fine here,” the stranger says.  
“No! No! Come on. Have a drink with us. Don’t be a snob!” the woman shouts drunkenly.
Then the woman tries to get up and reels towards the stranger.
Seeing her swaying and lurching in an inebriated manner, the stranger quickly joins them, pulling up a chair opposite the sofa.
“I hope we have not been disturbing you,” the man says to the stranger, “We’re sorry. We thought we were all alone in the bar.”  
“Not at all!” the stranger says, “in fact, I have been enjoying your flirty banter.” 
“Flirty banter? Wow! That calls for a drink!” the woman says.  
“Certainly. My pleasure! The drinks are on me,” the stranger says.  
“That’s the spirit,” the woman roars.  
“Nanda – please  I think you have had enough to drink,” the man pleads with his woman companion.  
“I insist,” the stranger says, “just one last drink.”  
“Just one last drink!” the woman repeats drunkenly, “I’ll have whisky!”
The stranger orders a round of drinks.
The drinks arrive.
Then the stranger silently sips his drink – he seems to be quite drunk – his eyes closed – as if in stupor.
Meanwhile the flirty couple – the man and woman – Anil and Nanda – continue their flirty banter.
The woman takes a gulp of whisky, and then she says to her companion, “Anil – I am going to give you a real surprise!”  
“We’ll all go and wake up Leena!”
“Leena? She’s here? In Mussoorie?”  
“Yes, my dear. Leena is coming for the seminar too. She must have arrived in the evening when we had gone out for our romantic walk to Lal Tibba.”
“How do you know?”
“I was the one who called her for this seminar,” the woman says.
“What? You did not tell me!” the man says, totally surprised. 
“Of course not! And by the way – I have not told Leena that you would be here for the seminar. I am just waiting to see the fireworks when you two meet.” 
“I’m going back!” the man says.  
“You still desperately love her, don’t you? After all that she has done to you – Leena destroyed your life, your career – and you still love her.
“No. I am not in love with Leena.”  
You’re still scared of her, aren’t you? Tell me Anil  you are still scared of Leena, aren’t you?”  
“No. I am not scared of Leena.”  
“Then why are you afraid of facing her? Come on, Anil, be a man! Ask her why she dumped you so unceremoniously. Leena owes you a bloody explanation, doesn’t she?” 
The woman pulls the man’s hand and she lurches, “Come. We’ll go to the reception and find out in which room Leena is staying.” 
The stranger  who has been sitting silent all this while  suddenly speaks. 
“Leena is in Room 406...” the stranger says wryly.  
“Room 406...? How do you know?” the woman asks  wide-eyed  trying to focus on the stranger.  
“I am Leena’s husband,” the stranger says, matter-of-factly. 

Then the stranger keeps his glass on the table  and he silently walks out of the bar.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This story is a spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This story was written by me Vikram Karve 12 years ago in the year 2006 and earlier posted online in my creative writing blog on Feb 10, 2006 at url: http://creative.sulekha.com/banter_29171_blog  and subsequently I have posted this story a number of times in my various blogs at urls: https://vikramwkarve.wordpress.com/2007/05/18/tete-a-tete/  and http://vikramwamankarve.blogspot.in/2006_04_01_archive.html?m=0  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/01/geek-nerd-dork-and-some-flirty-banter.html and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/02/banter-flirty-romance.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/02/why-did-she-dump-me.html etc

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