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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Hayden Affair

Lara's account
I can feel the devilish snake raise its ugly head again, a venom fills me from within. I need my pleasure drug to boost my dopamine levels. J will not hear of it. He will probably take me to another quack or a rehabilitation center, or worse still -refuse to give me a divorce.

J's account
Ever since I returned from my trip to LA, I have noticed Lara's carelessness about her personal grooming- dirty fingernails, unkempt hair, a flaky face, coupled with bouts of euphoric planning about our future together and then depressions and long stretches of sleep. Many a times, I have come home to find her snoozing with the patio door open and the cold breeze freezing the room. How much I miss the warmth of the home we had and the smell of a freshly brewed broth when I came home for dinner after a long day at work. I hope she is not on crack again. If she is, I will kill the bastard who is giving it to her.

Andy's account
The Haydens lived at Emrose Avenue, just a few blocks away from the new Carribean cuisine restaurant. Jimmy Hayden was a well known comedian and made terrific impersonations of some of our former presidents. Popular for his good humor both on and off screen; his loyalty to his friends was legendary. He was the last man on earth you'd think of seeing the name of in the lurid headlines of your morning newspaper. Maybe there is a dark, morbid humor in all of it, if only I could see it.

When Lara came home late at night, I could hardly believe what she said with her convulsive efforts to breathe. She said she had killed her husband. She showed me the gun she was carrying. I wrapped it up in a plastic bag, not sure what to do next. I asked her to rest for a while and hoped it was all a bad dream or she was on crack again and hallucinating.

It seemed like yesterday when J met Lara, an aspiring actress then. She had the face of Madonna, but her talent at acting was weak. All these years, I haven't seen more than two expressions on her face. J had great faith in her.He said she just needed her lucky break. It never came. I was the best man at their wedding and the godfather of their elder son.

I saw her sleep, but couldn't rest peacefully. I decided to visit J. I entered the front garden, the garden gnome still held its lantern. There was a huge stoneware mushroom near the vestibule. The main door was open. I had an uncomfortable feeling and entered his bedroom on the second floor almost immediately,instinctively.

J was lying on his bed, in his night pajamas, drenched in blood. He would have hated to have been seen this way. Always dressed for a dance he was. When one of the major networks cut down his airtime, thinking it was not bringing enough revenue, he stood his ground and didn't care to call back the headhunters who were wooing him for their Network TV. Soon, the channel owners saw their mistake and gave him exclusive one- hour prime time airtime. They say the least number of viewers J ever had was 4.5 million. He had dignity, that guy.

He must have been sleeping when he was shot, and still wearing his Mickey Mouse watch which he loved so much. I often teased him about it. But he said it was his first gift from his grandfather. I often asked him which time zone it displayed, and he would laugh and say, he didn't wear it to track time. I understood. But I loved to see him defend it. This and many of his idiosyncrasies made J so lovable. He was not perfect, far from it. But his imperfections drew people to him. He could crack a mean joke and he would still be loved. His practical jokes almost cost me a fortune once, but it was a good laugh.

I dialed 911 from my cellphone which seemed to be the only thing I could do. I was sitting on the stairs when the police arrived. There was a barrage of questions. I replied to what I could, wishing I could faint. When I reported Lara's narrative, I had uneasy feeling that I have made a mistake somewhere. Accompanied by some officers on the way to my house, I was at the last traffic light when I realized it was too late.

Sprawled on my Persian rug (it was a gift from the Haydens) was Lara's listless body. She had shot herself through the mouth. They found traces of alcohol, cocaine and antidepressants in her blood. She had shot him thrice- on his forehead, his chest and his forearm. Strangely enough, it was the shot in the arm that killed him. It had reentered his heart through it.

The verdict was murder/suicide.

5 comments:

Amitabha said...

Good to see a story from you after a long time.
Can't say I have liked it very much. Compared to other stories written by you earlier this one seems to have been written in a hurry, without development of the characters.
Yes, I know - it's a short story but I believe you could have made it better.

You know who said...

samajh nahi aya black and white kaun hai but nice story

you seem to have attained a new level as a writer

The story leaves you with many questions and which is gud for a short story

zoxcleb said...

intriguing to say the least... a bit depressing too.
i agree with ur dad :-)

sangram said...

Thts the kind of work I like to read... well i have no idea about the mature audience but yeah its the "like" of the eccentrics and the weird. A little bit of gore would do justice but yeah I know you will never pen down those words... keep the spirit high :)... more to come? i am waiting... :)

Surya Kannan said...

I'm Shaken! A gripping tale!! Sad saga.