How clear is the sky today. He thought. As he watched. Through the window pane.
Two stars. One bigger. Other brighter. So far away. Yet. He was definite.
He had been staring for long.
When had he watched the evening sky last? As he was today. Are those two stars there everyday?
He was speaking to himself. His village. The pond. Rice fields. Blue sky. Tall coconut trees. Swinging in a storm. His childhood.
His father. A big strong man. His mother. A frail, very fair woman.
No more. Both of them.
He stared again. Blue sky. Two stars.
A beep beep broke the quietness. Cell phone. On charge. By his bed.
He did not bother. It was midnight. He knew.
It was his son. Wishing him on his seventieth birthday. From his office.
Where it is still Yesterday.
News spreads fast. And it spreads like wildfire. When a king wishes it to spread.
All the king’s men and horses came. To see the tiger’s corpse. Placed in a green field. Vast.
No one was to come close. For the king and the queen stood. By the slain tiger. The king. Rifle in one hand. The queen’s palm in the other.
They cheered. The king’s men and his horses. And how weird. They cheered by shouting their name. Like a roll call.
For the King must know. That all his men and his horses had come. To see his kill.
The king was a kind man. He had abolished death sentence of his citizens. He had a soft heart. So his men and horses said.
As his men and his horses cheered, the city lunatic shouted.
‘But the King did not kill?’ ‘But the king did not kill?’
All heads turned. In eerie silence.
The king was a kind man. He smiled and asked ‘ City lunatic, what makes you say?’
City lunatic clapped. Clapped. Turned round and round. ‘ But the King did not kill.’ ‘But the king did not kill.’
And then he suddenly stopped. And looked straight at the king and said ‘ Because kind men do not kill. And because, one shooter did not come today. He is absent. Sick. At home they say. Rest is common sense.’
And he turned round and round and sang ‘But the king did not kill.’ ‘But the king did not kill’. And stopped. ‘Common Sense.’
Next day. All the King’s men and his horses came. To witness the first execution after almost a decade.
The King had decided. To kindly eliminate. The only lunatic among his many sane men and his many horses.
The shooter recovered after a prolonged illness. He was promoted as under-assistant Chef. And he learned cooking for the rest of his life. In the kitchen.