A Parade of Almost Kings

Everyone is out in the streets. Their noses point skywards as they stand in complete stillness. A parade of almost-statues looking intently at the thunder clouds over their heads.

They call it the Crying Father, a rain cloud that gathers above the desert town of Mabi once every ten years. When it pours, it rains for ten days in a row. And in that time, lakes are revived, rivers flow and the town swirls into a festive whirl.

But what everyone is waiting for is the Crying Father’s first drop. The first drop of rain is a permanent neon pink. Whoever it falls on is the new ruler of the town. The Crying Father’s mandate they call it.

The rain washes away the neon pink of the previous ruler and anoints a new chosen one for a ten year rule.

With this odd process many random candidates have been chosen. A three year old girl, a cat and even a car. Still, the mandate is absolute and it has always worked out for the best.

The Crying Father cracks his first thunder and a nervous energy fills the air. Who will be his new son?

A streak of lightning creeps across the sky serpentine. And in its wake another thunderclap trails.

And there it is, the first drop. An unmistakable neon falling towards the ground. Plop.

It lands on Cho, the town’s madman. The people look at each other uneasily as he lets out a victorious roar.

Duy, the elder, slowly claps and everyone follows suit. Soon, the mood is lifted and their uncertainty buried, if Crying Father has chosen it must be right!

Then the next drop, strangely, also neon pink falls onto Paupai the dog. Then another dash of pink on Biwa the carpenter.

The streets are quiet, confused.

With a final boom from the heavens, Crying Father unleashes upon the town a torrent of pink.

Everyone drenched in the ruler’s pink, stay motionless unsure of how they should act.

Then, Apai the hairdresser reaches into his pouch and tightens his grip around his scissors.

Then, Chowa the cook retreats into the kitchen for her knives.

Then, Moli the child scurries into the cracks of the ruined walls.


Stories at 90km/h (sometimes 0km/h)

is a series where I free-write on my train rides.

Rule #1: It stops the moment I exit the train.

Rule #2: No editing or adding on after the ride.

Expect half-finished things on most days and very finished things on days when the train breaks down