I didn’t really know him, I’ll say that part first. I just didn’t like his vibe. He was so full of himself, he was successful and I was jealous of it. He got away with a lot of things. There was one time he insisted that a bunch of people back off when he was getting in a taxi with this very drunk-

“We’re not interested in the why. We don’t want a fucking history lesson. We want to know how you-”

Right, right, sorry officer, yes. Well, it was fairly easy once I’d set my mind on it. See, that’s the thing about me. Once I set my mind on something, I can do it really well. Except speak up when something makes me uncomfortable, like this interrogation. …

I had lived in relative peace for the last 6 years. I found a nice house with an attached garage and loft apartment, got married a few months after I moved in and I now happily spend my days escorting an enthusiastic 4-year old to the local ShopRite to buy too much ice cream and not enough vegetables. …

An automated solar lawnmower finds a new source of energy.

There are these tall stalks that grow in my orchard, spiky and colored at the top with a fiery hue. In their vicinity is where I find my sustenance. Thin, flimsy reeds without the color of fire that taste deeply of perfume and surprisingly contain, it feels, the light and warmth of the midday sun within them. I eat the reeds so the fiery stalks may grow unhindered.

I tread through the orchard, mild in my step, but I am sharp in the way that I find them.

On a fortuitous evening, I was making my way through reed after reed, happily munching away. I had seen one of the giants of the orchard pick a thick stalk with a flower atop it, wince in pain as a thorn pricked them. Unbeknownst to me, a drop fell onto the reed I was consuming, making a small red stain. When I absorbed it, I had to hold myself — it was different from anything I had before. The fragrance, the salt! I was obsessed. I must have more of this reed. I hungrily ate away at all the reeds nearby, trying to find that same flavor again but it was in vain. The spot! I searched throughout the orchard for other reeds of the same kind — with a red spot. I did not find any. …


Saurya Velagapudi

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