Saving The World, One Clean Vegetable At A Time

on Posted by Rajesh J Advani
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A: So, you are sure about this.
B: Yup.
A: Really.
B: Yup.
A: Writing a comic-book is how you want to begin your career in the literary world.
B: Yup.
A: Okay. Whatever you say.
B: Hey, I'm not kidding. I can draw pretty well. And write a bit.
A: And you won't have to worry about grammar as much.
B: Exactly!
A: But do you have a basic theme for the comic-book?
B: I've thought about that a bit, and I've decided to do a superhero comic-book.
A: Superhero?
B: Yup.
A: Isn't that a little old? I mean almost every kind of super-hero has already been done twice over. What kind of superhero would you create?
B: Oh, I had a couple of ideas about that. But I think I'm going to go with "Mr Clean".
A: Mr Clean?
B: Yup. He turns into a sponge whenever something gets dirty.
A: A sponge?
B: Yup. A big yellow sponge.
A: Umm...
B: And his secret identity will be Robert Bleach.
A: Robert Bleach?
B: Yup. Of course, this comic-book will be targeted at housewives.
A: I think you're a little late with your idea. There already is a sponge called Bob.
B: Really?
A: Yes. And he's not exactly a superhero.
B: Hunh? What a waste of sponge!
A: Right.
B: Well, my other idea was Spinach Man.
A: Spinach Man?
B: Yes. He gets his super strength from spinach.
A: I think they've done that too.
B: That too?
A: Yes. It was very long ago. You know, I think you need to stop thinking about sponges and vegetables.
B: Oh. So you think Captain Celery won't make a good superhero?
A: Oh I'm sure he will. But I just think that your idea is a little ahead of its time.
B: Yeah, me too.
A: Maybe you need to think more in terms of special powers that can be used to save the world, you know?
B: Now that's a very good idea!
A: I know.
B: Hmmm. Let me think. Hey! I got one!
A: What is it?
B: I could write about Writer Boy!
A: Writer Boy? I thought you were writing a superhero comic book.
B: Yes, and that's the name of my superhero. Writer Boy!
A: And what does he do exactly?
B: He saves the world from evil villains by arriving at the scene, and writing a happy ending.
A: Ah.
B: It's a fantastic idea, isn't it? Just imagine. The evil villain plants a bomb on a bus, and tries to trigger it off by remote control from his hideout.
A: I'm listening.
B: Writer Boy appears on the scene and saves the day by writing a happy ending where the battery on the remote control receiver of the bomb dies, and the people get off the bus safe and sound!
A: Ah. Sounds interesting.
B: Didn't I tell you? I'm going to make millions!
A: I'm sure you will. But every superhero has a weakness. What will your hero's weakness be?
B: That's a good question. A superhero isn't a superhero if he doesn't have a weakness. Hmmm. I know! Writer's Block!
A: I don't think you can use Writer's block as a weakness for a super hero. It needs to be something that the evil villain can use.
B: Good point. Ah yes! His weakness will be broccoli!
A: Broccoli?
B: Yes. Writer Boy can't stand broccoli. It makes him nauseous, and he can't control the ending. Writer Boy gets into a bad mood, and could write any sort of ending if he comes too close to broccoli.
A: You know, broccoli is actually very good for you.
B: You sound like my mom.
A: I am your mom.
B: Ah. I thought you looked familiar.
A: You know, I think you should go get ready, or you'll be late for school.
B: But I told you, I don't want to go to school. I don't need to! I'm going to write a comic-book!

When Harry Met...

on Posted by Rajesh J Advani
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It's one of those seedy pubs - the kind where you get drunk on the alcohol fumes, and get cancer on the passive smoking. The kind where the floors are wet with spilled beer - sometimes spilled on its way into a drunk, or as is the case more often, on its way out. Customers here tend not to get remembered when they return. It could be the whiskey. Or it could be the fact that it's difficult to recognize a man who has spent most of his time in the bar lying on his face.

At one corner of the bar, a man sits alone, staring at the empty glass an inch from his eyes, his wallet empty. He's hoping that any moment now someone will walk into the pub and shout "I got promoted today! One round of drinks for everyone, on me!"

Well, he's allowed to hope, isn't he?

He wears a somewhat loose black t-shirt, apparently hand-embroidered with pink, orange and lavender colored threads. The letters on the back of the T-shirt say K.I.S.A.

The only thing that separates this drinker from the rest of the riff-raff in the pub, is that his t-shirt looks clean. Washed, anyway.

A random drinker approaches the bar for a refill. He looks like a stockbroker who may have lost a few million today. He's not been drinking too long, so unfortunately for himself, he's still relatively sober. Relatively, of course, being the operative word. He notices our K.I.S.A. friend sitting alone in his corner.

"Heeeeeeeey!" he says to the man in the t-shirt, swaying as he speaks.

The man in the t-shirt turns slowly to look at him, as if half asleep. He nods.
Encouraged, the stockbroker sits down on the barstool next to his.

"Mind if I... ssssh-sit here withhhhhh... you?" he asks. In a short while speech will become more difficult - which will allow him to concentrate on his drink. But for now he's feeling chatty.

"No," comes the reply.

"Gooooood-d!" says the stockbroker as he sits down, and smiles widely. "My name is... is... Harry!" he shouts, and extends his hand. The shouting wasn't necessary, but it feels good to exercise the vocal chords.

The man in the t-shirt doesn't bother with replying or extending his own hand, and goes back to staring at his glass.

Harry shakes hands with the air, and says "Nic-sh-c-sh-e to meet you!"

The man in the t-shirt doesn't seem to feel the same.

Harry looks at the letters on the t-shirt and says "Naai... Niiiice embra... em-bra... embryo... em-bar-dery... colours!"

At this, the man in the t-shirt turns to him and says "Thank you. I did it myself."

"Gooooood!" says Harry, and smiles even wider. His smile is the kind that reminds one of the story of the man who smiled so much, that the top of his head fell off.

"What doesh... K-K-Kaaaay... Aaaaiii... Esssssshhh-ssh-sss... Aaaay... What'shit shtand forrr?"

"Knight In Shining Armour."

"Kniiight?" asks Harry.

"Yes," says the knight.

"Then where ish... your... your... horshe?"

"I hired him out to a man in Manhattan. He gives people joyrides around Central Park."

"Annnd the sh-sh-shiningggg arrrmour?"

"Gave it to a guy who needed a costume for a party."


"That too. But it's okay. I nailed the hilt to the scabbard."

"But ww-w-w-why?"

"Because I'm out of a job and it was the only way I could think of getting my hands on some money."

"No jobbbb?"

"Nope. None at all."

"Thaaat shucksh!" says Harry, and pats the knight on the shoulder. "Get ano... ano... another onne!"

The knight looks Harry in the eye and says "Do you know how hard it is for a knight to get a decent job these days?"

"No," says Harry simply.

"Well, the last dragons died in 1572."

"No drrrragons?"

"No. The knights of that time had no understanding of the delicately balanced nature of the ecology. They killed them all!"

"No drrraggonsss... Go to Chinatown!" says Harry happily.

The knight decides to ignore him. "And you should see the women these days! They don't even need us anymore!"

"They don't?" asks Harry. The thought of women not needing men sobers him up a little.

"Of course not. They want to be independent now! They have jobs!"

"Mmmm," says Harry as he runs his tongue over his teeth. "Must be the chicken," he thinks.

"I nearly had a heart attack when I found out that they're actually learning self-defense!"

Harry nods vigorously. He wishes someone had told him a little earlier, though.

"I mean, women and self-defense? What do they think knights are for? Playing chess?"

"Hmmmm," says Harry. He wonders why playing chess at night is not a good idea.

"I was walking down a street the other day," continues the knight. Without my mask on, looking for a job as usual, when the most wonderful sight caught my eye. There was this drunk-looking man shouting at a woman who was passing by."

"'Ah!' I had thought. 'Finally a something to do!' I'd planned to rescue the woman from the drunk. Maybe she'd fall in love with me. Maybe she'd offer to make me dinner. If nothing else, maybe she'd offer me some money!"

"Ah," said Harry wisely.

"So, I stepped into a shop to put my mask on. I have my secret identity to protect, after all. But by the time I stepped back out, what did I see?"

"Whhhaaat?" asks Harry, in suspense.

"The drunk was lying on the ground on his stomach, the woman had her knee pressed against his back, and was twisting his arm behind him!"

"Ah," says Harry. He makes a mental note to stay away from any women after he leaves the bar.

"It's as if there is no purpose to my life anymore!"

"Ah," says Harry.

"Stop it with the 'Ah's already. And what are you staring at?"

"Niiiice em-brai-drrree."