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."

"Shh-shhh-shworrrd?"

"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."

14 comments:

div_viv said...

Is it coincidence, or is it deliberate that your last few posts have been made at 01:00?

I've been reading your blog for a while now(ever since i bloghopped from kumari's blog), but first time I am leaving a comment.

I like the Celestial Conversations, and loved your love stories. You should write more.

Sid said...

"niii-sh post"

Devdutt said...

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.


Dude, we wouldn't have judged you if you'd said "Strip-Club" or "Dance-Bar" without going into details :P

The Judgement, if any, might have been favorable in fact. :P

Nice Post :)

hemlyn said...

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.


Buahahahaha. Evil woman that I am, I loved this bit. Nearly spat out my tea!

Neat post.

loverBoy said...

So, back after a long time, eh? And with a theme so unusual!

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

Very funny! Liked the post a lot.

Rajesh J Advani said...

div_viv: Deliberate? No! Well, at least not really :) My posting times have been approximately around 01:00, but i actually set the time to round it off. So, it's only a little deliberate :) If I could manage to find the time, I'd happily post at a slightly more earthly hour!

Of course, I tend to actually write the posts a few days in advance and tweak them over time, so 01:00 is only the time I finally manage to post them.

And thanks for the words! Do keep coming back, and I'll cross my fingers and hope that you don't regret it :)

Sid: Thankshhh! ;)

Devdutt: Thanks :) I could definitely have used a number of different locations for the story, but I didn't think of a strip-club as a place where a half-drunk guy would try to make conversation with another male patron. ;) That, and my fear of Google, of course. It's enough that people looking for "lots of sex" end up at my blog. I don't want to invite any more trouble :)

But you're right. I'll try and stay away from the details next time :)

a-hem: Thank you! But it's really not funny! They're talking about not needing a guy to make a baby anymore. Kids whose biological parents are both women! Makes me shiver in my shoes... :)

loverBoy: Yes, it's been long enough. I've been promising to up my frequency for some time now, but it's not getting anywhere. I'm still hoping, though :)

Thanks for the words. :)

Swathi said...

but it is increasingly becoming mandatory for women to learn self-defense 'coz these days the knight-in-shining-armours seem to be an extinct species :)

Rajesh J Advani said...

Swathi: I think it's recursive, don't you? :) Women learn self-defense, and knights lose their jobs. Knights lose their jobs, there are lesser knights around, and so women learn self-defense :)

RS said...

Hmm...humor and sarcasm ? blended well in this story :)

Also enjoyed reading your "Just another love story", cute :)

Kiran Mayee said...

Always missing out your latest posts.

This is really good. I first thought its a take on Harry Potter, the bars, etc made me feel that.

But, the story and the ending in particular are a bit unexpected.

Leon said...

ROFTL.. great post..

Btw, My AOL screenname is SirLeonGalahad :D

Swati are you listening?! :p

Rajesh J Advani said...

RS: Thank you! Nice to know the sarcasm didn't go unnoticed :)

Kiran Mayee: Ah, I never thought the title may be misleading :) And thanks!

Leon: I thank thee for thy words, Sir. Hope you find your dragons. :)

jaygee said...

Aha! thats what men fear the most... is it? that women will not need men.. I always wondered...:)U have a neat knack for narrating ..

Dushyant said...

Hey Rajesh!! It's your old friend, Dushyant!!! (aka Pintoo, as you so generously announced to the world :)

So how's life!!!! I happened to MSNSearch my name to see if they're indexed my personal website yet (they have my academic website in their indices), and I happened to find your blog!!! Great way of connecting with old friends again!

Send me an email when you read this post: dbansal AT uwaterloo DOT ca.