John’s Job


Sunday fetched some gloom, and then some more, just to be sure there would be no shortage and the distribution could continue justly, and without interruption. Sunday had indeed an inexhaustible supply of gloom; to call it a glut would be to disparage Sunday’s ability to put its stock in trade to good use. Sunday always succeeded in putting it to good use. Sunday was always happy in its dispensation of gloom.

This Sunday morning of mid-July dawned predictably in the life of John. His spirit of despair rose steadily as he went about his morning routine. The familiarity of the rituals gave him but a fleeting sense of comfort, pointing to the inexorable order and progress of the motions accompanying those rituals rather than providing him the experience of any new emotion however tenuous.

John sat and began to contemplate. To contemplate was, to John, to wander, letting his mind roam and sweep across a myriad of ideas, instants and illuminations. His mind did not dwell on anything, but raced on at a speed over which he had no control. It sped on, without reference to direction or destiny.

Is this a state of my mind, John asked himself, in a rare moment of freedom? Is it a condition perhaps, as the medical nomenclature would prefer to describe it? It’s funny anyway, to call something a state or condition when it’s in an unstoppable swirl or propulsion. It’s funny indeed, and John laughed. To be more precise, John heard a sound that he identified as laughter and discovered it as having come from himself. Then, he heard it again and rediscovered the source to be the same as before. Then, yet again he heard it, this time feeling its impact clearly upon his ears. And then, when it happened again, he could distinctly feel his features setting themselves so as to produce this new sound. And, now, when he heard it, he felt that it wasn’t merely heard, but was made. Yes, he knew he made it. He felt his features engaging themselves, as if by their own will, to send forth an audible form of their exertions. And, when the sound was heard and lost after a while, his features stubbornly kept re-creating it. They felt, at once, a vigour and a tingling, and the production rolled on, increasing in frequency and intensity.

As John’s guffaws grew in a thunderous explosion, they took on a visual aspect. Their magnificent mirth metamorphosed into a storm of fury, gobbling up in its wake all that stood in its way and threatened to impede its rapacious urgency. The monuments to grief, the statues of sorrow, the tomes of epic strife, all commemorations of pain and suffering were ruthlessly devoured. The echoes of the giant guffaws emptied the atmosphere of any lingering traces of gloom and despondency.

The air now smelt pure, and the wind and the breeze conveyed the purity, signalling the complete decimation of despair and the ascendance of laughter.

John’s job is done. To annihilate gloom, he had to assimilate it first. He had captured all of it, and effectively destroyed all of it, the origins and the manifestations.

Will gloom, with its insidious powers, sneak in, strike roots and resurrect itself, to subjugate joy and laughter yet again? That is not a question John is interested in even contemplating right now.

 

About Vaidy

Freelance writer based in Chennai, India. Writes in English and Tamil. Recent major assignments have been in Transcreation - adaptation of TV Commercials from English to Tamil.
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