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The Drummer Brothers of Ikku Ukku
Heard from the bathers that-
The Princess had been abducted
By the Dark Beast.
A bounty of thousand gold coins was announced
If you brought her back alive and the beast dead
And Death if you brought the beast alive and the Princess dead.

The Drummer Brothers of Ikku Ukku
Hung their drums around their necks
And drummed their way
Through the Forest Dark

When  the Elder Brother drummed the sleep-inducing roll,
The storks that roosted in the trees
Dropped as if they were one big bunch.
He picked them up one by one
While the younger one,
Shouted 'Pelicans!' and drummed the defeathering roll
Upon which the plumage came off
The Elder Brother drummed the roasting roll
And the birdflesh caught fire.

On the second day a leopard that looked-
More like a boulder in leopard's clothing
Lurched at the brothers.
The Elder Brother drummed the age-reversing roll
And the poor old leopard grew younger and younger
Until it became a watery foetus which-
The Drummer Brothers ate,
Dabbing crushed chillies, and sprinkling salt.

On the third day a bear of grisly proportions
Ambled, roaring, into their sight
The Younger Brother drummed an *****-enlarging roll that-
Stretched the bear's mammaries far too long-
They dragged on the ground like two pythons.
The Elder Brother drummed the light-the- candle roll
And the oily **** caught fire like wicks.

Having vanquished the two deadly beasts
The Drummer Brothers of Ikku Ukku met,
On the fourth day of their journey,
The Dark Beast.
The Dark Beast, as it turned out,
Was no beast as such
But an Outcast once expelled
Into the heart of darkness
Who wrapped himself
In the dark of the Dawn
And became one with All the Beasts
And rumbled.

The Princess' pygmy horse was impaled
With the stake coming out of its mouth
Grossly gory, its hindlegs missing
And the blood, coagulated, hanging like icicles.
Near it was the Princess herself,
Naked, except for the gold waist chain
And the anklets.

The Drummer Brothers of Ikku Ukku
Drummed a very ordinary roll,
Steady and throbbing.
The Dark Beast who listened to it
Was transported into his past,
His memory of listening
To the old drummers of Ikku Ukku.
He spun on his heels and stretched out his arms
He gyrated and pirouetted-
And on reaching the peak of his frenzy
Exploded, like a watermelon
The pieces flew in all directions.
The Drummer Brothers picked them up
And licked
While the Princess, shaken out of her languor,
Rose and sauntered towards them.
Holding out her honey hands
She said, "Now I belong to both of you."

The Younger Brother came up with a plan:
The elder one would have her from the waist up
While he would have her from the waist down.
The Elder Brother approved.
Vain and coquettish,
The Princess rammed her fists into either drum
And said: "I loathe their sound- too unrefined."

On the fifth day,
The Drummer Brother  drummed a jazzed up roll
On their new drumhead
Made of the Princess' hide.
When Mr. M came to their house,
Little Gigi and her sister could hardly believe the fact-
That he was not their late papa
Such was the resemblance
Perfected by Mr. M to a T
Even the mole-thing on his cheek
Looked the same as their papa's.

You could hire Mr. M
To Metamorphose into any person you wanted
-A dead husband or a quadriplegic wife
(i.e. before they became dead or quadriplegic)
Or a celebrity beyond your reach
Or a college sweetheart-
Mr. M would transform into that person
With the right prosthetics and measurements.
(Besides, he had a highly Malleable and characterless body)
He'd learn their manners by watching videos.

Little Gigi would not run into his arms
Unless he called her the way her papa did
Mr. M cast a sidelong glance at the mother
At whose smile he regained confidence and cooed:
"Come to papa, my bouncing ball"
At which the girl shot herself into his arms
Like a cannonball.
Her sister followed her, although indifferently,
Her hands behind her back.
Little Gigi thanked her mother
For hiring the man.

Mr. M's service lasted for a period of three months
Or until the clients got over their feelings for the person.
Mr. M was sworn to secrecy
About his clientele and his 'lives'.
Nobody bothered about his true identity
So long as his name was reduced to a Mystery.
Mr. M never forgot the details of his 'lives',
Unlike how his ad had once claimed-
Which he later removed (and no one seemed to notice)
As he was taking a hot bath-
His mind wandered to a recent life.
Dressed up as a woman named Jessy Peter
Mr. M was ushered into the bedroom by his nervous client-
A bestubbled young man rejected by Ms. Peter.
He said he was drowning in a pool of jealousy
As she kept taking one lover after another.
Sweat ran down his face
As he took off Mr. M's skirt-
And with apprehensive fingers
Pulled down the *******.
His face shone brightly
At the perfection of the work
But his expression soon changed
To a blank faced melancholy
He said he was still heartbroken
As he could n't **** the real Jessy Peter
(Stubbly cheeks against Mr. M's fat shaved thighs
He whimpered through the night like a child).

Little Gigi said Mr. M smelled exactly like her papa.
Mr. M smiled, taking it as a compliment.
" boiled beef," she added.
Even after Little Gigi had left,
Her sister remained a little longer.
Then, slowly she placed her bottom-
On Mr. M's hairy thigh and sat there,
Her eyes fixed on the wall opposite
Mr. M, nonplussed, broke into a sweat
And thought, of all things he could do right now,
Stroking her hair was the only right thing.
The girl sat like that for a while and then
While leaving she said he was a nice person-
Unlike her late papa.
He'd seen only the back of his victim.
From the oily,  slicked back hair
He imagined a face as he ran to his scooter
After hurling a large stone at the man,
Who died without the least human sound.

The random victim didn't make the ****** motiveless
His motive was to **** a man and drown in guilt
And when the guilt overpowers the right to life
Have reason enough to end his own life.
Thus his jumping off the cliff would be,  he thought,
At the end of the day justified.
Is it a changed world
Or am I a new man?
Finding her at the bedside-
What'd have been only a dream before-
I was elated and made for her cheeks.
The glossy warmth of her flushed skin
Radiated in the yellow afternoon,
Which I reckoned was the kind of my Childhood naps:
Resurrection is not the erasure-
But the totality of memory
In this new world,  reconfigured around My figure,  the Chosen One,
(The choosing by myself through  self-destruction)
She'd left all her men to lead and follow me
With the maturity that comes with sainthood
The bustle of bodies was heard outside,
Waiting to worship the one they'd failed
Let them wait,  I thought, her beatifically beating body in my arms
Johny Christ, the hitman-turned-messiah,
Conferred Death Painless with his barehands
His ads were passed on secretly
And invalids formed his early clientele
The depressed, the spurned and the real thinking folks,
All awakened to Nirvana Call, called him
He left no trace, and the deaths looked natural
Death Painless- quiet as breathing
His popsicle-*******, while administering, kept the people guessing
Where his powers came from

Johny Christ was not without his own share of Temptations- he fought, for example,
The urge to Save the roly-poly kid
Who was clumsy with his hands and Stood over the dropped food and Looked clueless about life
His younger sister was the bride
And he sat facing the gushing girl
He fondled the **** of his walking cane
As he waited for her eyes to meet his gaze;
When they finally did, he smiled a knowing smile
A vexing, blackmailing smile
That sought a response- a glint of acknowledgement;
It sent chills down her spine, sweat broke out on her back
She now regretted having been the one who'd started-
The impetuous demands that violated the natural
And made them feel like some Old Testament pairs
He'd become relentless, with pickpocketing deftness
At the drop of a hat, he'd drop his pants

Now, rising from his seat, he blew her a kiss
And that did her in
Raju, the hollow-cheeked overthinker,
Whose nose had grown into his navel,
Hanged himself in the hostel room

They found a note-
With rejected love as the cause
And then there was another note that read-
'rejected manuscripts'
A third one: 'to join my dead Appa'
Still another, in bold, etched letters:
'The fatal accident', and another-
Wedged in his buttcrack:
'the repressive education system' and 'the procrustean examinations'

Could it be that all of them were true motives or-
Did they represent a steady progress in the search for one?
A case of as many notes for as many selves
Or did he mean it as a puzzle, as his friends conveniently took it for, to weigh the notes and find the best?
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