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Comradeship (standard:drama, 1925 words)
Author: Bobby ZamanAdded: Feb 05 2002Views/Reads: 1938/1293Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The year is 1971, a time of war, turbulence, and injustice in Bangladesh, and two young friends take matters in their own hands.


by Bobby Zaman 

The truck roared out of a cloud of dust making Niazi pop to his feet
like a puppet.  Akbar's head jerked up from leaning on his rifle and 
dozing.  Grunting and groaning the beetle-like contraption with the 
East Pakistan Rifles emblem chipping away with neglect on its nose, 
halted in front of the checkpoint.  Overhead a crow cut through the 
blazing heat like a torpedo.  Akbar's hands scrambled to button up his 
shirt.  Niazi wiped a snotty finger on his pant leg. 

"Is the mother-humping swine any good?" the Lieutenant asked, jutting
out a fleshy face all knotted up in frowns.   Niazi approached the 
truck in silence.  "Answer, you castrated lover of your sister!"  A 
glob of betel-nut spittle flew out of his mouth and landed on Niazi's 

Faheem and Anand fanned themselves and looked out of the third floor
window of Anand's bedroom.  It was just after lunch and Anand's parents 
were deep in their afternoon slumber, nightmares of the Partition gone 
wrong plaguing every wink of sleep. 

The gash on Faheem's cheek was troubling him and every few seconds he
brushed at it with his fingers and winced.  All because he stumbled on 
his way out of the car for a line up.  The butt of the rifle had come 
crashing against his face like a machete and nearly split it in two.  
Then the snot fingered hand had clutched his chin and cursed him out. 

"There's another truck down there," said Anand pressing the binoculars
to his eyes and swallowing hard. 

The Lieutenant jumped out of the truck, his bulging paunch popping out
of his uniform and the belly button peering out like a Cyclops eye.  
His breath reeked of onions and betel nut and he looked up at the sky 
and squinted painfully before speaking and exposing his rotting teeth. 

"So you stand around here like a couple of deaf dumb motherlovers," he
said poking a finger in Niazi's chest, "or you actually do something? 
And you, you know what do with that rifle besides sleep on it?" 

Akbar didn't understand the garbled mess of words the Punjabi Lieutenant
threw at him and looked back with blank, sleepy eyes. 

"Didn't train this dog yet?" the Lieutenant continued, looking at Niazi.
 "Hmpf.  You fatherless motherlovers need a good bamboo thrashing to 
keep you in check." 

Anand paced around the room with the binoculars dangling around his neck
and bouncing against his chest.  The sounds of his hasty steps 
reverberated through the quiet house like gunshots.  He stopped and put 
a hand on Faheem's shoulder. 

"If anything is to happen then it must happen fast," said Anand.  Faheem
looked at his friend and saw a gaze at once decisive and nervous, and 
not entirely devoid of fear.  "You want revenge for your face don't 

Faheem wanted eye for an eye.  His beloved betrothed, Rehana, had broken
off their engagement a week ago because of the gash that sat on his 
cheek like a deformity.  I can't be seen in public with you looking 
like that, she'd said pulling the ring off her finger, I'll become a 
laughingstock among my friends. 

"Do you know who to shoot, boy?" the Lieutenant barked clutching Akbar's
collar.  Akbar's insides churned from the odor of his breath.  "Answer! 
Do you know, or do you fantasize about you mother all day!"  He spun 
around and faced Niazi again.  "And what are you getting paid for, huh? 
Sleeping with your mother too!"  Niazi picked his nose and looked at 
the ground.  The Lieutenant's bulbous frame was trembling with rage, 
perspiration dribbling down his forehead and into his bloodshot eyes.  
He was a mess of jittery nerves with a myriad orders swimming inside 
him, frustrated, clogging his arteries and bloating his heart, and the 
curse of serving higher powers kept him from ripping off the heads of 
the two soldiers with his bare hands. 

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