Working Title

Ishtiaque Hossain



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She was something alright! Wouldn’t stop yammering about the imaginary 25 pegs of brandy she had chugged last night. Isaac didn’t even bother asking her name. She was good to look at, but clearly suffered from a delusional sense of grandeur. She had the unmistakable air of someone bred out-of-town trying desperately to fit in. She would say anything to get attention. When she asked for his joint, Isaac was a little annoyed. It was plain that she’s never seen a joint before and just wanted to show off. “I smoke about a hundred of these little fuckers everyday, doesn’t do shit to me.” She voiced in a fake indo-british accent that made Isaac cringe. As expected, she choked and spluttered mid-drag. Spilled half of her drink on the carpet and flicked the joint halfway across the room under the depths of an ancient wardrobe. “Just fucking great!” Isaac muttered to himself. Also, unsurprisingly; the dusky looking girl suddenly turned a deep hue of purple and immediately barfed all over herself and then on Abrar’s bed. “Yeah…. I think it’s just about time to leave…” Isaac announced to no one in particular. He tuned out Abrar and his wife, who were festering over the waves of vomit on their velvet rug. “Shame. I really liked that carpet,” thought Isaac; and then he noticed “vomit-girl” properly for the first time. Clad in a designer top and skinny jeans, her ripe curves piqued his interest. He had almost made up his mind to leave, but then he thought about how dreadfully long it had been since he’s had the pleasure of tracing such curves with his bare hands. He walked over to her, carefully sidestepping  pools of vomit. “Can I have your phone? I seem to have misplaced mine somewhere around Abrar’s room.” The brandy connoisseur looked up at Isaac with groggy eyes and said, “Sure” in a meek voice. Isaac dialled his number and his phone started ringing from the depths of his backpack. “Hah! What do you know… It was with me all along. Thanks.” He gave her the phone back and looked her straight in the eye, smiled his sleaziest smile and winked; “Catch you later”. The girl nodded weakly and passed out, her head lolling to the side. Isaac climbed down the stairs with a smug feeling as he texted, “It was fun meeting you. ~Isaac”. He locked his phone with a click and ran out on the breezy streets feeling like an inflated balloon. He went home and rolled a hefty joint for himself and streamed “That 70s Show” on his computer. Fez and Eric always made him laugh.

***

There was someone trying to ram a nail through Nuvera’s head. “THUMP! THUMP!! THUMP!!! WAKE UP YOU STUPID SLUT!” Nuvera jumped up on her bed and looked around for something to wear. She hastily slipped on a t-shirt and opened the door. Little clusters of spit bounced off her face. “WHERE WERE YOU LAST NIGHT? YOU REEK OF BOOZE!! I WILL NOT HAVE YOU WHORING AROUND IN MY HOUSE!!” “Calm down, Uncle!” “Calm down? Your mother sent you here to study! NOT to whore around with boys!” “Well my mother also sends you 50,000 every month. And I barely get three decent meals a day.” “WHAT DID YOU SAY TO ME YOU LITTLE CUNT?!!” Her Uncle twisted her forearm and she shrieked in pain. “I’m sorry Uncle, really really sorry. Look, I’m having a migraine attack and it’s driving me nuts.” Her uncle released his hold, gave her a venomous stare; and thumped out of her room. He could hear him screaming at her mother over the phone. “Look I have had it with your brat! You make sure she learns how to respect her elders or get the fuck out of my house. OF COURSE THERE IS NEED FOR SUCH LANGUAGE! YOU SHOULD CHECKOUT THE MOUTH ON YOUR DAUGHTER!!” Nuvera knew what was coming. A long painful talk with her mother over the phone about her plans in life. That was not something she was prepared to endure with a hangover. She slipped on a leopard print top with tacky fur linings, grabbed her purse and bolted. She looked at her watch. She never took it off. Nazmus almost cried when she made him buy it on their trip to Japan. She had to dole out a dozen more blowjobs than she would have liked to keep him from grumbling. It was solid platinum, limited edition; signed by a world-famous designer. She loved the soothing feel of the shiny cold metal on her wrist. It was 8:00am in the morning. No wonder it was so foggy out on the streets. Shit! That slimy old geezer made her wake up in the crack of dawn! She scrolled down her phone’s inbox list to look for an idiot desperate enough to buy her breakfast at this hour. Then opened the first message and smiled.

***

Isaac could scarcely believe his luck! “Do you want to go to Cox with me?” They were at a restaurant not far from his office. Nuvera’s friends were in the next room. She had just dragged him aside to drop this little bomb on him. “Uhh… Who else is going?” “Just you and me. You have a few days off for Eid, right?” “Yeah sure, we can go by train; I know someone who can get tickets on short notice. Or catch a bus maybe. I could get my chauffeur to drive us there,” Isaac babbled. “We can figure that part out later. I just wanted to know if you were down with it.” Isaac went back to work swallowed by a heady feeling. “I might actually get laid. Shit. How long has it been?” He thought to himself. He’s hadn’t touched a girl for over a year and a half after his breakup. At one point he started to suspect that all womankind might be conspiring against him. “I have to pull this one off smooth. No glitches!” He thought to himself. The next few days were a blur. She would drop by at his workplace. Some days with candy bars, other days with flowers. They’d go to movies, get drunk on the rickshaw, or just goof off at the mall. A day before the Cox trip, she dropped by his office with a napkin that had a signature on it. It belonged to his favourite sci-fi author. Isaac was sold. He invited her upstairs, showed her off to all his office mates and went official on Facebook. “In a relationship with Nuvera Shafqat”.

***

Nuvera observed this rickety little man-boy with amusement. His long spidery fingers groped at her plump breasts as soon as he had closed the door behind them. “Fuck yeah,” Isaac moaned. Nuvera grabbed his wrists and gently shoved his hands away. She almost laughed at the crestfallen look on his face. He already seemed out of breath with excitement. “Why don’t  you let me draw us a bath first?” Her tone was impish, and it made Isaac’s already semi-hard member twitch in his pants.  “Sure thing,” he replied in a forced casual tone. He was trying his level best to keep the excitement out of his voice. He wanted Nuvera to think that he was no stranger to such invitations from women. Nuvera locked the bathroom door and stuffed her fist in her mouth to stop herself from giggling. She took out the lingerie from her purse. It was too delicate for her luggage so she packed it separately. Isaac had been very reserved about physical contact the past few weeks she had known him. So she was pleasantly surprised at his sudden boldness. The first time they were on a rickshaw, he was rigid as a boulder. He looked intensely uncomfortable for the better part of an hour before she lost all patience with him. “You look like you’re scared of me giving you the black plague,” she fumed. Isaac looked a bit clueless. And not knowing what else to do; he fumbled an apology; “Sorry!” It took Nuvera every ounce of self-restraint not to roll her eyes at him. “Don’t you want to feel the pleasure of my hips?” She asked in a dangerously sweetened voice. Isaac heard himself gulp. He clumsily wrapped his arm around her lithe waist, trying very hard to remain calm while doing so. They went to the movies. Once they were seated, Nuvera took out a half litre bottle of Mirinda from her purse. Isaac immediately recognized what it was. Mirinda was supposed to be a fluorescent orange, and the liquid was reddish black. He unscrewed the bottle and took a little sniff. He couldn’t believe it. This stupid chick had actually smuggled alcohol inside the cineplex! Isaac thought that’s the most ingenious thing anyone has ever conceived since the dawn of man. He wanted to marry this stupid child-woman right there in the theater. They passed the bottle back and forth. By the time it was emptied, Isaac was stupendously drunk, but itching for one last drink. The nearest bar was a “no-woman’s-land” so he kept Nuvera waiting on the rickshaw, while he grabbed a couple of beers. They roamed around in old-town, stealing sips from their beer cans well hidden under their winter clothes. Nuvera hid her can amidst the endless folds of her shawl and Isaac hid his in the breast pocket of his denim jacket. Nuvera realized she was actually having a pretty good time. Roaming around in old-town with open cans of beer in public. It was the most conservative part of Dhaka, and she wouldn’t be surprised if someone pointed them out to the cops. It was bad enough for a man to drink in public in these parts. For a woman, it was nothing short of sacrilege. But that’s what made the whole thing exciting. She took a long swig from her can in a deserted street near Purana Paltan, and kissed Isaac full in the lips, pouring beer in his mouth with hers. Isaac pulled her up snugly against him, all modesty forgotten. After he dropped her off, he felt light-headed. He walked out of the narrow alley leading to Nuvera’s house. Or at least a place very close to her house, as Nuvera claimed. She didn’t want him to come all the way to her doorsteps. She said her uncle might see them, and she didn’t feel like going through an interrogation. Isaac nodded in agreement. He was drunk from a heady concoction of beer and Nuvera’s distinct “girl-smell”. When it came to scents, Isaac was a bloodhound. He could separate perfume from a girl’s natural scent. And to him, Nuvera smelled like peanut butter and a charred steaks.

***

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