Written By – DemonKiller
Edited By – CurlyAdi
Proofread By – SmartyMouth
Somewhere in a dilapidated theater in New York in a Morgan Freeman like voice:
“Let us begin with a story, of a fantastical tale of unimaginable proportions. Something that a lot of people yearn for.”
“So the story goes like this, once upon a time, a long long time ago, even before the time when there were kings that ruled their empires on an small insignificant planet in the far reaches of a ……”
“Stop it Frank, stop licking my face. I know you are hungry but wait till I rehearse these lines OK otherwise we’ll have to borrow money from the theater manager once again.”
Sigh, just what has my life come to, before we get on with the story, let me tell you something about myself. I am a 24 year old man trying to struggle in this god-forsaken city which people call as ‘New York’. Actually I am not from here, but rather I was born in a eastern country by the name of “India” which boasts of having the second largest population on the planet called Earth.
I was once called the genius of my family, the rising star, every time I went back to my ancestral home back in India, I would be showered with a lot of gifts and praises for me being so awesome and outstanding. Even my other cousins were always jealous of me, and also admired me, coming to ask advice from me on information about which universities to join, which courses to pick in the university, to stuff like relationship advice. In short, I was a pretty popular guy in my family circle.
Then why do you ask that I am in such a bad situation? Well let me tell you, everything that I told you above was just me trying to present a good image of me infront of you. The truth is, I am no genius, but it’s true that the people of my family think that I am a genius. The truth is I just like to make up a lot of lies and various scenarios in my head and many times even act them out.
When did it start you ask? Well even I do not know an answer to that, but what I do know is that, it always used to start from a small lie and somehow it ends up getting bigger and bigger till there was no other choice for me to continue the lie. As the saying goes “Lie once and 100 Lies will follow” same was the case with me.
Although I was not a genius per se, but at least I was descent. I somehow managed to pass through my junior and senior high schools with a decent enough grade and somehow miraculously, I say ‘miraculously’ because even I have no freaking idea how it happened, entered one of the highest ranked universities in our country. Frankly, the examination for the university went like this, there were only multiple choice questions where we had to mark our answers in a different answer sheet that was provided to us, I think they were called as OMR Sheets, don’t ask me the abbreviation of that, just Google it and see, I only remembered it because it sounded a bit cool when I say OMR.
As far as the questions were concerned, I did not know shit about any of it. Heck the moment I sat for the exam and saw the question paper, I genuinely thought that I was given the wrong exam paper and even called the supervisor of the exam in the exam hall to change it. Man, you all should have seen the incredulous look that supervisor gave me. He really must have thought that I was a retard and just walked away after saying that it was the correct paper.
So, I just sat there for like three hours, looking at the paper that made not heads or tails for me, and it wasn’t until the buzzer reminding the examinees that there were only fifteen minutes left for the exam, rang out in the hall, did I then start to move my hand, and hurriedly filled up the answer sheet in a kind of ordered pattern – A, B, C, D, C, B, A……
And you wouldn’t believe it but, somehow I actually ended up getting a rank in the top 100, 86th to be precise, out of the millions of students writing the exam. That bullshit luck and the incredulous result completely blew not only my mind but even the minds of the entire neighborhood. You know, how parents will always like to brag about their kids in front of everyone, but truthfully back in my neighborhood in India, they just took it to a completely new level, exaggerating the facts so much that even the God of Mischief and Lies, Loki, would feel inferior to them. And me, well I just wanted to dig a hole in the ground and then kill myself to save me from that kind of embarrassment.
The result, I was able to get into one of the top ranked universities in the country, it was then that my nightmare of a life actually began to start. I could not understand even a bit of what was going on in the classes, no matter how much I tried to concentrate. After giving it a few tries, I just gave up and joined a group of drinkers and weed smokers. When the exams came, no doubt I failed, well rather than saying I failed, it would be more appropriate to say all the boys failed. I found out a bit later that the lecturers always favored the girls and would give them the top marks regardless of if they wrote anything in the paper or not.
So me being a hopeless naive idiot, joined a campaign against those lecturers, and even became the poster boy for it. The end result, I was kicked out of the university on the grounds of disruptive behaviour. While the rest of the people only got a few warnings, mostly because they had influential families backing them.
Now I was really desperate, I could not go back to home otherwise I would have to explain it to them, Indian parents are very sensitive about this subject you know, it was even more so in my family, for me it was either be at the top or get lost and don’t even dare to mention them as your parents, that’s the kind of attitude that a lot of Indian parents have, especially if the child even mistakenly ends up with a good result in just one test. So now I was actually scared to go back, so I decided that I would crash at my friends place for the time being, to you know figure out what to do.
I had a bit of money saved up with me, enough to get me through a few weeks, so I ended up using it all up to try to find an alternative. I could neither go back to the university not back to my home. So I just spent my days like that for the 4 years, I used to keep asking for money from my parents giving them the illusion that I really was studying studiously in university, and did not have the time to come back to home, you know spinning even more intricate web of lies.
After four years, now came the supposed time for me recieving the university degree, that’s what I was dreading the most, afterall I was not a student of the university anymore. So just as I already faked 4 years of my university life, I decided to screw it and went ahead to fake the university degree too. So I took my friend’s degree and went to a person who was good in using a software called Photoshop. Although he was suspicious at first, but with the lying proficiency that I built up over the past 10 years of constantly lying to everyone, especially the experience that I gained in the last 4 years, I was able to convince him that we wanted to prank my friend, whose degree certificate that I wanted to duplicate with my name, into making him think that he really got the wrong certificate.
He agreed albeit needed a bit of monetary encouragement and voila, I had a degree certificate that looked exactly like the original but with my name on it. So I happily paid him, returned the degree back to my friend and packed up my stuff to go back home. And needless to say, I was received quite warmly by my family, with a proud look on my parents face.
Oh yes, before I go any further I forgot to introduce you to an important character that plays an important role in this story, and no it’s not my girlfriend, I actually wish I had one, or any other human being, he is dog. Which I had named Frank, Yeah the same Frank that was mentioned at the start. He was not an ordinary dog, though in all honestly he looked like one, he was of the St. Bernard breed, and has been on my side since I was a little kid. He always followed me wherever I went, even when I went to school, he would always follow me and sit outside the class just like a guardian angel. People tried to send him away, even I tried to, but he was stubborn in that regard, no matter what we did, he would always follow me no matter what happened. Moreover he was also a bit different from other dogs, as for some reason he would only listen to my words, as if he could really understand what I was saying to him.
Even during the time I was in the ‘university’ he was still beside me. Now the weird part was generally a dog’s life was supposed to be around 8-10 years, but my Frank was practically the same age as me and was fit and healthy. And I was already 24 years old that year. Don’t get me wrong, I am actually happy that Frank is always at my side even to this day, as truthfully he was the only living creature who has went through every tough time in my life, and I was very glad for it.
So now getting back to my introduction, once I was warmly welcomed by my family, my father somehow managed to get me a job overseas in New York, you know the family and friends connection. And was again shipped out of my home in just a couple of days, needless to say Frank also came with me. The first few weeks at the office was pretty good, getting to know other people, completely new city, but then the blow finally arrived. I had no idea that the company that I was working with would thoroughly check all the documents that I provided, which also included my fake degree certificate.
As a result I was thrown out of the office and was going to be arrested and deported back to my country. I knew what awaited me after I got back home, as my father had already called up and yelled to me that he was done with me, and that he no longer had a son. It was only later that I found out from a friend of mine, that in order to preserve their image in the society, they declared that I had died in a freak accident and even conducted the funeral rites for me.
I was already on the run from the cops, and hid myself in downtown New York. I rented out a small room from a shady looking woman, I did not care much about it, I was already trying to hide myself and the rent was cheap. I worked a few odd jobs, like a waiter in a small restaurant, a cleaner, basically any type of odd job that could help me make just enough money for me and Frank to get by. Afterall my family had already forsaken me and even declared to the entire world that I had died, meaning I could not get a single cent from them from now on.
Sometimes I barely got by, working through a lot of extremely low paying jobs, I even considered living a homeless life when I failed to pay the rent 5 months in a row. But Frank and me were an inseparable pair, I knew that the moment I actually got out on the streets as a homeless, people would immediately capture him to sell him to the dog house, to earn some money. After all I had already seen a lot of similar things in the city called New York. The only reason he was still around me was because I still kept up my goody two shoes act, wearing a suit (stolen from the dry cleaner shop that I once worked in), shoes, and all the stuff that would make me look like a well to do dude. Though I was always careful and always carried around an empty gun, which I had found during a back alley mugging, to scare off others who tried to approach.
Currently, I somehow was able to get a temp job at a theater to read line in the background, I only got the job because the person who was supposed to do it was hit by a truck, bless his soul, and was currently in a coma with no chance of recovering in a short while. As the saying goes “One man’s misfortune was another man’s fortune.”
So that’s how I ended up here. Also I had already asked the producer for advance on my pay many times, which he was able to give before, but now it was getting more and more difficult to even get my pay as almost everything was taken out as an advance by me.
Now getting back to the story,
“Alright, Frank, alright, let’s go eat. But promise me you won’t disturb me till I get those lines right, the producer is really getting impatient with me, you know that.”
As if Frank understood, he nodded his head and even lifted his paw as if to give a thumbs up sign.
If anyone else looked at the scene now, they would undoubtedly be dumbfounded, but for me and Frank it was just routine. Truthfully, even I sometimes forget that Frank is a dog. In just a few days, I would turn 25 years old, and although in my heart I wanted to celebrate a bit, but I knew that I did not have a single cent to spare.
Just as I was about to cross the alleyway that I was walking in, lightning struck one of the poles that was just in front of me. It immediately scared me and even made me jump back in fright. If I was even a millisecond late, I would have been blasted to smithereens by just the shock wave itself. But I did not even have a single second of respite, when a second lightning bolt struck, this time the lightning bolt’s target was definitely me. Frank immediately rushed towards me, but it was already too late, all I could feel was an intense burning sensation coming from the depths of my body before everything blacked out.
Just before I died, the only thought going through my head was “Frank, I am sorry for not accompanying you any longer, take care my brother.”