‘Do you think I’m forgetting something?’ she asked. I looked into her eyes, trying my best to say ‘Yes’. ‘I think I am.’, she continued. ‘It’s 10th November… a Tuesday… There is something I cannot remember, Charlie.’ I took out my collected stash of one and two dollar coins that Maxine would either drop or forget about and put it on the table. ‘What have you got here?’ she asked curiously. ‘Ooh, you are rich, aren’t you Charlie?’ I did my best to imitate a smile.
Right then, it hit my ears… Arrghhh! I hate the terrible cuckoo that lives in the clock Bella gifted Maxine last Christmas. Every hour it would stir up an awful cacophony and come in and out of its house to shout. Who does that? I feel I may become deaf. Sometimes I really think I should do something to make it understand who the boss around here is. But Maxine loves it and hence I bear with it.
There is another reason I tolerate that cuckoo… I loved Bella. She was Maxine’s granddaughter and only family and my favourite person. It was her last gift to us. That day was fun—it began with her giving me a big share of bread and jam secretly, that I loved. We watched that old movie, George of the Jungle and laughed hard. Then played at the game parlour for a while, trying to hit a jackpot! She even bought me presents. It started raining little before she drove out, to go back home in the city. The following morning, police came to our house. We learnt that her car crashed somewhere down the road and she was no more. Everything changed forever. I too wept but made sure no one found out.
Maxine has become forgetful ever since—forgetting every little thing, ever too often. We have spent 242 days in this melancholic quietude. We go out for walks but we don’t watch much television and we don’t laugh at all. She could never accept losing Bella. I understood her. Therefore, I listened. I listened carefully to every word, every syllable Maxine said. At other times, I sat with her. However, today was different for me. It made me sad that she could not remember. I thought of ways that could jog her memory…
I grabbed my old binkie (dummy) and elephant plushie and dropped them at her feet. I went over to the mantelshelf and grunted at my baby photographs. Then, I pulled my ears back, rested my muzzle on her lap and waited in hope. The ticktock of the cuckoo clock, the rhythm of my tail softly slapping the floor and our breathing kept Silence at bay. Suddenly, she patted my head and got up from the chair.
Then she dressed, grabbed my leash and we walked out of the house. ‘Happy Birthday Charlie’ she said. ‘I remember now.’ I, the mighty Alaskan malamute, smiled. We heard the door close loudly behind us—‘BANG’.
Copyright (c) 2018 Amrita Kar Roy. All Rights Reserved.
I had written this based on the following:
This month, we’d like you to submit a story that matches the following criteria:
Your first sentence must contain a question. (E.g “Who’s there?” said Sarah… OR ‘Was it raining on that fateful Sunday morning?’)
Your story must contain these J words: JAM, JACKPOT and JUNGLE (applicable “s”, “ing” or “ed” versions are allowed).
Your story must end with BANG. Literally. The final word must be the single word sentence BANG (in caps). It can be in quote marks if you need it to be. It’s up to you how you want to interpret the ‘bang’.