Considering the general haha party that has been going on here the whole of last month, what with all the limericking and punning and funning, it seemed a bit drastic to flip over instantly to the trademark whingey poetry, so I am easing into it with a flash.
Earlier this year, fuel prices were raised in most of the GCC countries, giving way to what was inevitable. There has been a cut in food subsidies here as well last year. As a fall-out, lamb of all descriptions has disappeared from the menus of the budget restaurants, which are still cheap but not so cheerful anymore. Petrol prices had remained at the same level for decades together, the increase generated a lot of heat and dust, predictably.
And also this slightly delayed flash :)
Hop on hop off island
The screen froze as soon as he pressed the key, but Seth knew the answer anyway. He did not need a currency converter to do the maths. The crude oil prices were at a record low. The meat subsidy had been axed recently. Even fuel prices, steady for more than three decades, would soar this midnight. A huge leap, no chance of looking anywhere before. Nothing would ever be the same again, happiness, misery, money, wealth, security.
The screen had transformed into a spiral, a series of dots stalking each other in a never ending cycle, a snake trying to devour its tail. His concerns felt the same, each stalking the other, an ongoing cycle there too. Stripping Peter to clothe Paul, it had worked very well somehow. That would stop at midnight. The horses back to being mice, the coach turned back to being its rotund pumpkin self. Something else would have to be figured; arranged as elaborately as the sham that was coming to an end. He had been cocooned in it, this ongoing spiral of pretence – his debts, his relationships; even the spent steam from his coffee curled in an arc, cooling next to the screen.
Well, it had been good while it lasted. He had the usual trappings of a Gulfie life - a cashew plantation, a slightly pretentious mansion, a somewhat distant and sour wife festooned with jewellery, and three sleekly educated, sullen children back at the permanent address. And some not so usual ones too. A series of ‘seasonal wives’ here, installed in a penthouse for the duration of their tenure and then seen off by his discreet manservant when they became too demanding.
Interconnected countries and economies and relationships, global villages wirelessly, paperlessly linked. He had made them into micro-level islands with his suave thieving skills, forced them apart – businesses, lives, wives, planes of existence. One of them would have to be dismantled before it came crashing down. Even so, the debts wouldn’t vanish. Therefore, he would have to.
It was for just such an eventuality he had got the spare passport. Option B. He hadn’t thought the day to use it would come in this particular way. He pressed a few keys and completed the withdrawal. Money, an identity, a way of life. Digital footprints and fingerprints carefully obliterated as far as possible. A new life would begin at midnight. He heaved a sigh and shut down the computer.
Robina sauntered in and sat on his armrest, briefly peered into his mug. ”Would you call that half full or half empty?”
Seth looked at the coffee. There were no curls of steam anymore. “Either way, it’s undrinkable. Gone too cold. Time to get a fresh one.”
Hope you enjoyed the flash. See you next week for the A-Z Reflections post, am still struggling to make sense of the numbers and the intangibles, which are both more than the sum of their parts, and I am happy to be confused.
Have a great day/weekend!
Have a great day/weekend!