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The Cyclist — By Nitya M. and Vinayak K.

July 29, 2012

Maxine came to office on her bicycle every morning. It was a long ride, that too in the scorching summer heat. Which meant that every morning when she made her way to her desk, the colleagues she passed by her were reminded, rather brutally, that they worked in a glorified sweat shop.

****

Maxine hadn’t always been this way. She had only started cycling to impress the neighbourhood tree-hugging-hunk-of-a-man, Rumpelstiltbone. But then one day he left town on a mission to save endangered species of turtle across the world. And being someone who eschewed all forms of modern day communication devices, was practically untraceable after that. Maxine was heartbroken. It didn’t take her long to decide that she would never love again, and would constantly cycle long distances and perpetually stay sweaty so as to act as a man-repellant.

****

One evening after office, Maxine was aimlessly wandering the city on her cycle – she often did that – when she chanced upon an aquarium. One of those big ones in which you’re in an underwater glass tunnel and the fish are all around you. It looked interesting, and it wasn’t like she had anything better to do. So she decided to have a look.

Inside, she saw all sorts of beautiful creatures swimming in the water – fish, sharks, jellyfish, turtle…like wow. One of the turtles was right next to the glass and was staring right at Maxine. At first she felt unnerved by this, but after a while summoned the courage to go closer to where the turtle was.

There they were – the turtle and Maxine, staring at each other, their noses separated only by the thick glass. And then Maxine got the shock of her life. There was a strange voice in her head – didn’t sound human – that said, “Pardon me Miss, I don’t usually do this…but this is the turtle speaking – yes the same guy you’re looking at.” Maxine was too stunned to react. The turtle continued, “The thing is, I got these very strong turtle vibes from you, and so got really curious. I’m sorry if I gave you a fright.”

Maxine had never experienced something quite so strange before. But the turtle’s explanation had somewhat reassured her. She replied (in her mind – it seemed to be the logical thing to do), “Yes, actually there’s this guy; we didn’t know each that well, but I liked him. But one day he went away – heaven knows where – to go save some endangered turtles, leaving me heartbroken. I often dream about him, and about being surrounded by turtles – sometimes I’m with them in the water, sometimes on land. I guess that’s why you got turtle vibes from me.

After a few thoughtful moments of silence, the turtle spoke: “I’m sorry to hear about your sadness, Miss. I’d really like to help you find him. And perhaps I can. You see, us turtles can connect with other turtles telepathically – just like we can do with other species (but don’t usually). We guys have a sort of telepathic facebook, if you like. What I can do is send out a message about this guy on the network and ask my friends to relay the message. Let’s see where that takes us.” Maxine was very happy to hear that; she replied: “You’re such a good turtle; thank you so much! By the way, my name is Maxine, and the guy’s name is Rumplestiltbone.” Great, Miss Maxine. My name is Benjamin. Pleased to meet you. So I’ll do the needful and get back to you. I’ve isolated your telepathic signature, so now can contact you anytime. Bye for now Maxine.”

“Bye Benjamin! Fingers crossed!”

To be continued…

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