Stories Varied - A book of short stories (Part 3, page 1 of 5)


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Part 3

‘201’ Qualms

She sat in the Starbucks café, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf. [*]

Being the lone customer at the half-open café, as she was trying to grapple with the unforeseen development, the creaking sound at the entrance unhinged her train of thought. As she espied a handsome youth ogling her, fervently hoping that he wouldn’t settle himself at the adjacent table, she instinctively covered the damning thing with the pallu of her chiffon sari. When a bearer, as though on cue, led him to the other end of the floor, she heaved a sigh of relief.

‘Oh, how I’ve got into this mess?’ she thought nervously. ‘Where would all this lead me to? Was it fair on her part to involve me in a hazardous activity? Why didn’t I drop the damned thing the moment she thrust it upon me, without a warning at that! What did I do instead? I did cover it up along with her hand gloves with my own scarf! What prompted me to connive with her to conceal the murder weapon? Was it her righteous cause or was it our lesbian love? Maybe both, and if not, instead of boarding the train to Lonavala, she would have been behind bars by now. How I allowed myself to be saddled with this incriminating thing that I might be caught along with! Besides, what if the law were to catch up with her, in spite of her ingenuous planning and meticulous execution? Won’t that land me in trouble as well? Better I check up the Indian Penal Code.’

She reached for her iPhone and browsed for the relevant section of the code that read: “201. Causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender.—Whoever, knowing or having reason to believe that an offence has been committed, causes any evidence of the commission of that offence to disappear, with the intention of screening the offend­er from legal punishment, or with that intention gives any infor­mation respecting the offence which he knows or believes to be false; if a capital offence.—shall, if the offence which he knows or believes to have been committed is punishable with death, be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine; if punishable with imprisonment for life…..”. Going no farther, she muttered in despair, ‘Oh! Goddamn Sudha’.

She hailed the bearer to order another round of coffee, and began recapitulating their fateful association.

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