The Agent Of Doom

When the doorbell rang one afternoon I tied up the dog which was snarling and straining at the leash and opened the door. Just a crack.

“Hullo!” said a cheery voice through the gap. “Hullo, hullo, hullo!”

“Are you a salesman?” I asked. Bingo has a nose for salesman.

“Not at all, not at all!” said the alpine echo. “I bring glad tidings.”

On hearing these words I yanked open the door and almost laid out the red carpet for the spectral voice. The fact was I had bought a lottery ticket with a number ending in 3 as advised by the friendly neighbourhood numerologist. I was positive the ticket had been drawn and I was in for more money than you could compute on a pocket calculator.

billing time—
the computer salesman
counts on his pinkies

As the door opened the voice assumed a body with a bespectacled face attached at the top. This face wore a grin which almost matched my own. After all it isn’t every day one wins the lottery. The grinning apparition came in and plonked onto the most comfortable armchair without so much as a by your leave. But I didn’t care. I was too busy planning how to spend the swag.

With the briefest of pauses I dashed into the kitchen and dashed back with a steaming hot cup of tea and chocolate cream biscuits. I almost apologised to the man for not having chilled champagne handy. He ate the biscuits methodically, no doubt chewing each mouthful a hundred times a advocated by medics. Splendid fellows, medics. Having gone through the biscuits he paused only to smile beatifically at me before slurping the tea. He then put down the plate with the air of one about to spring a cheque on me. I waited with bated breath. At last he opened a briefcase and pulled out an envelope.

“Congratulations!” he said, beaming. “Your life insurance policy for ten thousand rupees has matured. We are sure you will want to renew the policy with us. We assure you of our best services at all times.”And with those words he slid the envelope between my numb fingers and vanished. Like a ghost at daybreak.

What could I say. I was glad I hadn’t invested in a bottle of Veuve Cliquot.

celebrations—
after the champagne party
we go for a drink

Gautam Nadkarni

The Agent Of Doom

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