Short Story : Nascent Innocence : Part 1 of 3

 

I just received a nasty mail from the CEO of my organization about a salesman in Thailand misbehaving with one of the existing customers. While I start to digest the facts, my phone starts to ring. It is my European manager who asks me questions as though I was standing right behind the culprit salesman. He is marked on the email just as I am. I know as much as him, maybe less, as he did not let me take in the information that our CEO had put in. I disconnect promising him that I would gather further intelligence on what really went down. I call the sales manager to find fodder for my European boss. The sales manager starts to narrate the story while I hear a loud clink from the other room. I then realize that I was not alone in my house, and my daughter is nowhere to be seen. With my cell phone glued onto my ear, I steadfastly walk to the source of the sound and I find my daughter sitting happily in a pool of castor oil. She is rubbing both her oil dipped hands onto the floor. I get closer to the mess only to find out that it is more than oil. Beneath the oil on the floor, I could see my wife’s most precious earthly collections – whitening cream, night cream, hair removal cream, acne cream and three others that I could not recognize, maybe they are different variants of the creams that I mentioned.

My daughter started to apply this weird mixture onto her hair and face before I could react. Well, I couldn’t react as I was supposedly conversing with the Thai sales manager and I know from brief experience that my daughter screams when interrupted. Alternately, I stooped down to my daughter’s eye level and gave her an evil stare. She didn’t even bother to look at me. I moved my hands vigorously to get her attention, and when I did, I showed her how round and big my eyes can be when I get inflamed. She looked at me for a second and without a notice, stood up and started moving about in the room – spreading this concoction of creams and oil on a wider expanse of flooring and to my horror, she got onto the bed. I was burning and furious. I wasn’t hearing what the person on the other line was saying, I didn’t even know if he was still talking, or waiting for me to talk. I disconnected the call without thinking and rushed to my daughter. I held her left hand and gave it a firm squeeze. When she didn’t cry, I thwacked her hard on her arm and shook her as a clothes dryer does – she finally started to let out a faint cry. I felt the need to do further damage, so I grasped her tiny thighs between my fingers and pinched it until I could feel my fingers touch each other. She let out a loud cry of twinge. I thought to myself that the cry of pain is the acknowledgment of learning that comes from a kid – a learning that distinguishes right from wrongs.

While I looked around at the muck, my phone started to ring. It was my European boss again. I had nothing to tell him but I had to answer the call. I picked up the call with the intention of telling him that I was trying to make contact with the sales manager. He said – “It seems that you had a bad telephone connection. The sales manager from Thailand called and apprised me. Some things are better handled by self than delegating to chain of command. I just wanted to tell you that I will reply back to the CEO and you can stay out of it.” Without a bye or giving a notice, he disconnected the call with a grunt. I became agitated again and pushed my daughter who was trying to reach my wallet which was placed on the bed’s side table. She fell on the floor and cried some more. I didn’t care. I shouted threats at her that if she did anything like this again, she would get a far worse beating. And, I would leave her for the ghosts to take care of her the next time. That freaked her and she held me tight. I did what a good father does. I cleaned her first and then the debris. I damned my situation while I cleaned, and swore never to work from home again.

Short Story : Nascent Innocence : Part 3 of 3

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