Five miles for a plate of rice

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Author's voice

About few months ago, writing was not at my top list then one night I woke up. I'm writing, it didn't make any sense but I am writing. Background information on the book This story is inspired
by those people who are struggling to survive in streets and a bit of my childhood memories.

You can read this short story as a stand alone. '5 miles for a plate of rice'  is a scene from my latest project"The Dumpster boys". The book series is still at it's early
stage and it will take some time before I upload it. It will be helpful if feedbacks are given for the plot you like or dislike, It will act as a good reference point during my
future writings. LET'S GET STARTED

Submitted: October 29, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 29, 2017




I am thirsty. I need some water.

I can't remember the last time I had a drink; was it yesterday or this morning, I can't remember.  The sun seems particularly unforgiving today for I can feel my skin burning and not enough sweats to cool me down. I have been looking for a shade from a moment ago but this vast wasteland do not provide safety; it does not give, it takes.

I sink my foot under the sandy soil hoping that it would give me some relief but its just a pain. An umbrella might do just fine or a pair of shoes but these are really not my biggest concern at the moment, It's hunger and thrist. For the past six hours, I have been waiting here in this spot for my yesterday's breakfast, lunch, dinner and today's Brinner. If I miss this chance, I will be starving for two days straight.

"I am Azu, People call me Azu when they see me and it became a name; my name. Apu sort of raised me and It seems like he found me in a dumpster where he was living and that's how the dumpster became my home too".

Azu!!! Make it quick, I can see the trucks. Fast, fast, shouts Aak who is standing on a rock with his hands above his eyes blocking the sun for better vision. I took out my knife, kiss it and hurriedly place it over a long bamboo. I make a spear by tightly wraping the 'two' using some elastic bands and torn clothes.

'Done', I exhale. One ugly spear.

I kept the spear buried under the sand and start to rip some polythene bags. A scorpion fall from the polythene bags; It seems like i am not the only one looking for a shade. Shall I eat it? I thought to myself; I have heard many stories of people eating scorpions to survive hunger. Stop! Aak shouts from his rock. Don't eat it, that small thing! he says pointing at the scorpion lying motionless, can kill you. " Kill it"! he adds while jumping off from his rock and softly landing with his bare foot like a cat; a thin hungry cat. I let it go, it is no use to me but some animals might need it.

"Aak is my friend but he is more a like brother. We are a team, like 'Darth Vader and Moff Tarkin' or the 'wet bandits'. I met him few years ago; I was stealing mangos and he showed me how to 'not get caught', it was my first lesson and now, i am the best student. According to our assumption, Aak might be some few years older than me. " Aak is a dry fish " He is thin; due to the lack of proper meal throughout his life. He is wearing a pair of blue shorts, an orange vest with many holes; through which two of his rips can be seen like a piece of xylophone, he has no shoes and lastly a goatee; ugliest goatee ever".

"Few years ago, I remember we found some money under a car( actually it was inside the car), It was 20 bucks. I remember vividly, how we watched a movie; 'Home Alone' and drank Pepsi out from the straws. It was the best day of our life and we talk about it every night before we go to sleep".

There were many boys who waited together with us at dawn but the sun and their lack of dedication made them flee. I notice only three of us: me, Aak and a short guy with his tumbleweed hair bouncing in synchronize motion with his weird twitching neck but i respect him for his dedication and endurance.

I close my eyes and put my ears to the burning blacktop ( I don't know why) trying to listen to the

listen to the sound of the trucks. I can hear them faintly approaching us from a distance.

Hide! Hide! the tumbleweed guy shouts in panic, while running around in circles. Aak grap him by his neck and warn him not to mess up. The tumbleweed guy dive into the sand like a sandfish and the rest is magic; he disappeared.

Both of us rush away from the blacktop. Here drink it, said Aak while throwing me a small water bottle with few centimetres of water. I took some sip and threw back at him and he finishes in a single gulp and tapping the bottle neck unto his tongue; I see some round marks around his pale tongue. Both of us starts to cover ourselves with sands. We put those polythene bags over our heads for better vision and protection.

There are around 15 trucks tailgating our way like an elephant parade, where the alpha males are protecting their calf. The trucks are huge with an enclosed cap and open cargo area with low sides and tailgate. It has full of rice bags stack together like sand dunes; dunes that might be my dinner soon.

I have a good feeling today, maybe we might sleep late and have a feast, I told Aak but he is just gesturing me to keep it quite with his forefinger on his lips. I really can't stay serious while staring at his goatee; its like a mouse stuck on his chin. I laugh and points at his chin and Aak laugh as well, then both our eyes met the incoming trucks.

I took one gulp full of air for strength and grip my spear tight; its now or hunger.

The trucks are nearly at our spot. "Its fast, too fast"!  Matter n the tumbleweed guy on my left buried in sand. "Shut it" i said, keeping my eyes fix on the trucks. The truck driver knows we are there, somewhere waiting for them, But we are kids, they don't hurt kids. Do they?

I let the first truck pass,the second and the rest till there is only one truck left. The last truck is as big as the rest with green paints, it looks like an Elephant but green. The driver is a dark man with long facial hair with his hands busy handling the steering and a cigarette over his mouth. It seems like he is humming some songs from the way he is nodding his head and shoulders; it looks awkward; car owners must never do that.

 I jump up from my spot; I feel like the timing is perfect: perfect jump,perfect posture and perfectly letting the sands fall. I grap my spear and start to chase the truck. Aak and the tumbleweed guy also did their perfect stunts.

Its three against one or three pairs of skinny legs against 420 horsepower.

This tumbleweed guy is fast, he is already clinging unto the truck bumper and stretching his hands towards us. Fast! give me the knife, shouts the tumbleweed guy. Aak gather all his strength and took a leap; a leap of faith, and as he leaps, he hand over his Knife to the tumbleweed guy. I saw Aak rolling down the side of the road. I feel pity for his orange vest; too much torture on a little piece of cloth.

This tumbleweed guy is our saviour, he is the one that will be providing us dinner tonight, I thought to myself while running with the ugliest spear in my right arm.

The tumbleweed guy raise his arms with the knife, holding firmly in his hands and he makes a grant gesture: like he won a battle.

I turn back to see how Aak is doing; I see him sitting on the side of the road with his hands rubbing his head.  He's fine, I sigh.

I look at the tumbleweed guy and he points at a bag full of rice, asking for my permission. Yes, do it! I shout at him: a bit frustrated,bit annoyed and a whole lot of hunger anger.

He finally adjust his knife and just before he is about to swing the knife!, shit happen.  "He twitch ", I noticed how he was twitching his neck earlier but right now? did he really have to do that at this moment?

The knife fell from his hand and into the blacktop, making the saddest sound on its contact. It was an emotional moment for both of us; he's guilt and my disappointment.

I look up at him in anger with the thought of throwing my spear on his arse but he looks different, completely different; A face with 50%shame, 10% anger,20% dissapointment,20% guilt and 5%suicidal as a bonus.

He flicks his nose quickly and start to  join all his fingers together, forming some kind of a shadow puppet hand spear. With a full swing,he poke those rice bags but it bounce off. It was a desperate act and I understand; I would have given him an A+ for his effort but he's the one who messed up in the first place.

The truck suddenly jerk while making a sharp right turn and guess what?  He flew right into the side of the road, his head first with his hair flat and his body wobbling along, but luckily he landed on his back.

I snap back and gain my focus on the truck. I realise the truck had slowed down a bit, much slower than before.

Its my time, I mutter. I am hungry, tired and hopeless, maybe this is how people feels when they're about to die. I feel like I'll be going home hungry but its now or never, i won't go without a fight.

I look back at the truck and saw some words written over the tailgate but it is not important, I can't read. I firmly grip my ugly spear, exhale and inhale a long breath and ran towards the truck. The truck suddenly starts to speed up too.

It was a cat and mouse chase or more like mouse chasing the cat.

A boost of strength came upon me; I guess the last few mitochondrias in my bodies are sacrificing for a meal. I am running like I could catch up with the truck. I thought somehow I will manage to get something today.

I adjust my spear and position it for a throw. I aim my spear for the best looking bag; they all look the same but the climax should be specific and meaningful.

I threw my spear, a full swing. The moment i let go of the spear from my hands, TIME SLOWED ". I can see the spear swiftly lifting from my Palm with some tiny sand particles scattering all over in FHD; it is in 1080p. The spear flew like it was specially made to hit that sag of rice. It was magical and slow, literally. My spear flew straight towards that particular sag and it looks beautiful, I was wrong to call it ugly. Just when the spear was about to reach the truck, "Gravity happened" it pulled my spear like a mother pulling her child from a busy road.

My beautiful spear uglily flew down and broke the backlight of the truck. By this time, I am falling involuntarily on my knees, broken and Defeated. I look at my hands and they are shaking like they have minds of their own. Its over, I start to tear up, then a tear roll down my cheek and fade into my chin. I wanted to cry myself to death but tears were expensive and my body is cheap.

As I try to wipe off the tear, I collapse on my back without any movements and without any sound.

As I lay over the burning blacktop with my absolute soul, I heard a loud honk, a honk that woke me up. I can still hear the honk and its repeating in three and two, then it suddenly stop.

My fear and curiosity gave me one last strength to twist my neck and turn my head towards the source of the sound. I saw the truck driver getting off from his truck with a huge machete in his hand. He step down and walk towards his broken backlight like a detective entering a crime scene. He look over the Broken glass scattered few meters away from his truck and finally saw my Ugliest stupidest spear lying happily at the edge of the road. He pick it up and reenact how I threw my spear; he did good but lack determination and hunger . He separate my knife from the bamboo with just one swing of his machete. He threw it on the ground and make his way towards me, yes! me.

As I lay helpless on the road with all parts of my body numb and useless, I feel like a baby gazelle looking at the Lion approaching it slowly. I manage a quick peek at the direction and saw the truck driver approaching towards me with his machete in his right hand; if this is a Bollywood movie then I suppose this scene alone would make the film a hit: Blockbuster hit.

Just few minutes later a shadow blocked the sun and I could manage to open my eyes a little bit. I see the man looking down on me with his hands wrapped behind his back and twitching his mouth like he was seriously thinking about " how to kill a boy in 100 ways". By this time I knew I am suppose to die today; be it this man or hunger.

"I was always optimistic even under the fact that I was a trash by birth. I always hoped and thought that things will get better one day, unlike my friend Aak, who knew life better than I did and always tried his best to remind me that life is just another Hell with water for only the rich people".

Right now, I am thinking, maybe I should have agreed to Aak's view on life so that I won't be this sad before I die. I close my eyes and the only thing that made me remorse is how I will die without having a proper meal.

A wet cool liquid drip at my face out of nowhere. Am I dead or I'm hallucinating again?; I lick my lips and it is water, cool fresh water dripping all over my face. I am smiling but it is still a pain to swallow, I can't even swallow a drop of water.

Get up!! said a voice; A deep voice which has a rasp tone tomorrow; it, It is not the sweetest voice to hear at the moment but it was warm and sincere; I have heard stories from those Charity health care units about a man who was warm and sincere, who saved mankind from their sins.

I can feel my head uplifting from the ground and it rested on the man's knees.

You're one of the most stubborn kid I've ever seen, mutter the man. I open my eyes and I saw the truck driver smiling down at me with his huge sets of mustache and dark circles;darker than his skin.

Kid, what is your name?ask the man. I thought to myself, if only I could say my name or if only I have a name.

The man squeeze my lips and pour some water into my mouth and slowly tilt my throat. For the first time in today, i could feel my body reacting, like sipping lemons in mid July.

Is it good? The man questioned. More, I reply without any shame or pride; I was never in any possible situation to feel the need to use my pride.

He pour me some more water and i sip it likerains in desert. Can you get up? said the man. I nod, with the hope that I won't die being slaughtered here today nor by thirst. I notice  my feet were bleeding , it is really not a lot but it's blood and I am malnourish.

Hey! Boy follow me, said the man as he started to walk towards his truck. As i am getting up on my feet, I got a bad feeling but he seems harmless, its just his looks that's taunting. Who can blame genes?  "I never questioned about my looks: not even once, I mean my father must have been a handsome guy judging from the way I look but he lacked Discipline and commitment, judging from the fact that I live in a dumpster and I never knew my parents.

Can you walk a bit faster, shouts the man without even turning around, like he knew I was walking slow or maybe he had psychic powers to see people from behind.

His rough words and raspy voice brought sense to my unending thoughts and possibilities.

I am walking faster but I can't help but notice how he is not letting go of his machete. What is he thinking or what will he do now?those are the things occupying my mind at the moment. Then suddenly he took out one rice bag and place it on his shoulder, readjusting the position.

He points at my shirt with his machete; my red shirt with an over size sleeves and an extra long lengths. It has a picture of three penguins and one was stealing a diamond necklace. Penguins! He laughs while stabbing the bag with his machete. Look kid, you shouldn't be out here. This place is for the dead, only dead can survive here. I nod without thinking. I lost the capacity for reasoning, everyday was a battle and I fought some ugly ones, I am a savage vermin.

You should make a pouch with your shirt, he said while eyeing the rice bag and my shirt. I grap the end of my shirt with both my hands and make the biggest possible pouch. He pours the rice into it and stopped before the weight of the rice rip my shirt.

I don't know what to say at this grant gesture, this kindness seem foreign and thanking him seems quite not enough and I had nothing to offer him back. After few seconds of silence, I whisper thank you.

The man laugh and pad my head. Life is a mystery, I never thought I would have help anyone but here I am, giving away rice to some kid; pointing at me and  shaking his head in disbelieve.

Go on, run along said the man with his hands gesturing for good riddance. He puts back the remaining bag of rice and turns away without looking at me. I bet he doesn't felt the necessary to say good bye. He was a strange man; a man possesse by some kindred spirit.

As I stand there dumbfounded, he gets back to his truck and starts the engine. A roar, it was a roar, the truck sounded like a roar which send vibrations throughout the land and ended at my foot.

The truck starts to move away. I am not really expecting anything as for this moment, my capacity to think is overrated, but deep down inside my head i wanted a better farewell.

Suddenly a sound, a loud honk woke my daydreaming. It was him the truck driver, I knew it was his way of saying goodbye and I'm laughing. Goodbye and thank you I whispered.

Azu, what happened? Aak panting towards me covered in sweats. He look at my shirt confused and astound, scanning the rice mounted under my shirt and looking at my face. You did it, he shouts and punch the air in excitement. I manage a weak smile and he smile back.

Aak composed himself and look up at sky. He inhale some air and set his eyes on mine. He taps my shoulder without saying nothing, but I knew what he meant. "He is proud of me"

Hey! Aak? I said. Yes, he replied while picking up my knife off the road. What happened to the tumbleweed guy? I don't know, he replied. I guess we better find him, shall we? I suggest. Sure, but under one condition, he respond. What? I ask.


He better be a good cook because he will be cooking tonight. ****

Thank you for reading so far. I applause you for patiently reading this mess. I apologize for the lack of proper description for the characters, which I'll try my best to describe them in the book series "The Dumpster boys". If you like the idea of this story please do support and if any new concept, twist and ideas you feel like adding, please message me or comment below. Thank you.

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