I Ruined Luigi's Election Campaign

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Pakistani Literature


‘A short story about a young outspoken student who moves back to his hometown Karachi to pursue higher studies after spending most of his life in the Middle-East. Adjusting in the utterly
exploitative and corrupted society of Pakistan has proved to be difficult for him. Moreover, there is a particular politician with an eerie resemblance to the videogame character Luigi he is not
really fond of.



One day he wakes up in his apartment badly beaten up. Join him as he recalls the events of the previous night that got him into his pathetic state.’



WARNING: Contains strong and explicit language.

Submitted: June 27, 2018

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Submitted: June 27, 2018

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'Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years 
Finds and shall find me unafraid.' 

-William Ernest Henley, 

Invictus 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 

 

Gleaming sunlight awakened me. Lying face up in my super comfy couch, I squint to check the clock. It is a little after 10:35 AM. Just then, the feeling of dizziness envelopes my head and my whole body begins to ache. "Wait, how did I come ba...", I could not even finish the whole sentence because my tongue began throbbing with intense pain. 

I have never drunk in my whole life but for some reason I feel hungover. Nauseous. Shaken. Broken - both mentally and physically. 

 

 I remember leaving with friends after coming back from university but everything subsequent to that is all a blur. How young people in the west celebrate the end of week in clubs and bars, we do that in shisha lounges and cafes. It has become a sort of custom. After all, this is about all the nightlife we have got over here. 

I might be a bit biased but isn't it better to waste money on flavoured smoke of charcoal than gulping down a bitter drink to unconsciousness, just to wake up the next day with your mind and body all messed up?

Yes, I can sense the irony in my thoughts. 

 

2 

 

Young men do not need alcohol to talk about things that would make them look both dumber and more horrible than they already are. Just provide us with a comfortable setting and few friends, and we would utter things so outrageous that if our close ones came to know about them, they would not think twice before disowning us. Likewise, sitting in a perched position, the way you sit when you are talking about something you are truly passionate about, having both of my hands occupied with a shisha pipe and mobile phone, I began claiming how Imran Khan would still stand a chance in the coming elections even if the establishment stopped backing him. Sometimes you cannot help, emotions prevail over your logical reasoning. My buddies and the waiter who happened to be serving us at that time found my claims immensely amusing. Their hysterical laughter was an indicator that I was just making a fool out of myself. Something you learn growing up among South Asians is pulling out the obviously-I-am-not-that-stupid-it-was-just-sarcasm card at the right moment. It has saved me from total humiliation before and it saved me yesterday. "Jokes. I might be a bit slow but I am not deluded, Imran Khan has more chance with Hamza Ali Abbasi than becoming PM of the country without army support", I proclaimed, letting out a nervous chuckle. 

 

So in short, it was a pretty ordinary night. Then I saw someone. Someone familiar. Whoever it was I had never seen them in real life before- oh yes it was a celebrity, a public figure. But who was it? And why did it ignite a fire of fury inside me?  

 

3 

 

I am able to only partly open one of my eyes and my whole face is burning. When I rubbed my hand over it, I realised it was smeared with sticky dried blood. Good Lord, did I get into some kind of brawl or what? Dropping my legs from the couch, I try to sit upright by transferring my whole weight to my bottom, it is then the real agony shoots through my body. At that very instant I knew that I have my pelvis fractured. Struggling, I somehow manage to get on my feet. 

 

I hobble towards the second-hand Victorian-style mirror in the hallway. To my horror, I was greeted by an unidentifiable person in an extremely pitiful state in the reflection. Not the way I looked when I left home yesterday. It was worse than I initially thought, there are cuts, a lot of them, but only on one side of my face. Like I had been smacked with something made of glass from a quite close range. Something that probably belonged to me, right then my gaze went upon the battered mobile phone laying on the dressing table. What did I do to get thwacked by my own mobile phone? Not a lot of girls were even present there as far as I remember.

One of my eyes is totally swollen and it is not just the face, but my whole body is besmirched in bruises and blood. In addition to that footstep marks are imprinted all over my clothes. At this point, I am wondering how I even survived. 

 

It is true I can be a tad short-tempered at times but no matter what, I would never indulge in a physical fight. Too cowardly for that. The last time I was in the centre of a proper fist fight was in early middle school. It is not just cowardice though. You just know your 5-foot 9 scrawny body cannot withstand a lot of beating, so you try to keep quarrels verbal only. On the other hand, I have a very awful habit of not minding my own business and my ego does not let anyone else have the last word. These flaws got me in trouble before and I am pretty sure they are responsible for my present state. 

 

 

4 

 

Just then memories of last night start flooding back. Slowly at first and then boom, it was all there. So, it was a politician that I saw. Naturally, he happened to be a cunt too. What pissed me was the fact that the individual who should be a role model for others was himself lost in the sauce under alcohol influence in a public place. What an ideal representative of our beloved Islamic Republic. 

  

The time was a bit after midnight, it was still pretty lively in there due to the weekend and we were busy talking about stuff boys talk about; cars, future plans and latest memes and trends. Just then we heard someone speaking in a thick Sindhi accent, "Ado saeein bohut mazo aayo! Kya khoob kisi ne kaha hai saeen, chai peeni hai tou Bahadrabad jao orr sharaab peeni hai tou Defense ao". We are used to seeing affluential spoiled brats messing around and most of the time the best thing to do is to leave them on their own. However, this voice undoubtedly belonged to a middle-aged man and for some reason it felt quite familiar too. 

 Curiosity got the better of me as I stood up and took a glance in the direction where the voice was coming from. "Dude chill, we know how these wadeyras are," muttered my friend while pulling me down, "the last thing we want is their attention". To my misfortune, in those few seconds I was able to get a good look at the blethering drunk. His immaculately starched white kurta contrasted the curl of greasy black hair escaping his loosely worn Sindhi cap. He wore a hideous mustache that was too big for his face. The moron must be really proud of his stacheLittle did he know that, combined with his enormous nose, it made him look like an ugly real-life version of Luigi from Super Mario 

 

This sad excuse of a human being was not any random oofy wadeyra but one of the people running for parliament from my own local constituency. It was already beyond my comprehension how this dense cuck even managed to get the ticket to run for public office and then hearing his intoxicated voice there just filled me with pure rage. My friends noticed the redness of my ears, so one of them offered me a bottle of water and enlightened me, " This is how things work here, buddy. Just ignore it." It is a shame by then I had already made my mind to confront this shameless hypocrite. My brain replayed how the other day on national television this cartoon was bragging about his steadfast belief. Not so steadfast when there is a bottle of Jack nearby, huh?  What an absolute cunt. 

 

 

5 

 

For the second time on the same night, emotions overcame my logical reasoning. Except for this time my wits would only make the matter worse. "I am going to expose this lying arse," I declared pulling out my smartphone, "The world needs to see the real face of this miserable blockhead." My friends tried to stop me but once that youth adrenaline rush gets going, no obstruction can really hinder you. They were about 15 people, including the cunt politician, sitting in the VIP portion around a fancy wooden table that appeared to be bearing dozens of cans and bottles of liquor. Judging from their clothing majority of them were guards. Intimidation is such a wonderful instinct which helped our ancestors survive for millenniums, yet it is amusing how a fit of pique can make a man go against his own nature so easily. 

 

As I stood up, I was able to get a proper look at him. Luigi was sitting in an accent chair with one leg upright embraced while the other one laying horizontally on the seat making an L shape. Like they say, your whole body resonates what you are. I wonder how a man who lacked etiquettes of sitting in a chair in public is ready to govern a metropolitan constituency.  

 

I read somewhere that for any video its intro is the most significant part. Similar to the prologue of a novel, it must grasp the watcher’s total attention and drive them to watch the whole thing. The fit of ill temper awakened the slumbering journalist inside me that I did not know existed. Looking at the front camera ever so confidently I gave brief details about the drunken Luigi and then switched to the back camera as I walked towards their table. My poor attempt of commentary echoed in the lounge.  

 

I knew I had their attention when all the goons got on their feet with a grimace on their faces as if welcoming an unexpected guest. "Just look at them," I exclaimed, pointing my camera to all of their faces, then focusing longer on Luigi who was either too drunk or just unbothered to get rid of the Dutch beer in his hand, "No faith, no manners, no shame and these pathetic buffoons expect us to vote for them." Although the guards were too startled to do anything with a sudden turn of events, the self-righteous cunt nonetheless raised his unoccupied left hand, the way you take an oath, as to prevent them from leaping at me.

 

Then he placed the Heineken can on the table so elegantly that even in such a tense moment I was left astonished. Next, in his calm cunning voice, Luigi spoke. "Aray saeein Angraizi mein kya cheekh rahay hoIss larai jhagray mein koch nahi rakha saeein. Camera band karoaraam se beth ker pyaar orr muhabbat se baat karte hain ".  

At this point, the whole place was filled with dead silence and everyone just stared at us from their seats as if watching an intense game of cricket. Had this been anywhere else, people would have tried to reconcile the conflict but unlike me, they were wiser and knew things work differently over here. Being uncompromisingly outspoken throughout my life, a lot of people have told me that my tongue is going to get me killed one day. Last night I realised how right they were. Stepping closer to Luigi, I snarled back, "Jab aapke baap daadaon ko Angraizon ne apni jooti ke neechay rakha huwa thaonko tou nahi huwi kabhi mushkil Angraizi samajhne mein". They said I have the power to provoke even the calmest of men. Very well they said.

The last thing I remember is the deafening tuning sound as he snatched the phone from my hand, then instead of smashing it on the ground like I anticipated, Luigi fucking struck it on my cheekbone with his whole might, the way you straighten malleable metal with a mini hammer. 

 

 

6 

 

To be honest, now I am grateful that most of the pounding occurred after I blacked out. Still standing in front of my reflection, I saw something tucked under my broken phone. I figure it was a note, most likely from one of my friends who brought me back home.  

 

A note it was and it read: 

 

'Thank God the apartment key was still in your pocket. Dude, what the actual fuck? Were you out of your mind? Be glad they did not kill you. 

 

Being new to Pakistan, I can understand this unscrupulous society has been too much for you, but like I said last night, this is how things work over here. Not much ordinary people like you and I can do in this toxic system without becoming its victim ourselves.

 

Go visit the doctor, make up any story but do not let them know what actually happened. They took your information from us before leaving, so it would be wiser if you avoid involving authority or media into this. 

Wish you a speedy recovery. 

 

- Ahmed '  

 

 

7 

 

The damage has been done, my friendI thought as I neatly folded the handwritten letter, a rarity in this era of online communication, and placed it back where I found it. I am not the bravest person on the block and never claimed to be one, so I will not act as if the last part did not fill me with dread and apprehension. Albeit amidst the feelings of queasiness, agony and fear, there was something else too - a feeling of triumph. It is funny how instead of my loved ones, I am thinking about those social media friends who used to complain about how boring my livestreams were. Jokes on them.  

 

Having spent most of my life abroad, I used to have this habit of tuning into Pakistani news channel every time our national team had any major success in cricket. For me seeing scenes of jubilation back home was the closest thing to celebrating victory with the fellow countrymen. Simple times indeed. 

Today, however, I am finding one of those cancerous news channels for a totally different reason yet somehow it is accompanied by the same feeling of euphoria. At last, when I found one, I could not help but smile as the sight of my shaky filming met my eyes. ‘National assembly candidate disqualified after being exposed on Facebook live,’ read the headline.  

 

I won't deny that there is definitely a concern about what the future holds but for now at least I feel contented and that is what matters the most 

 


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