“Raj gets served” Raj was creepy as hell; so creepy that his misconstrued advances on women came across as attempted harassment. He didn’t mean it; he was just a loser. He was a designer, or something like that of computers. They were his work and his play. Raj often spoke to his personal computer, whom he christened Linda. Raj wasn’t in touch with much of his family, or much of reality for that matter. They were “exceedingly social” as he often said (they also refused to let their younger members go near Raj). His appearance didn’t help. For starters, he was severely underweight at his height of six-foot-nine. He had a curly, orange, afro which seemed as though it had been singed repeatedly. It also seemed as though he had the wonderful habit of biting his nails, seeing as though he barely had any. They were bitten down to the skin; and the skin he enjoyed chewing at family gatherings. He had excessively overgrown nose and ear hair and his glasses were a perfectly square frame of faded maroon. Eye-snot was always present, so was his nose picking, sniffing, and constant scratching. Lastly, his skin was so weak that it would flake onto anyone within arms reach. Linda was covered. “Linda!” he said one cool afternoon... “I’m home sweetie.” The computer didn’t answer, but turned on to the sound of his voice. “Oh, now that’s a good Linda...” he said petting the cold plastic. He surfed Linda for awhile, made some programming repairs and then sat back with nothing to do. Out of boredom, he decided to check out some of National Geographic’s pictures of the year. “Ha ha ha, ha, ha ha ha ha!!!” “What is it Raj, sweet and wonderful master?” Inquired Linda through programming. Raj proceeded to professionally photoshop his face and body onto the different pictures of the year. Kudos to him because he was also clever enough to take pictures of himself in different outfits (appropriate to the climate of the picture’s location. Raj was no dummy, mind you.). He decided, all at once (and became so excited that he needed to hyperventilate for a short time) that he would use this genius photoshopping to become popular with his family and some of the townsfolk. “Well Linda, here’s the plan. Oh, oh I’m so excited I can’t contain it. I just can’t. Goody, goody.” “The plan, master.” hotly debated Linda. “Oh, yes right...” Raj said with a false air of professionalism. “Well, Linda my pet...as you know I am a master of the glorious photoshop program and can superimpose my image into these pictures so well that no one will know they have been doctored.” “Yes master, you are.” “Linda I’m going to leave these on my desk at work, where they think I am quiet. They’ll go snooping through my things while I’m on break and they’ll find the pictures and, and, they’ll all think I’m really cool and awesome and they will proceed with a thorough liking of me. Yeah! Great goodness!” “But master, I like you...is that not sufficient?” “No Linda, these are real people.” taunted Raj, busily printing and measuring the photos. A sad, computer generated face appeared suddenly on screen. The pictures continued shooting out of the printer...one was of Everest’s summit. Another was of a tiger, burning bright in a Chilean rain forest. The next was of a man with a large, genuine smile dropping off bags of rice to obviously starving children. They continued rapidly shooting out of the printer, one after another...a family of kangaroos, the royal family in London, a gang of clowns posing in front of the Eiffel tower, the Dallas Cowboys, Shakespeare’s birthplace, the Miss America finalists, Bono serving dinners to the homeless in Manhattan, penguins lounging at the South Pole, the fall of the Berlin Wall and so on and so forth until he had compiled enough. Then he photoshopped. “And I went to Spain, and Canada, and oh, here I am in Japan and, yes that’s me on the White House lawn. Oh, Linda this is so wonderful.” he said to her, but Linda was still angry about his last comment and failed to reply. Raj went to sleep haplessly contented that night, smiling hugely.
* * * He stood hunched in his underpants brushing his decayed teeth. Raj readied himself with such vim and vigor that morning. One would’ve thought Apple had released a new laptop. He bid farewell to Linda and jetted out with jovial absent mindedness. He had forgotten the pictures. “Oh, dear me Linda! I have forgotten the element of primary importance. The pics, the pictures, the piccys! Where did I place them? Ah, yes here. Farewell again Lindy-Bindy.” he sighed happily. “Farewell.” said a drained Linda from a night’s work of printing and altering. Raj, needless to say had much more of a pep in his step that day than usual. He was the man of the hour, in his mind; and in his mind was where he remained until he arrived at work. He spent his entire ride fantasizing about the outcome of his master plan. “Hello, gentlemen!” said Raj to the co-workers he never addressed (Raj rubbed his hands together. Skin shavings were dispersed like cheese being grated.) . “The fucks up with him?” said Tim, the careless, bulky office manager. “Dono...” said a portly engineer “...but if he’s drugged up or somethin’...” “Yeah, he better not embarrass us when Mayor Alstatt comes to visit. I’ll beat his ass.” Tim commented, absent of any genuine toughness. Raj arrived at his neatly ordered desk. His desk was a nice place, for him. There was a gum-ball machine on a smooth light brown surface. On this, his co-workers had carved numerous mean sayings like, “You suck!” and “You’re corny!” “Quit!” was repeatedly etched around the desk’s border, but none of that bothered Raj today. He had a plan. He could barely contain his moronic excitement as he watched the clock and played some pick up games of World of Warcraft until the time for his break arrived. He grabbed the usual lunch of four pepperoni hot pockets and two grape juices out of his Fred Flinstone tote. While eyeing Flinstone, he contrived a way of arranging the pictures. He spread them evenly across his desk as indication (through his motive) that he had tossed them carelessly. He wanted to convey the message, “Yeah, so...” as to make his co-workers think that he had done all this traveling and goodwill and it meant little to him. He strolled out of his office, whistling the theme to the X-Men cartoon as he mulled the desired scenario over in his mind. Raj thought, “Okay, so by the time I get back, they should all lift me at the same moment and sing about my jolly-good fellowship. Yes, now off to lunch.” He took his usual seat in the dismal cafeteria and munched away. He ogled a ferociously feisty fly and bit in. The hot pocket’s boiling hot inside squirted into his oral cavity and disintegrated a layer of skin. On any other day, Raj would’ve screamed, but this was his day. In the meantime... His fellow employers walked from office to office gathering each of the other co-workers. “Let’s go Joe. Get ready to mess with Raj’s stuff.” said Tom. “Let’s roll big T!” released Tom. So the usual group of seven entered Raj’s office, prepared to wreak havoc. Simultaneously, the Mayor Alstatt entered the building. “An empty office? Workers not working? In my city? What the hell is this?” the mayor demanded of his aid. “I don’t know, sir.” replied the inexperienced intern. Meanwhile, at the other end of the office the co-workers stood open mouthed. Raj’s plan was in full effect. “Raj? I, I...” spoke Tom. Soon there was a large congregation at Raj’s door, ignoring the mayor. The angry mayor eventually joined in on the excitement. Raj returned from lunch. “Hello, gentlemen!” snarled Raj slyly. Needless to say, the townsfolk spent the next few weeks rejoicing over Raj. They did, in fact make him (metaphorically speaking) their jolly good fellow. Raj was the story of the town (it was a small town). He was asked to speak at local grammar schools, high schools and even asked to give lectures about his travels at some of the local colleges. He was given hundreds of thousands in grants so he could travel further, and speak more. Women wanted him and men wanted to be him. He was the local rock star. “Oooh Wee!” he responded to people who recognized him driving around town in his luxury sedan. Everyone wanted a piece of this well traveled and humanitarian fellow. The mayor gave him the key to the city, the pastor gave him the key to the church and the janitor gave him the key to the school. Good ol’ Raj had truly achieved the stardom he yearned for. That stardom was only temporary though, thanks to the office cleaner, Katasia. Katasia was a sharp, mild-mannered woman, rotund and bubbling with hilarity. She was cleaning the Raj’s recently renovated office when she came across the opened photoshop program on his computer. Though unfamiliar with computers, she discovered his secret though some busybody-ing. She was ashamed of herself for admiring the man who she had brought her children to hear speak. Raj was in the other room, unaware of Katasia’s presence. He spoke to Linda... “Linda, I’ve gotten one over on this entire town of morons. They all love me. Oh, they’re so dopey! I’m so cool and great. Yeah, they all love me yes. Katasia is a fool and stupid and stuff too. They pay money for my lie Linda! My big, giant, wonderful lie! Yeah, I’m so wonderful. They all know” Katasia’s fists clenched in the other room. Her veins expanded as she muttered to herself in a maddened rage of fury... “And I paid half my salary to hear this man speak at a banquet. I’ll fix him!” A few days later, Raj was speaking at a Town Hall fundraiser, raising money for his next voyage (this one would be to Mount Rushmore). There, were the towns most notable doctors, Doctor Mishkin, Doctor Maudeville, Doctor Presentation and Doctor Mundane, lawyers, Mr. Jones, Senor Mutley, Mr. Juanera and Mr. Coonshaywhy were all present, professors, high school teachers, bankers, clergymen, Father Blatant, Father Obvious, Father Marcus and Deacon Tulash, authors and entrepreneurs. Raj stood proudly at the pulpit as the greats of the town sat before him in awe, in chairs, which were cushioned. “Thank you, thank you all...” started Raj when suddenly the maddened Katasia pulled Raj off stage with a long cane, from behind the curtain. “You son of a ...” “Ouch, damnit” Katasia began to choke Raj. Raj punched her weakly in the right temple. Not knowing how else to inflict harm, she piched Raj’s nose. “Ow, stop!” whined Raj. Things became more and more violent until it was no holds barred between the two of them. The crowd wondered what was going on with their hero. Discussion turned to worried discussion which turned to panic. The thick purple curtain collapsed and Raj and Katasia danced out from behind it. “He’s a fraud, he’s a fraud...photoshop! photoshop!” yelled Katasia as Raj tried covering her mouth. There were the usual sighs, gasps and screams from the partly intoxicated crowd. Those usually mundane screams became louder and more interesting as the crowd realized what fun they were to produce. Seemingly out of nowhere, a pillar began falling toward Raj and Katasia in the midst of their battle. It crushed them both. The crowd broke into an frenzy of horror. In the frenzy, Father Blatant turned toward a picture of the last supper so that he could pray through the horror. Suddenly, Christ arose from the table and pointed nonchalantly toward the pillar which had just crushed Raj and his housekeeper. Confused, Father Blantant turned quickly toward the pillar and then back to Christ. Christ gave him a small smile and a big wink. “Amen.” said Blatant
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