Tuesday , 19 March 2019
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New sheriff in Dirt town

Laxmikant was happy to be riding in the back of a truck driven by Manohar. He had no qualms about living in the shadows and had never known what it was to walk in the sun. Then fate intervened. The truck hit a bump and Laxmikant and his friend Mickky bounced off, just like in the film Rango.

After what seemed like a long walk they reached the town of ‘Dirt’. It was called so because garbage had piled up everywhere – along the roads, on the beaches and everywhere else. The stench was overpowering. Laxmikant wiped the dust off a steel badge that told everyone he was the new sheriff. “This town needs a new hero”, he whispered.

“I think it needs a garbage collector, not a hero”, replied Mickky who pinched his nose to avoid the smell.

On reaching the main street of Dirt town the duo were greeted by curious glances from the town’s folk. Laxmikant stopped in the middle, rested his hand on the gun belt around his thin waist and shouted, “People, I am your new sheriff.” The people let out a collective groan.

“We need a hero, and looked what they sent us”, lamented the coffin maker.

“He has the badge, but lacks the swagger of Manohar”, said the barber.

“Do you think he can lead us to the promise land?” asked the grocer.

“We are the promise land”, said the barber. “All he has to do is clear the garbage and he can go back to where he came from.”

“What happened to Manohar?” asked a vegetable vendor.

“He had to walk out of this story”, said Laxmikant. “The big guy from Delhi made him an offer he could not refuse.”

“I hope you can help us”, said a banker, “because if you can’t we will have to turn to Luizinho.”

“Luizinho?” Laxmikant asked with worry.

“He’ll have you for breakfast”, shouted the banker.

“I thought he was vegetarian”, said Laxmikant. “Mickky can you take care of this for me.”

“Sure boss,” said Mickky in a voice that was a mixture of a car wheel rolling over loose gravel and Clint Eastwood, “do you want me to slap him or shoot him?”

“Just tell him Laxmikant is coming”, said Laxmikant.

“Should I tell him you are coming and then shoot him or first shoot him and then tell him you are coming?” asked Mickky.

“This is not a one-man show”, said Laxmikant, “I want you to decide. I want you to be independent. I want you to shine.”

“Okay, I’ll shoot him,” said Mickky.

“In that case, use one bullet”, said Laxmikant, “we are on a budget.”

“No problem boss”, said Mickky, “I’ll come back and shoot him again when revenue from the mines starts pouring in and we can buy more bullets.”

Laxmikant glared at Mickky for a while and said, “I like the way you think.”

Mickky mounted his horse but before he could leave Luizinho stepped into the scene.

“Going somewhere?” Luizinho asked. Mickky ignored him. “I said are you going somewhere?” Luizinho repeated.

“Do you really want to know?” asked Mickky with anger. “Do you really want to know the truth?”

“Yes I want to know the truth”, shouted Luizinho.

“You can’t handle the truth!” Mickky  yelled. The people of ‘Dirt’ were delighted with the angry exchange. Nothing was as entertaining as a fist fight or showdown.

“You don’t belong here, Luizinho”, said Laxmikant after tempers had cooled down.

“I belong here”, countered Luizinho, “I was sheriff twice. Got kicked out twice. I have the experience…”

But before the showdown could take place a sand storm hit Dirt town and Laxmikant got blown away. As the storm began to clear he saw a figure. “Is that you Bhai?” he shouted. The figure drew closer. It was wearing a loose shirt, trousers and sandals. It had to be Manohar Bhai.

“I don’t want to go back”, Laxmikant said.

“You have to go back”, Bhai replied firmly.

“Why?” asked Laxmikant, “because they need a new hero?”

“Go back because you have to finish my story”, said Bhai and vanished.

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