“They forced you?”
“No,” she said. “They just chose him for me.”
“But you said Yes?”
Her lips stretched into a shy smile.
“It was the right thing to do. It is my culture, you know?”
“Oh,” I said.
“If it’s my culture it must be a good thing, doesn’t it?”
“It could be,” I said. “It just seems strange to me.”
Saraswati pushed her lightly curled black hair behind her ear.
“It’s strange to me too. I’m not really connected to this culture anymore, but I wanted to make my parents happy.”
“And that is more important than your own life?” Continue reading →
They wanted him to be a good Christian and it’s my fault that they failed.
It’s my fault that they are dead.
The suicide was obvious, the evidence clear. But the police never figured out his motives.
I know the motives.
I know the meaning of his scribbled message, the message that no fourteen year old should leave before he pushes a shotgun against his head.
“Save yourselves now. Join us in heaven before it is too late.”
The police thought he had gone insane; that he had brought them down into the bunker and that he shot them there for a personal reason that only seems significant for a fourteen year old. Maybe bullying or parental pressure or a punishment he thought unfair.
Trigger warning: This short story contains episodes of graphic sexual violence.
Gray tiles, some already chipped, all with greenish stains. Large sinks, rarely cleaned. Showerheads, large and too high to be reached.
Push the button. Wait for the water to get warm. Jump inside and quickly wash. Make sure that no one else sees too much. At that age it’s scary to be seen. What if the others have more hair or bigger things down there? Just don’t be seen.
Scary age. You grow into it and you when you think back you can’t see when you got into it. Maybe it was that first PE lesson after the summer; the one with the new teacher that said that we are soon men and will start to smell and all have to shower.
I was always one of the first. We all rushed in there, quick in, quick out. Not be seen. Continue reading →
There are things you don’t hear about Tibet until you arrive. Things like that for Buddhists the people eat a lot of meat and that when you look at the world of Tibet today then you will not recognize the idyllic land of the West’s delusion, but rather thriving Chinese cities and starving half-Chinese and half-Tibetan villages.
The other thing you don’t hear about are the Yarlung. Of course that’s only a nickname for them, among them many things that no one knows about them is how they call themselves.
Not just for generations, for whole dynasties they have been feared. For all of Tibetan history there are notes about their attacks – how they appear and disappear without a trace. How they never leave the smallest of objects, not even a hair, but that they always come to take the most precious thing.
Of course they had volunteered. Low budget; volunteers instead of actors. It’s cheaper that way and, if you’re lucky, more interesting.
That’s the core of reality TV.
You will have seen the shows; weird experiments and challenges or just a group locked inside a bungalow and manipulated to hate and attack and love each other.
Now, not all shows make it to your TV screens. Some because they are too boring. Some because the test audiences turn their thumbs down. And some because of accidents.
Accidents, that’s what you could call it.
Of course, they all volunteered and they all volunteered all liability away. Those blanko contracts are strong; even with such unusual cases. The director had trouble and we a bit too – but our studio got off with just a bit of paper money to keep things quiet.
TV works in very simple ways. With ratings and advertisers in your back there is no room for creativity. Creativity dies a slow and dry death the higher you climb the ladder. I saw quite a few that lost their creativity first, then their honor, then their soul. Continue reading →