Summertime Madness

[this is one of many (2) writing prompts I received from fellow Twitter users, and I have taken full permission from the concerned individuals (haha not really)]

The brick colored brick building sat right where it was supposed to sit, unmoving, surprisingly stable, heating up under the angry Kolkata sun. They called it school, and every (pre)teen hated it. At any given point of time between 8 am and 5 pm, there were hordes of irritable students fidgeting their way through the stupid syllabus.

One of these kids was Aaradhya [last name not available]. He [male] was particularly annoyed that day, having had to jerk off in the school washrooms, thrice, with no material. Absolutely furious, one might say. He sat there on the termite-ridden desk, listening to the math tutor and wondering about the stock market and thinking about Schrodinger’s pussy. It was all good, as far as he was concerned.

The classroom door was pushed open abruptly at that moment, and a young, reedy-looking professor walked in. The math tutor half-shrieked, half-gasped, looking petrified. “Oh! Mr. Banerjee! Almost gave me a heart attack there!” Mr. Banerjee, cool as he was, snorted and whirled to face the class. His hand shot up, index finger pointing at Aaradhya. “I need this boy”, he said. The complete batch of bored students was suddenly glaring at Aaradhya, clearly not bored anymore.

Adjusting his glasses, Aaradhya stood up. “Me, sir?” “Yes. Follow me.” With that, the professor strode away.

Aaradhya, pouncing on this seemingly weird opportunity to leave class, hurried ahead, awkwardly nodded at the math tutor, and skidded out into the hallway. Mr. Banerjee was twenty paces ahead, so he picked up his pace and followed him.

Now Mr. Banerjee was a new guy, in his 30s and pretty much the poster boy for a smart economics professor; all the teachers were supposed to secretly hate him for being at a high level of the school food chain at such a young age. 

“In here, quick”, he said, opening up a door. And even as Aaradhya stepped over the threshold, a word popped into his head and his face changed. Oh, shit.

Mr. Banerjee saw that too, and grinned. “I’m no pedophile, kid.” Aaradhya was shocked but also relieved. “No, I don’t like kids but I have a certain…affinity for older women.” Aaradhya crinkled his nose, thinking, What an absolute madarchod. “Ah, I’m just kidding. I just prefer South Indian women.”

The room they had entered was a pretty basic classroom, completely empty except for the chewing-gum-riddled furniture and stale farts. Mr. Banerjee rushed to a side door and pushed on it. The door swung on its hinges and poof! seemed to melt away into nothingness. What the…

“Come on, kid”, Mr. Banerjee beckoned to him. “We need to be quick.”

“But…but there’s nothing behind the door! And I’m not sure that door is supposed to be there…”

“For heaven’s sake! Trust me, we need to go right now!”

So Aaradhya ran into the door, feeling like an autistic Harry Potter (basically the same thing). As soon as he made contact with the shimmering darkness, he felt an unseen force pull him into the void and he was thrown into a… conference room. One moment he was touching the door, the next he was sitting in the chair left of the empty chairman position in a red-themed, posh-looking conference room. It was cool​ here; a welcome relief from the heat. But where exactly was “here”?

Looking around, he realized he was alone. “Mr. Banerjee?” he called out meekly. No answer.

The next minute, there was a blurred, swift flurry of motions and then the conference room was full of 30-year-olds to 60-year-olds gazing solemnly at him. Maybe he was drunk. Maybe his arch-nemesis had put some drug in the morning upma. He wasn’t even sure he was real at this point. He noticed Mr. Banerjee sitting diagonally opposite to him, smiling.

The chair at the head of the table was occupied by a burly, confident man. He stared at Aaradhya as if judging him for his sins, while the latter thought about how if Simba the lion had a human counterpart this huge man would be him. The man looked away at the gathering and spoke. “The committee is now complete.” 

Aaradhya was baffled. “Wha-”

“All will be explained, kid. I hope you’ve noticed that you’re the youngest member here, the second youngest one is-” the man nodded at a 20-something guy wearing a dark hoodie, sitting at the far end, watching everything quietly, “-him. This here is the most clandestine committee of all time. You, Aaradhya, are now part of The Guild.”

“I’m not sure I’m supposed to be here. And I’m probably not the perfect guy…”

“Oh, we’ve seen you at work. You’re in the perfect position to be one of us. You understand how exactly money, and the world, for that matter, works, and that is a good enough criteria for us. And though you have a lot to learn,” The man cleared his throat conspirationally to hush down the murmuring that had grown around the table, much to Aaradhya’s indignation, “you shall be just fine. We were all chosen at your age, brought in by a mentor. There have been exceptions, however”, another glance at the far end, “but yeah, it’s all good.”

“And what are we…um…The Guild, supposed to do, exactly?”

The smart Simba man laughed, as if it was a very naive question, and the answer was but obvious. “Why, save the world!”

Aaradhya squinted from behind his glasses, and then many things happened at once. Mr. Banerjee tapped his wristwatch, the Simba guy nodded, another flurry of motion and all the people disappeared. Aaradhya was left alone, watching the empty chairs around him, feeling lonelier than ever, his mind a harsh kaleidoscope of what not…

Thunk!

What the hell do you think you’re doing, Aaradhya!?!” And all of a sudden Aaradhya was aware of a stinging heat on his neck and he was back in class, drooling off to sleep, and the math tutor was screaming at him…

“Uh.. I need to talk to Mr. Banerjee?”

“What?”, scoffed the tutor. “He called in sick today.”

“Oh.” So it was all just a figment of his imagination, like that time he had envisioned Mother Teresa in a sheer cloth…

Disappointed, Aaradhya left school early after telling his teachers he was feeling sick, and cycled back home. His parents were at work. He entered the hall, went straight to the kitchen, and gulped down half a liter of cold water.

He returned to the hall, only to find Mr. Banerjee, looking fit as hell, sitting in the couch, grinning up at him. Aaradhya staggered at the rush of images in his brain.

“You! The door…the room…the people…”

“Yep. All real. Sit down. I have something for you.”

“Sure, I think I’d better sit down. What is it?”

Mr. Banerjee’s face turned serious. “Are you up for it?”

Aaradhya thought about his bland life and the numerous times he’d wondered about snorting cocaine off the school principal’s tits. He shuddered.

“Oh, I am. I definitely am. So what do you have for me?”

Mr. Banerjee leaned forward with an expression less suited to a professor than to a superspy, and cracked another toothy smile. “An assignment.”

End.

[Note: everything here is fictional apart from the main character and the thinly veiled existential scorn. Thanks for reading.]