She picked up the phone, tentatively.
“Hello ma’am. Would you be interested in booking a home loan with Free Money Bank?”
She slammed the phone down, partly disgusted and partly scared.
‘Should I call mom up? She always calls me on Saturdays at 8 am sharp.. It’s two hours late already!’ Nina thought to herself.
She picked up her chocolate croissant and bit into it. The cocoa sprung her into action. She picked up the receiver and started dialling.
tring, tring… tring, tring…
“Mom! Who’s this? Is it you? What happened?”
“Hahahahaha. Is this cute elderly lady your mom? Then I must give you some news. I’m Mr. Sick. And your mom is under my custody.”
“Why? I mean, remove her from your custody! You don’t have any right to take her like that! She’s my mom!”
“I think I can, sweetie. Ms. Hyde, aren’t you?”
“Look, how much money do you need? I’ll pay you right now!” Nina looked at the list of thing she wanted to ask mom. A cheque for Rs. 25,000 occupied the number one position. That would have to wait, for now.
“Hahahahahaha. I don’t need your money, Ms. Hyde. I’ve already got my reward!”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve got a cup of blood-tini, a box full of healthy white blood-loops and enough vitamins and minerals to last for a long time!”
“What? Mr. Sick, you’re doing something wrong. I will complain to the police about you.”
“Police? They can’t find me. They never will. The only ones who can find me are the ones who never come to me on their own!”
“Stop speaking in riddles. Tell me, what do you want?”
“I don’t want anything, my dear.”
Nina heard a shriek from behind, “Call the doctor!”
“What was that? Mom? I’ll call the doctor,” Nina’s hands started trembling. She was scared of Mr. Sick now.
“No, no, darling. The doctor would give me a lot of pain, and then I’ll have to learn new ways of earning my livelihood. Please don’t do that!”
Nina was in a fix: She herself was struggling to get a job in the city, and here was a fellow job-hunter, trying to make ends meet. Should she call the doctor?
But her mom was more important than Mr. Sick. Obviously.
“Then go to some retraining session, or take the risk of getting sacked. I don’t care!”
Nina slammed the phone down. Picking up the address book beside the telephone, she searched for Dr. Med. The number was written in bold, and she saw her mom’s neat handwriting printed next to the number – “Call immediately if Mr. Sick comes home.”
Her fingers trembled again, as she dialled the number. Was she too late?
“Dr. Med speaking,”
“Doctor, you’ve got to help me. Mr. Sick is in my mom’s house. Could you please go over to her home? Soon?”
“Calm down, dear. Can you give me your mom’s name?”
“Mrs. Hyde. A-123, Spick and Span Apartments, Infinity Road. Please do hurry up!”
“Really? Spick and Span Apartments? That’s a change. He rarely goes there.”
“Oh no! I mean, yes. He is at my mom’s house. Please do get him out of there!”
“I surely will, ma’am. Please do not enter your mom’s house for a while, till I call you back.”
“Thank you doctor, thank you.”
She placed the receiver in the cradle, relieved.
She picked up her croissant and took a second bite. The cocoa in it made her think, again.
‘What if Dr. Med gets caught by Mr. Sick? I should go and make sure that everything goes okay!’
Throwing her croissant back on the plate, she ran out of the door.
Nina arrived, panting, outside the door of her mom’s apartment. She could hear raised voices, but they both sounded masculine. ‘At least mom is safe,’ she sighed in relief.’Or was it a bad sign?’
She knocked loudly on the wooden door, too frightened to even speak.
A few seconds later, the door opened.
But the person in front of her wasn’t a human being.
She shrieked and stepped back in fright. A huge black circle floated in front of her, with a hole in the middle. But when the circle spoke, he sounded almost human.
“Hello, Ms. Hyde. Glad to have your acquaintance. I’m Mr. Sick.”
“AAAARRGGHHHHHH!!!” Nina ran down the steps as fast as she could, constantly looking over her back to see if Mr. Sick was following her.
But she couldn’t close her ears tight enough to escape the loud boom of his voice.
“When I find you, I will catch you, and you will regret the day you met Mr. Sick! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
Pardon me for the childish story, random capitalization and crazy double-entendre-ish names. Being sick plus being thoroughly motivated to write makes you do weird things, indeed.
Stay safe, stay healthy. And eat apples, because that’s what keeps Mr. Sick away! Why would anyone want to keep Dr. Med away, anyway?