Seeing Red?

Yeah, I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road/ I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more”, the speakers in the car blasted as he kept driving. It was a busy Wednesday morning with people rushing off to their offices and vehicles zooming past him. Suddenly he came across a junction where the signal was red and all the vehicles had stopped. Seeing no place to move forward, he decided to stop along with the rest of them. The sign changed. The rest of the vehicles sped past him but he stopped his car smack right in the middle of the road. The rest of the drivers appeared confused but in a race against time, they let time win and rushed off. After almost an hour of the man just listening to songs amidst rush hour traffic, the policeman in charge at that junction approached this man, “Why are you waiting here in the middle of the road? Can I see your license?”, he asked. “The signal makes it pretty evident I suppose. It changes to a different blackish colour in between and then goes back to the original. Also, here’s my license.” He produced a battered card with the name Victor Richards on it. The policeman looked even more confused. “A blackish colour? What are you even talking about? Don’t look at the pole, you fool. Look at the colours changing.” “Do you take me to be an idiot? I just said the colour goes back to a little darker red after that blackish colour. I think all these signals have some glitch.” “I can’t take your nonsense anymore, we’ll continue this in the police station.”, the policeman instantly cuffed him and arrested him.


A man who seemed like his brother came to bail Victor out and explained the whole situation to the police officer and showed him a few letters. The officer smiled and asked him to take better care of Victor. He dragged Victor out like this wasn’t the first time this was happening and took him home with everyone else giving Victor sympathetic glances.


A few days later, the news headline flashed in bold, “Man murdered in broad daylight.” Victor’s brother was watching it and the journalist started explaining that, ‘A man was walking wearing a Pakistani jersey on the occasion of Ind vs Pak cricket match, harbouring some superstition that India might lose if he supported them openly when suddenly a deranged man took a wooden stick lying on the road from the nearby carpenter shop and stabbed him repeatedly. The victim died today evening due to the splinter in his heart.’ The gruesome act had been blurred out by the news channel but Victor’s brother had a growing suspicion gnawing at him. The phone rang right on cue and it was a police officer on the other end, asking him to come down to the station. A regular occurrence now, he took out his bike and rode to the police station. 


Victor was standing in a corner, shivering, with a policeman holding him in handcuffs. His face immediately lit up seeing his brother. His brother said, “One week I don’t take you everywhere and this happens.” Victor said, teary-eyed, “I was walking in the other side of the city and got a glimpse of some secret meeting of the ‘Rough Shape Shifters’, with all the members wearing various kinds of masks resembling aliens and the leader showing them photos of men wearing that slightly dark shades asking the ‘shape-shifters’ to kill all such people on sight. I just wanted to take charge for once and not be pitied upon.”

Ipsita Panda

A true believer of the glass being half empty and half full, wanting to die in the company of legends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *