mani.jpg proudly presents 'Double-Bill': an extract from the forthcoming book "False Memory: 15 stories that I think actually happened" by Maninder Obhrai.

The best thing about Mondays was getting to write about what happened over the weekend. Though I was only eleven years old, I had realised that there was no real way for the teacher to actually verify the authenticity of these stories, and thus they had progressively become more and more implausible.

As Mr. O’Malley read about the red Lamborghini Countach that had been donated to me by a complete stranger purely as reward for my unflinching kindness, I looked forward with excitement to the afternoon: after lunch, our class was going to visit the nearby high school to create a mural from mosaics, and I couldn’t wait.

Soon it was time for our morning break, and I rushed with my friends into the sun-baked playground to catch up after the weekend. We chatted about the hugely exciting episode of The A-Team that was aired on Saturday, the highlight of which, we unanimously agreed, was a scene where a taxi cab, driven by B.A. Baracus, careered dangerously through busy streets at extremely high speed. As we discussed the finer points of the scene, something on the ground caught my eye.

I looked down to discover a crane fly – though ‘daddy longlegs’ was the name we generally used – and a wasp, locked in battle. It was immediately clear to me that the crane fly, with its spindly legs and slender abdomen, was likely to come off worse. I crouched to get a closer look.

The wasp gripped the crane fly in a headlock and was punching it repeatedly in the head; the crane fly tried to block these blows with its delicate legs, but the wasp was agile; it timed its onslaught such that the vast majority of its jabs caught the crane fly’s tiny snout. The wasp was toying with it; in fact, the crane fly was an inept brawler and wasn’t even fighting back. Instead it just grimaced, its face covered in miniature bruises, and screamed for the wasp to stop.

Snapping from my fantasia, I noticed that there was a group of children circling the action. Gusts of wind blew the combatants around in random directions, and our ring of juveniles veered and stretched in order to maintain a good view of the duel.

Soon, though, the altercation turned nasty. The wasp knew it could overpower its opponent at any time, and when it finally decided to, there were devastating consequences: it effortlessly tore a leg from the crane fly and watched it drift away in the breeze. The fighters rolled around some more, air currents buffeting their tiny bodies, and soon another limb had gone the way of the first.

One by one, the wasp ripped the legs from the crane fly and left them to the elements. Each was accompanied by a silent shriek, as the crane fly was slowly maimed. Its wings followed in the same manner, and glinted wildly as they were tossed into the wind. And then, the fight was over. The crane fly’s limbless abdomen twitched erratically as the wasp danced victoriously over it.

By the time the teacher arrived to see what we were all looking at, the wasp had concluded its celebrations and flown away; all that remained was the limbless and motionless corpse of the crane fly. The teacher was convinced that she had just missed some sort of ritualistic insect sacrifice, and no amount of pleading on our part appeased her. During her extensive reprimand, the buzzer sounded to signify the end of break; it was time to head back to the classroom.

The remainder of the morning went quickly: we were all overexcited about the wasp, as well as the forthcoming trip to create the mural, and before long, it was lunchtime.

Over the lunch break, we decided to play football, and during the course of the largely uneventful game, I noticed Goebbels, the stocky loner. He was sitting on the floor beside one of the wooden benches we were using as a goal, scratching randomly at it using a small sharp stone that had been selected from a pile he gathered earlier.

Every so often Goebbels looked among us, his eyes burning with contempt and hate. Whenever someone neared him, Goebbels would hurl one of his stones in the general direction of whoever it was, and, more often than not, he managed to hit his intended target.

Soon, it was my turn to become his victim...


"False Memory: 15 stories that I think actually happened" by Maninder Obhrai, is on sale via Bonkers, demented and damned funny, we recommend this book be consumed whilst wearing a smoking jacket and a nice pair of tights.

Image by Mani.


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This page contains a single entry by birdbath published on September 24, 2007 3:21 PM.

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