The collected flash fiction
HOW I MET MY SECOND WIFE
I’d been on sabbatical from the university for a month when I started walking in the mornings. The walking path was actually divided into two paths separated by a hedge of rhododendrons—one path for walkers and a bicycling path. I chose to walk on the bicycling path. If I hadn’t, I may never have seen her.
It was always in the morning that we passed each other, at around ten minutes to nine. I felt I recognized her, but couldn’t see clearly enough through the rhododendrons. To see her entirely I would have had to be standing where the rhododendrons stopped, a three-yard break in the bushes where the sun fell on the yellow dirt.
I couldn’t bring myself to. I was chair of the department. I had a wife and two kids and a book of mine—a monograph on the explorer Mungo Park—was coming out in another month.
Our paths almost crossed for three weeks when I realized I was madly in love.
The next morning I hid in the rhododendrons at ten minutes to nine. I upended the bottle of Seagram’s gin I’d been carrying with me on my walks and cut off my penis with an X-ACTO knife I’d stolen from the secretary’s desk earlier in the year. When she passed, I threw my penis at the back of her head. I counted to nine before introducing myself.
THE POTHOLE I STEPPED IN YOU COULD STEP IN TOO
He had hit me, I thought accidentally, with his elbow on my way off the bus.
But the next day it happened again.
I knew it wasn’t an accident this time because he muttered something so hateful under his breath the woman sitting behind him—of his own color and size—blushed. He struck me twice, hatefully, so that I nearly fell on the bus steps.
Instead, I fell in a pothole I would have avoided if I hadn’t been pushed.
I went to work.
I loathed my job. I was unhappy there, but I was paid. Many of us were no longer paid.
That night I thought of what I would like to do to the man on the bus, and the woman.
I thought I would like the man to fall. Or, rather, I would like to push him off the bus and mutter at him, and then I would take the woman by the arm, jerk her roughly like the man had jerked me, and throw her off the bus too. I almost cried for them, they were so pitiful.
The next day we were stuck in traffic. I upended the bottle of Seagram’s gin I’d been carrying with me on my bus rides and cut off my penis with an X-ACTO knife I’d stolen from the secretary’s desk earlier that week.
As he prepared to strike me with his elbow, I threw my penis at the man. I counted to nine before introducing myself.
I WAS NOT IN THIS STORY
Her work was discredited by the higher-ups. She was a bully and a man-hater, a true misandrist. What few people knew was that she was, in fact, a “man” with “penis hands.”
One day a Chinese acupuncturist from Hubei Province accused her of misappropriation of the disabilities fund. She was stealing handicapped money! There was a momentary brouhaha in the headquarters of the bigwigs at the Kermitola Golf Club in Dhaka. A big clatter! They proved through careful chemical analysis (urine analysis) that she was secretly a man, and more, that she had a special gift unknown to the Tax Office. She had not only penis hands but two vaginas, one of which poured cement.
At this moment, from beyond the realm of fictional accounts, I stepped into the picture, surprising bigwigs and she-man alike. I upended the bottle of Seagram’s gin I’d been carrying with me on my nightly circuits, and cut off my penis with an X-ACTO knife I’d stolen from a dead man at the horse races earlier that week.
As they watched with mouths agape, I threw my penis at the table of bigwigs sipping gin. I counted to nine before introducing myself.
The W.S. Merwin Club was home to many rare species of undiagnosed lunacy, said Kemal. Kemal should know. He had only recently escaped the Home for Foundlings and Syphilitics in downtown Dhaka, his birthplace, where he had heard Merwin read as a boy.
A VD Christmas
Christmas at the VD clinic again. In a big country like this one, Kemal had said, I would be infected at least once. Kemal himself had been infected twice, in Dhaka, city of my birth.
I had filled out the forms promptly, given my name (my father’s name) and occupation: student of life, gainfully employed.
Truthfully, I was not expecting what happened next. I could not have predicted it in a million years!
All the citizens of my adopted community of X at the VD clinic for Christmas had been given the right to hang a single shiny ornament from the VD clinic Christmas tree. (These ornaments were donations to the handicapped children of the community who did not suffer from venereal diseases.)
All the citizen VD sufferers but one.
It is a fact documented by various social media, with photo displays and video displays and careful tweeting, that I was not permitted to hang even one ornament. I was grimly disappointed, and feeling syphilitic besides.
Outside, a gentle blanket of finest, whitest snow had fallen upon the barren yards of the VD clinic, front and back. I upended the bottle of Seagram’s gin I had permitted myself as a winter treat and cut off my penis with a VD clinic X-ACTO knife.
For ten seconds a harmonious plume of my genital blood showered my fellow VD sufferers, mimicking the falling snow.
When the mist of ruby essence from my excised member had spent itself, I hung my penis from the Christmas tree for the handicapped children and introduced myself to the ward at large.
a penis boot
His family had requested a boot be placed in the town square to collect the tips of well-wishers.
What had happened, I wondered? We all knew he had been in the hospital. He was a fireman, a saver of lives in a shiny yellow helmet. The boot in the town square was said to be his own.
How sadly did I recall the loss of Kemal’s plastic knee boots in a busy Dhaka marketplace. Plastic boots fetched quite a sum in Dhaka in the mid-90’s, a man’s knees, his feet, much less.
Why then did Kemal, a poet/fighter and presenter of mid-range intensive “hairy man” bondage videos at international summits, protest? Surely, if he had not, the masked men would not have cut off his feet and fed them to the fat leper we called Big Nar Nar.
As I contemplated this boot and its chilly emptiness, bereft of well-wishing tips, I thought of my friend Kemal’s missing feet fed to Big Nar Nar the leper.
Overwhelmed by such a sad and distressing reminiscence, I upended the bottle of Seagram’s gin I carried with me on my evening strolls and with watchful precision cut off my penis with an X-ACTO knife that had once belonged to the deceased great American actor Christopher Reeve.
In the morning, as you may have guessed, the townspeople found the fireman’s boot empty of dollars but with a miraculous gift inside—my bloody penis stump!
After counting to nine, I emerged from the town rubbish heap to great astonishment and introduced myself to the inquiring firemen and even the mayor himself.
about the author
Narting Tadoo grew up in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was most inspired by the rebellious lyrics of Muzaffar Fazlul Chowdhury,* “the Poet of Deep Energies.” Tadoo now lives in Virginia in the USA and is pursuing a degree in the Veterinarian Sciences. Migration, part 4 of a 133 piece Epic Cycle all involving themes of Public Emasculation and Alcoholic Deliriums, was his first publication in English.
*now in jail in Taungoo, Myanmar. Please support his immediate release!