Saturday,  May 26, 2001
M I N D  G A M E S


Repulsive clerk
Aditya Rishi

Meet Maggy and her friend Rose, Manhatten shopgirls with an ambition to perform on stage and be rich. Do not be deceived by the expensive dresses that they are wearing today because these are rented out.

For aspiring actresses, all roads in Manhatten lead to Broadway, but you have to be there on time. Otherwise, someone else will steal the lucky break that you have worked so hard to get. The world of glamour is unforgiving ó you have to look beautiful and be seen only with beautiful persons. Now, meet Oí Henry, a clerk at the reception desk of a theatre-production company and an island of ugliness among an ocean of beauty.

Before he went to the Ohio prison for a financial fraud in the First National Bank, where he used to work, his name was William Sydney Porter. He had a wife, who had died of illness, and a young daughter, whom he had left in Austin.

 
Before he went to the Ohio prison for a financial fraud in the First National Bank, where he used to work, his name was William Sydney Porter. He had a wife, who had died of illness, and a young daughter, whom he had left in Austin.

"We are late for the audition," says Maggy to Rose, "all because of my watch. I cannot afford to buy a new one, otherwise, I would have thrown it away long ago." Rose says, "It showed the correct time when I saw it last on Tuesday at noon, when the radio news bulletin began. What happened to it after that?" Maggy says, "That was on Tuesday and today is Thursday. It loses 9 minutes of time every hour." "Oh Dear! We have lost a big opportunity; there will not be one again," says Rose.

"Sorry for overhearing, but I can help you dear ladies?" says Oí Henry, who is at the reception desk as usual. Rose gives him a critical look and says, "Thank you, but we donít need your help. You are repulsive." Maggy says, "Donít judge a person so harshly, Rose; he might indeed be able to help us." "Be with a loser if you like, but excuse me, because I am leaving you," says Rose and walks out. Maggy says to Henry, "Donít mind, sheís a little upset, but she will return," "No, she wonít, but you can return here tomorrow at 8 pm for an appointment with a top producer," says Henry. "I would love to, but my watch might ditch me again," says Maggy. "Donít worry about the watch, it will show the correct time at 8 pm tomorrow," says Henry.

Many months later, in a Manhatten shop, autograph hunters gather around Maggy because she is now a big star. Among the autograph seekers is a pale woman whom Maggy recognises instantly. "Rose!" she says. "Maggy, please forgive me. How did you get that role?" says the pale woman. Maggy says, "I am sure that you remember that repulsive clerk at the production company. He told me that my watch would have to lose 12 hours (or 720 minutes) to show the correct time again. He also told me that, losing 9 minutes every hour, my watch would take 80 hours (720/9) to lose 12 hours. Eighty hours from noon on Tuesday are 8 pm on Friday, so, I returned there the next day to get the role."

Rose says, "Did you ever meet that clerk after that?" "I meet him often; heís my husband," says Maggy and moves out.