Emil was practically unpacked again.
He had to take his toiletries out in the morning. Followed by a change of clothes. The sandal he wore in his apartment, because he was not going to go around in his sneakers. Soon, boredom got the best of him and his laptop and charger were out as well. When he peaked out, he saw that Rehana had only just taken a new skinned chicken out of the drawer. As hunger got the best of him, he ordered food from a nearby sandwich shop and so some cutleries had to come out as well.
It was a little past 10:00AM when Emil started to wonder what was going on. He had expected Inora to wake him up by 8:00AM at the latest. He had his laptop out and Inora had not tried to contact him on messenger yet, but maybe she was calling him on his phone. Grudgingly, he had to turn his phone on. But there were no messages from Inora in his overflowing inbox. He called her, but she cut the line. He called again, and she cut the line again and sent him a message: “be there in an hour sorry got delayed”
It was not like Inora to be late but under the apocalyptic circumstances, Emil understood. He browsed through his mailbox and found a message from Anindya from Tuesday morning. “Is Masum bhai with you? We can’t reach him anywhere. Lokta hawai urey gelo.”
Zara’s doings, Emil knew. He called Masum bhai. It was Zara’s voice that answered the call. “Where the hell have you been, Emil? I have been calling you incessantly for a day.”
“What is wrong?”
“What is wrong? I will tell you what is wrong. You did not tell me that I was occupying a moron when we met.”
“I am guessing you have not found yourself a new ProBe yet?”
“No, he has not, Emil. Why should I let him go? He came to me. I want to do god’s work too. I am not getting left behind. Emil, tell him. Tell him I will not be left behind again, Emil.”
“Oh, just shut your mouth, you idiot.”
“But I will not let you go.”
“Emil, I am coming over to your house. We need to convince this moron to let me go.”
Emil laugh. He could not believe that Masum bhai was holding back the apocalypse with sheer will power. “Sure, come over,” he said, “Masum bhai knows where I live. You two coordinate.”
Masum bhai arrived looking like he had been fasting for a week. His hair was a messy and unwashed, clothes wrinkled, unshaved, signs of one or many scuffles he may have been, and to the trained eye, clear evidence that his body was currently being shared with an entity that had scant regard for his host’s corporeal well-being. To an even keener eye, it may have even been obvious that the host himself thought very lowly of his physical form.
It was Zara who spoke first, “I have got myself in a serious mess, Emil.” He said, “If I cannot manage to get back on schedule, Zara-Decimators is going to lose the contract.”
“The AI contract with the asylum?” Emil asked, but he knew the answer already.
“Hello, Emil.” Masum bhai greeted, wrestling back control for a moment, “What happened with your family? Are you back already?”
“Official angel business, Masum, official angel business.” Zara exploded, “Shut your mouth.”
“Take a seat; what mess are you talking about?” Emil asked, but once again, the answer was quite clear to him. The clarity of the situation was a refreshing change for Emil. This is the way to go, he thought to himself. Only ask questions you know the answers to already. “I cannot offer you anything.” He added, “I am all packed up, ready to evacuate. You know why I am evacuating, don’t you, Zara?”
“I don’t have time for refreshments.” Zara barked, “I need you to talk to this Masum bhai of your and convince him to let me leave. I am stuck.”
“He refuses to let you leave, huh?” Emil asked, on top of the conversation.
“No, he will not. He has latched onto me for the last two days.”
“Why would he do that?” The words came out of Emil’s mouth faster than he could stop himself. That blasted curiosity. He was in the dark about the conversation again.
“My work here is done, Emil. I need to travel. I have a truckload of work left to complete, to delegate, to oversee, to initiate, and I cannot do any of that in this meatsuit.”
“Yes you can! I keep telling you.” Masum bhai erupted again, “Use me!”
“Masum, I hear another word from your mouth and I will throw your body off the roof. I mean it!”
“Emil, do you have an angel inside you too? Can I talk to him? Angel! Holy angel! it is me, your boy. Masum! Want to switch vassals?”
“Masum, I swear to whichever god you bow down to, I swear to everything you hold dear, if you do not shut your mouth…”
“And why should I not talk? This is my body…”
“Allow me to leave then and I am gone, you dimwitted monkey!”
“Why should I let you go? That is absurd. God picked me as your vassal and…”
“No he did not.”
Emil interrupted, “Masum bhai, just let me talk to Zara for a few minutes. Then you can talk, ok? Just give us two minutes.”
“Ok Emil.” Masum bhai said, “I will be right here if anyone needs me.”
“Zara, calm down. Deep breath in…Zara I mean it, breathe in…Now breathe out…go on, do it…Now, tell me the rest.”
“The rest is that according to my itinerary, I was supposed to have taken care of my business here and vacated Masum by evening of Monday and be on my way. Make sure things are moving according to plan. But of course, I cannot leave until I get permission from the ProBe to vacate the body and this moron refuses to let me go.”
“And so you are behind a schedule?”
“I am so far behind schedule, Emil…”
“Yes, I get it.” Emil cut him off, “Why don’t you try travelling with Masum bhai? It might not be the worst thing to…”
“This idiot doesn’t even have a valid passport!”
“I do too!” Masum bhai butted in, “You are the one without a valid passport; I have mine.”
“He does not; trust me, I checked. Idiot monkey-man!” Zara spat.
Emil heard a ferocious battle-cry from Masum bhai, superimposed on top of an equally ferocious battle-cry from Zara. One hand reached for a ballpoint pen in the left pocket and the other hand went for an oily fork on top of the dining table, and then both hands shot for the jugular.
“You are dead Masum!” “Not if I make you dead first!” “Dead me? Dead this, you motherfucker!” “I will rain down so much death upon you, you will drown in it!” “We will both drown, you retard!” “A plague! Upon all your family! A plague of death and…” “Die, monkey-man, die die die!”
Neither one of them managed to land a killer blow but both could be smugly satisfied to have done some damage to the body. Then they both tried to kick out at the same time and landed on the floor, in a murderous embrace, head first, and then let out another scream. The fall knocked the air out of them both which calmed them down.
Emil figured this was his chance to speak again, “Masum bhai, do you even know who Zara is?”
“I do!” he said.
“Emil, do not say anything,” Zara said, “He will never let me go out of spite.”
“But he needs to know.”
“No he does not! This monkey knows how to hold a grudge.”
“But I know! I do! Emil, do you know who Zara is? Because I do!”
“Masum bhai, I think…”
“Oh bloody hell; the fall was too much. Now I have to go to the toilet. Which way is it?” Zara asked. Emil pointed the way. But half the body refused to move, “I do not have to go.” Masum bhai announced and latched onto Emil’s bed post.
“What the hell, Masum? Do you want to soil your clothes? They are your clothes! This is your body!”
Masum bhai still refused to cooperate, arguing that he knows his own body and it did not need to go. Another fisticuff ensued and after a minute of struggle, Zara finally managed to drag the body to the toilet.
“Stop touching me there!” “You stop touching me there!” “I do not like the way you are looking at that.” “Stop it!” “You stop it, you pervert!” “You are spilling it! You are spraying it everywhere!’ “Could you just stop resisting?” “Not there! Not on the towel!” “That is enough; three shakes are enough!” “Now look what you did.” “Not so hard!” “Be careful!” “We are going to slip, you idiot!”
And then Emil heard them slip and fall.
“Guys, I am expecting a girl to come over soon, so could you two please not spray it everywhere?” Emil entreated.
“I don’t understand what is going on.” A plain voice said.