House of Cards

Somewhere in Southeast London, in a dimly lit room with three small beds and things scattered everywhere, three guys were staring at the wall lost in deep thoughts. Thapa, the small guy who came from Nepal to pursue his further education broke the silence. ‘Dudes, we need to have something, my back hurts like hell and this constant itching deep inside the bone is agonizing. Please do something guys, I need a hit. Please guys, do something’. Tears rolled down involuntarily through his cheeks and the blank staring continued. The silence of the room was deafening, like you could hear everyone’s thoughts. All of them only concerned about how to score the next hit; unbearable backache and itching were consuming them at a deadly pace. They were all desperate for their daily doses of ‘A’ Class drugs, ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘Crack’ commonly known as Brandy and Whiskey (British slang). The other two, Bikram and Pramod were from far west Nepal whose parents sold most of their fertile lands with dreams that their sons would learn and earn from London and would help to upgrade their tragic lifestyle.

‘I have called everyone in my contact list; no one has anything to help us. It’s already 2 am and not a single friend of us is ready to lend us money, I have been this sick for 5 hours man, I can’t take it anymore. ’, Bikram whispered in despair. Pramod, being an introvert by nature just sat there in silence and did nothing besides scratching his legs to relieve himself from the agonizingly unbearable itches from within. ‘Ok, I have to sell my phone and guys remember this is the only saleable thing that I have left, next hit is on you guys’, Thapa decided without even giving it a second thought.

Thapa got back with a brandy and 2 whiskeys but without his phone. Their faces glowed with happiness. Thapa took the first shot. All backaches and itches vanished in a moment; euphoria took over and that small room felt like heaven. All the chaos in his mind got replaced by utter peace, tranquility and serenity. He leaned back and took a sigh of relief. Pramod and Bikram took their turns and within few minutes, all of them were laughing and joking. ‘If there is heaven then this is it guys’.

Everyone left for their respective jobs early in the morning. When they got back home they could already feel the backache and itches building up. They needed today’s dose. Thapa whispered, ‘so, what are you guys selling today’? Pramod, the silent guy spoke, ‘Thapa man, on my way back home, I just met a Nepali guy who moved in our neighborhood recently, just by his appearance I deduced that he must be a junkie too and he actually turned out to be an addict. He is so desperate for a hit and by looking at his gesture I am sure he will do anything just for a hit. May be we should call him, I got his number’. Thapa shouts in delight, ‘what are you waiting for then?’

The new guy arrived in minutes. ‘Hello I am Samrat, it is so nice to meet someone who speaks your mother tongue’. Thapa introduced himself and jumped straight to the point, ‘I can see you need a hit’. ‘Desperately man, you see I am new here and I don’t know any dealers’, ‘I hope you got cash’? ‘Yeah yeah I do’. ‘Okay, so here is the deal, we will buy you some but you will have to share that with us. OK?’, ‘Yes, of course’. Thapa did not even try to hide his sly smile and said, ‘what is it that you need?’, ‘Brandy and Whiskey’. ‘Okay, give me 50 and I will get us 2 brandies and 3 whiskeys’.

Thapa was back in less than 10 minutes. Within another hour everything was over. Samrat was in bliss as all his pain vanished. He thanked Thapa countless times. After a while, Samrat asked to leave, but surprisingly he was extremely sad. He left babbling something like’ I shouldn’t have done it; I shouldn’t have spent that money’. The guys didn’t seem to care; they were already in other dimension in peace.

The next day Samrat called again. Thapa thought with happiness, ‘oh my god, this Samrat is an angel’. He came over, took out 50 pounds and handed over to Thapa. Thapa got the stuff immediately as usual. The session was over soon too and Samrat left, only difference was he looked sadder than yesterday. Pramod couldn’t understand why he was sad like that when he was supposed to be grinning with happiness. Thapa and Bikram chose to not care about it, again. Samrat began calling Thapa everyday and spent 50 pounds and left as usual.
This continued for about a month.
One fine evening, when all four of them were in midst of their Heroin and Crack session, someone knocked the door. Thapa yelled at Bikram to go and check. A pregnant lady with big fat belly was standing at the door. Surprised to see an unexpected person at the door, Bikram politely asked, ‘Yes, how may I help you?’ ‘I am looking for my husband Samrat, is he here? I am already pass the due date and I need to go to the hospital now but his phone is unreachable’. Bikram understanding the urgency of the situation called out for his guys. Soon all four of them were downstairs staring at the pregnant lady barely able to stand. ‘Samrat, what on earth are you doing here, oh my god were you taking the hits again? Even when I am 9 months preg…’ she started crying before she could finish her sentence. Samrat couldn’t utter a word. He was just staring at his wife. All of a sudden he started crying in despair, louder than his wife. His deep shrills and shrieks were the indication that he had done something terribly wrong and now could not bear it any more. He hugged his wife and confessed, ‘we don’t have any money left honey, I spent it all on drugs. I made a blunder, i just couldn’t stop’. He started crying louder than before with all his heart. His wife looked at him in disbelief, ‘You mean you spent everything that was for my delivery and the baby on drugs?’ This was too much for her to take, she stopped crying suddenly. It seemed like all her pain vanished away. She broke down as her mind couldn’t take it anymore. She started laughing hysterically. She lost her senses right there and then. Samrat kept staring at his wife who wouldn’t stop laughing. She passed out giggling, woke up few minutes later and started chuckling again. She caressed her stomach as if caressing a child and said in a low deep voice, ‘My baby, our house of cards has just shattered and burst into laughter again. Her uproarious laughter was maddening. Samrat silently walked towards the kitchen like a zombie, grabbed the knife and sliced his own throat.

Writer: Pratik Napit

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