“Fall of the King … he is no more the richest man in the country.”

The scrolling marquee at the bottom of the television screen is less important than the stock market crash being discussed with shocked expressions.

I pull out my cheap Chinese phone to text him.

“Remember how we played chess on a tablecloth, with whatever was available in summer afternoons. Well, the chips may have fallen but you still have your mates….

Now, don’t ask how did I get your number. I’m not asking you for a job, just offering an ear if you wish to talk.”


26 thoughts on “Pals

  1. I liked this – it took me in an unexpected direction. The idea that the friend who is calling could be after a job is very interesting. It feels psychologically consistent (but not at all obvious) that someone who can be a good friend at a time of need may indeed be rewarded with a job when things get better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pretty nice read, Reena. It can all collapse, but friends stick together. As for the poor guy who lost his fortune, he should remember — “If you can make one heap of all your winnings/and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss/and lose, and start again at your beginnings/and never breathe a word about your loss …” That’s what it reminded me of, too. Nice work this week, Reena. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. It’s a poem called IF by Rudyard Kipling. Very inspiring.

        (‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)
        If you can keep your head when all about you
        Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
        If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
        But make allowance for their doubting too;
        If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
        Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
        Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
        And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

        If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
        If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
        If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
        And treat those two impostors just the same;
        If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
        Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
        Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
        And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

        If you can make one heap of all your winnings
        And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
        And lose, and start again at your beginnings
        And never breathe a word about your loss;
        If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
        To serve your turn long after they are gone,
        And so hold on when there is nothing in you
        Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

        If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
        Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
        If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
        If all men count with you, but none too much;
        If you can fill the unforgiving minute
        With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
        Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
        And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


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