Common house o’ commons

Few days ago, a boy who lived on the streets had arrived Iya Roy’s common house o’ commons bearing a piece of paper in his hands. In spite of his odd appearance, with tattered clothes and eyes bulging as if they were going to fall out, he was unnoticed. Iya Roy kept busy filling orders while her patrons ordered without a rhythm. Old Soldier, whose head has been bowed by the merciless hands of heavy drinking, lifted his head and was begging Smithereen (as Smith was called) to give him the remaining of the London he was smoking. He hurriedly inserted the butt in his mouth, dragged it and his eyes widened to notice the boy, leaning against their table, with the letter in his hand. Smithereen beat him to it, collected the letter and attempted to read it. It was written in Arabic or something entirely incomprehensible to those drinkards who tried to read the letter. It was important to understand its content, as apart from the words, there were images of guns and fire drawn around the words, which made understanding what it said more of an emergency. They passed it around, as if by chance it will fall in the hands of someone who understood the language. No one understood the contents.

Sifidifensi: Azeez! [The Civil Defense man called out].

Deckor: What is wrong, Sifidifensi? Why did you shout like that?

Sifidifensi: Where is Azeez? I must find him, he should be able to interpret this letter.

Old Soldier: No come today. I no see am at all.

Sifidifensi: Iya Roy, I will be back to pay my money. Calculate everything [Goes out with the letter in his pocket, while Iya Roy grumbles as she flipped through her debtors’ book].

Iya Roy continued serving drinks with varied flavor including beer, wine and especially jedi, christened jedi Iya Roy by her patrons who savoured everything on and off the table. Even those who do not smoke directly had enough to inhale from the air filled with smoke. If you really did not want to smoke, you must be lying flat on the floor and that was not an option. So, it was that everyone remained within Iya Roy’s till evening,anxiously expecting the return of Sifidifensi. The curiosity to know the content of the letter, bearing images of guns and fire, was too much for anyone to leave. It was better to be high than to remain in ignorance. Another letter arrived, only that it was not Sifidifensi, as expected, that brought it. It was sent through a completely different boy. This time, the letter was written in English by Sifidifensi.

Letter: Azeez is hospitalized. In very critical condition. But with the urgency around interpreting the letter, I had to bribe one nurse in his care to bring him round to read the letter and interpret. Even if the message in the letter is something to worry about, I must say even Azeez is already facing his own tragedy. Yesterday, when Azeez left Iya Roy’s house o’ commons…

Old Soldier shoved Deckor aside so as to have access to the letter as if he could read the contents.

Dokta, as he is fondly called by his street fans, continued reading the letter:  Yesterday, when Azeez left Iya Roy’s house o’common, he had no money left on him and he decided that he was going to exchange his blood for money. In the morning of today, he went to the hospital to donate his blood and get paid in return. As usual, the racket was still ongoing. The nurses who attend to blood donors have an amount of money that they remove from whatever the donors are paid. Such percentage cuts are shared among many including the doctors, the admin staff, finance department and even others who may need to be in the show. So that nobody really cares to check if the person donating has sufficient blood and can donate. One pint of blood, only one, was collected from Azeez, and he fainted almost immediately. The level of his blood was low even before one pint was collected. It became yonponyonri, something fall, everybody scatter scatter.

He had not recovered when a nurse came to inform him that if he did not want to die, he needed to have his blood returned to his body and he must pay for it and whatever procedure is done. Also, he would need more blood and he must pay for this as well. Every day and night he spends at the hospital will be factored into his bill. The earlier he leaves the hospital, the better. So now, Azeez either agrees to pay or if he chooses, simply die and forget his miseries. Where he will get the money is a problem right now. I have volunteered to donate my blood for him but I am insisting that I be checked properly so as not to fall victim to their racket. But we still need money in case my blood does not match his and also to pay for the procedures to be done. So, fellow drinkards, rally round and come to our aid. I should get to the issue of the letter once Azeez becomes conscious, because he went into coma as he was reading it. And now, the doctors are saying he went into coma maybe because of the message in the letter or because his blood level is low. We wait!

Smithereen was the first to react, snatching the letter and returning it immediately when the others looked at him as if to pounce on him.

Smithereen: How much they need, the letter did not say anything. Dokta, what do we do…

Dokta: Hmm…my personal concern is to know the content of the first letter. But this…even this…

He looked at Smith and walked to his seat.

Deckor: Wonder…I just wonder how one man will put everyone in debt. Iya Roy…where is Iya Roy, she must drop something….

Iya Roy’s inner room has been locked from outside and she was nowhere close.  

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