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Worm tales part 4: sidekick blues…

The Duck Front:
A ship sailed, or in more accurate terms, swayed and jiggled like no ship in history has ever swayed before. The ship was SS Ducknought.

Sir Gander Duckalot, the captain and the supreme commander of the duck army was at the helm, although that doesn't really matter much because his seafaring abilities were as good as a drunken peacock is virulent, which is not much, which doesn't mean the peacock stops trying. The ship also resembled you're average drunken peacock, which means it's tried to molest every other vehicle on the river.

There is a rule, whenever heroes fail to do something; it's the sidekick who saves the day. And in cases when the hero is seasick, it is the sidekick's job to hold the bucket. The irony of the situation is that only in democracies will incompetent captains be assigned to steer a ship. And there is another rule, the hero always has a weak point, for Superman it was wearing his underwear on the outside, for Batman it was it was trying to fly and falling down, and for Spiderman it was to marry Jane, which is why we have sidekicks. Like Harry.

“Sir… maybe you should let me steer? I mean we are almost close to the rendezvous point and you're….ARRGGHHH look out for that dingy!!!” Duckenstein, one of the most faithful sidekicks you'll ever find east of Russia, was seriously thinking about mutiny as Duckalot just narrowly save his tail feathers.

“Be quiet Duckenstein, let me drive…urgghh….'tis my ship and I'll be the one to… I forget…to something,” said Duckalot, in a slur that resembled a snake trying to speak without hissing.

'Sir… you're going green again. I really think that maybe you should lie down and let me take over for awhile,” calmly said Duckenstein, while Duckalot was going all shades of green.

“Another word out of you Duckenstein and I'll consider it mutiny! Now… where's tat bucket…urghh…”

There was a period in which there was a lot of retching and wincing. We won't go there. We fear for our digestive tracts.

“Sir, you just filled up the bucket. Maybe you should go eat something I steer for a while…” tried Duckenstein again in an endearing voice.

“Never! I will now…. Uggg…” And with that he broke into a sea shanty.
“I follow the Jamuna!
Down to Ramna Park
Listening to the Duck... of change
And august rainy night rickshaws passing by
Listening to the Duck… of change…

TAKE ME… to the magic of the feathers on a stormy night
Where the ducklings of tomorrow dream of worms… oh the DUCK OF CHANGE…”

There comes a point in every sidekicks life that when he has to decide whether to remain a sidekick or to take arms against a sea of vomit. And he didn't like that song… and there was a handy bucket. You'd be amazed at the things buckets can do.

There is but only one way to sober up drunken peacocks.

The Worm Front:
“Sir please don't eat that! It's… oh you ate it.”
“Watsworm, let me tell you that when in the outdoors you have to survive…” sneered Sherlock McWorm…
“That was poison ivy… um,” replied Watsworm, scratching his wormy head….tail…head… I can't tell.
Beside a river roamed two lost worms, without food, without money. So much was their desperation that they'd taken to living off the land, except one was trying to kill himself while trying to live.
They had been roaming for some time now. The way-station that they'd stayed in for the night was far behind them, and they hadn't bought any food there.
“ARRGGHH IT BURNS… My sweet tongue,” yelled and yodeled McWorm, sticking out his tongue in the hopes that the air would cure it. But, this is Bangladesh; even the air is on the wrong side of the lanes trying to kill you.
“I told you not to eat it, I mean I thought the toxic green color would warn you…” interjected Watsworm apologetically.
“Hey, if you had remembered to buy some food from the way station we wouldn't be having these problems,” lisped McWorm, his tongue had taken on a mutated form and had seemingly evolved to think separately to the mouth it was in.
“It wasn't me who offered to pay for Vladiworm's tab at the bar. We left the barman in tears… and Vladiworm in chains to work the rest of the debt off,” argued Watsworm.
The two worms were on a mission to meet the envoy from the ducks. Ever since the tragedy life had been strained… And McWorm's need to pee was becoming more and more urgent. Mommy had only taught him to go in the bathroom at home (and he couldn't do it anywhere else) and he hadn't gone in the last few days, ever since setting out.
“Arggh…. Me bladder,” moaned McWorm, apart from his tongue being bloated, now his bladder trying to forcefully evict its tenants because McWorm didn't have the rent ready yet.
“Sir, why are we going this way? The meeting point is that way,” said Watsworm, trying to get McWorm to move in the right direction.
“But the bushes are that way… And Watsworm, shut up and find me a secluded leaf.”
And so they peed. And they peed and they peed. And Watswom finished reading War and Cabbage by LeoWorm Tolstoy.
“Aren't you done yet?”
“Shut up! I'll have you locked up in chains as well! And… aw come on! It stopped again!”
There is a law that states that heroes suffer from certain unique disabilities. Like Kryptonite for Superman, Catwoman for Batman and for Spidey it happened after jane-ing Mary.
The Dung Front:
“Sir, your highness, this beetle has come for an exorcism, what should we do?” A lowly disciple leading another lowly stricken beetle asked of the great Dung Baba, patron monk of the dung beetles. It was rumored he once fought the non-violent Dalai Beetle and lost. Why this is such a legendary tale we don't know…
“Eh… What? Oh… you the one? Alright come here, how much money you got?” grunted the Baba in a gruff bored voice from his dung-y throne.
“Um… just this much,” replied the stricken beetle.
“I'll play you poker for that much and if you win I'll heal you,” replied the Baba in a sinister voice.
An hour later…
“You lost sir… again… and you also lost your daughter to this infidel here,”
“Ah…when did my daughter come into this? And what demon do you have inside of you, a poker playing jilted champion bent on revenge?” said the Baba, exasperated and sweating from his brow...
“Don't know sir,” replied the poker-playing-demon-possessed beetle; lying through his teeth… the winnings were good. Especially the daughter.
“Ah… I quit. Tell me, what happened to those ducks and worms?” the Baba then asked of his acolyte.
“Umm… I think they might be meeting for a pact against us sir,” replied the acolyte.
“What? How is that possible? Stop them now! And hey you… how about a rematch… I want my money back,” he said ominously to the stricken beetle.
“What about your daughter?” nervously asked the possessed beetle.
“She can wait…”

To Be Continued…

By Tareq Adnan and Azmir Hussain

Being earnest

He bounces into class on the first day of school, beaming at all the people he doesn't know. His T-shirt says 'Lettuce Pray'. He wears a cross at his neck and a Best Buddies wristband on his right arm. This is a boy with some convictions. I can tell, because he takes the seat right next to mine. He turns around, still beaming, looks me square in the eye and says, 'Hi, I'm Graham.' He mispronounces my name, as does every other person at the school. He calls me 'Shay-Taz.' He remarks on how he's not seen me around. 'Trust me, I know almost everyone here at school,' he says. It doesn't sound like he's exaggerating. He greets every person who walks through the door by name, remembers to ask them how their parents are doing and how they intend on paying off their speeding tickets.

Gregarious, affable, convivial. This boy is everything. A month later, I see him on the news. One of his best friends, Eric, has been crowned Homecoming King. Eric has cerebral palsy, and one of the local news stations is interviewing Eric on his big win. Graham's on the sidelines, ready to cheer Eric on. 'He's the kindest person I know,' Graham says, and once again I am struck. The words that come out of Graham's mouth are nothing surprising. What grabs me, though, is how earnest he looks while he is saying them.

He does everything he does with an enthusiasm that one doesn't get to see much. He takes strange encounters at Whataburger and fender-benders with the same air. 'So, guess what happened to me today,' he announces to no one in particular, but soon enough almost everyone is hooked.

It is not just the students. Teachers adore him, too. They can't help it. Graham spends most of his waking hours at school. 'I should get paid for what I do,' he jokes. He is in almost every school group starting from Student Council, right down to Earth Club. I ask him where he gets time to breathe. 'I wish I knew,' he tells me. 'I wonder how come I'm still standing.'

And when he's not zipping around on his gangly legs trying to make the world a better place, he takes the time out to shake things up. I have seen him bust a move or ten, while queuing up to hand over a quiz or standing in the cafeteria or to get our picture taken for the yearbook. He knows the entire cheesy dance moves of the ages. He's even won Mr. CHHS show with his evolution of dance. 'This is how you do the Pancake,' he tells me one day, and shows me just how to dance it out. Another morning, I see him outside the attendance office, demonstrating his talent show-winning 'Yes' dance to anyone who'd care to watch. He does it. He does it all, and comes off the better for it.

The other day while we are sitting in AP US History, Graham turns to me and asks if I would like to be one of his campaign managers. He's running for the President of the student council. I am flattered, more than he can ever tell, but I refuse. I don't know most people at school, I tell him. 'I'm sure you'd do a great job,' he assures me. Once again, his earnestness catches me off-guard.

He'll certainly have my vote.

By Shehtaz Huq


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