A "Just So" Story

Gunman-ji closed the gate of Diplomat-sahib’s compound and then ducked through the small side door to resume his post. He looked up and down the street both ways, ensuring that no bad elements had followed Driver-bhai home on the circuitous drive from the Embassy. Momentarily assured, Gunman-ji settled into his chair, placed his antiquated rifle upright between his thighs, barrel under his chin, closed his eyes and began to enjoy the late afternoon sun on his face.


He opened one withered, tired eye and looked down to find Diplomat-sahib’s son next to him on the steps of the compound. The boy sat, turning the pages of his beat up comic book- his little, curry-stained, white fingers leaving smudges of coriander and turmeric across the already colorful pages.

“Yes, Boy-sahib?”

“Gunman-ji, if you’re here, who is guarding your house?”

The wizened guard allowed himself a chuckle and replied, “There is no guard but God… and a reputation for compassion and mercy, Boy-sahib.”

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