GOBKEEN: A SHORT STORY

Think thick unshaven beard, pointed nose with a flat cap shadowing over the thickest pair of glasses you ever saw. For a security guard he seemed uninterested in the duffel bag strapped around my shoulder. His neck turned slowly, eerily, following my steps as I strutted towards the departure doors. I did well to avoid his gaze till I already had one foot in the building; then I spared a glance..

For some reason I was drawn to the print on the left breast of his shirt the most. “Gobkeen” it read. “Gobkeen” I muttered. The man nodded at me. In an instant he had risen from his seat and walked away. The lump in my chest never even had time to settle.
Who was this man? What the hell was Gobkeen?

judy

I head straight for my boarding pass. For some reason the queues are burgeoning on every airline but mine. I ask the attendant if there’s been a change in flight times (can they do that?), she assures me there isn’t. Soon a balding man approaches me from behind. Stubbed chin, thin creases around his nose and the most uninviting smile you ever saw.. “I can’t believe it’s really you!” he says. “I just love your movies.”

My movies? I had never known a set or a stage, yet this man showers praise on me for mastering them. I do not know enough to play along, so I raise my hand in protest, but he takes it in his.. “Especially Gobkeen, it brought tears to my eyes.” and just like that, he had disappeared from my sights. The attendants are observing me curiously from above their computers. I take my passport back.

Inception-confused

The departure lounge is filled with travellers, but for some reason the seats opposite me remain empty. Until she appears. Long eyelashes, press permed hair, and the largest earrings you ever saw. Before I can avert my eyes she points her camera phone in my direction. Emblazoned in the casing are the same seven words that have trailed me all night. “Gobkeen?” I question her. She nods slowly, eerily, pointing to the large glass sheet exposing the runway. My flight is arriving. I do not think I should take it.

barrack

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