Like every other night of his sad and insignificant life, the last thing Monty does before going to bed is brush his teeth.
Routine stuff: 25 strokes sideways; 35 up and down; spit and rinse; check in the mirror for any signs of grey; practice the fake smile; sing the same off-key rendition of ‘I Will Survive’; change into his sleeping suit and leave. However, this time it’s different. To the untrained eye, it is nothing. But for the countless hidden spectators that have become familiar with his every movement, and are zoomed in on him right at that moment, there is an added weight to his whole persona.
And it is not the extra plate of Pulao he had that night.
“There’s something in his shirt pocket,” says Remi the roach excitedly.
“Bet you my last bottom dollar it’s a roach,” whispers Gilly the cricket, he loves the roaches, and always calls them on his rallies and processions. It remains Gilly’s lifelong ambition to induct the roaches into the KKK. But they remain, wily political survivors, ready to change loyalties whenever a better option comes up. And except for those from Remi’s constituency, the rest of the roach population remains fickle and unpredictable.
“Shhhhh!” hisses Remi, “he’ll hear us!”
Gilly looks at Remi incredulously but remains quiet nevertheless. The two have been good friends over the duration of their lives and were the founding fathers of the Kaumi Keera Kuwwat (KKK) that won a landslide victory and brought democracy back to the ghussal khana after a long period of dictatorship under Lazarraf-the lizard. But over time, their relationship has thawed, there are whispers in the power corridors (which basically mean the area behind the sink and under the toilet) that the KKK might not be able to finish its term in office and that Bulgari-the party PM- might replace some of the officials, in an attempt to appease the opposition.
Just then as Monty takes off his t-shirt and gets into his night suit, both of the silent onlookers are spellbound by the beauty of colours in red and black as something flutters out of Monty’s t-shirt and alights on the towel stand.