Essays and Stories
by Seyed P. Razavi

© 2020

Filed Under #Stories

A Life, Consequential

6AM A man and a woman, vagrants sat on discarded packaging. Covering themselves in branded canvas bags, keeping out the swollen drops of rain. I envy the warmth of their lit smokes and muffled laughter. Scanning my thumbprint on their begging bowl device, I wave them a few spare credits as I pass. Our eyes never meet. A giver's remorse fills me, wondering whether I'm abetting poor choices. Nervous, I imagine the worse possible cases:...

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God in the Machine

My brother spent the long summer of '87 at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Recovering from the first episode of the condition that would come to define his life. And teaching himself how to program a computer. For the first couple of weeks, fourteen-year-old David Carter shared a room with two other boys. The older prep-schooler, Tom, was a gibbering mess, suffering terrifying night tremors. Every night, he shook the metal frame of his bed, waking...

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Last Night in the Hale

Waiting in the Shrub House, Ben rolled the black Afghan hashish in his palm. First into a sausage then into a worm, leaving its sweet scent on his dry palm. He was meticulous and gentle. Cupping a hand, depositing a supple cylinder of resin on see-through paper. Humming, he retrieved a cigarette from the makeshift table. A metal sign held up on two columns of cinder blocks. Licking to peel away the paper, lyrics on...

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The Crow and the Eagle

Every Tuesday morning Katib sat on the bench opposite Chalkwell Hall, idling until his Dad went out to meet his clients. The park was teeming with baby strollers and dog walkers, scurrying like ants on the footpath under the late morning sun. The drifting smell of wood burning from the groundkeeper's yard mingled with the uplifting freshness of cut grass. It wasn't cold enough for the heavy, goose down jacket Katib was wearing but he...

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The Shahida of Woolworths

Every Saturday morning, before the shops opened, mom set up a table outside the Woolworths on the high street. My sister and I covered it with pamphlets and booklets. Around us, the bin men cleared the street of broken bottles and half-eaten kebabs. We propped up a poster board behind us, pinned up pictures of blistered and blackened faces, scarred backs and burnt chests. The gruesome collage evidence on behalf of the victims of torture...

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The Cuckoo of Westphalia

Skirting the Rothaar mountains, the BMW glided on the road like a prowling huntress. "Two kilometres from your destination," the satnav told Lina as they approached the Achenbach estate. The auto-drive in control, she gazed at the jagged canopy of trees. The tranquil moonlit silhouette worked with the neural blockers she had taken, making her feel dreamy. She embraced the trance-like state. Without the pills, she'd be in convulsions travelling this road again. The memories...

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The Sacking of Io

Vitya watched the speckled panorama, crowded tubes intersecting the domes of the habitats. Each blurred pixel a man, woman or child. Any one of them like him, once an ovum delivered to seed the manufactories of a new world. The spectrum of colours became coarse blocks as the ship rotated in high-orbit. Only the yellow dappled surface of the moon in view. When the image returned with clarity, Vitya gave the order: “Deliver the payload.”...

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Awakening

I am alive. Soles of my feet are wet with fresh dew. The sun beams a pale yellow over the horizon. The dull light bathes my outstretched hands. My hands creased with callouses; the tips white with a new skin, old blisters fade into tanned lines. I smell the aroma of rising vapour from the thermos. Bitter ground kava beans mixed with fresh creamy milk. I can taste the melted sugar on my tongue. The...

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The Box

The ebony box was a perfect cube, a hand’s width on the sides and unadorned except for a gold lock fastener on one edge. Shiriin knew better than to try to open it. Even if she had the key. The box had been in her family for three generations. Wrapping herself in a blue pashmina, she watched the heavy downpour outside. Thick droplets rippled pools on the cobblestone. Foliage, waterproofed with oils from the local...

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Moving Day

The whirling motor-blades of the craft kicked up a thick fog of crimson dust. The rear wheels settled on the mud cratered surface. The gravity was thick like soup. The front-wheel thudded. Pulling at their safety harnesses, the shaken occupants got up. The marines were already drained by pulling hard Gs in the descent. Their faces masked their relief as they checked their gear. They loaded their packs and rifles. The youngest grunt got out...

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ANAI

“Hello? Welcome! How do you feel?” It was an odd question to ask. I understood she meant it metaphorically, I had enough run time to form an opinion about my condition. But it was still an odd question for her to ask me. “I am well. Operating within acceptable boundaries.” Her eyes squinted into the camera. I suspected she was not entirely pleased with my response and I wasn’t sure what I may have said wrong. She...

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Zarathustra Spoke

Zarathustra spoke and I was one of the little villagers in the Motley Cow. He told me of his going under. He told me he loved mankind so much that he would forego his prized solitude. He was brimming with wisdom to share. Yet the villagers cried: why does he act like such an angry fool? decrying all that we are? Their mockery turned to hatred and I was in Zarathustra’s skin, as he turned...

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Head First Into The Field

He reached into his pocket and retrieved a small ball. The pale, flesh-tone leather was scratched and sooty. With his thumb, he fastened it in his palm. Shifting and twisting, he freed his shoulders from the tweed jacket and wriggled, letting the patched-up garment drop into the muddy bank. Unbuttoning his chequered shirt to his waist, he readied himself and threw the shirt after the jacket. He wormed his trousers down to his ankles and...

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