January was coming to an end. He walked the street with his hands in his pocket. It was raining hard and he wasn’t carrying an umbrella. On purpose. It was a cloudy day and he had an umbrella at his place. But, he liked the water even when he ran a fever of 104 degrees.
There was a smile on his lips and no, he wasn’t wearing a hat. I would like to get that cleared right away because my imagination wanted me to give him a hat. But no, this is not a man who wore hats and overcoats. He was more of a t-shirt and jeans guy. It was winter so let’s give him a jacket but, it was a really flimsy one. He was shivering. But it was all his fault. He had a really nice overcoat at his place. He liked to keep it hung on a hook in his bedroom. He liked looking at it but no, he never wore it. Yes, he ran a magazine. A magazine that published short stories and poems.
It wasn’t something he did for money though. For money, he did nothing. He did not eat or drink so, had no place for money. Sure, he was given bread and water by sympathetic friends. And he did take the bread in his mouth, chew it, swallow it with water, digest it and you know the rest. But, he didn’t need the bread. He didn’t need to live for that matter. Not that he was depressed. He was very happy devouring stories. Yes, he ate stories. As an editor, he used to get a lot of stories. He used to publish some. And swallow others. Sometimes a plot twist would cause some problem but he used to push it in with some poetry. And when there was a particularly smooth story, he would eat it over and over again until it would get chewed up. And then he would keep some of it for later.
‘Why don’t you make your magazine a lifestyle magazine?’ someone asked.
He looked at someone for a long while. He observed how someone had no nose, no knees. He asked, ‘What is a lifestyle magazine?’
‘It is a magazine that talks about lifestyle,’ someone replied.
‘OK, what does that mean?’
‘Food, fashion, movies,’ someone elaborated some more.
‘But I don’t need food,’ the man replied.
‘What about fashion and movies?’ someone frowned.
‘Movies are stories. I have better stories in my magazine,’ the man said.
‘What about fashion?’
‘What about it?’
‘You can talk about latest trends in fashion. Watches, cars, clothes… what’s in, what’s out…’ someone explained.
‘People would read that?’ the man asked.
‘They would love it!’ someone replied.
The man wrote about fashion. He went out to the street in his overcoat and sunglasses and hat. He looked at all those who were not wearing things that would have looked good if hung on walls. And then wrote a piece describing them. ‘The vest with holes is definitely passé. And so is the turban. Hats are way cooler and their fabric is way more expensive. Talking about winter fashion, I would definitely like to declare that blankets are passé and so is sleeping on footpaths. The in-thing is to wear good clothes and live in cosy houses.’
His magazine sold a thousand copies and he had to print more.
A friend came to deliver his bread that night. ‘I don’t like bread anymore. Do you have cake?’ he asked.