Archive for disabled


Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama made appointments with Zadam but things never worked out. The strange, disfigured man who called himself “Upside-downy” also had a reversed view of time.

It was unclear whether he swapped a.m. for p.m., seconds for minutes, or dates for hours, or some combination of them all. The result was that Shama waited around, became annoyed and went home. His calls to Zadam never went through. Those numbers were probably mixed up too.

Shama bumped into him crossing railway tracks. Zadam was chanting to himself again, saying, “Upside-downy; Upside down me; Everything is and everything isn’t; As it should be and as it shouldn’t; Upside-downy…”

Shama stopped right in front of him and said, “Hello there, stranger.”

Zadam replied in his usual backwards manner, “Goodbye.”

“That’s three appointments you haven’t kept this week. Is it worth making another one?”

Zadam’s mouth rose. This is what happens when it is set near the top, rather than the bottom, of your face. For once he was stuck for words. After a moment he said, “I would like to go for coffee, yes.”

He sometimes sees things so clearly, thought Shama. He anticipates whole conversations and relates them backwards, and can smell what things will become, but he misses so many things. His world is darkened by a hood pulled tightly around his deformed head. He is cut off. Shama felt that he should befriend him further to expand his existence.

They arrived at the coffee shop and took an empty table on the patio. Mt Alba shone white, seeming like an enormous pyramid that could only have been built by aliens. Maybe it was a symbol placed there in hope that we would one day understand. Despite it towering over the village, people remained unaware of its message, so clear, pointing upwards.

Shama brought two coffees to the table. Zadam raised his cup over his eyes and nose, to his lips. Some people stared.

“Does that bother you?” said Shama. “People staring at you?”

“They’ve never seen me before, so I don’t mind. Let them stare.”

Raising his mug, Zadam seemed cross-eyed, which somehow didn’t seem odd. It was the least strange thing about him. He said, “People have expectations. One view of things. But then they see other ways, and after a while they get used to them.”

Was Zadam speaking normally? Were his sentences now progressive rather than reversed? Or was it Shama’s mind compensating somehow?

Zadam continued, “It is silly to have only one view of things. Birds sing sweetly but also shit on your head. Electricity gives light but is made by burning fossil fuel. Cars take you places but also kill people. Rods and cones. Pods and bones. My mother and father, teachers, myself and God, are all good and bad. We see with rods and cones. Lights and colours. Sods and tones. Everything can be seen two ways. This way and that way.”

He was suddenly annoyed by something. He stood up and shouted at the coffee drinkers on the patio, “What are you all looking at?”


Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama saw Zadam regularly walking around town, and after a while he no longer noticed his strange appearance. After all, Zadam had a head with all the right features, just in the wrong places on his face.

His mouth was where his forehead should be, his nose was in the right place but reversed, and his eyes were at the bottom. That’s why he kept his green coat’s hood pulled both up and down, creating a dark hollow. People only caught hints of features and were suspicious rather than afraid.

Shama also got somewhat used to backwards talking. He could follow Zadam’s train of thoughts if he concentrated, but he often lost track. He found it easier to stick to questions and answers rather than partake of long exchanges.

Shama saw him in the produce section of the grocery store, examining blood peaches. He was picking out ripe ones, heavy and juicy, smelling them and saying, “Phoo!” and putting them back. He selected unripe ones, hard and scentless, and licked his lips, saying “Yum!”

“Hello Zadam,” said Shama. “What are you doing?”

“I am smelling good fruits.” He handed Shama a peach that could replace a cricket ball without anyone knowing. It smelled like one too.

“But this has no scent at all.”

“My senses are reversed,” said Zadam, dropping the red skull-cruncher into his basket. “I smell things early and I know what they will become like later.”

“Is that just with fruits?” asked Shama, catching a blood peach hard enough to draw blood.

“No, I can do it with everything.”

Zadam’s olfactory receptors worked in overdrive. They bound to particular molecular features, exciting more or less strongly, the combination of excited signals from different receptors flipping and flopping, integrating and reverting, a thousand times over, creating his upside-down sensation of smell.

Shama didn’t like grocery shopping. Something about it really bugged him. It wasn’t just the high prices at the village store, almost double those in the city – but who’s going to drive two hundred clicks each way just to get their milk? It was also the vast amount of processing and packaging, wasting precious energy and resources.

He felt that he should be producing his own food. He had a dream of becoming a farmer. That wasn’t going to happen in the city, but it could happen here in Lucerne if he…

He noticed Zadam smelling potatoes, dropping a few in his basket and moving onto cheese, which provided some amusing reactions, and then meat and fish.

“What about packaged food?” he asked Zadam. “Can you tell anything about that?”

“I don’t eat it, but I can try.”

He picked up a packet of French onion soup, took a deep sniff and smiled. It went into his basket. He sniffed a tin of spam, which went straight back onto the shelf. He smelled a chilled lasagne, which he thought about, but then made an upside-down, screwed-up face and returned it to the chiller. He tried frozen food but said it was “too hard” to smell. He smelled some fashionable Superfoods and said, “Poo!”

Shama said, “Phoo?”

“No, poo! Your body will not absorb them. They come out in your poo!”

He saw a baby. The mother was reluctant to let this disfigured person hold her child, but then she softened and said it was OK.

Zadam picked up the child and took a deep sniff. He said, “Aahhh!”


Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama first saw him from the corner of his eye across the railway tracks. His peripheral vision was good; he had honed it for years in the rough areas where he’d lived, sometimes on the street. He immediately spotted people that didn’t fit, making him wonder what they were doing there.

Who was that tall, thin man in a green, hooded coat, looking part-yob, part-mod, and part-military, stalking more than walking towards the tracks? He bore no relation to Lucerne. Why was he here?

Shama was heading away from the village centre, and the green-coated man was heading towards it. Their paths would cross upon the railway tracks.

Before they reached them, red lights began flashing and bells ringing, warning of an approaching train. The striped barrier came down between them.

The green-coated man waited directly across the tracks from Shama, with his hood pulled low. Shama couldn’t see much of his face but he seemed to be talking.

There was no one around him. Maybe he had an earpiece for his cell phone. His lips were moving rapidly, rhythmically. Was he talking to himself?

When the freight train came, Shama’s eyes shook. It was partly due to the rush of hot air, and the train’s shuddering, but he had also seen something that didn’t make sense, or maybe he had imagined it.

The rush of air had caused the man’s hood to lift up, showing all of his face. The mouth Shama had seen was near the top of his head, rather than the bottom. It was speaking, chanting, ranting, from where his forehead should be, with his nose and eyes beneath it. His face was upside-down.

When the train passed and the barrier lifted, Shama and the man walked towards each other. The man’s hood was back in place but Shama couldn’t help staring at his face.

He was confused and horrified. Who was this man? What was he doing here? Was he a disfigured accident victim or was he disabled from birth? Had his mother taken drugs when pregnant, or his father worked in a power station? As he walked by, Shama heard him saying:


Upside-down me,

Everything is and everything isn’t,

As it should be and as it shouldn’t.


Shama turned to look at him, but the man continued walking into town. Stalking.

The next time Shama saw the man, he said hello. The man ignored him and continued chanting and stalking. He must be deranged, thought Shama. If your head looked like that on the outside, imagine how mixed up it was within.

Shama believed in doing the right thing, regardless of outcome. So he continued saying hello to the upside-down man every time they passed.

One day the man replied, saying, “Goodbye.”

Shama was taken aback but managed to say, “I’m Shama.”

The man engaged in a strange – was it reversed? – conversation. He said, “See you again; nice to talk to you; I’ve seen you in town; I am not the first man, but the last man you would want as your son; it was Adam but I changed it; my name is Zadam; hello.”

His speech was confusing to follow but Shama got it. He had dealt with crazies in the city before. One winter he had almost frozen on the street, and became a little deaf. It helped him to lip-read when people were speaking. That was easy to do with Upside-Downy.