by Ajay Nair
When the pink cushion whooshed by his window, he decided that there was something odd going on. A few moments back, when the maroon baboon had plonked itself down on the hood of his car and run his thumbs squeakily against his car's windscreen, he had been slightly surprised. Big Mo was, as usual, driving his souped up Cadillac (in which he had gouged out the horn and replaced it with a small brown cardboard carton to store peanuts in, which he could munch on while driving) and thinking big thoughts. And as he looked at the departing pink cushion in his rear-view mirror (shaped like a canoe without the paddles), the latest big question popped into his mind like a hot slice of buttered brown bread from his shiny, metallic stainless steel toaster — ‘When is a pink cushion like a maroon baboon?'
Big Mo was all of four and a half feet tall when he wore his four inch high shoes. He was different from Small Mo, Little Mo and Jesuit Samoan Mo because unlike them, he spent all his time trying to think big thoughts and answering big questions. He ran the words ‘pink cushion' through his mouth in a rapid, repetitive fashion — ‘pinkcushionpinckcushionpinkcushion' and before he realised what was going on, it had become ‘pincushionpincushionpincushion'. When he caught on to this wonderful transformation, he smiled his ‘Look-at-that' smile, in which his two front teeth were bared but no others.
Big Mo thought about the baboon. The baboon's fur was a deep, plush maroon and hung like shaggy cotton from his loose limbs and lean torso. It reminded him of cotton candy, which always left a sweet after-taste in his mouth that had to be washed down with green, salty water. His eyes were black but not like coal. When he had run his thumbs along the wind-shield, he had jumped very slowly, ponderously on the hood of the car, his feet landing with the soft thud of a hardcover book with one thousand seven hundred and twelve pages.
Sometimes when Big Mo was driving, he would put his head out the window, and on his lucky days, the wind would sweep his hair back and his eyes would smart, and everything around him would be clearer because his tears would wash his eyes and they would be all new and shiny.
Big Mo stopped his car under the large oak tree which burped from time to time and belched once every year on its birthday. The maroon baboon was sitting on the top branch of the tree. Big Mo saw that he was sitting on the pink cushion. He racked his brain to find the answer to his question while simultaneously picking at his ear with a stem of yellow honey-grass.
Suddenly, the baboon jumped off the tree and the pink cushion followed him. The wind tore a small hole into the cushion and it went ‘wheeeeee' as the air was sucked out from it. The baboon rode the air expertly, dodging the oak tree's branches and went ‘wheeeeee' with excitement as it fell to the ground. Big Mo smiled as he found the answer to his question. The pink cushion was like a maroon baboon when they both fell from the oak tree.
Big Mo smiled his extra special smile — the one he reserved for special occasions when he found the answer to one of his big questions — in which he bared all his seventeen teeth (eight upper, nine lower) and also the red insides of his cheeks. He pumped the air with his fist and went ‘wheeeeee'.
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Exactly what the title says.
Also posted at http://ajaynair.wordpress.com/short-stories/