by Ajay Nair

When the gargoyle came to life, he was lost for a moment as to what to do. He looked up and down the passage that he had been installed over for several centuries. The moonless night afforded scarce light but posed no problems for the gargoyle's sharp eyes. He extended his bent arm to its full length with a crack, straightened his hunched body and tried, and failed, to close his lips over his frightening grimace. Stone lips are not pliable.


He skipped out through the window. The grass soothed his uncurled toes. ‘I must call myself something', he thought. After a few minutes of frenetic thinking, he settled on Argoyle. The name started with a vowel, which was always a good thing, and implied a measure of heft. Importantly, it conveyed where he came from — a function of names he thought was essential.


‘My name is Argoyle', he said out loud. His sound came from deep within him. Bits of gravel floated in his voice. With his newly decided name, he felt complete.


 At that moment, a stray dog walked up to him. It barked in fear and with false bravado on spying Argoyle. Argoyle reached out with his hand and smacked it hard on its head. The dog collapsed, silenced, its skull shattered. Argoyle felt a curious bubbling sensation inside him and felt very proud of himself. To prolong the sensation, he kicked the dog with his misshapen foot, sending it flying across the ground. This was not as satisfying. He was a ‘hand' gargoyle and not a ‘foot' gargoyle.


When dawn broke, the first visitors to the museum were two care-takers. When they spotted the empty place where Argoyle used to be, they were confused. Who would chip away an ugly monstrosity and for what purpose? They investigated outside. Meanwhile, Argoyle had been uprooting trees, bushes and shrubs, enjoying the whooshing sound as the roots were pulled out of the ground, the crackling snaps of branches and twigs. The care-takers saw the destruction, but didn't locate Argoyle, who had buried his head into a hole from which he had pulled out a tamarind tree. His bottom stuck out as just another stone in the landscape. It was as if a micro-storm had swept the meagre garden and just for kicks, frisked away the gargoyle, thought the care-takers. They were dim creatures with little imagination.


Argoyle emerged from his foraging and saw the backs of the retreating care-takers. They looked familiar. He was certain that the one on the right was the one who engaged in funny business when no one was around, looking at the female gargoyles and grabbing himself, and squirting. Argoyle did not like him much. He called out to him. The pair of them did not seem to hear, or perhaps they were ignoring him. A sense of injustice welled up inside Argoyle and he bounded after them. They turned around in the last instant, to find their heads knocked together with fearsome force. The last thing they saw was Argoyle laughing through his grimace.


Argoyle went into the museum. Whatever objects he didn't like, he batted with his hand. There was a sculpture of a woman rendered in marble that took his fancy. Her white hands were on her lap, palms facing upward, her arms were smooth with a slight muscular bulge and her full breasts were covered with the hint of a light veil. Her eyes looked at him with a riotous love that set his heart racing. Argoyle felt an immense urge to confess something to her, but what? He gaped at her with limitless admiration searching for some words, sifting through platitudes and clichés inside his head. In his frustrated scrambling, he did not notice her eyes blinking and her lips parting. But he heard her when she said ‘You have a great body, but what I really want to see is what your ass looks like. I bet it's cute.'


Argoyle turned around in an instant and thrust his bum out. He heard her whistle, the lewdness in it exhilarating to his ears. ‘Look at that. Now that's what I call a view. I wish I could look at that forever.'


Later in the day, visitors to the museum were surprised to see the two-some — the marble sculpture of the buxom lady peering at the protruding bum of the stone gargoyle. They both seemed to be frozen in an aspect of divine revelation. The curator, after having been assured by the police that all the death and destruction was on account of some freakish natural occurrence, decided to let the gargoyle stay where he stood. Foot-falls increased. The museum flourished with the strange exhibit of the ancient pair.


          Argoyle was happy to grant the wish of his true love.