I’d been to the matinee and was waiting for the 211 (Lionel Groulx – St.Anne), this sunny Saturday morning, when my idle gaze fell on the replica of Atlas holding up the Earth, at the entrance to the Metro.

In the Lionel Groulx imitation though, Atlas looks more like a haggard homeless guy, buck naked, balancing the Earth on back of his neck. He has a toga that is draped on the other shoulder and the Earth looks like a watermelon that the Lebanese cafe in the corner just threw out. And like all Atlas sculptures, this one too has a richard that is too small to write home about. Not that looking at other folks’ richards is something that I habitually do, mind you. But when they’re so tiny in comparison to their owners’ body mass, it does make you laf. Go on, take a look…


If I had been the book editor for Hesiod, the 8th century BC Greek poet who wrote an epic called ‘Theogony’ on Atlas, I’d have had him revise his original text thus,”…..Now Iapetus the Titan, took his wife the neat-ankled maid Clymene, daughter of the Ocean, and went up with her unto one bed. And thus she bore him a son, Atlas, robust and stout-hearted as the Taurus but with a richard too small to write to Parthenon about…”. Hesiod had an ankle fetish but what the heck, at least he didn’t hump young boys like his other colleagues in the Gay Greek Poets’ Society did.

What about Parthenon? Those days, all Greek heroes gave their permanent home address as the Parthenon, okay?  Now, will you let me go on?

I had started looking at the Atlas sculpture because those two blondes with billowing skirts had just boarded the 202 and I had nothing else that was similarly organic to look at. The two girls had been standing right there, by the bus timetables. Their calves had these matching tattoos that I had been surreptitiously trying to decipher from my perch on a stone bench a few feet away.

Nice tattoos. One had it on her left calf and the other, on her right and they stood close, their arms around each others’ waist. Each tattoo comprised of two snakes, their jaws wide open, curling upward around what seemed like an erect phallus, their forked tongues flicking this way and that around the head. Might not have been a phallus at all down there though. I have astigmatism. Things that are actually spherical, appear elongated to me.

As the girls shifted and shuffled like young girls do, the two pairs of snakes appeared to be talking to each other. Every time the two blondes rose up on their toes to peer at the bus number boards, the phalluses stretched and flexed themselves and the snakes appeared to look me in the eye and grin mischievously. By the way, is phalluses the right word? Or phalli? Relax, just asking. You know how particular I am, about my grammar.

I realized that the matter had gained a certain gravity. I rose and walked to the public telephone on the far wall to place a long distance call to Dan Brown in Los Angeles. He has just finished ‘Inferno’ and maybe knew something about those curly snakes wrapped around the richard, that I didn’t.

As I approached the phone, I saw that it was already occupied but when I went and stood there waiting, the occupant who was a huge hulking guy, backed out from the booth and nudged me, sending me flying across the square and cracking my head against Atlas, the Tiny. I’d have gone after him but you know me. I’m wimpy and he was big.

This hefty guy backed out of the phone booth, tucked his white striped shirt into his dark grey trousers, zipped up and put his tie back on. He turned and took an old fashioned pair of black rimmed specs from his shirt pocket and slipped them on. In spite of his size and those jet black piercing eyes, the guy still had this unsure, vulnerable look about him. He patted his wavy hair down but one small curl managed to fall over his forehead.

I thought I’d seen the guy just this afternoon, someplace else. He walked over to me and helped me up, apologizing profusely, his grip so hard that I thought I’d dislocate my wrist.

“Scheiße!”, he cursed, with a nervous grin,” Just look at the phone booths they make these days. How the f–k am I supposed ta change outa my costume in there? Ah, how I miss Jerry and that Joe Schuster. Joe would have drawn real goddamn phone booths with hangers and a mirror in them, not these Scheißes that are smaller than a f—in’ public urinal”.

“Why didn’t he?” I whimpered.

“Why didn’t who?”

“Joe Schuster…why didn’t he draw you a bigger phone booth with a mirror and a hanger…?”

“They signed away their rights for a song, the schmucks,” he grunted in disgust.

He hadn’t tightened the noose of his tie yet and that was when I noticed the big ‘S’ in red over the blue background, under his shirt and it all added up at last. He saw me staring and hurriedly straightened his tie.

“Wish I owned my own mansion like Bruce does,” he lamented,” Look at me, I don’t even own a goddamn hatchback. Bruce’s car is hand-tooled and rocket powered. Oh well, what the hell, Jerry wrote me in that way. Schmuck.”

I continued to gape at the man, wide eyed, as my vision came slowly back after that nasty crack.

“You ok, old man?” he looked concerned and somehow responsible for the bump on my head,” Tell you what, come over to my condo this weekend. I’m throwing a party. Bruce, Vicki and Robin will be there. Bruce and I are swapping Jimmy and Robin. You can have Lois and Vicki both if you like. What say?” I ran as fast as I could.

Oh, by the by, the matinee that I told you I just saw, was ‘Man of Steel’. Superb special effects and I always had the hots for Amy Adams. Boy, ‘Smallville’ sure isn’t named after her, I can tell you.

I wanted ta review the movie but I have Alzheimers and can’t remember a thing, except for some selected scenes. Of Amy Adams. Wearing nothing but Superman’s cape. Go see the movie yourself, okay?


© 2013 Achyut Dutt.