A PAINFREE MAN
Stephan C. Hmar
It was 12:00 in the night. Yes! It was already late. But then midnight robbers played well.
Five robbers assaulted a lone man in one of the dark corners. It was so usual….. First, they took his wrist watch, and then his wallet. They were looking for a ring---finger-ring or neck ring---for it worth more in the choor market.
Annoyingly enough, their unlucky prey did not have any costly ring. And so they penalized him more by more punches.
Suddenly, a strange voice spoke from one corner, “Satisfied now? It’s my turn now!” The five men dumped their unforgivable prey by the dark and turned toward the voice.
The strange man walked out into the lights. He was tall in a strange robe beneath a cowboy hat. They could not see his face. He said, “Try to harm me in any way you can. If you succeed, you win. If you don’t, then take to your heel towards your respective home!”
He was polite, way too polite, you may feel! In fact, yes! An arrogant hero, who can bash up five robbers unmercifully, like in the movies, was the need of the time. But, as it turned out till then, he was one softly odd hero in one odd advanced hour of the night. Or one softly ghost…!
One of the robbers mocked him, “You think you’re a strong ghost that will scare the hell out of us. Disappear before we kick the shit out of you.”
The strange man said, “You are wrong, but you can try that…!”
The five thugs did not lose the chance. They hit, punched and kicked him up to the last atom of their energy. But the man still stood, painless. The stolen wrist watch has struck 1:00 AM already.
He said, “Retire! You have got yourselves exhausted without harming me a bit. Next thing could befall your worst nightmare!”
All the five robbers rushed away, panting, into the dark like household rats.
Five years ago, Mr. Painfree set out for the fifty eight times to consult a doctor. For him, but then, it was very usual, hope capsized him unusually that day, yet again. Yes! It was unusual.
People whom he knew had said, “This doctor can do miracles.” (And perhaps Painfree was unusually hopeful of the miracles hovering about doctors).
He said to the doctor, “Don’t check me like your regular patient. These are my recent x-rays. And here are my recent sugar content, and then my cholesterol, and then my uric acid, my chest results, and whole abdomen ultrasound results…”
The doctor looked at him, surprised. He waved him towards the bunk bed and scrutinized him with his stethoscope.
Everything was normal for Painfree. As always.
The doctor did not say a word. He looked at him, this time quite unusual and said, submissively, “You are one rare case to live with all these pains. How could you live a normal life like this? You are one rare case.”
He did not prescribe medicine nor encouraged him. He was drawn more by the next patient.
Do not forget this, consultation charges attract doctors more than remedial!
Painfree walked out the consultation room, much burdened by the stenciled name of the doctor: Dr. Rare-ly, MBBS, MD, USA.
The following week was absurd. A cyclone hit his mind. “A very rare case!” This rareness depressed him. More weeks had passed on with more depression.
You see, when you are in a dark pit knowing that no one can help you out, you end up an addict. But you hardly know what. Like that addict that you were, Painfree too was unknowingly addicted.
From morning till dark, he would keep thinking beneath his pains. Unknowingly, he severely gets addicted to the dark side of the world, the hopelessness of life. And like any one of us would do at the end of that unpleasant tunnel, he resorted to find his own cure, by HIMSELF.
And you will find his next choice of direction quite strange.
He broke his piggy bank, withdrew all his savings from the bank, sold his house and set out to the farthest village to find the answer for his rarest condition. There he set-up a laboratory, to venture into his unknown rareness and found the cure.
For the whole year, he read and read books on anaesthesia. Soon, he learnt that even with the known chemistry, the door was marvellously wide opened to know how anaesthesia exactly works. He painstakingly worked for years (he couldn't remember), to come out with the right formula. He mixed carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and xenon in different proportions over and over again and drank each of the yielded solutions.
You see! Solution-less life gives freedom. That was exactly what he did! No more fear of life or death! It looked like a good thing though. But wait till I tell you more on his outcome.
After three years and six months of his experiment, he yielded an orange-pink solution. He gulped it down soon enough for the thousandth times. It tasted the same like before. After 15 minutes, he collapsed on his laboratory floor, only to find himself alive the next morning. Magic happened with that waking: he was fit and well, no more pains in his body.
“Ah! The pain has gone.” He laughed out loud for the first time in many years. He ran about his laboratory, jumped up and down the desks, and broke the glasses until he accidentally cut his wrist with a razor sharp knife. But ah! No more pain. He felt the rubbing of the knife, the flowing of blood, but not the pain.
You see! It was not accidental nor a simple success. It was an experiment with a perfect success. With that single gulp of the orange-pink solution, he was painless for day, then weeks, and then years.
A painful man becoming painless, for years with one gulp of the solution? It was the most miraculous of miracles.
News spread like air in the village. People gave the name “Painfree.” Sick people came to him for the solution. Alas! He did not keep the note of his experimentations, nor did he remember the proportions of the elements. He could not recreate that unique solution. No more.
Soon, he was called a lair, a black magician, satanic, spell-caster, etc. His laboratory was burned down. He was put in confinement.
Let me tell you! When you cannot help when they expected the most, they messed you up.
Every night he was summoned by the Chief, asking him the god he worshipped: the ghostly spell that had cured him.
No answer satisfied the chief.
Strangeness has no limit and could come in any forms. You imagine the strangeness of pain amongst the painless, or the painless in the world of the pains? That was just the speck of the picture. Small though, his strange invention made him devilishly strange, so they expelled him from the village.
And that was it! That was his whereabouts!
Painless pulled him up from the dark shadow; he was covered in bloods. He murmured, “Thank you,” and then he could feel himself in the air; the lights were flickering but real now, like a man well set from a perfect nightmare into the light. Like that unexpected sunshine after the storm….
On and on, he knew he was nearing his home, and the shoulder that carried him was tireless. The knocking door was quickly responded by his wife. She said, “Thank you…thank you, you are saviour!,” to the tall stranger.
Then she looked at her badly wounded husband, “Oh! What have they done to you? Heaven and hell be damned. They don’t care for any good soul. They don’t care anything….only selfishness.”
Painless knew about the extremities of life—from the pain to the painlessness, due to his experiment. He felt he was a chapter from the beginning and the end. Still then, he was odd, not fitting in the society. Painlessly he cried, “Alas! There is a limit to everything, but not knowledge. I saw people confined in the dreaminess of things, not looking the conscience. Not to the reality of knowledge.”
He looked at his unused money in the bag and he said, “Let me try to experiment a medicine for painless to pain. Hope it will ring a bell, at least.”