For some time now, Sukumar Roy knew his boss Ajay Vaskar would die on May 15 - a date he had held sacred for years since it was his birthday.
Roy was a punctual man, a perfect creature of habit. Every day he would wake up at the same time, at 6:00 am, after which he would brew a fresh cup of coffee and sip on it while jotting down a little something into the little red diary, which he had carefully kept inside the top left drawer of his favourite chest of drawers – a family heirloom.
To Roy, routine and repetition meant everything.
This diary was a gift from a colleague. Roy didn't know what to do with it at first, before he penned down his first few words: Need to buy a brand new laptop urgently!
Next day, the routine was followed as usual till he reached office to see a brand new laptop neatly placed on his office table, with zero traceability to its original owner.
Roy never liked drama. This unpredictability irritated him and made him feel quite jittery. He trashed the laptop worth Tk60,000 only because nobody claimed it. It was something he couldn't process or even agree with.
The next day, when Roy was writing in his diary again, something came to his mind. He jotted down two more lines: My next-door neighbor would commit suicide in fifteen minutes!
Roy kept looking at his watch, at precisely fifteen minutes there was a severe commotion down the street in front of his apartment. The old lady who had lived next-door had jumped from the veranda of her fifteenth floor apartment.
Roy smiled. He felt comfortable now. It was 5:00 pm on a Friday - a holiday and his time to take a walk in the park.
Two days ago, Roy had a huge fight with the Head of IT, Ajay Vaskar, who was also his line manager. He called him quite a few names including a derogatory term: an autistic man!
Roy remembers clearly what Ajay had said.
"What kind of irreparable disease do you suffer from? This is insane! You can't leave on a timely basis every single day! Everyone stays back for extra work. You have to do the same. If not, then you may very well clean up your desk and leave!" Ajay had said.
That night Roy decided on the manner of Ajay's death. The entire plan was jotted down in precision from the method of killing to the ultimate disposal of the body.
Roy felt calm after a long time.
The next day was his birthday; he needed to ask Korim Miah, his trusted aid and househelp, to buy a cake for him, like every other year.
Roy woke up at the same time on the next day, as scheduled, and had his usual morning coffee when the phone rang. This particularly irritated Roy but he answered the phone with the utmost displeasure.
"Hello!" someone said from the other side, panting. "Hello! This is Monica from the office. Is this Roy?"
Roy replied, "Yes Monica. This is him."
"Ajay has been missing since yesterday. Did you meet him by any chance?"
Roy said, as sweat collected on the forehead, "No, no. I didn't and why would I?
"Okay, it's okay…I'm just asking everyone. It's a routine checkup. His wife has already complained to the police. Anyways, do let us know if you hear anything!"
The call was cut abruptly.
Roy nudged a little; he quietly finished his breakfast and called for a cab.
While in traffic, Roy decided to take a re-route. He headed for the park instead of his office.
Roy calmly walked towards the bench by the lake, where Ireen had been sitting for a long time now, it seemed; with the look of death smeared all over her face.
Ireen. Beautiful Ireen had been another story in Roy's life. He felt a special something for her since the beginning and they had been colleagues from day one at ABC Bank in Motijheel.
He had stalked her without her knowledge every day of the year. Some would call it creepy but he called it love.
With Roy's nudge, Ireen jolted back to life and was about to jump and run away when Roy caught hold of her.
"I know everything," he said.
Roy continued, "This bastard was having an affair with you. He was using you and raping you. I know that you took revenge and forced a knife into his heart before burying him beneath this bench."
Ireen's heart skipped a beat. She felt faint.
Roy assured her immediately, "I won't say a word. The process was foolproof, no-one will ever know."
"But you know everything!" cried out Ireen. "How do you know so much?"
"It doesn't matter. Don't worry. Lay low for a few days. I will tell everyone you were sick and we'll meet back at the office by next Monday."
Roy let go of her hands and continued his walk around the park before calling an Uber to rectify this minor detour.
Next morning, before writing afresh into the little red diary, Roy glanced back into his last entry: The killing would take place on May 15 at 3:00 am. Ireen would bury the body along with Ajay's clothes right beneath the bench next to the pristine lake….
Roy smiled and thought, "Need to ask Karim Miah to give away yesterday's leftover cake to the beggars down the street..."
The author, Mehrin Mubdi Chowdhury, is a Journalist at The Daily Star, mother of two boys an amateur artist and novelist in the making. You can reach her on [email protected].
This story is part of a collection produced through by Mayflowers Writing Workshop run by author Shazia Omar. To join the next session, please email [email protected].