The Freelancer

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‘Tip, tip, tappity tip….
Click, click, clickity click.
Sending emails to The Dick..
Na na na nanana na..’

He hummed as he typed on the keyboard as if it were a dance floor where his fingers were doing the Tap dance. Putting a rhythm to his fingers and trying to break out of the monotony of sending mind-numbingly boring status reports to the higher ups. As boring as his job was he couldn’t afford to just walk away from it. It was not just about the money, but because it was what was expected of him. A 20 something kid with slightly more than average grades and an IQ much higher than the average. Of course he had to have a job even if it meant not to be able to dedicate himself to his passion. That’s what would make parents proud and the relatives jealous… and stop the constant comparison to his siblings and the better off friends. Also growing up in this kind of ‘sheep’ society, you would be treated with more respect and fondness if you could prove yourself to be a sheep like them. So no matter how much he wanted to dedicate his entire time to his hobby…..he had to settle to give half of his time to this mundane, boring and meaningless job and settle for using the other half to work as a freelancer and get paid for doing what he loved. Though it meant that he couldn’t take jobs that demanded more time or had immediate deadlines, no matter how lucrative the pay. But he was happy with what he got….the pay was anyways just a bonus for him…..the feel of the job and the sense of accomplishment was his real prize.
He had always been good at it, from his childhood. He had found out quite by accident that he was good, very good and with time his creativity flourished…so much that he felt he could call himself a Master. But he was intelligent enough to never get too proud of his skills and worked hard to grow even better.
Until recently he was just fond of it as a hobby and did it for free on the side. His family would never approve of him indulging in this pasttime. They had always discouraged him….so much, that he had to keep it a secret from them. They would never understand him, his desires and his need. He let them believe that he was a sheep just like them. That would keep them off his back.
He had got his first debut as a college student. Someone very influential had come to know of his talent and employed him temporarily. He had impressed her with her skills and sharpness. And that had allowed him a very comfortable and lavish life until he graduated. Even though, he was never really addicted to riches or fame. He just loved the job.
After graduating, however , he was forced to look for a job out of town. He knew he had to move out of the house or he would never be free and it would be easier if he kept his ties mimimal. The first few months at his new IT job were really hectic and he never got much chance to practise other than on weekends. Then finally one day his former employer, who perhaps understood his plight, for she herself was an accomplished artist, send him a link to a website. It was a freelancing website that hired people with exactly the kind of talents he possessed. To successfully enroll yourself you had to complete one test project upon which you would be evaluated and then recommended to the clients. The best thing was it was totally anonymous, you couldn’t know who your clients was and they wouldn’t know who the freelancer was. All that was communicated was the project details, pay and his ratings.
Back home in the evening, he sat on his makeshift bed with the laptop on his lap and a smoke in his hands. He scrolled through all the project requests he received that evening, and they were a lot. He ignored all the ones with too much detailed instructions…. even though they usually paid better. He liked to give free reign to his creativity, he worked better that way. He chose one that he liked best, 28 year old brunette, with good enough looks, seemingly homely, but if she was the project than probably not. They usually never were. Best thing was that she was living very close to her. In fact they were practically next door neighbors. They usually crossed paths every week at the supermarket, and had even exchanged polite hellos. He had always found her cute but never thought of approaching her. He smiled to himself as he took a long drag of smoke. Trying to imagine her surprised look when he would turn up at her door. He got up and started preparing for the job. He went to the dresser and took out the special pouch of tools he needed, and began carefully inspecting them. His eyes fell on the first tool he ever used, a small blunt fruit knife. It had grown rusty even though he polished it weekly, he kept in a special leather pouch. It was a memento with special memories. When he was 6, the first time he slit his cats throat and was fascinated as he saw it struggle and squeal. He then skinned it and buried the remains. But his parents found the bloodied piece of skin hidden in his dresser. They tossed it into fire and never treated him the same ever. Even though they tried to deny who he was, they never dared to ever be alone with him in the same room. He didn’t want them to be afraid, he wanted to assure them that even if he didn’t like them much he would never harm them but could never say it out he was not exactly the kind of guy who could be expressive about his emotions. But he was free now, free to live the kind of life he wanted and his family was free to believe whatever they wanted to. Tonight was the kind of nights he really looked forward to. He looked at the knife longingly, anticipating the thrill and euphoria that was waiting for him tonight that would keep his mind occupied as he typed his boring mails tomorrow at office.

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