Asurya Lokas

Title: Asurya Lokas

Author: Martin Ross

Type: Humorous casefile; Valentine’s Day theme

Rating: PG-13 for adult language and innuendo

Synopsis: Mulder and Scully investigate a strange

case of murder and animal attraction – and repulsion.

Spoilers: None

Disclaimer: The X-Files is the property of 10-13

Productions, Chris Carter, and Fox.

“The only problem with your murder theory,” Scully

suggested as she scanned the now-waxy body on the

exam table, “is that no one was murdered.”

“Not in the traditional sense, maybe,” Mulder

countered.

“If by the ‘traditional sense,’ you mean caused to

die at the hands of another, neither by accident nor

the transmission of disease, then I’d be interested

to know in what innovative and exotic manner you

believe Mr. Rhawalpindi died. I did a complete

workup, and there is no doubt whatsoever that this

man was the victim of anaphylactic shock. My post-

mortem turned up an insect sting, Mr. Rhawalpindi’s

doctor told me the victim suffered from several

severe allergies, and, most compellingly, we found a

dead North American honey bee near the body.”

“And your problem is…?” Mulder demanded as his

partner re-covered the body.

“In a general sense, or specifically referring to the

case at hand? Which isn’t a case, by the way.”

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Three days earlier

The strange and yet poignantly mundane death of Rajiv

Rhawalpindi had come to the FBI’s attention only

because he had through several tenuous relationships

and even more tenuous circumstances been deemed a

“person of interest” under the Patriot Act. In the

pre-911 world, the young software developer’s

introspective, nearly monastic lifestyle would have

drawn little notice. In the post-911 world, the quiet

Pakistani-American, whose sixth cousin had made some

rashly nationalistic remarks at a demonstration a

half-continent away, was viewed as almost too quiet.

So when Rhawalpindi, the subject of ongoing FBI

surveillance, had been found dead without a mark in

his Washington living/dining/computer room/den,

memories of anthrax and Japanese saran gas prompted a

CDC/EPA crew to covertly swoop down on his two-room

flat. Every scrap of correspondence, every book,

every pot, pan, and prospective chemical mixing

vessel was confiscated and examined with every high-

tech device the FBI, the ATF, and the CIA could

muster. With the exception of an ornate statue of the

elephant god Ganesh that adorned a corner table and

an addiction to eBay (Golden and Silver Age DC

comics), the authorities could find little to justify

the late Mr. Rhawalpindi’s status as a person of much

of any interest.

However, Assistant Director Walter Skinner, no big

fan of John Ashcroft or the Patriot Act but a man

devoted to his duty as the law prescribed, managed to

satisfy his dual sentiments by assigning both one of

his best agents and one of the Bureau’s most

aggravated wiseasses to the Rhawalpindi

investigation. Both were the same man, and Skinner

knew Mulder would appreciate the absurdities of the

case while exhaustively eliminating any possible of

terrorist malfeasance.

“Mr. Rolla–, Rawla, oh, shoot, Rajiv was a very

polite young man,” Mulder and Scully had learned from

Olive Pizer, the decedent’s possibly 130-year-old

apartment super. “Every once in a while, I’d smell

that incense stuff coming from under his door, and I

suppose he might’ve smoked a little of that reefer

weed the kids seem to like, but boys will be boys,

won’t they? I can’t believe he would have anything to

do with that horrible Mr. bin Laden. He always tied

up his garbage bags very securely, and he never

played his music loud during my CSI.”

Mulder pictured Osama sloppily applying a slip knot

to his Hefty bag, and suppressed a smile. “How long

had he been living here?”

Without soliciting it, Pizer poured Mulder and Scully

a second cup of a particularly acrid tea neither

agent originally had invited. “Oh, my. Mr. Clinton

was president…Yes, it was right after that nasty

Lewinski girl was all over the news. She was my

daughter, I’d have given her a good spanking.”

“That’d teach her. And no trouble during that time?”

“As I said, he was extremely polite. Always had his

rent to me first of the month. A nice boy, even if he

was the unluckiest young man I ever met.”

Scully perked. “Unlucky how?”

“Wellll, first of all, there was that girlfriend of

his – oh, what was her name? This was maybe three

years ago. She was one of them, too. Palestinian.”

“Pakistani.”

“Yes. They were to married – Rajiv was very happy.

Then she got hit by the No. 12.”

“Pardon?”

“Bus. The No. 12 crosstown bus. She was a student at

the college, and she was going to one of her classes

when the No. 12 swerved to avoid a boy on a bicycle.

I understand she was killed instantly. The poor boy

was heartbroken.”

“Not to mention the girl,” Mulder suggested.

“Well,” Pizer murmured non-committally. “It seems as

if poor Rajiv’s life went downhill after that. The

accident took place a few months after that girl

died.”

“Accident?”

“The oddest thing I ever heard of,” the senior

related. “He hit a deer in his car. At 11 p.m. on a

Tuesday night, downtown. It leapt in front of his

car, and he killed it.”

“Mrs. Pizer, would you know if any of his co-workers

ever–?” Scully began hastily, hoping to divert her

partner.

“A deer, you say,” Mulder said. “Was he hurt?”

“Rajiv? Oh, no. He had one of those balloons, you

know, those car balloons.”

“Airbag?”

“That’s it. Oh, no – the mauling was much worse.”

“Mauling?” Mulder leaned forward, a childlike gleam

in his eyes. Scully sat back and sipped her

industrial tea in resignation.

“Yes. A poodle. Or a Pomeranian. The one with, you

know, the eyes…”

“A poodle mauled Mr. Rhawalpindi.”

“Yes. Or a Pomeranian. A stray, I believe – there was

no collar. It was horrid. Rajiv was out front,

getting ready to go visit his parents on the west

side, when the little cur just, well, launched itself

at him. It was, well, just gnawing at his neck –

blood was all over the sidewalk. It took Mr. Wallace

in 2 and Ms. Jankowicz in 6 to get it off him. The

bitch.”

“Ah, the dog?” Mulder ventured carefully.

“Yes, it was a female. I remember now. Even when they

pried the poodle from Rajiv’s throat, it tried to

reattach itself. Mr. Wallace was forced to use a golf

club from his trunk to beat the dog to death. A No.

7, he told me at the time, although I haven’t the

slightest interest in that silly game.”

Mulder’s eyes were wide now. “Then what happened?”

“Well, I suppose all of this must have taken its toll

on Rajiv, because he attempted to hang himself one

day. This was a few months after the mauling – for a

while, he could scarcely be persuaded to leave his

apartment. But that day, he’d just gotten back from a

Pirates game, and he seemed very chipper, if I may

say. Then I discovered a piece of Rajiv’s mail had

gotten in with mine, and I went up to his apartment

to return it. I could hear his music, and so I

knocked, but he didn’t answer. I was concerned, so I

unlocked his door to check on him. Rajiv was hanging

from the light fixture, which certainly wasn’t built

to withstand that sort of weight. I called the

ambulance, and they were able to bring him around.”

“Did he say why he did such a thing?”

“When I visited the hospital, he apologized profusely

for frightening me and for abusing the light

fixture,” Pizer informed Mulder. “He said he realized

that he’d made a dreadful mistake, that his plan

wouldn’t have worked. Oh, he said…Yes, he said he’d

realized he was too good for it to work, which seemed

a little odd and uncharacteristically boastful. He

promised me he would never try it again, that suicide

was useless and he should get on with life. That was

about four months ago, and he was fine until, of

course, he died this morning. Oh, my; you don’t think

he killed himself?”

“It’s too early to determine,” Scully replied, “but

it would initially appear that he didn’t.”

Mrs. Pizer shook her silver-blue head. “Poor young

man. He was so unlucky.” She leaned toward Mulder,

and her voice took on a confidential tone. “I don’t

want to speak ill of the dead or judge another

person’s faith, but I always felt the boy worshipping

Babar the Elephant would lead to no good.”

J. Edgar Hoover Building

Three days later

“All right, let’s indulge your precariously teetering

imagination,” Scully finally piped up. She had

resisted the temptation to rise to Mulder’s thesis on

the trip back from the Quantico pathology lab, during

lunch, and throughout most of the afternoon at the

office.

Mulder turned, a triumphant grin on his face. “Why,

Scully, what if Skinner should walk in?”

His partner closed her eyes for a second. “Let us

examine this so-called ‘case’ logically. Means,

motive, and opportunity – the keystones of any

homicide. I don’t see any of the three here. Take

opportunity: For this to be a murder, the killer

would have to have known Rajiv Rhawalpindi was prone

to anaphylactic allergies and ensure he would be

stung by a bee in his apartment.”

“Absolutely. That’s essential. It’s key to this

murder.”

“And what,” Scully asked patiently, “was this

omniscient killer’s motive.”

Mulder pushed his chair back, rose, and came around

the desk. He crooked a finger under Scully’s chin and

kissed her lightly.

“Why, love, mon cheri,” he murmured Gallicly. “You

want a Diet Pepsi?”

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Two days earlier

“He didn’t get real weird until the shitzu attacked

him,” Byrin Gittes told the agent, fingering his

eyebrow ring and eyeing his Mac like a lover he’d

been forced to abandon mid-coitus.

“I thought it was a poodle,” Mulder said.

The chief programmer of 3.0 Development shrugged.

“Whatever. It like messed up Raj’s mojo or something.

He started gettin’ all religious and all. And worse,

man. I showed up at his place with a pizza one night,

and he was readin’ a biography of some old actress

broad. The one was in that chick flick. Actually,

maybe she was in a bunch of chick flicks. That was

when I knew Raj was seriously whacked. Then he

brought in the snake.”

Mulder straightened in his chair. “Snake?”

“Yeah. He almost got his ass fired over that. Raj

like insisted the thing had somehow gotten in through

the air vent, but I think he was into, you know, that

snake handling shit.”

“Snake handling’s generally a fundamentalist

Christian practice, and I understand Mr. Rhawalpindi

was a devoted Hindu.”

“Well, snake charming, then. Though I never saw any,

you know, flute or nothing.”

“What kind of snake was it?”

“What do I look like, man? An ornithologist or

something? One of the code writers freaked and beat

the shit out of it. Raj almost freaked on him, which

I why I think he brought it in, you know…”

“To charm,” Scully supplied.

“Did you know Rajiv’s fiancé, Sana?”

“Jesus,” Gittes breathed. “You mean Indira Ghastly?

Sana was a world-class bitch, dude. She had Raj’s

cojones in a firm grip at all times, and she looked

at us like we were a bunch of lowlifes or something.

Especially the babes. Sorry, ma’am – the chicks. She

had like a permanent she-hard-on for any chick even

smiled at Raj. Don’t mean to diss the dead or

nothin’.”

“Certainly,” Mulder said.

**

“Terms of Endearment?” Mulder squeaked as he sorted

through the personal effects the FBI Homeland

Security Squad had removed from the Rhawalpindi

apartment. He displayed another DVD. “Steel

Magnolias? My God, The Cemetery Club? Scully,

certainly you see the pattern here. It doesn’t take a

behavioral scientist.”

Scully repacked a stack of T-shirts emblazoned with

catchy cyberphrases. “Pattern?”

“Scully, our victim, Mr. Rhawalpindi, was a serious,

serial pussy.”

“Ah, the professionalism,” Scully sang, moving on to

Rhawalpindi’s books.

“Seriously, though, here’s this software guy who

creates cyber-warriors and loves baseball and the

NFL. How does this square?”

“Not everyone’s an aficionado of the works of Jackie

Chan and the Three Stooges, Mulder,” Scully offered

drily. She hefted a thin volume. “Looks like Mr.

Rhawalpindi was exploring his feminist side

literarily, as well.”

Mulder stepped around the boxes, and read the

binding. “The Search for Bridey Murphy. That’s not

beach reading, Scully. It’s the true story of a

woman’s paranormal experiences.”

“A man after your own heart. Mulder, we’re wasting

our time here. This poor man was no terrorist – just

lonely and unlucky.”

“Very lonely,” Mulder murmured, glancing at Shirley

MacLaine’s smiling face on the DVD cover.

J. Edgar Hoover Building

Two days later

“Love?” Scully challenged as Mulder set her soda on

the desk. “Rajiv Rhawalpindi was murdered because of

love.”

Mulder ripped the end from his Butterfinger wrapper.

“Money, love, and in-laws. Your big three. Yes, I

think love was at the root of Rhawalpindi’s death.

Dark, obsessive love, but love nonetheless.”

“And who might have loved Mr. Rhawalpindi enough to –

– what was it now — have him stung to death?”

“Don’t forget the car accident, the shitzu attack—”

“I thought it was a Pomeranian…”

“— and the snake attack.”

Scully popped her Pepsi and leaned back. “I’ve

thought about that. I don’t suppose you saw an item,

about a week ago, about a Chicago police dog

suspended for biting an African-American child only a

few minutes after allowing a white boy to pet it?”

“Racist dogs, Scully?” Mulder laughed. “Of course,

I’ve read about the phenomenon. Some say it has to do

with canine visual perception, others a lack of

canine cross-cultural exposure. Personally, I believe

sometimes shitzu just happens. That’s your theory?

That Rajiv Rhawalpindi was the successive victim of a

racist deer, a supremacist lap dog, a religiously

intolerant serpent, and a xenophobic bee?”

“Any theory I might propound,” Scully said evenly,

“would be irrelevant, because there is no murder. I

suppose next, you’re going to try to tell me

Rhawalpindi committed suicide via anaphylaxis.”

“No,” Mulder stated seriously. “He’d given up on that

idea. And that was probably about the last straw for

the killer.”

Scully’s brow arched. “The mysterious lover who

planted a deadly bee in Rhawalpindi’s apartment.”

“You’re close.”

Pittsburgh, Pa.

One day earlier

“Like something on the goddamn Fox network,” Sgt. Oz

Detterich told Mulder, swabbing a French fry. “‘When

Freakin’ Bambi Goes Bad.’ Yeah, I remember it, OK –

ain’t every night we get a deer go berserk in the

downtown area.”

Mulder unwrapped his Whopper With Cheese. “How do you

think it got that far into the city?”

The cop, mouth full of potato, shook his head. “We

always kinda figured maybe somebody brought her in as

a prank, or maybe some hunter hit her out in Bucks

County, threw her over the hood for a trophy or for

some venison sausage, and she just wasn’t quite dead

enough. Yeah, I know. But it makes about as much

sense as anything else did. Maybe the thing was sick

or something.”

“Did you do a post-mortem?”

The cop grinned. “Nah. We had a pretty good idea what

killed her.”

Mulder smiled back, sheepishly. “Sorry. Did you have

any witnesses to the accident?”

“Three or four late-night partiers who saw the doe

before it ran in front of the motorist’s car. They

said it was just standing there, still as a statue.

Couple cars came past before Mr. Rhawalpindi, and

they said the thing didn’t move. Only ran out into

the street when Rhawalpindi drove through. Almost

like she was waiting for him. Like bad karma.”

“You have no idea,” Mulder murmured.

**

“You should pardon me for saying,” Singh Rhawalpindi

told Mulder, “but Sana was perhaps the finest

argument I ever saw for the old pre-arranged

marriages of my father’s and grandfather’s times. She

was a grasping, venal, and rabidly jealous woman.”

“Rabidly jealous?” Mulder echoed, regarding the

graying orthodontist.

Rhawalpindi brushed a piece of lint from his smock.

“Agent Mulder, one of my nephews was married a few

weeks prior to Sana’s unfortunate death, and Rajiv

brought her along. Well, at the party afterward, Sana

mistook a cousinly embrace for an overture toward

Rajiv, and nearly wrestled the poor woman into the

buffet table. You should have seen the look of

murderous rage in Sana’s eyes. She was

pathologically, violently possessive. She told my son

that he was hers’ forever.”

Mulder nodded thoughtfully as his cell phone sounded.

He flipped it open. “Mulder.”

“Yeah, Agent Mulder?” a brisk voice grunted. One of

the zealous domestic security guys with whom Mulder

and Scully had been liaising. “Ran down that reading

list you wanted.”

Working on a slowly emerging hypothesis, Mulder had

used what he’d felt to be one of the more odious and

invasive provisions of the Patriot Act to his

advantage. He’d asked one of the junior Efrem

Zimbalists to dig up Rhawalpindi’s public library

record for the past three months. Mulder scrambled

for his notebook and pen. “Yeah, shoot.”

“We got nada,” the agent reported. “Nothing. Just a

bunch of religious stuff – Hindu, Muslim, some stuff

about Indians. Not Rhawalpindi’s kind, the woo-woo-

woo kind.”

“Native Americans, you mean?” Mulder suggested,

suppressing his irony.

“Yeah,” the agent grunted, missing Mulder’s

suppression. “Oh, and a couple books by some guy

named Casey.”

Jackpot, Mulder thought. “Would that be C-A-Y-C-E?”

“Roger that,” the agent affirmed.

Mulder smiled at the father of the deceased “person

of interest,” who frowned curiously. “Anything by

George Orwell on that list?” he added mischievously.

“Orwell?…Nah.”

“Peace out, then.”

J. Edgar Hoover Building

One day later

“Edgar Cayce,” Scully perked, draining her diet soda.

“The psychic.”

“And expert in reincarnation,” Mulder added.

Scully fell silent. “Mulder, I’m a little surprised

you’d leap to such a cultural stereotype. Just

because Rhawalpindi was a Hindu–”

“As a Hindu, Rhawalpindi likely was more aware of the

phenomenon of reincarnation than most Christians,

Jews, or Zoroastrians would be. And actually, Scully,

Hinduism doesn’t have any exclusive claim to the

perpetuation and migration of the soul. The Muslim

Q’uran states, ‘Every living being shall taste death,

then unto us you will be returned.’ Many American

Indian tribes maintain animals and even non-living

objects possess souls. I think that’s why Rajiv

Rhawalpindi developed his interest in chick flicks. I

think it was an offshoot of his fascination for

Shirley MacLaine and her fascination with

reincarnation and past lives.”

“Shirley,” Scully mouthed, “MacLaine.”

“What if the karma we create in this life

shapes our destiny, Scully? What if the evil we do

demotes us to a lower niche on the food chain in the

next life? Or the good we do elevates us? I think

these are the questions Rajiv Rhawalpindi began

asking himself when the pattern began to emerge.”

“And what pattern was that, Mulder?”

“Deer, dog, snake, bee. What would that

succession suggest to you?”

“Steps on the evolutionary ladder? Except is a

deer higher up the ladder than a dog, or just

larger?”

“Don’t quibble. I think Rajiv began to suspect

that his bizarre series of animal attacks was no

accident, and he started to consider the possibility

that these animals were consciously attempting to

kill him. But why would the animal kingdom be out to

kill a single human being.”

Scully propped her heels on Mulder’s desk.

“Obviously, you’ve never watched America’s Funniest

Home Videos.”

“Sarcastic isn’t sexy, Scully. Look at the

evidence. Who would know the route through downtown

Pittsburgh Rhawalpindi took when he visited his

parents? Who would be in a position to know he was

susceptible to anaphylactic shock? And who would have

a reason to want him dead?”

“Love,” Scully recalled.

“Love. After the accident with the deer and the

shi–, ah, dog and snake attacks, I think Rhawalpindi

began to wonder why Death was knocking at his

apartment door. Then his cultural orientation kicked

in, and he started to ponder the possibility that

Sana had been reincarnated, and that he was on her

hit list.

“Sana was a rabidly jealous woman, as Rajiv’s

old man noted. She told Rajiv he belonged to her

forever, and she meant it. She wanted Rajiv to join

her on the next astral plane, and tried to punch his

ticket to get him aboard. The problem is, like most

obsessive, self-directed people, Sana never

understood the nature of karma. Her transgressions as

a woman earned her a zoological demotion, and her

misplaced ‘love’ for Rajiv made her sink deeper into

fanatical obsession and her attempts on her

boyfriend’s life. With each descent in karma, Sana

got bumped down a few more species.”

“Reincarnation for Dummies,” Scully sighed.

“And I suppose Rhawalpindi’s suicide attempt was some

tragically romantic bid to join Sana in the

afterlife.”

“Now, I’m getting real tingly, Scully. I think

Rhawalpindi became convinced his one true – if deeply

flawed – love was reaching out for him from beyond

death, and he decided to join her. But dangling over

his coffee table that day Mrs. Pizer discovered him,

I think he had a dual revelation. No. 1, that killing

yourself is neither as easy or fun as one might

think. No. 2, that he and Sana were ships that were

spiritually incapable of passing in the night or at

any other time. Remember what he told Mrs. Pizer

while he was recovering in the hospital? That his

plan wouldn’t work. That he was ‘too good’ to make it

work. Rajiv Rhawalpindi was a kind, polite,

considerate man. His death likely would serve merely

to elevate him to a higher station, while Sana was

doomed to progress further and further down the

evolutionary ladder. By now, she may be a blade of

grass, a virus, a telemarketer. Rajiv Rhawalpindi

ultimately realized he was simply too good for her,

and I think perhaps he suffered the fatal sting of a

woman scorned.”

Mulder leaned back in his chair, waiting for

Scully to jeer his theory or offer a witty bon mot.

Instead, the redheaded agent rose, walked to the

door, and fished into her handbag. She returned and

slid a large pink envelope across his desk. Mulder

stared down at the valentine, then looked up

guiltily.

Scully smirked. “Men. No, Mulder; don’t say a

word. This may surprise you – it certainly surprises

me — but I’m strangely touched by your odd and

clumsy little theory. The idea of a love that

transcends death, a desire manifested in such single-

minded obsession, it shows me a romantic dimension

that, frankly, I wouldn’t have suspected of you.” She

moved around the desk and eased onto Mulder’s lap,

wrapping her arms about her partner’s neck.

“Yeah, you say you love me,” Mulder murmured,

feeling rather warm, “But would you kill me?”

“Keep talking,” Scully whispered.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s