‘Do you think it’s hand made?’ Estella asked as she unpacked the small green figure of the Buddha from her suitcase. She’d bought it from a stall on the floating market in Bangkok.
‘I wouldn’t have thought so,’ he said. ‘It’s probably just a resin casting. Look, the details are all blurry and there’s a seam on the top of its head.’ The base came off in his hand. ‘I’ll have to stick it back together,’ he showed her the two pieces. ‘Crap quality.’
The Buddha looked back mutely, fat and laughing. All blurry, crap quality.
‘It’s green, it could be made of jade,’ she said hopefully.
Martin went to his study and came back with a small screwdriver. He heated the tip with his cigarette lighter and applied it to the underside of the base. He sniffed.
‘You can smell the plastic.’ He offered it to her.
‘Yes, the base is plastic, but what about the figure?’
He turned the Buddha upside down and melted another small indentation.
He held it to his nose. ‘It smells the same,’ he said.
The Buddha remained frozen in his moment of hilarity. Smells of plastic, upside down.
Martin mixed up some epoxy resin and glued the pieces together.
‘We should never have paid two hundred Bhat for this,’ he said, as he put the Buddha on the shelf in the lounge, along with the various fossils, pine cones and odd pieces of geology that had come home with them from other holidays. ‘It’s just tourist rubbish.’
The Buddha stared through crinkled eyes. Tourist rubbish.
Next morning, as he walked past the shelf holding his first cup of coffee Martin called to his wife, ‘That Buddha statue, was it standing or sitting?’
‘I don’t really remember, standing I think,’ she called around her tooth brush.
He peered at it closely. The laughing Buddha was definitely sitting. He could have sworn it was standing before. Oh well. He left for work.
That evening, the statue was standing again. He must have got it wrong; it must have been standing that morning. His memory was playing tricks on him. He went to bed and tried to put it from his mind.
The next morning, still wearing his sleeping shorts, he brought a magnifying glass with him into the lounge. He would nail this once and for all. As he approached the statue he noticed something different about it. It was sitting again but this time, one of the arms was raised. He held up the magnifying glass. He’d been wrong about the Buddha’s expression. He wasn’t laughing at all, his face held an angry grimace. Martin looked closely at the raised hand. The tiny green Buddha was giving him the tiny green finger.
This story originally appeared in Space Squid.