Kaavya Viswanathan Hears The Drums Echoing Tonight

85 Broads, a "global community" of chicks with MBAs and those who dream of so being, included the following information in its recent monthly newsletter (or, as they have it, "Broadcast"):

85 Broads interns Alexa Von Tobel, Kaayva Viswanathan, Danielle Synder, and Monique Yashaya from Harvard, Vanderbilt, and Princeton are flying to Nairobi and Lwala, Kenya to shoot a documentary aimed at raising awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa.

Can it be? Is notorious plagiarist Kaavya Viswanathan really heading to Africa? How might that continent inspire her creative talents? After the jump, we've got an exclusive: a new Kaavya short story.

How Opal Mehta Got Gangrene, Got Dead, And Lost Her Life

THE MARVELLOUS THING IS THAT IT'S painless," she said. "That's how you know when it starts."

"Is it really?"

"Absolutely. I'm awfully sorry about the odor though. That must bother you."

"Don't! Please don't."

"Look at them," she said. "Now is it sight or is it scent that brings them like that?"

The cot the woman lay on was in the wide shade of a mimosa tree and as she looked out past the shade onto the glare of the plain there were three of the big birds squatted obscenely, while in the sky a dozen more sailed, making quick-moving shadows as they passed.

"They've been there since the day the truck broke down," she said. "Today's the first time any have lit on the ground. I watched the way they sailed very carefully at first in case I ever wanted to use them in a story. That's funny now."

"I wish you wouldn't," he said.

"I'm only talking," she said. "It's much easier if I talk. But I don't want to bother you."

"You know it doesn't bother me," he said. "It's that I've gotten so very nervous not being able to do anything. I think we might make it as easy as we can until the plane comes."

"Or until the plane doesn't come."

"I'm only talking," he said. "It's much easier if I talk. But I don't want to bother you."

"Please tell me what I can do. There must be something I can do."

"You can take the leg off and that might stop it, though I doubt it. Or you can shoot me. You're a good shot now. I taught you to shoot, didn't I?"

"Please don't talk that way. Couldn't I read to you?"

"Read what?"

"Anything in the book that we haven't read."

"I can't listen to it," she said." Talking is the easiest. We quarrel and that makes the time pass."

"What about a drink?"

"It's supposed to be bad for you. It said in Black's to avoid all alcohol.You shouldn't drink."

"Molo!" she shouted.

"Yes Bwana."

"Bring whiskey-soda."

"Yes Bwana."

"You shouldn't," he said. "That's what I mean by giving up. It says it's bad for you. I know it's bad for you."

"No," she said. "It's good for me."

So now it was all over, she thought. So now she would never have a chance to finish it. So this was the way it ended, in a bickering over a drink. Since the gangrene started in her right leg he had no pain and with the pain the horror had gone and all she felt now was a great tiredness and anger that this was the end of it. For this, that now was coming, she had very little curiosity.

For years it had obsessed her; but now it meant nothing in itself. It was strange how easy being tired enough made it.

Now she would never copy the things that he had saved to copy until she knew enough to copy them well. Well, she would not have to fail at trying to copy them either. Maybe you could never copy them, and that was why you put them off and delayed the starting. Well she would never know, now.

Then he called out to her.

There was no answer and he could not hear her breathing.

Outside the tent the hyena made the same strange noise that had awakened him. But he did not hear him for the beating of his heart.


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