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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

LONG STORY: East, West, Home is the Best: Chapter 3 - Al-Hamra Hotel

East, West, Home is the Best
By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy 

Chapter 2: Al-Hamra Hotel

Osamah pushed his seat backward, stretched his legs, and rolled the window down a crack. The desert cold air hit his face. His body shivered. “Why do I feel so nostalgic? Those days are gone, and I have to concentrate on how to find a job” Osamah whispered to himself. The silence that shrouded the whole desert was broken by an airplane leaving Dammam airport on her way to, maybe Cairo. Osamah wished he was on the airplane. “East, West, home is the best” Osamah said to himself.

Osamah worked in the kingdom for almost a decade. His German friend Kelp warned him one day to beware of the Saudi syndrome. He asked him, “what is the Saudi Syndrome?” Kelp explained, “Getting busy making money while years are years slipping through your fingers without feeling how fast they lapse”

A shooting star flew in the northern celestial horizon. The intensity of the Star’s burning tale bathed the desert in bright light. A camel that was asleep stood up frightened and franticly ran away; its hump was swinging in rhythm with his big strides. “Five-padded monster, run for your life!” Osamah shouted while laughing. As though it heard Osamah, the camel faithfully kept running until it disappeared in the seemingly vast desert. Osamah then pushed the back of his seat backward and closed his eyes; his hands folded on his chest and his mind roaming around.

In his mind, the kingdom was a two-fold Mecca; a Mecca for millions of Muslims to perform Hajj, and a Mecca for people from the four corners of the world to work, and a country blessed with oil that enabled its people to build and posses foreign technology.

“With our money, we became able to start where others stopped?” a Saudi friend bragged in front of Osamah, one day. “Others did not stop, but they’re still progressing and they will always be ahead of you” Osamah said, and then added, “You also deeply lack the human infrastructure. Foreign hands are everywhere; engineers, physicians, teachers, workers and servants. In fact, they are the weavers of the warp and weft of your technological fabric. And as far as the social fabric is concerned, you culture is strong, but it leaves a little room for pure provisions of the religion to function” upset, his friend asked, “What do you mean?” After a short pause, Osamah said, “Your religious school of thought; the Wah’habism”

“What’s wrong with it? Osamah’s friend asked. “The Wah’habi school did the job when it was conceived, but it ought to be replaced by a more lenient school since the circumstances have changed. science and technology has brought forth cases that should be dealt with differently” Osamah explained. “Speaking like a secularist!” Osamah’s friend said. “Call me whatever you want” Osamah interjected, and then added, “But I am speaking while I am still being within the boundaries of the Qur’an and Sunnah; the boundaries of ijtihaad. When the Islamic empire expanded during the Guided caliphs’ time and afterwards during the Umayyad and the Abyssinians eras, the Muslims Ummah was faced by new cases that required fatwah. The Muslims’ Ulamah handled those cases wisely” Osamah’s friend did not say a word. Osamah then added, “Some of those Fikeh case was the case of the bag full of fart winds. If a man in a state of readiness for performing prayer went to the mosque carrying such a bag, would it break his ablution and spoil his prayers?, or if a Muslim performed his prayers while carrying a piece of hashish in his pocked, or a bottle of wine, would his prayers be nullified? The answer was no in all cases because the winds are isolated by the bag, the wine is also by the bottle, and the hashish in itself is not Najasah, therefore it will not nullify his prayers. As weird as the questions might have seemed, the Ulamah did not hesitate to answer the questions. If those Ulamah existed today, they would answer many questions arising from the technological and scientific advancement, such as artificial insemination, cloning, treating certain diseases with stem cells and…” Osamah’s friend interrupted, “But the door to Ijtihaad has been closed for ages”. Osamah then said with sarcasm, “No wonder the Muslim nations are still lagging behindt!” his friend angrily said, “We are not” Osamah said, “On the outside, may be…you don not herd your animals riding camels or horse anymore, but Toyota trucks... but on the inside, the beautifully decorated Saudi Vase still requires lots of efforts to look like its outside”

When Osamah was recruited, he was not surprised, as many stereotypical Westerners were, by the high buildings, five-star hotels, nicely paved roads and highways, universities, well-equipped hospitals, high-standard restaurants, and beautiful parks. He knew that not all the Saudis were still desert dwellers herding camels and living under tents; an image that might have been portrayed by Hollywood and the Western Media. But a few months later, to his surprise, he found that what he tried to escape while he was in Egypt; alcohol and drugs,  could be obtained in the kingdom if you knew the right connection. You had to search hard for it, not the other way around as in the West and other countries.

Osamah’s first job in the kingdom was a night manager in Al-Hamra hotel in Dammam. One day, he wanted to buy a few groceries from the shop opposite the hotel where he worked. On his way to the shop, he was intruded by a Lebanese girl in her early twenties. Tightly wrapped up in a silky abayah and her head covered with a silky scarf that intentionally failed to conceal a lock of her blond hair, the girl asked him; her wide and green eyes seductively blinking, “Do you live in Al-Hamra Hotel?” Osamah answered, “Yes, I do. I am the night manager” She then said with a tempting smile on her face, “Oh, poor man…you have been working all night. Would you like a company to help you go to sleep?” Osama said, “No, thank you” The girl then seductively emphasized, “I’m good at what I do” Osamah said, “I’m sure you are, but thanks” The girl said, bargaining, “It won’t cost you too much” Osamah said to her before crossing the street to where the shop is, “I’m tired. May be some other time” On the other side of the street, Osamah could not resist his urge to have another look at the girl. Her firmly wrapped butt was wiggling in rhythm with her footsteps. “What a round and firm posterior she has!” Osamah whispered while biting his lower lip.

The headquarter of the Swiss management running the hotel decided to send Al-Hamra Hotel’s manager to Egypt to run one of their hotel in Cairo and Hans Ruhdusele, the Food and Beverage manager was promoted to run the hotel. Hans was homosexual and his love affair with a Thai boy working in the House keeping department was known to the hotel’s employees. One day, during Osamah’s shift, Al-Sheihah, the hotel’s Saudi and Shiite owner, stopped by the Front Desk. “Osamah, I know you have connections with girls in Dammam” Al-Sheihah said, while leaning over the desk to prevent himself from falling down as he was very drunk, “I want you Osamah…I want you to..to..” Osamah interjected, “But I do not know any girls, Sir”. “OK, call madam Sheihah, then” Al-Sheihah said and dragged himself towards the elevator. Osamah phoned Al-Sheihah’s home and told Mrs. Al-Sheihah that her husband desires her presence immediately. Half an hour later, Mrs. Al-Sheihah passed by the front desk wearing a full make-up. Osamah smiled and whispered to himself, “What a dedicated wife, oh, no…what a dedicated reserve!”

In his country, Osamah used to listen to a specific program called The Arabian Peninsula aired on The Voice of the Arabs radio station in Egypt. The program started with someone saying in an enthusiastic hollow and dignified voice: “The Peninsula of the Arabs; a land that God has blessed and a nation that gave birth to prophets.”

“The oil is a bless, alright” Osamah soliloquized “but the yield is not publicly distributed, not fairly divided among the people, but proportionally divided amongst the few; the royal family and their enormous number of princes, everybody according to his nearness in blood relation to the monarchy”

Osamah rolled down the window a crack. A cool draft hit face, but he scenically whispered to himself, “Before holding the reins of the kingdom, the current king of Arabia, king Fahad, was a flamboyant squandering millions of dollars on the green tables in the USA. In fair argument, one can say the people’s money. But what make things worse, after he has become the king; he gave himself the title of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Give the rat the key to the pantry room! The man reeked with illiteracy and corruption” - A big statue, the kingdom was in Osamah’s mind, but by the end of his stay in the kingdom, the statue, has fallen to the ground and shattered in the muck.

A desert animal came out of the shadow of one of the sand dunes. Osamah recognized it immediately. The perking round ears, the short hinds, the thick and very short nick, and the spotted hide, all pointed to one animal; a hyena. Osamah rolled his window up and made sure that all windows and doors were locked. After the animal has disappeared in the shadow of another dune, Osamah then inhaled and exhaled slowly, and went back to his thoughts.

The next day, When Osamah woke up pinched by the Sun heat; he opened the car door and stepped out. Bathed in the sunshine, the rays penetrated his flesh. He looked at the Sun, but he had to look down quickly as the Sun rays blinded him. And before he recovered his vision, he heard a voice coming from within. Cascading from his inner most being, the voice asked him to cheer up and learn that suffering is a part of life. “The hell not. People can live in a paradise on earth, if they help each other out, stop being greedy, and fairly distribute the bakery-basket, whether on the global or the national level” ” Osamah yelled.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

LONG STORY: East, West, Home is the Best: Chapter 2 - Memories in Dammam Desert

East, West, Home is the Best
By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy 

Chapter 2: Memories in Dammam Desert

Days passed by, and Osamah’s idleness consumed all the food he stored in the refrigerator. So he thought of leaving Riyadh to look for a job in Dammam where he worked before for two years as a night manager in a Swiss-managed hotel.

On Riyadh-Dammam highway, a speedy trailer roared by as though it were a per-historic monster. Osamah’s car, parked on the side of the road, shook violently. Bothered by his gnawing hunger, Osamah opened his lunch basked and gripped his last sandwich, a bottle of malt-beer and sat on the front finder chewing slowly on his sandwich and sipping his beer.

The darkness encompassing the celestial dome was lit by the stars; luminaries with different arrays of light. The full moon poured her light beams in abundance and the smoothly curved sand dunes majestically threw silent shadows at their feets thus deepening the dignified silence of the desert’s night. Looking at the moon, Osamah tried to figure out the dark grayish shapes on her face. He smiled as he remembered his grandmother’s fantastic stories about those shapes. Though he knew after he has grown up the scientific interpretation of the lunar shapes, he still preferred his grandmother’s fantastic account to science’s. When he was young, fantasy and mythology from East and West captivated him and he always succeeded in deriving the correct moral of the story; he learned about friendship from Gilgamesh, loyalty from Isis, wisdom from Aesop’s and Kalila Wa Dimna fables, he traveled with Sinbad on his fantastic journeys and conversed with Jennies that were imprisoned in bottles sealed with talismans designed by king Solomon.

A camel crossing the road frightened Osamah and his food fell on the ground. He jumped into the womb of his car, seeking for protection and warmth.“God, it is getting so cold!” Osamah whispered, “Desert can be as hot as hell during the day, and as cold at night as hell is hot”

The warmth inside Osamah's car relaxed him. He rested his head on the steering wheel, and then switched on the car radio. A country song transmitted by ARAMCO FM station sent him back to his childhood.Engulfed in a thick mist of fatigue, Osamah’s eyelids felt heavy so he closed them. Remembrance started to avalanche before his mental eyes. 

Osamah remembered his small village on the Nile river, what seasons, fields and flowers smelled like, what people looked like and how they walked, what tunes the shepherds played on their reed pipes and the ballads they sang - I sowed an IF in the valley of It-Has-Been and there grew I-Wish-It-Were - he remembered the fights between his Egyptian dog and his rooster, the time he spent watching his pet silkworms spinning their cocoons; silky tombs from which a new form of life fluttered out. He remembered the times he had to wake up early everyday to collect fresh mulberry leaves for feeding his worms before going to school; he tried lettuce leaves before, but some worms bloated and died oozing green slime. He remembered Al-Kuttab; an Egyptian kind of a kindergarten, where he learned at age four how to read and write. He remembered the times he came home with his shirt sleeves stained with black or blue color depending on the color of the ink he used. - Osamah, my dear son, I gave you a little rag to use for wiping your slate clean. Why don’t you use it? Honey, it is hard to wash off these ink stains?” - he remembered his mother saying to him. “Mum, I am sorry, I forgot” he would answer; his face frowning. “Ok, dear. what did you learn today?” his mother would ask him. “Surat Al-Ikhlaas” he would answer his mother. “And how did you wipe off you slate after you have finished writing?” his mother would ask. Osamah’s face then would blushed, and then he would utter not a single word. He remembered how many times his mother asked him not to spit on the words of God and use the water bottle instead.“You did it again! If your father knew about this, he would be upset, let alone sayyedna; the teacher who taught him how to read and write, he would punish you” she would say, pinching his earlobe gently. “Mum, don’t tell dad or sayyedna, I won’t do it again” Osamah would then plead, eyes brimming with tears. His mother then would hugged him tightly and softly ensuring him that she won’t if he promised her not to do it again.

Osamah’s mother never told Osamah's father because she knew that he instructed sayyedna not to punish his son if he caught him spitting on the slate. Osamah smiled be cause he knew that the Old man caught his father doing the same thing many times when he was Osamah’s age.

Osamah was born in a small village in Egypt. His father taught at high-school but his mother was a home-maker. Most of the walls of Osamah’s house were all shelved and covered with books; a treasure of a big variety on different topic that shaped Osamah in his young age. Osamah remembered what a bookworm he was. Nevertheless, he never deprived himself from playing hide and seek with his friends from time to time, or sitting on the ground in a circle telling stories to each other. They always admired his tales and always asked for more.

Osamah’s father has died after Osamah finished his high school. The family standard of living suffered as the pension of Osamah’s father was not enough and his elder brother was already married; with children and he could not help. So Osamah decided to shoulder the responsibility. He joined a University in Cairo, but worked at the same time. He made enough money to support himself and his family. After his graduation and his discharge from the army upon completion of the compulsory service, he worked in the tourism and hospitality field. Money was always his concern and now he made lots of it through hard work. He supported his family until his brothers graduated from the university and his sister married his close high-school friend. But one day, Osamah came home late and drunk. His mother was so upset.“Osamah, dear, When did you start drinking?” his mother asked him, but in a twisted tongue, Osamah answered his mother, “Ma, I am sorry! Everybody in this bloody field drinks. That is how they expand on their connections. Connections are very important, mother" Osamah’s mother said, her voice muffled and her eyes brimming with tears, “Osamah, your brothers have already graduated and your sister is now married. I am an old woman now. I can live on as little as we can afford. I just do not want to to stop drinking, my son” Osamah promised her saying,“Ok, Ma…I promise you I’ll do something about it. Just stop being upset” ” Osamah’s mother said hugging him, “I am just worried about you. Drinking is bad and not a habit in this family” .

A few months later, Osamah read in the news paper that a Swiss-managed hotel in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, was in need for a night manager. He applied and got the job. He thought he had a chance to go to a country where alcohol is forbidden, and connections would not be his concern anymore, unaware of what destiny was having for him up to its sleeve.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

LONG STORY: East, West, Home is the Best: Chaper 1 - Saudi Reukert Company

East, West, Home is the Best
By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy

Chapter 1: Saudi Reuckert Company

Depressed, Osamah saw the Riyadh-Dammam highway smooth like the skin of a poisonous snake and dark blue like the chilling deep waters of open seas. The sand dunes also looked like haunted vaults and the endless desert a dreadful vastness of loneliness. A feeling of fear went through all his body. He lifted his eyes up to the horizon. Darkness was fighting the lingering rays of the rolling Sun, but after a short time the Sun died away, leaving behind orange and red stains on the battlefield. “Oh, can’t you just stay a bit longer?” Osamah whispered to himself.

On both sides of the road, the ghost-like humps of the five-padded desert’s ship swung in the moon light as the hunched camels moved searching for grass. The sparse thorny plants along with a decaying carcass of a camel at a distance added an awful touch to the scene. Pangs of vomit struck Osamah. He covered his nose and averted himself away from the scene and spat on the ground. “What an awful smell!” He said. But on the other side of the road, his eyes caught a sight of a remote illuminated spot revealing the existence of a job-site where expatriates from the four corners of the world sweat and tolerate being away from home for months on ends. Osamah whispered to himself, “Heroes in a foreign land" and unconsciously, his hand plunged into his pocked and gripped his release-letter that was furnished to him a few months ago by Saudi Reuckert; a construction company, where he worked for a year as a translator rendering all kinds of documents and contracts to English from Arabic and visa versa and discharging secretarial works whenever the general manager’s secretary went on vacation.

The company was a joint venture owned by a German partner and a handful of princes; fungi growing in the darkness of damped areas of fortune. After a year of turtle-like progress building bunkers for the Saudi army, the German manager, Gunter Fredriech, having a multi exit-and-entry visa on his passport, ran away with ten million dollars bringing the company to a halt. Awaiting the company to be liquidated, the employees were given release-letters to find jobs somewhere else. Some of the employees authorized friends to collect their arrears on their behalf and headed home. Others preferred to stay and look for a job somewhere else. So did Osamah. He stayed with Kelp, the company’s purchase manager, in a villa whose lease had not yet expired. He has been looking for a job since then, but until now he failed to find one and had to borrow money to survive.

Kelp was a nice German in his early sixties. One day, he told Osamah that he worked in the kingdom for over thirty years and he had never been in a situation like this one.

“Hey, Kelp, do you know what your name means in Arabic?”  teasing kelp, one day, Osamah asked him. “Dog, isn’t it?” Kelp said with a smile on his face. "My apology I did not mean to offend you"Kelp said, laughing, “No offence taken. I do love dogs and I believe similes of animals in the Arabic literature have been used for appraisal” Osamah said, confirming, “That is true. I remember a Bedouin once appraised his chieftain by saying that he was as faithful as a dog and as brave as a he-goat at fights. You know, he-goats are fierce fighters” Kelp nodded in agreement. Osamah then asked him again, “Did you ever expect that your brother, Gunter Fredriech, would run away with all the money?” Osamah said, laughing. “Had he been my brother, I would have punched him in the face for hurting hundreds of employees and killing their hopes” Kelp said and then covered his face with both hands and said in a muffled voice, “I knew it was coming six month before it happened. What a sneaky bastard! He played it very well and fooled all those stupid princes” Osamah said, “That he did. Kissing up their royal asses, bringing in his own German horse to race against their pure Arabians” Kelp explained, “It was all a façade and he played it well. The horse was a part of his dirty scheme. Do you think his lousy German horse would have ever beaten any of those pure-breeds? It was a game, and he played it well” Osamah then asked him, “One more thing, my friend. What do you think... are we going to be fully or even partially paid off sometime in the near future? In fact, I am running out of money” Kelp answered, “Fully, I doubt it, but partially, may be, but of course after the share-holders, the stinky princes, have collected as much money as they could for themselves”Osamah said, emphasizing the obvious conclusion, “And then, we will be the collectors of the crumbs that fell from the tables”  Kelp said emphatically, “Exactly, my dear Arab”  but Osamah asked him, “Why, on earth, are you calling me that?” Kelp said, “You are an Arab, aren’t you? You do speak the language. Don't you?” Osamah argued, “Mexicans speak Spanish, but they are not Spanish” Kelp interrupted, “Who are you, then, a Jew?”Osamah said, “Have I been a Jew, I won’t be here. Jews are not allowed to set foot on the holy sands of the land” Kelp asked looking Osamah in the eye,  “Who are you, then?” Osamah said, “By birth, I am Egyptian whose mother tongue happens to be Arabic. But, in fact, I do not know who the hell I am” Kelp asked; his voice curious. “What do you mean?” Osamah answered, “Since the dawn of humanity, my German friend, many foreign nations invaded Egypt; the Hyxos, the Greek, the Roman, the Persian, the Arabs, the French, the British. Take your pick!”  and then added, “May be my forefathers were foreign. May be I am really an Arab or a Jew. Who knows?”

Confusion intertwined with curiosity was depicted on Kelp’s face. He became silent for a short while then said, apologizing, “Oh, I am sorry. I hope I did not hurt your feelings” Osamah said, “You didn’t. Whatever I am, I am proud of myself. A good man is not he who says his father is, but he who says I am. Kelp, It is I who matters” Kelp said, “That absolutely right” Kelp said. Osamah then said in German, stressing each syllable, “Bist du du hast reines Arisches Blut zu laufen in deinen Adern sicher?” surprised, Kelp said, “Ich kann nicht sagen. I did not know you speak German!” Osamah said, “I do, but anyways. If one carries Arian blood, what is the so specialt?” Osamah asked. “Kein überhaupt mein Freund!” Kelp said. “Das ist recht” said Osamah and then silence fell on both of them for a while, but Kelp broke it, saying, “Gut, gegessen wir flafil für die letzten zwei Tage. It is about time to eat something different” Osamah said, “I agree” Osamah said. “Today, I am cooking. What would you like to have for supper?” Kelp asked. “Anything that is completely different” Osamah said. “Like what?” Kelp asked. “ummm, How about schnitzel” scratching his head, Osamah suggested. Kelp laughed and emphatically said, “Aha! Schnitzel, it will be”

Friday, September 18, 2015

long story: Chit chat on the Oriental Express Café: Chapter 2: Religions

Chit chat on the Oriental Express Café
By: Aadel M Al-Mhady

Chapter 2: Religions

Interrupting them, Memmis, the assistant manager, came in the conference room wearing a broad smile on his face and a big apron with an oversized pocked in the. He held a pen and a pad in his hand. Quickly, he scanned the group with his eyes. He knew who always wanted what. “Yes, gentlemen, is it the usual or am I going to take different orders?” he asked the group. “The usual and don’t forget my pack of smokes!” said Ben Ya-Quob in pure Egyptian accent ─ Dawoud Ben Ya-Quob is an American Jew whose family left Egypt for New York in the USA long time ago. Although he lived in Israel for a few years, he always yearned for visiting Egypt, his birthplace; a matter that became possible after a peace treaty has been signed between Egypt and Israel. As much as Ben Ya-Quob supports the Zionist state of Israel and her right to exist, he condemns the Israeli governments for all the crimes they are committing against the Palestinians.

Memmis popped his head out of the door and announced the order, “One local beer for Mr. Bale and make sure it is very cold, hot fenugreek, whole, not ground for Mr. Al-Ghazali, hot cocoa with milk and marshmallow for Mr. Osamah, and make sure the tea for Mr. Al-Dhamanhouri is strong and medium sweet, and as usual Mr. Al-Bahrawi would like his cold liquorice from the fresh batch, and make sure the froth of the Turkish coffee of Mr. Ben Ya-Quob, Mr. Khorshed and Mr. Al-Husseiny is still intact and sweetness minimal, and one caraway for Mr. Bahloul, and one Anis for Mr. Salibah, and please don’t forget his Marlboro smokes!” Osamah said, “Memmis, I suggest, you make it a standing order…print it out and post it on the wall beside Dhabbourah, and whenever we want the same, we will say the “usual. So will you to Dhabbourah” Memmis said, “Good!” and then looked at Ben Ya-Quob and asked, “Is that all for now?” Ben Ya-Quob replied, “Ah, on your way out, don’t forget to hang the do-not-disturb sign on the door!”

“You have not lost the Egyptian slang or the accent, Dawoud, though you have been away for a long time. You still have the lisp. Remember when we were kids? I used to tease you?” Al-Bahrawi said as soon as Memmis swung his body out closing the door behind him. “Oh, yes, how can I forget? What sweet days! You know, I looked for that dead-ended street where I used to live but when I found it, it did not look the same” said Ben Ya-Quob. “Except one thing” Al-Bahrawi said.  Ben Ya-Quob became so curious. Al-Bahrawi then said, “The name...though the government gave it a different one, people still remembered the place by its old name” Ben Ya-Quob said, “Haretel-Yahoud” Al-Bahrawi confirmed, “Yes”.

Sitting back in his chair and waiting patiently until everybody settled down, Ahmad Al-Ghazali ─  an eloquent postgraduate student studying law at Ein-Shams University ─  pushed his crooked hat down to make it sit well on his head and resumed his conversation that was interrupted by Memmis, “I am not a philosopher or a theologist. I am no an atheist, either. I do believe in God whom I think of as the father of all things. Nevertheless I am an evolutionist. I am a free thinker whose mind is open to receive, discern and then absorb. My four criteria for weighing things are my instinct, my experience, logic and science” ─  “What is your say on religions, then?” asked Al-Dhamanhouri ─ Hussam Al-Dhamanhouri is a student at Al-Azhar, studying Hebrew   ─  “Manuals written for young humanity to seek guidance therein and to maintain its physical self and spiritual self” Al-Ghazali said. “Who are the manuals authors?” Al-Bahrawi, who finally decided to lower his bucket into the well of discussion and scoop some of its water, then asked. “Whoever created the universe and all that is therein” Al-Ghazali said, “You may call it the Universe, the Force, Allah, Yahweh, Amon, Ra. These are all different Name-Masks” Al-Bahrawi asked, “If that’s true, why then under the banner of religion we see all sorts of atrocities are committed?” ─ Ahmad Al-Bahrawi is a student in the American University, studying business administration ─ “A good question and mostly answered incorrectly” Al-Ghazali said. “What do you mean?” Al-Bahrawi asked. “To answer correctly, one should not only talk of the religion” Al-Ghazali said, “but also of the follower of the religion, the time, the culture, the geographical location where the religion was proclaimed and of any other factors one may deem important to take into consideration” Al-Ghazali added. “Can you further explain?” Al-Dhamanhouri asked. Al-Ghazali explained, moving his hands all the time in affirmative gestures, “For instance, do not judge a religion by contemporary established criteria but by universal ones or the criteria of the time during which a religion was proclaimed. The laws were provided to suite their current culture; their geographical and social issues.  We should not also judge a religion by its followers, but the followers by their religion. Napoleon was Christian but committed crimes against humanity, so did Muslim Timor leng, and neither of the two religions encourage killing” Al-Bahrawi asked, “Why did they commit these atrocities then?” Al-Ghazali answered, “For reasons other than what the religion dictates, for reasons the people who committed those crimes, through their literal interpretation of the words, believed they were true, or they had just grabbed the words by the nick and twisted them to suit their own selfish or extreme purposes, or because of a political or personal agenda”

Memmis opened the door; signs ow worries on his face, and said, "Gentlemen, is there a doctor in the house? 

Chapter not yet complete

Thursday, September 17, 2015

LONG STORY: Chit Chat on the Oriental Express Café: Chapter 1: The Oriental Express Café

Chit Chat on the Oriental Express Café
By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy

Chapter 1: The Oriental Express Café

The Oriental Internet café is a place where they meet once a week; a group of intellectual adults of different education, religions and nationalities. They gather together to discuss freely and honestly a variety of topics; everyone does according to his own personal view whether such view is moderate or extreme, with no grudge held or insult taken.

Located in Al-Azhar Street and owned and run by Dhabbourah Abu-Ali who is assisted by Memmis Al-Halawani and his little army of waiters; Zuklah, Halambas, Abu-Sinnah, Ukashah and Zeiner-Rigaal, the Café is of a considerable size, furnished with tables and chairs inside and outside on the terrace. The inside is composed of a big hall with a large Satellite TV monitor, a moderate size room on the right hand furnished with internet computers and a printer,  and a conference room in the back equipped with a medium size TV monitor, one internet computer, a small printer, tables and seats. In this room they meet once a week not interrupted by the outside world. Lavatories are located next to the conference room.

The renovated café is clean, air-conditioned and well-ventilated to combat the smoke clouds created by the Shishahs’ customers. A whole array of oriental hot and cold soft drinks is served in the cafe; tea, Turkish coffee, salep, carob, caraway, whole and ground Fenugreek, anise, kakady, cocoa, liquorices and the likes. Small dishes of sweets like meshmishiyyah, mihallabiyyah, rice pudding and custards are also served. No alcohol, except for local and imported beer, is served. A variety of dishes of nuts and delicious pickles always accompanied the beer.

Before modernization, the café was frequently raided by the police for suspicion of drug deals. In fact a stone throw behind the café lies Al-Bateniyyah quarter where Cairo active drug lords lived. Also at almost the same distance from the café stand Al-Hussein Mosque and Al-Azhar Mosque supplemented by the second oldest functioning university in the world, Al-Azhar University.

While Osamah was sitting in the terrace of the café having his hot whole-fenugreek drink and waiting for the rest of his friends to show up, the same man came in and sat quietly in a corner inside the café far from the shishahs’ smokes and the clients’ commotion. Osamah saw him once before. The man was in his early forties, neatly dressed in meticulously clean and pressed pair of trousers. Grey hair invaded the pitch black hair of his head that was covered by a white Egyptian Takiyyah. His trimmed beard was not exaggeratedly long. He was a handsome man of medium height whose facial features looked so relaxed and eyes so serene as though he was in an ecstatic state of content.

When Halambas passed by, Osamah held his sleeve, bent forward and whispered curiously in his ear, pointing stealthily to the man who aroused his curiosity, “Who is that man?”

“He is Sheikh Ali, the Dervish. Thank you for pointing him out to me” Halambus whispered back to Osamah and then turned around and loudly announced, “And prepare one hot whole-anise drink, and make sure it is extra sweet for our beloved Sheikh Ali and also be doubly sure it is on the house” Osamah asked Halambas who was about to leave, “Wait! Why do you call him the dervish? He does not look like one. Halambus said, “He is a Dervish all right and sometimes he slips into peaceful fits and mumbles mysterious words which Dhabbourah consider as blessings to the café” Osamah exclaimed, but asked Halambas, “Seized by fits, sometimes!”, “Is he sick, or mad?” Halambas answered before left, “Neither! He is just a dervish”

A man pressing on little pieces of burning charcoal on top of his tobacco roll and diligently sucking in an intermittent manner on the stem of his shishah hose looked at Osamah and smiled. Osamah smiled back, moving his hands in the air in a certain way signaling his confusion. The man then said after clearing his lungs from the retained shishah’s smokes, “He’s one of those blessed who are into religious things” Osamah asked, “Does he Hallucinate?” but the man quickly said, trying to explain himself by means of gesticulating, “No! Maybe... Religious hallucination…I mean…You know, those mysterious things” Osamah said, “Ah, you mean mystic things Feeling a relief, the man smiled and nodded before mildly having a round of short dry coughs. Osamah thanked him, and then stood up to got to the conference room to await his friends. On his way to the conference room Osamah passed by the dervish who mumbled when their eyes met, “One, One, He is One and the only One. He is alive, alive and never dies” Zeiner-Rigaal who brought a glass of water to the dervish said, “Here is the water you demanded, Sheikh Ali. Allah makes it taste in your mouth like honey” Ten minutes later Osamah’s friends started to show up one by one.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

SHORT STORY: My Study - Part II

My Study - Part I
By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy

After dinner, Hamzah helped his mother in the kitchen washing the dishes, and Khaled and I sat in the living room watching the TV. Nothing was interesting. So to kill boredom, I challenged Khaled to solve a simple mathematical addition problem.

“I’ll be in my study. When you’re finished, meet me there!” I said and just as I entered the room, Khaled came running.

“I can’t solve this mathematical problem, dad” my son Khaled said. “Why?” I asked him. “I can’t add the unlikes” he answered. “Why not? I asked him. “Because math doesn’t allow us to do that” he said. “Who is that Mr. Math who allows and not allow?” I asked. “Mathematics, dad, numbers, additions and subtractions” Khaled said. “But math is not a sentient being to allow or otherwise” I said. “I know that, dad, but this thing called math has inherent rules and because of those rules we can’t add the unlikes” Khaled said, almost running out of his patience.“Who told you that? I asked. “Ms. Caroline, my school Math Teacher” he said. “I think you misunderstood her” I said. “No, dad, I didn’t. It is the rule and it is simple. Apples are essentially different from lemons” Khaled explained. “I’m sure they’re, but still you can mathematically add apples to lemons to tomatoes to potatoes without breaching Ms. Caroline’s mathematical rule” I said. “How can that be?” Khaled wondered. “You do it everyday. So does your mother” I said. “Ok, explain it to me” Khaled said ina challenging tone of voice. “That’s what I wanted to hear from you” I said, and looking him in the eye, I asked him, “How much was the population of Canada in 2006?” he said, “Approximately 26 million” I asked, “26 million what?” I asked.  “26 million people” he said. “Good! Are they entirely of the same ethnic race?” I asked. “Of course not! They’re from different races; European, Asian, Middle Eastern. African” he said. “Good! So we can say mathematically: 5 European + 3 Asian + 2 Middle Eastern + 2 African are equal to…” and awaited him to add up. He said “12 people”. I asked, “Why can’t we then mathematically add: 3 oranges + 2 lemons + 1 pear in the same way?” He argued, “Because these are not people, dad. They are unlikes” I said, “Yes they are likes” he asked, “How, for God sake?” Isaid, “They are, if you use the correct semantics, if you free yourself from the olden rules and semantically approach math from a different angle” I said. “How much is the total then?” he asked defiantly. “Simple. They are 6 pieces of fruit” Khaled’s mouth gaped. Linguistically, there is nothing wrong with the phrase, 6 pieces of fruits. The concept started to sink in Khaled’s mind. He hit himself on the side of his head. “Doesn’t your mother do the same when she prepares her grocery list, calling all the different items on the list groceries?” I asked. “Yes she does. What was the problem with me before? Why did I not notice that?” he asked, wondering. “The old concepts are so deeply rooted in our brain as they have been received through a process of brain-washing, though we call it education, and therefore we feel threatened when a new concept or approach arises to slam us in the face” I explained. “What to do then” Khaled asked. “Not to be scared, embrace the innovation and spend time studying it. If it is worthy of acceptance, then why not accept it. In our mathematical case, semantics is the major thing. If you marry it to mathematics, you open a door to infinity and become able to solve problems that seem unsolvable. When your mind is stuck in the traditional way which is not necessarily true all the times…oh, without language, mathematics is for birds” he said, “My God, in this way, I can add up the whole universe” I said, “Oh, hold your horses…not until you become able to grasp the concept of nothingness!” Khaled then asked, “What on earth is that, Dad? You’re full of surprises. How can you grasp what is not there? I asked, “Well, son, mathematics is a science full of wonders. Can you count up to 3?” Surprised by a question that seemed dummy, Khaled controlled himself as he knew I was not a dummy or mean person and then slowly counted,  “One, two, three” ─ “Wrong!” I said; the word came out of my mouth in a way that startled him. He looked at me with the severest signs of confusion on his face, but I said, putting an end to his torture, “You should have said, “Zero, one, two, three” Khaled interjected, “I never heard anyone counting from Zero” “Traditional! If nobody counts from Zero, It doesn’t mean, though, that Zero doesn’t exist. Isn’t it a number? Khaled argued, “Yes, it is, but it is a representation of nothingness which means it is nothing, therefore I did not count it” I said, “Nice argument! Nice Euclidian mathematics. The Greek thought of the Zero in the same way long time ago. To sense perceptions of foreground objects, the Greek tied numbers to bounded finite things. They did not think in terms of empty extended space. They thought in terms of shape and location. They concentrated on the observable, the small, the unvarying. And so they were stuck” Khaled asked, “And how to avoid that?” I said, “By becoming mathematically concerned with functional relationship. Thus our math becomes dynamic, not a whole punch of statistics. Discovery of Zero by the Hindus and the introduction thereof to the West by the Arabs has led to positional numbers, simpler arithmetic calculations, negative numbers, Algebra with symbolic notation, the idea of infinitesimals, infinity, fractions, and irrational numbers” I paused for a short while and then added, “Sound familiar, Khaled?” Khaled confirmed, “Mmmm, yes it does. But why did the Greek miss on the Zero’s potential for development” I explained, “Overzealous logical rigor, that is why. The Greek elevated logic to the highest intellectual status. That led to a crucial argument by the philosopher, Parmenides ─ Being only IS and nothing is altogether NOT. Hence, because non-being was impossible, change was impossible. To the Greek this is sound logic and therefore, they rejected both change and non-being” Khaled then asked curiously, “How did the Hindus and the Buddhists think of Zero, then?” I sais, “Well, for both of them, the notion of non-being was a state that they actively sought in their attempt to achieve Nirvana or oneness with the whole cosmos. None-being was something ─ a state that could be discussed.

Hamzah intruded on us and Khaled asked him, “Hamzah, can you count up to 3?” Hamzah answered, “Are you retarded or something, of course I can” Khaled said, “Count, then!”  Hamzah quickly counted, “One, two, three” Khaled and I said in one high-pitched voice,  “Wrong! You forgot the zero. It’s a number, too” ─ “Mother, can you count up to three?” Unbelieving his own ears, Hamzah yelled talking to his mother. “What!” my wife’s voice was heard coming from the kitchen. Hamzah asked her the same question again. Standing in the door of the study room wiping her arms with a towel, my wife, said, “What’s wrong with you people? One, two, three” we all laughed and said in one voice, “Wrong, you should say zero, one two, three” my wife’s lower jaw dropped.

“Khaled, since you succeeded in grasping the nothingness, could you round up 0.098 to its nearest whole number?” I said and then added, “Hamzah, help him out if you want” Both of them gave me two different answers, 0.01 was Khaled’s answer and 0.1 Hamzah’s answer. I shook my head and said, “You are still hesitant in accepting nothingness, otherwise your answer would have been Zero. I do not blame you. Even Euclid himself would have not been able to come up with the right answer. For him being only IS and nothing is altogether NOT.

Khaled and Hamzah stood up yawning and excused themselves to go to sleep. I asked both of them, “Are you bored?” Hamzah said, No, nothing can bore me” Khaled then laughed and said, “Oh, Hamzah, you just admitted that nothingness is something” I laughed and said, “boys, go to bed!”

The End

SHORT STORY: My Study- Part I

My Study - Part I
By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy

I was born in a house all walls of which were shelved; the study had book shelves, so did the bedrooms, the living room, the dining room, the kitchen and the bathrooms. And believe it or not, the pantry, too. When I was young, my favorite magazines were the Reader’s Digest and the National Geographic and my favorite subjects mythology, scriptures of any religion, fiction of any type, history and science. In fact, my father was a professor of comparative linguistics. Ah, I’ve forgotten to add to the list linguistics, too.

Being a book-worm was my choice. My parent never pushed me towards reading. I also never neglected  having fun with my friends every now and then; ganging up for attacking my grandfather’s vine ranch to steal grapes or my uncle’s cucumber field to steal cucumber.  Are-You-Afraid-Of-The-Dark story telling was my favorite. In a nut shell, I did not bury my face all the times in books. I had fun, too.But when I became an adult, the most important room in my house was ─ you guessed it ─ my study. It was the place where I could be the real me. It the place where I let my imagination run wild, or be with whom I choose to discus freely any topic.

Aand here, my two sons, Khaled and Hamzah, kick in.

Khaled wa 19 years old boy with an analytical mind. He won’t let things go before discerning them and retaing what is  worthy. But Hamzah, who wa 18, years old boy, though less analytical, he wa more daring, willing to take the risk, despite sometimes his calculations were based on nothing but gut-feelings and mostly stubbornness, his mother said he inherited it from me. I liked Khaled’s analytical ability though sometimes it reached a point of irritating zeal, especially when discussion was bi-lateral; a brother-to-brother, thus lacking my guidance that carefully steered them ashore through reasoning. I also liked Hamzah’s spontaneous ability and determination. Both, sometimes, came to me asking for a second opinion.  I would then analyze the case and in the process of we would embark on a journey to pinpoint the the flaws in their own conclusion. When the truth revealed itself, thanks to their desire for knowledge, their eyes would shined  and they became totally filled with content and happiness so contagious that I found myself included by force.

“Then, if that is the case, dad, how can I tell the difference between Destiny and Fate?” with eyes filled with interest, Khaled asked me. Resting my hands on the arms of my comfortable chair and leaning  backward, I paused for a while and deeply looked at Khaled’s curious face and said, “Son, destiny is an unchangeable constant; a record chiseled in stone, inescapable and its authorship propriety is solely owned by the writer. Son, the earth spins on its own axle and orbits the sun in total precision. That is destiny” Khaled then asked, “Couldn’t the unchangeable be, in the meantime, changeable, or in another word, could the unchangeable and changeable, constant and variable and running and stagnant fall together on the same one object?” .I could not resist my urge for teasing his intellect, so I smiled and asked him, “Have you heard of the moving-arrow case? It is a very ancient one”Khaled answered, “No, but I am all ears” I looked him and his brother in the eye for a while and said, “Well, If an arrow’s shot from point A to point and it reached point Z and stopped, and then if we divided the distance the arrow traveled into infinitesimal portions, wouldn’t the arrow, by force, be motionless at each infinitesimal portions?”Hamzah said, “That is right” but Khaled did not utter a word, so I went on saying, “But, on the other hand, if we add up the infinitesimal portions then their total will actually represent the arrow’s movement from point A to Point Z, hence I could say the arrow moved and at the same time I could also say the arrow did not move since at every infinitesimal portion it was motionless and by force the total of motionless portion is motionless” Thinking, Khaled was in deep state of silence for a while and then said, “In a different way, an analogy of what you have just said is a movie. The movie has motion; the totality of its single frames, but it is also motionless as if we add up the motionless single frames, we will have by force a total of frames which are motionless. Thus motion and motionless can both fall, at the same time, on the same object which is the movie” I said, “Maybe, what do you think?” Khaled then as though he has received a divine revelation, hit the side of his head with his open fist and burst out saying, “But, dad, we have been neglecting two important factors; the transition from one still frame to another and the occurrence of the alteration of the framesby the following frame. In fact, these factors are the movie integral glue that translates the movie into motion. Where by removal of the two factors, the frames will then be motionless portions of stagnant totality” Hamzah then jumped in and said, “Hence your arrow case analogy is a fallacy, dad. It is one of those deceitful things you throw at us when discussion is involving tough issues”I laughed but then inquired, “Why would I do that, Hamzah?” Hamzah said, “I guess, to forge our rhetoric abilities into the heat of logic” I challenged him saying, “Ok, Hamzah, use your Armour and block the following if you can”  He curiously looked at me. “Apply what I have explained on your own life. There are points or frames which are the outcome of recorded destiny and others which are the outcome of streams altered by the human choice, Let us snowball the points or frames’ totality into a lump! Wouldn’t the snowball substance contain both constant and variable?” Hamzah said, “Ummm, well, I guess, maybe, but I think if you explain fate, then we may be able to understand”  Khaled emphasized, “Yes, It will surely help” Isaid, “Fate is dynamic. It is changeable and its changeability is subject to our choice. Its infinite dynamics are yet controllable by factors such as laws of nature and our profound knowledge and awareness thereof” Khaled then asked, “You said fate is subject to choice. Could it also be subject to destiny?” I explained, “Definitely! Though fate is changeable, Destiny always prevails. In fact, both destiny and fate are integral parts and two sides of one and the same coin; life” Khaled wondered, “But some people say we can control the future if we write it” I said,  “Metaphorically speaking, yes, but in actual fact, we will have then to face a very important question which is: Can we dictate the future?” Khaled asked, “Can’t we?” I looked at Khaled for a whileHe’s still young, full of hopes and ambitions. So is his brother, Hamzah ─ I thought, remembering myself at the same age when I used to believe in categorical sayings the way they were until I found that there was a lot to learn, that the universe was full of puzzles that might take eons of human cycles to resolve. “Well, the three dimensions of time are: The past, the present and the future” I explained “We may be able to influence the future by mapping the present’s D.N.A. and by altering its Genomes in order to shape the future the way we like. But there’re a few difficulties. Mainly, the way the present is shaped is definitely caused by how the past had totally or partially been. Hence, for the future, which is the unborn child of the present, and the grandson of the past, to be altered, the past has to be re-written, hence the present, too. Also, alteration has to be based on overall knowledge and awareness of infinite probabilities housed by time and space; the former is still ambiguous and the later has not yet been totally explored” Khaled then persistently asked, “Can’t we alter the future to some degree?” I said, “To some degree, yes we can, because we are the whole of our self and the universe; time and space, Destiny and fate...remember the snow ball...but to become one day the masters of our destiny remains to be seen” I explained.

Interrupted by their mother’s announcement for dinner, Khaled and Hamzah stood up to leave. Khaled accidentally knocked his teacup off the coffee table. He apologized, but I asked him not to worry and before he disappeared with his brother in the living room, I yelled at him, “Khaled was that incident destiny, or fate?” He answered, “It was fate, dad. I could have been more careful” Hamzah then commented, “Yes, Khaled, if you were more careful, you would have had no impact on the streaming of the future events”

My wife’s voice softly hit my ears while I was still in my study, “Honey, are you having dinner with us?” I said, “Well, it depends” She wondered, “On what?” I said while emerging from my study and looking at my family sitting at the table, “On whether I’m hungry or not, the food is delicious or not, or if…oh, so many factors. Life isn’t only a matter of choice or a whole punch of personal decisions. Isn’t that right, boys?” I received no answer from them, but they both looked at me; eyes widely opened and mouths filled with food. I laughed and said, “When stomachs are empty and mouths busy chewing, minds will be absorbed in the chores at hand”

I then joined my family to enjoy a worm meal.

The End

SHORT STORY: The Greatest Common Denominator

The Greatest Common Denominator; a Societal, Mathematical Aspects

By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy

It was a hot summer day. John, though carrying a heavy plastic bag full of library books and DVDs, had to walk all the way home because he couldn’t afford taking the bus. His pension was so small that after he has covered his monthly bills and paid for his medication, he ran out of money by the first week of the month. He was afflicted with a chronicle liver disease, and the water leakage from his scared liver into his abdominal cavity enormously distends his belly and made it difficult for him to breath or walk. His jaundiced eyes were sunken and circled with darker color. His skin looked clayish and clammy and on top of that, he felt drowsy most of the time because of his anti-depression medication. A look at John by those who did not know him would be deceptive. They would mistake him by a homeless or a druggie. 

John’s depression made him careless about his appearance.

In the park behind the library, John saw some people sitting to a picnic table while others clustered nearby and engaged in talking. He became curious, but his curiosity was elevated by the sight of the city’s newspaper crew in the midst of the crowd. He sat close to the scene to figure out what was happening. He heard someone saying, “I think it’s a great idea,”, and another one who quickly added, “This town is supposed to be filled with God-fearing people and all the politicians are supposed to be God-fearing, and nobody is doing anything about the homeless”, and another one who said, pointing to a mid-aged man, “This gentleman here,  God bless him, is a priest. He is doing the right thing. He is feeding the homeless. It is the right thing to do”

John saw two police cars parked next to the park’s fence and, on the other side of the street, he also saw a few people standing in the entrances of their business buildings, watching the people in the park. John then remembered reading in the newspaper a few days ago an article on this particular park and how it became a haven for homeless people, druggies and prostitutes. People wanted the police to interfere and stop a priest from feeding the homeless and the druggies, thus they would hum around no more But then where will they go? The problem is far more complicated and they are still a part of our society whether they made themselves or were made what they are by certain circumstances. They are the one sheep that went astray ─ John thought. An old man sat beside John and asked him what the matter. John told him about the homeless and the druggies. “Oh, those guys, they are scaring families away” the man carelessly said. “They do!” John exclaimed. “Yes they do and businesses around here are complaining, too” the old man said. “What is the solution should be like, then?” John asked, being curious that the old man might suggest a feasible solution. “I guess they have to stop them from coming to the park” the old man said. “Won’t this solution infringe their rights; their freedom to come to the park” frustrated, John asked him. “In a way, yes, but,” said the old man. “But what, they never bothered anyone. They may approach you for a cigarette, but if you say no, they just leave” John explained. “But they are undesirable for what they do” The man said. “We can’t jeopardize their right because we desire a different behavior from them, unless their right hurts other people’s right in the process” John interjected. “Are you sympathizing with them?” The man then asked. “No, I am not” John answered and then added, “Those people have a problem and they really need help. Any one of them can be your lost child. They are not criminals compared to heinous crimes committed on higher levels everyday and do slip by with no incriminating word uttered. The real evil-doers are the undesirables that need to be harshly dealt with; they are, in fact, the greatest common denominator” ─ “Oh, I agree with you. I do not know what is wrong with our society” the man said. John explained, “Well, in my mind, the society is either in deep slumber or it is collectively scared to locate the greatest common denominator factor and deal with it and because of their guilty conscious they had to find an escape-goat ─ and they have found it; the homeless, the prostitutes and the druggies; the least common denominator factor” the main said, “Since you have put it this way, I do not know what to say” John looked at his watch and then said, “Excuse me, I got to leave. Nice talking to you, anyways”

On his way home, John felt fatigue and out of breath. So he sat on the low brick fence of one of the houses on the street leading to his residence. A man accompanied by a huge dog emerged from the house and looked at him and angrily yelled, “Why are you sitting on my fence, you creep?” John apologized, “Sir, I am tired and I want to rest for a while. I hope you do not mind!” but still angry, the man yelled again, “Yes I do. Get the hell out of here, druggie!” ─ “Sir, please, don’t call me druggie. I am not” John protested. “Yes you are. Have you looked at yourself in a mirror lately?” the man still yelled. “I do everyday, sir. And everyday, I see my life slipping away from me because of my ailment” John answered. “Stop taking the shit you are taking” the man yelled again. “Sir, you do not understand. I take nothing but my prescribed medications. I told you I am sick” John explained. “Sick my ass; I do not want the likes of you hanging around here. Get lost or I’ll call the cops!” The man yelled. Having no alternative but to leave, John stood up, picked his bag and started to walk away but he was not quick enough, so the man pushed him. John fell to the ground. “God, I think I heart my back” John said to himself, feeling like throwing up, but the man shouted at him, “Don’t you dare throw up beside my fence, you piece of shit. Get up right now and get lost”

Lying flat on the ground in a state of agony, the events, that John saw taking place in the park behind the library, re-enacted before his mental eyes. He felt dizzy and as though coming from a distant place, he heard his own voice, “Sir, why are you so angry? I did not hurt you in any way. Sitting on your brick fence won’t hurt you. I am not a druggie or homeless. I am just a person with serious illness. I could have been you” and with eyes brimming with tears John strove to roll his body away as the contagious aggressiveness of the man made the dog threateningly bare his teeth, grunt and jump. John was sure he was doomed and before he fell unconscious because of the immortal pain he felt, he heard the sound of his ankle bone being crushed by the dog’s sharp teeth.

The End