Day of the Dogs, Part 20: The Soul of a King

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See the Story Index for Wael Abdelgawad’s different tales.

This is a multi-chapter novel.  Chapters:  Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 | Chapter 19

“I will tell you a secret. Some of the flock stayed with you, or they joined you. They have been with you all along. They have never stopped loving you. Who are they? You know them by what they do.” – Tio Niko

Back From the War

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He showered in lukewarm water with a lightweight spray – the primary for the reason that hearth. It was painful however good. His mom’s story had offered no real decision, however actually, what might she say? Yet he felt his despair lifting. The phrases of considered one of Tio Niko’s poems, one Omar used to recite typically in his youth, popped again into his thoughts:

I believed I used to be drowning
however God was within the water
and I breathed
the place I mustn’t have been in a position to breathe.
I felt arms of flame upon me
stoking the embers of my soul
and I used to be baptized in speeding,
silt-laden darkness
till I understood
that I need to not take life as a right
and should neither concern loss of life
nor greet it on the door.

After praying dhuhr and placing on some clear garments, he headed downstairs, the place he discovered Fuad sitting on the kitchen desk with Samia and Nur. Fuad might have been an Indian trend mannequin together with his olive inexperienced go well with, immaculate haircut and completely trimmed beard, whereas Ivana, to his shock, was on the range cooking. Mama was there too after all, in addition to her husband Masood, who seemed like an Arab diplomat in his tailor-made white go well with and Italian loafers. Berlina sat at Masood’s toes, and he reached down at times to rub her ears.

Nur was drawing, and the remaining had been watching Ivana cook dinner, apart from Samia after all, who stored asking Ivana questions on her preparation methodology.

From the steps Omar smiled weakly and greeted them, then mentioned, “Hey Nunu. Do you have a pinwheel to put on the gate?” To his amazement the boy cried, “Papá!” and ran to him as if he had been a soldier getting back from the battle. Nur embraced Omar’s legs and chattered excitedly concerning the new set of drawing pencils that Uncle Fuad had given him, and the way an image of an alien metropolis he drew had gained first place in a drawing contest at college.

“Come and sit, primo!” Ivana exclaimed, talking in English however utilizing the Spanish phrase for first cousin. “I make you a meal fit for a man risen from the dead.”

“I wasn’t dead.”

“Playing dead, then,” she enthused. “Like an opossum. You know they do not only pretend? When I was a girl my father used to take me to walk in the forest. Many people do not know that Cuba has the largest virgin forests in the Caribbean. We saw all kinds of animals. When an opossum is threatened, it slows its heart and breathing, de verdad, and becomes like a dead thing.”

“I don’t know if that’s a fair comparison,” Omar grumbled.

“Be silence,” she mentioned sternly. “Sit.”

He sat, and he or she positioned earlier than him a sandwich fabricated from sliced bread that was grilled and pressed flat. It was stuffed to the breaking level. Beside it she set a small dish of fried plantain slices.

“Cuban sandwich,” Ivana mentioned, beaming as she additionally served sandwiches to Masood and Fuad, and a mini sandwich for Nur. “Turkey, Swiss cheese, sautee onion and pepper, pickle and mustard. Little bit olive oil and vinegar. Simple. Food of the campesino.”

“What about us?” Ximena complained.

“No, only for brave, strong men who protect us.”

“Doesn’t seem fair,” Samia muttered.

Omar checked out Ivana, along with her broad smile and white enamel. What was she enjoying at? “Why did you call me primo?” he repeated. Of course he was her cousin, nevertheless it shocked him that she would acknowledge it.

“First, eat the food.”

He took a chunk. Instantly, his mouth started watering like Angel Falls. He hadn’t realized till this second how hungry he was. Hungry wasn’t even the world. He was famished, like a jaguar misplaced within the desert for a month. The sandwich was indescribably good. The flavors complemented and merged like a symphony.

Santiago’s Mistake

Ivana sat throughout the desk. “His name,” she mentioned in Spanish, “is Santiago Francisco Bayano Benjumeda. He was born in 1935 in Portobelo, on the Caribbean side of Panama. Sam Sharpe, the Jamaican slave who fought the British, was his great grandfather. His own father – our great grandfather – traveled to Venezuela to fight with Simón Bolívar in the campaigns of the Orinoco River basin. Simón Bolívar, the great man himself, can you imagine? I am not defending Santiago’s actions. I am saying that he was raised on a diet of revolution going back generations. It’s in our blood.”

Omar hadn’t grasped at first who Ivana was speaking about, nevertheless it dawned on him after a second that she meant Melocoton. Santiago Francisco Bayano Benjumeda. So that was the person’s actual title. He stared at this girl, waxing poetic a couple of deadbeat. Omar might need been outraged, might need informed her he didn’t wish to hear it, besides that the sandwich was so exquisitely good that he couldn’t cease consuming. Ivana had, he realized, manipulated him completely.

“Santiago believed,” Ivana went on, “that the Cuban revolution was the key to social justice for Latin America. Cuba would become a staging point to return power to the campesinos, the indios, the Afro-Latinos. But he saw Castro becoming paranoid, suppressing free thought and speech. So he left and went to China, where he believed that Chinese Communism represented a break from the oppression of the past. He didn’t know that my grandmother was pregnant, you understand? He didn’t know that my mother existed. That’s why he was so shocked when you said that he was my grandfather. He was grief stricken.”

“But,” Omar mentioned in the course of chewing, “he knew my father existed, yes? Yet he abandoned my grandmother.”

Ivana nodded, yielding the purpose. “He knew. In China, instead of the progressive revolution he imagined, he found a backward country, with people starving to death due to nationalization of agriculture. He worked on a farm himself, just a pair of hands. They called him Taozi or “Peach” due to his frizzy hair. No one cared about his information or expertise. The Cultural Revolution adopted, and he realized to maintain his mouth shut or be labelled as counter-revolutionary. Still, he was affected person. He believed within the Chinese socialist experiment. But after Tienanmen Square he knew that China had misplaced its means.”

Tienanmen Square massacre

Tienanmen Square bloodbath

“He returned to Panama. He tried to be a part of your father’s life. Your father suspected that Santiago might be his parent, but Santiago always denied it out of shame. His whole life was based on false assumptions, you know? The revolutionary zeal had been implanted in him, but all he found was people selling out their ideals, intoxicated by power, repeating the same dynamics of oppression they had fought against. You can’t believe how wracked he is with regret. And he loves you, Omar.”

At the utterance of the phrase love, Omar felt a surge of anger. He held up a hand. “Back up with that nonsense. It was a nice story. But whatever Kool-Aid you drank, I’ll pass.”

Ivana tilted her head as if contemplating her subsequent line of assault. “Eat your plantains.”

He ate one. They had been fried crisply on the skin, however tender and buttery inside. All his anger light as he chewed the scrumptious morsel.

“Forget that word,” Ivana mentioned. “Could you at least consider that he is not a bad man? That he made a mistake, and it was such a big mistake that he couldn’t recover? That he is, in fact, human?”

Omar ate one other plantain slice. “I’ll consider it.”

Ximena’s cellphone rang. She answered it, argued with somebody, then hung up. “The hospital,” she mentioned. “Stupid doctors. Don’t they know who my brother is? He’s not someone to just die in a bed like -”

“Mamá,” Omar broke in. “What did they say?”

“They claim he is near death. A few hours, they say. And he is asking for you, Omar.”

Omar wiped his mouth with a serviette. “Then let’s go.”

Omar’s People

The smells of lemon-scented cleansing fluid, bleach, and the faint hint of vomit, all blended to type that distinctive scent often called eau-de-hospital. This was not a scent, Omar thought, that Puro Panameño would incorporate into its merchandise anytime quickly.

Tio Celio was within the burn unit at Punta Pacifica Hospital, a non-public facility that was the perfect in Panama. He’d been taken to Hospital Nacional first, however shortly moved to PPH as a result of that they had a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Omar had by no means been right here earlier than and was impressed by the large dimension and gleaming flooring. Nevertheless, hospitals had been hospitals, and he was uninterested in the identical previous institutional scents, lights, meals, and colours. He could be completely satisfied by no means to set foot in one other hospital in his life. Yet he needed to be at Hospital Nacional tomorrow for one more process on his knees.

Walking down the whitewashed hall with Samia’s arm linked in his, and with Ximena and Masood behind, they arrived on the ready room for the important care unit. They’d stopped by Nadia’s home and dropped Nur off, realizing that youngsters weren’t allowed on this space of the hospital. Ivana had elected to remain within the automotive, whereas Fuad, who labored on this hospital, had gone off to do rounds.

The small room was packed. Men and girls of the Ngäbe-Buglé tribe crammed the room and spilled over to the elevator foyer. Omar acknowledged Anibel Guerra, the krägä bianga, and Amauro, the broad-shouldered governor of Kädridri district. The males wore Sunday slacks and costume shirts, and a few held brimmed hats of their arms. They had been stony confronted and silent, typical of the Ngäbe round outsiders. Nearly all the ladies wore nagua clothes of assorted colours. Their lengthy black hair was tied both in ponytails or braids. Many had been red-eyed from crying.

Omar checked out them. These had been poor individuals, among the many poorest in Panama. Most weren’t literate. Some had been extremely spiritual, and most had been suspicious of outsiders, even paranoid. Omar had as soon as met a North American Peace Corps volunteer who’d labored for 3 years within the comarca, educating the Ngäbe how you can deal with diseased cacao timber. Even after three years, the person mentioned, a lot of the Ngäbe remained suspicious of him. They believed he had evil intentions, that he wished to survey their land for mining firms, or promote it to the Chinese. Some thought he was there to convey battle, although it was unclear with whom.

Alcoholism, teen being pregnant and violence had been all issues among the many tribespeople. Yet these had been the toughest working individuals one might meet. They had been farmers and warriors, and strangers inside their very own nation. They had been Omar’s individuals, as a lot as anybody else.

They acknowledged Mamá. Those who had been sitting rose when she entered – all apart from the krägä bianga, who remained seated, again straight and eyes lidded.

A knot of center aged women and men approached Mamá and engaged in speedy dialog in Ngäbere, of which Omar grasped just a few phrases: eteba which means brother, rünkwe which means father, and the phrases for loss of life and God. His mom’s tone was heated. She turned to him: “These are Don Celio’s children. Your cousins.” She indicated a person who was extra aged than the others, a brief, teak-skinned man with bloodshot eyes, who wore a black necktie. “Nicho.”

Nicho stepped ahead and seized Omar’s shirt with each arms. Though the person was brief, he was phenomenally robust, and truly lifted Omar onto his tiptoes. Nicho’s face twisted in anger. “What did you get my father involved in?” he demanded in Spanish. “This is all your fault.”

Omar smelled alcohol on the person’s breath, and realized the pink eyes weren’t solely as a consequence of grief. He relaxed his muscle tissues, turning his physique into lifeless weight, and mentioned nothing. To his shock, his mom slapped Nicho throughout the face. The man launched Omar and staggered, then turned and walked away.

“What were you arguing with him about?”

His mom’s nostrils flared. “Nicho signed a do not resuscitate order. I told him he was a fool. The doctors will let my brother die because he is the Black Knife. What do you say?”

Why was she asking him? It wasn’t his place to talk about such a factor.

The Seagull

“Omar,” somebody mentioned.

He seemed round, and noticed Tio Niko and Tia Teresa sitting in a nook far from the opposite Ngäbe. He hadn’t observed them there. With his mom at his facet, he walked to them and embraced them. Teresa was a tiny, slender girl, and seemed like a youthful model of Omar’s mom. Niko’s higher physique was exhausting with muscle. It was like hugging a fireplace hydrant. His legs, nevertheless, had been as skinny as beanpoles.

“Did you come to see him?” Ximena requested her sister.

Teresa shook her head. “Our thing has never been right. But I couldn’t stay away.”

Niko nodded to Omar. “Walk with me.” He propelled his wheelchair into movement down the hall, additional away from the gang. When they had been far away he mentioned, “I saw what happened. Are you upset?”

“Yes. But I don’t know why.”

Niko nodded and gestured for Omar to return nearer. Omar squatted subsequent to him. Because he knew uncle Niko properly, he knew a poem was coming. But that didn’t trouble him.

“The poet Ricardo Miró,” Niko mentioned, “wrote a couple of seagull who’s left behind by his flock. The flock disappears to some unknown shore, and this seagull is left flying alone, forgotten by the others, and stuffed with a rising and protracted longing.

seagull flying

“Imagine, Omar, that you are that seagull. But the flock did not abandon you. Rather, you chose to go your own way, seeking a new land. At times you are happy with your choice. You see beneath you a brilliant white shore of virgin sand. You are carried high by the wind, seeing above the clouds for the first time. You witness things the flock will never see. The truth dazzles your eyes. You have moments of anger, but it’s not clear if you are angry at the flock for leaving, or yourself for letting them go. You cannot shake the longing for something you cannot name. This is how I see you, my nephew. From the first moment I knew you, clear eyed and curly headed, this is how I have seen you.”

Omar didn’t absolutely perceive what Niko was saying, however the phrases moved one thing inside him, some untouched chord that had been aching to be plucked, to vibrate and hum. Some fact that nobody else had seen. He felt like a boy once more, working away to Teresa and Niko’s home, and he remembered how that had been his solely refuge throughout these years after his father died.

Niko put an arm round his shoulders and mentioned, “Now I will tell you a secret. Some of the flock stayed with you, or they joined you. They have been with you all along. They have never stopped loving you. Who are they? You know them by what they do.”

With that Niko embraced Omar tightly and kissed him on the temple. Then he mentioned, “Go see Don Celio.”

Hell And Back

In order to keep away from passing any an infection to Don Celio, Omar and his mom needed to don robes, gloves and masks, and even put on protecting booties over their sneakers.

Tio Celio was asleep. Omar was shocked on the man’s situation. A blanket coated his physique, however his arms had been exterior the blanket, resting on his chest, and Omar noticed that they had been closely bandaged, and that – he seemed rigorously to ensure he wasn’t imagining it – three of the fingers of the left hand had been gone. One of his eyes was coated with a bandage as properly, and his face had the pallor of ash. An oxygen masks was fitted over his mouth and nostril.

A bald, middle-aged physician was reviewing Celio’s chart. Mamá made a sound of choked shock, and mentioned to the physician in a tone of barely hid rage, “What did you do to his hand?”

The physician seemed up. “Señora Bayano. I’m sorry, the fingers developed a dangerous infection. We had to remove them. The same with his eye.”

“You – you took his eye? You monsters. You’ll do anything to stop him.” She took a step ahead, and Omar thought she would possibly assault the physician. He gripped her arm tightly to retrain her. “You took advantage of his son’s stupidity,” she went on. “When Celio gets well he’ll deal with you.”

“Señora Bayano,” the physician repeated. His face was grave. “I’m sorry to be blunt, but as I said before he has major burns over a significant portion of his body. We gave him hyperbaric oxygen therapy for three days and I believe it helped tremendously. But the odds are slim that he will survive. We could probably keep him alive for another few months with multiple skin grafts, but he would be in constant, severe pain. That’s not pessimism. It’s an honest assessment. His son was right to sign the DNR.”

“But -”

“Stop, Mamá,” Omar mentioned.

She turned to him with pleading eyes. “I always thought he would die on his feet, fighting for justice, like your father. Not in a bed.”

“Our Prophet, sal-Allahu alayhim wa-sallam, died in a bed.”

His mom fell silent at this, and Omar noticed her face change and soften, as if she had simply understood and solved some unusual puzzle that had been tormenting her.

“Why is everyone… talking about me… like I am dead?” Celio mentioned in a whisper. He’d pulled the oxygen masks apart to talk. His face was taut with ache.

Ximena started to apologize, however Omar mentioned, “You are one crazy old man, Tio Celio. I can’t believe you did that, back there on the bridge.”

“I feel… like I’ve been to Hell… and back… I must say… the experience… does not bear… repeating.” He broke right into a coughing match that resulted in a groan of ache.

“Señor Natá,” the physician protested. “This won’t do. You must put your mask back on and rest. These people can come back later.”

“What later?… You just said… I am dying. Leave me… You too Ximena. I want… to talk to my nephew.”

“But Señor Natá -”

“Leave us!” Celio devolved into one other horrible coughing match.

The physician shook his head in disgust, however he left the room, as did Omar’s mom.

Say!

Omar let his eyes wander across the room. There had been no flowers. There was a wierd scent within the room, acquainted but unidentifiable. A leather-based twine bearing an extended, curved tooth and an enormous black feather hung from the IV stand. Omar guessed they had been a jaguar’s tooth and harpy feather, symbolizing the Ngäbe-Buglé throne. His gaze wandered down Celio’s physique to the previous man’s jutting toes, hidden by the blanket, and he realized there was one thing mistaken with the silhouette they introduced.

“Did they amputate some of your toes?” he requested.

Celio flicked a finger. “Doesn’t… matter.”

“Hmm. I heard you were asking for me.”

“You know… what I want. I have… a vision… of you… on the throne… You will lead… our people… into the future.” Celio changed the oxygen masks and took a number of deep breaths.

Omar shook his head. “I can’t do it. That’s not my vision. Besides, I don’t believe in kings. No man has the right to absolute power. And there’s only one King. Maliki yawmid-deen.”

“Iyyaka na’badu…” Celio whispered, “wa iyyaka… nastaeen.”

Omar’s eyes widened. “You know Surat Al-Fatihah?”

“I told you… I have traveled. In… the Muslim world… every meeting… is preceded… by Al-Fatihah.”

“But you don’t believe in Islam?”

“I am… as my people… require.”

Omar skilled a second of revelation. Not a spiritual revelation, however a pure thought that appeared to return from exterior himself. These previous couple of months had turned his life the other way up, but when his life was a puzzle then this was a key piece falling into place, and together with it a whole plan that unfolded in his thoughts like a map to the longer term. He knew what he needed to do.

“I have an idea. A counter-offer, if you will. And a condition to go with it.”

Celio checked out Omar and nodded at him to proceed. On impulse, Omar took out his cellphone, set it to video report, and propped it on the desk beside the mattress. Celio noticed this however mentioned nothing.

“I will work for the Ngäbe-Buglé,” Omar mentioned, “full time. Not on the comarca but in the city. I’ll quit my job at Puro Panameño and open an office to help not only the Ngäbe, but also the Venezuelans, the indentured Chinese, and any other dispossessed and oppressed people in Panama. I’ll have lawyers to help the Ngäbe fight land takeovers. I’ll find volunteers to teach literacy, dig wells and install solar panels. I mean, I’m improvising at the moment but I’ll work with Amauro and the other governors. They’ll tell me what they need and I’ll do my best. That’s my offer. Take it or leave it.”

Celio eliminated the masks. “Yes. I accept your offer… You have… my blessing… And… The condition?”

Omar swallowed and moved nearer to his uncle. He hesitated, then seemed the previous man in his one good eye. “Say, ‘Laa ilaha il-Allah.’ You know that too?”

Celio nodded, then changed his masks and shut his eye. His respiration slowed, and Omar began to assume the person had fallen asleep. He seemed round for a chair however there have been none. Finally Celio opened his eye and mentioned, “Water.”

There was a jug of water on a counter in opposition to the wall, and a wrapped plastic cup. Omar poured water and introduced it to Celio’s dry lips.

When he was completed, Celio mentioned, “You speak… and I… will repeat.”

It took a second for the which means of the phrases to sink in. Omar swallowed once more, his mouth all of the sudden dry. “It has to come from your heart. You have to believe it, to mean it.”

“I never… do anything… without total… commitment. Say!”

It took an extended, painstaking time to offer Celio the shahadah, first in Arabic, then in Spanish. When he was accomplished, Celio changed his masks, closed his eye, and set his arms on his chest, one over the opposite. Tension appeared to empty out of him. Even his face relaxed, as if the horrible ache of his accidents had vanished. Omar thought Celio was dying proper now, earlier than his eyes. But no, the chest continued to rise and fall, and Omar knew the previous man had fallen asleep.

He too felt as if an enormous weight had been lifted. It was as if he’d damaged all of the bones in his physique sooner or later and had been residing in a full-body solid, and now the solid had been eliminated. He all of the sudden realized what the unusual scent was that he’d observed within the room. It was the scent of burnt agave leaves. The krägä bianga had carried out a ritual right here. Well, perhaps it will assist. It had actually helped Omar himself.

How would he inform all these anxious Ngäbes exterior about this? Would they give the impression of being upon him as a international carpetbagger, come to steal the soul of their king? Would they seize him and throw him out of a window? Should he even inform them? Was it any of their enterprise?

He leaned down and kissed Tio Celio on the brow, then slipped out of the room. He felt in his bones that he would by no means see the previous man alive once more. But he would hold the promise he’d made.

The Video

In the foyer, individuals gathered round him silently, trying to him for information about Celio’s situation. Omar’s arms moved earlier than he knew what he deliberate to do. He took his cellphone out of his pocket and performed the video he’d simply made, holding the cellphone in order that the individuals round him might see it. If he was going to work with these individuals, if he was going to assist them, then they needed to know he was doing it with Celio’s blessing, or they might by no means settle for him.

There had been some quiet exclamations of dismay at Celio’s deteriorated situation. Once Omar’s phrases sunk in, nevertheless – his supply to dedicate his life to serving to the Ngäbes, and Celio’s endorsement of his concept – he noticed many darkish eyes him speculatively, and with a newfound respect. He virtually stopped the video at that time however… he didn’t. He let it play.

The individuals watched intently as Omar gave Celio the shahadah, phrase by phrase. He noticed many frowns of confusion. As the import of his phrases sunk in, nevertheless, a myriad of reactions broke out. There had been some offended exclamations. A couple of individuals raised questions: “What language is that?” And, “What does all that mean?” But Omar noticed others silently mouthing the phrases of the shahadah together with Celio. As he realized what he had accomplished, it shook him. These individuals virtually worshiped Celio Natá. As their king did, so would they do.

His gaze shot to his mom, who stood with Masood at her facet. He noticed, for the second time in sooner or later and the second time in his life, that she was weeping. Beside her, Samia’s mouth hung open. When the video ended, Omar stood awkwardly. His mom got here to him and kissed him on the cheek.

“You’re not mad that I’m leaving the company?”

She shook her head. “No, baby.”

“I don’t know what to say to these people right now.”

“You go. I’ll talk to them.”

Omar took his spouse’s arm and left.

They discovered Ivana sitting within the automotive, listening to Cuban salsa and waving her arms. Fuad, she defined, was nonetheless seeing sufferers. He would take a taxi dwelling later.

“So what happened with your crazy uncle?” Ivana wished to know.

In response, Omar once more took out his cellphone and performed the video. Ivana watched intently. When it was over, she had a fascinated but confused expression on her face. “I don’t understand,” she mentioned. “What does that mean? That he took your religion?”

“Yes.”

“It’s so easy like that?”

“Yes.”

“But why would he do that? He is an Indio, not an Arab.”

Omar was drained. He was nonetheless not absolutely recovered from his accidents, and from his prolonged bout of despair. He tried to reply, however no phrases would come.

“Tell me something,” Samia mentioned. “Who are you, Ivana Soto Serrano? Sometimes you’re a party girl wearing European fashions and bragging about being a beauty queen. Other times you extol the virtues of communist revolutionaries like Castro and Che Guevara. But today, I heard you criticize those same revolutionaries as you spoke about the failings of socialism. So who are you?”

Ivana shrugged. “I am all of those things. I’m a woman and a Cuban. We are self-contradictory by nature.”

Samia nodded. “We all are.”

“You are all women and Cubans?”

“No, self-contradictory. And I think Celio Natá understands that. He understands that only under laa ilaha il-Allah – there is no God but Allah – can our conflicting practices and yearnings be resolved. You want revolution? There is nothing more revolutionary than laa ilaha il-Allah. It says that all human beings are equal before God. In one swoop it invalidates monarchy, dictatorship, tribalism and racism. Imagine what this would do to Latin America, the most racially polarized continent in the world. Yet at the same time, it does not strip away people’s wealth and property. And it doesn’t negate the value of beauty – in fact the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, Allah is beautiful and loves beauty.”

Omar sensed that Samia might have gone on, however she restrained herself and fell silent.

Ivana held out her hand. “Let me see the video again.” Omar gave her the cellphone and he or she performed the video, this time repeating the phrases of the shahadah together with Celio, in Arabic and English. She returned the cellphone.

“What – ” Samia stuttered. “What were you doing?”

“I said your saying. I am Muslim now, yes?”

“But… Do you believe it?”

“Yes. Sure.”

Samia touched a hand to her mouth. “Then yes… You are Muslim.”

“Okay! That’s good. I think it will be good for my marriage too, you know? My beloved baby will be happy.” With that she put the automotive in gear and commenced to drive.

Samia touched Omar’s arm. Her face bore an expression that appeared to say, “What just happened?”

Omar patted her hand, however couldn’t reply additional. He was so drained. He laid his head again in opposition to the seat and was about to let himself drift off to sleep when he noticed one thing on the facet of the highway that made him exclaim, “Stop the car!”

“What?” Ivana seemed round, slowing. “Is there a doggie in the street?”

“No! Just pull over, stop the car.”

Next: Day of the Dogs, Chapter 21 – The Eternal Life

Reader feedback and constructive criticism are necessary to me, so please remark!

See the Story Index for Wael Abdelgawad’s different tales on this web site.

Wael Abdelgawad’s novels – together with Pieces of a Dream, The Repeaters and Zaid Karim Private Investigator – can be found in e-book and print type on his writer web page at Amazon.com.

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