Monday, October 5, 2009


A part of unpublished novel
Written by: Hisham Adam
Translated by: Hisham Adam
All what Salah Derrar did need was a little of faith to get him out of his contentment that the armies of space insects sleep with him on his bed, and eat the fibers of his curly hair. He could not specify his relationship with them categorically. He feels respect towards them as if they are God's insects implementing his instructions meticulously, but sometimes he feels disgusted towards them. He, directly, looks at their faces while they waving with their antennas that look like Pharaonic whips made of felt, their mouths that full of serrated forceps and their convex backs as if they are smug Indian elephants.

His days in this room are similar; exactly as they appear on the pale color calendar, and everything around him seems dirty and monotonous as if it is an intentional chaotic pattern. The only ordered thing in all this chaos is: a wall clock, its beats add an extra noise to the place and an additional chorus to grasshopper coral and cockroaches' symphony. A sudden smile raids him whenever he saw them hung on the wall as a teenager decided to put an end for his miserable life that full of failed adventures and serious setbacks.

- Why should it spin twice to make sure of completion of the day? Twelve hours is more than enough to reflect this hell accurately. There is a heavy vacuum among each hour and the other like a mercury contaminated with rumors.

He does not remember when he entered here for the first time, maybe seven years ago or more, before the wall paint gets yellow, and maybe before household spiders weave their sticky cobweb on the room corners as thin traffic signs, and perhaps before sagging of roof nerves and resulted in uncovering his veins inhabited by termites tribe. What he remembers very well that it was an unlucky hour won't recur ever.

He looks at himself in a mirror dirty with soap foam, laughs on his physiognomy which hidden behind a shaggy hair like a hybrid Lhasa dog, trying to recall images of his face before he enter this place, but he does not succeed, so he believed that he was born this way and that he will remain so forever.

At midday, when his space bugs having fun, playing with empty food bags and the scattered bread crumbs, he steps aside and cowers on himself like an embryo, and overdoes cowering till seems like a hedgehog or sea shell, repeats in an inaudible whisper:
Ana mali w'mal al-balad da
Ana mashi jebal almandara

Voices of hawkers, children, passed women loud-laughs and bicycles ringing annoy him, they all at once infiltrate like cursed snakes through a high window to dwell his ears and tamper into his brain like the insatiable graves worms. Writhes like an arrogant demon, confronts the noise of the street parallel to the wall with hard strikes on the same wall. He rises as Orangutan and raises his bare hands, trying to reach the window that leaks waste light which fades before it reaches his retina and always shouts loudly:

- Shut up ignorant people; what are you laughing for?
At night, he walks on his tiptoes towards the wall of pleasure, and through a cursed whole he watches his neighbor Jamal Wagee'allah sleeping with his erotic wife, and never stops observing them until they turn off the light and their sighs commit suicide on their lips that bottled with hot sex blood, and sinking in their hearts like a time-bomb not to explode until the next evening.

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