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Thursday, December 29, 2016

LYRICS: I might be young..

By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy

I might be young,
But I’m a top rung
I might be fragile,
But I’m still vagile.
Ma’s a smart detective,
When danger looms,
She is in a fume.
That, I can see
She does love me.
That will always be.
Me, she always feeds
To a state pristine
She licks us clean
My brother and I 
Adore you mama.
Period, no but, no comma.

LYRICS: Bassel

By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy

Bassel is a bundle of joy.
He is lots of fun.
Bassel is a bundle of joy
Laughing! His own style
Bassel is a bundle of joy.
Oh, boy. Oh, boy, Oh, boy!

He is my grandson.
He is so cute,
And cuddly, to boot.
Oh, boy. Oh, boy, Oh, boy!
Grandpa loves you,
And aunts and uncles, too.
Oh, boy. Oh, boy, Oh, boy!

LYRICS: Beautiful Damsel

By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy

A beautiful damsel, 
May Allah bless her!
She ventures not 
The downtown bars
She cares not For 
luxurious cars,
Or frequenting 
The up-scale bazaars.
And from family,
She is never afar
With her husband 
She is in love.
Not beneath, her kids are, 
But always above
Nisriina and brother
Are her precious doves
Proud of them
Her eyes speak of
In her eyes I see her motherly love

LYRICS: Feelings

By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy

Thus ended their journey of love,
But mine has just begun
Mine’s the gracefulness of a dove;
A journey of love genuine.
Not a physical infatuation..
My genuine love is.
Nor appearances admiration,
Like hers or his.
But mine is a love unique,
As pure as glacier water,
Of which I firmly speak
Not sway and totter.

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

Monday, September 14, 2015

SHORT STORY: Religiously Drunken

Religiously Drunken
By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy

We, Jackie Wu and his wife, Evelyn, and my wife and I were the last people to show up. It was a house of a considerable size, beautiful and almost new. In the large kitchen, the buffet table carried an abundance of food brought, as usually the case is, by the attendants. People were sitting everywhere, in the dining area, in the living room and the kitchen. The place was filled with the appetizing smell of food and wine and the presence of a priest who ceaselessly seemed to be engaged in conversation with everybody. The priest was in his early sixties with a shining smile which he made sure that everyone had a share of it as though it was the body of the Christ. We sat down and smiled at everybody. The Wu’s were familiar to them, but my wife and I were totally new. I surveyed the place with my eyes. On the far end of the buffet table I saw a big ice-box full of beer cans and next to it stood many wine bottles of different vintages. “God, I do not feel comfortable at all” I whispered to my wife after I had seen on the kitchen counter more alcohol stock stacked up as though everybody came over here but to drink. “Once we start eating and drinking, everything will be fine, just smile around for now” my wife whispered back to me, words hissing through her teeth.

This is exactly what I hated about my marriage; doing things against my own will. I did not have a weak character and I could refuse, but I had already enough on my plate, hence I tried to avoid evoking new arguments. Our acquaintance with the Wu’s was one of the things forced on me by both my wife’s haste which was one of many of her bad traits, and my deep love to my eldest son, Khaled. One day, Khaled came back from the school with a letter from the family of his friend Newman stating that Newman liked Khaled and wanted to visit with him and be with him more often. Newman’s family, the Wu’s, were excited as their son who was too shy to mingle with other kids found someone to befriend, and pleaded to us, Khaled’s family, to give their son a chance. Unaware that I was going to be overcrowded in my life, I agreed thinking that it was only the kids who would exchange visits not the whole family. I am a social person, nevertheless, I do not like my personal space be preached. I did not want to have any deepened familial relation with the Wu’s but, at the same time, I did not want to become a hindrance in the boys’ friendship. My wife’s careless openness has always been a spoke in the spine of my plans.

I did not hate the Wu’s, but I did not like them either. Jackie was an easy going, laid back husband who owned Chinese restaurant but had to abandon the food business for some reasons and since then has not been working. Evelyn did accounting works. She was married to a man who owned carpet cleaning business but died of a liver disease leaving her with a child who was a bit slow. She then married Jackie, a Chinese man and had three kids from him; Jamey, Newman and Cameron. I never liked Jamey and his mother. I felt, though time proved me right, that Evelyn was the kind of a woman who would dig and poke her nose into people’s affair in the guise of offering friendly advice. Jamey, who was the oldest, was manipulative and aggressive, and had a bad reputation and troubles at school. One day, Jamey caused Hamzah, my youngest son, to fall on the ground and then pulled him by his leg. I was very angry and declared that Jamey was not allowed to visit or mix up with my boys since the whole issue from the start was supposed to be friendship between Khaled and Newman only, not the whole members of the family.

At the time, I was having troubles with my wife and her parents. In fact, the troubles between me and my in-laws started long time ago and never abated. They never accepted my marriage to their daughter basing their rejection on three reasons reeking with racism: 1. I’m not Christian, 2. I’m from a third world country and 3. They thought I was black ─ If you marry this man, the kids you get from him will be born with wretched souls  My wife’s mother said one day to my wife to discourage her from marrying me,And when you return to Canada, the kids being born black will find difficulties mixing up with their roommates at school When I heard this, I realized that my mother-in-law was badly sick in her head. Khaled was born with white skin, blue eyes, blond hair, so was his brother, Hamzah who followed him a year later. “I guess your mother will be miserable, now” I said to my wife. “Why?” my wife asked. “The kids are born with physical features opposite to what she expected” I said. “How could they be otherwise when you’re not black yourself and your eyes are green” my wife answered. Why on earth did my mother in-law think I was black? ─ I asked myself ─ could it be because I am African. But I am from Upper Egypt and upper Egyptians are Mediterranean like Italians and Greeks. And suppose I was black, why should be there something wrong with it? ─ Well, After my immigration to Canada and when I took my boys to school, I found other boys and girls to be of different ethnicities and they all played together and laughed together in the school playground during the recess. “I guess the kids at school are color blind” I told my wife one day. “What do you mean?” puzzled, my wife asked me while preparing dinner in the kitchen. “Well, although I hate it, I can understand the religious rivalry, but racism is something I never understood. The kids are definitely void of racism, because they’re color blind. They all play with each other at school and even sometimes have fights motivated by anything other than racism” I explained. “Of course! It is we, the adults, who teach them racism” my wife said. “Then your parents are the most ignorant” I said. With tears rolling down her cheeks, my wife came out of the kitchen holding a knife in her hand and said, “I know that”, and then put the knife down on the kitchen counter, wiped off her tears and added, “They haven’t been to the church for over three decades, nevertheless they were still worried about your faith. They did not come from fantastic families in Scotland and Holland; nevertheless they still worried about your place of origin" Isaid, “I wish I can say to them that my forefathers build the pyramids thousands of years ago while theirs were still roaming the forests and the plains” and then added, “On top of that, does your mother know that it has been proven scientifically that we all came from the Southern African bushman tribes whose skin color is dark”

It is said that a mill-stone, though big and powerful, will eventually break. The ceaseless wedges that my in-laws relentlessly put between my wife and I, attained success mainly when the circumstances helped their seed of destruction germinate. I had Hepatitis-C. It lay dormant in my blood and kicked in at the most inconvenient moment. Depression, Fatigue, inability to work and my in-laws warring caused arguments to arise between my wife and I. This is when Evelyn interfered offering her help. “I know of a counseling group headed by a priest. They gather together, not in the church, but in one of the client’s houses” said Evelyn to my wife. “When does it happen?” excited, my wife asked. “It happens twice a month and next time will be the first day of next week” Evelyn answered. “And what do they do during the meeting?” my wife asked. “We eat and drink and discuss our problems and afterwards, the priest arrange for three-day accommodation in a nice hotel where the troubled couple stay and work out a solution”

When my wife told me about this counseling event, I was skeptical at first but finally I decided to let her go through this experience. On Monday the Wu’s picked us and we all went there.

My wife was right when she whispered back to me that once we started eating and drinking, everything would be fine. Wine can be a good ice-breaker for people to start a conversation, but if they don’t hold the reins of their wine horses tight, the horses will run out of control and then the riders will find themselves breaking the thin ice on which they’re running, thus ending up being drowned. A humming voice emitting from the house as though there were many bee-hives drowned the silence of the night as Everybody was talking; everybody was smiling; everybody was shaking; everybody was drunk save for a few who still talked with untwisted tongues. I was one of them. “Let me introduce you to father Jackson, the priest” Evelyn said, holding a glass of rosé in her hand and swaying like a tree branch, “Hi, father, this is Mr. and Mrs. Al-Mahdy” Father Jackson has not yet been drunken but rather tipsy. He might have chosen not to be drunk in order to be able to attend his flock.  “Ah, hi, how’re you?” said the priest, “Where’re you from” the priest asked. “He’s from Saudi Arabia, father” Evelyn said, budging in. “I’m not from Saudi Arabia. I’m from Egypt” I objected. “Who cares, Saudi Arabia or Egypt, they’re all the same” Evelyn said, almost falling down. Her husband helped her sit on a chair. “I do. And Saudi Arabia and Egypt aren’t the same, unless you think Italy and France are” I said, my voice showing that I was upset. “You do not have to be upset. It is not of a big deal” the priest said. “I know, Mr. Jackson, but I like people to know me for what I am” I firmly said. “Oh, you’re right, you’re right” the priest said, trying to avoid getting into argument. When the party was over, I asked Evelyn husband to give my wife a ride home as I was going to stay behind and help in washing the dishes and cleaning the place.

Khaled and Newman became very good friends. They spent lots of time after school with each other and Cameron, Newman’s youngest brother. They all formed a block against Jamey whom they called jackass.

One day, my wife told me that Evelyn told her that when she had a bath, she would step out of the bathroom totally naked not minding the kids would see her. I wondered why Evelyn told my wife about this personal behavior and why my wife told me. Is it the so called hearsay natural cycle, or Evelyn is trying to impress my wife with her liberal life style. I also wondered if my wife got the message and therefore told me so that I would loosen up a bit. In any case, I did not like the whole issue at all. Being a new immigrant who has not yet known much of the Canadian customs and traditions, I was confused.

I discussed the matter with a born-Canadian friend of mine. He told me that the Canadian customs in no way would allow for such behavior which he thought was child abuse that must be reported to the authorities. “I thought so, too. It doesn’t matter whether you came from the East or the West, there’re universal standard of behavior” I told my friend. “Why didn’t you report the incident to the authorities, then?” he asked. “I could not because my wife would be upset and I did not want to have more troubles than it was” I answered. He then asked me to give him the names, address and details and and said he would report the incident himself without getting my name involved. A week later, when I went to pick up my two sons from the school, I saw Newman sitting in the corridor. I asked him if he wanted a ride home. He uttered no single word but looked at me with eyes full of animosity. I told my wife about Newman’s attitude. She said that someone reported his mother to the authorities regarding her nudity in front the children and since then she has been in troubles. I told my wife that I mentioned the story to a friend of mine and he must have reported her.

My in-law’s relentless middling and back-stabbing never ceased, so never did Evelyn’s since she has opened fire at me shortly after that incident. Defending my family on two fronts; my in-laws’ and Evelyn’s, and seeing my health deteriorating, I had to lick my wounds and convince my wife to move to a different city. Thus I was left fighting only one war. That is racism, oh, I mean my in-laws.

The End