Ghazella’s fool (story)


He was passionate about her, dreamt about her when he closed his eyes, he saw himself in the ghazel’s place, he envied the animal, she lived in his imagination for years until he managed to work in the city.

He used to work in the police department at the Grand Hotel’s street, he loved to spend his daily work routine organizing the cars’ and the people’s movements, studying those who dare to walk beside her, he memorizes their faces and what their eyes say when they move pass her, he was cursing every soul that dares to stare too long in the body of his beloved. In the night, in his bed he kills them all before he goes to sleep, the Romi[1] tourists who dare to memorize her body in photographs they take for themselves in front of her, pointing at her with their dirty fingers – he always thought that their fingers must be dirty-, he killed them all in his head, all those young and wild boys who sit on the seats facing her breasts saving her nipples in their dirty imagination – he was sure that their imagination was dirty- before he orders them to move from the place, he killed them too, the elders and those with eyes that dare to expose her naked body in their heart, all of them. When his shift ends, he lies on the seats and he looks at her with passion, with a gentle heart, he sees her talking to him and dreams to take her hand and show her the rest of the city, he would take her to Mizran street and have her enjoy Haj Fathi’s  famous brioche and drink his dates-and-almond Frappé, they would take a walk inside Almusher, and hustle and bargain with the old merchants selling gold and traditional clothes, and they would dare to walk inside the red castle and move between the bodies of her ancestors, laughing at their small cocks while trying to move their eyes away from them. He clothed her skin, he planted silk hair over her, he dared to draw pink nipples over her breast, he then clothed her with a sun flowered dress to protect her from the by-passers,  he gave her a smile that made him tranquil and peaceful. He told her all about his stories with her, he told her that a strange monster used to live inside him, he was a sleeping monster, and he used to live with his sheep, he was trying not to be hit with the olive tree’s long and harsh blackjack, the blackjack monitoring his care to the sheep, how he  feeds them and when he pours their water, he used to come to the city with the blackjack master once every year, the master takes him to the Souk and when he manages to sell his first sheep he earns five dinars, then he spends his day touring the city, precisely around her. He talked about all of the dreams she visited him in, then he says to her: you must know, because you visited me, at the first time you did, I asked you about your name, you told me: Gazella, you were with your protector, the gazelle, he stared at me daring me to come closer to you, but you with a soft touch calmed his trampling horns,  you whispered in his ear that I mean no evil, or that’s what I understood, then…then you kissed me in my mouth, my brain flew, I went mad in love, it is my right to go mad in love with you, nobody can interrogate me because of that, the gazelle can’t protect you from vandals nor those who mean to harm you, but I can, I am a cop, I’ve always wanted to be a cop so I can protect you, I made the impossible to be close to you, I left things you can’t imagine to have this honor, would you take me? I know you can see me Gazella, I know you feel my presence, but don’t worry, one day, remember, one day, I will take you with me to see the globe, and that will be forever.

She looked at his face with a kind smile, she was not ashamed of her naked body, at the start he looked away, but he overcame his sense of modesty and looked directly at the parts he always mesmerized, pink with a scent of the garden that surrounds her,  her body was all wet from the water, calling on him to cover her, to protect her from the cold, her hair shines with a glimmers of the sun’s beams, her eyes where tired for all this time from looking at the animal, her breath, he can hear from his seat under the afternoon sun, he chose this time to relax on the seat because he knew from experience, that at the afternoon hours, people are in their homes leaving him in all alone for half an hour with his beloved, he saw her breaking the copper that jailed her for years, the copper was cracking like an egg, he was amazed. He never saw her move, he saw some cracks in the past years, but he thought of that was because her metallic body was getting old, but here she is, revealing the secret behind that, she is alive, the gazelle woke up too, the animal screeched a cry he never heard, he couldn’t believe his eyes at first, his heart beat got faster, he held his hat to his breast, sweat was moving down his head excessively, he asked himself “ The sun is harsh today, is my head melting?!”.

He closed his eyes, and rubbed them good, he hoped that what he was seeing was not a mere mirage, she was as he imagined, with her barefoot she stood over the water, with a slight hand movement she calmed her animal, her other hand was still handling the jar, what he saw was beautiful, he swallowed his own saliva mixed with cigarettes and coffee flavor, she started moving, “ I must cover her”, he said, how can she move like this in this time, in a public road with no shame? Doesn’t she have any common sense? Doesn’t she care for traditions and social norms? Doesn’t she mind the danger in what she’s doing? She must know something, the bastard Italian who trapped her in this metallic body, he must’ve been not modest, he must have told her that she would be the Italian gem that spreads freedom, that she will teach those Arabs how to love the body of women, that dirty liar! He said to himself.

She walked over the fountain, he jumped standing when he saw her looking at him, she moved towards him, in every step she took he was creating words to tell her, he will introduce himself, I am Alna’ami, a cop from the station – and he points out to Algeria’s square to assure her that the police station is real-, I was guarding you for years, to assure himself that she knows him, I know them, everyone, all those who curse at you, and curse the one who built you, and the ones who still want you around, he might then tell her about the story of the old lady whom, when moving pass her, always asks God to cover her, as he had covered all of the Muslimat around world, the old lady always timidly looks the other way.

She doesn’t need to introduce herself, he knew from that dream when she came with the gazelle, now, now she came covered in flesh and skin and silky hear, with her holy valley between her legs, dripping pure water on the street, he never fantasized about the holy valley, but when he looked at it, a fire with great flames spread in his heart, his thoughts shattered, all of the stories, the people and the words shattered, she came close like two brakets or even closer, she smiled gently, she was wet, he wrapper his coat around her, she smiled again, he made her sit on his seat and looked at the animal. He was afraid to say anything, but he managed to do so:

  • Hi, I’m Alna’ami, and you’re Gazzela, and that is your guardian.
  • I know, I was monitoring you, I liked how you get jealous, I couldn’t speak to you until I was sure that you’re the chosen one, I came to you once in your dreams. She said.

She told him her story, she expressed how annoyed she was from people looking at her thighs, her hair, exposing her every single moment of the day, she was tired, she said, she was conscious of decades of the eyes following her, the ones amazed sexually and the ones who curse her, she chose him for this mission, and he has to keep it secret, tell no one about her intention to leave, she told him she doesn’t trust the authorities, they might throw her in a museum to profit off of her body, and he, he needs to prepare for the day he has to help her escape, but he must be cautious of the creepers and the spectators, he must first abandon his duty of protecting her. He asked her how, she said that he needs to leave the police, and to volunteer as a civilian to watch and study the place, to watch the prostitutes that fill the place, the cops who will be in charge of protecting her and the traffic police, the café costumers, to find the exact moment to snatch her from the fountain, she explained her detailed plan, she told him that everything will be fine if he didn’t draw eyes to himself, he has to walk around wearing the clothes of the fools, the clothes of the poor and the homeless, she moved her hand on his head, he trembled, she calmed him “ don’t be afraid, this to help you seem like a fool”, she held his hand and moved it to her right breast, he felt the warmth, she told him that one day she will be his, she can’t wait for that day where he takes her to see the city, sleeps with him in the comfort of his bed not afraid of the watching eyes, he was happy, he moved towards her to kiss her, she refused, she told him “ everything you want, we will do, but wait for the signal, the day that Tripoli becomes easy to take, and the atmosphere could help, now, relax, take your nap, the time will come when I come to you and tell you that I’m yours”, and he slept.

******

He woke up, he found himself on a white bed, he freaked out, he was sweating, water was coming out of his pores like a fountain, he saw a girl wearing a white dress in the room which was filled with the scent of alcohol , he terrified the girl with his sudden waking, she almost screamed, he asked her “ Where is Gazella? Where is she?”, she got out of the room immediately, he was a madman, he felt a killer heat spreading over his body, it was hell inside him, he broke down and fell asleep again.

************

Gazella Square, Tripoli.

The sun is covering the open space where the buildings and trees gather and the Italian civilization manifests itself as a girl and her gazelle overlooking the tides of the Mediterranean sea, people from all kinds belong to the particular life style of the garden that surrounds the fountain, from gangsters, to old people sleeping under the trees dreaming of Oya beer, cafes that produce carbon monoxide and voices of people having “Byzantine arguments”, taxi drivers harassing young gazelles trying to cross the road, a police officer standing under the sun’s blades that could cut him in half, it was said that most people who get headaches are police officer, the sun marks itself on their skin and turns them to bronze skeletons.

Alna’ami was one of those officers ‘slapped’ by the sun, he had a body of wheat plant, the wind can easily make his upper body dance, inside his suit, he looks like a young kid trying to fit into a one-year older outfit, wide eyes that remind you of Kermit the frog, he was managing to keep his good looks though, everyday he shaved his lizard-like skin after a long shower where he masturbates, he always brush his Greek curly hair, and over sprays cologne on his neck and jaw, he wears  his police uniform which he ironed the night before and then gets inside his Taxi Cab, he tries to run the engine by working the two electric tails together, then, he drives in his casual morning routine, he drives people around for the first two hours, he shares his stories like every cab driver, he talks politics, social science and the changing mood of the people of the country, he always links his stories to the Gazelle’s garden, if the government did some maintenance work to the Statue, he says that there is still hope in the country and that the government is doing its best, if the garden goes for months uncleaned, he then says that all those in power are corrupt. After finishing his morning taxi job, he knows them all, he knows them from their clothes, the way they talk, the way they move and the way they look at his beloved, he manages to get the traffic right and then he stops to smoke a cigarette and just enjoy the view of the beauty and the beast, his limited movements allowed him to mark the place in his head, and remember every little detail inside.

Life got its way with Alna’ami, he was easy to work with, he was not that stubborn child that life can sometimes have trouble stopping, he was a mouse on a wheel, the wheel doesn’t move until a button outside is pressed, the mouse can’t reach the button, he is a property of a young girl who loves playing, she found him a small mouse in a field, she put him with sheep, goats and trees that the sheep shouldn’t eat from, and a sadistic father who enjoys beating him for the slightest mistake, the sheep are hard to manage, stupid animals that love to eat the leaves, or just run around, he was a slim kid who got annoyed by them, his day always ended with marks of a beating by a  club or nightstick on his back and shoulders, and with curses, punches and whatever ‘disciplinary’ tools his father found could find, that was his daily routine, until the young girl gave him a chance to sell the sheep for the first time alone, important people bought from him, government employees, merchants and police officers, he sells the animals at a lower price to those he thinks are useful in his future life, and of those who aredeemed ‘useful’, was one powerful police chief. The police chief gave Alna’ami a chance to work in the city, young Alna’ami gifted him an animal for the sake of making things easier, one was able to be employed in the government if one was able to give something valuable, and what can be more valuable than a free sheep in Eid Aladha?, that was the way things worked back then, one didn’t need interviews, experience or education, all what one needed is to ‘know’ someone.. and some “gift”.

But Alna’ami had this psychological trauma that was probably caused by all of the clubs his father broke on his body across his childhood, he didn’t trust people, he suffered from a speech impediment, and had this fear that things he loves would vanish, and a ghost of a girl he loved one day inside the city. His colleagues called him Alna’ami “TaTaTa” due to his stutter and overuse of syllables, they also called him “the coocoo”, but his most famous nickname was Aln’ami Gezella, the name had a history they said, they said that he loved his cousin whose name is “Gezella” , she was a city girl, the Tripolitania girl who spent a summer in the country where he lived, they said she used him and made him plant his thing inside her thing, she drove him mad until he didn’t know what’s real anymore, in the barn where the sheep live, she landed over his body and you know what they did, things happened, until his father saw him in that disgusting act, he fled the country since then and never went back, that’s what they say.

They also said that Gezella wasn’t just the statute of the Beauty and the Beast for him, it dates back to the first time he saw the statue visiting the city with his father, his father told him to shut his eyes and never look at the naked girl, but he couldn’t resist the temptation, he drifted off with his gaze, and he was woken up then by a hard slap from his father through his face telling him “It’s forbidden, don’t look at her!”, he wondered why nobody ever clothed her, the girl was holding her animal so no one would mess with her, the guardian animal is looking straight to the people walking by. You know, people talk.

Time has passed, when the police station was for the cops along with everything else, a new era has come, with a new kind of police, the statue saw so many of them, Italians, Italian Libyans, Arabized Libyans, African Libyans, and others, the square is full of stories, of people writing about it and of people writing against it, a Shiekh inside a mosque calling for covering the statue with a Neqab, another is calling for the destruction of the symbol of infidels, some poet composing a song about her, a writer wrote a story, you know, Arabs always fight against each other for the sake of women, some tried to vandalize it once, they put a hole in the body of the girl so no Jin could ever possess her, so she doesn’t play with young people’s minds, did she play with Alna’ami’s mind? The Jin who lived inside her might be the same mermaid who once had this land cursed forever after the Sultan harassed her, or she might be the Medusa that led Poseidon’s wives to turn her into an inferno, a desert that only grows civil wars, dictatorships.

Light was creeping across the old almost ancient window, photons were creeping inside like an artist who invented a new color, the photons were playing on a bed sheet, at which there was a body of a sleeping man drowning in sweat, memories creeped inside Alna’ami’s mind, dreams, dark ones followed him, he saw himself climbing a mountain, and he almost reached its’ peak, he was tired, tiredness ate his body and wanted him to surrender, he needed to get to the peak, so he continued, a volcano blew up when he was almost at the top, suddenly he went down running, the lava chasing him into an elevated rock, he saw his redemption on the rock, he stood there where the lava almost reached him, the mountain on which he stands turned into a body of an old man, a man he knew in his childhood holding a club, the lava over his head is revolting, fire turned into a whip that the man uses to whip him with nowhere to go, he was crying, his skin was melting, he couldn’t take it anymore. So he woke up…when he did, he found the girl in white, he screamed at her face: Gazella? Where is she? And he fell back asleep and resumed his coma, for a week he was fainting and then waking up to shout the name, after a week a month passed by, they didn’t know of any family he had, no one visited him except for some colleagues from his job that used to come by from time to time. He woke up finally to see his Doctor talking with one of his colleagues, the Doctor told the man that the hospital will not be responsible for him anymore and that the police station has to find somewhere or someone to take care of him, he will die in a few days, the Doctor said. Alna’ami slept again. The doctors were tired of the man who is taking a bed that they can benefit from, they dispatched him, his colleague drove him home to continue fainting there,  he lived in pain for days, he forgot his job, and his job forgot him, days flipped him just like pages in a book of a bookworm, when he came back to life, he came back with a strange look on his face, he walked out barefoot with dirty clothes to the Gazella’s garden, slept there on the cold seats, looking at his statute, at the people and shouting things that people forgot about.

He lived in the garden, made friends with the cats, the homeless, the prostitutes and the potheads, he always slept in front of his beloved statue waiting for her signal, but she didn’t, she started to come to his dreams just to kiss him and then disappears, he wakes up with wet pants.

He studied the place, the garden café’s customers’ cars, and which ones would be able to carry the statue, the feet that go home late, when do the cars vanish from the place, he kept a bag of hammers and tools that he goes around with everywhere, the police, his old colleagues got used to his vandalization of the place every now and then.

Remember, Remember the 4th of November, it was 2014, she came to him in his dream and told him, now it is the time to move on with the plan, they will be finally united, he must find a way to drive her into a safe place, he remembered his old house, the place he used to live when he was “sane”, that will be his safe house, it was abandoned and no one in his neighborhood dared to get inside but the potheads, rumor had it that a Jin lived in the house which possed Alna’ami and drove him Alna’ami.

That night he chose a truck, he was following its owner for days, this man always gets in the café and spends hours inside, he sneaked besied the car to deflate the four wheels, the owner will come by late at night and find his car uncapable of moving, so he will leave it, he tried this same trick before and it worked.

He waited until he could break the window of the truck, and with a little experience that he learned from working on his old cab he managed to hot wire the car and turn on the engine, he carried his tools and drove to his target, dark was the city, so he got comfortable, he is now in the hour when no soul is moving. He tied the statue with a rope and tried to topple it with his truck’s horsepower, he broke the base with his hammer, he was calm, sure that everything will be alright, the truck with big wheels had a hard time and almost gave up on pulling out the statue, but eventually, the beauty and the beast were finally displaced from their fountain, when he managed to do so, he suddenly remembered that he didn’t think it trough, he didn’t figure out how he was going to move the statue, it was too heavy, and he will not be free to move around the city with the statue in the back of the truck, he is in trouble, it was something he couldn’t think about, he thought that he should run and hide, he knew he had to leave the place, he approached the statue to look for Gazella but he couldn’t find her, he thought that he will find her body under the copper, but he didn’t.

He saw a light approaching him fast from a distance, the light was getting closer each second, he fled, if they found him he will be burned to death just like his father did to him, he hid under one of the bushes, and watched the source of the light as it arrived at the scene, it was two military trucks with armed men inside, they spread all over the place, his heart beat got stronger, he watched the statue, he was still convinced that his beloved must be there, the men worked together to move the statue and get it on one of the trucks, where did she go? He said, where? Where is Gazella? Why didn’t she follow him? Did she get upset because he abandoned her? He is no man, he couldn’t even protect her, he blamed himself. He remembered another Gazella, he took away her virginity and ran away to the city, he was not a man then and he is not a man now, that’s what he was telling himself, where does he go now? to die? Nobody will manage to beat him with a club if he did, no one will whip him, or make fun of him, and no girl would trick him, he watched the armed men as they left with his statue and vanish in the dark, he cried, he had a shaving knife, the same one he used to shave his beard with every day. He shaved his life away.

[1] Romi: Romi (Arabic) Romans, it is a word to describe Europeans (White people).

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