Wednesday, 30 June 2010

In the Store

             His belly hangs from the bottom of a shirt shrunken in disgust of a skin swollen with the smell of thirst. While thin long hairs, rudely erected, like whiskers of a cockroach cowardly hiding from light behind a toilet seat.

            Like holes in a wall that two bullets claim their home are his small rounded eyes.  His nose almost as a cigarette butt broken up in fragments of burning tobacco leaves. His mouth, a copper ashtray that exhales growling breaths in the waist of a mount cursed by the gods. His feet barely lifted off the ground as he marches, and when moving they sweep the ground leaving behind the pain of the sound. His clinging fingers, swollen and bloated by a dilation of stupidity and his hand resembles to a shovel stained with remains of dark soil.

          He looks among the alignment of bags for the largest, the one that holds any single added candy. Patiently he spears his hand into the wooden belly of the closet. His persistence drives the bags to evade his grip in a chaotic cacophony and arises in me the urgent desire to move the cup of coffee away from my lips.

            I look away, a man in a boat who throws an outspread net awaiting to capture any transient coincidence.

            He stands right next to me, the smell of months of rivalry with water pierces the bottom of my skull. Dense fog spreads into a sharp pain in my brain. Like a ballista, he raised a hand holding up his chosen bag of candy. From his other hand fell a pale yellow coin on the table.

            Without lifting her eyes off his repulsive presence in her shop, she picks up the coin with her fingertips and throws it disdainfully into the drawer.

            Before his corpus dissolves out of the shop, she glides in like a cat. Crossing his passage, a teenager enters avoiding imaginary eyes on her body, and then stretches the end of her shirt over her small butt. She picks out colorful forms of candy and pays in hurry fearing I may have briefly rested my eyes upon any of her juvenile body details.

            I observed the coffee poured in the open mouth of my cup that was empty at the moment another stranger stepped in. A man stained with the color of fatigue, asked for the placement of alcohol bottles, their prices and then leaned his head thinking. He counted the remaining hours of the night ahead, a night contaminated with solitude. He requested the largest, paid the woman the price of his bed partner, his future, and his dreams, then crumbled away and off the chase of my pursuing eyes.

            I put the edge of the cup on my lower lip, and let the coffee descend in smoothly like a healing medicine for that imposed visit.

            I took one step backward; behind me the ghost of a woman comes through the door. I smelled, like a hunting dog, the scent of a wounded femininity, and before I decayed from the sight of the shop owner she asked me:
            - "Didn't you come to buy your cigarettes today?"

            I, like a demon who has just tricked a novice angel into his first sin, smiled, crossed the street corner reiterating as an old mill in the midst of a storm:
            - "No not today… Suddenly I am here to shop for characters for my new novel."

* * * * * * *
For the original Arabic post press Here

Thank you to all those who helped me translate this short story.  Generosity is, above all, measured by the time you give to others. And i am really greatful.

Dear Reader/Friend thank you for the time you spend reading what i write, and if you can spare some more to help with a better translation, or contribute in translating other pieces i wrote, please contact me. 

One last word, I dedicate the translation of this short story to Uli and thank you for your support.


  1. as original as you, pascal :)

  2. Will return to it a few more times to absorb each thought and word... So happy to be able to read you at last. What an experience! :-))

  3. very well articulation (that apply as well to the lebanese salesman character)

  4. ...I loved the last line! "... Suddenly I am here today to shop for characters for my new novel."


  5. I didn't get surprised by the ending as I did when I red the Arabic version for the first time. Still, I love that outlandish ending.

    I refuse to compare your translated articles with the original ones, simply because you are writer not a translator.

    Great work man, hope to read more

  6. Excellent read..I can feel every sentence. I too, especially like the unexpected truly have a gift! Happy I'm finally able to indulge!