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Arab Spring is Over

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  #1  
Old 06-14-2018, 12:21 PM
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Default Arab Spring is Over


Why does it have to be tonight, I thought, walking up the stairs that led to my friend Hamid’s apartment. It was on the fifth floor of a slender building that did not have a lift. He was engrossed in a pile of tobacco when I entered.

“Man, come on over,” he said with a wave of his hand. “This shit is the cream of the fucking crop.” He held up a cellophane packet plump with oil, unfolded it and asked me to smell the contents.

“It’s good, it’s very good,” I said after a couple of sniffs; lately it had become something of a routine with us. I made myself comfortable on the peach coloured sofa and tried not to think about the job.

Hamid was scooping up the contents with his large thumb and running a flame over it. All the while he was talking about how much money he’d make if the deal went through.

“We’re gonna be reeech,” he said. “You and me, man. When we roll this shit, the whole town’s going to be after us. There’s nothing like this. You see how runny it is? The hallmark of good stuff. Shit’s pure as shit.”

“Look, Hamid,” I began. He glanced at me, his thickly bearded face cocked to one side, eyes crinkling. “There’s something I need to tell you.”

“You gotta smoke some first,” he said offering me a fat joint.

“See, Issey doesn’t…doesn’t want you to be involved anymore,” I said, gently brushing his hand aside.

Hamid’s face froze in a smile and slowly, almost imperceptibly, turned stony.
“He sent you to tell me this?”

“Look, I can’t defend you anymore Hamid. All that shit you said to those guys at the meeting the day before. That really pissed them off you know. And Issey too.”

“Oh, that?” Hamid mumbled flicking his lighter, the joint dangling from his thick black lips. “They were insulting the Prophet. You know how I get when people insult the Prophet.”

“They were talking about Arabs for fuck’s sake, not the Prophet.”

“The Arabs are the Prophet’s people,” he said blowing out a ring of smoke. “Insulting them is tantamount to insulting the Prophet as far as I’m concerned.”

“But those guys were our suppliers. They can say whatever the fuck they want. Do you realise how much we’ve lost because of you?”

Hamid leaned forward and inhaled; a hiss emerged from between his clenched teeth.

“This shit that you’re smoking is all we have left of the good stuff, Hamid. We’ve lost our contact. If you hadn’t lost your fucking head…”

“What’s done is done,” he said, sinking back into his armchair.

“I’m worried about you, bro. This shit isn’t doing you any good. You can’t be smoking and running a fucking enterprise. You’ve been off your game for a while now. People are talking you know.”

“Let them talk, what do they know?”

“That’s the thing man, you don’t listen. You’re too…how many times has Issey told you to cut down? You’re high as a motherfucker, tripping the whole fucking day away. You’ve got to clean yourself up. Go to a fucking detox clinic. You’ve got to get back to being a normal guy.”

“I am normal,” he exhaled in my face and grinned, exposing two neat rows of teeth yellowed with tobacco.

“You’re hopeless,” I said lighting up a cigarette. “Issey won’t see you anymore. You’re lucky he didn’t have you beaten up. He was livid. I’d never seen him like that.”

“Fuck him,” he said.

“No, fuck you. You’ve ruined everything. You’re hanging by a fucking thread and you can’t see that.”

“So you’re on his side huh? Fine, get the fuck out.” He stood up and walked towards the door.

I put my cigarette in the ashtray, got up, and stood behind him; he had a good six inches on me and was brawnier, but I had done this before. I reached into my back pocket, whipped it out and ran it hard and deep along the front of his neck. His legs buckled and he crashed to the floor gasping, blood spurting from the gash. I’d got the carotid. He was done. I stood over him and felt a wave of regret and nausea.

I dashed into the bathroom, puked into the toilet and flushed. I washed the blood off my arms and the knife. Then I went back into the living room, removed my half-smoked cigarette from the ashtray, opened the front door slightly and looked. There was nobody about. I ran down the stairs.

Down the road was a white Mitsubishi with tinted windows. I climbed into the passenger seat.

“Arab Spring’s over,” I said.

“Good,” came the reply from the front. “Most good.”

I got out of my shirt; cut it up with the knife and put both in a bag on the back seat.

“Dubai’s great this time of the year, eh?”

“Yes,” said Issey turning his tiny head towards me. “Time to go shopping.”

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  #2  
Old 06-20-2018, 06:49 AM
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This is a plausible scenario and you evoke it well. I like the term 'slim building' but you don't come up with with any vivid phrases like that when describing the interior of the flat. Too much description can bog stories down, but perhaps one or two more details or metaphors would good. Even so, overall its a good short story.
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:40 AM
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hey thanks for gifting thanks guys. means a lot coming from you.
and thanks for the comment ian g, i'll see what i can do. you have been a faithful commenter on my stuff. i'll reciprocate i swear. does anyone think much of chilean chardonnay? i don't but god i'm drinking it.
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Old 06-21-2018, 08:11 AM
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I like the title and the punctuation seemed good. Without more backstory, I don't buy the plot. Thanks.
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:23 AM
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ah crap. thanks though jim for the read. does anyone else think this needs more back story to make it believable? i have to say people have been killed for much less where i'm from. hell, a prominent blogger was stabbed to death last year for allegedly offending islam.
drug dealers of the sort i was trying to portray here are a vicious bunch. they won't think twice about eliminating someone they perceive to be a threat or an obstacle to their business.
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Old 06-21-2018, 08:40 PM
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It’s good, but it’s not a complete short story or a solid piece of flash fiction. It’s a vignette. It shows us an aspect of this character, but there’s no beginning, middle, and end. There’s no real story arc. It’s a scene. And, it’s the climactic scene, potentially.

The main character is the same person he was after the murder (he’d done it before). He learns nothing. There is no other aspect of his personality which is shown to us (the reader).
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:03 AM
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thanks brian. yes. that's a fair assessment of what i've done.
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:33 PM
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Terrific writing, and I felt like I was in the room with them. The only thing for me was that the main protagonist was saying things like: "I'm worried about you bro'", and seemed to be pleading with him to change his ways; seemed to genuinely care about him. And then he suddenly kills him. The shift was just a little bit too sudden for me. Very effective, and it shocked me right enough - but a bit too sudden for my liking. Otherwise great.
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