Fishing in Beirut

April 4, 2010

Part 6: Things As They Are (scene 13)

Filed under: Character : Djinn, Part 6: Things As They Are — fishinginbeirut @ 10:49

Djinn stood by his window in the morning. Sun shone through. Across the street a girl passed slowly, and returned soon after with a bakery bag. She retraced the way she’d come, looking mildly about at the neighbourhood. Her pastries or whatever swung at her side.
He stretched and stood a little longer. He smoked his last cigarette. Scratching at his close-cut beard he felt a sharp unpleasantness, and realised he’d opened a spot or cut unknown to him. A perfect circle of blood ringed his fingertip.
He left it there, feeling it drying, and walked about the room to be prepared. He’d found a job stocking shelves in a supermarket, his unwillingness to talk not a hindrance or a strain. He performed his tasks robotically, apart.
He cleaned around his apartment, washing a dishcloth and replacing it. The wet one he hung off the sill. His cutlery was spotless and in the cupboard, his knife, fork, two plates. His routine in the mornings was the same.
After, he took a bus to go to work. An Arab was staring at a white woman who climbed aboard, flicking his tongue, his eyes cold and hard. Djinn was disgusted by them both. The man for betraying himself, the other an impure bitch. He cast his eyes down in indignation.
At his stop he alighted, and strode past the guard without hello. He changed in the storeroom, the red jacket and white shirt, and made his way to the soft drinks section. Stocks were running low, the orange and lemon Fanta, and he walked quickly to the stores to replenish them. A child banged into him and apologised.
Stacking these bottles of sugared piss in silence, he accidentally dropped one, and it bounced off the floor. It was a cartoon liquid, not fit for human consumption. He picked it up, poison sloshing about, and offered it to the hapless infant, still standing alongside, eyeing the colas. The kid made a scowl and ran away.
An old woman enquired after pastis, what price it was and where it might be kept. He was less than civil and she took umbrage. Her throat bulged, puffing up and swelling in the manner of the bullfrog. Her voice was barely a croak.
He got the wretched drink. Procured it from another aisle, and entrusted it to her bosom. She gasped and her eyes grew wide. She tottered toward the checkout unsteadily. He was certain she’d complain and didn’t care.
The night he spent alone like every other. What need had he for friends? He smoked, planned, occasionally played solitaire. With a three card turnover to make it last. He had learned so much about patience, had become so attuned to its nature with time, that this game was his life in miniature, his being. He reshuffled the deck and dealt again.

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