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Haytham El-Wardany

mr. fahmy was attending the farewell party of a friend of his, where he met the other members of the band for the first time. they were still into the game of 'put it, drag it and take it'. the moment these phrases occured in conversations, or any other verb of moving combined with the pronoun 'it', the crowd would immediately single them out, and repeat them ironicly, to hint, in a supposedly canny way, at a hidden meaning of 'it'. so any conversation either turned absurd by reverberating the moving parts of it, or was dismissed if it didn't have any; the idea was not having conversations with any kind of meaning after all, but to choose between to join the crowd and play the game, or to sit in silence. this was a group-check which mr. fahmy thought it had found an end after its golden times during puberty. thus he was extremly surprised to meet such devoted followers now.

the musicians watched a match of the national team on satellite channel while eating barbecued steaks, then they prayed together the evening prayer. afterwards they watched music clips on rotana channel, monitoring the names of the new singers. all of this with non-stop putting it, dragging it and taking it. mr. fahmy thought this is the fridge no doubt. these are very adult people, but living far away from their homes, and according to the culture fridge theory the ones who leave preserve unchangeably all they brought. the result is an archive of habits and ideas long outdated, but survived thanks to the cold of distance.

at last the check was over, and joints went around. the nay player sat peacefully among his farewellers dreaming of his future life. he was going to go back to his city after 15 years. the drum player said that it was sad, and the lute player said that it was an unresponsible decision against the band, and the other drum player said: what will you do there? how will you live? but the nay player said: and what i am doing here? i play in a folklore band wearing a galabia to get a living, performing for people who don't understand what i sing, and i don't understand what they say. and he added, amused: at least i will not have to wear the galabia there.

on the way back home said mr. fahmy to himself: as a citizen of the fridge i will go to the bar and have a beer, like all the respectable people here are doing after a heavy day. he sat drinking from his glass and thinking about the party, and his friend whom he would not see again, until a young guy asked him for a cigarette and then for a lighter. they chatted aimlessly for a while, and mr. fahmy was proud of how he moved smoothly with his partner from one track to the next. they talked about the weather, then about american politics and the war, then they reached the rising prices and the difficulties to find jobs. it was a typical small talk, but the best mr. fahmy ever did he thought, and he felt an ambiguous intimacy. the guy mentioned that he was working in a recently opened biergarten. mr. fahmy said concerned: really! i have been there a couple of times, it is such a nice place. and he became motivated saying that the location is calm, and the service is good. then he added out of being honest that the only disturbance is the music, it is a bit loud.
- it is the first time that someone complains about the music, but i will pass that on to my colleagues. you know, we are doing our best to have a comfortable atmosphere.
- oh, definitely!
- we are also concerned to have a multi cultural atmosphere. you can come with your family and children.
- of course, but i don't have any.
- you can come with your parents and friends, we really love to host all different cultures.
- ... my parents?!
- be sure that our place welcomes all different cultures.
- ...
Starship Nummer 11, Seiten 35ff