Good Muslim Boy

Good Muslim Boy by Osamah Sami Read Free Book Online

Book: Good Muslim Boy by Osamah Sami Read Free Book Online
Authors: Osamah Sami
Tags: Ebook
yelled. She was the most
loving person in my entire world. I wondered what would happen if a bomb was dropped
on me. Would I see my guts gush out my body? Would I be cool to look at then? Would
the girl across the street find my charred remains and say, ‘That’s the Arab boy
who never said hi to me’?
    ‘Keep going,’ whispered Moe. ‘Mum will hit us. But she won’t, you know, kill -kill
    But her voice was getting closer and I convinced him to listen. We ran downstairs
to join our mother and our aunties, who were shepherding dozens of people into the
    We huddled in. Moe was gloating about winning Drunk Russian, but people weren’t paying
enough attention. To correct this, he started slowly pulling down his undies to reveal
his bum crack. I remember the disgusted looks on the girls all around.
    Then a series of bombs rocked the bunker for the longest time. All banter and laughter
and chatter stopped. Debris fell through the air holes. The girls and boys cried;
the women too. Our home was finally nothing but a smouldering carcass.
    And then it hit me, the worst thing, the irreparable thing. My youngest brother was
still up there, transfixed by the noisy, colourful sky. Mum’s headcount had come
two minutes too late.
    Mum never spoke about that day ever again, though her moist eyes painted melancholic
pictures of lament at random.

A cow on the last day of the war
    Dad was still not home, but the promise was he would be home soon. On this last day
of the war, the oil rigs were burning, making a hot day hotter. They would burn for
a long time.
    And there was a cow—one cow, indifferently grazing.
    And then a long train of Iraqi POWs, all with their hands on their heads, walking
in single file.
    All life had drained from their bodies, these weary hordes. The Iranian company leading
them looked equally worn. The only difference was the Iraqis all had bushy moustaches;
the Iranians had beards. Beards versus moustaches. That’s all.
    The Iranians pointed their guns at the Iraqis and told them to keep walking, in way-past-reluctant
    Where they had come from, where they were going—all of this a mystery.
    I just saw soldiers leading soldiers while the cow chewed on the shrubs.

    Mashhad, Iran, 2013: six days until visa expires
    When I finally drag myself out of the shower, it’s 5 am. I get dressed and go downstairs.
    The concierge kindly reminds me that I am to check out this morning (and since the
hotel’s booked to the rafters, I really do have to). Dad and I were meant to head
back to Qom today. I have a plane to catch. What with the Imam Reza commemoration
and all, how will I get another flight? I have to take the police chief the envelope.
I assure the receptionist I’ll be back.
    I cab it to Kalantari 27, where activity has quadrupled since last night. The guards
at the door frisk me. I head up to see the chief.
    The chief is out on patrol. Instead, I get a sergeant. I explain my situation—the
hotel, the flight, the body. He dunks a sugar cube in his tea and shuts his eyelids
for two whole seconds. He reopens them, nodding his head slightly. He takes a sip
of his tea and goes on with his business.
    At eight-thirty the chief shows up and heads to his office. He closes the door before
I can get a word in. He’s a short man—that’s all I have time to absorb.
    Just after ten o’clock, the chief opens his door. He twitches his index finger to
call me into the room.
    ‘So you had nothing to do with the man’s death?’ He asks.
    ‘The man,’ I say. ‘My dad.’
    ‘Hmm,’ he says. ‘Son, do you know how many family homicide cases I’ve done?’ He
says this so dramatically I have to stifle a laugh. He squints his eyes and studies
me. I’m too worn out to protest. I just have to wait until he’s done X-raying my
    He asks me to go through the events again. I walk him through them. As I speak, he
cross-checks my story against the statement

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