By Nelson Lowhim
Copyright 2012 Nelson Lowhim
This is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any
resemblance to real people, living or dead or otherwise, is purely coincidental.
Walid sat at a table across from Mahmud. All Mahmud did was look at him, shaking
his head. None of Walid’s apologies worked. He woke up with sweat gluing his shirt to
Walid's sleeping wife stirred, but soon returned to her steady breathing. He swung
out of bed, and walked out to the lawn, listening to helicopters in the distance. He was
tired of the sound. The steady beat of an American machine gun started up, hitting a note
inside his chest. Either someone was standing up to them, or they were shooting at
shadows. Walid lit a cigarette and shivered as cold Baghdadi air leaked into his blood.
The Samarra Mosque had been bombed earlier that morning, and though he still felt
anger, he wasn’t certain what to do about it.
“Walid, they’re coming!” Haji Salaam yelled
Walid turned. His mind lingered on last night's dream. Smoke from late morning
fires thickened the air and blurred the street. They had just set up a checkpoint, and he
wasn’t certain if Haji was joking.
“The Americans,” Haji yelled, as he climbed into his car.
“The bridge to Azamiya.” Haji started his car.
No way, thought Walid, he had promised last night to get at least one.
“Get back out, they are at least five daqa'iq away,” Walid said. He tried to stop his
voice from quivering. Normally, he would've done exactly what Haji was doing.
They were parked on the side of a small road that was regularly used by people who
tried to avoid the main street's traffic. Taking a deep breath, Walid pulled out his
handgun, and pointed it at the first car that came down the potholed street. He hoped it
would stop; he knew he wasn’t going to shoot.
“Identification. Where are you from?” Walid asked the driver.