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The Circle of the Retired Intellectuals

Najati Al-Bukhari

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

In the morning of the next day, Amr gets up early in the morning with the sunrise. The climate becomes little by little fine and refreshing. Indeed, the nice and much adored spring season is coming to its end.

The summer season is very active to make its coming arrival felt by all people. The weather would be better and hotter till the mid-day and even in the first part of the afternoon.

The smiling sun is sending now into the bedroom of Amr its dancing rays. It lets its light spread everywhere in the bedroom of the ex-consul who feels the warmth penetrating rapidly into all parts of his body.

While he is still in his bed, Amr asks Abdu, his servant, to serve him his morning cup of coffee while he is still in bed. It seems he finds more pleasure and satisfaction, delight and contentment when he takes his coffee while he is still in his bed.

Of course, Abdu has to obey and do whatever his master asks. He would have preferred if his master had chosen to wake up and start moving in the bedroom and in the veranda. Abdu knows by now that his master has spent five hours in each of the past three days sitting in the house of the bereaved family.

The servant brings to his master the cup of coffee which was prepared in the kitchen instantaneously by the maid servant. Abdu goes after that to the bathroom to prepare it for the use of his master. Abdu is sure that his master will be in need of having a long dip in the bathtub so as to relax his muscles especially those of his legs.

After the coffee, Amr goes to the bath-room without any hesitation. Instead of having his bath in the bath-tub, as his servant expected, he stands naked under the shower. This shower continues for a comparatively long time, more than half an hour. Normally, he finishes his shower in ten minutes. After the shower he feels that he has re-vitalized and has been given by God the Al-mighty a new life. Amr really enjoyed his shower. He decides to take such a shower daily at the end of the day throughout the summer season. Amr decides from now on, hence forwards, to have most of the time in the shower, and not the bath-tub for the purposes of his bath. In this case he does not have the need of the presence of either his male servant or his old female servant to help him in washing him in the tub. However, he does not mind the presence of either, the servant or the maid, in the bathroom to be ready to offer him any aid he asks for. He tells himself that the old maid is of the age of his mother and the servant is of the age of a son, in case he has one.

For the whole morning, Amr does nothing. He roams about in the various parts and rooms of the house. However, he does not feel that he is lost or has been wasting his time. Actually, it is during the morning that Amr reads and goes through the daily newspaper for several times. He keeps the daily newspaper with wherever he goes in the various parts of the house. Sometimes, he stops and seats himself somewhere, like of the carpet, to have a more intensive and scrutinizing look at certain pages of the daily paper. His final aim is to update the daily program for his condolences visits. He looks at his visits program again and again.

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Reader
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

Sometimes, and very frequently, he calls his servant Abdu to consult him regarding addresses and family background of families of persons who died recently. The master of the house has in the pocket of his silk robe de chamber a pencil and a fountain pen to use when needed in making continuous changes and corrections in the visits program.

By lunch time, Amr would stop any work regarding the program of the daily visits to the bereaved families. By lunch time Amr would have finished the last version of the revised program of condolence visits in the coming three days. Of course, all the details of the visits are taken from the daily newspaper.

One of the bereaved families to be visited during the coming three days, Amr has chosen a bereaved family to be visited whose father and mother were discovered dead in their beds. According to the new given in the daily newspaper it is said that the main reason for the death of the father and the mother in their beds was a heart attack.

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The death of the father and the mother and at the same time and in their beds is a rare case in the history of the quarter of the rich and in the history of the city and in the community. How could both, the father and the mother, die at the same time and at the same place and, most important, both of a heart attack.

The curious nature of this news item mentioned and reported in the newspaper has encouraged Amr to include this family of his program of condolence visits. It is planned and especially in the case of this bereaved family, that Amr would visit this family for three consecutive days.

He plans also to stay each day for five hours, starting from five o'clock in the late afternoon till ten in the evening. However, there are other bereaved families mentioned in the daily newspaper. In each case, either one or two members have died at the same time. Each bereaved family deserves to be visited not only once but also for more than one day.

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By now, after several days spent in carrying out condolence visits, the ex-consul believes that he has by now gained a lot of experience in the field of life and death. Gradually he is adapting himself to the new way of life he is leading. The Quarter of the Rich and even the whole city look to be a place where there is nothing except death, funerals, graves, tombs, cemeteries and condolences.

This time Amr feels himself to be more motivated and more enthusiastic than before for visiting the houses of bereaved families. Amr is very happy and satisfied to come to the important conclusion that the experiences in carrying out condolence visits have given him satisfaction and pleasure.

Still Standing
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

As usual, Abdu, the servant, reminds his master of the time in which he has to leave the house. Then he reminds the master of the name of the family to be visited and their address.

At exactly five o'clock, Amr sits in his car behind the steering wheel. Of course, the destination is the house of the family of Chabaan. In few minutes time, the car is parking in front of the bereaved family house. Even though it is early for the visit, several cars should be seen parking either in the neighboring narrow paths or in the alleys that could be detected here and there.

By chance, there is a place in which the car could be parked. At the entrance of the house, a long line of men of various ages are standing to receive the visitors and the consolers. At least fifteen men are standing in front of the house. Really all of them are engulfed in sadness and submerged in sorrow.

One or two young men in the line are weeping. They wipe out their tears with their white handkerchief. Probably, most of those men in the line are the sons of two the dead with the exception of three or four of them who could be the brothers and the cousins of the two dead, the mother and the father.

The house of the bereaved family could be considered as a very beautiful small palace. Half of it is built of marble imported from some European countries. The architects of the palace were brought from France. The palace is surrounded from all parts with gardens.

More than three swimming pools are available in the midst of an ever green garden. Two more swimming pools have been built inside the complex of the palace.

Nobody knows how the Chabaan family has become extremely rich. It is said that the family has been recently very active in some smuggling activities. It is said also that the main item smuggled is the various forms and types of the intoxicating drugs. This is only a rumor. Nothing at all is sure except that this family was poor and all of a sudden it became rich.

All the members of this family have become rich in the sense that each member lives like a prince. In summary, it is said that the house contains twenty five rooms of various sizes, including six salons, several hall, sitting rooms, dining rooms etc. etc. The main salon of this palace is so vast, immense, colossal and extensive that it could accommodate more than one hundred fifty visitor and guests. It is like the main hall in a real royal palace.

On the door steps of the main entrance to the palace of the bereaved family stand the members of the family in sorrow who receive the visitors and the consolers. Amr is really surprised and astonished when three men come to him, one of twenty years, the other of fifty years and the third of seventy years old.

All three are dressed in black suits, costumes, and all three have around their necks black neck-ties. The three have on their feet black shining shoes. The three stand around Amr and the three shake hands with the important visitor, consoler.

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Of course, the ex-consul does not know at all why he is treated in this strange and unusual way as if he is a member of a royal family. The three men escort Amr to the place where he would be seated. The three escorts take Amr to a very special room which has an area double that of a normal room. It seems that this room has undergone quick and some basic changes last night. In the middle of the room is placed a huge and a big canapé, a sofa, made up of rare wood that looks to be real gold. The canapé is covered with blue velvet as if it is intended to be for seating a prince or a king or an emperor.

The three escorts lead the special visitor, consoler, to the centre of the royal room and invite Amr to seat himself in the luxurious, sumptuous and gorgeous canapé-throne. The special guest gets completely surprised and totally astonished, stunned and dazed and amazed.

Amr asks himself, 'What is going on in this house? Why am I treated like a prince or like a king? Am I really in a house in bereavement and sorrow? Who are those escorts? Why am I treated differently from the others?'

However, the three escorts, more or less, oblige forcefully, and in a compelling way, Amr to be seated in the very special canapé. The special guest accepts, in spite of himself, to be seated in this magnificent and luxurious sofa.

When he is seated Amr feels that he is treated as if he is a descendant of a royal family. By now this special room in the house of the bereaved family is almost filled by other ordinary and simple citizens, the other visitors and consolers. Most of those who are seated in this room are more or less old in age, probably most of them in the retirement age.

The visitors, the consolers, who are already seated, start to stare at the man sitting in the middle of the vast and spacious room in a luxurious seat which seems to be like a throne, a royal throne and nothing else.

The visitors, the consolers, continue to gaze at the man sitting in the throne. Amr who has been seated in this sumptuous throne is wondering why those visitors, who are seated in the room are looking at him with respect, reverence and veneration. The ex-consul is amazed and stunned to see visitors looking at him as if he is a holy man.

Amr asks himself whether he is in a circus or in an arena in an amphitheatre of bull-fighting. At last, he doubts whether he is actually in a house in sorrow or what??

However, the three men who escorted Amr to his seat are just standing behind the seat in the middle of the spacious room. These persons stand like three statues without making any movement, uttering any word, or giving a simple smile. Nevertheless, the three are very alert and watchful.

Shopping with Mom
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

After much thinking and reflection to track down a reasonable explanation for the way the members of the bereaved family are treating him, he arrives at the conclusion that the members of the family of the dead consider him as their king, at least during the three days of condolences. At long as he is seated in the luxurious throne he cannot be but a king for the three hours during which he would be here.

Amr asks himself, 'The king of what, of whom and why? Who are the citizens of his kingdom of the dead?' He thinks that the three men standing behind him are really his guards. 'But guards against what? Is he in danger?' Amr asks himself these complicated and ambiguous questions.

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Of course, there are other questions in his spirit and in his mind regarding the complicated situation in which he discovers himself. Naturally, it is very obvious that Amr is in no position to be able to give an answer to any of the questions that disturb and annoy him. Again he becomes conscious of his actual situation. He discovers himself sitting on a throne in the middle of the spacious room. Amr realizes that he is submerged in an ambiguous and abnormal situation.

The impasse in which he is trapped is very difficult to face and to overcome. As it is expected all the visitors sitting in the spacious room are still staring at the man seated in the throne, or on the decorated canapé, the sofa.

Amr from his high seat could see everybody in the room. He could see how they are continuously looking at him with amazement and veneration. Unfortunately, he could not, in any case, hear what they are saying about him. Indeed, he does not have the capabilities and the competences to read their lips from a distance.

The retired consul continues and for a long time to talk to himself and in a very low voice as if he is whispering to himself in the middle of the room of the bereaved family house. Of course, others in the room cannot hear what the king of the king of the day of sorrow is telling himself.

Silent Night
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

Amr so far has been sitting in this throne like seat for two complete hours, from five till seven o'clock. His watch tells him that it is seven. The people around him who are seated in the room change continuously. Some consolers come into the room and others leave it. But everybody knows that there is a person sitting on a sofa in the middle of the room.

People tell each other this strange phenomenon, to have somebody sitting in the middle of the room surrounded by three guards. During these two hours of the visit, the visitor in the middle of the room tolerates molestation and harassment. But, unfortunately, Amr starts to get tired and to suffer from being isolated from the others and placed really like a prisoner in the middle of the room.

Hundreds of consolers come into the room and go out of it, but himself, he stays guarded in his seat, the canapé. Every time Amr tries to stand up he is obliged, in a very polite, courteous and respectful manner by the three guards to keep sitting in his throne. His attempts to stand up have been repeated several times. Each time he is vehemently prevented from standing up by one of the guard or by all of them. They tell him that he should keep sitting until the end of the time of the time of bereavement, till ten o'clock.

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Once during this tormenting evening, Amr expresses the desire to go to the toilets, to the W.C. and that he should go directly there. He could not wait at all. Three men of the family are called so as they would accompany him to the toilets.

While Amr is inside the W.C. he hears the three young men talking as follows:

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"Everybody in all the salons, the halls and the rooms speak only about him. All raise the question of why this man comes to the house of the defunct for three consecutive days, every day, from five o'clock till ten. Nobody can give a convincing and a reasonable answer. It is a riddle to all. This man who sits on the canapé, the sofa, like a king, like the king of the family of the defunct, is not at all a relative to the family. He is neither a brother nor a cousin to the family. This strange man remains in his seat for five complete hours motionless. He does not move in his seat. He stays motionless like s statue. This is a very strange behavior and conduct. Nobody else behaves in the same way anywhere in the quarter. It is not reported at all in the annals of our community that a visitor to a bereaved family house remains sitting for five hours. This is a strange behavior and conduct." says one of the three young men.

"I heard that this man who is now in the cabinet of the toilet is an old man in retirement since several weeks. He stays for the whole day as a retired man, doing nothing, like all the retired people in our community. Since some time, this man has become a man who likes to visit the bereaved families in the Quarter of the Rich. The presence of this man in any bereaved family house has become a necessity, a must. He should be present at the bereaved family house for three days. Of course, he cannot be in several bereaved houses at the same time. He is the one who chooses the house in sorrow that should be visited for three days. Nowadays, this man, the old man in retirement, has become very popular. He is in demand everywhere. All rich families wish his presence in the three days of bereavement and condolences."

"It is reported that some families kill some of their members so that they would have the chance of being visited in the three days of sorrow and grief by this famous consoler. Amr is in demand everywhere. People, especially of our quarter believe that this man is like a holy man and that his presence in the three consecutive days would bring to the family in sorrow, and even to its posterity, good life, prosperity and happiness. It is said nowadays that any family to be visited by this famous holy consoler, should prepare for him the place where he could be sitting for three consecutive days. It is said that the canapé on which he sits today would be taken anywhere this holy man would be going to offer his condolences. This throne like canapé is usually placed in the middle of a special room." said another young man while he is waiting the coming out of Amr from the cabinet of the toilets.

"It is reported that this man has been trained in some African countries in the art of life and death and the rules and requirements of offering condolences to the bereaved families. This holy man is well experienced in the matter of death. He looks like the Devil. Some people say that he is the Devil himself. He is a man of bad intentions and criminal desires and lives for the only purpose of fabricating rumors, bad rumors, about his cousin, the ideas mother and the perfect wife. Very few people are conscious of this fact, that this man is not an angel but a devil himself."

Amr is listening to what the three escorts are saying. Actually, he delays his coming out so that he could listen to more and more of what is said by the three escorts.

Boy with Yo-Yo
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

However, the discourse and the gossiping of the three young men comes to an end when Amr opens the door of the cabinet and comes out while he is buttoning the front of his trouser indicating that he has just finished dispensing with or discharging of his urine.

The four men, Amr and the three young escorts commence to move towards the special room where his throne is place. When Amr arrives in the room accompanied by the three young men, he becomes amazed to realize that his seat, the canapé, considered by the bereaved family as the throne, placed in between the other seats located nearby the walls. The sofa, the canapé, of Amr is no more placed in the middle of the room. The three young men who escort Amr to the toilets have at last disappeared. They are nowhere in the room or in sight. Likewise, the three men of various ages who are considered as the guards of Amr have disappeared. They could be seen nowhere.

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On both sides of the canapé in which Amr is seated there are two normal seats, simple chairs. The time is now seven thirty and this is the time when all places designated to seat the visitors are filled. There is not a single empty seat.

The persons seated on the two seats placed near the canapé of Amr are new visitors who have just arrived and the two persons who were occupying the two seats have just left.

The two neighbors on one side of the canapé of Amr who are either middle aged or about to be fifty five years old, start looking around and talking, or in fact they commence gossiping and telling stories and lies about the two dead, the parents of the family, the father, the master of the house and his wife. They, the neighbors, speak in a low voice which they think cannot be heard by anybody else.

Smile under the Hat 5
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

"Who can believe that the two, the father and the mother, the wife, could be dead on the same day, in the same bedroom and of the same illness, the heart attack? I never heard of such a story up till now. How could the two, the father and the mother, die of heart attack at the same time? It is possible that the two die in a car accident, but in a heart attack, this is impossible." said one of the two visitors.

"Yes, yes, this is very strange. Isn't it so? Such a story, or a crime, has never happened in the annals of this quarter and of our community. It is impossible that the father and the mother die on the same day and at the same time and in their bedroom. This is unbelievable. Why should they die in very ambiguous circumstances? Here is this case there is the possibility of a crime. A crime has been committed. No doubt, this is a crime, Before coming here; our neighbors told us that the death of the father and the mother is only due to a crime."

"How could a heart attack kill the two at the same time? This is impossible, impossible. In other words, this is a lie. Nobody in the quarter could believe this story of the heart attack. I am wondering how a doctor could certify that this is a case of natural death because of a heart attack. The doctor certifies that there is not a criminal element in the death of the two. Is there a medical examination, an autopsy, a post-mortem examination of the bodies of the mother and the father? I tell you this is certainly a crime and nothing else. It is a well planned and executed crime." said one of the visitors sitting next to Amr.

"Both, the two, have not yet reached the age of seventy five and both of them were not suffering from any heart trouble. All the inhabitants of the Quarter of the Rich know very well that the two who were found dead in their bed never complained of anything regarding their health in general. You know, nowadays, it is not normal to die at the age of seventy or seventy five. Most people live or hope to live far beyond the age of eighty or eighty five or even ninety years. Many old people hope to line till the age of one hundred. But to die at the age of sixty five and together with the wife and because of a heart attack, is something unbelievable." said another calumniator with a tone of wickedness and mischievousness.

"Do you think both of them, the father and the mother, were actually killed, assassinated, murdered, poisoned, strangled, slaughtered, or what? How could all people believe, be convinced that the two old patents died because of a heart attack?? Who could believe this story? This is an unbelievable story. It is very strange. Nowadays, it has become normal to hear of such mass crimes. Several people are killed, as a group, but yet the culprit, the criminal is not discovered or identified. The murderer assassin remains unknown, not identified, and forever. All mass murder stories remain as riddles in the history of our community. Coming back to the two old victims of this family, it is now established that the two did not die of a common heart attack." said one of the visitors, a neighbor of Amr in the salon of condolences.

"Listen to me, I think that the general reason for the death of the father and the mother is a combination of these several factors which we are mentioning and discussing. Many rumors are saying that the two were poisoned by the four sons of the dead parents. This is the most reasonable reason. People are whispering to each other repeating this story of poisoning to each other."

"Obviously, this is a story of a conspiracy or a plot which aims at the inheritance and the wealth of the family. The four sons are in a hurry to be in control of the huge and colossal wealth of the family. You know the four sons could not wait any more to distribute, to inherit, the wealth of the family amongst themselves. They could not wait for more years. They are in a hurry. It took them several weeks to prepare and execute the horrible crime. At last they have really murdered their parents." said one of the visitors, the neighbors in seating to Amr.

"This is a crime. No doubt this is a crime. Don't you agree with me? The culprit should be by now in the prison and not free preparing himself to get his share from the treasure of the family. But in spite of all, look at them; they stand at the end of the corridor. Look at them, they talk to each other and sometimes they laugh and sometimes they smile and talk. All of them are real wolves and nothing else. Look at them. They behave as if they are innocent. They think that nobody believes that they are murderers." answered one of the visitors.

Amr in his seat is astonished and bewildered. What the neighbors sitting next to him have already said is unbelievable and looks to him to be very mysterious, enigmatic, incomprehensible and puzzling. The stories told by the three neighbors are like the tales of the One Hundred and One Night.

How could this happen in the Quarter of the Rich? Why should the sons kill their patents, their father and their mother? But why the crime has not been discovered so far? Why should the criminals remain free and continue living in the house? Many questions are passing into his mind and into his spirit, but for sure he could not discover the answers to these questions.

The crime would remain a riddle and forever. What the three neighbors are saying has been well heard by the neighbor, the visitor sitting on the right hand on his canapé, his throne. Amr all at once thought of changing his seat so as to avoid hearing what is said by the others and to prevent himself from listening to what others exchange of new and facts or lies about the daily life of innocent people living in the Quarter of the Rich. How could he carry his canapé, his throne, to another place in this special room?

Baby Plant on Table 7
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

At last the canapé of Amr is placed in between two seats. Still in this place Amr hears his neighbors sitting in seats next to him telling stories about the family of the two victims. New stories are being told concerning the mysterious death of the father and of the mother of the bereaved family.

Every time new visitors arrive in the room, the black coffee is served by somebody. Another person offers the cigarettes. This time, Amr notices that all the visitors, the consolers, of all ages, smoke the cigarettes, the young as well as the old. In spite of the three wide windows which have been wide open all the time, the room has become full of the smoke of cigarettes and the atmosphere in the special room was suffocating and unbearable.

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Many visitors in the room commence coughing repeatedly and severely. Several visitors leave the room after their arrival by few minutes. They could not bear the suffocating atmosphere of the special room. Actually, the waiter who distributes the cigarettes has stopped coming to this specific room. It seems that the waiter in charge of cigarettes realizes that the consolers here in the room are really heavy smokers.

However, the time passes slowly, very slowly, as if the sun has stopped going down into the horizon since some time. This is what the consolers in this room think of time.

At the same time, the waves of visitors continue to come into the room and to go out of it. Coffee is continuously served as well as cigarettes after stopping serving them for a short time. Amr is in his place looking at his watch, with some nervousness, to know whether the time of departure, that is ten o'clock, has come or not.

The number of visitors is at present gradually decreasing in the room. But still the time announcing the end of presenting condolences for today has yet to come. It seems that there is left only one quarter of an hour for the end of the day. Amr looks discreetly at his watch. Then he looks at the old clock of the room hanged on the wall to verify the time indicated by his watch.

It is really now ten o'clock and there is no justification for Amr to stay any more in this house of the bereaved family. Amr stands up and stays for a while where he is expecting that somebody would come to him to tell him something. Nevertheless, nobody comes to Amr. He commences his walk towards the main-gate. Still he does not see anybody coming to him. He goes out of the house of the bereaved family where it is said that the two dead persons, the father and the mother were killed by the four criminal sons. Outside, he goes to his car. He starts driving the car towards his house.

In few minutes time Amr arrives in his house. He is surprised to see on the door steps of the door his cousin Sari. The ex-consul feels satisfied and happy. This cousin is practically his main family contact and he usually likes to listen to him and enjoys what his cousin says to him. Sari has been waiting for him there.

"Sari, O, Sari. This is a surprise to see you at this late time and at this strange hour in my house. It is well known that it is your custom and tradition to be busy preparing yourself to go to one of the late evening reception parties that you are accustomed to attend daily and every evening. I know that every day you are invited to a friend's house to stay their till sunrise. Isn't it so? Tell me please." said Amr to his cousin Sari.

"I think you are right. It seems that you know by now how I conduct my daily life. In one quarter of an hour I and my wife, Saba, would be going to the family of Nader, the well known business man in jewelry and diamonds. As you know, this man is considered as the king in his business. Mr. Nader has three boutiques in our quarter and has several other boutiques in our country and in the world at large."

"Even, I do not exaggerate if I say that he is internationally known everywhere in the field of the business of diamonds and jewelry. You know I have recently constructed for him four villas for him and for his three sons. Each villa is like a palace, a royal palace with its gardens and swimming pools. Actually I am going to discuss with him and with his blond wife the plans for his mausoleum which I am asked to construct for him and for his wife. The mausoleum would be built in the gardens of the villa. Indeed, most of the garden would be changed into a space for the tomb of the family."

"Mr. Nader wants the construction of this tomb, of this sepulcher in the shortest possible time. You know this very rich man, or the richest in our country, has revealed to me recently that he is fatally and gravely sick and that his sickness is incurable. In summary he told me his secret. He is going to die very soon because of this sickness. He might die in few months time. Maybe he would be living for the coming ten months only. Therefore, the mausoleum must be finished before that date, before the coming of the tenth month from now."

"Actually, I have very short time for building and constructing the sepulcher. It is important to tell you that he asked me to keep his fatal sickness a secret between me and him. I am telling you now a secret, a secret, a secret, a sacred secret. Mr. Nader came to know of the fatal news of his death delay last week when he was examined by a group of doctors of the famous hospital of the Quarter of the Rich."

"You know his sad new is a shock for me. This man is still a middle aged person and cannot be considered an old man. He is hardly fifty years old. Others of his social group hope to live till the age of one hundred. Anyhow, he accepts this death sentence and with no grumbling. He accepts to die and he is not yet fifty years old. Let me tell you my dear cousin, Amr that this not the reason for which I am here in your house. I am here for another reason. I would like to tell you that Mr. Nader requested me to ask you if it would be possible for you in the future to come to his house, after his death, for the three days of condolences and offering sympathies to his family."

Silent Night
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

"Mr. Nader has heard a lot about you and the way you behave when you visit a bereaved family. He believes you are a holy man and that your three days visit to the house of the bereaved family would add a nature, a character, of sacredness and holiness to the sad occasion. Mr. Nader thinks that you would be, with the passing of time, a very busy man and that all families with a dead member would insist that you should come to their house for three consecutive days and each day you should stay for five hours. Moreover, Mr. Nader promises you that he would ask from now the professional artists to prepare for you a real throne in which you would be sitting while you visit his home after his death. Would you agree to this demand or what? Besides, it should be added that the family of Nader, as well as most of the families in the Quarter of the Rich, believe that your sacred and holy presence in person in the bereaved house would assure the dead person his entry to paradise in spite of the fact that this dead person, for whom mercy is demanded, might have been all through of his life a wicked, a sinful, a vile and an immoral and a corrupt human being" says Sari.

"I cannot understand at all this appointment, this rendezvous with death. How could I be booked in advance to attend the condolence ceremony and for three day before the death of the person concerned. I should avoid this new complication and entanglement in my life. Can't you imagine that in ten minutes time I, myself might be sick or I might die before the death of Mr. Nader. Or I might be busy somewhere else. In ten months time I might be already a member of 'the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals.' You know, my cousin, this is my final objective and aim in this life, that is; to be a full member of the famous 'Circle'. I am only undertaking the present condolences activities because I think they increase my chances for the membership of 'the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals.' Please you should understand my position and try to explain all of this to Mr. Nader." says Amr to his cousin Sari, the constructor of the magnificent architectural edifices.

"Listen to me my dear cousin. You are now in the Quarter of the Rich as well as in all the other quarters a well known and an important man. All families wish to have you present in the three days of sorrow and bereavement when they would have somebody of their family members dead. For all the public opinion in all of our quarters you are already an established holy and venerable man. Every family which have among its members old persons who are about to die prepare for you the canapé-throne in which you would be seated in the salon during the three days of sorrow and bereavement. I do not know how you have established this reputation and fame in our community as whole. I am being asked in the daily reception parties how you could, my cousin, establish this position and this fame." says Sari to his cousin Amr, the ex-consul.

"You know, my cousin Sari, I am not aware at all that I am really a famous, well known, holy and venerated man. I am not aware of all of that at all. How could I establish this reputation in a very short time? Please, my cousin you tell the family of Nader that I would be ready to be present daily, and from five to ten o'clock, the three days of condolence and sorrow, when he dies. I really appreciate the idea of preparing for me a special seat, a canapé-throne. Do not worry my cousin; I am ready to come to his house during the three days of condolence and sorrow. Please, tell Mr. Nader, that I accept his request, his demand." says Amr.

As soon as the old consul finishes his response, his discourse Sari asks the permission of his cousin to leave so as to go to his house. He would be accompanied by his wife, Saba, in going to the house of the family of Nader.

The reputation of Amr as an indispensable consoler in the time of offering condolences has spread in an astonishing and mysterious manner in the Quarter of the Rich and in the other quarters of the community.

People belonging to all the social classes in the city come daily to the house of Amr so as to negotiate with him his presence in the three days of sorrow in case somebody of their families dies. They usually point out to him that his presence would be extremely necessary and a must in case the dead would be their father or their grandfather.

Of course, due to the insistence of people who visit his house, Amr accepts all the requests of anybody who comes to him and asks his presence during their three days of condolences. Hence from now on, the old retired consul is always busy in the afternoon and in the evening during all the days of the week.

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Amr gets accustomed to this new way of life. He considers the way he occupies his free time as a privilege which he alone enjoys among all the men of the Quarter of the Rich.

With the passing of time, Amr discovers that his program for the employment and the utilization of his free time becomes constantly full of visits of very important houses of bereaved families. He applies in all cases the same general rules and principles. The visit of each bereaved family should continue for three days and each day he should stay with the family in sorrow from five to ten o'clock in the evenings. Of course, he would be sitting in the special canapé-throne to be provided in the bereaved family house.

During each of these visits of condolence undertaken by Amr, he comes across his friend the already famous consoler in the Quarter of the Rich, the ancient ambassador, Monkar who has become practically like Amr a professional consoler. Yet, Monkar is not as well known as Amr. The strategy of Monkar is different from that of Amr.

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Monkar follows the general rules of condolence. In each family he visits, he stays to a maximum of fifteen minutes and not more than that. Practically, every day, Monkar visits on the average five families in sorrow and bereavement. He is in continuous movement from one family in sorrow to another. Monkar employs a special secretary for the preparation of the daily list of condolences visits. In three day time, Monkar visits about sixteen families in sorrow while Amr, during the same three days period, visits only one family. Monkar rarely visits the same family twice because the city is becoming day after day and year after year full of dead people especially among the old and the retired. Nobody knows why the number of the dead is tremendously increasing in the city in general and in the Quarter of the Rich in particular and more so in the cold days of the year.

Therefore, it is not abnormal to see, sometimes, the two old friends, the ancient consul and the retired ambassador, meeting each other in a bereaved house. In most cases, Monkar comes and sits next to the canapé-throne of his friend, the ancient consul. In case they are seated next to each other, they talk in a brief way about everything.

It is Monkar, the ex-ambassador, who really controls the factor of time devoted to talking to each other because he stays only for a quarter of an hour. Sometimes, the ancient ambassador accompanies with him in his visits his condolence-visits secretary.

Life goes on in a normal and systematic way for the ex-consul. He lives in such an exciting, stimulating and provoking life for almost three years. Amr enjoys a lot this way of life. Throughout these long three years he has never suffered from illness or serious indispositions.

Moreover, his name, during these long and agitating three years, has been continuously associated with death, sorrow and sadness. Amr becomes a well-known person in his community and especially in the Quarter of the Rich.

All consolers who come to whatever house of a bereaved family expect to see there the most famous and celebrated, the most eminent and acclaimed, consoler Amr sitting in his especially designed seat which looks like a throne made out of ivory and gold.

Amr becomes very well-known in the community. He is followed wherever he goes to offer his condolences by his followers and more so by his admirers, devotees and his followers. The inhabitants of the Quarter of the Rich have been accustomed to see Amr seated in his throne in the main salon in the house of the bereaved family.

People are becoming more and more interested to see Amr rather than in offering their condolences to the bereaved family. Slowly and with the passing of time Amr has been acquiring the qualities, attributions and the reputation of a highly respectable holy man. Groups of young men of the quarter have commenced to form small clubs in which they imagine that Amr is presiding over their assemblies.

And little by little, and with the passing of time, the inhabitants of the Quarter of the Rich are accustomed to consider Amr as a man of magic and divination. The old consul is becoming in his community as a symbol of divinity and veneration.

People have been accustomed to see him coming on time to the house of bereavement. When he is late for his daily visit all the members of the bereaved family start worrying about the health of their holy man. The members of the concerned family commence to look amazingly at each other. Also, they look at the main-gate when a new visitor arrives. They think that the one who arrives is their holy man.

In case Amr does not arrive does not make his presence felt, during the first half an hour, then a delegation of the elders and wise men of the bereaved family is immediately dispatched to his house so as to tell him that all people concerned there, the members of the bereaved family and the visitors and consolers, are waiting for his arrival.

In some cases such a delegation of a bereaved family arrives and realizes that it should wait for some time because Amr at that time is either asleep in his bed, and this is very rare, or that he is still in the bedroom having his daily evening bath with the aid of his ephebe Abdu.

In all cases in which Amr is late to arrive on time at the house on time at the house of the bereaved family, all the elders of the family stand outside the house in waiting for the arrival of their holy man so as to welcome him and tell him that without him nothing would function properly in the house of the bereaved family.

In some cases, and on some unfortunate days when Amr does not arrive at the house of sorrow and sadness on time, his absence causes panic and confusion, fright and consternation not only among the members of the family but also among the friends and the acquaintances of the defunct.

In some cases, and in some unfortunate days when Amr does not arrive at the house of sorrow and bereavement on the agreed time, his temporary absence and his delay causes panic and confusion, not only among the members of the defunct family but also among the friends and the acquaintances. They, those panicky people, firmly believe that if Amr does not arrive in few minutes time, then their defunct, the dead, will immediately be dispatched to hell. In the absence of Amr, the holy man, from the condolence ceremony, the defunct body and his soul would be destined to be in hell. He would have lost any chance of being in Paradise.

Stories about Amr, as an incontestable, as an indisputable and as a mysterious consoler have been spreading not only in the Quarter of the Rich but also all over the city. Stories about Amr as a famous holy consoler have been spreading everywhere in the community. Such stories are the main topics of gossiping in the daily reception parties.

In these reception parties, invitees and guides find pleasure to tell stories about the unbelievable powers which Amr has nowadays. Women in such reception parties, get more interested in the stories about Amr rather than anything else. All guests get surprised of the popularity which Amr has been gaining recently.

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Once, in one of these social reception partied, somebody tells all the guests that yesterday, in a certain bereaved family house Amr has all of a sudden disappeared from his canapé-throne. He vanished when all people, the consolers and the visitors, were looking at him. Nobody knew where he went, or how he disappeared.

Yet nobody realizes that Amr, though considered being holy and of a heavenly nature, is still a human being and that he needs between now and then to go to the toilets and occasionally to have a look at his servant, the ephebe Abdu. Above all, nobody knows that he is the Devil himself.

But the story which amazes all the inhabitants of the quarter is the following. Three young men, who are attending a reception- a dancing party- in the house of a minister, say that some people, who are attending a condolence ceremony, tell others that they see a glittering, bright and shining light coming out of the face of Amr when he smiles. This mysterious story has been verified and confirmed by many other witnesses who attended other condolence ceremonies. Really, light is coming out of the face of the holy man Amr. But how could light come out of the face of the Devil himself?

In another occasion, and in the house of a bereaved family, several consolers hear a voice coming from a far distance, perhaps from beyond the horizon and the disappearing sun. The enigmatic and baffling voice is repeating the name of the old and retired consul. This voice is heard by few of the visitors who are present in the house and not by all of them. Some persons who are present in the house of sorrows start shouting: a miracle, a miracle!!!

Amr is sitting at that time calmly and solemnly. Indeed, he himself does not see anything and does not say anything. Equally all the consolers who sit in the same salon as Amr are under the impression, and between now and then, that they think that Amr talks to them but in a whispering manner, that is in a very low voice.

So often and repeatedly, some of the visitors see their holy man, Amr, flying in the salon. Sometimes, by the way of the open window, they see the holy man flying like a huge angel outside in the garden. Then the angel disappears for a while in the blue sky. After that, they see him all of a sudden sitting and smiling in the canapé-throne. But how the Devil could be an angel and a good creature?

Another puzzling and mysterious story is told about this old consul who has become suddenly in the eyes of the inhabitants a holy man. It is said that three beautiful angels stood behind him. All of these angels are sitting in the salon. However, those who see the smiles on the face of the three angels are tremendously frightened. They have the conviction and the belief that the angels hiding behind the holy man, Amr, have chosen them to die in the near future. Then who could trust the Devil who is now seated in the throne of justice?

More stories are being told about the holy man, Amr, Every day a new fantastic story is fabricated and created by the visitors and the consolers. Really the totality of these stories told about the Devil needs a lot research and verification. Those stories could be in the final analysis put in a single book to be The holy book of the Devil.

The last story told about Amr, the holy man of the bereaved families as related to his condolence visits says that the holy man, the master of consolers carries with him a pencil and a copy-book so that he may write something about persons from among those who sit with him in the salon. It is reported that he observes and watches all the members of the group of consolers who enter in the salon and chooses some of them so as to write something about them in his note-book.

Anyhow, this writing activity on the part of the famous holy man, the most important consoler, makes most of the visitors terrified and horrified. Many of them think that the holy man writes their names in his note-book as candidates for the near future death that would take place in the forthcoming fortnight.

Amr does not stop his intensive effort as a consoler and as a daily visitor of the bereaved families' houses starting from five o'clock till ten late in the evening.

In the morning, in his house, he speaks with his servant Abdu. Most of the time the servant tells him the latest news and events that have taken place in the Quarter of the Rich and in the city as a whole.

But most of the time what they talk about is nothing but rumors and gossips. Actually, he tells his master what the inhabitants of the quarter say about him. Mostly, Abdu tells his master the stories, the rumors, regarding what goes on with him on the bereaved families' houses. The loyal servant could not tell the real stories that come out of the bereaved family houses. All of these stories speak about him as being the real Devil.

Indeed, Amr finds pleasure and gratification in the stories and tales told about him. He listens attentively to Abdu telling him stories about his behavior in the bereaved houses as seen by others. Undoubtedly he is sure that he does nothing in his visits which he judges to be extraordinary and unusual.

Actually, he sits in his canapé-throne and keeps silent and calm for practically five hours. Sometimes, in very rare cases he goes to the W.C. of the bereaved family house. At ten o'clock he usually leaves the house of sorrow and sadness and goes to his house. In most cases, Amr does not speak to anybody when he comes across his friend the old ambassador, Monkar. In this case he talks to Monkar for a short time, not more than few minutes. Otherwise, Amr does not utter any word and does not make any movement.

Nevertheless, he wonders how these rumors are or have been fabricated about his visits to the houses of sorrow and sadness. In most cases Amr does not investigate with his servant regarding the sources of his information that is the sources of the tales and stories about his visits to the houses of sorrow and sadness.

Besides listening to the stories told by his servant Abdu, who occupies a small part of his time, Amr spends most of his time in reading the daily newspaper and in updating the daily program of visits to the houses of sorrow and grief. In the morning, of course, he takes between now and then, cups of coffee prepared by the maid-servant.

One day, and in the morning, while Amr is taking his cup of coffee and is reading the daily newspaper, he tells himself that his free time in the morning is not fully utilized by useful and fruitful activities. He is not satisfied at all by the way he makes use of his time starting from his waking up from his sleep till his time for taking lunch. Most of his time in the morning is really wasted, totally wasted.

Time in the morning could be more usefully utilized. There could be better activities to be undertaken in the morning than just reading the daily newspaper and taking the daily cup of morning coffee. For sure, there are some other activities that could be more interesting and more useful to him and to his community.

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For several days, especially in the morning, Amr continues to think, to reflect and to contemplate. For several days, in the morning he continues to think and review his position but he does not arrive at any decision. He does not arrive at any decision, any new idea, and any conclusion. Amr does not arrive at any specific suggestions concerning the better use of his time in the morning till lunch time.

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At last Amr comes to the conclusion that by himself he cannot at all, and in no case, find a solution or some guiding principles regarding the better use of his time in the morning. Once, early in the morning, he discusses the problem of the better utilization of his time in the morning with his servant, Abdu.

The problem is discussed fully and for several days and hours with his servant Abdu. Then at last, he asks his dear servant to propose for him some practical solutions, proposals for the better utilization of the free time in the morning. For two days Amr has been asking his servant to present for him some practical proposals, solutions, for the better utilization of the free time in the morning. For two days Amr has been asking his servant to present to him some practical proposals for the utilization of the free time in the morning.

"Can you, if you please, my dear Abdu, offer me one idea, or some ideas, concerning the better utilization of my free time in the morning." asked Amr from his servant Abdu.

"What do you mean morning activities? I do not think that I can propose anything in this field. O, activities to be undertaken in the morning! Is this what you want? You know my master that all people are either working in their offices, their shops and their workshops and the plantation fields or they are retired in their homes where they either stay in their beds all the time because they cannot do but lie in bed or they might be seen walking either in the private or in the public gardens or in the streets, or for very few of them, they stay in their libraries at home."

"Yet, you know, sir, that the majority of people at your age sit in their sofas and watch the television programs all the time. But in this house, there is no trace for a television set. It seems to me that you do not like at all to watch television. You never mention to me the word television." said Abdu to his master.

"Please Abdu do not talk to me about television. I hate it. You should never mention this word in front of me. I think I told you in the past that I don't like the television. This is a satanic apparatus, technology. I am absolutely against television. I prefer doing nothing in life rather than watching television programs. Please, Abdu, try to give me new and creative ideas and do not repeat to me the word television. I am sure if you try you can offer me many new ideas. You know better than me city, our city, and the quarter. You know the various aspects of life in this city better than me. So try to present to me new ideas." said the master of the house to his servant.

"Sir, excuse me, I think that I cannot help you at all in this respect. My experiences are very limited. Besides, I am not a highly educated man and I never traveled abroad as you did. I have limited experiences. Excuse me Sir. If you permit me Sir, I advise you to see your cousin Sari. Talk to him regarding this problem of the free time in the morning. He is a man of experience. I think he is an expert in the field of tracking down new ideas concerning the morning activities for the retired old people."

"I think because of the continuous attendance of the evening reception parties, practically every day, he is the man to be asked for advice in the field of activities to be undertaken with the main purpose of filling the free time available for the old men in our society, in our Quarter of the Rich. This man, I mean your cousin Sari, is a very clever and a wise man who is a father, who practically does not stay at all in the house and who stays at his home only for the main purpose of changing his clothes, his costume and his underwear and his shoes. He just has a look, a quick look at his son Fahman, and that is all. Otherwise, he stays all the time outside and away from his house, his villa and his only son."

"In the morning he is in his office, his workshop, finalizing designs for new magnificent buildings which include some sepulchers and mausoleums to be built in the gardens of villas and palaces of some still living old people."

"Then in the evenings, he has been always, and since thirty five or forty years, attending daily reception parties in rich people's houses and villas and small palaces. O!! yet, your cousin is a man with a lot of a variety of experiences. Night and day, he either talks to people or listens to what they tell him of nonsense. He is a man of rich experiences. People whom he meets throughout the day and the night tell him unbelievable stories about the private life of many families of our quarter. Just ask your cousin, Sari, and he would give you the satisfactory answers. I really respect your cousin Sari. This is my personal opinion. I am just a servant and my opinion does not have any value" said Abdu, the servant to his master who looks to be very exhausted because of what he heard of opinions regarding the private life of his cousin, Sari.

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"Listen to me Abdu, I ask you to give me your opinion regarding the new ideas concerning the possible morning activities to be undertaken by me as an old man in retirement. Anyhow, I don't ask you to present your opinions and comments concerning the private life of my cousin, Sari. You have spoken enough about him and about the evening reception parties which he adores. Listen to me very well. I know my cousin better that you do. You do not have to tell me stories about his private life. No!!! please, forget all of this, and please try to tell me a single new idea, just one idea concerning the activities to be undertaken by me as an old man in retirement during the several hours of the morning. Just try to give me only one idea. During lunch time I have the intention to call my cousin Sari" said Amr to his servant.

At noon, by chance, Sari came to the house of Amr who, at that time, is busy taking his lunch. The two embrace each other warmly and shake hands eagerly and with enthusiasm as if they see each other for the first time since a very long time.

"It seems to me you are in a hurry, as usual. Tell me please which family you are going to visit this afternoon to present your condolences. I would like to know. Would this visit be for the first time, the second or the third day, I mean your visit today." asks Sari enthusiastically.

"You are right my dear cousin. I think you are asking a good question. This would be my third visit and would be the third day of visiting the bereaved family house. It is the family of Abu Harban. They ask me every day to sit on an especially prepared canapé that looks like a throne of a king. This family treats me in a very respectable way. I am wondering why they treat me in a very strange way."

"The defunct, the head of the family and the father of all has started his life of retirement since two weeks. The father died since four days. He was discovered in the morning a very cold corpse without life. All the members of the family were surprised to see their chief dead. Anyhow, like all such cases, it has been claimed that he died because of a heart attack. But this man never suffered from any problem of heart ailments or troubles."

"A doctor has been rushed to the house the moment the father was discovered to be without life. The wise and the professional doctor confirmed what the sons have said, that their father died because of a heart attack. But all the members of the extended family of Abu Harban say that the chief of the family was in a very good health when he went to bed. He even played for a while with some of his grandchildren. Just before he went to bed he told his eldest son that he wishes to live till the age of one hundred years or more. Unfortunately, the wish of this man has not been realized because in the morning he was actually a corpse without life. His shock has been a shock to all, especially to his wife and to his daughters, and more so, the three unmarried ones." said Amr.

"You know that the family of Abu Harban is very rich. They, the members of the family have been landlords since hundreds of years. You know they are practically the only family in the Quarter of the Rich who can trace the origins of their wealth back to hundreds of years. Excuse me my cousin Amr I have to leave you now. I want to go now to my house. I am sure we should see each other this afternoon, or this evening at the same house of the bereaved family of Abu Harban. I would stay there for ten or fifteen minutes only. I will look for you when I arrive there. I am sure, everybody knows you there." answered the cousin Sari.

"I am certain my cousin Sari, that you have already finished the construction of the mausoleum in which the chief of the family of Abu Harban would be buried. Is the tomb built in the garden of his house or the cemetery of the quarter? I am certain that the tomb has been constructed in the garden of the house. During the recent days I noticed something abnormal in the garden of the magnificent villa" said Amr to his cousin Sari.

"Yes, yes, I think you are right. The majestic tomb is in the garden of the fantastic palace of the family of Abu Harban and not in the cemetery of the quarter. His wife insisted that the tomb of her husband should be built in the garden because she plans to live in a small room attached to the mausoleum."

"Listen to me my cousin Amr I have come to your house not to speak about the tomb of Abu Harban. No!! to me, this is not very important. I am now in your house for something else. You know already from the daily newspaper that the father of one of my employees died yesterday evening. The family of this dead man has only one wish to be realized. All the members of his family wish and aspire that you come to their house of sorrow and bereavement so as to be present for the whole evening during which consolers would come to the bereaved family house. In summary, they wish your presence in their house this evening. Do you understand that? They want you to be present for the coming three days of mourning and condolences. Do you understand what I say to you? I have been told that they by now procured the special canapé-throne in which you would be seated for the coming three days of sorrow and bereavement." says Sari to his cousin Amr.

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"Listen to me my dear cousin. I can come as a consoler for two days only, the second and the third say. To-day, as you by this time know I am busy elsewhere." said Amr to his cousin, Amr.

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"I agree with you. You are busy today. You could come starting from tomorrow. Thank you very much Amr, my dear cousin. I will convey to them your message and your approval. I am sure they would be satisfied and wait for your arrival tomorrow. They would be tremendously highly satisfied and pleased since you would be coming for two consecutive days." said Sari to his cousin Amr.

"If you please Sari, my dear cousin, before you leave my house I would like to consult you in an important matter. You know that for the last few days I have discovered that I have been wasting my time in the morning. Actually, in the morning I do nothing, except reading the daily newspaper and ordering Abdu to serving me continuously a cup of coffee. I would like you to advise me on how to fill and occupy my future time in the morning. I would like you to give me ideas concerning the best type of activities which I would undertake so as to occupy my free time in the morning." said Amr to his cousin Sari.

"O!!! This is a very important topic to discuss. But now we do not have enough time to discuss it. I have to leave you just now, and you are busy with your lunch. It is impossible to discuss the problem now. Both of us have something urgent to do."

"Don't forget at all the possibility of being a member of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals. Nowadays, this is the final aim and the important objective of your life. Sooner or later, or even at any moment you might be invited to join the Circle and then, all your problems of free time would be solved. I heard from others, in an evening social reception which I attended, you would be occupied and be busy all the time, since early in the morning till late in the evening. Then, there would not be a problem of free time in the morning. I think then, as a member of the Circle you would be occupied all the time, in the morning as well as in the afternoon and in the evening. Therefore, you should be patient and you should wait for the days till you become a member of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals" said Sari to his cousin, Amr.

Amr is continuing to take his lunch slowly and leisurely. He is really busy thinking to come across a solution of the problem of doing nothing in the morning.

Amr is really busy while he is taking his lunch and wants to detect some ideas by himself concerning the activities which he could carry out in the morning.

At the same time, while the master of the house is feeding himself from the many dishes that are available in front of him on the long table, Abdu, the servant, is keeping himself standing on the other side of the table.

In fact, he is standing nearby the door of the dining room. Abdu is standing in silence, in muteness and in speechlessness. He realized that his master is occupied, or actually, is more or less worried, tormented and upset.

Therefore, the two, the master of the house and his ephebe do not talk, do not communicate and do not confer to each other at all. At least, the master of the house does not want to talk to Abdu and with no obvious reason.

It seems that the master of the house thinks that at this particular moment, he cannot share his ideas with any other person. It seems that the time for finishing the lunch meal has come.

No justification is there to stay any more at the head of the dining table. It is time for him to have his coffee. He calls Abdu and asks him to prepare for him the coffee without sugar but with a lot of cardamom. He wants to have this time the black coffee.

Amr goes without hesitation out of the dining room and walks leisurely to the salon. There, he sits in his favorite sofa nearby the window which is covered and decorated by red colored velvet curtains. In a very short time, the black coffee is served. Amr is satisfied to have the cup of the black coffee in his hands and is really intoxicated, exhilarated and invigorated by the fragrance of the cardamom coming out of the cup in his hand.

Abdu, in an unexpected way leaves the salon. In a very short time he comes back with the daily newspaper in his hand. He is sure that his master would ask soon for the daily paper. The master of the house becomes very happy, thrilled and gleeful when he realizes that the daily paper is there in his hands. He goes throughout the daily paper hurriedly until he reaches page 150. When he reaches this page he stops there and looks at the page with interest and concentration.

There, on that page, he reads a very special advertisement in which women are invited to visit the house of a bereaved family in the morning starting from ten o'clock in the morning and till twelve o'clock at midday. (The word morning is written in big letters and above all under-lined).

Like the case of men, the condolence visits would continue for three consecutive days in the morning. Surely, Amr, by now, knows, before reading this particular page, that women have the same chances as men for offering their condolences and for three days like the men. Nevertheless, this idea of the participation of women in offering condolences inspires for him new possibilities of activities and offers him the chances of a new way of life for the passing of time in the morning.

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