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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

Equally and at the same time, Amr thinks, by now, and after a continuous observation of three weeks, that the Director of the Commercial Bank of the City is a man of wisdom and reason. Amr arrives at this conclusion regarding the Bank Director in spite of the fact that this Director has not made so far any important intervention yet.

The Banker has been keeping himself calm and quiet and has been avoiding the participation in any intellectual debate and discussion. The Banker, according to Amr, who has been watching the silent man for the last three weeks inside the Assembly Hall and everywhere in the Centre of the Circle, is a symbol of a very complicated riddle, of a very confused puzzle and of a perplexing mystery.

The Banker keeps all the time silent for the whole period of the session of the intellectual discussion and debate and he looks like a man who does not belong to the local community of the Quarter of the Rich.

The Banker looks like a stranger who has not been able to integrate himself within the local way of life and looks to be a man who is in a short visit; coming from another continent or even from another planet, to the local community and that very soon he would be leaving the Quarter to go somewhere else.

Probably, this Banker, the riddle, has the absolute conviction that he is here in this community by mistake, by a heavenly miscalculated will. His real destination should have been somewhere else, far from here, just in another place which is far from her by millions and millions of light years. He is absolutely convinced that he does not belong to this place, to this community, to this house, to this quarter. He thinks, and he is convinced of that, that he should not have been here, in this quarter existing with serpents, crocodiles and dangerous scorpions. Destiny should have thrown him to a place where nobody is there except himself and nobody else at all.

Of course, there might be others like him, who are 'solitaires' and who do not like to mix with others or even to see others around them. In reality, the Banker lives in a continuous fear that one of those around him would kill him and for nothing, for no reason and may be by mistake, by a miscalculation and by, perhaps, vengeance. However, this man does not remember that he has ever hurt anybody, neither in the house nor outside his domicile. This is why nowadays, he likes to live all alone and by himself. For he sometimes feels threatened. By whom; by some invisible hands and spirits! It is not possible. All people around him have been friendly, intimate, and respectful and all the time asking to see his smile which he never shows on his face.

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

Inside the Assembly Hall, he, from time to time, looks at the other members of the Circle who sit around the table. He looks at them with a hidden and an invisible smile on his face. However, this smile provides all his colleagues in the hall with all the information about the inner feelings of this man, this riddle.

When the Banker smiles, all the eyes of his colleagues are fixed on him just to understand the message which he is trying to convey and communicate to all the members of the audience in the Hall.

With no difficulty, his colleagues can understand the message to be communicated. Behind the veil of the enigmatic smile anybody could see that this man is suffering a lot from something which is torturing him, distressing him and making him drowned in a sea of anguish and agony, of suffering and woe.

No doubt the Banker is suffering, but nobody knows the reason for his agony and for his pain and affliction. Then and for a while, this man, this mystery, becomes like a lifeless statue or really like a mummy.

He does not smile and maybe he discovers that he should not have smiled. Perhaps he realizes that his smile makes its appearance on his face in spite of himself. Actually, this man never likes smiling in his life and he does not like to see others smile. He believes that many things are hidden in a smile.

He believes, whole heartedly, that the eternity resides there in the depth of a smile. But in spite of this reasoning and argumentation he smiles but in spite of himself. He smiles, and he opens the secret book of his life and he permits the eyes of his colleagues to read the millions and millions of pages in which all the details of his private and personal life are mentioned.

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

The monitoring eyes of his colleagues are in a hurry to be able to read as much pages as they could do before this book of life is closed, for a while, when the suffering man stops smiling.

For a while, the Banker moves himself in his seat. The direct neighbor could feel that the old man sitting on his right is in turmoil, in a turbulence, in a commotion and in absolute agitation.

The neighbor feels that he sits next to a high volcanic mountain which is about to burst, to erupt and to explode. The neighbor could hear the inner confusion from which this man suffers, or has been suffering. Since when; Nobody could know the approximate time in which this old man started to suffer and have pains and experience affliction in the depths of his heart!

However, the neighbor of the Banker is sure that the time for the explosion of the volcano and the subsequent eruption of the lava of his suffering has not yet come. It could come in one of the coming days in the near future. But the exact day of the explosion cannot be known in advance.

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The neighbor of the suffering Banker continues to lend his ears to the movements of his friend. Anyhow, the neighbor does not want to be a witness of the explosion of the top of the mountain, the volcano.

The Banker, who has been a member of the Circle since twelve years, likes a lot, and more than any other activity, the session of the intellectual contemplation undertaken by all the members in the contemplation rooms.

The Banker realizes in contemplation the needed peace and tranquility which he has been lacking in all his life. His room-mates, in the contemplation room tell strange stories about the Banker when he is there in the room of reflection. It is reported that his face undergoes some visible physical changes, some drastic and radical changes. Actually he becomes, sometimes for a while, another person, much younger and without wrinkles at all on his face. For a while he changes into a young man of not more than twenty years old back when he was a well known intelligent student at the university in a neighboring country of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Banker, when he gets to an age of fifty or sixty years younger than his actual present age in the contemplation room, he starts to laugh in a high and a resounding and echoing voice and for a period of few instants. All the room-mates get bewildered in seeing this strange behavior on the part of the Banker in the contemplation room.

For the Banker, the session which disturbs him most is that of the library in which he goes through the newspapers with enthusiasm and passion. He sometimes, goes through the newspapers of the past, of the far past, half a century ago, of the times that passed long ago.

Every day, he takes a number of newspapers of the present and of the far past and he reads in these papers pages in which he sees the names of those who died by means of suicide. The Banker gets interested in this aspect of life and death long ago. Especially, he gets interested in the names of those who committed suicide.

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There are in each newspaper, normally, ten pages in which each case of suicide is told in details. The Banker could read with interest, curiosity and care about the reasons which made those desperate persons kill themselves and how they have finally decided to kill themselves. Normally, the newspaper includes in its pages not only the news of the suicide cases in the Quarter of the Rich but also in the other quarters of the city and of the community at large and even in all the other towns and cities of the country. Nevertheless, the Banker is more interested to know about the reasons for committing suicide and how they have finally died.

The Banker carries with him a notebook in which he writes some information and comments and ideas when he reads the newspaper. Normally, he takes detailed information about methods of committing suicide. His other four room-mates have been noticing the Banker's interest in the subject of suicide, or more precisely putting an end to his life.

In the library, they, the other four friends, the room-mates, sit next to him, around him, so as to continue watching him and observing him. Of course, nobody could super-impose himself on the Banker while he is taking notes so as to know what he is writing. Nobody has ever been successful to see what this Banker writes in his small note-book.

It should now be said that this Banker has some strong tendencies to put an end to his life, to violence and to kill himself, to commit suicide. It is a well known fact that he has never been violent to the members of his family especially his wife, or his children.

Nothing is disturbing in his family life and nothing in his daily life indicates that he would put an end to his life. In spite of the fact that this man, the Banker, has shown some tendencies to kill himself since ten years, these tendencies have increased in recent months and weeks. All the members of the Circle around him have the sentiment that their colleague is nowadays suffering from something, something very specific, distinct and explicit. But nobody, could read in his face or in his behavior any signs or gestures of a very near and approaching incident of suicide that would take place either in the Centre of the Circle or at home, in his house, or in a public place.

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

All the members of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals have been remarking recently and in a definite way, that the tendencies to commit suicide have been getting recently visible and observable on the face and in the behavior of the Banker.

It has been noticed that the Banker has been getting more and more pensive, meditative, taciturn and uncommunicative. More and more most of the members of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals are observing that this man has already built around him a complicated high wall behind which he remains invisible to others.

The Banker thinks that the walls around him would make him live in an island on which nobody lives with him except his memories, the reminiscences of his past life, from which he cannot escape. The Banker is becoming more and more mentally and emotionally separated from the outside world although he comes in daily contact with all of his friends and his colleagues in the Centre of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals.

The face of the Banker is increasingly tending to be a riddle on which is engraved a strange world in which everything is black colored and in which nothing moves or shows signs of life and vitality. Perhaps, a very small and tiny source of light could be seen in the background of the world seen reflected on the face of the Banker.

It is a well known and established fact that this member of the Circle loved and adored his wife who died five years ago because of an incurable and fatal disease. His wife could not be saved and he had to adapt himself to the new mode of life of a widower. All his six children have already got married and they have now many children.

Nevertheless, there is a son, of thirty two years of age, who refuses to get married. This only son of the father lives with his father inside the big villa of the family. The relationships between the father and the son are not excellent although they are in good terms and nothing abnormal could be detected, observed in the daily contacts between the two men, the father and the son. Sometimes, the father and the son do not talk to each other and for several days. Each of the two, the father and the son, leads his own life in the family residence as if they are living separately in two independent houses, in two different worlds.

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

The villa, inside of which the two, the father and the son live, sometimes independently, is built on the top of one of the hills of the Quarter of the Rich. The scene in front of the house of the Banker is highly fascinating and extremely beautiful. This villa is looked upon by the neighbors in particular and by the people of the community in general as one of the best in the Quarter of the Rich in terms of the perfection in its construction and the charm in its decoration. Of course, all the people know that only the father and the son live in this magnificent and beautiful edifice and that something not normal is going there. All the neighbors know that the father is a member of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals since several years.

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The Banker, after he finishes his daily stay in the Centre of the Circle for the whole day, goes back to his house, like all other members of the Circle, at six o'clock in the evening. The Banker, as he does every day and since a long time, sits in his arm-chair in the veranda for a long duration of time. The servants and the maids recruited from East Africa and South Asia ask politely and courteously if he wishes to have any kind of a soft drink before taking his dinner. The semi-absent minded master of the house, the Banker, by a gesture of his right hand indicates that he does not want anything, any drink.

All the five servants and maids, after they get the message of their master of refusing any drink, make grimaces and frowns on their foreheads and on their eye-brows. Each one of them thinks that the daily suffering of their master has reached to its climax, to its summit. One of the servicing personnel thinks that the volcano is about to explode.

All the members of the servicing staff standing here and there imagine that the master of the house is now standing all alone on the top of a very high mountain looking around him and not seeing except the obscurity and the darkness of the night. All of them imagine their master is about to fall from the summit of the hill into the deep, deep valley where he would reach the bottom of the valley dead and torn into small pieces of a human corpse. Yet, they, the four members of the servicing personnel of the house, are not sure at all, as far as the source of the agony, the suffering and the ordeal of their master is concerned.

All are realizing that day after day their master is becoming more and more an absolute riddle which nobody could understand. Day after day all the servants and the maids are realizing that their master is gradually changing, before them, into a mass of bones and flesh and nothing else. He rarely looks at his servants, nowadays. He avoids as much as he could looking at anybody.

Maybe, and most probably, he likes to be lonely in his house. Naturally, all of the servants realize, and are aware of the fact that their master has reached nowadays the stage where he does not or cannot communicate with others, those who are around him. The members of the service staff are sure that their master, the famous Banker, lives now in a very small black world of his own.

Anyhow, the master of the house looks around him in a slow and in a somewhat uneasy way. By that time, nobody is found around the lonely Banker. The four servants rush to leave the master to himself. In their absence, the master of the house, the Banker, feels relieved and consoled when he finds himself all alone, with nobody sharing with him his world full of darkness and suffering.

But all of a sudden, without his knowledge and without his will, he discovers that a hot and a warm drop of tears has flooded out of his eyes and rolled down his bony cheeks. The drop of tears continues running down his cheek. His hand, without his will, tries to touch this drop of tears but the tears disappear in the midst of the sea of his suffering.

All of a sudden he remembers that in such very special cases of the emotional and the passionate human being reaction, a handkerchief, a white one, comes out of his pocket, in spite of himself. This white tissue absorbs and sucks up vehemently the drop of liquid that contains in its components some of the secrets of his suffering and his agony.

The suffering man looks at his white handkerchief and he explores in this soft piece of cotton cloth the drop of tears that burst out of his eyes without his knowledge and without his will. The Banker looks at the snow white tissue and he sees in it the drop of tears that looks at him like an ocean in which he sees himself about to be drowned, about to die and lose forever his life.

He puts his handkerchief in his pocket hurriedly and looks around him fearfully to be sure that nobody sees him drowned in the sea of his agony and his distress. At that particular moment, he distinctively feels, and with no doubt, that his heart is beating in a very abnormal way.

He asks himself whether this is the time for him to leave this world, to say good bye to all of those around him, to say good bye to his shining past and to his black present, to say good bye to the sky and its shining sun and the twinkling stars of heavens.

The confused Banker knows by now, a lot of cases where men of various ages and of various social status and positions and of unlimited amount of wealth and glory who died by what can be called as that of sever heart attack.

The confused master of the house continues to listen to his heart and he does not like the abnormal behavior and the strange comportment of his heart. The Banker does not like that he dies of a heart attack or something related to this kind of heart difficulty or failure. No! no! He begins to breathe in a normal way so as to help the heart to live its natural and normal life.

Fortunately, and to the good luck of his heart, the master of the house, the Banker, feels that physically nothing is wrong with him. Though he looks thin, emaciated, slim, but yet nobody could call him a skinny little man. He is of a white complexion and he has most of the time his two cheeks covered with a slight red color. Of course, this is only a sign of some confusion, turmoil and a permanent embarrassment in his spirit and in his soul.

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

Most probably, he has been taking care of his physical health. It is certain that he has been brushing his teeth since his early childhood. Consequently, and as a result of his adherence to the requirements of some basics of dental health practices, not all his teeth are false. Or he might have started to have false teeth just recently.

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The master of the house looks around him and does not find anybody, not a single person of the servicing staff is visible. Finding himself all alone is a situation which satisfies the Banker because he thinks that no one has seen him crying, weeping. Yet what he thinks is not true at all. The invisible monitoring eyes are in fact everywhere in the house. Since several weeks, or even since few months, the four servants and maids have been watching and monitoring and observing their master from places which the master cannot see and discover. It is they, the servants who are always watching their master without his knowledge.

The four servants are very keen in watching their master and have been expecting some strange developments in the house. But they do not know how, where or how. It is now somewhat late in the evening or more specifically, it is now more than seven o'clock.

To a man who does not like to leave his house after darkness, seven o'clock is almost late or about to be late. The master of the house, the father and the widower, does not know in reality when his son comes back to the house, to his den, his cavern and his shelter. The confused father does not know, at all, also, the time his son goes out and flies to the wilderness from his nest in the house of the family. The father does not know, and this is normal, where his eagle, his only son, flies away and to what part of the planet or of the universe.

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The residence of the father, the master of the house, is so high that the son can come back and then leave his home without the knowledge and the awareness of the father or even of the servants.

At this particular moment, when he already has finished the incident of the drop of tears, the son comes to the house and enters into the residence from the main gate and then he has to pass by the place where his father is seated. Of course, he could not avoid passing to his destination inside the house without seeing the father.

It is very normal to see the son, in such a situation, immediately leaving the house or coming to it. The father notices and sees the arrival and the immediate departure of the son. The father does not react, neither positively or negatively to this incident. The father of the son considers the episode a something expected and normal. The son is free to come and to go at whatever time he chooses because he is already thirty two years old. Since a long time relations between the two has taken this type of neutral and uninvolved reaction on both sides. This meeting between the two, the passive confrontation during which no verbal contact has been established, does not bother the son or the father.

The father has no idea how his son spends his time outside the hours of his regular breadwinning work. At any case, the father really does not know what his son works. The son has been changing his work from one field of professional activity to another and from one enterprise to another. It is very important to point out that the son prefers night shifts work so that he could spend most of the hours of the day in sleep and thus disappearing from the father's monitoring eyes.

The father never asked so far the son where he goes daily after his work. The father could remember that since the tragic death of the mother, the relationship between the two, the father and the son, has taken the formal, neutral and the conventional way.

Whenever the two meet and by chance, each would immediately hide himself behind a very thick veil. Neither the father nor the son could see the other or could speak to the other.

It is now a tradition that whenever the two meet nothing would take place as a kind of communication either verbal or otherwise.

Even when they realize that it is necessary to say something, they would utter few words that would add nothing to the status quo, to the established situation in which the two are found.

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

Indeed, it has been an established tradition of behavior and comportment between the two, the father and the son that neither of the two would like to see the face of the other unmasked and unveiled. Since few years, and perhaps since the tragic death of the mother, the two, the father and the son, have begun to put on the face a very thick veil, an impenetrable mask. The two have stopped to be normal and natural whenever one of them sees the other.

They, the father and the son, have established an agreement between them and since some time, that when they see each other none of them would smile to the other. The world in which both of them live together and under the same roof and behind the same walls has long ago banished, exiled and ousted what one could call the Smile. Smiling would never be used as a means of normal human communication by either of them.

Both of them, as human beings, have been using the smile in the past, as a means of some kind of communication. But now, within the world in which they have to coexist, smiling has no right to exist and to manifest itself on the face of either of them or both of them.

Their world, that of the father and that of the son is that of fury, of wrath, of turbulence, of ferocity and of exasperation and indignation. All of this is related only to the world which is inside the residence, there where both of them have to live.

The situation, the case of the predicament outside the residence, the abode and the lodging of the two, is totally different. So many times, in the near or the far past, when these two human beings just by chance crossed each other, they behaved and reacted as if they did not know each other at all.

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

Each in the outside world would consider the other as a person whom he sees for the first time. Therefore, each one of them would have the same reaction. When they are just near to each other and their shoulders are about to touch each other, each of the two, the father and the son, would look to the opposite direction. Each would totally ignore the passing of the other just beside him or the existence of the other in the same place and space in which he himself is subsisting and is breathing.

Either the young man, the son, wants to say that this old and retired man is not his father, or that this old man has nothing to do with his mental, intellectual, spiritual and social existence and behavior, or that this man has only engendered him and thus he is his legitimate heir, or, on the other hand, the old and the retired man, the father, wants to say that this young man is not related to him, mentally, spiritually, intellectually and socially, he does not know him because he is walking in the path and in the way which he, the father, did not choose for him as his son.

The two continue walking in the streets and the narrow passages of the Quarter of the Rich and still the two walk and each one of them wishes that the earth would swallow him so as to stop being a part of this Satanic scene and this cursed landscape. The Banker, while walking after the meeting by chance with his son in the heart of the city, tells himself that he hopes this would be the last time that he ever meets by chance this young man.

Whatever is the case, it could not be confirmed that the two, the father and the son, are actually enemies. Nobody says so, that the father and the son are enemies. On the contrary, nobody can claim that these two persons have been seen to be enemies, or have ever quarreled.

Nevertheless, the father has engendered the son. Without the father there could not have been the son. And this son is the heir to everything the father has, his wealth and his glory.

Therefore, nobody can claim that the two are enemies or that they are irreconcilable, incompatible and at variance. They are not like the day and the night or like the darkness and the light, that is irreconcilable. It could easily be seen that this son has been engendered by this man, the father. Actually, and by miracle, the son, physically, looks like his father, the same face and the same stature, and above all the same dreaming eyes.

This is why, this man, the Banker, attracts the attention and the interest of the ex-consul, Amr. The two Amr and the Banker have rarely met each other outside the Circle and its Centre.

The ex-consul has heard a lot about the head of the Commercial Bank and how this man is a symbol of perfection, of efficiency and of competence in the administration of the Bank. Amr heard a lot also about the excellent ways and methods of the Banker in making contacts with the bank employees and with the clients. Most of the directors of the famous banks in the city speak most of the time about the new and the modern methods of administration of the Bank applied by the Banker.

But here, inside the Centre of the Circle, Amr, the ex-consul has the chance to see the Banker daily in the Assembly Hall and so many times in the library.

The Banker is not an occupant of the Room six as it is the case of Amr. So they meet sometimes in the library. When both of them, Amr and the Banker, come in contact with each other in the library, Amr tries frequently to speak to the Banker. Here in the library each stool does not have a fixed place from which it cannot be moved. So when Amr sees where the Banker is seated he carries his stool and goes to the nearest place where the Banker is seated.

At that time, the Banker is totally busy in reading the newspaper which he has in his hand. He reads the paper where the names of the persons who died recently are mentioned. More particularly, he reads the news and the details of information about the persons who recently committed suicide.

The Banker has been concentrating all his attention and efforts in reading the news of those who committed suicide. As usual, he has his small note-book in his hand and his pencil. He puts the newspaper on his knees or in his lap and then he writes some notes and observations in his note-book. The Banker looks to be very busy and he seems to be completely absorbed in his own personal and stimulating activity.

Amr sits on his low straw seat, the stool, very near to the Banker's stool, looks at what this reader is doing, especially in taking notes. Amr could not attract the attention of this serious reader of the newspaper. First Amr moves his stool so near to that of the Banker that he thinks the Banker would immediately react and begin talking to him.

However, the Banker continues reading the paper and he never raises his eyes from the newspaper which he reads very seriously and with concentration. At last Amr coughs. He coughs several times and with various intensities, just to attract the attention of the Banker. Amr resumes coughing and in a very loud and disturbing voice. But the other man, the Banker, continues to read his paper as if he does not hear at all the coughing of the intruder, the ex-consul, Amr.

The Banker sticks to his note-book, the pencil and the newspaper. He keeps being very busy in reading and in taking notes from the paper and is not aware of the presence of anybody beside him.

After several attempts to attract the attention of the reader of the newspaper, Amr is successful to make the other man look at the person who tries to tell him that he would like to talk to him.

He stops looking at the newspaper, puts the pencil and the note-book in his pocket and then he prepares himself to talk to Amr. It seems there is much hesitation on the part of the Banker to leave his newspaper so as to talk to this man sitting next to him. His neighbor seems to be very anxious and concerned to talk to him.

The Banker leaves his seat and goes to the shelf where he puts the newspaper which he was reading. Then immediately after that he goes back to his seat, the stool, in order to speak to Amr.

"Are you sick, a sick man my friend? You are coughing a lot. I never saw someone who coughs repeatedly as much as you did just few minutes ago. I tell you my dear friend you should not have come to Centre of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals this morning. Instead you should have called the doctor to your house to see you, to examine you and to prescribe for you the required medicine. You know coughing could be the symptom of something else, something fatal and deadly, and dangerous" said the Banker innocently and very gently and politely.

"I, am, sick, sick!!? Do you say that I am a sick man? No, no, this is impossible. No, no. Really I am in good health. I assure you I am in a good health. I suffer from nothing. I am sure, quite sure that I am in a good health, and since a long time. In all my life, I do not remember that I have fallen sick, never, never, with the exception of twice or three times during my adolescence that is since fifty five years. I cannot give you know the exact time in which I was sick since half a century. As you know, I cough from time to time, and like all human beings of all ages I clean my throat. This is very normal. My coughing has nothing to do with a disease which you referred to without mentioning it. I mean cancer. No, no, Be sure, it has nothing to do with cancer, which means a death sentence. I cough to clean the throat and nothing else. That is all. I hope you would not give more comments and observations and references to the world of death. That is all." said Amr calmly and in tranquility.

"Listen to me, my dear friend. You could remember very easily that you have coughed three times or more precisely, four times. You consider this as an attempt to clean the throat. What do you think you have in your throat? I cannot believe what you are trying to tell me. Am I a child, a small boy, or what??? Listen to me, you have coughed a lot and traces of your saliva could be seen now there on that newspaper which is placed now there on the shelf. Do not try to deny that you have coughed many times and this is not only a symptom of cancer of the lungs, but also a symptom of another dangerous and contagious sickness which kills people very easily and which our health authorities think that they have conquered long ago tuberculosis. Nowadays a number of people of all ages die because of tuberculosis. My dear friend, you are sick, I am sure you are sick. Cancer, tuberculosis, and I do not know what else you could have. Do not try to convince me that you are not suffering from something." said the Banker in a very serious tone.

Then the Banker's face becomes pale. He closes his eyes several times and puts his two hands on his belly, or on his stomach. For a short time he utters some sighs, some moaning and some suffocated breathing.

He then, all of a sudden, stands up and remains so for a while then puts his hand somewhere in his back and then looks at his band. He smiles for a while. He walks for some minutes in the library and really forgets that he has been talking to another member of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals.

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At last he decides to make a walk in the library and for some time. From time to time he looks around him to see whether something has been coming out of him. The face of the suffering man is now paler than before. It could be seen that this member of the Circle is really a sick man although he tries all the time to look as if he is in a good health while all the others around him are sick. Then he goes back to his seat when Amr is seated in his low straw seat, the stool.

The Banker asks his friend who wants to talk to him the permission to be absent for hew minutes. He wants to go to the toilets. For five minutes or so, Amr is completely stunned not knowing exactly what is going on for the man with whom he is talking, the Banker.

The library contains a toilet facility and there the Banker is going now. The time passes slowly. The few minutes of waiting are like the eternity. Anything could happen.

The Banker is now in another world where man, as an adult, enjoys his privileges to be all alone with nobody else with him. Of course, if the adult is a disabled, then, the adult should be accompanied by somebody.

Amr looks at the corner where the Banker has disappeared. Time passes slowly. But at the end, Amr sees the Banker coming out of that mysterious corner. The man, who disappeared for a while, comes out with a very mysterious smile of his face.

Amr looks at the coming enigmatic and cryptic man, and he tries his best to find an explanation for the strange behavior of the mysterious man. Is he suffering from something that tortures him night and day?

The Banker comes back in a hurry to his seat, the straw stool. He sits on it. Amr is still sitting on his straw stool and waiting for the mysterious man to calm down so as to resume their talking.

"Excuse me to ask you the same question which you have asked me. Are you suffering from something or what? You know, it is normal that in our age, we, the old retired human beings, suffer from many diseases due to the fact that several of our organs do not function well or in a normal way. This is very normal. Anyone of us, the fifty members of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals could be having one or more of our organs that are out of function, that are out of work. Some of us might bleed, all of a sudden and without his knowledge. Somebody else might discover himself wet, extremely wet, and then he discover that he is like a small child regarding the functioning of our urinating organ and a plenty of others things. But besides all of that, I see you in the library always reading the pages of death in the daily newspapers. I consider it very curious and even abnormal to see you reading only the news of those who died by committing suicide. I think that those who commit suicide are those who are not happy at all from among the inhabitants of the Quarter of the Rich. Those who put an end to their life, those who commit suicide, are the unhappy, the sad, the miserable and the melancholic. Those who commit suicide are those who could not find solutions for the problems which they face in their daily life. I repeat to you my question. Why do you only read pages of death and suicide?" asked Amr.

"Nothing, nothing; I am only interested in reading the pages of the newspapers that contain news about those who died because of committing suicide. Up to this moment I do not see any particular reason that makes me read only the pages that provide information about the persons who kill themselves. There are no particular or special reasons. I want only to read about this aspect of the human behavior and comportment and nothing else. I cannot understand why you consider this as something strange and even peculiar and abnormal." answered the Banker.

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

"Tell me if you please. Do you read the same pages of death and funerals and suicide every day? Don't you think it is better to read other pages that provide the news of the whole world?" Amr asked.

"No, no!! I am not interested to reading the news of the other pages. I am decided to read only the pages that give news about death and funerals and especially about those who commit suicide." said the Banker.

Slowly and with the passing of time, all the seats, the straw stools, are occupied in the library. Forty nine old men in retirement are seated on the low stools. As a general rule every one of them has a newspaper in his hands.

Each one of them opens the paper on a certain page and remains fixing his eyes on this page, They, in fact, look at the names of the persons who died yesterday or some days before. The silence dominates in the space called the library. Nobody talks with his neighbors. The rule to be followed in the library is not to talk but to read the newspaper only. During the hours of the reading of newspapers in the library, silence dominates everywhere.

From time to time, and daily, the President of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals comes into the library carried by the two bearers on the stretcher. He comes to the library to inspect, to have a look on what goes on in the library.

The President, Ashams, is really all the time satisfied because he sees all the members of the Circle are completely occupied in reading the newspapers, the new and the old. There could never be any exception to this general rule. The President of the Circle is extremely satisfied to discover that everybody is doing his duty. All the members are fully occupied in reading a newspaper, thus nobody notices the presence of the President of the Circle in the library.

Therefore, and most often, the President of the Circle coughs several times just to attract the attention of those who read the papers. But unfortunately, the coughing of the President does not have any effect on those who are reading the papers. All the forty nine members of the Circle continue reading the newspapers. Nobody raises his head just to have a look of the visiting President of the Circle to the library.

Amr at that moment, when the President of the Circle enters into the library carried on the stretcher, is seated on his straw stool placed near by the Banker's stool.

The small man is sitting on his stool in one of the corners of the library where the space is not well lit like the other spaces in the library. At the same time, it could easily be seen that the engineer is occupying another corner in the library. Although the two, the little man and the engineer, are pretending that they are busy reading the paper, they, both of them, are looking at each other continuously and without any fatigue and tiredness.

The little man as well as the engineer every now and then, tries to stand up and walk to the other corner so as to talk to the other man, his adversaries, sitting there.

Indeed, here and there, and throughout the space of the library one could see the military man, the commander of the national army, the ancient prime minister, the medical doctors, the writers, the poets, the evil doers in the community, the criminals, the chiefs of mafias, the professors, the pharmacists and the most famous director of the well established industrial enterprises and all the other members of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals sitting on their stools like small boys controlled and frightened by a tough and a cruel teacher.

The session of the reading of the newspapers in the library continues for two hours. It is clear that all the members of the Circle of the Rerated Intellectuals are calm and serene.

But all of a sudden, and in the middle of this silence and tranquility in the library, one could hear somebody who is crying, who is uttering some sighs and moaning, groaning and wailing. All the members of the Circle, who are reading the newspapers, stop reading so that they could look for the source of this suffering. All of them discover that this is the Banker who utters the moaning. The newspaper is no more in the hands of the Banker. It is lying on the floor of the library. Amr comes nearer to him, to the suffering man.

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

"Why do you cry? Do you suffer from a pain caused by some sickness, or what? Do you suffer from some pain in your body? Can you indicate that, or what? Is it necessary to call for a doctor? It is possible. In five minutes the doctor could be here examining you" said Amr.

"Read; please read in the first page of the paper. Look there, on the first page. Three men, they are my friends. They are very well known men in the country and in the region. The paper declares their death. All of them are dead. Each one of them shot himself in the head. It is obvious that they have committed suicide. Their burial would take place tomorrow. I should have a leave from the Centre of the Circle because I have to attend the burial of the three friends." declared the Banker solemnly to all who are around him.

"As you already know it is completely prohibited to be absent from the Centre throughout the day, even for one day only. This is absolutely forbidden, prohibited." answered Amr in a very categorical tone.

"I am sorry to tell you that you do not know the details of the law and regulations of the Centre of the Circle. There is an exception, or there are exceptions for each rule. You know that it is possible to be absent for one day provided that you give the President of the Circle the reasons for being absent for the whole day." said the Banker to Amr.

"O yes! This is possible, possible in some cases. You are an old member of the Circle and you know the details of the regulations and you know the justifications for being absent. You know the exceptional cases. I am not aware of these strange cases and of the details." said Amr.

The next day, the Banker does not come to the Centre of the Circle. On the other hand, on that day, he goes and attends the burial rituals and ceremony of the three friends who committed suicide.

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The real reason for the death of the three, the friends of the Banker, an officer in the National Army, a professor at the National University and a Minister of the Dead and the Old Age, remains a secret which could not be disclosed, revealed. All the three committed suicide and on the same day and at the same hour.

It seems there has been a tacit agreement between the three that they should put an end to their miserable life on the same day and at the same hour. The fact that the real reason for their death remains forever a secret leaves the scene free for the fabrication of funny and silly reasons for their death.

All reasons given for their death, for their committing suicide, are unbelievable and even fantastic. The strange thing in the whole story is the fact that they died on the same day and at the same hour.

This multiple suicide would remain a riddle with no explanation in the whole history of the Quarter of the Rich. The army officer, the professor and the minister used to meet daily in the house of anyone of them.

All the three, who committed suicide, are of an advanced age, beyond the sixty five years. But the most important fact in the tragic story is that all, the three, who committed suicide, were very happy in their family life. Why should happy people, persons, husbands and fathers, commit suicide and in such a strange way. It is very strange, all of them, the three, are very, very rich in wealth and in property with children, sons and daughters and grandchildren.

The Banker, with the loss of those three friends, who committed suicide by shooting themselves in their heads and more specifically through their mouths, thinks and imagines that he should have been the fourth one to commit suicide on the same day and at the same hour with the other three who were already killed.

The Banker tries to imagine and to remember that he has made an agreement with those who committed suicide that he should be the fourth. He tries to remember whether there is some misunderstanding between him and the other three who killed themselves.

He cannot remember at all that there was an agreement between the four that they would die all the four on the same day and at the same hour and by a pistol, by a small revolver.

The Banker waits the burial ritual of the three friends. All the dignitaries of the inhabitants of the Quarter of the Rich have been there in the cemetery of the quarter waiting for the final burial of the three who were killed. All of them are stunned and amazed and cannot believe what they are seeing and witnessing. Is it possible that the three had an agreement amongst themselves to commit suicide together and on the day?

All of those present in the cemetery instead of looking at those who committed suicide and whose dead bodies are about to be buried, they look at the Baker who is standing nearby the graves. All of them are in fact asking this man why he is still alive. All of them are under the impression that the number of those who committed suicide should have been four and not three. The Banker should have been the fourth. This is what the people attending the burial ceremony are saying.

The Banker could see and imagine that all the people are looking at him. He knows perfectly well why?? They are asking him the following question. Why is he still alive? But how do these people know that the four, the professor, the army officer, the minister and the Banker, have an agreement that they should commit suicide together on the same day. How do they know the secret of the agreement?

The Banker, when he sees that all the people are looking at him, tries to withdraw from the whole scene. He wants to escape and imagines that all of those people are about to catch him, to seize him, to arrest him so as to be reminded of the group agreement which stipulates that the four should commit suicide on the same day.

The Banker in fact, is just imagining that those who are in the cemetery are determined to arrest him and to force him to commit suicide at once and on the spot. He imagines that a man without identity advances towards him with a pistol in his hand so as to give it to the Banker so that he should kill himself, to fire the pistol in his mouth.

But all of this is just an imagination. The Banker thinks that he is part of an agreement, between the four, and that he is the only one of the group who did not fulfill his part. His crime is that he is still alive. The Banker discovers that all of a sudden that he is all alone in the cemetery. The three friends are already buried. They are now in their graves, simple graves.

All people who are attending the burial ceremony have left the place and he is the only one left in this strange place. He immediately leaves the ceremony and goes to his car. He remembers recalls that he should prepare himself for the evening visit of condolences to the houses of the three friends who killed themselves, the minister, the army officer and the professor.

At exactly five o'clock in the evening, the Banker is ready for the condolences visits. He plans to stay in the house of each of the three for fifteen minutes, not more than that.

For the first time in his life he feels that he is not ready to undertake these condolences visits. The Banker is afraid that some surprises might take place and decides to go first to the house of the Minister of the Dead and Old Age. This man's residence is the nearest to his house and he has been always the closest friend. At least they visited each other once a month. The banker arrives a little bit after five o'clock. Strangely enough, all the seats of the Minister's house are all occupied. The twelve or the fifteen family members who receive the consolers, the visitors, in front of the house, refuse with stubbornness to shake hands with the Baker. They refuse to look at him. Obviously, the Banker imagines all of that.

While he passes in front of these fifteen men, he imagines hearing each of those standing saying to him 'you should have been buried.' He listens to these men addressing him something very strange. Why he should have been buried and not alive? Was there really an agreement between the four, including him, that they should commit suicide on the same day and at the same hour?

Inside the salon of the lamenting and the bereaved family house of the Minister of the Dead and the Old Age all the seats are almost occupied. With difficulty the Banker finds an unoccupied seat. The moment he seats himself he imagines that all of those present inside the salon come to him with daggers in their hands. They intend to kill him and send him to the cemetery tomorrow to be buried.

The Banker leaves the salon, leaves the house of condolences of the Minister of the Dead and the Old Age and rushes to his house. He decides not to go to the other two remaining houses of the bereaved families. He imagines that he would be treated in the same way he was treated in the first house of bereavement.

In the night, he has many nightmares in his sleep and he feels that he is going to die very soon. He gets up twice, drinks some water and then he resumes his sleep.

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

Next morning, the Banker resumes his daily and usual attendance of the activities in the Centre of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals. There in the Centre, he keeps himself in absolute silence. He does not want to talk to anybody.

Amr, the ex-consul, tries his best to come nearer to the sad man, to the Banker. But unfortunately, all the efforts of the ex-consul are not fruitful. The sad and the melancholic Banker remains to be silent and refuses to talk to anybody.

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As he did in the past, the Banker takes a newspaper from one of the shelves of the library, goes back to his stool and starts to read the paper in the parts in which he finds the names of those who died recently. Yet Amr, the ex-consul, continues to observe and to watch the silent man who reads only the pages in which he finds the names of those who committed suicide. He watches his man from a near and from a far distance. Nobody else in the whole library attracts the attention of Amr more than this riddle or this mystery.

Day after day, and with the passing of time, the retired consul observes that there have appeared on the face of the lonely man some traces and some signs of sadness and of sorrow. Amr notices that day after the suffering of this man has been increasing. Day after day Amr could notice that some drops of tears come out of his eyes. He remarks that the suffering of this man increases from one day to another.

Of course, and it is normal, the ex-consul begins to be worried regarding the mental and the moral health of this suffering man who does not stop to moan and to utter sighs. Amr is realizing, with the passing of time, that this suffering human being is almost drowned is his despair and helplessness, is probably about to commit some kind of a silliness, stupidity, absurdity or foolishness.

Tree
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, for a while, and for some days, contemplates the possibility of contacting the son of the Banker. He wants to talk to this young man and to alert him about the strange and the mysterious developments and changes that are taking place in the personality of his father. Amr wants to discover whether the son has been noticing the same thing in his father, that is, his inner and mental torture and suffering.

But this son does not give any attention to the well being of his father, who is tormented by something the origin of which is mysterious and could not be identified until now.

Life in the Centre of the Circle passes, from one day to another, in a normal way. All the members of the Centre of the Circle find satisfaction and enjoyment in their daily activities, especially in the intellectual discussion held in the Assembly Hall.

However, there is only one exception from this general rule. One member only is not satisfied like all the other colleagues. This is the Banker who begins to behave and to conduct himself as a mentally troubled and disturbed man. A number of his colleagues agree and say with certainty that their friend has become a mad man.

Sometimes, the Banker is seen hitting and knocking his head on the walls of whatever room he happens to be sitting within it. Very frequently he speaks in the sessions of contemplation and reflection. He tries, more often in the library, to put a full page of the paper, on which the names of persons who died the previous day are mentioned, in his mouth. He often chews such papers and then he swallows what he chews instead of throwing them out of his mouth.

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Once he went to a corner in the general Assembly Hall and he urinated there as if he was in a toilet. Whatever is the case, this strange man cries most of the time and he utters moaning and lamentation.

As for Amr, he all the time stands watching the strange behavior of the Banker. Nevertheless, there is nobody in the Centre of the Circle to whom Amr could go and talk to about the critical and the dangerous situation in which the disturbed Banker is found.

One day, all the members of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals are surprised to see that the seat of the Banker in the general Assembly Hall is vacant. He is not there. The seat remains to be vacant for the whole period of the general intellectual discussion session.

It is very obvious to all observers that the occupant of the seat, the Banker, is absent. There is no doubt in that. When the next session of the library starts, the Banker is still noticed to be absent. He is not there in the library.

Naturally, Amr is the first member of the Circle who notices with worry and inquietude the absence of the Banker from the Centre. The president of the Circle discovers, like Amr, the absence of a member. But it seems that this is not an important even to the chief of the assembly session. The President thinks that this member, who is now absent, would finally come tomorrow and he would be punished for the unjustified absence when he comes back.

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The second man who notices the absence of the Banker and gets worried for that absence is the small man. Both of them, Amr and the little man before entering into the library, talk to each other in a very low voice. Both of them speak with ardor and enthusiasm.

"No doubt, a catastrophe, or a tragedy, or a disaster and a calamity, has taken place today in our Quarter of the Rich. Have a look at the atmosphere and the sky outside. It is very strange how the sky is extraordinarily dark and even black in spite of the fact that we are in the midst of the Autumn season. It is never, never like this!!! The sky during these days of the year is all the time blue and clear. However, look there, outside. The black clouds are gathering in a very strange way in the sky. The Sun has almost disappeared from the sky because of the gathering black clouds. Certainly, and there is no doubt at all, a tragic event is going to take place somewhere in our quarter. I have the feeling that our friend the Banker is in real emotional trouble and that he is surely overwhelmed by despair. No doubt, he has forgotten in his house that he should come to the Centre of the Circle. Perhaps, he does not remember, or he does not know where he is now." declares Amr.

"I agree with you. I totally agree with you. there is no doubt that something very strange is taking place now in the little palace of the Banker. Does he suffer from despair and hopelessness, or what? He feels always that he is drowned in a deep well from which no one could save him." answered the little man.

"Do you think that there is enough time to do something so as to help him, to save him? Or do you think it is too late, we cannot do anything, it is late??" asked Amr.

"I think we should at once leave the Centre of the Circle and go to his house, I mean to the house of the Banker. We should go there at once and without any delay. We do not have time to waste and should hurry up and go there. We have to walk for fifteen minutes or so. We the two, we could both of us go to his house at once. Probably we could save the life of this desperate man. He could be saved from throwing him into a deep abyss, into a bottomless pit. I am afraid he has already committed suicide. This man had been showing lately many signs of despair and hopelessness" answered the little man.

"Why should we be so pessimists? Why should we imagine life to be so black and so dark? Why should we presume the worst possibilities? Why should we assume that this man has already killed himself? It is possible and it is logical to assume that he is sick and that he sleeps now in his bed. Isn't it so? Or he might be now in the hospital of the quarter. It is possible that he might have gone to the clinic of his doctor? This is possible." said Amr.

"At any case, we should go immediately and at once, after taking the necessary permission from the President of the Circle to go to the house of the Banker." suggested the little man to Amr who was looking at the face of the little man.

"At any case, we should go immediately and at once, after taking the necessary permission from the President of the Circle." said the little man.

"What a good idea. I agree with you." said Amr.

After the end of the talk and the discussion between the two, they look at each other for a short while. Then they take the necessary permission from the President of the Circle to be absent for the whole afternoon. In fact, the President encourages the two to undertake this exploratory visit. Even he tells the two to hurry up to the villa of the Banker and he asks them not to waste time.

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The two take the car of the little man and they hurry up to the house of the Banker in driving the car in a high speed. All the people who see the car being driven hastily are amazed and they wonder what is going wrong with the two old men.

"I wish that everything would be all right and that nothing of a dangerous nature has taken place in the house of our miserable and desperate friend" said the little man solemnly.

"I wish the same thing like you. Let us hope for the best. At least, let us hope that he is only sick, or that he is in the hospital, or anything similar to that, but not in any case, he should be dead." answered Amr.

"What do you mean by that, please explain to me what do you mean? I cannot understand you. Really I cannot understand you." said the little man who sits now behind the steering of his car.

"I will tell you very frankly. It is possible that we would discover that he is already dead in his bed. This is possible or he might me in his bathroom, also, already dead. Or he might be in the sitting room, also dead, or even he might be there in the veranda, also dead. Everything is possible." said Amr with some tone of sarcasm.

"I cannot understand you, my friend. Really I am lost. Don't try to confuse me. Let us try to reach safely to the home of our friend. Do I understand that our friend has been assassinated, has he been killed, or what? Please, explain to me. Do not forget the recent wave of suicides that have taken place in our Quarter of the Rich and the victims who are all important and influential persons especially in the field of finance and commerce." said the little man.

"I cannot understand why he should be assassinated, killed or eliminated. Is he a member of a mafia, a gang, or what? He is a very respectable and a dignified man. Why should he be assassinated? You know very well that this man has no enemies. Maybe he is the only man in our quarter without enemies. As you know, he has good and even excellent relationship with all. I say all without any exception." said Amr.

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

"I know the son who lives with his father in his magnificent villa, or the little palace. They are the only two residents of the house with some four or five maids and servants. You know his wife died years ago and all his four daughters are already married but he has his only son who is not yet married although he is thirty years old. As far as I know there is no reason for the assassination of this peaceful and respectful man. I know his son very well. He is docile, submissive, peaceful, calm, wise and obedient. In summary he is a perfect human being. Nevertheless, this young man, the son of our friend is without ambition. I never talked to him, but this is what the neighbors say. Yet, whatever are the circumstances, the young man, the son, cannot be accused directly or indirectly to be the reason for a possible tragic situation. Also, the wife, the mother of the young man, cannot be blamed, accused because she is already dead since many years." said the little man.

"Why cannot we suppose and presume that it is a case of suicide, in case he is dead. I have been watching him for the last few days everywhere in the Centre of the Circle, in the library and in the Assembly Hall. I noticed all the time that this man had certain tendencies to put an end to his life, that is, to commit suicide and take his own life. He was reading all the time the pages of the newspaper on which are mentioned the names of those who committed suicide in the Quarter of the Rich, our quarter. Moreover, committing suicide has become a common practice, tradition, in our community in recent days especially in our quarter and amongst the well-to-do persons, I mean the men. I never heard that a woman committed suicide. Since several weeks, the number of those who commit suicide, who kill themselves, has increased in an astonishing rate. Every day we come to know that at least a well known rich man has committed suicide and nobody knows why. All of them are rich, very rich. All of them spend all their evenings in attending receptions in their friends' villas and palaces or in their own. Nobody knows the real reason for the suicide of these men. This is a riddle. The number of this kind of crime is increasing day after day." said Amr.

The car carrying Amr and his friend the little man arrives at last to its final destination, the house of the Banker. In front of the two, Amr and the little man, could be seen an ambulance, the car of the hospital of the quarter. In addition to the ambulance two or three members of the local police force could be seen moving aimlessly around the ambulance and the house of the Banker.

At the same time fifteen to twenty passers-by and family members could be seen also standing here and there. Mostly, they are observing, watching, witnessing what is going on around them. Some of these persons are members of the family of the Banker who look to be very distressed and in anxiety. Some of them, men members of the family, talk to each other with nervousness.

The little man stops the car far from the house and the crowd. The two friends come down of the parked car and both of them begin to explore and examine the tragic and the enigmatic scene before them.

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Both of them are determined to know what is going on there in the heart of the Quarter of the rich. Before the arrival of the two men at the main gate of the villa of the Banker, they see in front of them three men dressed in a special white uniform used usually by male nurses in the hospitals. These three male nurses carry on their shoulders a stretcher on which there is, most probably, the dead body of a human being covered or enveloped by a white shroud.

In a quick glimpse of an eye, the corpse of the dead man is already placed inside the ambulance which immediately rolls towards one of the several hospitals of the city. As soon as the two distinguished members of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals arrive to the place where the spectators are watching what is going on, one of these who are standing said that a retired old man killed himself by firing a bullet on his head.

At last, it is very clear, for the two members of the Circle that the one who killed himself, who committed suicide, is the Banker and nobody else. The desperate man put an end to his life without leaving behind him any message, letter or note to his daughters and grandchildren, to explain to the members of his family the reasons for his suicide, for his act of madness, for his scandalous and shameful act. According to the doctor who came to the villa with the members of the police force, the event of suicide took place one hour before the arrival of the ambulance car and the three male nurses.

Smile under the Hat 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 the time in which the tragic act has taken place, the only son of the victim was not at all in the house. Most probably, the son was busy in the establishment where he works as an accountant. This is not sure. He might have been somewhere else in the city. For sure at that time, the son was not in the Quarter of the Rich.

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One of the service staff of the house, a maid servant, alerted immediately and instantaneously the Police Department of the quarter the moment the tragedy has taken place. Of course, first she, the maid, heard the sound produced by the fired bullet. The maid was certain that the sound of shooting came from the bathroom. The moment she discovered that the sound came from the bathroom, she rushed there and saw the master of the house lying inside the bath-tub with his head and face all covered with blood.

The theory which states that this man who was dead in the bath tub has committed suicide could not be proposed as the real reason for the death of the Banker in a categorical manner. The police and the medical judgment should be the main source of such a plausible conclusion, that the man found dead in the bathroom had in fact killed himself by a small revolver discovered to be clearly in his right hand.

The proposition of a conspiracy for the assassination of the Banker circulates in the Quarter of the Rich especially among the inhabitants of the quarter or more specifically among the neighbors of the defunct. But the guilty or the criminal cannot be identified or discovered.

The sudden and tragic death, but more or less highly expected, of the Banker, is a source of sadness, dismay and grief not only for the members of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals but also for all the inhabitants of the Quarter and the city as a whole. The man who killed himself is highly respected by all the inhabitants of the Quarter.

Whatever is the case, life inside the Centre of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals has not been affected a lot by the death of the Banker. Automatically, a new candidate becomes a member of the Circle to replace the member who killed himself.

The new member of the Circle is the most famous beggar in the City who used to stand in a regular manner for sixty years in one of the corners of the main street of the City asking for money and whatever kind of charity from the passers-by. The beggar recently disclosed his identity and his personality. He is in fact one of the richest persons in the Quarter of the Rich.

The beggar has been investing his money and wealth in buying and selling pieces of land, apartments and residential houses, villas and small palaces.

However, Amr continues to remember the member of the Circle who committed suicide. He always remembers the Banker. For him, this tragic event of suicide would remain for him a riddle and a mystery. He is convinced that this story of suicide would remain for him a riddle, and forever.

More important than anything else is that nobody would ever know if the death of the Banker is really an act of suicide or an assassination. Somebody might have killed him. Is it logical to think of this proposition?

The official authorities of law and order do not have the intention to undertake a legal criminal investigation into the whole matter, the whole case, the story with all its complications, confusions and ambiguity. Is the death of the ideal man a result of suicide or what?

Nobody is interested to know the reality, to discuss freely the story of the suicide of the Banker. The death of this man remains a riddle. The story is discussed in all the night reception parties held daily in the houses, in the villas and in the small palaces of the Quarter of the Rich.

The Centre of the Circle of the Retired Intellectuals continues to have its daily activities. Every day, the debate and the intellectual discussion takes place in the general Assembly Hall.

Daily, the library opens its doors to receive all the forty five members of the Circle who would like to read the daily newspaper or the papers of the past. Every day, each of the ten contemplation rooms would receive its five occupants. From amongst the forty nine members, Amr is being considered as one of the best members; he proposes good and interesting topics for discussion by all the members of the Circle. The confidence of the President of the Circle is Amr whose intellectual abilities increase from one day to another.

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

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The Circle of the Retired Intellectuals

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