In recognition of President Obama’s historic trip to, and speech in Cairo, I offer this little short story, which was just named one of 10 runnersup in the annual Potomac Review fiction competition. Good deeds can change history, don’t you think?
Behold, the Raisin!
by Ray Abernathy
Cairo. Everything is moving. Small, square Russian cars, junkers all, speeding down the broad boulevard next to the Nile, slowing neither for traffic circles nor for pedestrians dodging in and out of lanes. Young men riding cranky bicycles past crumbling French, Soviet and Italianate buildings, right hands gripping handlebars, left hands balancing wide wooden trays of precious flatbread. A bus careens wildly around a tiny girl riding side-saddle astride a donkey, the donkey piled 20 feet high with used tires, the girl furiously beating the slow-moving animal with a stick. Two black armored personnel carriers with no windows, only slits for rifles, lumber off the boulevard into the Garden City district, crawl up narrow streets and come to a stop at the back entrance to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia just as two identical vehicles leave. A boy of twelve skips down the walk of an apartment building, crosses the street, pulls himself up by the gun slits on one of the carriers, sticks his tongue out at the soldiers inside and greets them with the refrain from his favorite cartoon show: “Yabba-dabba-do.” The soldiers, most of them little older than children themselves laugh and reply, “da-da-da-da …. da-da-da-da ….dadadadadadadooo.” (More)