God it stunk to be in Tripoli with NATO bombs falling daily now. The Catatonic Bar was located near the port and thus had been spared thus far, yet there was the constant threat and badgering from Ghadaffi's swine, who all thought we should pay them not to bother us. The latest now lay in a dumpster out back when I discovered he was nothing of the sort, but a bastard friend of friend of a friend of a friend....etc, etc. of one of Ghadaffi's son's, of which there were literally dozens, not counting cousins.
'If only Marlene' would show, I'd blow this place so fast my bartender's skull cap would spin a thousand times, leaving him with his brain showing. I didn't know what else to think about, she was the only shred of sanity I had for this pathetic thing I called life.
"Hey! Sampson!" yelled someone outside the front door. Sampson was my full first name and only a handful of people dared to call me by it, my curiosity piqued, I walked over and pulled back the flap of the tent we were using to cover damage caused by a grenade blast 3 months ago.
"What the fuck," I said, it was someone from a time I didn't think about anymore...my brother Edward.
"Got a beer for blood relative?" he asked.
"That depends," I said half smiling, "Do you have the seven grand you owe me?"
"I have exactly $53 dollars U.S. and then several hundred of this crap currency they have here in this country."
"Shit, that's more than I've made all month, come on in," I replied sardonically leading the way back into the bar.
Franz instinctively pulled the levers on the draft Afrique Dark into to large steins. Franz, who was actually Abdul Malik Faqtader, changed his name for me to appeal to the Euro trash tourists and journalists who frequented The Tent, the Catonic's new nickname.
We didn't dare give it an Arab name for fear of insulting someone and in English we could always claim we didn't know what the hell it meant in whatever dialect they were badgering us in.
"What are you doing here?" I asked.
"I came to see you actually...about Mom," he replied, "She's very ill."
"She's always ill, what's the real reason."
"Dad died," he said seriously.
"Ha!!" I laughed.
"Sam, he's really dead," said Ed.
"Oh..." I sighed, "So...how bad is Mom?"
"Her Dengue came back and she's been seeing the damned hippos again."
"I thought you were keeping them penned up in the pond?"
Edward stopped and stared at me in the eyes, "Do really think I'm that stupid? Of course they're penned up! She's been seeing them in her bedroom for christsakes!"
Just then a cell phone rang in Edward's shirt pocket. He took it out and held it to his ear. A loud inhuman shriek pierced the air as he held it away from his ear, followed by an explosion. He looked at the screen to see the number.
"That's her number..." said Edward.