by Eamon Byrne
It is sweet to sit and talk to you he says, to which I reply that the sweetness is mine, effendi, or words to that effect, and when he asks for the latest news I tell him the first thing I know he wants to hear, which is that our armed forces are shooting about the city at speed, being careful to finish with your excellent one, knowing he likes being called that. Ah, he says, that is very good of our brave strugglers, the reckless criminal little Bush will not escape the wrath of Allah by hiding within the shifting winds. When I tell him that is good but we’re suffering casualties, he tells me to drink my tea before it gets cold, and I am obliged to hastily cover my mistake by adding that this is nothing compared to the travails of our enemies, being quick to tag on great one, because that usually goes down well. To be expected, he says, for their aircraft carriers are impotent since they cannot cross the desert, for it is made of sand. This is an insight I can add nothing to but that the winds are favourable to our cause, but fortunately it sends him on a spree of wind-related invective, such as that their canvas tents will never cope with the shamals blowing in from our north, that their latrines will be rudely scattered by the swirling sands, and that those who venture out at night will be sprinkled with their stools even if they manage to find their way back. I nod my head to each of these wisdoms and continue to do so as he tells me to continue to light the oil wells as he has instructed, for their bombers cannot see us clearly while the dust and soot are so thick that the sun hangs eerily in the afternoon sky like a white plate.
Eamon Byrne lives in Sydney, Australia. He writes for the pleasure of it.