Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4196)

Sitting Forty-One

Three days passed.

Karin found it difficult to sleep. She nibbled like a rabbit, trying to sustain her energy. Although she watched all the news reports, she heard nothing. It literally seemed that Iz and Pal had vanished from the face of the Earth. She made many phone calls but was unable to get in touch with anyone who knew anything.

Then, on Monday morning, while she was warming up her coffee, a special broadcast came across the television screen from the International News Network. She was brought to a standstill, staring in disbelief. There, being played out before her eyes, in a news conference, was a guy at a podium behind many microphones. He looked like Matthew Bradley, her photographer/suitor. Yet she shook her head, rattling in her own brain. It couldn’t be possible—because this man wore the trappings of a Catholic priest.

She lifted the volume as he stepped toward the microphones, placing a piece of paper on the podium. “I have a brief statement from the IEA. The two boys recently rescued from the desert and carried to a decontamination center to be tested and treated for injuries have unfortunately died from exposure to lethal chemicals. The boys, Jubal and Amir, who became known as Iz and Pal, left a final statement before passing on. And I quote:

We meant no harm. We just loved each other. Isn’t that a good thing? We wish you all holy peace.”

The Bradley doppelganger continued. “Both the boys were given medication to ease their pain and passed away last evening in their sleep. The IEA asked me, as a man of the ministry, to speak to the public. And may I personally add in comfort and closing, it is just blessed to know that Iz and Pal have gone to a better kingdom.”

With this, the priest folded up his sheet of paper, nodded his head and stepped away from the podium as a barrage of questions was shouted at his retreating form.

But there were no answers. He was gone. That was it.

Karin sat in front of her television for a long time. She wondered why she wasn’t crying—then realized it might be because Matthew Bradley was impersonating a priest. In other words, if the priest ain’t really a priest, then maybe, just maybe, the boys ain’t dead.

Trying to be comforted by the possibility of a false report, nevertheless, finally her emotional will broke. Her anguish and fears began to strangle her internally, draining the life from her soul. She couldn’t breathe. She stood to her feet, attempting to regain the simple ability to take in air and release it.

She felt so foolish. She had been part of tragedies before. She had seen men and women mutilated by bullets, and children blown up by bombs. Why in the hell was this striking her so deeply? Why did she let these two boys into her heart? Why hadn’t she been savvy enough to realize that this had no way to have a happy ending? It was doomed by all those doomsayers who spread doom all over the countryside in the name of their Deity of Doom.

She finally was able to sit down and calm herself, on the energy of one possibility. Maybe Iz was with his friend, Pal, and they were both alive. Karin didn’t know if believing such nonsense was optimistic or just dangerous. But she was tired of being cynical.

As she gradually regained her composure, she heard a knock at the door. Startled, she slowly stood, walked over and opened the door. A young Arab man was standing next to Jubal’s mother. She searched her mind to remember the name. Yes. Shelah. That was it.

It was very unusual to see a woman in public during the day with such a young man—one obviously not her husband. Karin was suspicious.

The young man knew he had surprised her, sympathetic to her predicament. “I am Talsan,” he explained quickly. “I am Amir’s…sorry…I am Pal’s older brother.” He turned toward the older woman, then back to Karin. “I suppose you know that this is…”

Karin interrupted. “Yes, this is Iz’s mother. Shelah, am I right?”

The woman nodded her head, continuing the submissive profile she had displayed on Karin’s visit to her. But then, out of nowhere, she spoke up. “Yes,” she stated. “As you say, I am Iz’s mother. May we come in?”

The sudden burst of speech from the silent woman surprised Karin. She welcomed the pair into her house. Karin offered them food and drink, which they both declined as they took seats on the couch.

Talsan said, “There is much I should say but the most important part is to tell you that I love my brother, and I refuse to believe that he’s gone.”

Before Karin could comment, Shelah piped up. “I will go further. My spirit—the mother within me—everything I hold dear—tells me that my son is still alive and breathing.”

Karin looked at Talsan and then at Shelah. She wasn’t certain what to say. She wanted to agree with them because she felt much the same way, but three fools don’t make a majority. The newspaper woman inside her rose up and cited, “You both realize that they don’t normally give out a false report from the IEA—and whether you trust Americans, or anybody from the West, I have worked with them many times, and they’re decent folk who would certainly not harm two little boys.”

Talsan started to speak, but Shelah patted his hand and said, “We are not accusing anyone of harming Iz and Pal.” She glanced over at Talsan. “We are just saying…well, I’m just saying…”

Talsan interjected, “It is me, too.”

Shelah nodded and continued. “We are just saying that we have done very poorly by these children of God and it is we who are believing that God will allow us another chance.”

Karin found it very difficult to object. All the words being spoken were sentimental hogwash, but still, they were the thoughts stirring in her own heart as well. She decided to offer a possibility. “Did you hear the announcement from the priest?”

They both nodded their heads. “Good,” Karin said. “Because his final thought was that the boys had possibly suffered enough and were redeemed to a better kingdom.”

Talsan jumped in. “I know this could be true. I’m not a fool. I’m an educated man. But it does seem ridiculous to accept the words without confirmation.”

“And beyond that,” Shelah emphasized, “Should there not be at least an attempt for us to let God, the authorities, but mostly the boys know that at the end of their journey there were people that loved them? People that sought them out and people that honored their memory?”

Talsan dipped his head as tears filled his eyes.

Karin realized that whatever powers may exist in the universe, Somebody Somewhere had granted her this visit from mother and brother, to restore her faith—and to help her make a decision she certainly yearned to do.

She took Mother Shelah and Brother Talsan by the hands and said, “I want to thank you for being brave enough to come here. But I wonder if you could be just a little braver still. Would you agree with me—no, more than that. Would you join me on a trip to America to make sure that these two great fellows really have gone to a better kingdom?”

Shelah quickly nodded her head, eyes glistening. Talsan thought for a minute, but then realized there was no way to avoid such a journey and ever be certain in his soul.

An unlikely trio of pilgrims made a covenant with one another to travel to the States to learn the truth about two wonderful guys that they all loved.

 

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Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4189)

Sitting Forty

Macklin Harrisonburg took a moment to catch his breath from the climb up the hill. While he was puffing out some air to keep from hyperventilating, the voice from inside the Port-a-john spoke again—more emphatically. “Who is it?”

“It’s the ice cream man,” answered Macklin, mustering some cheer. “What flavor would you like?”

A pause—a long, thoughtful delay. “No!” came the voice again. “Who is it really?”

Harrisonburg grabbed another large breath of air and inquired, “Have you ever heard of Mackie’s Ice Cream?”

There was what seemed to be a little giggle as the door was quickly opened and Iz appeared, staring at the man in yellow. “Where’s the ice cream?” he asked. Iz was standing next to Pal inside the toilet, each of them holding a small pink stick.

Macklin sized them up for a quick moment, peering at their little pink sticks. “Hmmm,” he began. “I sure hope that isn’t your preference in ice cream flavor. If you want my opinion, those are pretty pitiful looking cones.”

“It’s poison!” spat Pal. “We are not going to let them take us!”

Iz gave Pal a small punch in the arm as they gazed at one another and nodded their heads. Pal reached over to shut the door, but the big ball of Yellow Wonder stepped in the way. “I don’t know why you’d want to eat poison when you can come to my ranch, where I have barns and barns of ice cream. You see, my name is Macklin Harrisonburg—but most people know me as the Ice Cream Man, and they call me Mackie.”

With this, the portly gentleman removed his hat, made a short bow and continued. “I have come here to rescue you and take you back to meet the sweetest woman the world ever made—my dear wife, Marguerite. I tell you gentlemen—she cooks meals that make children screech in delight, and I make ice cream that causes them to smile until their ears slide to the back of their heads.”

Iz and Pal laughed. They didn’t want to—the man was corny. But he sure seemed fun. They had been wondering if they would ever see fun again, so they chose to invite him into their little enclosure. Once inside, Pal looked down at the toilet and said, “Mr. Ice Cream, that’s the only seat we have. But we didn’t do anything on it.”

“Or in it,” Iz added.

“Thank you, fellows,” said Macklin, easing down onto the small space. Iz and Pal did their best to wiggle and shift to make room for the large man to spread out.

“Now listen, my friends,” Mackie explained. “Here’s my plan. Why don’t we go ahead and get out of here? If you don’t mind leaving your homes here in the Middle East, I’d love to have you come and live at my ranch. I’ve already adopted ten other children from all over the world. I guess you could say we’ve got every flavor of them, too.”

Macklin grinned at the boys, who peered at him in disbelief. He shifted his bottom on the seat and resumed. “In a minute, they’re going to come and pick up this little building and carry you away. Don’t be afraid. Just hang on the best you can—and we’ll take you to safety, far away from this crowd. Once you’re there, you can decide what you want to do.” He paused. “Do you have any questions?”

Iz glanced over at Pal and replied, “That’s your plan?”

Macklin couldn’t help himself. He burst into laughter. “Well,” he said, “that’s the shortened version. Maybe we can call it the traveling version since you’re gonna be moving out of here real soon.”

“Listen,” Pal interrupted, “I don’t want to be mean, but why are you doing this?”

“Because I can,” said Macklin. “Because someone should. Maybe just because I will. But mostly because I can always use two new friends.”

Iz shook his head. “Well, what’s in it for you? Nobody does nothin’ for nothin’ for nobody.”

Macklin took a long moment to make eye contact with Iz, in search of the young man’s heart and soul. He wiped some sweat from his brow. “I don’t think about that anymore, young sir,” he replied. “I guess I’ve got so much in my life that I don’t have to get something out of everything. I mean, money or fame. Here’s what I believe: when God blesses you with more than you need and you don’t have to worry about cash anymore, then there’s only one thing left for you to do…”

Macklin paused so long that Pal asked, “What’s that?”

“Well, that’s easy,” Macklin smiled. “Have fun, love everybody you can, and get rid of your last dollar by the day you die.”

He laughed again, and Iz and Pal decided to join in with him. After all, even if the old man was crazy, crazy sure sounded better than where they were.

“Now,” Mackie said, “are you ready, boys?”

“We’re ready, Mr. Harrisonburger…large-burger,” said Iz, giggling.

Pal stared at him. “That’s not right.”

Harrisonburg pulled himself up, using a piece of nearby wall and stood. “You can just call me Mackie,” he replied.

“Alright, Mr. Mackie,” Iz said. “We’re ready.”

Mackie looked down at Iz and Pal. “Before I leave,” he said, “would you do me a favor and take those little stinky pink sticks you’ve got in your hands and throw them in that toilet?”

Pal glanced at Iz nervously. “No, no,” Macklin continued. “It’ll be alright, son.”

The two boys carefully threw their suicide sticks into the toilet. Pal was relieved. So was Iz, but he tried to act reluctant. This accomplished, the ice cream giant stepped out of the Port-a-john and descended the hill.

And the worker bees came a-buzzing.

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Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4182)

Sitting Thirty-Nine

Seeds meticulously planted weeks before suddenly came to bloom in the blazing desert sun.

For Macklin Harrisonburg was not your garden variety genius. He was an audaciously wealthy man, the founder and director of Mackie’s Ice Cream—the one with all the cavalcade of flavors.

Well, you see, Macklin opened up his newspaper one day (which he read religiously despite the current preference for receiving such international information via the computer). Peering through the paper, he came across the picture of Iz and Pal—the one taken by Matthew Bradley. Although there was nothing more than a small caption, he was deeply moved by the tender embrace of the boyhood companions. He decided to call Mr. Bradley on the phone, get details about this Middle Eastern pair, and also, in the process, offer Matthew a job.

“How would you like to make $80,000 a year taking pictures of ice cream?” posed Mr. Harrisonburg.

“Cones or sundaes?” Matthew inquired with a chortle.

“Both,” quickly retorted the billionaire.

Matthew agreed to accept the deal and join Mr. Harrisonburg at his one-hundred-twenty-two-thousand-acre ranch in Nevada. The place was big enough to apply for statehood. The ranch included five thousand head of cattle, two thousand sheep, one thousand hogs, two hundred buffalo, fifty camels, thirty llamas and one unicorn (which was really just a llama vexed with a large wart on its head).

It was from the headquarters of this ranch that Macklin Harrisonburg devised a plan. His secretary informed him that he had received a call from the editor of the local newspaper near the campsite of the boys. He returned the message and in doing so, learned more about the story, including a secret part—about the buried hand grenade.

Macklin loved to plot, so this got him thinking, which led to some chuckling, and ended up with the ice cream mogul hatching a master delight.

First, calls were made to the International Environmental Agency, telling them about the hazardous waste possibilities at the desert location. Then he contacted Armistice International, informing them of potential buried weapons. And finally, he called some friends he knew in the Israeli Army. He quickly created a coalition of allies—cooperative, willing, and determined to secure the space.

One final thing—Macklin decided it would be best if he owned the surrounding property so there wouldn’t be any furor with the locals over trespassing. Through some careful negotiation and bizarre translations, Harrisonburg purchased a kilometer of the desert in all four directions.

He wanted to do what was right—not an easy thing. Often what’s right gets in the way of what’s expedient. But he placed calls to the father of each boy, to explain his intentions, but they would not speak with him except to claim that they had no sons—since the young men birthed from their loins were in “devilish rebellion.”

He checked for additional relatives, studied local law on the custody of children, and finally, he made a personal call, to Nevada—to a little lady who had been his wife for nearly thirty-five years.

“Marguerite?” he sang. “I have found me two more boys to work our ranch and to love back to life, if you think we have room at the table.”

There was a brief delay on the other end, and then a sweet reply. “I’ll get Jose and all the boys gathered, and we’ll just begin building a bigger table.”

He laughed—the kind of laugh a man emotes when he knows he’s with a good woman and his soul is tickled by the fingers of blessing.

When Macklin arrived at the desert scene in his yellow limousine, he was immediately intimidated by the large hill. Physical exercise was rarely necessary for an ice cream executive, but he was determined, and steadied himself on the arm of a friend who walked by his side, and with a little extra oom-pah in his polka, he made it up the hill, breathing heavily, and knocked on the door of a Port-a-John.

At first there was no answer. And then, a boy’s voice crackled from inside. “Who is it?”

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Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4175)

Sitting Thirty-Eight

Before Karin really had a chance to absorb what the editor had said, or even welcome him for that matter, Iz and Pal came running out of the tent, tossing the bullhorn down the hill, and disappeared inside the portable toilet, slamming the door behind them.

The editor quipped to Karin, “I guess that would be the visual representation of getting the crap out of here.”

She smirked and feigned a chuckle. It really wasn’t that funny but the attempt at humor was certainly welcome in the midst of the ongoing farce.

A man possessed, the politician screamed, “Who’s going with me? I’m going up there to get those boys! Who will join me?”

Before anyone could respond to him, attention was diverted toward two huge clouds of dust billowing across the desert in the near distance, heading this way.

The rally-goers just stared, and in less than a minute a pair of stretch limousines, bright yellow, came speeding their way into the camp. The limousines came to a halt and men jumped out of the doors, popping everywhere. Finally, after many had made their exits, one short, portly man in a yellow suit emerged from one vehicle.

He wasted no time. He apparently seemed to know his mission, slowly climbing the hill with a friend and heading toward the Port-a-John.

The politician squinted, staring at the arriver. “Who’s that?” he asked to no one in particular.

Karin looked over at the editor, who grinned. “I told you—I made some calls.”

The large tubby man dressed in yellow arrived at the Port-a-John and politely knocked. For about thirty seconds, there was an inaudible conversation going on through the door. Then all at once it opened, and he went inside, slamming it behind him.

Karin was not quite sure what the occupancy limitation was on a Port-a-John, but considering the girth of the yellow man, they had certainly reached it.

The crowd turned silent, standing like statues, gawking at the scene. The politician was just about to raise his bullhorn when even more clouds of dust appeared in the distance. Rumbling, nearly sounding like they were growling, three humongous truck/vans, looking like huge cracker boxes on wheels, arrived with smoke and heat, backing up the crowd and leaving the surrounding folk encased, choking in dust.

These trucks were bright orange with yellow spheres on the side, with lettering in green: I-E-A. Inscribed beneath the sphere in script were the words, “International Environmental Agency.”

It looked and felt very official. The back door of one of the vehicles slid open and out jumped one—two—three—six—eleven men donned in shimmering orange suits with air hoses and plastic faces in the front, looking like they had landed from outer space. Simultaneously, the other two trucks opened up. More orange-suited creatures leapt to the ground, bustling and hustling, nearly knocking over unsuspecting townspeople.

Karin soon lost count. Thirty? Forty? Maybe even fifty. She had never realized how frightening activity could be—how overwhelming it was just to be surrounded and encompassed by so much orange.

The audience, startled, having not recovered from the first barrage of vehicles, was inundated by the arrival of still more. These were smaller, purple trucks—four in all—with a white sphere on the side, bearing a large A-I—“Armistice International.” These trucks were occupied with people dressed in purple jumpsuits, who unloaded equipment, machines, computers and what appeared to be metal detectors.

Suddenly, the tiny hill in the middle of nowhere was transformed into a beehive of activity. There must have been nearly one hundred technicians, constructing a headquarters and gradually moving up the hillside toward “Camp Iz and Pal.”

Several of the orange-clad invaders took off their headgear. They were women—tall, Nordic and stern. They passed leaflets out to all the people. Karin looked over at the editor. He was wide-eyed with wonder. Breathlessly he exclaimed, “I didn’t make this many calls!”

Then one of the leaflets was thrust into Karin’s hands. She glanced down and read it.

“You must disperse immediately. You are trespassing on private property and interfering with an international investigation. This area is off-limits to the public and has been deemed to be an unsafe locale with a possibility of toxic waste and a location of deadly weapons and war mines. You have ten minutes to vacate or be arrested.”

Karin couldn’t think. Nothing seemed to make sense. What was going on? Then she looked up the hill and saw the stout man in yellow (strongly resembling a walking lemon) emerge from the portable toilet. As soon as he stepped out, he motioned and ten men climbed up, picked up the toilet, carried it down the hill and carefully slid it into the back of one of the orange trucks—apparently Iz and Pal therein.

Then the rest of the army of orange and purple beavers busied themselves pulling down the tent, picking up garbage, digging holes, placing unknown specimens into plastic bags, while running other pieces of garbage under detectors.

The teams of purple and orange were a professional whirlwind, and within five minutes’ time it was as if the boys had never been there, in the solitude of the sand.

Holes were placed in the ground, encircling the entire region with orange tape, warning “TOXIC WASTE.”

Meanwhile, people stumbled to leave—at first slowly, and then at a frantic clip, as if running from monsters.

Karin stood and stared at the scene before her. She had to do something.

Then the truck containing the “Iz and Pal Port-a-John” slammed its door shut, the mysterious man in yellow climbed into his limousine, and the vehicles headed off toward the city.

Karin tried to scream her objection, but everything was so loud that her voice made no sound.

 

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Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4168)

Sitting Thirty-Seven

Thursday insisted on following Wednesday.

The rally was set to begin at 1:00 P. M. Karin decided to arrive half an hour early. There was already quite a crowd gathering—milling around, glancing at one another to see if anyone had an idea on what was going on. She had tried to call her editor to see what his intentions were about attending the event but there was no answer. She sure could have used his grouchy kindness at this point.

Ever increasingly, a stream of people in cars, jeeps and even some with bicycles, paraded into the desert scene. They toted signs:

“Boys go home!”

“Honor your father!”

“Jews are Jews and Arabs are Arabs!”

“Spare the rod and spoil the child!”

And one particularly nasty one proclaimed, “Ishmael was a bastard.” Fortunately, a couple of fervent Muslims came and tore it up before too much display time was possible.

At 1:00 P. M. sharp, with about two hundred folks gathered, the politician stepped lively to the forefront, carrying a bullhorn. Karin could tell he was a politician because he was smiling too much, shook everyone’s hand and had a huge button on his lapel with a picture of himself. He addressed the crowd through the bullhorn.

“My dear citizens, we are gathered here today to right a wrong. It is not often that we are able to have such a power, such a privilege. Today, we can restore these boys back to their divine, loving position. Today, we can bring together God’s greatest gift, and God’s amazing unit—the family. For these two boys have gone on errant ways, hearing the deceiving voice of rebellion, and have abandoned both their senses, their cultures and their homes. We are here to see an end to foolishness. We are here to see the restitution of what is right. Yes, the rejoining of what has been broken.”

The politician pulled down the bullhorn and lifted his right arm into the air, as if inviting a smattering of applause in the desert heat. He then made a dramatic turn toward the encampment of the boys. Karin and the entire assembly, en masse, as if on cue, pivoted to view.

The region around where the boys had settled was a disaster area. After many weeks, garbage was everywhere, along with construction cones, Port-a-johns, fast food wrappers and magazines blowing in the wind—a landscape of disarray.

“Jubal and Amir!” bellowed the politician through the bullhorn, “Come out and be restored to your families.” An anemic cheer came from the observers in response to the beckoning.

But the boys were nowhere in sight.

After about thirty seconds, the politician repeated his plea. Then, a very faint sound. A tiny voice, almost inaudible, came from inside the tent. The people turned to each other, trying to figure out what had been spoken, so the politician lifted his bullhorn and said, “What? We can’t hear you.”

Karin, exasperated, shouted. “That’s because they don’t have a bullhorn.” She shocked herself. Everyone turned to peer at her with mingled expressions—part in agreement, but mostly disapproving.

Quickly, a second bullhorn was located, and a young boy was summoned to run it up the hill as far as he could, watching for danger, and throw it near the tent opening. Completing the mission, he returned, to a few cheers from the crowd. And then, an arm reached out to pull the bullhorn into the tent.

The politician summoned, “Now you can speak, and we can hear you.”

All at once there was a screech from the enclosure followed by a phony, basso profundo voice. “I am the Lord your God.”

There was a little giggle at the end, which came through the bullhorn loud and clear.

Some chuckles trickled through the gathered horde, quickly terminated by the politician holding up his hand. “Jubal and Amir, we want you to come out and be restored to your families.”

A delay.

Then Iz spoke through the bullhorn—much more basso profundo. “Man with the loud voice, I am the Lord your God. I want you to leave the boys alone.”

Then Pal came on with his own God-impersonation. “Don’t listen to him. I am the Lord your God.” More stifled laughter.

The politician dropped the bullhorn to his side in disgust. He turned to the audience and pleaded, “This is not funny. We’ll just have to go up and get them.”

A lady raised her hand and spoke from the midst. “I’ve heard they have weapons.”

“A grenade,” quickly confirmed a man.

“Does anyone know this for sure?” asked the politician, scanning the gathering.

An unseen man in the back piped in. “No. But I’m not willing to find out.” A few more chuckles.

Suddenly, another screech came from the tent—Iz, singing.

“I’m gonna rock and roll…all night. And party every day!”

He sang it again, this time with Pal joining him.

The politician was furious, finished with any negotiations. “They’re just mocking us!”

Karin felt a light tap on her shoulder. She turned, and there was her editor. He whispered, “Hold on. I think it’s about to get really interesting…”

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Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4161)

Sitting Thirty-Six

Most people knew him as the editor of the newspaper but were unaware of his name nor anything about his background.

He liked it that way.

It had been his experience that the more people know about you, the less they are truly concerned and the more interfering they become.

He knew who he was. His name was Alexander Omar Percea. He was a confirmed bachelor and he was old enough that it was wise to forget the exact number.

He had been raised by an Egyptian diplomat who had made it his mission to set in motion peace talks between the Arabs and the Israelis. His father was a gentle man, who became more irritated and agonized over the years as there was no progress toward understanding. Yet he taught his son one very important rule: once you have done what is available to be done by you, don’t do any more. He explained to his young offspring that lamenting the opportunity to change the world only leaves one hating the people in it.

Alexander considered many occupations where he could pursue his aspirations and finally landed on journalism.

But now that the printed word was becoming less and less appreciated and effective, he took his father’s advice. He continued to do what he knew how to do and let it play out however it wanted to play out.

Alexander had the guideline of never getting involved in the type of adventure which had left his father dead of a stroke at age fifty-six. He loved his father very much, but as a young man, he stood back watching the soul of his dad being eaten by the wolves of indifference.

Not for him. Matter of fact, he verbalized his feelings while standing over the coffin of his daddy. “Father, I love you. But I won’t be you. The world can have my time. The world can have my interest. But they shall not have my spirit.”

Alexander had settled into his role as an editor, behaving like an old chicken, pecking at words and sentence structure, putting out the very best newspaper he could. Confident that he had done so, he was able to sleep at night without having his internal being tugged from all directions.

That is, until Miss Karin (as he called her) lured him into the story of the two boys in the desert. Even while hating himself for allowing his mind to be fluttered away with concern for the lads, he acknowledged that he was entrapped—hoping that just this one time, there could be a merciful happy ending to a story in his homeland instead of death and destruction.

He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t think. He found himself worrying, much the way his father had over his two “children”—Israel and Palestine.

But as promised, Editor Alexander Omar Percea sat down and did what he could for the cause and was finally able to convince himself that it was enough—because it was all he had.

He prayed. Not just to one God; Allah, Jehovah, Jesus, Buddha–to every religious icon he could think of. There was no need to leave any deity ignored when Iz and Pal could use all the help that heaven and Earth could muster.

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Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4154)

Sitting Thirty-Five

Karin found it difficult to discover what to do with herself on the Wednesday before the rally. An uneasy sense of doom and gloom had settled in her soul and was gnawing at the corners of her mind.

She could not shake it.

She resorted to one of her favorite solutions. She purchased a pint of Mackie’s Cherries Fairies ice cream and ate it in one sitting. It had been known to soothe many an aching need. But on this day, even the delicious confection couldn’t aid her in dispelling the sensation that something very idiotic might happen on Thursday.

Karin was not given to depression, but optimism was certainly not one of her strong suits. Her faith in humanity had been shaken early and hard. She found it difficult to believe there were people who could muster either the mercy or the wisdom to bring about a happy ending to any tale, especially one involving two young men in the desert who were defying the structure of their rickety culture.

She actually considered praying for rain. But she always felt funny when she prayed—she could never figure out which parts of faith were childish dreams and what portions might be linked to some divine order. It was difficult for her to imagine why the God of the Universe would take time commiserating with bitching mortals.

But she decided to go ahead and pursue a prayer life one more time—just maybe for an earthquake to come along. A tiny one. Not to hurt anyone. Just strong enough to knock over some file cabinets at City Hall and overturn a few chairs in people’s homes. A convenient earthquake—something to distract the hysterical masses.

The prayer actually made her feel better. For about an hour she grew content with the notion that things might just work out. But for Karin, praying was like Chinese food. It got inside, but an hour later she was fretting all over again.

Scouring her brain for anything resembling an idea that might contribute to sanity, she decided to go and meet the families of the two boys. After all, she had heard Iz and Pal’s side of the story but had never given their fathers a chance to clarify their position or make their case.

Her mind was eased simply by pursuing the research which she so loved chasing down. Today it took her to the hall of records, where she discovered that Amir’s (Pal) mother had died three years earlier from breast cancer. Amir had only one brother, older—Talsan, who attended the university with aspirations of becoming a doctor.

A fascinating piece of information turned up when she perused data on Iz’s parents. There were two parents, but with separate addresses. Karin could find no evidence of a divorce decree or any other children.

It gave her a place to start. She set out into the city on a quest to uncover some truth. Yet a short two hours later, she returned to her apartment, deflated and even more perplexed. The plan, the visit and the result turned out to be a wasteland.

Amir’s father refused to see her, speaking through the door, “I am in prayer. I cannot view a woman at this time.”

Pada was not at home and Talsan was unavailable, attending class. The only person she was able to meet face-to-face was Shelah, Iz’s mother, who lived in a small apartment just down the street and around the corner from where Iz and his father dwelled.

Shelah explained to Karin that although there was no divorce, she and Iz’s father had separated over financial disagreements and contentious arguments concerning raising the boy. She didn’t even know that Jubal was gone. Pada hadn’t told her.

Karin did not know what to do with Shelah. She possessed that Middle Eastern woman surface submission, masking a dark cloud of rage. Karin invited the mother to the rally but Shelah declined, saying she feared a confrontation of great magnitude would occur if she made an appearance. At no time did Shelah ask about Jubal’s well-being. She did not inquire as to his status, his health or his heart.

Karin was desolate. No one really cared for these two boys, just as people. They were viewed as either burdens or bedlam—bothersome or brats. But certainly forsaken and forgotten.

She was exhausted. Sitting down on her bed, slipping off her sandals and swinging her legs around, she lay down flat on her back—but her mind was actively trying to save the world.

She closed her eyes, hoping for relief. Rest was needed—for it would be necessary for her to be alive, sharp and prepared for tomorrow’s foolishness.

 

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