I took out my notebook and jotted down: rude pizza. The queue was endless, and the only way to pass the time was by writing. I was thinking about sketching it out—I could decorate the elephant, make it red or baby blue, maybe—but at that moment my stomach gave a noise like a foghorn. Keep reading at Newfound. I’ll return to the rude pizza story at some point, once I’ve finished with the elephant I left terrorising the guards and passengers at the airport—I left it colourless, sizeless, and tuskless—say, does an elephant that has just materialised from an immigrant’s suitcase even need tusks? I got as far as the elephant before getting stuck. If I made it too gentle, though, it would start to resemble Ganesh, and I didn’t want readers’ minds to go down that line of thought. I could feel the expletives sticking to my pizza and slipping down my gullet, so I abruptly stopped, put my bag down, and let her overtake me. They’d make it look aggressive. The last thing I’d eaten was a small triangle of pizza at Heathrow, crammed into my mouth as I hurried to my gate, neck-and-neck with a Syrian lady dragging two children and three bags behind her, who kept up a fluent stream of Levantine invective into her phone as she trotted along. The new issue of Newfound has fiction by acclaimed Iraqi author Mortada Gzar, translated by Katharine Halls:
The story, which is posted in both the Arabic original and English translation, opens:
At arrivals at O’Hare, a man opened his bag at customs, and a large black elephant stepped out. I wanted it to be gentle, cheerful, innocent; tiptoeing carefully so as not to squash the passengers and security officers, but failing comically, sending people flying when it nudged them with its enormous rump. I wrote that sentence as I stood in line waiting to show my passport to the border official. Advertisements
Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLinkedInRedditGoogleTumblrWhatsAppPinterestTelegramPocketSkypeLike this:Like Loading…‹ Etisalat Awards for Arabic Children’s Literature Announced: ‘Cappuccino’ Wins YA PrizeCategories: Iraq, short stories I’m from southern Iraq, after all, so I toyed with making it a truck-sized black water buffalo—but then the thing would look like a promo video for the Mesopotamian Marshes and their native buffalo population, which have just made it onto the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.