Zaid Karim, Private Investigator, Part 5 – The Chair

March 7, 2017 - accent chair

See the Story Index for Wael Abdelgawad’s other stories.

Previous chapters of this story: Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4


February 4, 2010
San Francisco, California

There was no doubt. It was clearly Jamilah Al-Husayni. My cousin. we hadn’t seen her in 3 years, nonetheless I’d commend that uncompromising, sharp-nosed physiognomy anywhere. She looked undone and weary, with a douse mark on one pants leg, and strands of hair adhering out extravagantly from underneath her hijab – something I’d never seen her wearing before. And was that dusty bird poop on one arm of a chair?

And nonetheless she seemed totally during ease. She crossed one leg over a other and sipped from a vast crater of coffee, as if sitting in a chair in a center of a bustling San Francisco path was a many healthy thing in a word. Her giveaway palm gripped a chair post of a durable looking towering bike that leaned conflicting a side of a chair. Pedestrians stepped around her, mostly ignoring her.

What on earth? Had Jamilah mislaid her pursuit and spin homeless? No, that was impossible. Her family would never desert her like that, nor would mine. Jamilah’s father, Yahya Al-Husayni, had been my father’s comparison brother. we contend “had been” since he upheld divided when she was usually a kid. After that my father finished it a prove to support Jamilah’s family. She, her hermit and mom mostly visited a home, and even came on holiday trips with us a few times. we had lustful childhood memories of roving bikes with Jamilah and Nabeel, visiting a park, and personification rummy and backgammon. Jamilah was a extreme aspirant in everything, and always took it badly when she lost, that used to give me a impolite arrange of delight.

Jamilah and her hermit Nabeel had also been – along with Safaa and Aziz – one of a few who wrote to me when we was in prison. we would always be beholden to her for that.

Jamilah’s mom Sabra had been hospitalized recently, nonetheless I’d been out of state on an word pursuit and incompetent to visit. I’d oral to her on a phone, though.

I complicated her as we approached. It was tough to tell with a hijab, nonetheless there seemed to be a gaunt muscularity to her that she hadn’t hexed before, and an atmosphere of certainty that – notwithstanding her sleepy eyes – finished her roughly intimidating.

When we stopped beside her, she bearing out a palm in a “stop” fit nonetheless even branch her conduct to demeanour during me.

“No,” she conspicuous loudly.

“No what?”

“No I’m not a harlot or a terrorist, no we won’t buy your drugs, and no we won’t marry you.”

“Jamilah, it’s me, Zaid.”

She sipped her coffee, still not looking during me. “Zaid who? Are we a crony of Hassan’s?”

“Zaid Karim Al-Husayni, we nitwit! Your cousin. What on earth are we doing out here?” we knew she wouldn’t take a insult personally. She and we had always been affectionately disintegrating with any other.

Her mouth forsaken open. “SubhanAllah!” she exclaimed, looking loyal during me for a initial time. “Zaid! we don’t trust it. Look during you, rocking that bowler shawl like a thirties gangster.”

This was another new thing. we didn’t remember her ever regulating Islamic expressions like “subhanAllah” before. Not that we minded. Just a opposite. It was good to see her practicing Islam more.

“It’s a fedora, not a bowler,” we pronounced lamely, as if anyone besides myself unequivocally cared. “But what are we doing here?”

“What do we meant what am we doing here? we live here, remember? What are we doing here?”

“I’m on a case. I’m looking for a blank girl.”

“Wow, ma-sha-Allah. Good for you, cuz.” She gazed during me admiringly. No one had looked during me with honour in a prolonged time, and we reveled in it.

“So… we live on a path in a lime-green chair?”

“No, dummy. we bought a chair this morning. I’ve been perplexing all day prolonged to get it to my apartment. we usually have 3 blocks to go.”

“You paid income for this nauseous thing?”

“Yes. And we will get it home, no matter what.”

“You didn’t have to work today?”

“Called in sick. we woke adult with an awful headache. After we had breakfast and popped a few pain pills we felt better, so we motionless to go seat shopping.”

Hmm. we wasn’t about to leave my cousin sitting out on a path in this grotty area with night approaching. we shook my conduct and laughed. It was always something with this girl.

“Come on then,” we said.

Working together, we installed a chair into a case of my car, and we strapped a chair and case lid down with bungee cords.

“I don’t know what to do about your bike,” we said. “It won’t fit.”

“No need to do anything. I’ll float it. we live on Post during Leavenworth. It’s not far. Keep going adult a mountain to Post and spin right.”

“But where should we wait for we when we get there? There won’t be anyplace to park.” Parking anywhere in San Francisco compulsory a teenager miracle.

“Wait for me? I’ll be watchful for you, cuz.” Jamilah slipped a feet into one of her bike pedals, pushed off with a other foot, swung her leg over and took off. The bike assured from side to side as she stood on a pedals, powering a bike adult a hill, roving faster than we could have managed on prosaic ground.

Post Street during Leavenworth, San Francisco

Post Street during Leavenworth, San Francisco

Jamilah was indeed watchful on a path when we arrived. She’d sealed her bike to a parking sign. we double parked, withdrawal my blinkers flashing and ignoring a cars that honked during me to move. She helped me unpack a chair.

“I’ll assistance we take it up,” we volunteered. “What building are we on?”

“No way. You can’t leave your automobile there. It’ll get towed in a San Francisco minute. That’s like 10 seconds to a rest of a world. Thanks for your help, Zaid. we meant it.” She shook her conduct and chuckled. “You have no suspicion what a day it’s been.”

“You’ll have to tell me a story someday.”

She grinned. “You wouldn’t trust me if we did.”

I indicated a chair. “How will we get it upstairs?”

“The manager will help. He lives in a downstairs apartment. If not, my cousin Shamsi can help. She lives with me.” Shamsi was Jamilah’s cousin on her mother’s side, we recalled. No propinquity of mine.*** I’d met her a few times during parties during Jamilah’s residence when we was young.

The suspicion of withdrawal before a pursuit was finished done me feel guilty. we hesitated.

“Go on,” Jamilah insisted. “Find your blank girl. And Zaid?”


“I trust in you. we always have. we wish we to know that.”

“Wha…” we was mute and on a dilemma of tears. How many times had we indispensable to hear such words? How many times had we been starving for someone – anyone – to uncover usually a little bit of faith in me? Jamilah’s difference were some-more changed than diamonds and rubies. we didn’t feel a regretful captivate to Jamilah – it had never been like that with me and her – nonetheless we was deeply beholden to her in that moment.

“Hey,” we pronounced finally. “Who’s this Hassan we suspicion we was friends with? Are we operative yourself here in San Francisco?” we was usually half kidding. we wasn’t accusing her of anything. We outcasts had to watch out for any other, after all – otherwise, who would?

“Oh, usually someone we work with. Hassan Amir. He’s a follower like me. Interesting guy.”

Hassan Amir. Like a grate poker stirring adult sparks, that name influenced a memory in me. we had listened of a hermit named Hassan Amir when we was in prison. He was a fable in a sovereign jail system, a Muslim master soldier who singlehandedly took on a nasty white supremacist squad called a Aryan Brotherhood. He tore them to shreds, withdrawal bodies in his wake.

Nah. It couldn’t be a same Hassan Amir. There were positively many group with that name.

A parking enforcer pulled adult in a three-wheeled electric scooter and took out her sheet book. She was a short, heavyset African-American lady with a tragedy in her jaw that brooked no argument.

“Go!” Jamilah exclaimed.

“I’m leaving!” we called to a scale maid. She gave me a ominous demeanour as we ran to my car, hopped in and sped off.


Bouquet of tulips

“I bought a colorful fragrance of tulips in a poetic potion vase…”

I finished a discerning stop during a flower emporium on Hyde Street. we bought a colorful fragrance of tulips in a poetic potion vase – it cost me $60 – afterwards gathering to a Grace Cathedral garage, where we parked. The garage rate was $3 per 15 minutes, with a limit of $33 per 24 hours. we could means it now that we had a profitable client. we would hook all these costs onto my responsibility report.

In a case of my automobile we kept a little container full of orderly pulpy t-shirts. They were association shirts with a logos of opposite businesses: atmosphere conditioning/heating, electrical, plumbing, Indian restaurant, etcetera. I’d purchased them all during preservation stores. we comparison a immature t-shirt with a yellow trademark that read, “River View Flowers,” and put it on. we took a fragrance of flowers, grabbed a clipboard that we kept in a automobile as well, and set off on foot.

The Crest Royal was a twelve story unit building during a dilemma of Jones and Clay. Rents here substantially started during 4 thousand dollars per month for a one bedroom, and went adult from there.

There was a doorman, of course. Buildings in neighborhoods like this always had doormen. The circular prime white male had chunky hands like H2O balloons and a nose that had been damaged during slightest once. He wore a black fit with a double-breasted coupler featuring vast coronet buttons, along with a black top with yellow braiding above a bill.

“I have a flower delivery,” we announced. “For a -” we complicated a clipboard that in existence featured an aged write bill. “Alejandra Rodriguez.” we mispronounced a “j”, creation it tough like in “jam.”

With a grunt, a doorman waved me in. we surveyed a wall of mailboxes in a lobby, any with a possess little nameplate, and saw that Dr. Rodriguez was in unit 1120. She contingency have utterly a view.

As we entered an out-of-date conveyor with a steel embankment that had to be manually non-stop and shut, a doorman called for me to wait. Uh-oh, we thought. But no, he simply wanted me to reason a conveyor for an aged lady in a white felt coat. She wheeled a container into a conveyor and pulpy a symbol for a eighth floor.

“Thank you, immature man,” she said. “What poetic flowers.”

‘I trust they’re for you, ma’am.” we handed her a bouquet. “From an unknown admirer.”

Her face illuminated adult like I’d usually told her currently was a second Christmas. “My goodness! we can’t imagine. But if these are for me, since are we going to a eleventh floor?”

“Oh.” we hadn’t suspicion of that. “I have a second delivery,” we extemporized. “A singing telegram.”

“Why, we contingency be so talented! You remind me of my grandson Sigmund. He plays tuba in his high propagandize band, nonetheless he’s not unequivocally good. He was ostensible to play a solo after an 84 bar rest. When it came time to play a solo, he stood there. When a conductor asked him after since he hadn’t come in, he pronounced he hadn’t satisfied a 84 bars were over. The conductor pronounced we should have counted. And do we know what my grandson said?”

“No, what?”

“That wouldn’t be many of a rest!” At this a aged lady cackled so energetically that we saw her fake teeth. The conveyor stopped and she wheeled her bag out, pursuit back, “Good fitness with a singing!”

Once she was left we took off a flower smoothness shirt and incited it inside out. At Dr. Rodriguez’s doorway we rang a buzzer twice before someone spoke from a other side of a door. “What do we want?”

“I’m a private detective. we need to pronounce to we about your sister Angie.”

“Show me some ID.”

I took out my driver’s permit and P.I. badge and reason them adult to a peephole.

“What about my sister?”

“She’s missing. I’ve been hired by Tarek’s parents, a Anwars, to find her. Can we greatfully pronounce face to face?”

I listened a thatch disengage. The doorway swung open about a foot. “I don’t know where Angie is,” Rodriguez pronounced by a gap.

“Dr. Rodriguez, could we greatfully come inside and pronounce to you? Technically it’s not Angie we was hired to find, nonetheless Anna. The Anwars are disturbed about their grandchild. She’s your niece. we consider we should be disturbed too.”

“Say what we have to say.” She non-stop a doorway all a approach nonetheless still did not entice me in. we saw that she was petite and apparently Afro-Latina, with dim brownish-red skin, loyal black hair that she wore unequivocally short, and large, gold-flecked brownish-red eyes. She wore a orderly pulpy span of tennis shorts and a white tennis shirt, as if she were a indication in a sports store window. In annoy of her little size, she somehow managed to demeanour down her nose during me.

“Your shirt is inside out,” she forked out.

I looked during a seams on my shoulders as if surprised. “Oh yeah,” we chuckled. “I can be absent minded.”

“Not a good peculiarity in a detective.”

“Yeah, right? Listen, can we get a potion of water? Climbing these San Francisco hills is a examination for a flatlander like me.” In my experience, many people will not spin down a ask for water. Offering H2O to a caller – crony or foreigner – is inbred in us as a smallest gesticulate of tellurian hospitality, a arrange of zodiacally famous obligation.

She nodded curtly. “Fine. Come in.” She led me into a critical room and left me there.

As she went to get a water, we used a event to consult a room. Like Dr. Rodriguez herself, a unit was tastefully flashy and immaculately clean. She favourite white. White pelt carpet, white sofas, Renaissance-style wooden chairs with white cushions, a white marble coffee list and a white flower vase on a potion table, containing uninformed cut irises. A slim white bookshelf stood in a niche on a behind wall.

I was right about a view. A vast design window looked out over a city as it sprawled to a west. we could see Pacific Heights, a Panhandle, a Richmond, and in a apart stretch a sun-kissed blue of a Pacific Ocean. Incredible. What a city, perched on these hills like a black on her throne, resplendent with magnificence and exoticism from sea to bay.

But we wasn’t here for a view. we incited my courtesy behind to a room itself. An collection of framed family photos stood on a mantelpiece of white wood. we examined them. we famous Dr. Rodriguez during a accumulation of ages. In many of a photos she stood with a somewhat younger lady who looked strikingly similar. Angie, obviously.

In one photo, Alejandra and Angie acted with an comparison integrate who were clearly their parents. There was a younger male in a design as well, a Hispanic associate with a shaved head, and jail tats on his hands and arms. He had an arm draped accidentally around Angie’s shoulders.

Dr. Rodriguez returned with a potion of water.

“That was a final time we were all together,” she said, indicated a family photo. “Our father died a subsequent year.”

I sipped a H2O and forked to a bully in a photo. “Who’s this?”

Dr. Rodriguez finished a immature face. “That’s Miko. He was Angie’s boyfriend.”

“You don’t like him?”

“He’s a leech.”

There was something about Angie in a photo. we focussed close, study her face and body. Yes. There was a slight chubbiness to her, a generosity to her cheeks and breasts, that wasn’t benefaction in any of a other photos.

I incited to Dr. Rodriguez and forked during a photo. “Is Angie profound here?”

She hesitated, afterwards nodded once. “Yes.”

“With Anna?”

She pronounced nothing.

On My Way to Paradise

“It had a bizarre cover…”

Sometimes when you’re interviewing a theme and strike a adhering point, it’s best to pierce on and come behind to a prove later. we strode to a bookshelf and perused a volumes there. There were medical journals, vegetarian cookbooks, collections of communication by Neruda and Rumi, and a few novels.

The pretension of a novel reason my eye: “On My Way to Paradise.” we slid it out and reason it adult to Alejandra Rodriguez. It had a bizarre cover that featured a span of aliens – or maybe group in armor – drifting a qualification opposite a aspect of a planet.

“This sounds good right about now,” we pronounced with a smile. “I could use a little outing to Paradise.”

She wrinkled her nose. “I bought that book since we review on a cover that a impression was from Panama. Turned out to be a uncanny sci fi fight story. Too violent. Take it. Maybe you’ll like it.”

“Thank you. Why did a discuss of Panama seductiveness you?

“Because that’s where we’re from. We grew adult in Colon, on a Caribbean side, nonetheless we left there when we were kids.”

“Do we skip it?”

She shrugged. “Colon was crowded, dirty, unsafe. we do skip a beach, a comfortable water, a sun. This city -” she waved a palm to prove a gray Feb sky outward a windows -”I can feel a cold settling in my heart sometimes.”

I nodded, let a impulse of overpower pass. “So Anna is not Tarek’s child?”

She shook her head. “Miko pennyless adult with Angie when she got pregnant. She met Tarek right after that. Fell in love. we wish she’d never met him.”

I deliberate a implications. Did Tarek know that Anna was not his? For sure, a Anwars did not know. we had no doubt of that. How would they conflict if we told them?

Dr. Rodriguez set down her potion of H2O on a marble coffee table. “So,” she said. “You have information about my sister?”

“The Anwars contend she left suddenly. Took all her things. Do we know where she competence be?”

“I don’t know where she is now.” Her tinge was flat. we had a feeling she was selecting her difference carefully.

I continued to indicate a critical room, holding my time. My eye reason on something frequency adhering out by a lounge cushions. we strode to a lounge and pulled a intent out. we reason it adult to Dr. Rodriguez. It was a little doll, a kind with a cosmetic dress that clipped on and off. My daughter Hajar owned several of them. They were called Magic-Clip dolls.

Dr. Rodriguez stared during a doll for a second, afterwards incited divided and sat heavily on a sofa. we pulled adult a chair and sat confronting her.

“They were here,” she admitted. She spoke quickly, her Spanish accent entrance stronger now that she was not filtering her words. “Four days ago. Angie was behaving crazy. She had a trek full of money. we counted it. Forty 5 thousand dollars. She wanted me to take Anna. She wanted to leave Anna with me, do we understand? we asked her where she would go, what she would do, she wouldn’t tell me. Where was a income from? She wouldn’t say. She was high as a kite. Track outlines on her arms. She frequency seemed wakeful that Anna was there. we don’t know what to think, Mister – Karim, did we say?”

I nodded.

“I don’t know what’s going on. I’m fearful she stole a money. I’m fearful for my niece.”

“What about a child? How did Anna look?”

Rodriguez looked away. “Not good. She was inspired as a wolf. Ate half a food in my fridge. Also, her face was badly bruised. Angie pronounced they stayed with a male crony for a few nights and he became abusive. we consider it competence have been her dealer.”

I pursed my lips, feeling annoy stir inside me, nonetheless perplexing not to uncover it. “I see. You pronounced Angie asked we to take Anna. So where is she?”

“I can’t take caring of a child,” she snapped. “I work sixteen hours a day. In dual weeks I’m withdrawal for Kenya with Medecin Sans Frontieres. There’s simply no way. When we saw a condition Anna was in, we called Child Protective Services. Angie overheard me and took off before a amicable workman arrived.”

Unbelievable, we thought. “You would have seen Anna in encourage caring before holding her yourself?”

“Why not?” Her tinge was bitter. “It was good adequate for me. Mom put me in encourage caring for 4 years, starting when we was twelve. Said she couldn’t hoop me. She kept Angie, though. we was a good girl. we complicated hard, stayed out of trouble. Angie was a one unresolved out with gangsters. But mom always desired her more.”

She finished a classically Latin American dismissive gesture, flicking her fingers over her chest as if to clean divided dirt. I’d seen Mexicans in jail do a same thing many times.

“Anyway,” she added, “I’m a mandated reporter. we had to call CPS.”

“Where would Angie go?” we asked. “Would she go to your mom?”

Dr. Rodriguez shook her head. “No way. Miko, that child who got Angie pregnant? He’s with a mom now. She stole him from Angie. He’s her boytoy. She spends her whole paycheck on him.”

I carried my eyebrows. Just when we suspicion I’d listened it all. There was some disfigured romantic energetic going on here that we couldn’t start to understand. This family was messed up.

“Where then? Where would she go?”

She shrugged helplessly. “I don’t know. We have some family in Panama, but…” She shrugged again.

“What family do we have there?”

“Our father’s father is still alive. Abuelo Lenin. But he has dementia. We have an uncle, Tio Trotski. He’s my father’s comparison brother. Also some cousins. We don’t stay in touch.”

I filed all of this information away. we don’t take records when we pronounce subjects. I’ve found that it takes my concentration divided from a subject’s physique denunciation and detracts from my environmental awareness. Also, people tend to select their difference some-more delicately when they see we essay things down, and we don’t wish that. So I’ve lerned myself to remember whatever information I’m given. It’s mostly a matter of holding a impulse to anticipate a information. Sometimes we also use mnemonic devices, like assigning a design to compare a name.

“Why did we contend we wish Angie never met Tarek?”

Her countenance grew angry. “I’ll tell we something Mr. Karim, my sister was always a traviesa, nonetheless she never used drugs until she met that boy. Tarek got her bending on heroin. He dragged her into that whole miserable lifestyle. Whatever difficulty she’s in now is since of him.”

That was a unequivocally opposite design than a Anwars had painted. Farah Anwar had insisted that was Angie who had depraved Tarek. Of march Farah also insisted that we depraved Tarek, so we was prone to trust Alejandra’s version.

“Where did a income come from, Dr. Rodriguez? The forty 5 thousand.”

She pushed her palms toward me and shook her head. “I have no idea. Angie would not say. That’s zero to do with me.”

“Is there anything else we can tell me?”

Alejandra Rodriguez stood and walked to a window. With her behind to me, she said, “I wish we to find Anna. we know I’m a terrible aunt, okay? we know Anna deserves better. But we can usually give what we can give.”


I walked behind to a car, carrying a book Alejandra Rodriguez had given me. On My Way to Paradise. Could we take that as a sign? As we walked we incited in a full round each 10 stairs to consult my sourroundings in 360 degrees, not violation walk as we did so. This was a jail robe I’d never been means to shake.

I was perturbed during how everybody had unsuccessful this child. Her biological father never wanted her, her mom and adoptive father were drug addicts, and her aunt – a usually obliged adult in a family – deliberate her career some-more critical than assisting her abused niece. The aunt’s pomposity and callousness finished my blood boil.

So Anna was presumably being abused, and being dragged around by a drug addict mother. Where on earth could Angie have gotten her hands on forty 5 thousand dollars? What or who was she using from? Was it drug income that she’d stolen from her dealer?

I knew that we had an reliable requirement to tell my customer – a Anwars – what we conduct schooled – that Anna was many expected not their grandchild. Not usually yet, however. we didn’t know how a Anwars would react. And we wanted to pronounce to Tarek first, to find out if there was any possibility that we was wrong. Maybe a child was his after all.

Sitting in my automobile behind during a Grace Cathedral parking garage, we took out my phone and called Safaa. It was usually about Hajar’s bedtime, and we always favourite to call and wish her goodnight. Safaa would design my call nonetheless she wouldn’t pronounce to me herself, we knew. She’d answer and pass a phone to Hajar.

Sure enough, after 3 rings Hajar’s honeyed voice came on a line. Her tinge was artificially low as she simulated to be someone else.

“Hi,” she said. “This is a President. we wish to sinecure we for a investigator job.” She attempted to conceal a hee-haw nonetheless it squeaked out.

“Wonderful, Mr. President! I’m not certain since you’re during this series though. we was pursuit my daughter.”

“Yes, we was visiting your daughter since she is a bestest kid.”

“Oh, great. Could we put her on?”

“Hi Baba!” In her normal voice now. “I wish a genuine live dinosaur for my birthday.”

“Oh, we would do that for we nonetheless a dinosaurs are all gone.”

“But why? Where did they go?”

I explained, in a simplest denunciation we could, how a dinosaurs became archaic as a outcome of a meteor impact.

There was a pause, afterwards Hajar began to cry. Oh, good going, we berated myself. You get to pronounce to your daughter once a day, and we finished her cry.

“I’m contemptible sweetie,” we said. “It’s unhappy when something extraordinary disappears from a world, right?” we suspicion of loyal love, my possess personal dinosaur, struggling on a verge of extinction.

“Uh-huh,” she managed by her sobs.

“But even if a dinosaurs are gone,” we told her, “we can still remember them and pull them and play with dino toys. We can keep them alive in a imaginations. So in a approach they are still here.”

Hajar sniffed. “Maybe,” she pronounced hopefully, “the dinosaurs will come behind one day and this time that thing will not strike a universe and a dinosaurs will not died again.”

I smiled. “Insha’Allah.” In Jannah, we thought, where all things are possible. Or in some together universe. “Are we prepared for bed?”

“Yes, Baba.”

“Okay. Say your goodnight dua’.”

“Bismik Allahumma amootu wa ahya. Allahumma qinaa athaabaka yawma tub’athu ‘ibaadak. In your name oh Allah, we die and we live. O Allah, have forgiveness on us on a day when we lift adult your servants.”

It had taken her usually a week to learn this dua’. Young children have such extraordinary brains.

“Goodnight sweetie. we adore we perpetually and always. You’re my series one kiddo.”

“I adore we perpetually and always Baba.”

I finished a call and wiped a rip from my eye. Being apart from my child finished my chest pain and my throat tighten. It was an ailment no medicine could treat. Safaa, Safaa, since couldn’t we trust me? Why couldn’t we adore me as we betrothed to do?


I looked adult a series for Valley Rehab in Visalia. we didn’t find anything with that accurate name, nonetheless we found a Valley Recovery Home, and called them.

“Valley Recovery, how might we approach your call?” The lady had an Asian accent and a soft, delicate voice that finished me consider of a strawberry smoothie. we was inspired again, we realized.

“This is Zaid Anwar,” we lied. “I need to pronounce to my hermit Tarek Anwar.”

“Just a impulse sir.” we listened keyboard keys clacking. “Sir, we are not on a authorized hit list.”

“I know. But we have a family emergency. “Our father is severely ill, and a mom is gripping burial by his bedside. It’s critical that we pronounce to my brother.”

“I see. One moment.” we listened to muzak as we waited on hold. A impulse after a user returned. “I’m sorry, sir. Mr. Anwar checked out nonetheless authorisation 4 days ago.”

“But he hasn’t returned home. Did he leave a forwarding address?”

“No sir, he did not.”

I thanked a lady and hung up. Presumably Dr. Ehab had been profitable a check for his son’s stay. Surely he would have been told that Tarek had bailed. Yet he’d lied to my face with that story about a pursuit in Palm Springs.

Did Tarek’s shun from rehab have anything to do with Angie’s disappearance? we wouldn’t know until we found him and talked to him.


Interstate 5 and a California Aqueduct

Interstate 5 and a California Aqueduct

I took 580 easterly to Interstate 5 south where we stopped during a rest area, finished wudu’ and prayed Maghreb and Isha, vibrating as a H2O on my skin evaporated in a cold night air. In annoy of a cold we enjoyed a feeling of praying on immature grass. we resumed my expostulate south, cruising along a dilemma of a foothills, intuiting if not utterly saying a brush of rural land down and divided to a east. The lights of apart towns twinkled like embers. The California Aqueduct paralleled a highway, a H2O sparkling like a sequined black badge in a darkness.

What a thing it was to be free. To be means to transport a universe unobstructed, saying a signs of Allah all around me, reveling in a believe that we was not a worker to any tellurian being, and that my destiny – insofar as Allah authorised – was in my possess hands.

Yes, my family life was a mess. And yes, we was disturbed about a lady I’d been hired to find. At a same time, though, we knew that we was sanctified to have an recognition of my blessings, a mindset to demeanour for solutions, and a will to make things right.

At one prove we glanced in a behind perspective counterpart and found dual California Highway Patrol vehicles following me, one behind a other. My feeling of leisure and contentment evaporated in an instant. My respirating quickened and my jaw tightened as we was overtaken by excitability adjacent on panic. I’d been out of jail 5 years, nonetheless each time we saw a patrolman automobile we was assured this was it, they were entrance to drag me behind to my cell. Why? Who knew? Maybe they satisfied they’d finished a mistake. Maybe someone set me adult for something. Maybe a supervision would trump adult a terrorism assign conflicting me.

I knew it wasn’t rational, nonetheless we couldn’t assistance it. we felt like jail was a huge, inhuman lion that we had frequency transient from. I’d been in a beast’s mouth, a teeth about to vanquish my bones, nails trenchant my skin, sketch blood, nonetheless somehow I’d gotten free. But a lion would not forget. It would pursue me, and one day it would seize me and devour my strength and essence as it had always meant to do. It was usually a matter of time.

That was since we lerned in martial humanities daily, since we used my hang and blade techniques obsessively, since we went to a gym and carried weights as mostly as we could. we had to be prepared so that we could tarry when a lion dragged me behind to a den.

The military cars changed into a left line and sped up, flitting me. we let out a shrill whine of service and rolled my shoulders, operative out a tension.


It was roughly eleven when we arrived in Fresno. My subsequent stop was a place we unequivocally didn’t wish to go: Masjid Al-Haramain, ordinarily famous as a Butler Avenue mosque. If we wanted to find Tarek, however, afterwards we had no choice, as that was a masjid he busy when he wasn’t dipsomaniac or high. Also, it was probable he was sleeping there. The Butler Avenue mosque was located in south Fresno, on a apart side of downtown, amid a projects and homeless shelters. Many of a brothers who attended there were poor, and some were in fact homeless. A few were creatively paroled from prison.

The homeless brothers were ahl-us-suffa. They lived in a masjid, slept in a backroom, and survived on food donations. There was always a good sized sect of residents there – during slightest a dozen. It was a place for Fresno Muslims to go when there was nowhere else to go.

I did not mind a neighborhood, and we had friends among a ahl-us-suffa. That wasn’t a problem. The problem was Imam Abdus-Samad.

I had a tip that we kept cumulative in a cave in my heart. It was a tip we had not common even with my wife. we never spoke of it, not even to myself. Only one other chairman knew a tip – that chairman being Imam Abdus-Samad.


*** Footnote: Discerning readers might have remarkable that in Ouroboros, Jamilah’s cousin Shamsiyyah also had a final name Al-Husayni, while here she is referred to as Jamilah’s cousin on her mother’s side. This is a change we recently made. I’ll go behind to a prior stories and give Shamsi a opposite final name, Insha’Allah.

Next Tuesday: Zaid Karim, Private Investigator, Part 6 – The Secret

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