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3. The Hand of Fatima

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM LEBANON

 

Aneesi paused outside the dining room. She had spent the long, hot summer morning helping Sitt Zeina prepare a lavish lunch, had waited on the guests without a single slip, and had just finished clearing the dessert dishes. She was tired and hungry, and her plastic sandals chafed from so much running back and forth. All she wanted right now was to sit down in the kitchen and enjoy the leftovers.

But something had caught her attention. Holding the silver serving plates still half full of pastries, she lingered in the hallway to listen.

Sitt Zeina was telling her husband, in no uncertain terms, “We must have that garden wall repaired, Yusuf. You know, where the old fig tree is pushing it over. You’ve put it off long enough, and costs are going up every day. Besides, there’s a lot more we should do with the garden.”

Before Dr. Jubeili could answer, one of the guests broke in with a laugh. “What are you thinking of, Zeina? Big ideas for the Jubeili estate?”

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1. Santa Claus in Baghdad

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM IRAQ (2000)

 

Amal listened gloomily to the little speech that Mr. Kareem had prepared. He spoke in a halting fashion, almost as though he were making an apology, but clearly he was as happy as a bird.

“And I know,” he concluded, “that my students will greet their new teacher with respect and helpfulness, and will show how well Mr. Kareem has taught them about our glorious literary heritage.” He laughed awkwardly at his little joke, and some of the girls responded with polite smiles.

A shy bachelor, Mr. Kareem inspired more respect than affection among his students. Many complained of his tough assignments and rigorous grading, although Amal thought he was quite fair. In any case, no one could deny that Mr. Kareem taught with competence and, in his stammering way, enthusiasm. He loved the works of the old poets and tried valiantly to convey to his students the richness of Arabic literature.

Another teacher leaving us, thought Amal. How many—four this fall?

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Chapter 6

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

CHAPTER 6

With the sun up, it was time to start exploring their first live hive. A small electric vehicle towed a portable miniaturizer from the flying lab out to the hive. Dr. Sharp and Verge, one of his assistants, went first. The students followed. Sid watched as the beam projector was fired and a cloud of mist enfolded Hari and Penny. He could just make out the shrinking forms of his two friends for a moment before they seemed to disappear. The mist cleared, and then he was next on the platform.

Sid barely had time to worry if he was ready when the technician fired up the miniaturizer. When the mist cleared, he was looking at the tech’s shoes, which were now the size of houses.

“Come along! Quickly! The miniaturizer platform must be cleared before the next students can be reduced.”

Dr. Sharp was waving them toward the microshelter. Once all the students were inside, the professor made sure everyone was strapped to the padded floor. He then signaled they were ready to be moved by flashing a series of lights. At their tiny

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Chapter 7

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

CHAPTER 7

The next morning, Penny, Hari, and Sidney returned to the microshelter for breakfast. The other students lined the long tables set up for them, eating and chatting about the exciting day to come. Sid wolfed down another protein bar.

Even in his micro state, his appetite was as big as ever. As he ate, he inspected one of the shock prods used to electrocute any bees that got too curious. The mental itch of his curiosity was focused on how the shock prods worked. And the only way to scratch that itch was to take something apart. He cracked open the titanium casing and stared at the inside.

“What’s up?” Hari asked, sitting down with a tray of food.

“Nothing!” Sid replied guiltily, but when he saw the grin on Hari’s face he relaxed. “Habit, I guess. You know, I think I could make these things deliver a really big shock if

I reversed the polarity of these two modules.”

“I hope you disconnected the battery before you started poking around in that thing,” Hari said. “Otherwise, you’ ll be the one getting the really big shock.”

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Chapter 4

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

at Bleaker High when the entire class wanted to answer a question. He was so surprised that he still had his hand up after everyone else’s went back down. Dr. Vary was looking right at him, eyebrows raised. “Do you have a question?”

“Um, no…no, sorry. I just…um, no.” Sid could feel the blood warming his cheeks. Usually, you can make it through the first week without everyone thinking you’re some kind of freak, he reminded himself. Be cool.

The girl sitting in front of him turned around in her chair. Sid instantly recognized Penny from his dorm building. She gave him a quick grin before facing forward again.

Sid bristled for a second, expecting a snarky remark, but her smile hadn’t been mocking him. It was just a smile.

Maybe things will be different here, he thought.

Dr. Vary continued his lesson. “Okay, let’s take a look at how mutations have historically been shown in popular culture.” Dr. Vary opened several image windows showing gigantic ants, spiders, and a praying mantis. The huge insects were terrorizing cities. People ran back and forth, screaming wildly toward the camera.

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