I’m telling you the truth. I was in his apartment. His wife translated Iqbal into English. His daughter sold dollar-fifty-plus-tax love roses, his son drained bootleg bottles of booze. There were Daily Jang papers, lovebirds, a rifle resting on a floating shelf. An embedded sun hung heavy against the sky. On the television was a news program. It was in Urdu. Stopped clocks were mounted to the walls around the house to scoop the time from a woman’s eyes or cut her saccade to smooth pursuit. The windows needed a wash. We had dinner, mixed vegetables, spring water, a holler to the batman. The batman brought dried fruit and hot chai. I was asked how I enjoyed the country. There was a brief commercial for Coca-Cola. His wife went to the washroom. There was some talk then of how difficult it had become without hot water. The lovebirds screamed on the terrace. The colonel took a handful of the dried fruit, and walked away from the table. The birds said to me with their eyes: say something. The colonel returned with a batch of coin-length eggs. He let them roll from his hand onto the table. They were like round, blank dice. There are other ways to do this. He took one into his hands, whispered a prayer, dropped it into a glass of water. It became buoyant there. The mother is tired, he said. As for the rest, you can go free them yourself. He drank the water until the egg touched the bottom of the glass.
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