Below are the selected works of Osama Alomar who is featured in the January 2016 Read & Delete.  His writing style, the very short story, has been described by Muhsin al-Musawi, Columbia University professor,  as “similar to the riddle or puzzle.  It offers a way out of many restrictions and constraints without being very explicit.”

Osama Alomar reciting two of his stories (“Satans” and “A Drop”) from “Fullblood Arabian” at the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature in Spring 2014.

 

O NOTHING

The number seven looked at zero standing to his left and said to him "O Nothing! O Nobody, you are like the beggars and the bums among the humans. Nothing good or profitable can come from you!" But zero went along calmly until he came to the right side of seven. Seven was struck with surprise and looked at zero with great respect.
"Will you remain as my guest forever?" he asked in a voice flooded with flattery, "And what would be nicer than if you invited the greatest possible number of your equals from among the zeros to join you!"

 

BARBED WIRE

Samir, a child not yet seven years old, was completely astounded at the behavior of his father, the famous writer. His father was sitting at his desk writing in a yellow notebook, the marks of annoyance written plainly on his face. Every now and again he would tear the pages angrily and throw them into the wastepaper basket. This gesture was repeated many times until, unable to take it any longer, he threw the notebook far away and went off to sleep, muttering unintelligibly. Samir immediately tiptoed from the living room to the office where the wastepaper basket was. He pulled from it a piece of paper and uncrumpled it. He saw lines of barbed wire and massacred words from which blood flowed like rivers. The survivors writhed about letting forth terrible, nightmarish cries of anguish. The child stood shocked. He threw the paper to the ground and ran to his room. He hid beneath the blanket trembling at the terrible volcano that had erupted in his face.
Since that day he feels great compassion for words and only inscribes them on paper completely free of barbed wire.

 

THE PRIDE OF GARBAGE

When the owner of the house picked up the bag of garbage and headed out to the street to throw it in the dumpster, the bag was overwhelmed with the fear that she would be put side by side with her companions. But when the man placed her on top of all the others, she became intoxicated with her greatness and looked down at them with disdain.

 

THE DOG AND THE NATION

Yesterday, as I was heading to work in the early morning, I saw two big flyers posted side by side on a fence outside the public park. One of them had a picture of a small white dog with the word "lost" written above it. The other one had a strangely shaped map with the words "lost nation" written above in red. What surprised me was the huge number of people packed around the picture of the beautiful white dog, words of regret and distress crowding about them thicker than the crowd of people, while the flyer for the missing nation remained neglected, unable to draw the attention of a single person.

 

MAN

Sa’id walked out of the public garden with a newspaper under his arm to use as protection from the scorching rays of the sun. His face was a battlefield of hundreds of contradictory emotions and electrifying questions … caught between the present and the future. He hung his head as if to hide the events of the crushing battle.
On the sidewalk outside the garden a homeless person passed before him with torn clothes, a terrible smell emanating from him. All of a sudden Sa’id became a big-bellied capitalist smoking a cigar, striding haughtily, and thinking about the profits from his last deal. He couldn’t see the homeless person who stretched out his hand, wishing him success and long life.

A little later a luxury automobile passed in front of him driven by a high functionary. Sa’id became a shorn sheep in a polar storm that threatened to kill him. And when he arrived in one of the fanciest hotels of the city he became an ant born without legs, about to be crushed.

A few meters from his dilapidated house he returned to his natural state: a low-level civil servant in a government agency; but as soon as he was face to face with his wife and children he became all of them.

 

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

The government issued a decree guaranteeing citizens the right to freedom of facial expression. It was considered a great step forward, especially since many countries had banned this form of expression entirely. Millions of citizens took to the streets in huge demonstrations of support for this great and unprecedented victory for democracy. They smiled widely as they marched, their faces grotesque masks of joy.

 

FULLBLOOD ARABIAN

THE FIRST, wistfully: "If only I were a fullblood Arabian horse!"

THE SECOND, disdainfully: "Would you wish to be an animal when God in his mercy has created you as a human who belongs to a great and ancient nation proud of its glorious history?"

THE FIRST: "Man, don’t you know that the value of a fullbood Arabian horse in this world is far greater than the value of a fullblood Arabian human?"

 

A DROP

A drop of dried blood on the ground looked at the setting sun with an expression full of sadness. "Why do people look at that giant drop with happiness while they look at me with fear?" she asked in a weak voice. "We share the same roots!"

A reply came to her from somewhere unknown: "Because you are fixed to the surface of the earth and she is fixed to the sky."

 

CROSS-EYED

Because the role demanded it, the actor, after much hesitation, made himself cross-eyed. This made the two eyes very happy.

"Finally, after a long separation we have met!" said the one to her sister, "how cruel is loneliness! Now we will stay close to each other forever!"

"Yes! Yes!" the other answered her joyfully, "we will sing and dance together. We will celebrate this victory over loneliness until the last moment of our lives. We are twin sisters. Nothing will separate us after today."

But as soon as the actor finished his role, he impatiently returned the two eyes back to their original positions. They felt most sad at this return to the torment of being alone.