Here’s the prologue for a story I wrote a while back. I think it has some promise, so have a look at it and tell me what you think. Enjoy
The umbrellas over the tables did little to shield the café’s patrons from the downpour, especially those seated near the crowded, garbage-cluttered street. Dr. Ameen Jaber hated this particular café. Too many idealists, leftists and foreigners who don’t know shit about this country, he always complained bitterly to those who would still listen to his griping on politics. He didn’t even know why he agreed to even meet one of his former students, Nicolas Abboud, at this place to begin with. He slowly sipped his coffee and tried to enjoy his weather without turning around and verbally assaulting one of the more radically left-leaning students known to frequent the place. Minutes passed until Abboud finally materialized among the mess of trudging cars and umbrella-wielding bystanders, smirking from ear to ear.
“You look pleased,” He began as he greeted his old teacher.
“Well you know how much I just love this place,” Jaber grumbled. “I still see you’ve kept your twisted sense of humor.” Abboud smiled.
“Khayye, I wouldn’t call bringing you to your least favorite café for a chat ‘twisted’, professor. Besides, unlike you I can appreciate certain locations regardless of the human element.” He settled himself into a chair and ordered Kenyan coffee with hazelnut syrup.
“Yeah, tried it back when I was still in AUB, believe it or not. My friend got a pack from home and we brewed some; with hazelnut Monin…” he eagerly inhaled through an imaginary straw and licked his lips. “I’m surprised people don’t usually order this stuff,” he continued.
“Probably for the better.” Jaber answered. “And you know Arabs-“
“Semites, doctor,” Abboud interrupted, his voice now firm.
“Fine, Semites. I see some habits die hard,” the doctor sighed as he drew a cigarette, a Gitane, from his pack. “You still smoke, hajj?”
“La, rayyes, wa’afit.” No chief, I stopped.
“Men aymata?” Since when?
“After graduation. I pretty much kicked everything: cigarettes, cannabis, booze-hounding-“
“That’ll never stop, the drinking.” Jaber scoffed. And I seriously doubt you’ve quit the hasish. I remember when you used to come into my class high at ten in the morning,” The two laughed as the waiter returned with Nicolas’ coffee; he took a sip and continued:
“Well if anything it made my first class of the day tolerable and a lot more interesting-“
“I recall you telling me that you used to run to your neuroscience class after barely eating breakfast, so I’d say you were playing the ‘best student’ or ‘teacher’s favorite’ card,” Jaber chided.
“You remember Professor Greene, do you?”
“He’s still teaching at AUB.”
“Shit, really? He still a hardass?”
“More than ever!” the doctor laughed. “Last I saw him he was applying for a job at MIT, a job I’m very confident he’ll get, and I hope he’ll get it, too.”
“Someone with his credentials,” Abboud mused.
“Ex-Air Force, top ten percentile of his class at Yale for undergrad, then Harvard…” Jaber sighed and took a drag of his cigarette. “He’s too good for this place,” he lamented.
“This country needs more people like him,” Abboud objected.
“What this country needs, Nicolas, is more people like you: educated Lebanese who see everything wrong with this country and aren’t afraid to speak out and take a stand! Have you been keeping up with the most recent wave of protests? Mashallah! These kids know what they’re fighting against and damn the consequences they won’t stop until that snake pit we call parliament is cleared of those vipers and fiends.” Abboud stared at the ground and sipped his coffee during his ex-teacher’s tirade. Hope it’s not bad news he’s about to break, Jaber thought as he observed the younger man through cigarette smoke.
“Well, professor,” Nicolas spoke as he raised his head to meet the doctor’s gaze. “You’re right about all that, but you’re also wrong: this country doesn’t need more people like me.”
“Shu?” Jaber demanded.
“Well, hakeem, I’ve made some pretty bad decisions ever since I graduated…”