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Gayyash Al 'Aatifa

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Shawerma Hazard

I took a long walk with a friend around my neighborhood this evening, and when he left I found myself craving shawerma--plain old, lousy local-style, oily reddish crumbly chicken shawerma Kaiser. So I walked to a place nearby, ordered and stood waiting by the big shawerma grill.

The guy on the grill was struggling with a well-sealed 4-pack of Faransawi bread when his hand jerked and hit a big knife that was on the counter, sending it hurtling to the ground. It bounced twice, twisting and spinning as it did, before landing on the side of my foot. I was wearing a shebsheb zanouba.

I looked up immediately and all eyes were upon me, curious and indifferent. I looked at the shawerma guy and said "Ana 3ayez ta3weeed," easily keeping a straight face.

He took a step towards me, bent down and picked the knife up, tossing it carelessly onto the now-torn Faransawi pack, before rearranging the sizzling shawerma heap before him with the ubiquitous sekeenet ma3goun used in all such restaurants.

Eyes fixed on the chicken column before him, the shawerma guy took a deep breath and huffed, his shoulders sagging as he did so. He then let his head fall to one side, barely facing me, and made his offer. "Azawwedlak te7eena?"

"Fee tomeyya?"


"Yeb2a zawedly tomeyya."

Without a word, he did just that and handed me my sandwich, wrapped and bagged. I said "Shokran".

"Shokr lelLah, " he said, still facing the chicken.


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