Series: “The Morning of the Mogul,”
Now in print… available on Amazon and the book retailers
The following passages from Book 3 are not in any particular order, nor are they all from the same chapter. They’re lucky to have been picked…
(…) Naturally, the hotel plays an important role in government policy. It’s a fantastic asset. Apart from the banks, I would venture to argue that these premises are the most valuable asset for any government. History demonstrates this. As an example, consider the French Revolution of 1789. The Bastille was the principal aim of the revolutionaries, not the monarchy or the magnificent royal mansions. When the mob of Paris stormed the Bastille, the Revolution posed a real threat to the monarchy. Never before in history. But, guys, what was the Bastille? In every way, it was the same as our State hotel. It provided free housing, food, and education to its clients in order to make them realise the government’s friendliness and charity.
Similarly, I believe any challenge to our beloved General President’s new regime would attack our hotel first and foremost. It seems obvious to me. The plot is spreading in both directions: inside-outside and outside-inside.
Gentlemen! The elements plotting a counter-coup against the government are currently consolidating. This isn’t only limited to the exterior. However, the enemy is already spinning its devilish web within these fortified, three-block grounds in the heart of the Capital.
I can see the whole scene being cooked up in the kitchens in my mind’s eye. It starts in the heads of chefs who are infected with the virus of conspiracy and anarchy. The beginning is subversion. Disbelief in the legitimacy of cheques as a method of payment. Without philosophers and enlightenment, they intend to create a fake version of the French Revolution. What a farce! A buffoonery!
A word of caution, though. Ruffians gathered outside the Bastille’s defences during the French Revolution. Inmates made up a small percentage of the hotel’s guests. Even a French nobleman is included in this group. The illustrious Mr. le Marquis de Sade. This respectable gentleman, as far as I could tell, was a writer. I haven’t read any of his publications, but judging by the contrast between his amazing self-confinement and the splendours to which he is entitled by rank and right, I have to believe that he decided to endure the harsh and stoic life of la Bastille. Don’t ask me why. I already mentioned that he is a writer. This person believes he has a special calling from God and must fulfil it. (I heard this from a reliable source; in France, they gave him the title “Divin Marquis” at his baptism.) From what I can see, his goal is to teach the world about the importance of philosophising in bed. Just what is this thing called “bedroom philosophy,” anyway? I consider it a type of prayer that, in my opinion, ought to be carried out in accordance with the norms of classical Catholicism. Akin to the lifestyles of remote monasteries from ages past. The Divine Marquis dedicated his life to the resurrection of those holy traditions in the bedroom. He devoted himself entirely to preaching virtue. His missionary work was centred in La Bastille, which he transformed into a monastery.
Such an effort of self-denial, rather than disgusting profligacy and decadence, could serve as a model for contemporary writers. I see the Marquis. I can hear his voice clearly now. It seems like I’ve known him forever. It doesn’t bother him that I haven’t read any of his books. It is a shame that his works have not been translated into Arabic earlier! Unfortunately, I was never taught how to read French. As far as I can tell, that’s the only thing holding me back from furthering my education.
To choose the harsh confines of La Bastille over the luxurious comforts of an aristocratic castle life for the sake of literature is significant. It’s a huge price to pay, and it really hits home when you consider the advantage you’ve been given through inheritance. It’s a telltale indicator of someone who loves God, loves other people, and practises religious virtue by giving freely to those in need. That guy was probably a mystical kind. A saintly status is well deserved for him because of his devotion. (I wouldn’t say “angel” because I no longer trust this species.) He appears to have a firm religious conviction. It is clear that he has a strong commitment to instilling morality while also encouraging government allegiance in his disciples.
In this light, I would like to suggest that our BGP, who is (so I’m told) a devout Muslim who never misses a prayer, fund an Arabic translation of the entire canon of the Divine Marquis de Sade’s works originally written in French. At least this way, we wouldn’t have to worry about being overrun by stupid Barbares. Despite their ignorance of bedroom philosophy and other intellectual games played by high-calibre philosophers, they want to recreate the events of 1789. Therefore, on this next Friday, as a gesture of our gratitude, may our imams and Grand Mufti pray for the soul of Monsieur le Marquis. So that the next generation can learn about the concepts that shaped contemporary society, I also propose including some Sade works in our high school curricula.
Personally, I’m dying to get my hands on a copy of the Divine Marquis. I suspect I will find the writer who is the most moralistic of the bunch, and maybe even a historian of the French Revolution, which he personally experienced while imprisoned in La Bastille (…)
(…) “Democratic Islam”
Observe what happened. The United States and its Western allies have been hostile to the New Era and its leader ever since our Beloved General President began a couvolution to topple the King. He was never given a warm reception there. However, they acted like he was a putschist who had recently assumed power. Would you believe this?
The West is just envious of us, I realised recently. Those people want our oil and gas, but they can’t see that our country would benefit more from an ultra-modern BGP if we could just get rid of the damned election hassle.
It is common knowledge that opulent hotels sold alcohol only to non-Muslim guests during the King’s reign. I really feel bad about that! We had to get creative to get around Sharia law and drink booze in secret gatherings or for personal use. This elderly King had no clue what Islamic democracy was all about. Even when the topic was “democracy” in other countries, he ignored it. After taking over, our Beloved General President (BGP) has proclaimed that democracy is integral to Islam. We have a democratic religion, he declared. We can debate, discuss, have an opinion, and express it to God. If not, why did God repeatedly allow us to use reason in the Koran? If five prayers a day are incompatible with work hours, don’t do them. One is enough. If you cannot fast and work in Ramadan, don’t fast. Working is more important for your living. God will not provide you with bread. If you are too stressed and need glasses of wine to relax, drink. God will not resent it. He will not grudge. He doesn’t care. Anyway, why should he?
As a result, numerous establishments formerly barred from selling alcohol were issued free liquor licences. Our streets are once again full of joy. Milder, friendlier, and more united communities of people emerged. Several bottles of wine later, many people saw the world in a new light. The best possible setting! Everyone at the pub was willing to buy the neighbour a drink for no other reason than to strike up a conversation. The sharing of libations and the bonding of man began to go hand in hand. Converts to our BGP’s Democratic Islam have reported that persons who previously dragged their feet or pretended not to hear the Muezzin call the prayer over the mosque’s loudspeaker at daybreak no longer feel any remorse for their behaviour. That was the most outstanding achievement of the New Era (…)
From Chapter (6) Couvolution and Cooks’ Conspiracy
At my library workstation, I am taking notes for a Top Secret report that I will submit to the highest echelons of the Administration. So, of course, I made sure nothing got out to the foreign countries, notably the British press. Important State business has been transacted here. I am fully aware that they have spies hidden in every corner, but I have had extensive training in deception and trickery. Since I started writing my first secret reports on the villagers, shopkeepers, market merchants, mosque-goers, mosque-refuseniks, and other suspicious people, residents of ‘Ouja or guests, I’ve picked up a few methods to cover my tracks and throw off the adversary. Hamda La’war, the party’s cell leader, said I did a good job. He even dubbed me a “professional,” but I never saw any financial reward for my efforts. I asked, and he answered:
– Can you tell me if you get paid directly into your bank account every month?
– Yes, Sir. I do.
– So tell me, what else do you need?
– You did just call me a professional, right?
– Yes, I’m guilty of it. Who, though, is responsible for getting you the position at the bank?
– It is you, Sir.
– Then, by all means, go ahead. Now, observe. I stepped in and now you have a salary. The bank will forget to pay you at the end of the month if I use the phone on my desk to contact someone in the Capital. Repeat after me: once, twice, thrice… Until such time as you realise that We are the ones paying your salary.
– OK, sir, now I understand. That’s right, the bank is indeed the party, and the party is the bank. No one can escape the limits of the circle.
– And whoever did is out of business.
That’s clear. So, I stayed indoors and kept up my undying devotion to my two bosses, Mr Hamda and Mr Laroussi.
My confidential papers are safely stashed away under my bed in ‘Ouja, so I have nothing to worry about in that regard. I haven’t told anyone about them, not even Dalila, and we’re planning to get married in twenty years, but she’s still going to be sleeping in my room. Inshallah!
I was also able to locate a safe place in my library to store my confidential materials. At first, I would hide the papers among the book shelves. Only a week ago, though, as I was cleaning the floor of the library, I saw a hole in the wall behind the bookcase, in the very corner of the room. I extended my hand to introduce my fingers. My initial assumption that it was merely a crack was quickly dispelled when I realised it was actually a gaping hole. It was large enough to swallow my hand and wrist while staying entirely concealed beneath the bookcase. Not being able to feel any resistance with my fingertips was unnerving. I really needed to inspect the hole, but moving the furniture was a major hassle. To make room, I had to first clear away the books. That’s something I decided to put off for now. My hand was reintroduced very cautiously. It went down without a fight once more. Instantaneously, I took it back.
What could be under there, nobody knows. What if a monster from another dimension or our own has decided to make it its bedroom? Should I disturb it while it sleeps, I may never feel my hand again. What if the hole was actually the entrance to a black hole? At that point, not only would my hand vanish, but so would the whole of my body. No, no. Must I play the odds? To what end? Let’s go with the most effective strategy I’m aware of.
I returned equipped with my sweeper. After rotating the long stick, I inserted it into the opening between the wall and the bookcase. As expected! It went down smoothly.
Warning sirens started blaring in my brain right away. Could it be that the kitchen staff had begun excavating and had already reached the library? The hole’s depth validated my suspicions of a cover-up. I found what appears to be the entrance of a hidden tunnel. Ahead of me was one of its two ends, the one I assumed to be the entrance. Unless they began it somewhere else and decided to finish it in the library. Well, that just makes my luck all the better and theirs all the worse. No matter what, the conspirators’ ultimate goal was to penetrate the walls protecting us. Is this gaping wound a harbinger of their impending doom or the launch of a glorious future? Not easy to say. Does this indicate a shift in strategy on their part, or did they continue with the same game plan? Nighttime visits to the library would allow them to keep digging. Is it their hope that I won’t discover the cavity? Not unless they have some sort of drug or plot to brainwash me into submission!
Astounded and bewildered, I sat down and flipped it over. After some time, though, I was able to pull myself together and think clearly again. The cooks didn’t seem to think it was odd to begin their tunnel excavation in the library rather than the kitchens. They probably did this so that suspicion wouldn’t fall on them if the hole was discovered. Conversely, if they started in the kitchen and ended up in the library, they would have wasted their time. I can now see the gaping hole. In a similar vein, it would be visible to anyone who bothered to peek around the corner of the bookcase.
Sadly, this is of no use. The opening is not the start of a hidden passageway. Maybe it’s just some rat being a moron and working restlessly.
Long-term inmates told me the ugly creatures are common in the warehouse and the gutters. The government has exhausted all available options in an attempt to intimidate them. They too plan to take advantage of our state’s hospitality by spending time in our prestigious prison. Besides partying and dining lavishly at the expense of the tax payer, they also seem to be copulating and having children at an alarming rate, which goes against the grain of conventional thinking when it comes to family planning and is therefore unacceptable. In my opinion, this is a major roadblock to my endeavours as well. Let’s say I convince the Administration to charge for both admission and visits to this respectable facility. In what way may we make the rats contribute as well? An excruciating pain has settled into my skull. The lowlifes would keep taking advantage, becoming immune to our pleas. Not that I anticipate their obeying the law. At least negotiating with humans is doable. So, how about rodents, specifically rats?
We cannot afford for the rodents to outsmart us and enter our territory. What the Hell, we’re human, right? We created the most brutal forms of invasion. As a species, we are not going to submit to the authority of solitary rodents.
Because of this, I decided to strike back. Faster is better.