in a taxi

He’s from Cairo, and mostly what I can see from the back seat is the gorgeous brown of his bald head. He’s been here eleven years. “I won the lottery,” he tells me.

“Really?” I ask, looking around at the dingy cab.

“The other lottery. The green card, not the green money.”

Now he lives in a Portuguese neighborhood. “Their food,” he says. “Everything they do on a grill is so good, beautiful. And near me is a pizza guy, so good all the cars double park outside and make everybody mad. So thin crust.”

“You’re making me hungry,” I say, and he turns around with the most pitiful hangdog eyes. I’m startled, and then all the sudden I get it. It’s Ramadan. “How long until sunset?”

“Three hours.”

“So you’re just making yourself hungry until then?”

“Talking is ok. I can talk, I just can’t eat. But maybe you have a point. So, no more food. What do you do?”

“I make ads. For the internet. You know how when you read the newspaper there’s this annoying thing off to the side?”

He’s laughing. “The flashing things. You get paid to annoy people?”

“Yes,” I say. “I get paid to annoy people.”

“At least you better make it funny. You make it funny, right?”


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