The Egyptian Miracle Man

In Fiction on October 31, 2012 at 8:32 am

This week I’ve decided to combine a couple prompts (namely, my Wednesday Wiki-prompt and the Trifecta Writing Challenge). This wasn’t out of any sort of creative ambition, the week just started to get away from me and I need to keep planning for NaNoWriMo!

Anyway, Week 4’s prompt was this article on Hadji Ali, a vaudeville performer who specialized in controlled regurgitation (yep). The Trifecta prompt was the third, more general definition of whore (as in, someone who sells out for money).

Give ‘er a read and let me know what you think below!

English: Vaudeville performer Hadji Ali demons...

The Egyptian Miracle Man

“Almina, my darling, do not take these things so seriously…”

Hadji Ali watched his daughter in perplexity. She paced the room, a furious tigress.

“I am not a princess, father – I am not a genii or a slave girl and I am not a bloody tigress! I am Almina Ali; I am a woman.”

Hadji frowned.

“But for the show, my darling,” he pled. “You are my assistant! These men, they want… they want a story. I cannot be Hadji Ali in their world – I must be the Enigma, the Egyptian Miracle Man – and you are my princess.”

“I am your daughter.”

She stared fiercely, her dark eyes narrower than the Strait of Hormuz, the fur of her collar trembling in sympathy with her body beneath.

“Do you know what they call you?” she said. “When they finish laughing? They call you whore – they call you a fool. You are not the Enigma, nor are you Hadji Ali – you are the man who sold himself and made mock of his culture for a coin.”

Hadji stepped clear and lifted the curtain aside. The men had begun milling in the courtyard. They wiggled their mustaches impatiently.

“Darling,” he implored, and he took Almina into his arms. “You are right, they think I am a fool – but am I the one parting with my money? No. Tonight I sleep in silk. Tomorrow we sail first class for America – and someday, my daughter, you will attend the finest schools and make a name for yourself – Almina Ali – and you will have no need to be ashamed of me then.”

Her shoulders caved, and Hadji knew that he had won.

“I am not ashamed of you, father,” she said softly.

Hadji squeezed her and smiled.

“Good,” he said. “Now, show me the man who calls my daughter a fool! Ha! I will spit on him and he will pay me for it.”

Of course, the real Hadji Ali was a pretty well regarded performer, and I doubt there were many who called him a fool or anything near it — but I think my version makes for a decent story nonetheless.

Next week’s prompt will be this article on The Bride of Frankenstein. If you feel inspired, write a story and put your link in the comments below!

Catch up on the WWP: Week 1 / Week 2 / Week 3 “The Rules”

  1. This is really great. I like the clash between father and daughter, and the devotion Hadji nonetheless shows. (:

  2. thank you for the intro to Hadji. I will have to find out more :

    • Thanks, Barbara – yep, there are so many crazy, real-life stories out there. I browse wikipedia the way other people browse youtube, and I feel like I’m always stumbling upon these cool things. Thanks for reading!

  3. I’d never heard of Hadji before. Interesting story and dynamic between father and daughter. I like this description a lot: “her dark eyes narrower than the Strait of Hormuz”.

  4. This is wonderful. You’re right, your version makes for a better story. Great take on the 3rd definition. I like the Strait of Hormuz, as well, and I liked wiggled their mustaches impatiently.

    • Thanks Stephanie! I love to hear which lines people pick up on, and which they don’t particularly like. I’m glad you came by (and I just followed you on twitter!)

      • Just a drive by posting bsecuae the motherboard on the other computer went up in a blaze of glory (not literally) and I have very little computer access unless I can sneak some time at work. I love how upset Lee was when he found out that Amanda was mugged. Not exactly his poker face, eh? Dotty really shines in her obliviousness. I often wondered, for such a sharp lady, why she never figured out what her daughter was up to and then I remember this episode and realize, yes despite all the evidence and inconsistencies (and even seeing Lee and Billy in official agent mode several times in future seasons), it is perfectly plausible that she did not realize her daughter was a spy. She is just that awesomely clueless. Anyway, gotta run, this laptop with the supertouchy keyboard which shifts the cursor all over the place is driving me nuts.

  5. oh i really really liked this. the exchange between father and daughter was splendid. also love how the story ended; very lovely.

    • I worried a bit about the ending, and definitely spent more time on it than on the rest, so I’m glad it seems to have worked! Thanks for coming by and reading

  6. Excellent… I may have to follow your writing.

  7. Terrific story, totally deserving of the honours at Trifecta, congrats. I loved the feminist perspective, and also her old man’s cajoling. And loved the ending too!

  8. […] Selection: Toys That Fly // The Egyptian Miracle Man // The Mill in the […]

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