Open, Sesame

“ My dear son, you may love music and melody to get rid of boring silence. You may also love plastic composition that sets your vision free from monotony. You may even love poetry to renew yourself with the creative image and original rhyme. You may, even more, love shows that open the tiny worlds on the bigger ones developing gradually from comic hints to serious visions… However, passion, real passion, my dear son, is to have a full dream in your sleep and to remember it fully in your waking. This chance is denied to most humans: to get rid of all the natural laws and fly as freely as a dove, as lightly as a cloud, as carefree as the wind. To throw aside all the social laws and get naked like a baby happy with his first steps at learning to walk and run merrily in the main streets , careless of the laws of age, gender, tribe or race… Real passion, my dear son, is to live your own dreams and make them real.” *

What is this ?!


My salary?!


Have I found a job?!...


Am I being compensated for my unemployment?!


I have never been familiar with surprises.


Am I dreaming?!…


Am I living my other life right now?!...


Am I really myself?!...


Hundreds of dirhams!


In my pockets, one-hundred-dirham banknotes!


How strange!


I feel the banknotes one after the other. I fold them. I crumple them….


A divine gift!…


I raise them to the sun , looking for the silver fiber within.


The fiber is there, as thick as a rod…


Threat is written at the bottom of the banknotes in highly standard Arabic:


"The authors or accomplices of banknote falsification will be


punished in accordance with the laws of the acts in force."


There is no margin for doubt. The banknotes are real.


- Now that you’ve become responsible to your’ve got to buy some clothes for you younger brothers. There’s a shop there, just around the corner...


Who the devil can be that wretched man thrusting his nose in my ultimate private space? A naked, bare-footed beggar hiding his genitals with his hands. Is he an informer? He does know what is really turning in my brain ... And those people, there in the sit-in, moaning out their sad slogans. Are they dying? Or, are they listening to my brain waves,too? They are numberless, creeping along. Their complaints echo around the place.


I am fired


I am banned


I am ....


Fear submerges me. The world blackens in my eyes. Blackness. Utter blackness. I feel the barrier before me looking for an outlet.This is a door. A closed door. A wooden one. An iron thing...Rather stony...I knock on the door....No-one answers...I call out with all my strength:


" Open, Comrade!"
"Open, Brother!"
"Open, Sesame!"


Then, the world opens !


Then, obscurity fades away!


Finally, my eyes can see clearly a man and two children. A shopkeeper younger brothers! what a coincidence ! My brothers! My younger brothers! They are trying on pullovers! Consulting the shopkeeper on colour, length, width, How...How...How strange!


Something must have happened! My life is no longer mine. People can easily hear my brain out. I feel afraid to set my thoughts free....


- No, don’t be afraid, interrupts the shopkeeper, tapping at my shoulder.


He continues:


-don’t be afraid. What is happening now is just a kind of mutual understanding .


He bends down on the children and kisses them .Their teeth turned whiter underneath the smile of joy with the festive clothes.. I pay for the pullovers. For the first time, I enjoy the pleasure of spending money! The pleasure of responsibility! My brothers kiss me and run away unusually glad. They jump, run, stop and ask passers-by to read for them the writings on their pullover-chests. They echo them, gladly. They run again. They spread their little forearms to fly imitating the flying stork coming from the south, swimming softly in the blue sky, stretching out its long wings, turning right, left, right, left without shaking a wing, flying up down, shaking its wings a bit, relaxing as it slides in the air with its wings always wide spread. Flying higher and higher, above grass, above palm-trees, above mountains, above the sky, above the sun now growing as white as curd.


I am dying for a glass of curd!


- "Curd purges body, mainly when it’s sour”, says the waiter to his clientele drowning in their chairs . "Sugar and sweets are good for throats , too" , he adds from behind his grave-like counter...The cafe is all graves ...White graves ...Graves like tables surrounded with chairs on which customers doze off.


The cafe-owner praises his property: "Cafe Living & Dead". He orders us to keep quiet. This is the most odious offence there ever existed. How can customers be ordered to silence in a space supposed to be the ultimate place left for free speech and free gatherings?! It is only now that I can hear the dead protesting underneath the stone graves. It is only now that I can understand their anxiety.


The café owner answers:


-"I offend no-one. It ‘s your chats that offend my café and expose it to real danger".


He nails a board on the wall before everyone:


"The venerated customers are solicited not to smoke or chat for the preservation of the public tranquility".


The first grave breaks out. Then, the second grave. Then, the third. The rebellion of the living and the dead is on. All the clientele, all the dead, the fools, the shoe-blacks, the prostitutes, the youths hiding their genitals with their university attestations... Everyone is stands upright, clears his throat, snatches the board out of the wall, smashes it, flings the fragments about , listens to the inspiration, to the heavenly voice, to the hymn of eternity, to Abderrahman El Majdoob’s voice. We run after him in chaos. We tread over whoever comes in our way. We join the heavenly poet. We gather round him, drawing with our bodies a circle round him, lengthening our necks to hear El Abderrahman El Majdoob reciting aloud:


“I looked down at Ksar,
I heard it echoing its own silence,
Counting down for its final deliverance,
Peeping out of Mount Sarsar”.


We feel convulsion devouring us from head to toe.


What a prophecy!


What a view!


We look down at the bottom of Mount Sarsar. We look down at Ksar El Kébir, a city devoid of action and life except for the movements of the frightened hands hurrying to close the windows of their castles. We look down at Oued El Makhazine River whose transparent waters are growing range, now. Red. Crimson. Blackish... The river is filling out. Filling. Filling. The water surface is mounting persistently to the dam brim...


Now, we are waiting for the ultimate deluge. We count down hysterically for Rodriguez’ drowning. We count down for the Despot’s drowning. We wave about our hands, our shirts, our djellabahs...


(....) (....)
(…!) (Dong!)
(Ding!) (Dong!)
(Ding!) (Dong!)
....... ......


I woke up, sweating all over.


Very far and ambiguous calls echo in my memory at the rhythm of the knock on the door:


Dong! Dong!
Dong! Dong!


The knocking grew harder. I shouted out:


-Hold on!


The noise calmed down for a while. I availed myself of the delay. I yawned. I read the new scribbles on the wall, near my bed. I leaned over them and rubbed my eyes open to read:


Work is a Sacred Human Right


Work w w w Work
Human h h h Human
Right r r r Right


The organization of lines and the deconstruction of words remind me of the hand-writing lessons in elementary schools. This is my youngest brother’s hand-writing. He does not trust his memory. That is the reason why he writes down whatever comes to his ears or mind. His only wish is to be a teacher. The wavy hand-writing reflects his desire to keep on the assumed line on the wall. For me, it is not a secret to see that he made too much effort to write all these words so high. He would like to prove to me that he has really grown up and that the achievement of his wish is only a matter of time.
The knock on the door is back again. I jumped out of bed. I stumbled in my pair of trousers. I controlled myself from falling down. I found myself before the door. I opened it on a man in a professional uniform. I rubbed my eyes: the postman.
The postman handed me a letter, saying:


-"An insured letter. Sign down here, please".


He handed me the register. I scribbled my signature where his forefinger was pointing. He withdrew the register and walked away.


I weighed the letter with my hands. It is as heavy as any insured mail that I have recently been receiving. I have developed my special intuition towards insured mail. I can guess its content without any need to open it: it contains nothing but my rejected documents in a job contest.


I threw the letter behind. There it is swimming in the air, bumping the wall and swirling down to rest at the feet of my youngest brother’s hand-writing lesson.


The sun is stuck in the middle of the sky. The postman, like a devil, creeps towards the neighbouring doors without any shadow, loaded with his registers, uniform and bag. He knocks on the door, waits for the answer, knocks again, examines his registers, searches for insured mail and knocked on the door again, saying :


"Open, Sesame!"


The postman looks me persistently in the eyes. His features resist a strong smile that he could not control any further. The smile overwhelms him at last and he sets it free.

* From “Freedom, Dream & Love”, A short story in “The Season of Migration to Anywhere”.
A Collection of Short Stories Edited & Published in Arabic by Mohamed Said Raihani in 2006.

Mohamed Said Raihani, is a Moroccan writer, translator, scholar & shortstory writer, born in 1968 in Ksar El Kébir. He published in Arabic "The Will of Individuation" (Semiotic Study on First-names) 2001, "Waiting For the Morning" (Short stories) 2003, "Thus Spoke Santa Lugar-Verde" (Short stories) 2005, "The Season Of Migration to Anywhere" (Short stories) 2006. he is getting ready for printing: "Beyond Writing & Reading "-(testimonies) and "Kais & Juliette" (E-Love Novel).

”Open Sesame" is the second narrative text in the "The Moroccan Dream", Anthology of Moroccan new short story directed by Mohamed Said Raihani.