"Dreaming is creating. Dreaming is an art. Dreaming is refusing exported happiness, loving, rebelling… Dreaming is lying on the ground naked except for our dreamy images! Dreaming is seeking beauty in the darkness, feeling the joy of death, writing with blood an autobiography on an iron path. "


Believing that History is usually untrue, I often imagined historical facts as fictional stories extracted from « One Thousand and One Nights ». Nothing can illustrate better the convergence and divergence between our time and that of the grenade man’s.


Whose neck looked like that of the other : the giraffe’s or his? No-one in the district could not have an idea nor can he stop thinking about the amazing secret of the grenade annexed with a spiny seed in the middle of his neck. While people are born with an apple in their throat dancing in harmony with every whisper, he was born with something like a ripe crimson grenade. It used to tantalize me, that seed underneath the grenade: stiff, rigid, wild and easy to snap, I used to think!


The neighbours used to fear Grenade-man, as I would call him. Was he weird and disgusting to them because of his singularity?


It is said that he was born with the grenade next to the seed in his neck and that he was without family or memory, contenting himself with in an isolated life on his balcony where he eats, drinks and cares after his cacti, sharing his world with a small group of unkempt spotted stray cats, as if he were in need of someone to help him have some decision.


The neighbours never cared for the colour of the cats. Instead, they were worried about their constant mew after midnight. At first, the neighbours were only annoyed at the cats’ mew but now they were both annoyed and eager to find out the cause of their mew.


I never cared after their mew. I was proud Grenade-man’s white sadness and his heart’s purely wild honey. He was such a vague genius that only the neighbours were curious to know the cause of the cats’ mew while I was terribly afraid of it! Was my turn coming in the way?


I had to wait for the previous day in order to have a better view. Since that day when I decide to track down my damned intuition, History turned His wheels backwards intensifying my loss.


The third day was the first. I used to fear odd numbers, mainly the number three. That set of numbers smells of treachery. I always had appointments with treacheries but never did I come on time to meet them. However, the case was reversed with these cats faithful to their eternal mew.


Grenade-man’s cheeks turned redder and redder under the cats’ licking tongues while the seed underneath the grenade in his neck was getting ripper and riper giving birth to another grenade while I stood there with no memory.


In the second day, I felt warmer. Hardly had the cats started mewing when I woke up. Their mew was more painful than hearing one’s words have no echoes around.


The grenade man’s balcony was opposite mine. I could have joined the cats in their mew if that horrible cat was away.


In the total emptiness, Grenade-man, opposite me and some of his cacti was crying heartily as if wailing the loss of plants. Was he an old Buddhist or a Jewish taking his cacti for a wailing wall when all the walls of the world would not contain his crying?


My eyes were suspiciously focused on the growing seed underneath the grenade. The cats were ready to jump on the grenade man’s cheeks to lick his tears while I was fighting against the emptiness, with no memory.


In the third/ first day, I woke up to dream an astonishing reality. Grenade-man, in his balcony, was gazing at one of his cacti and predicting the future. The seed underneath the grenade in his neck, like me, was growing up and blooming into a red flower flourishing gradually where the grenade man, in his admiration, was careless of the metamorphosis like my dull memory.


Sooner, the red flower gradually will shrink, die and fall down. Grenade-man’s admiration will fade away and he will start to cry again careless of all the ears around. The cats will be mewing sadly when my memory will be empty dancing to the rhythm of their mew…


On that day, I was told that the cats , some day, were mewing more intensely than they ever had done before mourning for Grenade-man’s death. My memory was lost at hearing this piece of news while the neighbours were astonished at the seed steadily growing in my neck. They have nicknamed me « Seed-man ». I am not annoyed by the seed in my neck as much as I am busy looking for cats to share my mew.


Mouna Ouafiq is a Moroccan short story writer. She was born in 1981 in Rabat, Morocco. This story was published in Arabic in 2006.

Mohamed Said Raihani is a Moroccan writer, translator, scholar & short story 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).

Grenade-Man is the seventh narrative text in the "The Moroccan Dream", Anthology of Moroccan new short story directed by Mohamed Saïd Raihani.