Months away from his graduation, Alexander announced to his parents he intends to propose to Eva. After receiving their blessing, Alexander called Eva and asked her to meet him by the orange tree where their lips first made contact. After receiving her confirmation, Isa called Shoki to inform him that he has a big announcement to make and asked him if they could meet tomorrow.
When he turned up at the bistro, he lifted his head searching for his friend through shaded tables outside. Bearing a broad smile on his face, Shoki shouted his name. Isa turned around to face him, seated next to the large window bearing the cafe’s green logo. Isa rushed across the terrace paved with tiny concrete blocks and the isle, between the rows of empty seats. It was the furthest table on his right next to the outdoor movable fencing, constructed of peeling charcoal finish wooden grates and slightly obscured by the dense leaves of a lemon tree planted in wooden slatted boxes.
Once he arrived at the table adjacent to his seated friend, Isa gave him a friendly pat on his companion’s left shoulder, pinched some roast peanuts from the tiny transparent bowl next to a green beer bottle and seat on the chair, facing Shoki. “How’s it hanging, Shoki?”
“Thanks to that stunning girl sitting there,” Shoki replied, lifting his chin towards a crowded table next to the cafe’s entrance. “It’s standing up and eager to get wet!”
“That’s not what I meant!” Isa replied sharply, and after failing to trace a smile on his face that would complement his odd, but funny remark, he asked, “Then why the gloomy look? I’m not late, am I?”
“Yes, Mr Rolex!” Shoki replied and paused to look at his watch. “In fact, you’re thirty-seven seconds early, and perhaps it’s time to send you back to Switzerland to get you serviced.”
“If someone needs checking for sticking to correct time, then you are the ideal candidate! You’re always running late.”
“You rely on God to take care of your things. I’ve got to take care of things myself.”
Rather than objecting, Isa laughed with a sour expression in his face.
“Mi Amigos, every time you call me to announce something exciting and bring that ‘I am so happy face‘, I know something awful is about to happen,” Shoki expressed his concern, lit up his cig, and after inhaling two puffs he asked, with ‘pay attention to my words’ kind of tone, “So, what’s the latest fuck-up you are about to do? Give up studying law and study something that will turn you into a delusion expert… perhaps, an Imam?”
Isa laughed hysterically, and after he calmed down, he replied, “You know that would kill my Dad, who insists I should study law like he did. Although I disagree with him, he thinks that I could serve my God much more by working in a court than at a Mosque.”
“It’s good to know that at least one of your parents is sane!”
“Perhaps he might be sane, but he is also extremely miserable!” Isa replied, boasting with confidence.
“Of course he’s miserable! After all, every day he deals with humans, your God’s biggest mistake.”
While Isa kept on swinging his head, indicating his disapproval, a tall waitress propped up. Her tight black velvet dress, plain and yet reflecting the light whenever she moved, ran down to her knees. A thin black necklace sparkled between her breast and the white v-neck blouse. She carried a plain order pad on her left hand and funny looking pen with a pink fluffy bit at the end. Her dyed blond hair hung tight against her skull.
“Would you like something from the bar?” She asked, handing Isa the menu. “It’s happy hour, so Margarita, Pina Cola-”
“Stop wasting your breath on him!” Shoki intruded, “My friend is committed to waste his life away without tasting a single cocktail so that he could begin a proper life after he dies.”
After the plum lips on the waitress’ face opened wide, as if she just chewed a super spicy Jalapeno pepper, Shoki added, “Since my friend often speaks to his imaginary friend, called God, it might be illegal for you to serve him alcohol, so could you please bring the little boy a glass of milk instead and another Margarita for me!”
“I don’t want milk! I’ll have some water, please.” Isa objected. “Please don’t pay any attention to him. He’s a funny chap, but sometimes an absolute hell to talk to. When he was six, he had cardiac surgery, and it seems that the surgeons forgot to place his heart back on him.”
“Come on, mi amigos! Water is for washing stuff, not for drinking!”
The waitress unleashed an amused glance at Isa’s defiant smile before she turned back and walked away towards the bar without saying a word.
“So?” Isa asked, still the defiant smile hanging over his face.
“Don’t look at me like that! How fucked are you? Your life is about living it, and not about living for the day you’re going to die.” Shoki reasoned. “Death is the antonym of life, catch my drift?”
“I didn’t invite you over to explain to you life and afterlife.” Isa reacted abruptly, looking at his watch. “I’ll have to leave in nineteen minutes, and forty-six minutes I have to meet Eva, so let’s go back to my big announcement.”
“Of course! If you don’t meet your General Eva exactly at eight o’clock to properly coordinate the attack, it will lead to the pointless death of many of her soldiers.”
“What are you on about?” Isa asked.
The waitress returned with a margarita and a bottle of water resting on her black tray. After placing them over the oak table, she attacked Shoki with a cheeky smile and reminded him that the happy hour will end in eighteen minutes.
Immediately after the waitress migrated towards the table next to the cafe’s entrance, Isa torrented his big announcement at Shoki, “I don’t have much time, so we could discuss your issues with Eva another time! In eighteen minutes, I will be asking Eva for her hand.”
“Why? Is your right hand sick and tired of masturbating you?”
“Unlike you, who enslaves your hands to ejaculate your sperm, because you can’t get laid, I’m not allowed to masturbate.”
“Who told you this? Your imaginary friend?”
“Of course not! The Imam told me this.” Isa replied firmly.
“Yeah, right! Imams are allowed to get married and get laid. Have you ever tried asking a Priest who can’t get married or get laid? I’m pretty sure that masturbation is the closest they can get to God.”
“Can we start talking about my marriage, instead of my mastubation?” Isa asked, before gulping down his water.
“As you said earlier, I’m no expert in marriages, so could we go back into talking about something I’m very good at – masturbtion!”
Briefly, they Isa began his monologue, informing his friend of his intentions, then placed the payment on the table and left the cafe. He stopped at the supermarket to fetch a baguette, packaged blue cheese, white cheese, red apples, white grapes, strawberries, green olives, chilled champagne and a set of four champagne glasses. After waiting impatiently at the till, he placed the goods inside his plain cotton bag and dashed off outside, heading towards his rendezvous place.