twenty-four hours

“Saddam?”

“Yes, Pasha…”

“What are you thinking about tonight?”

“Nothing. Nothing much. Full moon tonight. Beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“Sometimes I look at the moon…”

“And?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I just feel insignificant. That’s all.”

“Don’t talk that way. You have many excellent accomplishments.”

“Like what?

“Inventing water. That was impressive.”

“Inventing… haha, ha, haha hee hee hee…”

“Hoo hoo, ha ha ha ha ha…”

“Hee heee hee… good one, Pasha.”

“You could have invented water, if it wasn’t there already …”

“Well, perhaps I could have…”

“Saddam?”

“Yes, Pasha…”

“Are you scared?”

“Scared! I who have fought the crimson lion till it lay whimpering at my feet!”

“Are you?”

“Scared! I who have seen my foes all fry and sizzle like a fat-free ham!”

“Are you?”

“A little bit…”

“Me too.”

“Why you, Pasha? What do you have to fear?”

“The unknown.”

“Yes. The unknown. I understand.”

“It frightens me.”

“It frightens me too. But cheer up, Pasha, we still have some time.”

“How long?”

“I’m not sure. At least twenty-four hours.”

“That’s not long.”

“Most certainly it is. Twenty-four hours is a lifetime.”

“For a fruit fly.”

“For a… haha, ha, haha hee hee hee…”

“Hoo hoo, ha ha ha ha ha…”

“Hee heee hee… you make me laugh, Pasha.”

“It is good to laugh.”

“Yes, yes it is. Thank you, Pasha.”

“Saddam?”

“Yes, Pasha…”

“Is there anything you’d like to do tonight?”

“No, Pasha. I’ll get some wine later, but for now, I will look at the moon.”

“Goodnight, then. I’ll take my leave.”

“Goodnight, Pasha.”

 

© 2003, Mark Hoback