the mirror

the mirror

it’s a cold juddi morning outside, but inside it is warm and with the air infused with the pleasing smell of burning firewood on a cold winter day. he has had a fitful night of sleep. he has no reasons to believe his senior munajjim’s counsel, what with his prediction last time that the treasury will be looted turning out to be a case of a pack of rats having chewed their way through a sack of grain in the palace basement, but then again he does not want to take chances especially when the premonition is so dire. what could be the equivalent in bodily harm of rats invading the palace granary? a cold? a hurt pinkie? or worse, a visible scar on his face? well. that one would bring serious bodily harm to the royal barber too- but it would mean a victory for the hungry wolves out there, something that one who has staked all on a perception of invincibility cannot afford.

with these thoughts, he makes a start and is careful to get up from bed on his right shoulder. he slips on the cushy slippers and then turns back and tucks her thin shoulders under the blanket before getting up to slip into the burgundy-colored emperor’s bathrobe. sodabeh the queen and the oldest of his wives would be displeased but he has planned to spend this day in the left wing of the harem and with the young berber princess who is fast making her way into his heart as his favorite. with the munajjim’s vague premonitions, he does not want to risk anything, and as of late sodabeh’s tribe have been rather restless. his trusted hajib is standing outside the door and bows as he enters the hallway. it is chillier in the hallway and he tightens the robe’s belt and walks lazily towards the bathroom, the sound of his footsteps echoing around the tall hallway with the arched ceiling.

he grumbles at the sight of the foggy mirror above the sink and makes a mental note of yelling at the senior hajib for it. yes, it is an after-effect of keeping the bathroom warm as a sauna, but this is a major inconvenience to him. what is a king to do to be comfortable around these parts? clean his own foggy mirror? he joins his palms and fills his hands with water from the sink and splashes it on the mirror. Just before he cannot see anything, he sees that his own reflection in the mirror distorts and washes away like a watercolor painting in warm water. the hajib enters, takes the filled bucket of water by the door and washes the remaining ink on floor, rinsing it clean. he then carefully lifts the giant mirror with its heavy golden frame from its place and stows it behind the cupboard with candles and towels in it. he produces another of the same size and look from its place and hangs it on the wall behind the sink in place of the mirror. then he walks quickly to the bedroom, lifts the corner of the blanket and murmurs something in her ear before returning to wait outside the bathroom door with his arms folded.

the queen is making her way briskly down the long hallway joining the two wings of the harem. she is just about to enter the bedroom when she notices the hajib by the bathroom door. “is he in there?” she barks. the hajib nods his head in silence and slowly blinks in affirmation. the queen has never liked the senior hajib. so high-minded even in servitude. but then again she cannot do anything about it. she doesn’t like her rivals much either, and especially the new girl, but the king does, and that usually seems to settle the matter.

after a while, the queen becomes impatient and walks to the door. “get out of my way, you imbecile!” she waves the hajib out of her way, and opens the door. the first thing she notices is the king’s giant fayroza ring –the one he never takes off- and his golden chain on the floor drain. she runs across the hall to the bedroom and collides on her way with the hajib, who has meanwhile started yelling for help at the sight of the royal possessions on the floor. no blood, no signs of struggle, as if the king has melted like a giant cone of colorful ice-cream into the drain. the queen opens the door and rushes to the bed. she violently yanks the blanket away, revealing the voluptuous shape of the young berber princess’s slender body. she folds her body in fetal position and asks in a half-asleep tone: “what is going on my liege? i am cold!” to which the queen replies: “your liege is making his way through the palace gutters, is what’s going on you slave whore. tell me what you have done to him?”

the end.

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~ by safrang on December 9, 2008.

One Response to “the mirror”

  1. the senior munajjim’s counsel has predicted that you are going to be free and have plenty of time in hand. Start thinking about writing the book…and don’t think about what you are going to lose.

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