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Now standing in front of 1300, she pressed the bell and waited. No patter of the guard’s running feet. She unraveled the end of her hijab and wiped sweat off her upper lip with the thin fabric. She tried the bell again and peeked through the partition. No sound. She turned around and walked to the tree.

“Sabah al khair,” she greeted the chai vendor, “Do you happen to know if there’s anybody at home?”

“Mafeesh, I just got here,” she answered regretfully.

“Shukran,” Rose said, thanking her.

Had Bullet relayed wrong information? Afterall, it did strike her odd that an agent would want to work on a Friday, a day people rested from a long arduous week. She pressed the bell once and sustained the ring with a rhythmic pattern.

The gate suddenly flung open, a man whom she guessed was Egyptian Coptic peeked his bald head.

“Fi shinu?” he demanded what she wanted, making no attempt to display his annoyance with the incessant bell ring. Rose quickly looked down, avoiding his gaze.

“I’m here to see Khaleed.”

“Khaleed is not here.”

“But he told me to be here at 7 o’clock and I’ve been here waiting and waiting.”

“Dagiga,” he said, shutting the door. Patience, being a national virtue, Rose did not as much as steal a glance at her watch when he still hadn’t appeared after a minute.

I met her en route to Miami, in the restroom of the airport. We exchanged knowing looks as we washed our hands ceremoniously. With the timing of Olympic synchronized divers, we completed our tasks and both reached for the towel dispenser. That’s when she noticed my shoes. “Nice shoes,” she complimented, regarding it with the admiration only a shoe lover would. I said thank you and stole a glance at her feet hoping to return the compliment. I was certain she’d be donning a shoe equally as appealing as mine, plus, her response to the sighting of my shoe told…

One Day the tortoise met the elephant, who trumpeted, “Out of my way, you weakling–I might step on you!” The tortoise was not afraid and stayed where he was, so the elephant stepped on him but could not crush him. “Do not boast, Mr. Elephant, I am as strong as you are!” said the tortoise, but the elephant just laughed. So the tortoise asked him to come to his hill the next morning, where he would prove he was as strong. The next day, before sunrise, the tortoise made its way down the hill to the river where he met…

You wouldn’t ask your professional babysitter to watch your kids for free. Neither would you ask your professional landscaper to trim your hedges for free. I always wonder why some people underestimate the work of people in the professional creative industry. I have a few friends in the music production and almost of of them have these dreadful stories of being used and abused. Shoddy terms and conditions, client’s expectations of excellent delivery for measly remuneration, and blatant underappreciation for the creative process. Let’s say a band has been asked to do an an hour long live gig at this…