CSI Tagamoa: The Sherlock Holmes of Egyptian Bawabs
Step into my mistake of a world and read the story of a night full of thrilling intrigue, tense action, shabasheb and my mom slapping a dude.
My life is, more or less, a string of awkward encounters, regrettable (and entirely preventable) mistakes, and mediocre spaghetti. However, friends, there are times when the most whimsical of happenings…happen, things that should not have any reason to exist in the realm of reality (think early 2000’s TV Land), things that combine intrigue, mystery, action, a grizzled doorman and sandals. So pull up a comfy enough toilet seat, lend me your limited attention and let me tell you a real-life story I like to call, CSI: TAGAMOA.
It was 3 AM on an otherwise uneventful Wednesday (the best kind of Wednesday), and I was just minding my own business watching wholesome videos of rabbits and other family friendly things, when I heard a knock on my door. It was my brother telling me one of the neighbourhood doormen was outside, waiting for a robber who snuck into the next door villa.
“Alright, friendo.” I said casually as I reached for my bedside hammer that I’ve lovingly dubbed “Bedside Hammer”, I waltz outside to see my family anxiously waiting by the door, as if we were in an Egyptianised Stephen King film. I go out into the street to see this seated figure next to some of our foliage, armed with a Naboot (AKA the bawab basher) and patiently keeping watch for any malicious movement. This was my first real encounter with this story’s pivotal character (besides the sentient tube of custard writing this garbage), 3am Khaleel.
The Hero Tagamo3 Deserves
As I approached the stealthy doorman, he gestured at me to keep quiet and tread lightly(it is worth mentioning that I still think this was all an absurd fever dream), I go to ask him what the deal was, “I saw somebody jumping the fence and sneaking into the villa at around 2:30, so I decided to come over and investigate.” Right so, it took you 30 minutes to cross the street and investigate. Moving on, “I’m 3am Khaleel, I watch the villa across from you folks and I felt it was my duty to keep the peace.”
It seems 3am Khaleel makes use of some form of telepathy, because minutes later, all the local bawabs started flocking with a variety of melee weapons in hand; a small child with an entire tree branch twice his height; an older gentleman with a PVC pipe and my absolute favourite; a lady with a kettle full of boiling water (and you thought Kingdom of Heaven was medieval), among a few other “warriors.” The rest of my family came out to act as “reservists” in the upcoming battle against the shitstick hiding in an abandoned villa. That’s when the investigation started ensuing (you might need some background music for this).
“Observe the ground here, everyone,” enthusiastic 3am Khaleel said as he began his thorough analysis of the crime scene, “these tracks in the sand lead to the chained gate here, they go from sandle prints to footprints, meaning the thief took off his footwear and jumped the fence. Judging from the style of this sandle print, it appears to be a 3arabawy sandal. I would know, as I used to live in the mountains, training wild dogs.” You see, friendos, this warrior sused to live in the harsh mountains of wherever-the-fuck-istan, where he learned how to track prey through what I can only assume is scent and spiritual aura, and in his spare time he’d train guard/hunting/circus dogs apparently.
The Hunt Begins
We were getting anxious, waiting outside the villa and making noise in an effort to scare the poor delinquent away, but to no avail. This is when the former bawab of the besieged villa, Ramadan, steps in. He’d heard about the happenings from an earlier phone call from detective Khaleel. This guy was the pinnacle of bawab chic; a shiny blue striped galabeyya, a fresh pair of blue flip flops and a Cleopatra cigarette leisurely hanging off the corner of his mouth as he struck a match to light it with more gravitas than 70’s Clint Eastwood. “Are we going to stand here all night or are we going to do something?” Said a gung-ho Ramadan to a stoic detective Khaleel, to which he replied “Want me to cover you? that’s fine by me.” I want you to try and put yourself in my crocs here, friendos; it’s 3:30 AM, there’s a stoned as fuck robber next door hiding in a bare brick bathroom, surrounded by angry bawabs and a family of doctors (and one “writer” with a hammer) and a makeshift SWAT team ready to bust the scene. I wish I could make this up.
It’s worth mentioning that the chief investigator Khaleel is in his 70’s, and I saw the man climb that fence faster than I can climb a flight of of a total of 3 stairs. Ramadan lifts up and folds the lower end of his bomb-ass galabeyya and joins inquisitor Khaleel on the other side, into enemy territory, armed with their trusty beat-a-motherfucker sticks and their cell phone flashlights. They bravely go where one idiot has gone before, to bring justice and peace to the fifth settlement.
We anxiously waited outside, hoping to hear a tense battle within the concrete confines of the derelict dwelling (I am full of shit). but we heard nothing more than two stalwart doormen yelling at each other, punctuated by the howl of the wind and my mother telling us about the things she’d supposedly do to the perp if she managed to get her hands on him (HINT:it involved a plunger).
I was patrolling the premises hoping to break in this goddamn hammer of mine, when a microbus out of nowhere stopped at the scene of the crime. It was a routine patrol by the local police force, two officers and a bunch of grunts in the back came rolling out after we told them about the situation, fanning out to do their own investigations. It was at that time that lord regent Khaleel and grizzled veteran Ramadan made their way out of the villa without the perpetrator. They, however, managed to find his stolen loot; a bunch of fucking copper wire. Perhaps the best thing to come out of that “grand reveal” was when the child told us “Yeah that sells for like 40 a meter.” The look one th officers’ faces was priceless.
Inspector Khaleel took this as a golden opportunity to show off his sleuthing skills to the law, and they actually agreed with him. I’m just there with my mouth suitably gaping open, in pure disbelief that any of this is real, and that I was in a bad episode of Wanees. We thought the guy just got away and our ordeal (my fever dream) was finally over, without any violence, without my hammer being used for anything but smashing dead computer parts (the price of failure).
He Fought The Law And My Mom Won
As the mood winded down and the police were getting ready to hit the road, one of the local doormen’s wives came running at us, yelling about how she spotted two dudes suspiciously walking away from the area, and one of them was barefoot. The police caught wind of this and speeded away to where she said they were in the law-bus, and we thought that was finally it; I could go back to my room and continue perusing videos of kittens playing in a meadow. Agent Khaleel, however, took this as a chance to tell us about his past in the war back in 73. He told us how he learned to fight in an environment where hesitation translated to a gunshot wound, and how he was forced to fatally stab an Israeli soldier with his bayonet; “it took me years to forgive myself, and I prayed for him and myself regardless of anything.” He showed us his wounds from the war for proof. I didn’t think it was going to get this heavy with all the slippers and stupid shit going around that night.
The police came back about half an hour later with the criminal, specifically calling for my mom because she expressed the greatest amount of anger about this whole thing. As we walked out to see the perp, we were all rewarded with what might have been the most terrifying thing any of us had seen in recent times; my mom ran to the microbus with the guy sitting inside, yelling various obscenities in her signature 100 decibel screech, and continued to give the poor guy the slapping of a lifetime. Hearing my mom yell already gives me PTSD, but seeing her go apeshit on somebody? I could never put that mishmash of emotions into words. Eventually, we all raised a bit of money for 3am Khaleel and the surrounding doormen and doorwomen for all their valiant efforts, and it’s been quiet ever since.
So yeah, all this bullshit happened. I wish it didn’t, but then again I’d be lying. We learned a lot about 3am Khaleel that one fateful night; not only is he the most heroic bawab I’ll ever see, he’s also a man of the wilderness, a man of action and intrigue, a patriot and a warrior. I pray you too could have your ow 3am Khaleel, but for now, he’s the hero tagamo3 doesn’t really need, but we have him anyway.
Photos by @MO4Network's #MO4Productions.