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Barbatoze: Comic Book Guy

Love is a Rollercoaster

Finding love has its ups and downs. Which is fine, so long as you don't have motion sickness. Waleed Mowafi feels the dizzying heights and sickly lows of meeting the perfect girl...

I’ve always found the females of this land to be fickle creatures.  I’ve had a few relationships here and they weren’t complete disasters, however I would cry a lot, which is never an indication of a sparkling union. I remember when I first arrived to Cairo. Charm, personality, wit and other such trivial and fruitless character traits were worth about as much as a fucking Chiclet. It wasn’t for lack of trying mind you, but I never seemed to get far with the females. Apparently a keen interest in Pokémon cards and Jhonen Vasquez comic books were not admirable traits to Egyptian women. It was only when I started venturing out that I slowly began observing a correlation between car type and female’s willingness engage in a relationship or even accept a date. 

Here is a situation from my early days in Cairo which is strongly engrained in my memory: Wally is stuck in traffic on the road opposite a club. He’s staring out the car window as he anxiously awaits  to arrive. He sees a BMW 3 Series drive up to night spot. Guy gets out with beautiful girl. BMW 5 Series drives up, guy gets out with hotter girl. BMW 7 series pulls up, guy gets out with 3 girls. Wally finally pulls up in taxi, no girls in sight. Walks up to club entrance, gets bounced at the door. Walks to the nearest KFC and orders a chicken dinner box. Dinner box arrives, the chicken tastes like the bitter tears of solitude …

One Wednesday morning, a friend of mine calls me up and suggests we do something ‘different.’ “Let’s go to Dreampark. I know it’s retarded but there’s some girls coming and it could be fun.” I ponder for a moment on whether I can be bothered to once again spend a whole day engaging in conversations with females who, rather than discussing the fascinating world of Oscar Wilde, would rather reminisce over wild nights out at a Club 35 featuring DJ Kosomak. Then it occurred to me that I hadn’t had sex in months so even with the diminutive chance I could get laid, I hopped in a car and made my way to the dilapidated  6th October theme park with questionable safety records they call Dreampark.

I arrived at the entrance and see my mate who called me for the outing. I go say my hellos as he introduces me to another friend of his who I had never met before but, at first glance, looked like your typical Egyptian shab. A bulky Gold’s Gym sculptured body, sporting a Rolex watch, and one of those obnoxiously big Gucci belt buckles. His t-shirt was so tight I could see his nipples. It was rather distracting, if I’m to be honest. My mate informs me that we were just waiting for the girls. After about 15 minutes they arrive. I had met two of them previously and, after several awkward conversations, I had already concluded that I had zero in common with these females. But there was a fresh face amongst them. A cute girl, medium length brown hair, and an amazing smile.

We start making our way through the park and I thought I’d try my luck with her. Before I could even ask what her name was, she looks at me and points out the obscure experimental band on my t-shirt. I was taken back and somewhat in love. We really hit off and, before long, had separated from the rest of the group. Some serious flirting proceeded as we made our way round the detritus theme park. We talked of music, love, life and the peculiar idiosyncratic behavior of Egyptians, whilst exchanging humorous observations and recollections. We went on the bumper cars and the water ride. Well, it was more like the avoid hepatitis from the sewage ride. But I didn’t care. I couldn’t stop smiling. It was magic! Putting aside the burka clad women and random piles of waste, it felt like a beautiful montage from a joyful movie. 

She grabbed my hand; I felt butterflies for the first time since I had come to Egypt. She lead me to a secluded grassy area, pulls out a joint and I smile. We smoke and lay on the grass, looking up at the clouds and fabricating objects in our minds of what they look like, in a completely cliché manner.  She would say ‘unicorn’, I would say ‘penis’. We would laugh…

After a while, we inevitably started to get the munchies so we made our way to a corn-dog stand we had passed earlier. As we approached the stand, I saw the shab I had met earlier. I asked him where my friend and the rest of the group were. He told me one of the girls had to head home so my friend had taken them all. He was just going to have a corn-dog and do the same thing. As I was purchasing the low-grade meat on a stick for myself and my new lady friend, I noticed that, right behind me, this shab motherfucker was flirting with her. It didn’t bother me at first. I was more interested in getting some food down me as I had missed breakfast. I devoured my corn-dog pretty quickly and returned for more but as I turned around, I noticed the flirting had been turned up a notch; she was giggling, he was touching her waist. I was getting increasingly annoyed. By the time I had eaten my third corn-dog, her giggling had turned to full on laughter and his uncontrollable hands looked like they were all over her. What the fuck was this shit? He’s doing a number on me! I go over to the girl and announce in an aggressive, childlike manner, as if someone had taken my toys away, “Come on, let’s go, I’m done!”

“Actually, we were thinking of trying out that ride before we go,” she said. I look up at the amusement park ride she was pointing at.  I didn’t see a ride. All I see is a spinning wheel of gyrating death towering above me, seemingly constructed by the devil himself to cause pain and discomfort. I told them that “I couldn’t be bothered,” when truthfully, the thought of getting on that rickety death wheel made me want to urinate myself from pure fear and cowardliness. Before I could continue talking, the shab guy turns to me and says “Come on, don’t be a pussy!” By this point, my blood is boiling. Pussy! I think to myself. I’ll show you who’s a pussy!

Ten minutes later, we are sat in a row on the death wheel getting ready for what I believed would be a short excursion to my death. The girl sees I’m nervous; I’m shaking like I’ve got stage three Parkinson. Shab is laughing and cracking jokes at my physical discomfort. The ride operator comes to strap us all in. He looked no older than 16 years old; a prepubescent child with bad acne and grubby hands. I don’t believe young Mahmoud, as the label on his un-ironed shirt read, was even qualified to operate such a ride nor did he likely have an engineering degree of any sorts. My nerves increased as we slowly get lifted into the air… 

The spinning began, slow at first, as I closed my eyes tightly and held  onto the bars with a grip so tight, the circulation to my hands was getting cut off. The velocity increased and before I knew it, my body was being flipped, turned, whirled and spun in unnatural directions. There was something wrong. My stomach felt funny. My breathing got heavier and heavier as I felt a bilious, sickly feeling take over. I was praying for this to end. It wouldn’t. Flashes of light grazed my retinas, as I would occasionally force myself to pry open my eye lids only to swiftly close them again. I could hear Mahmoud, the prepubescent ride operator, below yell: “Yalla wa7da kaman!” as the other amusement ride patrons cheered. One minute turned to two and the sickly feeling in my stomach had increased tenfold in this nightmarish moment of pure and tumbling. After what seemed like a lifetime, the ride eventually started to slow down and descend to the ground.

By this point, my face read as If I had just been the victim of rape. I was breathing heavily and could feel something coming up in my stomach. I was praying to God to save my dignity in this moment; one last attempt to maintain a level of cool in front of the girl, after two disastrous minutes of looking like a complete khawal. She turned to me and smiled: “See, wasn’t that fun, Wally?” And right at that moment, it came, like a liquefied fountain of semi-digested corn-dog glory, right out of my mouth. I was projectile vomiting not only all over myself, but all over the girl’s shoes, as well. I wish it was only once but no. Three massive gushes of disgorge spewed out of my mouth. After the violent vomiting finally subsided, I looked up at the girl. Her expression said it all…

At this point, shab is in stitches at my misfortune. You would of thought the humiliation would have stopped at this point but it didn’t. When it came time for Mahmoud  to unstrap me, it turned out that my particular seat had a minor malfunction and the lock was jammed, forcing me to sit in my own pile of vomit for a further 20 minutes, as onlookers enjoyed the show.  Laughter and pointing was the common theme in this drama.

The girl had run off to clean the mess I had made on her shoes. After finally getting off the ride, I headed to the nearest  bathroom  to wash myself off with copious amounts of water. I then made my way to the car park and saw her in the distance. She was standing alone.  I walked towards her, looking down and thinking intensely of something witty to say to save any reminisce of interest she may still have had in me.  At that moment, a  small child walked passed, pointed at my crotch, in fits of laughter, as he yelled at the top of his lungs to his friends: “Tartar 3ala nafso!” presuming that I had obviously urinated myself.

At that moment an immaculate, glistening blue BMW 5 Series drives within inches of us. I lean in to see who it is. Yes, it’s shab boy. The girl turns to me and says, “Umm, I think I’m going to go with him, but it was nice meeting you Wally.”