The following is an excerpt from “Rituals of Restlessness” by Yaghoub Yadali.
Kamran is planning to fake his death in a car crash and is in the car with his driver to the spot where he intends the accident to happen. This piece opens with a question from his driver, Golshah.
“Where are we going sir?”
“What’s our business?”
Kamran felt less anxious when he talked. He didn’t want to remain silent, even for a second. He just wanted to talk, about anything. It didn’t matter what.
“Were you content with yesterday’s pay?”
“God bless you.”
There was a flask of tea on the rear seat; and the gasoline container in the trunk. There wasn’t more than half an hour to the gorge. Then it would be half past four. Kamran had calculated that it would at most take an hour for him to finish the job. That meant it would be half past five in the morning and it was still dark.
“You’re silent, Golshah.”
“What should I say sir?”
“Your wife and children are in Afghanistan?”
“How many are you?”
“I have six children, a wife and her mother… we are nine.”
“You’ve been quite busy. God bless your potency. How old are you?”
“About forty, forty five.”
“Don’t you have an ID?”
“I had one. Our house was ruined in the bombardment, nothing but debris. However hard I searched I couldn’t find it.”
“Weren’t you at home at the time? Where were your children?”
“I wasn’t at home. Three of my children got killed and my wife.”
“So this is your second wife? The six children are hers?”
“It’s not good for a man to remain single, I was alone. I came to Mashhad. I saw this woman with her two children and mother. They were from Herat, compatriots. I said god would be glad and she would not be without a man…”
Kamran laughed out loud. Golshah turned and stared at him. For a few seconds, he forgot everything. Golshah, as if he had gained courage laughed too. He said: “What’s our job sir?”