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Thread: The Adventure of Ali Pasha

  1. #1
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    San Diego Calif.
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    The Adventure of Ali Pasha

    The Adventure of Ali Pasha and Baheera

    Before sun-up Ali Pasha was awake and getting ready for the great game. He dressed as usual, donned his pants and caftan and pulled on his boots. He made sure his Saracen dagger was snug in his boot; fastened his cartridge belt, and packed his saddle bags. Everything needed was laid out on the bed. Pencils and pens were next to a sketch pad and bottle of ink, and a tiny square pad of paper. He filled his canteen and cleaned the dust from his binoculars, checked his Webley by spinning the cylinder, then snapped it shut firmly with an audible ‘click.’

    Stepping quietly down the stairs and around to the aviary, he gathered up Horus, his favorite falcon, then two sleeping pigeons from their roost, secured them and saddled his horse. Within minutes the figure of horse and rider grew smaller and smaller in the distance towards the Giza plateau , a shrinking black silhouette against the fiery ball of rising sun, which was fitting, since Ali was only shadow-play himself.

    Within an hour horse and rider were scaling the heights overlooking the Nile near the third cataract. Ali dismounted and sat down in the shade and waited. After some time he grew impatient and was ready to leave. Then the spot he was watching grew busy. Between the rocks near the banks five riders who’d made camp met five others who just arrived. He looked closer with his binoculars and recognized the Turkish consul, talking to a minister from the Sultana’s court, recognizable by the colors of his caftan. If he would only turn his way! They were gesticulating wildly as if they were arguing. When they broke camp both parties rode back to the city by different roads.

    Ali watched until they were out of sight. He packed and rode down to the river to examine the site of the meeting. There were Turkish cigarettes butts scattered on the ground, cheap cigarettes, the kind issued to troopers, and a smoldering fire where coffee was brewed. Fine brown grounds still littered the yellow sand.

    Ali took his tiny pad of paper and scratched something with a pencil. He grabbed one of the pigeons and fit the paper into a metal cylinder attached to its leg. Calming the bird, he proceeded to kiss its head.

    “Here now, my fine-feathered-daughter, is your chance to fly home.”

    Rising in a spiral it flew off towards Alexandria.

    Just then a shot reverberated among the rocks and searing pain ripped through Ali’s cheek and buried itself in his shoulder. Ali jumped on his steed and rode towards the muzzle-flash. When he rounded a large bolder a trooper was mounting his horse with one foot in the stirrup. Ali drew his revolver left-handed and fired point-blank. The trooper heaved violently, collapsed, and hung downward, suspended by one foot. A pool of blood dripped from the body as it crumpled into a heap on the sand. Ali holstered his revolver, dismounted, then flipped the useless form over with his boot to rifle the pockets of his tunic. Turkish cigarettes tumbled out, followed by a gold Austrian lighter.

    Remounting, Ali Pasha turned his horse back to the road and hastened to Cairo before he lost too much blood, bandaging his face with his turban. By sunset his horse found its way back to the stables just as Ali passed out in the saddle.

    Baheera took charge and pulled him into her shop. Tincture of opium was her anesthetic of choice. She pulled an eight millimeter Mauser round from his shoulder. The slash in his cheek left a scar worth five stitches.

    ‘Such a handsome face, how will it manage now?’ thought the woman while she worked the needle and thread nimbly in and out. She gazed at him calmly; he looked so peaceful and pale, like a Greek statue.

    ‘Like a dark-haired Adonis. The scar will run diagonally between his cheek and his jaw, and give his face a fearful symmetry like...Tiger Tiger Burning Bright, by who was it? ….the English poet Blake?’

    Far from marring his appearance, the line drew even more attention to his eyes, which were magnificent at any rate, or directed attention to his strong jaw which no person in their right mind could fault.

    “Damn the self-serving b*stard anyway, he’ll look better than ever. Why, he’s almost endearing…for a rake.”

    She grew furious and tugged so hard on the last knot that her patient awoke with a start from a dream only Morpheus could initiate.

    “Take care!” shouted Ali, and looking up, saw pity reflected in wondrous eyes that appeared to be as young as his own and understood he was safe… and in healing hands.


    ©Steven Hunley 2012 THE WIND AND THE LION (Jerry Goldsmith - 1975) : "Raisuli Attacks"

  2. #2
    TheFairyDogMother kiz_paws's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    The Prairies, Canada
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    Enjoyed this, and now am wondering what was in that note...
    Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty
    ~Albert Einstein

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