JERUSALEM POST BLOG 22 – Prometheus 

A cloud of uncertainty looms over the region… wait… no… Please don’t panic! It is an actual cloud. Coming from the kitchen upstairs. Lasagnas behaving badly.

I’m ensconced at Zan Café, the Kasabah Cinema and Theater’s annexed lounge/restaurant/bar general-purpose watering hole, soaking up the wi-fi. It’s way too early for a Taybeh beer so I…. Well, I’m having one anyway. Sue me.

What’s going on?” Shadi bellows, flinching up from his laptop beside the fireplace. Marvin-Gaye-Featured-Image prophesized this day.

A ruckus draws my attention away from and an interesting article about ten gadgets to make my digital life easier. Why am I reading this? Ten gadgets? One of which is a universal remote control… I already own four of those. Anyway this, I will soon come to acknowledge, is not the day’s most pressing concern.

Kifah, one of the barkeeps, ruts his brow toward the commotion, along with the half dozen or so patrons present. “Shu?” or as the Spanish like to say “Que?”

The human mind seems often ill-equipped to deal with a rapid succession of events. It’s the slow motion of a glass of milk elbowed from the kitchen table, the click of sent and immediately regretted emails, your woman or man sauntering past wrapped in arms that aren’t yours.

Collapsing desk chairs, I discovered at about eleven thirty this morning, do not pertain to the category. They are an exception to the interesting but under-researched phenomenon that in any case is not the main subject of today’s brief.

The hubbub meanwhile swells, and my nose joins the chorus of senses clocking the altered state of my environment. I remain seated, trying to make,… well, sense of it all.

Doctor, what’s happening with my lasagna?”

We’re doing all we can….”

A cloud comes a-tiptoe down the spiral staircase, akin to a fog on the moors around Baskerville Hall, oblivious to the shouting and mad dashing of people, or any other indication that stealth has become at this stage a callous waste of prose.

It’s beginning to dawn on me that there might be a problem. And it’s not the wi-fi this time. Nor the soup and such unsolicited, oft-quoted yet highly rare residing therein of Musca domesticus. “Waiter, the fly in my broth seems to suffer some breathing difficulties. As do I in fact.”

Before long there hangs enough smoke in the building to fumigate the annual salmon catch of Ontario. The slight exaggeration aside we’re soon forced to take refuge in the veranda while a few brave souls empty the last of about a dozen extinguishers toward the unruly furnace.

The mysterious cloud, realizing what it’s up against, steps up the effort. Undaunted. A vigorous billowing cloaks the entire place now, strands a last-ditch containment effort. Soon, finally, we leave. No exit strategies. No surge. No savior-generals with distinctly Roman-sounding surnames. Just plain legging it.

A fire-truck arrives in two shakes of an overdone lamb’s tail. As vendor carts scurry aside, a throng of onlookers assembles in front of the Kasabah. They gaze intently at the soot wafting from a number of windows. It’s not an inferno. Bruce Willis is not holed up inside, fighting cheeky cyber-tech criminals. And yet the piercing sirens add vigor to a small drama that’s refreshingly unrelated to the occupation. Hoses unfurl and a fireman clad in jeans, moccasins and gasmask enters the fray.

I’m no longer optimistic about the lasagna.

Shadi frets about his circus school which is situated above the café. Against wiser judgment he runs back in, reappearing a couple of minutes later, thumbs up, from the top window. On the cusp of embarking on a three-city tour of Belgium with a brand-new show, last thing you need is your hoola-hoops done with a crust.

The flames are doused eventually. All’s well that ends well. Having saved the day, the firemen roll up their equipment, helped by an eight year-old boy who undoubtedly, for the moment at least, contemplates a career in the profession.

Thank you, Prometheus.

Blog comments

1 | Ksenya Egorova, Belgium, Wednesday Jan 30, 2008 Thank you, Prometheus, for inducing Tom’s inspiration and bringing along Calliope. Very well written! A kind of modern days Weegee’s World. Subtle personal touches and political views are particularly adorable. By golly you are well versed in English vocabulary – made me click translate way too often :).

2 | McQueen, NY, Friday Feb 01, 2008 Who cares?

3 | Ari-Jakarta, Friday Feb 01, 2008 Tom, its very unfortunate about that fire in your cafe. Thank God nobody was hurt, including your friend who went inside to get his belongings. Next time do what we have here, by relocating the kitchen to outside -near the garden at the back. If you dont have room then work something out with neighbours.

4 | Julie – Israel, Friday Feb 01, 2008 more drivel – please please someone from JPost put an end to this useless column.

5 | Jonathan UK, Friday Feb 01, 2008 Who gives a damn


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