Cool Sultans are few and far between


Hey lamp-rubbers. To help you along the road to contest glory, below you’ll find a story to keep ideas flowing. I wish everyone the best of luck, and enjoy!

Like any good meal, ours begins and ends with a story. So get yourself an unhealthy amount of popcorn, sit back, and let the sound of kernels crunching in your mouth take you to a time before YouTube videos of cats and pratfalls.

Sitting around a beach bonfire, a poet emerges, mixing seamlessly the languages of storytelling, like 1337 speak and French, often all in one sentence. And he says really deep things, like he’s reciting proverbs, because as we all know, folks were far wiser when folk tales were created.

“Love tells the truth even if it harms you, and hate lies even while it serves you. No land without stones, no meat without bones,” he muses, you know, to confuse the listener.

Slowly, his hypnotizing words surge into warp speed, bending physics and spacetime and leading to a world of Sherifs, Jnun, and magic. Under the ethereal embers of the bonfire, he begins weaving a carpet of the fables of old.

“Once,” he began, “a long time ago, there was a cocksure young Sherif who happened to be the ruler of the whole of Marrakech. This may have followed a number of misadventures as a street rat, but since then he had grown fat and lazy. And he loved his dinner parties.

Indeed, he often invited friends to come visit in his palace to both show off and remind the attendees of his humble beginnings. One day, because thats how these things go, while conversing with a Fkir (the head professor of the largest school in the city), the teacher mentioned how no one has endurance any more. ‘Damn kids these days can’t even wait to go to the bathroom.’

Now the Sherif, who just so happened to be proud of growing up on the mean streets, believed himself to be the most stout of all the people in Morocco, like an ox or a Lance Armstrong, and said so. Of course, out of respect, the Fkir resisted spitting his drink in his hosts face, and resigned himself to chuckling silently.

‘Do you claim to have more endurance than me, the ruler of all Marrakech?’ the Sherif bellowed.

‘No Sidi,’ the Fkir replied sarcastically, ‘of course not. But you must admit that no one could sit all night on the peaks of the Atlas Mountains without the discipline found in Kung fu films or Genies to keep him/her warm.’

‘In that case, we should make a wager. But not any sort of children’s story bet; what say we make this interesting?’ Now, dear listener, the Sherif really hated to lose, but seeing as it was wintertime in the high mountains, he reasoned that nothing could go wrong. ‘I will wager 1000 gold pieces that you cannot endure a night on the Atlas peaks without ever warming yourself by fire.’

Since this is a story, the Fkir agreed, and the next evening, while the clouds snowed and the wind howled, he sat shivering atop the high Atlas, wrestling with genies to keep warm and saying some very un-teacherlike things to the bitter, evil cold.

Against all odds, he lasted through dawn, and when the sun rose over the mountaintop, he proceeded to the Sherif’s palace and related his tale of the bitter evening.

‘You say you sat all night without heat? No blanket to warm you, or fire to heat your bones?’

‘Yes,’ he resisted saying ‘duh,’ ‘I just got done telling you the story.’

‘No extra djellabas, or heat packs or carpets to rest on?’


‘And you stayed until sunrise, all night?’

‘And it sucked.’

‘Then I win the wager. The fire of the sun heated you on the mountaintop, so you lose the bet, friend.’

The Sherif was a wily old camel, and by now kind of looked like one. If it had let itself go. And again, he did not like losing bets. The Fkir left the palace super pissed off. So great was his anger that he did nothing but meditate for a week and give his students all ‘incompletes’ on their papers. At the end of the week, he stopped being emo and invited the ruler to dinner.

The evening of the party soon came and the Sherif arrived with a party, full of splendor and good humor. And why wouldn’t he be? He cast the Fkir as the butt of all his jokes, and would not let him live down his humiliation, because he was a super douche. Soon, the teacher excused himself to check on the meal, and the Sherif was left alone with his company. After an hour of waiting, the Sherif began to wonder what was going on.

This continued for a time, and the Fkir apologized profusely for the delay, citing genies as the cause for lateness. Indeed, genies seemed to have a bad rap since the Aladdin incident. Finally, the Sherif lost his patience and confronted his friend, demanding a meal immediately. He and his entire party trooped ferociously into the kitchen, and what did they find?

Can’t guess? Ill answer for you. Before them there was spread fit for a king complete with couscous, lamb, chicken and fish. Fruit and vegetables of all kinds and pies and pastries filled with cheese, nuts, sugar and minced meat littered the tables, like the wet dream of someone with the munchies…though they were uncooked all of them.
Sitting in the hot sun, the raw dishes sat, collecting curious insects of all kinds but not cooking in the least.

‘What is this?’ demanded the Sherif, ‘Why is this food left uncooked? Are you trying to kill us?’

The Fkir laughed and replied, ‘But what of the bet, friend? Didn’t the fire of the sun keep me warmed atop the mountain? Why should it not do the same for this meal? For real, your dinner has been cooking in the fire of the sun all day, doesn’t that make it properly cooked? Eat, my friend, before the sun sets and turns your dinner cold!’ The sherif turned red with embarrassment as his friends laughed at him. Too bad they couldn’t post it to Facebook. As for the Fkir, he did alright. Teachers always do.

One thought on “Cool Sultans are few and far between

  1. I really enjoyed that. And the sentence that made me laugh out loud: “The Sherif was a wily old camel, and by now kind of looked like one.” It reminds me of my brother, who used to be in charge of the camels at a safari park, and ended up…No, I won’t say – he might sue me.

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