Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Locusts

Okay. December 15, the one you've all been eagerly anticipating, (no not "the Egyptian Woodstock" aka SOS again) but the 2nd Open Independent Art Exhibition in which you can participate by submitting your artistic pieces in any medium. You can contact me directly at if you need more information.

Further: I recently re-read this list to boost your creativity at

Finally: the following is an excerpt from an old nano that I did that is pretty unrelated to the rest of the story (i.e. should be enjoyed as a standalone piece).

I was in Cairo when the locusts came.

I went to the roof of the library, not that high, but still, you could see them up close there. They were so confused, you could tell. What had brought them here? They crawled around on the floor, seeking something familiar. Something to eat I guess. I knew there were the same locusts who brought famine to African villages. But here they were, and they seemed vulnerable, confused, lost.

They were large, exotic-looking. They weren’t’ your regular garden-variety brand locusts. They were reddish. Flying, you’d think them to be dragon flies.

I wondered, could they attack me? It seemed so classically Us versus Them, yet here they were, fi halhom. Ignoring me pretty much.

A man came by, crushing a locust with his foot on purpose, then took it with him into the building, carrying it in his hand. Is this when, how the enmity would begin? Would the other locusts see and vow revenge on that man, his family, his kind?

I wanted to tell him not to do it, it seemed so mean, but even though I flinched when he did it, I said nothing. I chose to remain silent, and so what did that mean?

A girl came on the roof, not really wanting to be there, you could tell.

They were quietly, silently threatening. I thought of something my boyfriend had told me about the other day: the four horsemen of the apocalypse. I was sure in fact that very soon I would hear people talking about how this was a sign of the end of days.

They were little aliens. Maybe they weren’t lost and confused. Maybe they were surveying the landscape, playing out their next move in their heads. Maybe they understood FOL. If x then y. If and only if z, q.

It walked towards me, its face incapable of ever expressing any emotions I would be able to interpret. Its antennas were poised; did it need them to fight, to attack, to charge?

What were they doing, what did they want?

Could a sudden movement on my part trigger a response? A sneeze, perhaps?

The walking are, walking in circles on the tiled floor. It tried to flap its wings, presumably in order to fly, but it remained on the ground. Maybe it didn’t want to fly though. Maybe it was testing, it had an elaborate complex formula in its head, computing how wind resistance would impact its flying speed.

Individually, they looked almost pretty, fluttering around endearingly, like an innocuous butterfly.

In the sky, they could be mistaken for a new manifestation of pollution enveloping the Caironese atmosphere. Little black moving specks. But no, closer observation revealed the specks to be alive, enabled me to observe they were in fact a swarm of locusts.

The same man, an impromptu, perhaps self-appointed groundskeeper came back, still bent on eradaicating every locust wandering about in the vicinity of the roof. Now he was armed with a broom, using it to attack locusts with the brush side then sweeping them into a corner.

It raised so many questions.

Of course, I wanted a relevant expert to explain this phenomenon. My driver said he estimated it’d been approximately twenty or so years since they’d last graced the skies of Egypt with their presence. So it had happened before.

A chill came over, a cold wind, could this too be attributed to them?

And maybe there was nothing sinister. They had their ends, we ours. Was I supposed to side with “my kind,” the farmers and fellahin who would most likely come to great harm as a result of the locusts eating their crops?

The man had succeeded in eliminating the locusts accessible to him for the time being.

I returned to my plebian task of reading Heidegger, wondering slightly what he would make of such a situation.

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Occasional art, comics, food, and other things of less interest to the general public.