I was in Cairo, and we were driving, of course, when Ahmed said, Egyptian General Sissi is just like my dead brother.
How so? I asked.
General Sissi’s a sweet talker, Ahmed replied. Strong but a sweet talker. Egyptian women love General Sissi. It was the same way with my brother. You should have seen the way his three wives loved him, all at the same time. He had a way with them.
Really? I asked. Like what?
A smile crossed Ahmed's face and his voice changed when he imitated his brother’s baritone. He explained, This is how it went. When wife #1 walked in, my brother would say, “Darling! Come sit here, right here, yes, right next to me -- not a centimeter away or I couldn't bear it!” Ahmed's hand tapped the steering wheel for emphasis.
Ahmed continued, Then five minutes later when wife #2 walked in my brother would practically shout “My beauty! I am such a lucky man! Such a very very lucky man!” and then he'd kiss her hand.
Ahmed went on. Of course when wife #3 walked in, five minutes after that, my brother would say, “Oh my love! That lunch you made…..it was so tasty! I doubt even in heaven lunch is more tasty! Every man is jealous of me!”
Looking at Ahmed's belly, I couldn’t help myself from saying, Well, I think you share your dead brother’s opinion about wife #3, Fouzia. I know how you like her cooking.
Yes, Ahmed said. In fact, I’m heading down to Ismaliya to check on Fouzia this weekend. I need to check on all my dead brother's wives, of course -- it's my duty. So anyway, Fouzia has been calling me every day to tell me what her plans are for Saturday lunch. Did I tell you that she raises chickens? Chickens, chickens, everywhere! Fouzia’s planning on taking one and stuffing it with rice, just for me! Ahmed swallowed hard in anticipation.
I see, I said. Smiling I added, And will you tell Fouzia that you doubt that even in heaven lunch is so tasty?
Ahmed laughed. Well, you know, maybe I learned a thing or two from my dead brother. Then he added, Now if only I were as handsome as General Sissi.