As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page. You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.
Zafir, the Saudi Superhero
by Madhvi Ramani
Uncle Mabub looks like a levitating sultan. His huge body envelopes the chair he sits on, and, with his legs crossed loosely beneath, it seems as though his entire mass is dancing lightly on his toes. I go over to him without looking at Baba, whose eyes are red and narrow, and he lifts me up onto his knee. I am nine years old – too old to be sitting on anyone’s knee – but Uncle Mabub makes me feel like I’m still five.
“Zafir, you know that I’m going back tomorrow,” he says. I nod; I will miss him. He is the only one here who moves, makes the room vibrate with his loud American voice, and even makes jokes and laughs. He is like a breeze in the desert.
“Do not pull a long face young man!” says Uncle Mabub as he reaches into his baggy pockets and pulls out some DVDs. I will have to wait till tomorrow, when the mourning period is over, to watch them. Zara and I always used to watch Uncle Mabub’s movies together, but now she’s dead. I am an orphan-sibling.
So, why did we take this story? We all liked this one to varying degrees right out of the chute. It’s clever, culturally relevant, and features a wonderful protagonist. It’s also quite touching. We had some issues with logic and escalation, which Madhvi addressed extremely well in revision. The original was 2900 words; rewrite came in at 3000 words; final edit is 2900 words.
Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.