Our Midsummer Night Dream book cover had a similar picture to the one above, but ours portrayed more sexual acts, which till this day, I am sure, we all remember with utmost fondness!
Before I jump into the story at hand today, let me first introduce this new series on the Mafia blog. The introduction will focus on the raison d’etre for this series – why we really need yet another one – and its somewhat familiar name, not to forget a quick set of rules for anyone wishing to contribute to the series, which more likely than not will never be adhered to.
The Mafia has had three distinct phases of history thus far. In the first phase – starting in 2006 and lasting around 3 or 4 years – it served as a medium for communication. See, the Mafia members were for the first time scattered across different geographic extents, and this blog was the means by which they kept in touch, but not at a personal level. Our members have a history of intellectual debates – along with the occasional collective brain fart – that predates web 2.0. To honor and carry this tradition forward, the Mafia was created.
Severus, the founding father of the blog, opted to give it the headline of “The Chronicles of the Survivors”. Shortly after a series of posts titled “The Chronicles of a Survivor”, emerged, by none other than our nihilist existentialist of the times, Elune (AKA I.Q.). The series would see the occasional contribution from Severus himself too, but the theme of it all was vague, philosophical and, well, nihilist!
Then came the first hiatus. The blog was offline for a year, when yours truly got in touch with Severus to resurrect it! And so it was. This time, a new series by Elune again, titled “Tales of Yore”, emerged. This series was much more light-hearted and focused on documenting events in our history, starting from the first day we all came to know each other – some good 9 years before by then – at a special place called the Jubilee School, in Amman, Jordan. But this second phase ended three years later, and the blog was nothing more than a text dump held somewhere out of reach by Severus.
The third phase was in the making for a while now. It all started with me trying to get the birthday of each and every member of the gang, so that we can celebrate that on our whatsapp group – see how life regresses? We went from the glorious days of IRC, MSN, and WordPress, to Whatsapp like mere mortals. As I was gathering the needed information, I couldn’t help but notice the ambiguity surrounding the birthday of Severus. I got a wide range of potential birthdays, none of which agreed on anything besides the month. With my real intentions hidden, I reached out to Severus asking him for the website dump, and he, as always, happily obliged.
At first, I had no intention of reviving the blog. I wanted to mine it with some regex expressions for sentences containing the word “birthday” and nothing more. And indeed, using that method, I was able to find the correct birthday of our founding father! But, as I was going through the extracts on my dull and black shell session, something changed in my mind, and I decided that I need to share this with everyone else in our group. And what better way is there to achieve this than publish the blog again? Still, I thought maybe this time it will be a static copy, for us to revisit every once in a while.
But reading through the old blogs, I came to believe that a third phase needs to be more than just a static revival for posterity. And while I believe that most of what Elune has posted is already common knowledge amongst us, there will come a time when we will find it harder and harder to recall such events and memories, not to mention that the old “Tales of Yore” series hardly scratches the tip of the proverbial iceberg, when it comes to our rich history of eccentricities and peculiarities. There will also be our collective physical demise in the end, and acting from a purely egocentric principle, I thought, well, at least let this be our collective shout into history, through which our echoes might survive long after we have left the face of this world!
With that in mind, I thought that a third series is in order. If you haven’t noticed so far, its name pays tribute to its aforementioned predecessor series. We are all welcomed to contribute, but the rule of title numbering adopted by the previous series will be dropped, as a headline will suffice. Also, let’s make this a first person account series mainly. I do fully understand that a bit of hearsay is unavoidable, but let’s at least make sure that this is highlighted somewhere in the post.
With the above done and dusted, let’s delve into our first story!
It was the end of our year 11 at school. During the second and last term of said year, we had to read “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as part of the requirements for our English literature class. As a form of assessment we were asked to divide ourselves into groups and enact whichever part of it we liked. Our group naturally consisted in every last one of the legendary I.7. gang, save for I.T. who was a natural ladies’ man, or to put it less politely عبّيد كساس, and so he left us for a group that most probably contained a chick or two he was courting. I am not sure about that ofc, but I suspect it was the case. Either way, for putting hoes before bros, he ended up missing on one of the most epic incidents in the history of the entire school, dare I say!
In addition to the legendary group members (i.e. I.P., I.Q., I.B. and I.M.), we also had two unfortunate female classmates, whom we shall call M and A. Of all the potential scenes in the play, we decided to enact the play inside the play, in which two lovers (a man and a woman) sneak up in the middle of the night, every night, to talk through a hole in the wall separating their houses from one another
But that was not entirely a random choice. See, teacher N explained to us that in Shakespeare’s days, women were not allowed to act! And so, any role that had a female character, was enacted by a man, acting like a woman! Being the masters of irony we were, we decided to give these two roles to M and A, who, again, were females.
Another funny part she told us about, was that certain objects on the stage were also enacted by men, like walls for instance, and that in that particular play, the man enacting the wall role, would imitate a hole in it by making the ok sign – in which the thumb and the forefinger are curled together. If you haven’t guessed it yet, we ended up giving the wall a central role in the play. According to our version of the story, it was fully sentient, and was mighty pissed that the two forlorn lovers were talking through it late every evening when it was trying to fall asleep.
I still remember the day before the play. We spent a lot of time creating the “costumes”, if we can call them that. We were outside, in the area between the school’s main building and the sports complex. For our female actresses, the costumes were merely two paper bags, one of which had a mustache drawn on it. The whole thing probably had so many innuendos from our side. Again, I am not sure about that from this current point in time, but if I know these assholes, and I was one of these assholes, and still proudly am, then yeah, I think there were some hints in those paper bags. Something that has to do with a face and a base!
For the wall, the costume was simply two white cardboards attached by translucent tape. We spent a considerable amount of time filling it with graffiti signs. These too were full to the brim with innuendos, in addition to insider jokes and whatnot. I am pretty sure we had a “Wadha heart Zlikha” there among other lesbian references. Back in the days, we were all like Joey and Chandler! Obsessed with homosexual acts, that strictly contain one type of gender, so long as at least one girl was involved! There also was the word “Adyga” on that wall costume, which for some reason made I.P. go full social justice warrior on us, way back before it was hip and cool to be an S.J.W.
And then the day of the play came. Everything was going smoothly until we stepped onto the stage and started. See, teacher N, forgot to provide us with a vital piece of information, or perhaps she had no idea about it until it was too late, but the minister of education in Jordan – or some sort of high level government official – was attending our play that day, to her and everyone else’s detriment.
The plot of our play was very simple. I was the wall, and my master evil plan was to stone the two lovers to death, by telling silly jokes! Well, if you don’t speak our slang – Jordanian Arabic of the early noughties in particular – it is really hard to get that reference. But to help you appreciate it, imagine that hearing silly jokes is like being hit by stones. I.B. played the role of the moon. He had the stones to be thrown, one for every silly joke I say at the end. Him playing the moon, was yet another hidden reference, for he was the blondie of our class!
The play starts and as I look into the audience I notice a couple of bitches, curling their hands like I was and making funny faces, as if they were imitating me (remember how people used to enact objects back in Shakespeare’s days?). In a bid to control my anger, I try to look elsewhere, but miserably fail. The play progresses, and M and A execute what is arguably the most audacious scene in the history of the school to date, or at least I wager as such! The two lovers lean forward for a french kiss, when M, all out of a sudden, but in a very faithful enactment of our version of the story, spits inside the mouth of A. Remember, this was not a real spit. They had bags on their heads throughout the entire play. Still though, I can’t forget the look on teacher’s N face! In the course of mere seconds, her facial expressions covered the full spectrum of grieve stages.
Not too long after, I.Q. and I.P. who were playing the fathers of the two lovers, find out about the secret affair, and get into a physical fight by throwing stuff at each other. It was all supposed to be choreographed, to the extent that a bunch of 16 year olds can manage. But I.Q. might have triggered I.P. with an intentional hard hit, which sent this latter into a frenzy, and what the audience might have perceived to be acting was in all reality real life battering, under the very nose of the minister of education himself! Name a single group in the history of humanity, besides us, who could have pulled that and got away with it? Though to be fair, there is a slight probability that the audience might have figured out the situation all along, but wisely opted not to act on it, because back in those days, I.P. was a force of nature, and nothing much could have been done about that anyway! I.Q. should have known better, or maybe he was masochistic all along, and was trying to claim to his credit the first BDSM scene in the history of the school. Eitherway, we will never know what his true motives were to commit such folly.
Nevertheless, in the midst of it all, I was now locked into a staring match with the bitches in the back seats, and in a fit of anger, I took off the cardboards I had on me, and threw them as hard as possible out of the stage and stormed out! Mind you, the play hadn’t even finished by then, and to date, I have no idea how it ended.
But I clearly remember we spent the next few hours hiding away from teacher N, merely delaying the inevitable, for she was, by her own confession, a black rider from the lord of the rings, and when she found us, we were scolded like the little bitches that we were! It might have been an intense few minutes, but for the list of achievements we unlocked that day, it was more than worth it.
Still, sometimes I wonder though, if this really happened, or was it all just a dream?