Written by Alaa A. Rahman

Previously on “Decisions in a Halo”: Episode III – Maadi, Sakr, Maadi!








The music reverts instantly back into focus as Adam takes a sip out of his unfinished drink. His “Mariana Trench” frown is quite visible on his forehead. His eyes focus on the liquid in the glass: whiskey, dry. For a 19 year old, he didn’t look out of place. In fact, he was a regular customer.

“You’re taking your time with that drink. Usually up to your fifth by now”, says the bartender as he approaches him with a playful smile on his face.

“A bit out of touch today” Adam answers, ruggedly.

“Still the same shit you babble on about ever since you first came here?”

Adam takes a long sip of his drink, finishes it and slams the glass on the counter almost breaking it, “Another!”

“Now we’re talking!” The bartender takes up a nearby whiskey bottle, drops two shots of it followed by a shot of coke, and hands it to his pal. Adam takes the glass and stares at the liquid. Images of last night form on the surface, vivid and striking. He drains the glass in one sip and calls out for another.

“Okay, I take back what I said. What’s wrong, buddy? What happened?” asks the bartender, his smile now a frown of concern.

“The usual shit, what else? Stupid question, don’t you think?” Adam answers dismissively, as his eyes fixate on the glass, the images of last night’s event reappearing on the surface, yet again with more vividness. 

“Okay, I can get a hint. I’ll leave you to it then” says the bartender, raising his hands in surrender and backing away, “I’ve got other customers anyway” and leaves Adam to his thoughts.

*static noise*

Hello!? Can you hear me!?

*static noise*

Adam finishes his drink and slams the glass. Without having to ask for another, the bartender silently fills it up with his usual and leaves his young customer to it.

Image by CC Creative Member Nourhan Hamdi.

“What a mess!” he whispers to his colleague who just came in, “he’s been like this for nearly two hours now”

Adam hears the murmur and throws the glass at them, barely missing the bartender’s head and smashing into the wall behind them, falling into many broken pieces. The music doesn’t stop; the other customers don’t even so much as lift their heads and stop their frolicking. Adam glares at both men, takes the bottle of whiskey from underneath the counter on the other side, grabs an empty glass on his way to an empty table at the back of the bar.

The two bartenders just gaze at him. We could have taken him on, they thought. A couple of 30 year olds wouldn’t usually have any trouble hitting a 19 year old. But Adam is no ordinary 19 year old. He looks older than his peers, with wide shoulders and a strong build for his age. His nearly shaven head and menacing gaze give him the look of a brutish thug. He almost never smiles genuinely. His temper and rage are so deeply hidden that the tiniest of altercations or frustration might trigger him on. Another reason for the bartenders to have backed away from a fight is that Adam’s knuckles were already red and bloody and he didn’t give one single damn about them.

From the back table (with his glass being filled and emptied at a record breaking pace), Adam observes the scenery. The bar is not quite spacious with very few customers, mostly the loyal ones, either too busy drowning their kidneys in alcohol over their messed up lives, or sticking to each other’s faces, in an imaginary contest of who could go on the longest without breaking for air. The bar has dim lighting with a few tables scattered around and a jukebox near the door. The bar-counter is quite wide for such a small place, with shelves stacked with all kinds of liquor and booze maintained by two bartenders who are also the owners.

“Is this seat taken?” a sultry voice rings in Adam’s ears as he looks to his side and notices a young woman in a tight black mini-dress, standing next to him.

“It’s you…” replies Adam, boringly as he sips his whiskey, his eyes back on the scenery in front of him.

“I haven’t seen you today at all. And you know how I need my cup of Adam” says the woman in black, as she sits down and crosses her legs, allowing the hem of her already very revealing dress to climb up suggestively. Her black hair was long and wavy, with a few red streaks running through it. Her hands, perfectly manicured and sporting a simple gold bracelet, her right hand holding her scotch, the other had managed to find its way to his thigh. 

“Well, too bad for you. This cup is not up for being emptied tonight” answers Adam, coldly.

“What’s the matter, pumpkin? Why so cold? We could talk instead of having fun… if you want!” The young woman in black bites her lips, as she eyes Adam hungrily.

“Next time, sweet cheeks. I’m really not in the mood…” Adam gets up a bit clumsily, throws a couple of hundred LE bills on the table and aims to leave when the woman in black grabs his arms firmly.

“That’s strike one, my dear! You never say no to me”

Adam breaks free of her grip easily, leans closely to her ear and whispers “I just did, sweet cheeks.” The woman in black stares out in front of her, finishing her scotch as Adam makes his way to the exit, stumbling more and more with every step he takes.