The Iraqi Christ

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Authors: Hassan Blasim
the rear lines. It would be the last war and it would come to an end when the last person gave blood. The trucks would take the captive soldiers to blood donation centres and the blood would then be distributed fairly among the population…”  

    ‘But we’ve strayed from the subject. Is my chatter making you dizzy? Fuck that. Okay. Anyway, there I was, talking to myself and shaking. “The wolf, my god, the wolf! Why doesn’t it move from its place?” I wimpered. Why doesn’t it at least go to the kitchen to look for something to eat? All it did while posted in front of the bathroom door was sniff my underwear, then stare at the door with murderous eyes. Of course, it was a shitty idea for me to leave the forest and come back to live in the city. Damn those blood-sucking mosquitoes. Did you know it’s the female mosquitoes that feed on human blood, while the male drinks only the sap of plants and the nectar of flowers? I spent more than five months in the forest, catching fish every day in the nearby lake and in the evening translating an interesting book on the grammar of the Hebrew language. I was happy in my seclusion, with the gifts of the forest, oblivious to the world of humans. I would drink red wine, in moderation. But the disaster was that none of the creams with which I covered my face and body deterred the mosquito attacks. And how could I relax when a swarm of them was hovering over my head all day long like Christ’s halo in those old paintings? At night the female ones got through the sheets like armoured vehicles and sucked my blood greedily. The landlord made fun of me when I told him about the mosquitoes. He said they must like me a lot. And finally my sufferings from the mosquitoes were topped by a severe stomach ache. The doctor told me it was just my irregular diet and I should eat more vegetables. He also said it would be best if I went back to the city and mixed with people. The stomach clearly suffers when you live in isolation. I also gathered from him that I had started to talk about myself in a peculiar way. In short, he believed I needed a psychiatrist. Okay. I’m a good listener most of the time and I appreciate advice. But I only stuck to the first half of the doctor’s advice. I came back to the city and went back to mixing with the dregs of secluded bars. Without a drink, the world needs a bull-fighter. With a drink, the world is a farce that only needs more clowns. Fuck that.
    ‘Inside the bathroom there was only the towel and piles of dirty socks and underwear. I was exhausted and cold. I checked that my guest was still in his place. I took a hot shower and went back to thinking about the matter. If I had any enemies, it might be logical to think that the supposed enemy had brought the wolf to my flat. But how would you take a wolf to another man’s flat without help from someone who works in a zoo and without a special vehicle for carrying wolves? Perhaps it’s a tame wolf, like a dog. Or maybe I’ve gone mad and I’m simply imagining all this. Could a sensible man believe what I’m telling you? Don’t say you believe me, but it is, by Jehovah and all his witnesses and angels, a real wolf. Perhaps the doctor was right.
    ‘I covered myself with the towel and fell into a deep sleep on top of the socks and underwear. When I woke up, I had a severe headache ploughing through my skull like an angry bulldozer. It might have been midday. The other mad thing that’s hard to believe is that the wolf was still in its place. Shit. Doesn’t it feel hungry, and why’s it as still as the Sphinx? The idea of hunger seeped into my mind like a quicksilver snake. I panicked and let out a loud scream. Was I to stay trapped in the bathroom till I died of hunger, if the wolf didn’t die of hunger first? Of course, wolves can put up with hunger better than humans. But I have the water in the bathroom, whereas the kitchen tap won’t do him any good. But then he might die of thirst while I

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