In honor of the latest temporary peace in the Middle East, here's an official VectorPress novella combining real tragedy with myths that don't exist!
"Allahu Akbar!" shouted Yusuf as he depressed the plunger to his explosive vest -
And nothing happened.
All around him in the crowded Tel Aviv market, terrified shoppers and
tourists stared in blank astonishment – some scattered to the pavement,
some standing stock still, all processing how close they'd come to
death. All noise, even the rumble of cars and buses, had ceased at
Yusuf's exclamation and no one seemed capable of restarting the buzz of
Yusuf himself couldn't quite believe it - Samir had promised he'd wired
the vest properly! Yusuf had even watched him just that morning, both of
them slick with sweat which they insisted to each other was from the
hundred and five degree summer heat. Just like now - and the long bus
ride over - Yusuf assured himself the heavy sweat slowly ruining his one
and only suit didn't have anything to do with nerves -
A big, heavy handbag caught him across the back of the head and he went
crashing into a rack bootleg DVDs. The five foot old woman loomed over
him, swinging again and again with her handbag while snarling in Hebrew.
Yusuf had gained only a passing familiarity with the language - one of
the reasons he'd been forced out of University - but even he could
recognize the expletives.
The rest of the people just continued to stare. A few started laughing -
as much from shock as from the sight of the old Mizrahi wailing on the
skinny Pal. A young police officer managed to push his way through the
crowd to see what all the commotion was about - and quickly shoved his
way back the other way at the sight of Yusuf's explosive vest. Most of
those present who weren’t laughing or whipping out smartphones to snap
pictures of the would-be bomber now getting thrashed followed his lead.
The old Mizrahi didn’t let up. By the time the lone officer returned
with backup – including a bomb squad, one officer already in that
protective spacesuit - she wheezed with every down-swing of her bag.
"Ma'am," the young officer said, hesitantly laying a hand on her shoulder. "Ma'am please, if you could -"
"Grraugh!" she bellowed with another swing, delivering a satisfying crack to Yusuf's nose.
It took three more officers to haul her away.
Once a safe distance had been cleared around Yusuf, the bomb squad
member in the suit lumbered up, muttering about having drawn the short
straw that morning. Yusuf looked up into the plexiglas face shield,
feeling impotent and childish as the officer went to work, deftly
disassembling Samir's now obviously crude job. Yusuf almost felt the
need to apologize to this gentleman - he certainly had better things to
As the officer unbuckled the vest - and Yusuf shifted slightly to assist
- he, or rather she, called to the other officers, "All clear!"
A woman! Yusuf's stomach tightened and he became intimately aware that
through this entire ordeal he'd had a full bladder. That little issue
hadn't seemed worth addressing in light of how he'd expected the day to
Now the other officers closed in - looming over Yusuf and casting him
into shadow. "Right, you have anything else on you?" one of them snapped
– conveniently speaking in English. "Give it up now and things might go
easy for you."
Yusuf shook his head. No, nothing else. Nothing at all.
Yusuf didn't resist as the officers lifted him to his feet - hands
gently lifting at his armpits, as if he were a little boy. They didn't
even bother with the flexcuffs. Why should they? He was mostly harmless
The assembled officers lead him to a waiting police car. The crowd -
still thick, despite the bomb squad – “With a woman!” Yusuf kept
thinking - only jeered a little. Only a few, "Hey, something go wrong?"
"Having technical difficulties?" "Where are all the virgins, huh?"
The officers waved for people to shut it. Yusuf just hunched up his
shoulders, hoping no one he knew might be in the crowd. Today had proved
to be enough of a disgrace already. Damn Samir. Just God-fucking-damn
Samir! - and Yusuf winced at the blasphemy. And his achingly full
"What's your name?" one of the officers asked as they drove him to the
nearest station - no sirens of course, they had the decency not to draw
any more attention than necessary. "Hmm? You have a name, don't you?"
Yusuf didn't answer.
"Right then," the officer didn't seem all that put out. "You'll talk soon enough..."
"Did you rig the vest yourself?" asked the officer driving. "Hannah said
the wires looked crossed every wrong way. Did you do it on your own or
did you have help?"
"I don't think he's talking yet."
"Fine, no skin off my balls."
"But maybe his!" Both officers had a good laugh at that.
With the sirens off they didn't draw much attention - but the drive took
much too long. They spent close to twenty minutes behind a bus that
couldn't decide whether it had too many stops or was on the verge of
breaking down. Yusuf idly hoped for someone else - maybe even Samir - to
martyr themselves and take him along in the process! Exploded is
exploded and he'd already tried to do it himself - that had to count for
something with God. Maybe not the highest level of Paradise but
certainly better than he would've had if he'd spent the rest of his life
flunking out of University.
The radio of the police car whistled to life. Lots of frantic, "We've
had a bombing in the mall!" and "Some guy lit up on the highway! There's
burning cars everywhere!"
The others had kept their scheduled appointments with Paradise but not
Yusuf. And judging by the vicious look one of the officers cast back at
him briefly, he'd be the one paying for all the others...
"Aw fuck!" the officer driving said as they pulled into the station - a news crew right at the front door!
"How'd they get here so fast?" asked the other officer. "We haven't announced anything, have we?"
"Wait, they're Americans!” He said over his shoulder to Yusuf, “I don't think they're here for you."
Peering out the car window, Yusuf could see four people - a man
impeccably dressed for a casual look and three less impressive men
toting cameras and microphones - milling about the front door of the
police station. The well-dressed man, clearly the one in charge, waved
his hands around with a woman's exaggerated gestures to direct the
"Fuck it, we'll take him in through the back."
"We can't. Remember the renovations?"
The police car slid into an empty space in the lot. "We'll have to walk
him in." Both officers turned to look at Yusuf - not so much with menace
but with a tired superiority he remembered his aunts displaying when he
was a child - "You promise to behave yourself? We don't particularly
want to taze you in front of the cameras."
Just like his aunts. "Yes, yes..." Yusuf mumbled.
"Bon!" said the driver with false cheeriness. He climbed out of the car
first - quickly going round to his partner’s side so they could both
manhandle Yusuf out.
The three of them approached the station, Yusuf between the two officers
but still unrestrained. Hopefully they wouldn't draw much attention...
The boss of the news crew - clearly a reporter, judging by his
professionally sculpted hair - chattered rapidly. " - over there in
shadows and shit! Do not compromise my fucking light, how many times do I
have to tell you cocksuckers!? Fifteen years in this business a - the
hell are you gawking at?"
One abused cameraman - a much browner hue than his boss, Yusuf noticed - gestured submissively to the procession.
The reporter rapidly composed himself - his back straightened, his chin
raised, he stopped spitting when he talked - "Get the two kikes and the
sand-monkey over my right. Okay? In five, four, three..."
He mouthed "two" and "one" and - "Israeli security forces struck another
blow against terrorism today, capturing ten in a complex operation that
may have saved thousands." Turning at precisely the moment Yusuf and
the officers came within interview distance. "Gentlemen - "
The cameraman snickered at that. As Yusuf was rushed through the front
door of the station, he could hear the reporter laying into his crew
with words Yusuf didn't entirely understand but sounded offensive...
They hustled him into a poorly lit closet of a room - nothing but a
table and two chairs under the solitary lightbulb. They left Yusuf
without a word, bolting the door from outside.
Yusuf walked around the table and sat down - then immediately sprang
back up to walk some more, a painful sloshing in his bladder. He paced
once, twice, three times around the little room - God-fucking-damned
Samir! Had he done it on purpose? Get Yusuf safely out of the picture to
go after his sister? Samir liked thinking he was clever, that Yusuf
didn't pick up on the little cues and longing glances - just because she
was older and a doctor didn't mean Yusuf didn't have a brotherly duty
to punch any lustful men in the balls!
Then why not let him explode? That would certainly free things up - but
no, then Samir would never get any. "I helped your brother blow himself
up!" was a lousy pick-up line. Better to say, "I stopped your brother
from martyring himself and now he's safely being tortured by Mossad!"
Yusuf looked at the door - hands balled into fists, bladder all but
pulsing inside - Torture! He hadn't counted on that. Hadn't counted on a
lot of things really...
He hadn't counted on failing his exams for one - well, his hopes weren't
exactly high for Statistics but the rest... He knew his history and
literature as well as anyone else. Better in fact! Why, he'd even tried
his own hand at some literary pursuits and even been published - or was
going to be, the editors kept promising him. For the past seven months.
What would his mother think of him now? That's what lead to this in the
first place - what would his mother have to say about all these failing
grades. "Oh Yusuf, you are such a gift to me! You are such a good,
studious boy!" she'd gushed when he'd been accepted into University -
two years and a lifetime ago. She'd rushed to tell everyone in the
neighborhood that Yusuf - her Yusuf! - was going to be educated and make
something of himself.
And then she'd see his most recent grades and likely throw herself from the roof.
Better to be a martyr - at least she could still have pride in her son.
Better to make something of himself the old fashioned way - the way all
the old men playing dominoes described - "Striking a blow at the Zionist
oppressors!" Not a doctor or a lawyer but much more dignified than a
That's what Samir promised. "You're my friend, of course I'll help you -
and I'll take care of Alia when you're gone." Of course, someone - an
honorable man - had to watch after Alia back home. Even if she was
already applying for fellowships at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins, she
was still just a girl. Samir would take good care of her, the
Yusuf bent over, desperately clamping down his muscles so as not to piss himself...
A deep, baritone laugh rumbled all through the surrounding walls. The
drab cement seemed to swell and pulse with each throaty, "Haw! Haw!
Haw!" - down into the floors, spreading right into the soles of Yusuf's
feet, quivering up his legs and stabbing into his poor distended
bladder, the sudden stab of pain and humiliation as he began to drip -
The door swung open. A young officer ducked in just long enough to let a bucket clatter to the floor.
Yusuf dragged the bucket into a corner and let loose a torrent of piss -
only briefly worrying about whether or not this might be what just the
Read the rest of Yusuf's adventure here!