Part 1, click here ... /dec00/bole_turns.shtml
... Something stirred inside the damaged Impala, and Spanish obscenities came flying out as the driver slowly stepped out with his scantily clad female company. Dave and Fifi looked up to see who they were going to have to deal with when the Insurance people get involved.Seb’hat Le’Ab! Simintegnaw shih! In front of them, out of the mangled car, were stepping out Jerri’s cause of siQay Paqo, and his Dubai-gold-wearing "guadeNa."
Fifisha was too busy checking for intense cuticle damage to notice the trickle of blood from her temple. Like a pre-teen who’d just heard the terrible merdo of a pet’s death, Fifi whined with a horrible, molQaQa drawl on discovering that her pinkie was no longer graced with a 3-inch nail.
Deaf to the duriye-yemiasafir cursing of Davicho, Fifi struggled to keep her balance as she mewelgaged-ed her way to the sidewalk, accompanied by whines of "Weyneeeee, emayen Tirulign." The blood from above her right eye was gushing down to her neck. She stumbled and fell hard on the asphalt, her head knocking back against the light pole. Shuruba-Z was still laughing hysterically watching the distressed Difabachew hurl insults back and forth with Paqo and his crabby female friend.
Witnessing all this from the window of a café was Alemheh, Fifi’s latest muse-the biochemist from Georgetown University. He briefly thought about getting out to help "Fifisha-yene fishka" as he fondly referred to her at intimate moments, but then he got caught up in wondering if the collision he just saw had Biological Oxidation issues and if it was a free radical reaction. "Ahh, oxygen toxicity," he smiled ruefully, remembering his impish youth when he used to play mind games with his Biochem professor.
Despite Alemneh’s intense efforts to make Fifi relish theories in "X-ray crystallography and high-resolution structure analysis", to his disappointment, she refused to show even the most cursory interest. The only aspect of biochemistry that managed to bring sparkle into her eyes were the Bunsen Burners in Alemneh’s lab. She thought they would make great portable buna maflias, and that the beakers he stored sodium bicarbonate in looked just like a new age b’rilE. (She harbored dreams of opening up the first Tej Take-Out place in DC.) Alemneh nearly broke up with her once because she called his latest research project "dukak". Realizing her faux pas, though, she quickly batted her eyelashes, puckered her lips and said, "Yene qonjo… ante demo!" making him temporarily forget the difference between lipids, lipid mediators and glycolipids.
Alemneh was at the coffee shop waiting to meet his cousin who was visiting DC from Boston. His cousin, Haile Sellassie Mintesinot, was raised in the United States, and was pretty much Americanized until he started the "struggle for identity" when he was 27 (initiated after a night of debauchery at a DC nightspot) and started the rejim guzo to "finding himself". He changed his name from Johnny to Haile Sellasie Mintesinot, traced his lineage back to a hut in "downtown Debre Sina" and dropped out of Harvard to become a full time Ethiopianist, which, he later realized, did not pay a whole lot. So, he learnt to play k’rar , and on days he was not lecturing his "lost tribe of the Lion" friends on being good Ethiopians, he was composing qnE in Ge’ez-Amari-English and trying to get gigs at Ethiopian venues for extra cash.
Haile Sellassie Mintesinot (no one was allowed to shorten his name) was on a mission during his visit to DC. He wanted his cousin Alemneh to be an investor in a CD-ROM project he had in mind ... a "re-Ethiopianification program" for Ethiopians in the Diaspora ... a program, by the way, that was so hush-hush that only he, Haile Sellassie Mintesinot, could be trusted with it.
He liked his cousin Alemneh, despite Alemneh’s proclivities to turn every conversation into a lecture in biochemistry. Haile Sellassie Mintesinot was confident that if he could get Alemneh on board this project it would breathe life into it. After all, Alemneh was twice close to being awarded the Nobel Prize in Biochemistry, but was inched out by some "lehaCHam"s from India. It took him months to get over the loss and was close to ditching his profession and trying out his hand as a suQ bederetE. But the tugs of Biochem were stronger than his urge to hawk seliT delicacies up and down 18th street, so he dutifully went back to Georgetown and re-started his love affair with oxygenases and P450 reactions.
While he was in DC, Haile Sellassie Mintesinot was staying with his one-time girl friend Zewditu. Zewditu was a one-time party-girl-turned-PenTe. She broke up with Haile Sellassie Mintesinot because she felt like he was not up to her Christian standards.
"Getan tawQewaleh?" she once asked him a session of torrid lovemaking.
"Geta ma? Getachew Bekele? Oh, yeah ... he is an Ethiopian sell-out, man. He was going out with a ferenji. Yet ababtu ... ya maferia. Inat Ityoppia...."
"Aydelem!" Zewditu snapped at him abruptly. "I meant ye gl adagNachinin."
"Hmmm ... Alawqeum, Zewdiye. Does he live in Boston? I can look him up and bounce off my CD ROM idea off of him ..."
He never got to finish his sentence or find out who this Yegl fellow was. Zewditu kicked him off the bed and stormed to the bathroom. Later she told him that they had to talk, sat him down and told him that she was no longer an Ethiopian Orthodox. Haile Sellassie Mintesinot’s face turned ashen. He strung out sentences about the tradition of Ethiopians being Orthodox, "ke abotochachin siwerd siwared" ... but to no avail. Zewditu told him that she was dismantling her Gebriel Mehaber and would no longer mawTat the Qidus Yemane Berhan Tabot.
Haile Sellassie Mintesinot had heard enough! He vowed never to talk to her again and ran out of Zewditu’s brownstone on 14 and S Street. Unfortunately, his dramatic exit was halted when he realized he was walking towards Dupont Circle wearing only his silk green-gold-red boxers. He huffed back, grabbed his bernos and hager libs before storming out.
He wasn’t the only one stunned by Zewditu’s "transformation". She was, after all, the high-powered stockbroker who lived hard and played even harder. She was the radical of the most radical feminist at Barnard until she left for Wharton after falling in love with Yosef, a law student at Yale. Yosef managed to convince Zewditu that Bohemia was truly overrated, and that she should parlay her Ivy League sensibilities into a decent MBA and live up to the standards of people who vacationed in Tahiti.
Zewditu was so enamored by the way Yosef pronounced words like "information" and "Saturday" (a light Ethiopian accent mixed with the Queen’s English ... ‘Sattt-urrrdayyyy’ ‘Innn-fer-may Shn’) that she dropped everything and went on to Philly to try her hand at micromanagement.
The relationship didn’t last. (She soon met and fell head over heals with a computer software engineer named Belai.) However, she did excel at Wharton and was soon dodging offers from Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and several import-export companies in Addis who specialized in the lucrative coffee-for-cubic-zirconium-earrings trade.
After stints at all the major investment firms, Zewditu finally settled in DC to work for a Japanese outfit trading in gold futures in Sierra Leone. She made well into six figures, and by the time bonuses came into the picture, she was near making a cool half mil. She worked at least 16 hours, seven days a week, but when she hit the town, woah Nelly! All the owners of DC’s finest eateries knew her by name and sent her flowers if she was absent from the scene for longer than one week. The Georgetown Club had a table open for her every Saturday, so did DC Coastal. For after dinner drinks, she and her friends would zip on to the Library Room at the St. Regis and hold court well into the early morning.
She met and fell in love with Haile Selassie Mintesinot as she was waiting for the valet guy at The Inter-Continental to pull up her Jaguar. She had just finished an early dinner at the Willard Room, and Haile Selassie Mintesinot was walking out after having drinks at the Round Robin Bar with his Harvard buddies who were all now either lawyers or doctors. It was love at first sight ... "Yene Ihit ... selam," Haile Selassie Mintesinot had said to her sensing she was Ethiopian.
"Tadias," she had said all of a sudden feeling shy ... and the rest was history ... Until she met and fell in love with Bruck, a newly converted PenTE, who was determined to bring Zewditu to the Lord.
Zewditu and Haile Selassie Mintesinot did manage to eventually become "just friends", and she even welcomed him to stay with her new house in Georgetown when he called her to tell her he was going to be in town. She even offered to go see Alemneh with him.
They arrived at the coffee shop and Alemneh’s quiet musings of oxidation reactions induced by the collision of an SUV and a battered Impala were rudely interrupted as he felt someone grab his right shoulder.
"Alemneeeeeeeh! Tadias bakih!" screamed Haile Selassie Mintesinot, with a grin that ran across his face.
"Ante ye’Boston sew! Idemineh bakih!" Alemneh screeched back, giving his newly dread-locked cousin a tikesha yemiawelQ hug.
The two men finally sat down after exchanging thirty-seven different forms of "dehna neh, indemineh, beteseb dehna, hulum selam nachew ..." Haile Selassie Mintesinot was looking out of the window, shaking his head at the havoc that was raising hell outside.
"Besme’ab, tayachewaleh, bakih? Ahun min sinaQejeQijew new hedo ye’Qome mekina yemgeCHew?" the Bostonian observed critically as Fifisha collapsed on the sidewalk, while some corn-rowed weTeTE laughed foolishly. Alemneh quickly sipped on his coffee, his mind unknowingly switching to his previous analyses.
"Yihewlih, Alemneh, yiluQunis, let’s talk about that project I was telling you about ... " started Haile Selassie Mintesinot, sporting his best let’s-get-to-business look.
Zewditu shook Alemneh’s hand and sat across him and observed the two cousins exchanging pleasantries. "Wow," she said silently. And right there she fell in love with her ex-boyfriend’s cousin. "I wonder if he knows the Lord?" she thought.
Three hours later, in a hospital in Alexandria, an EKG machine was beeping away. Davy Difabachew stood with his nose glued to the glass window, looking into Fifi’s room. Apparently, the trickle of blood from her forehead was no laughing matter. She lay silent, the only sign of life was her chest going up and down with every breath. The doctor had claimed that she’s in a very temporary coma. "No need to worry, she’ll be fine," he said. This was no consolation to Difabachew though, who was at his wits end and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. First there was the headache of having to restrain himself from poking out Paqo’s eyes with a chilled salad fork. Kesu alans bilo demo ahun weyzerit Fifinet falls into a coma?
Shuruba-Zelalem was sitting in the corridor, watching his older sister through the window, and glancing over to look at the back of Difabachew’s head, half-expecting to hear some kind of desolate whimper and a prayer and silet to the gods. With a sigh of exasperation and frustration at not being able to be right beside his sister, Z got up from his seat, and with one hand twisting his now-yetenCHebarere gungun stormed into poor Fifi’s room. Dave’s face was taken over by a wave of neCHa-CHba of fear as he witnessed the wefefE storm past him and into the room.
Difabachew’s feet seemed like they were masteesh’ed to the marble tiles beneath them. He couldn’t move or utter a single word as he witnessed the gehanem-yemiasniQ horror.
Slamming the door behind him, Shuruba-Z barged into the room, his eyes glazed with tears of guilt as he headed for his unconscious sister. [Insert melodramatic musical score here]. On doing so, the cornrowed care-free kid didn’t notice the wires running across the floor that were hooked to monitors all over the place. In a sudden and asdengaCH hunatE, his foot got tangled up in the wires, hurling him forward ... head first ... right into the edge of Fifi’s metallic bed frame. With a shriek that would make anyone half-sane squirm in fear, Z fell right face first. And hit hard. Very hard. Hard enough for the impact to shake the bed to an extent that Fifi got jolted to consciousness.
Incanting a million kira-raiso’s, Difabachew manages to rush into the room ... only to see Zelalem’yene’s skull battered and bloody, while Fifi sat straight in her bed, dazed, murmuring idiosyncrasies. Dave mustered enough energy to step over Z’s body and head back to Fifi to give her a hug.
Dave sat on the bed, holding on to Fifi, chanting what might have passed as "ishururruruuu." All that escaped her gaping mouth were incoherent versions of "Who are you? Where am I? What is going on?"
Doctors and nurses storm the now overly-crowded room, and rushed everybody out. With every worried, disturbed, and shocked soul looking in from the corridor, the nurses and doctors went about examining Z and Fifi.
After twenty minutes which seemed more like two lifetimes and a half, one of the doctors stepped out with a grim look plastered on his face.
"Folks, I have some good news and some bad news," he started.
Difabachew, drenched with nervous perspiration, gestured for the man to continue.
"Well, the good news is, the young man in there is still alive. It’s a mild concussion. He is still not conscious but he will be soon. We should be able to stitch his head up, and he’ll recover. The not so good news, on the other hand ..." He stopped to clear his throat and adjust his coke-bottle spectacles.
"The not so good news is that the lady is suffering from amnesia caused by the severe damage to certain section of the brain, which was furthered by a traumatic awakening from her coma. There’s no saying what she will remember and what she won’t. As of this moment, she has no idea who she is. No idea who any of you are. And no idea of anything and everything that’s happened so far..."
Difabachew sighed in relief . He could not understand why that was exactly "not-so-good" news. All he was thinking was how this amnesia was ye Mikael siTota in that it was an ample opportunity to convince Fifi (who would now not remember that he was just a her peon) that he, Difabachew, great grandchild of Damtachew, was her one true love. While the doctor was nattering about the psychological difficulties be-izih gba.. beza wuTa ... tender care minamin ... Difabachew was thinking of how he would now move into Fifi’s apartment and play house husband.
The doctor’s "So ... are you family?" woke up Davu from his daydream.
"Ere yes," Difabachew nodded vigorously. "BeTam. She is my eCHogna ... how do you say it in Inglish ... she is my ... finance."
"Fiancée?" the doctor asked quizzically.
"Esssssu. Fiancée. Yes, you are right. She is my finance… ere wedia.. fiancée…In fact I am in charge of her. It is our custom in Ethiopia. From now on, I make all the decisions in my finan… fiancée’s life."
"Well, there is some paperwork you have to complete in order to make you her proxy," the doctor informed him. "You would have to sign some papers…"
"AmTaw!" Difabachew interrupted the doctor. "Bring it to me quickly before that guy, the wefefE wakes up. He is her… he is her nephew’s friend and he wants to kill her. That is why he tried to pull the wires… did you see that? He tried to kill her. Ya werada… ya kift aff! You know kift aff, doctor? He is big kift aff! So before he wakes up, tolo give me all the paperwork so that I can have him arrested. Aydel…aydel doctoriye?"
The doctor had no time for such ramblings… he just wanted this fellow out of his hair so that he could go back to his golf T.
"Yes… certainly… I will have the nurse give all the legal papers to you, and she will be your responsibility. I will check on the young .. man.. you said his name was Mr. Kift?… and then I have to umm… see another patient."
"No, dokteriye … you go to the other patients. Ya kift aff is fine… He pretends a lot. Don’t worry about him," Davu said rushing the doctor away from the room FiFi and ya kerkero were laying. "Now, in our tradition, I will need to have a prayer session with my finance and make the gods happy… so, one moment? Please?" he said heading to the room.
The doctor shrugged and hurried on away signaling to the nurse who quickly brought over a stack of paperwork to Difabachew. "Hi. I am Davu," he introduced himself. "That woman in there is my fia.. fia… she … she will be my wife. Don’t let anyone in the room except me. Especially a man." Davu then proceeded in hushed tone. "That will defile her. And in my country… ho-ho bad new isu. NO! You understand me?"
"Oh, yes," the nurse whispered back and hurried back to the nurse’s station to give he co-workers the strict instructions.
Difabachew closed the door behind him, and started signing away quickly on all the lines marked with an X, not even bothering to read a word. He was all the while keeping an eye on Z. "Don’t let him wake up, IgzihabayriE," Davu paused to look up to the heavens and say a quick prayer. "Not until I finish signing…"
Just as he finished scribbling his name on the last page, Z stirred awake. "Yo! Yo! YO!" he hollered at Davu. "Man… you playin’ me…"
"Yo abatih yiTfa!" Davu snapped back, relishing his new power. He couldn’t wait to tell this megaNa that Gashe Difabachew was in power now. But first he had to make a call. He looked over both his shoulders and after making sure that no one was watching, he gave Z a big whack on the head, instantly rendering him unconscious. That out of the way, he picked up the phone and quickly dialed a number.
In a trendy coffee shop on 18th street a miniscule Motorola flip phone chirped away… "Beep… beep .. beep…" Someone picked up and a sexy woman’s voice was discernable above espresso machine whirls.
"This is Zewditu."
"Zewdi… ine nen."
"Simi…your sister- the one you hate- is in the hospital."
There was a long silence.
"Filfiloha is in the hospital? Mn tefeTere?"
"Long story. Do you still love me, Zewdi?"
"Yes. Of course! Always!"
"Then ... tolo blesh nei. And bring with you her life insurance policy I gave you to keep in a safe place. Tolo bei!"
The phone went dead. Zewditu sat in stunned silence for a few minutes before gathering her stuff and murmuring, "I have to go," before hailing a cab and disappearing into the jungles of DC.
Stay tund for part Three of As BolE Turns. How will Z react to Difabachew being his new ‘Dad’? What is the relationship between Difabachew and Zewditu? Will Fifi regain her memory?