Sorry, we sold all our copies of A.D.
Free Sample Chapter CHAPTER ONE "A day in the life" Even the best laid plans of mice and Klansmen don't always come together. As it turned out, it was unrealistic of Tom Metzger to demand that every other state (besides those that were collectively known as the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in North America) in the union be made his. After the majority of the mass deportations he called for were said and done, approximately 75 million Whites were left within the borders of what became Aryan Amerikkka. Out of that amount, only a quarter of a.million included all of the actual members of White Aryan Resistance, the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party, and the farthest of the Religious Right (the latter having been put in charge of regulating culture) who ruled Amerikkka with an iron hand. This select few had to keep a policing eye on an area that stretched from Maine to Florida, from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and most points in-between. And the tighter their proverbial iron hand squeezed, the more rebellious Whites who didn't recognize Aryan authority slipped between its fingers. The maintaining of internal control over Aryan Amerikkka in the early part of the 21st century was a constant challenge. For Metzger and his ilk always wanted their vision of a White bred homeland to be fully populated with people who would be willing to fill up the scenery of said vision. Instead, Amerikkka's number one priority quickly became convincing the Whites who couldn't afford to leave the country to submit to the new order "by hook or by crook" as Tom Metzger's son and successor John had put it. All of this was why right before the USA completely acquiesced to WAR in 2006, Metzger agreed at the very last minute to allow all of Northern·California, Oregon, and the state of Washington to be left with the old order just like Alaska and Hawaii had been. Because just as the Aryans knew they wouldn't be able to maintain a real, strategic hold over them, they also correctly figured the less states within North America that had to be policed, the better. After all, nuclear blackmail was fine for repelling international invaders, but against one's own populace? In one's own backyard? A Berlin Wall-esque wall was built all along the western borders of Nevada and Idaho. The wall also cut California in even halves and took the first decade of the new order's reign to complete. The fenced-in Pacific Northwest was euphemistically called by the Aryans the Divided States. Those within the wall in turn called Amerikkka, "the land where men are men and sheep are scared" and also called the Lost-Found Nation of Islam "New Africa" A label the Nation of Islam hated as much as they always hated the term "Black Muslims" because it kept them from feeling as though they shared the same legitimacy as orthodox Muslims. The use of New Africa didn't exactly sit well with those from the actual continent of Africa either. Understandably, the patriotic residents of the Divided States tried their best to hold onto all that was the old order and every single vestige of what was Americana. Including the Constitution itself, with the actual hemp-woven piece of paper it was written on still perfectly preserved. Which was why when the Fourth of July rolled around, the general mood of the entire Pacific Northwest was uplifted to the 12th power. Spirits were higher during the days surrounding Independence Day than they were around Christmas time and certainly more so than New Year's Eve or Day which had become morbidly known as Nuke Year's Day because of the sorry fate that befell Australia. But to one Elijah Isiah of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in North America, July the 4th in the year 2030 A.D. was just another Monday morning in which he'd have to get up and go to work. In English, the muezzin essentially meant "the one who calls Muslims to prayer." But to Sharrieff it might as well had been Arabic for "he who everyone in town wants to see left hanging from a tree." Though swear words had been nakon or forbidden for over twenty years, Sharrieff could still hear them in his mind's ear directed at him anytime he caught dirty stares from the brothers and sisters who happened to find out what poor Sharrieff did for a living. Which was to sound what once was known as an air raid siren every morning at sunrise (6 a.m. if the sky was overcast) in order to wake everyone within the reach of the cry of "Sharrieffs trumpet" as he called it. The siren was to let people know it was time to give praise to Allah in the form of the Fajr, the morning prayer, and get their day started. There were seven of these sirens strategically placed across the city of Chicago but Sharrieffs trumpet in particular was heard all over Chicago's South Side and the sound wasn't welcome at all in the small three bedroom, two bath on the corner of Harlem and 125th Street. At the very least, it wasn't appreciated by Elijah Isiah. The previous day, Sunday, July the 3rd, was Elijah's 38th birthday and for a hot moment he thought that if it had fallen on a Monday instead, then that would be enough of an excuse to stay home from work. Wasn't there something in the Koran about a man not having to work on the day after his birthday? Especially if that workday fell on a Monday, Elijah jokingly thought to himself. Alas, the last thing Elijah wanted was to be reprimanded for befitting the stereotype of the lazy Negro, so even though he felt magnetized to his mattress, Elijah proceeded to crawl out of bed and stagger towards the bathroom. Elijah wiped the snot out of the corners of his eyes before looking over at his wife Nayirah, who was already wide awake and impatiently waiting for him to finish using the bathroom. Since, as the man of the house, Elijah had to perform the morning ablutions before anyone else. "In the name of Allah, I perform the ablution," Elijah said once he finally made it to the sink. He then scrubbed his hands as if preparing for surgery, brushed his teeth, and rinsed his mouth in an almost mechanical fashion that had evolved from years of routine. The only point in which this mechanized rhythm was broken was when Elijah hesitated with a barely detectable look of mild disgust on his face before rinsing his nostrils three times. A part of the morning routine that seemed to Elijah immune to the decades of repetition he had put into the process. As Elijah was about to enter the shower, he stopped, went back to open the bathroom door that led to the master bedroom, and when the opened door gave him a clear view of the still scowling Nayirah lying on their bed, Elijah called out, "you know, Nay--you could be doing your ablutions while I'm in the shower." Nayirah folded her arms at that. "As-Salaam-Alaikum, dear heart," she said with the last two words dripping with attitude. Elijah's face fell as he sighed. The first thing that was to be said every morning was "peace be unto you," and knowing how adamant Nayirah can be, Elijah knew she wouldn't respond to anything else until he answered back "and unto you be peace," or-- "Wa-Alaikum-Salaam. Now, to save us some time, why don't you come do your ablutions while I'm showering?" "You know that wouldn't be appropriate, dear heart," Nayirah responded. "And please don't call me 'Nay."' The reason why Elijah suggested what he did was because he wanted to spend slightly longer in the shower than usual that morning. Mainly to wash the proverbial cobwebs out of his head but also because of the especially hot, sweaty, and sticky lovemaking session Nayirah and he had had the night before. It was one of her birthday presents to him and Elijah had to put in more of an effort than usual because she had recently found out about an edict that stated a Muslim man is not permitted to leave his bed until his woman is-satisfied. During said session, Nayirah wrapped her legs around Elijah's waist especially tight towards "the end" as if she was trying to entrap him. At the time, Elijah arrogantly thought this was merely the synapses of her thigh muscles clenching out of some sort of orgasmic reflex. While in the shower however, Elijah realized Nayirah had been trying to entrap him in a sense. All forms of artificial birth control were made nakon a few years ago (It would have been made illegal sooner except the amount of Blacks with AIDS within the Lost-Found Nation had to first be lowered to a small enough number to make discreet mass exile a possibility. Until that point, safe sex needed to be practiced.) and Nayirah was trying to get Elijah to secrete inside her in hopes of being impregnated. Nayirah should have known by now how he felt about having another child, Elijah thought. Despite the call for the population to grow so the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in North America wouldn't look so barren in places, Elijah said to himself he couldn't care less if 35 million Blacks weren't enough to adequately fill up all of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and so forth. Little Elisha had just turned 10 on June the 23rd and it seemed as though the older he got, the more his high metabolism required that he eat. Though where all the food Elisha ate went was beyond Elijah since his only son was skinny as a post. In addition to not knowing if he could afford another mouth to feed, Elijah never was entirely confident of his parenting skills to begin with. He always feared those skills would be spread too thin if another child should enter the picture and Elijah had enough of a time protecting Elisha from the world around him as it was. As Elijah stepped out of the shower, he decided to test his wife of 11 years. Without immediately reaching for his towel as he usually did, Elijah walked out of the shower stall in the altogether in plain view of Nayirah, who decided not to wait to begin her ablutions after all and was in the middle of rinsing her nostrils. Nayirah in turn predictably averted her eyes in silence, hurriedly stripped out of her pajamas, and ducked into the stall without looking back. Married over a decade and she still won't look at his naked body unless they were making love, Elijah thought. Doesn't she realize they haven't installed hidden cameras in everyone's homes (at least, not yet anyway) and you only have to follow the rules to the letter when in public? Or did Nayirah actually derive pleasure from not only following the rules but making up some rules of her own as she goes along? * * * In the living room Elisha Isiah had already emerged dried from his shower from the other bathroom in the house and in his prayer robes. The ceremonial rug was already spread underneath Elisha who was squatted on it in a position indicating to Elijah as he entered the room that his son was ready to pray. Except that unlike his mother, there wasn't any impatient scowl on Elisha's face. For like his father, Elisha knew what the world expected of him and only did just enough to Set by without Setting too anal-compulsive over whatever it was that had to be done. As Elijah knelt beside his son, he affectionately rubbed the boy's head, almost as if for good luck, as they did back in the days of old--before the Apocalypse a quarter of a century ago. "Can't we just pray now and drink? I don't want to wait for mother to get out of the shower, I'm thirsty." Elijah looked up out of reflex to see whether or not Nayirah could hear--as if she had the hearing of a female canine necessary to discern anything that was being said down the hall amidst running water. "Nay'll be done in a minute. And remember to say the greeting when she does comes out." When a still damp Nayirah walked into the living room in her robes, Elisha did just that and called out, "As-Salaam-Alaikum, mother." "Wa-Alai ku m-Salaam," Nayirah answered i n a soft but guarded tone as if to say "quieter next time." She parted the curtains of the living room window which had a view of the eastern skyline and the rising sun, then took her place on the rug and knelt next to her husband. The Isiahs all bowed their heads, raised their forearms slightly so their elbows were chest level, and cupped their hands as if catching rain. "I perform the morning prayer to Allah, the most high. Allah is the greatest," Elijah began. "Glory to Thee, oh Allah, Thine is the praise. Blessed is Thy name and--and--exalted," Elijah said finally as if he had to recall the word first, "is Thy majesty. I bear witness that nothing deserves to be served or worshipped besides Thee." Elijah slowly glanced over at Nayirah, waiting for either her approval or a hard look. And sure enough, it was the latter. "I really wish you would learn your Arabic, dear heart," she said softly. "Someday it will be our national language and you don't think the rest of our 750 million brothers and sisters in the Muslim world say the morning prayer in English, do you?" * * * Elijah drank his second cup of coffee, spied all the food he had in his kitchen cabinet, and already found himself wishing it was dinner--the one solid meal a day they all were allowed. Elijah then looked out the kitchen window and saw something he feared: He could tell even that early in the morning that there wasn't going to be so much as a wisp of a cloud in the sky to block at least some of that July/Chicago heat. Elijah stuck an index finger into his shirt collar and tugged on his bow tie as if a cartoonish plume of steam would vent itself into the air from between his neck and the inside of his shirt. Elisha mimicked his father in-between swallows of his orange juice and since the two were both drinking from cups while dressed identically because of the national dress code, the scene looked almost surreal. Certainly bewildering enough to Nayirah to keep her from making the usual "quit fidgeting" remarks. Instead, she asked, "when are you going to fix that gas main, dear heart?" Elijah looked up from mulling over whether or not a third cup of coffee would fill him up until 6 p.m. and then answered, "what do you mean fix it, Nayirah? You know I'm the least mechanically inclined man that was ever born. Besides, I don't hear that hissing you keep talking about anyway. Just call somebody that would know what to look for." Nayirah was standing over the kitchen sink as if listening for something but when her husband said what he did, she put her hands on her hips in irritation. "That's your answer to everything, isn't it? Call somebody. As if the Nation didn't have more important things to do than to provide some special service to be at your beck and call for whenever you didn't feel like taking responsibility for what goes on in your own home." "We pay our tithes, our tides, we pay our 'duty' at the temple don't we?" Elijah quietly commented without looking right at her, "we should get something back." "When we had such services--or just plain vices that we had to call the White man 'sir' to get, our people grew fat and lazy from their dependence on them, and that made us fall prey to the White man! Now that the Honorable Khallid Muhammad has completely privatized our economy, he has liberated us so that we can finally do for self. Mash Allah!" Praise God for what, Elijah thought. That at some point he was going to have to find some technical manual, get under that damn sink, and tinker around where Elijah knew he had no business? Oh well, Elijah said to himself, at least finding a fix-it book would be easy, they didn't ban or burn those. The Noble Drew Ali Elementary School (known before the Apocalypse as Trinity Christian College) was only around the corner from his house but Elijah still didn't like to see Elisha walk there all by himself. Mainly because it reminded Elijah that he wasn't getting any younger. But beyond that, Elijah missed all the walks and talks that he and his son once had on that short route to school--alone. For Elijah used the opportunity to inform any new teachers at the school that Elisha was not to be subject to the usual corporal punishments. And that if Elisha did do anything wrong, they were to merely inform his father, and his father only, because supposedly Elijah's "special brand of discipline" was far more severe than anything the school could conjure up. There had been some close calls over the years and it didn't help that school was year-round, but so far Nayirah nor anyone else of any dangerous significance had found out about Elijah's one transgression against the will of the Nation. Elijah didn't protect Elisha from the world around him just because he loved his son so, which he did. It was fast becoming as of late Elijah's number one reason for living in that world at all. On those days of schooling the school on turning Elisha over to only him in case of trouble or mischief, Elijah used to let Nayirah take the Isiahs' one car to her work while he would just take the bus to his job. But by the end of the last fiscal year, public transportation was viewed by all the ministers in all the temples across the Lost-Found Nation of Islam as interference with the Black man's independence and ability to pull himself up by his bootstraps. So since the last budget cuts, buses and commuter trains had been made nakon, leaving only taxi cabs, if one considered them public transportation. Elijah wondered to himself whether the elimination of public transportation was because the car manufacturers from neighboring Michigan wanted to make all the more money--because he didn't dare wonder any of this out loud. He was already taking more than enough chances at it was for covertly going against the school system's innate right to discipline Elisha. Also, Nayirah read somewhere that it was common courtesy for the man to drive his woman around and drop her off at different places. So now Elijah had to watch his son walk off into the world and drop his wife off at her job. Which was teaching at the Muslim Girl's Training and General Civilization Class at a school that was once called Saint Xavier College. After the Apocalypse, it was renamed the Sarah X School for Girls after some martyr from the days when the slave names of Muslims were replaced with a "X" and before Black people were all assigned their true, Afro-Asiatic names by the ministers. The ride to the all-girls school was relatively a quiet one. As was the case for the majority of Elijah's rides with Nayirah--unless of course they were arguing. To avoid an argument, Elijah tried to get to Sarah X as fast as the already heavy traffic would permit. When they finally did arrive at the school, Nayirah sardonically said, "you don't have to pick me up today. I have to get some things for dinner and I know how 'busy' you are, so I'll take a taxi to the market after school." Then she practically leapt out of Elijah's 2025 black four-door sedan, and flounced past the school's front gates with her white chador and roosarie flowing behind her in what little wind there was in the air on this balmy morning. Though her robe and scarf were a solid white, Elijah's selftrained eye could still barely make out a silhouette of the hourglass shape of Nayirah's filled out body as she disappeared into a crowd of similarly dressed women and thought back for a moment to the day that they met. Actually they never "met" in the traditional, eyes-met-across-a-crowded-room, romantic sense. They were "matched" by the Ministry of Love. Back in the 20th century, there was a time when light-skinned Blacks with keen facial features were treated by Whites better than dark-skinned Blacks with flat facial features. The lighter, keen-featured Blacks were considered better looking than their darker, flat-featured counterparts and whenever favors for Blacks were given by Whites, they would invariably go to any Black who appeared all the more White visually. This dynamic had existed even within the Black community itself. The bias over nose bridges, lip sizes, and shades of skin color spilled over into the arena of interpersonal relationships between Blacks. According to all the ministers in the Lost-Found Nation, dark-skinned, flat-featured girls could never get suitors while their light-skinned, keen-featured rivals always could. To remedy this, the ministers decreed that in order to "even out the playing field," the Nation would take it upon itself to prearrange who would be allowed to date, let alone marry, whom. Light-skinned, keen-featured brothers would be paired by the state with dark-skinned, flat-featured sisters, and in the case of the Elijah and Nayirah it was the other way around. Since Elijah was so dark and Nayirah was so very light, Elisha came out with an deep, even tan. Which was exactly the kind of result that was sought after by all concerned. For the consensus among the ministers was that within a few generations, everyone in the Lost-Found Nation would be a uniform shade of brown. It was both thought and taught that things were best this way because once everyone had the same skin tone no one would ever feel they were any better or worse than anyone else. Elijah's eyes then fell on the front seat where his wife was just sitting, to see out of a perverse sort of curiosity, whether or not the extra couple of pounds Nayirah had put on lately had caused her to leave a still visible impression in the cushions. It was at this point when he noticed the book that she left behind. Nayirah's copy of The Black Woman by Dorothy Wedad was lying on the car floor on the passenger's side, and as Elijah snatched it up while hopping out of the car he thought for certain that this was an opportunity to coax a smile out of his demanding wife for returning her book before going to work himself. Elijah didn't ask for permission to pass the school's front gate, he had forgotten he needed to. And because he had, Elijah found himself surrounded by women in white, flowing chadors that covered them from head to toe before he had gotten too far into the school's perimeter. It was almost like being accosted by a slew of ghosts in pale sheets from some 20th century Halloween, but Elijah remembered why he was suddenly being yelled at. "You know the rules! Men are nakon!" "No men are allowed here!" "No men at all!" "Alright, fine!" Elijah countered. He was slightly taller than the tallest woman there and felt like wading through the lot of them like Gulliver amongst the Lilliputians but he didn't want the Fruit of Islam called on him. Elijah didn't have a criminal record and he didn't want to start one over something this banal. "Will somebody just give this to Nayirah Isiah?" Elijah called out while holding up Nayirah's book for all to see. "I will give the book to the sister," said the tallest woman there as she took it from Elijah. "As-Salaikum, my brother." "Wa-Salaikum," muttered Elijah under his breath as he sulked back to his car. * * * Elijah thought he would never get on the expressway. Now that he was on it, Elijah was certain he'd never set off of it. Traffic was backed up for miles and he would be late for work for sure. As Elijah looked over at his fellow drivers nodding politely back at him whenever eye contact was made, Elijah noticed that most of them were driving Cadillacs, mini-vans, and sedans just like he was. It also occurred to Elijah that there was usually only one driver within each of the cars all around him and--if every four drivers or so would share a single car . . ? Alas, if people were to pool their resources like that, they might become too dependent on one another to get back and forth, and everyone in the Nation was supposed to be as self-reliant as possible. At least, so conventional wisdom would say, thought Elijah. But he did wish that someone was responsible for fixing all of the pot holes that lay all along the highways and byways of Chicago. Elijah's drive to work every morning was akin to a soldier's trespass across a minefield and if it was expected of him to get to work on time so that he could be all the more productive, the Nation should step in with some kind of service to repair the roads. While they were at it, Elijah pondered, it could also be looked into as to why it was one couldn't see the stars in the sky at night anymore. Or why temperatures continue to rise every year and why the summer of 2030 was the hottest on record? Or why the air tasted so stale and the horizon looked so hazy? Could it simply be nothing more than all of the exhaust that was being put out by the extra cars on the road and all the smog one sees emanating from the city? There were a few who believed that, but they weren't heard nearly as much as the ministers who maintained either a silence concerning the issue or that everything was alright. People were told at their temples that complaining about one's eyes spontaneously watering at midday only made Blacks look bad. As though they were whining children who depended on some great power to take care of them. What would the Aryans from Amerikkka think of the Black man then? As Elijah pulled into State Street he thought about how many times such concerns were fielded by those who claimed that no such services could be provided for the infrastructure or the environment because all of the Lost-Found Nation's resources were being diverted toward the protection of its borders from the White devils of Aryan Amerikkka. It never made complete sense to Elijah why the ministers would be that worried about an invasion of the Nation. The peace has been kept for 25 years, so if Amerikkka were going to take over the states allocated to be the homeland, surely they would've done it by now, Elijah concluded. When Elijah brought this up some months ago after a service at his temple, one of the ministers there explained: Sure our truce with the White man has kept the peace. But seeing as how they always were mortal enemies of the Black man, Metzger and his legions could decide at anytime to betray the agreement that was grudgingly hammered out at the last minute by Minister Farrakhan and the blue eyed devil during the Apocalypse. Luckily Minister Farrakhan and the Metzger were able to temporarily put aside their many differences so that our people could survive. Nayirah believed the minister's explanation and accepted it as a rationale for why the Nation's attentions couldn't be focused on the welfare of its own people at home. But then, "Nay" would stand on her head if a minister asked her to, provided she could see to it that the ends of her chador were pinned to her socks so that her legs wouldn't be seen. Elijah wondered as he looked for a parking space if all the people he saw walking along State Street that morning were as accepting of everything that was told to them as Nayirah was. Or did some of them, any of them, ever question the authority of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, the ministers in their temples, and the Honorable Khallid Muhammad--if nowhere but in the privacy of their own minds? Not disobey their edicts, just question them, and maybe dare ask if they're justifiable. Elijah amazed himself with his ability to think such subversive thoughts when he looked the neighborhood surrounding the Old Water Tower on his long trek between his parking space and his job. The Tower was one of the few structures in the area to survive the Great Chicago Fire but just about everything else has changed in the past 25 years and it was hard not to feel overwhelmed by the Nation of Islam when you felt surrounded by every aspect of them anytime you came downtown. The only form of art that the Nation saw fit to fund were the displays on the sides of nearly every other building for all to see depicting the likenesses of the Honorable Khallid Muhammad, leader of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in North America; his retired predecessor, Minister Louis Farrakhan (though most of the pictures depicted him during his peak, circa 1984-2010, and rarely was he shown at his current age of 97); and the last Messenger of Allah himself, Elijah Muhammad. Gigantic banners were also hung from lamp posts and flag poles with slogans like "Each One Teach One," "Unity," "Unity Nation," or "Unity in the Community," "Respect" or "Respect Your Elders," "Knowledge of Self," "Do For Self," "It's On You," "Wake Up, Black Man," "The Black Woman is the Queen of the Universe," and "Buy Black" which Elijah always found an incongruity because there weren't anyone but Black folks in the Lost-Found Nation. And then there were the more religious slogans in both Arabic and English saying "There is No God but Allah," "God is Great," "Praise Allah," "God is a Black Man," "The Black Man is God," and "Allah Will Provide." Elijah crossed over from State Street to the corner of Chicago Avenue and Rush Street towards his place of work, Mustafa Enterprises in the Akbar Office Building where for five days a week Elijah Isiah becomes a "dictator." Elijah thought about how comically ironic the title of his position was to take his mind off of him having to walk up the 14 flights of stairs to his office because the building's elevators were broken yet again. Elijah mused over the
fact that he was only a dictator in the sense that he took dictation from his editor, Mustafa All, and dictated what he said or wrote by typing it into a computer data base. When Elijah finally reached the offices of Mustafa Enterprises on the 14th floor, he crept inside as to not draw attention to his tardiness. He was only 15 minutes late but it wasn't the first time and the last thing Elijah needed was to lose this job, which was probably one of the best Elijah ever had. As a dictator, he was part one of the Nation of Islam's first entries into the super information highway--an encyclopedic database that would contain the entire history of the world from the beginning of time to the modern era. Events, dates, famous battles, or even historical trivia could be available via internet and accessible through computer terminals that would be installed at every junior high and high school in the Lost-Found Nation within the next year. It did bother Elijah that this move would mean schools would have all the less reliance on history books but Elijah still viewed his job as a venture that probably should have been made decades ago. And it would have too, except that the majority of the Nation's attentions went either towards defense of its borders or the strict enforcing of its Islamic fundamentalist edicts at home. Not to mention the 25 year old world wide embargo and sanctions put upon the Lost-Found Nation that were, according to the ministers, imposed out of spite because no one wanted to see an all-Black, independent nation succeed. Elijah quietly slid behind his desk amidst the snide, whispered comments about him made by the four other dictators already behind their desks typing away. Dictating from hard copy was thought of as a form of secretarial work, which in turn was considered feminine, which was why the only other dictators in the office were all Muslimah. Each Muslim woman dressed as per the national dress code in her white chador looked up from what they were typing and gave Elijah a contemptuous stare but were all too submissive to alert their boss, Mustafa Ali in the next room that his only male employee was late again. Elijah couldn't help but to grin. The fact was he had the fastest typing speed in the office and at 80 words per minute, Elijah's status as Mustafa Enterprise's most valuable employee was still unchallenged. He even had the one desk in the room closest to the window which made Elijah feel all the more important though he never liked the billboard that he was in plain view of. It was a cosmetic ad for Muslimah which showed nothing but a woman wrapped in a single-eye chador and her one, visible eye had on the eyeliner the ad was trying to sell. The caption to the side of the visuals read, "Power Products presents--Eye of Edwina, the only make-up you'll ever need . . !" Nayirah never completely approved of Elijah being a dictator because as far as she was concerned it was not what she considered a very "manly job." "Nay" probably would've been happier if he was some burly member of the Fruit of Islam throwing transients in overcrowded jails all day to keep them from loitering and becoming eyesores for potential tourists. Then she could have something to brag to her girlfriends about. Elijah was certain that his co-workers, whom he hardly ever spoke to at all, felt the same way except they just wanted to be rid of him and didn't care if he was boasting material or not. The only woman who seemed to appreciate Elijah's presence at the office was Mustafa's personal secretary, a young girl with the most unusual African name Elijah had ever heard, Minitrue. "Have you found anyone else with that unusual name of yours yet?" Elijah called out as he saw the 17 year old Minitrue in her white gown and headdress come his way with a stack of hard copy from Mustafa's office for him to dictate. Minitrue giggled, "No, Mr. Isiah." "Because you know sometimes Black folks make up African names as they go along," Elijah quipped. "I never did think anyone from the motherland was ever named "La-Ti-Quisha" or half of the names I've heard." This caused all the other dictators to simultaneously stop what they were typing for a moment, look at one another for a moment or scowl at Elijah, and then resume typing. Minitrue seemed oblivious to all of this and laughed probably louder at Elijah's comment than conventional decorum would have had her. "My name is going to continue to be the running joke in this office isn't it, Mr. Isiah?" Elijah looked about at the four women typing around him, "Mini, it's probably the only joke in this office." "Well, here you go," Minitrue leaned over to set the stack of papers Elijah was to type on his desk, then whispered, "I don't think Mr. Ali noticed you were late, Mr. Isiah," and walked back to Mustafa All's office. Elijah glanced towards his boss's office. It had a tinted window with a view of the rest of the office but mercifully Mustafa Ali usually had his back to it. As far as bosses went, Ali was tolerable. Considering he used to be a speech writer for the Honorable Khallid Muhammad's most likely successor, Professor Griffith Muhammad, the former rapper who was kicked out of his rap group back in the 20th century for being uncompromising in his belief and support of Minister Farrakhan's teachings at the time. When the technology finally became available to the Nation of Islam a year and a half ago to deposit an almanac of world history inside internet, the ever enterprising Mustafa Ali was able to use his connections to land an exclusive, private contract with the Nation for the producing of his computerized tomes of world history. But while a decent conveyor of ideas with an eye for managerial business, paradoxically, Mustafa Ali was never very computer literate. Hence his need for the dictators. In a rush to get the historical data downloaded as quickly as possible, Mustafa would churn out as many pages as he could either by hand or on his electric typewriter, and leave correcting any syntax or grammatical errors for his dictators. Once the information was in the computer, it could be accessed by Mustafa to see if what had been imputed was to his liking and if it met with the final approval of the group of ministers who oversaw the bulk of his historical research. The accessing of the program, one which was intended for children anyway, didn't require that Mustafa Ali or the ministers possess any great amount of computer literacy so much as the ability to move a cursor and hit the return button. These same ministers were also Mustafa's primary source of historical information seeing as how only ministers of temples had access to certain books from the past. Which made Elijah wonder every once in a long while about whether or not what he was typing into internet was the whole truth. Elijah remembered when he first became a dictator one of the very first entries he had been told to input. It told of how Christopher Columbus had sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, landed in the Americas, and was wholeheartedly accepted by the indigenous population that he ran across once he arrived. Considering all that Elijah subsequently typed about the myriad struggles the same population had to face from others who came across the Atlantic in the centuries to come, something told Elijah that maybe Columbus had been just as bad as those who came after him. It didn't made much sense that Christopher Columbus was the only voyager who treated the indigenous people of the Americas well--especially if Columbus' mission was to bring gold back to his king by any means necessary. Elijah brought his concerns to Mustafa Ali who in turn waved them off citing that the research that he and the ministers had done was thorough and that it wasn't Elijah's place to question their final judgment seeing as how, at the time, he had just started the job. A little over a year later, Elijah had become the only dictator who ever asked questions about what he was dictating that were of a philosophical nature and not on strictly a grammatical one. It was only once in a long while when he would attempt this, but that was because Elijah only felt like pushing his luck in-between long whiles. Elijah would've just as soon not had today be one of those days, but Elijah was the type of man whom life had to make sense to, otherwise it wasn't as easy to live through. And what he currently had to dictate struck him as a trifle senseless. Elijah was plowing through the latest stack of hard copy about the post-World War II era that Minitrue had left for him and at 80 words per minute he was almost ready for another batch from her. And then he got to a point in the copy that spoke of the Jews and all that the Nazis had put them through. He went ahead and typed the passages that had been given to him as they were, accounting for Mustafa All's occasional grammatical errors. But as soon as Elijah was finished entering what he had dictated into internet, he got up, knocked on his boss' door, and asked that he come to inspect what had just been written. "I don't know if you noticed all of these books and papers in my office, Mr. Isiah, but they indicate that I'm a very busy man." Mustafa Ali fumed. Being in his early 50's with an afro that was balding ever so slightly, Mustafa was a diminutive sort of fellow who felt as though the presence of his charisma needed to overcompensate for his lack of size in order for him to be listened to. Elijah always joked to himself that this was why Mustafa always wrote speeches and never gave them. Because all the posturing in the world wouldn't have made him any more visible from behind a podium. None of this meant Mustafa Ali couldn't fire Elijah at any time. Or worse, call the FOI on him for "interfering with the smooth running of a profitable business," so Elijah chose his language very carefully. "Forgive me, Mr. All, I just thought that you might want to make sure that what I typed was worded exactly how you wanted it." "Elijah, you know full well that the ministers and I will eventually go over all the entries in due time," Mustafa folded his arms and blew a frustrated breath out the side of his mouth. "But now that you've already bothered me, go ahead and show me what it is you're talking about." Mustafa Ali then followed Elijah to his desk, where Elijah sat back behind his computer terminal and moved the cursor so that the last paragraph he had just typed would appear in the center of the screen so that it could be seen in its entirety all the clearer. It was believed for decades that an unimaginable six million Jews had died in the so-called "Holocaust" that the Jews claimed they went through during World War II. It has been found, however, that only a million Jews died during that time and not even by the means in which they claimed the deaths occurred. For instance, the infamous gas chambers the Jews described turned out to be a complete fabrication and no Jew ever died from being put into such a chamber. "I don't see a problem with what you wrote," said Mustafa All. "That's exactly how I wanted it, minus the spelling errors, of course. Good job." "The problem, sir, is that it doesn't make any sense," Elijah explained. "Who could make up such a thing? Why would anyone lie about something of that--magnitude? And where did you get this information?" "To gain undue sympathy, of course," Mustafa stated simply. "They wanted people to believe that they had gone through more suffering than the Black race. But if you must know, Elijah, our main source for this material was from a 1976 book entitled, The Hoax of the 20th Century by Dr. Arthur R. Butz." "Sir, it's just that--if only a million Jews died, then where did the other five million go? Were they in hiding?" Elijah's voice started to rise slightly. "And since the missing five million Jews must have surely had children--and great grandchildren by now, then are they all in hiding too?" Mustafa Ali looked around to see if the women in his place of business appeared to be taken in by Elijah's defiance of him. The four other dictators continued to type and practically ignored the scene going on before them. Minitrue, however, had emerged from Mustafa's office and looked as though she felt sorry for Elijah. As a former speech writer, Mustafa Ali knew the importance of maintaining popular opinion or, at the very least, a consenting one. So an example would have to be made of Elijah in front of everybody. "Mr. Isiah, I could have said something about you coming in late this morning. I could have said something about your lack of respect for your Black sisters as far as the comments you made earlier, and yes, I did hear you make them, but I didn't. Now you have interrupted the flow of this business day with your questioning of the historical facts that the ministers of the Nation of Islam themselves and I have painstakingly researched. Questioning that I see now I have tolerated too long. "By all rights, I could call the Fruit of Islam on you and have you carted off for any of the offenses I just mentioned. Actually, I should fire you, but you know as well as I do how valuable you are. Therefore, I'm going to go out on a limb and do something as liberally communistic as to give you one last chance. I hope that you don't abuse the privilege. As for the rest of you, it's almost noon. Get ready for the Zuhr prayer." Mustafa Ali then spun on his heel, stormed back to his office, and slammed the door behind him. * * * "The Black Woman by Dorothy Wedad is one of the single most important books that any young lady in our great nation will ever read." Nayirah held up her copy of the book in question that she would've forgotten had it not been for Elijah. She waved it in front of her class at the Sarah X School for Girls as though it was a bible and she was an evangelical preacher from long ago. And if Nayirah's intent was to generate anything close to the kind of spirited reaction such preachers could stir up in their day, the effort would have been a complete waste. For the pre-teen girls who were in attendance knew all too well what could happen to them if they were to display too wildly emotional of a response in the middle of class. "Soon this book will be required reading and you'll have to memorize it, cover to cover." Nayirah paced back and forth in front of the front row of desks while she tried to turn to a page she had intended to read from. "Nineteen seventy three: The year when the old United States had just legalized the killing of Black babies and called it `abortion' or `birth control.' The beginning of an era when anyone who called for the extermination of the Black race was called `pro-choice.' This was the era of Dorothy Wedad, a proud Black woman, a strong Black woman, who had the courage to face up to the so-called `feminists' who claimed they were for `women's liberation' but were actually as bad as Nazis and spoke the truth to the White devil woman's face." Nayirah stopped pacing in front of the class when she found the page she was looking for. "For a time she wrote for Muhammad Speaks and this book reprints pieces from what was once our national newspaper. Here is something that she had written for Muhammad Speaks on March 2nd, 1973." And with that, Nayirah began to read. Prior to the coming of Almighty God, Allah Who came in the person of Master Fard Muhammad, and raised up the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Black woman in America was totally ignorant to herself and her role. The devil (White man) had done such a thorough job of destroying the Black family and forcing the woman into a more and more dominating role, until today she actually pictures herself as being equal to the man. In this so-called age of the "liberated woman," the Black woman following along behind the devil woman frowns on the idea of woman as homemaker, mother, and wife. She feels that [she] should have equal job opportunities in any field, the same as the man. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Messenger of Allah to all of our people, has been missioned to right the wrong that has been done to us by the White man. His teachings to the Black woman in America are designed to return her to her rightful role which is the "Mother of Civilization and the Queen of the Universe," a most beautiful role. But first he teaches her that the Black man is the first in the creation and she was next. And, that man being self-created, then made her for himself as a means of reproducing himself. Immediately she learns that she cannot be equal to man, when from the beginning they were created for different purposes. He further teaches her that she is the field in which man plants the seed, and another life is born. From this alone, she can see the magnificence of her role, to be the means by which human life is reproduced. Nayirah closed the book, set it on her desk, and said, "On March the 23rd of that same year, sister Dorothy Wedad said, 'tell the White man we are not interested in women's liberation--another trick to steer our minds from motherhood.' It is because of proud, beautiful, Black sisters like Dorothy Wedad that we are able to live in the truly liberated Black nation as we all do today. Any questions, class?" *** Without a doubt, the best thing about being a dictator to Elijah Isiah were the hours, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Mustafa Ali despised keeping anyone on the clock when there wasn't much to do and dictating wasn't that demanding). This was not because he was as lazy as his wife Nayirah thought him to be, it was because those lax hours enabled him to be home at approximately the same time as Elisha and the both of them would be home at least an hour before he would usually pick Nayirah up from school. And Elijah didn't even have to today, because this morning Nayirah's general disgust for him made her decide at the last minute to take a taxi to the market. So now Elijah and Elisha had all the more time to talk. Not that Elijah and Elisha were anything like the subversives that the Fruit of Islam were always scouring the city for and had something secret to say, they just wanted to be able to talk about father and son things without feeling as though the eyes and ears of the Nation were upon them. Elijah also thought it was important that someone was in the house when Elisha came home from school rather than him being what they called in the 20th century a "latch-key kid." Nayirah would have been more than happy to fulfill that role as the everpresent homebody except that Elijah's penchant for cushy jobs forced her to pay the majority of the bills and he never wanted to exert his rank as husband to demand that she stay at home--as Nayirah would've wanted him to (Elijah only exerts that rank to keep Nayirah from ever beating Elisha). Nayirah had occasionally threatened to call the FOI on Elijah throughout the years over her being made a breadwinner against her inclinations but after a while she began to like teaching school. Eventually Nayirah came to love it so much that not only did she not mind so much that at one point Elisha was a latch-key kid (she would have minded more if Elisha was a girl), but she settled into the habit of staying long after school to help clean up after the cooking classes. Which was why Nayirah was usually the last one home. Elijah and Elisha were sitting at the kitchen table enjoying the buffer zone of quality time that they had alone together before Nayirah would have to enter the picture. Elijah told his son about how he was almost fired and then asked one the most cliched questions on record. "So what did you learn in school today?" Elijah queried as he put his hand on Elisha's shoulder. "Weird stuff, father." Elisha shook his head as he sighed, grimaced as though he was trying to recall something, and said, "Mr. Bogam said that Black folks were descen--descended from some folks called the Original Men. They could talk to giants from Mars and used to live on the moon way, long time ago back when the moon and the Earth were one, big planet. Then everything blew up," and with that, Elisha illustrated the explosion he was describing with his hands and a sound effect he made with his mouth. "And then the moon and the Earth split into two planets like now. Then the Original folks came down and built Mecca and they were all in the tribe of Shazam." "You mean the tribe of Shabazz," Elijah frowned. This story was sounding all too familiar to him. "That's right. Anyway, there was this evil scientist with a big, giant head named Yacub. He was real smart and the Original folks put him on punishment and then sent him to an island. Then Yacub got mad and made White people in his la-labor-laboratory. He made everybody, father! First he made brown folks, then he made red folks, then he made yellow folks, and then he made White folks. And you know what else, father?" "What?" Elijah answered back unenthused. "Mr. Began said the White folks were animals in caves and then Allah sent Moses to get them out of the caves and the White folks that Moses got out of the caves turned into Jews!" When Elijah heard the door open just then, he found himself surprisingly relieved. Even though he knew it was Nayirah, at that moment he actually thought it might be easier to deal with her than the idea that they had gotten around to teaching his son Yacub's History. To Elijah, both events were things that he would just as soon avoid. "What are you doing?" Nayirah demanded as she set two grocery bags on the kitchen table. Elijah and Elisha were sitting around."Are you out of your minds? It's time for the Asr and you haven't gotten the rug rolled out or the curtains parted or anything!" "We won't miss the late afternoon prayer, Nayirah. It's not even close to five o'clock yet," Elijah countered. "I don't care!" Nayirah exclaimed, which was rare because of her usual parochial restraint. "We're permitted only one meal a day that I have yet to fix and I don't have all that much time to fix it because in case you've forgotten we still have service at the temple to go to tonight." Nayirah then sent Elisha to roll out the family prayer rug and then muttered to Elijah under her breath, "Since you don't stay at work long enough to work up a man's sweat, the least you could do is see that everything is prepared for the end of the day. You can call the Fruit of Islam on me for disrespecting you if you want, for I would rather be fined or jailed for telling the truth than for sitting idly around with a child like a child." *** As Elijah drove his family up Ridgeland Avenue to the neighborhood still known in Chicago as "Burbank" where the nearest temple to the Isiah home was, he wondered for a moment why would a Black nation such as the one in which he lived allow its streets to still be called something as Caucasian sounding as Burbank and then he remembered. All of the semantic remnants from the old order would simply be translated to Arabic once it became the national language in approximately a decade. With all of the Lost-Found Nation's other worries, linguistics simply hadn't been the priority that it once was in the days when the Nation was first founded. But making sure that everyone showed up to their Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night temple meetings always was one of the Nation of Islam's top priorities. After Elijah finally found a place to park, he, Nayirah, and Elisha all filed into Muhammad's Temple of Islam Number 42 (which used to be a movie theater until motion pictures were made nakon) behind the scores of other Muslims and Muslimah who were already in line heading for the front entrance. After a while, Elisha let go of Nayirah's hand and proceeded to hold Elijah's as the one line that they were all in became two, with the women parting to the left and the men to the right. Once everyone, male or female, made it to the front door, they were searched. Even the children were frisked from head to toe. A man who stood in front of Elijah was told by the temple guard searching him to open his mouth so that the man's breath could be smelled. The man still refused to do any such thing after having been asked three times. In response to this, two temple guards who seemed to Elijah to appear from nowhere grabbed the man from behind and held him down as the guard who originally had a problem with the man pried open his mouth. The temple guard then smelled the man's breath as he originally wanted to and declared that he had to have been drinking. The man swore what the guard was smelling was the alcohol base of the medicine that he had been taking as of late. This story wasn't believed by any of the temple guards so the man was carted away and Elijah didn't see him for the rest of the night. After uneventful searches of their own, the Isiahs entered the temple with Nayirah finding a seat on the left-hand side of the temple where the women sat, Elijah finding a seat of his own across the aisle from Nayirah on the temple's right-hand side where the men sat, and Elisha being escorted to a basement where all the other children were kept during services (Elijah had even schooled those in the temple at one point on not disciplining Elisha and to his astonishment it had worked so far). At the head of the temple was a simple, Spartan speaker's stand that seated six with a microphone and a podium in the center. Behind the stand hung the national flag of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in North America, an all white field with a red star and crescent moon in its center. The temple guards and the ministers took their places on the speaker's stand as other guards posted themselves by the doorways. When all of the seats in the temple were completely filled to capacity one of the elder guards took the mike and a roll call was taken. It took over an hour to go through the five hundred names on the list and to send guards out to see about calling the homes of the few people on the list who didn't answer "here" or "present," but once that was finished, the minister that was to speak for the night finally stepped up to the microphone and led everyone there in the Maghrib or evening prayer. *** " ... And we cannot even take our pilgrimages to Mecca, our Hajj because we are welcome nowhere in the world. We cannot leave this mighty Black nation that we worked and waited so long for so that we can make the journey to the Ka'ba like any other Muslim should be able to. Why? I'll tell you what they say, the Jewry, the camel jockeys, the faggots, the Euro-trash, and the Orientals, I'll tell you what they're talking about! So never let it be said that the Black man is any kind of a censor or whatever it is they call us. They restrict our travel abroad because they're all under the delusion that Minister Farrakhan somehow knew in advance that 'the Great White Demon' Metzger was going to bomb Australia. Can you believe it? What lies! There were Black people on Australia! We would never drop a bomb on Black people! In case they hadn't noticed, we are Black people!" "Yes!" ..."Teach, minister!" ... "Take your time up there, little Messenger!" ... "You right!"... "Tell it--tell it!" All these and more were among the many cries from the temple's congregation. A couple of them even came from Elijah, but his shouts weren't Freudian slips so much as they were cried out of reflex. Also, who knew what would happen if anyone noticed he wasn't shouting as loud as everyone else. "Then they insult us and our intelligence by telling the lie that somehow, some kind of way, we collaborated with Metzger and his devils during the Apocalypse? And they say we're guilty of creating mythologies!" The last line garnered a great deal of laughter from the crowd in the temple. "All those conspiracy nuts need to quit smoking that marijuana and start living right! Maybe then they'll stop suffering from all these delusions!" Even more laughter than before rose from the crowd. "And what's with all these folks going around calling us 'right-wing' and 'rightists' . . . Just what does that Jewish psychobabble mean, anyway? 'Right-wing,' 'left-wing"-brothers and sisters, we are Black-wing! They need to know that their Whitewing rules don't apply to us!" At this point there was a standing ovation, at least from the men's side of the temple. Displays of this type were considered by the Nation of Islam throwbacks to the era of the Black Baptist and Christian churches and were actually supposed to be nakon but Elijah was at a more liberal temple. So every once in a while such emotionalism was permitted, but only among the men. Elijah tried to looked over at Nayirah from across the aisle. He had deliberately picked a seat directly across from her so that she could always be within his sights. Yes, she could get on Allah's nerves, but sometimes Elijah just liked to gaze upon his wife and wonder what it would have been like if they had met completely at random because their eyes happened to meet across a crowded room. A crowded room like this temple, perhaps. What if they never knew each other and the look that Elijah was now throwing Nayirah's way marked the first time he ever laid eyes on her? Just then, Nayirah returned Elijah's stare but no actual eye contact was ever made. Rather, she seemed to Elijah to be looking at something right behind him. And before Elijah could turn to see what it was, he felt two gloved hands twist his neck forward. "Brother, there's a reason why we separate the brothers and sisters. To keep one another from being distracted. Now pay attention to the minister before we have to take you somewhere." Before Elijah could give an obedient response, the temple guard had resumed his post by one of the fire escapes. Now that he was more than suitably shaken enough to not risk anything else for the rest of the evening, Elijah found himself clapping from a false state of euphoria as a couple of frightened and shameful tears started to involuntarily roll down his cheeks. "If the rest of the world wants to try and ignore us, fine. If they want to continue this embargo of theirs, that's fine too. Because we'll know the real reason why, won't we brothers and sisters? It's because they're jealous of the Black man and what he's accomplished here--in the wilderness of North America! Jealous, I say! And fearful too, because they know that we provide the threat of a good example to all the many Black people in the world who would try and establish an all-Black republic just like ours. Because that's what we are, brothers and sisters--Black republicans, and the rest of the world can't stand it!" *** Elijah couldn't understand it. He lived off of one meal a day and yet there was enough in his system to get him up at two-thirty in the morning to urinate. The trick now was to not wake Nayirah up in the process. Which meant pissing not in the center of the toilet water, which would obviously make a sound, but to hit the inside surface of the bowl itself and not flush the toilet. And all of this had to be done in the dark too. But even the best laid plans of mice and Black Muslims don't always come together. For no sooner had Elijah stealthily wrested free from Nayirah's embrace, slipped out of bed as quietly as he could, and made it to the bathroom door did he hear his wife's voice sternly say out loud, "Isha." The late evening prayer. The one every Muslim is bound to perform if he happens to get up in the middle of the night. Actually the rule stated two prayers, but "Nay" let Elijah slide--this time ...
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