It took some doing, but I managed to convince Kamal to sit down with me for a quick chat. I didn’t realize he’d bring Zijad along and make him kneel at his feet, but I’m going to try to ignore that he’s there while Kamal glowers at me.
Me: Thanks for agreeing to sit down with me.
Kamal: Not like you gave me much choice.
Me: True, but I think deep down you really wanted to do this interview.
Kamal: Rolls his eyes while lighting a cigarette.
Me: Waves smoke out away. Okay, shall we get to it then?
Kamal: The sooner you do the sooner I can get out of here.
Me: How have things been going?
Kamal: What things?
Me: Um… Your job? Had any interesting jobs lately?
Kamal: No comment.
Me: That’s not how this works. You have to answer the questions.
Kamal: I can’t answer that one, and you know why. Though I will say I have something big coming up but I can’t discuss it.
Me: So you’re just going to leave us wondering what it might be?
Kamal: Nods and, after looking for and not finding an ashtray, ashes his cigarette into Zijad’s cupped hands.
Me: Prays that Kamal won’t put the cigarette out in Zijad’s hands before taking a deep breath. Okay, so then what subjects are not out of bounds?
Kamal: I don’t know until you ask.
Me: Fine, how are things going at home?
Kamal: Things are what they are.
Me: And is that good, or…
Kamal: Looks at the young man kneeling beside him, and then at the stub of cigarette in his hand before pinching it to put it out and laying it among the ashes.
Zijad: Looks around the room, and then at me but says nothing.
Me: Trash can’s in the corner.
Zijad: Inclines his head as a silent thank you and crawls on his knees to the corner where the trash can sits.
Me: Watches Kamal, who watches Zijad. A small smile touches Kamal’s lips before he schools his expression once more.
Kamal: Things are going well.
Me: Finally an answer! What do you guys do for fun?
Kamal: I don’t think you really want the answer to that.
Zijad: Returns to his spot and blushes bright red.
Me: Coughs and starts babbling. Okay, maybe you’re right about that. What about vacations? Have you gone anywhere, or is there somewhere you’d like to go? Do you ski? I’ve heard there are some good skiing places. I don’t ski myself because I’d probably break a leg but…
Kamal: I don’t ski. I don’t do fun outdoor activities, and I hate traveling. Sits back as if contemplating his answer before a nasty grin appears. On second thought, there is this quaint little cabin in the mountains I was thinking about revisiting…
Zijad: Pales and whimpers before Kamal gives him a look that silences him.
Me: Are you serious right now?
Kamal: Of course. I’m always serious. Looks satisfied with himself.
Me: Have I ever told you how much I dislike you?
Kamal: Too many times to count.
Me: Good. I just wanted you to know that’s still the case.
Kamal: Are we done here?
Me: Are you going to answer any of my questions without the aim of making either me or Zijad uncomfortable?
Me: Fine, we’re done here then.
Kamal: Stands up and walks to the door. Zijad follows, still on his knees and almost runs into Kamal when he suddenly stops and turns to look at me. I’ll be in touch. Soon.
Me: I know. I heard you were up to something again. Sends a pitying look at Zijad who hangs his head and hides his face behind his hair.
Kamal: I think deep down, you love me.
Me: Snorts. Yeah, no.
Kamal: Chuckles as he turns and leads Zijad out the door.