Smokey tendrils wrapped themselves tauntingly around the man who was not a man as it stumbled through the tall glass doors into the downtown café. The thing, whose name had once been Nour, stood there dressed in a stained galabeya looking around, not feeling the slight caress from the chess player’s smoke to its left.
Mustafa stared at the man from across the room nursing a bottle of Stella. Taking the cigarette out of his mouth and accidentally ashing on his designer jeans, he gazed at the man with his dark brown eyes. He watched the man’s jaw working frantically. The high ceilings of the café were great for reducing heat, but the rectangular columns placed throughout and the odd angles of the room made it horrible for acoustics. Moreover, he could not hear what the thing was saying, if anything intelligible at all, above the growing din of the Thursday afternoon crowd.