The Book of Khalid – A Memoir
You won’t have a chance to see Khalid in the West, but you will in Egypt. He’s quite the kind of man you’d like to know: he just loves to eat.
I am not sure if Khalid is actually called that in Arabic or not, but it appears that there are many ways of naming this creature, which is even more bizarre to me when you consider that it doesn’t seem to take anything away from him in his pleasure, and which could be considered his lifestyle. He usually has four servants, all in different uniforms, and is not at all shy about sharing his food with them, even if it’s in his own home. This has been proved by others, who have seen him – but they’ve also said that he can be rather rude and difficult to deal with.
He can be as large as a wolf or as small as a mouse, depending on the day. His true size, I am told, is between two and three meters long, and that of a lion, and maybe even more. If you ever take a chance and visit him, you will find that Khalid can leave you a little breathless, particularly when he is showing you the food, which is regularly pulled from all around the area where he lives. Sometimes, he will give you a fork in his mouth, while you are eating and asks you to remember to spit out your food afterwards, if you would like.
Once, he said to me, “The mouse ate my cat”, because he had been nibbling on his grey coat. It was possible for him to spit out the mouse and then start biting at it again. No one was supposed to get bitten. Apparently, he had eaten a mouse that he thought was being eaten by a mouse and then moved it about the room, sniffing it before he ate it.
In the last chapter of the book in which he gets to write about his craziness, he mentions a time when, along with the guards of the prison, he was allowed to sit and watch in a cell next to a murderer. All the time, Khalid was seeing himself as the victim. He would tear into the food and pretend that the food was the knife which he would use to cut the murderer’s throat. After all, how could he kill someone who had just killed his family?
Another time, when Khalid saw a guard drinking alcohol in the prison bar, he told the guard, “Stop this, you are hurting yourself”, and told him to stop drinking. The guard, completely drunk, got very angry and thought he was playing a prank on him, and started to strike Khalid on the face.
Then, a certain fellow got into the prison, and another guy in the guard’s cell took part in a meat fight with him. Some say Khalid was the victor, and that he received a broken nose. Khalid, however, did not become too upset, although he was looking quite a bit bruised. He simply removed the piece of meat from his face and ate it in front of the other fellow, for his amusement.