“Hello,” he said.
The camel looked at him.
“What’s your name?”
“Jeffery, what’s yours?”
“Tommy. It’s nice to meet you,” he said. “Can I ask you a few questions?”
“I don’t know. Can you?”
“It’s hot out here.”
“It’s a desert,” said the camel, flatly. “Deserts are hot.”
“Do you know anything about the camels and the three wise men?”
“Not this again,” sighed the camel. “Look, the camels never found one wise man, let alone three of them, and that whole manger thing never happened. Camels aren’t taxi cabs, although you’d never know it by the way we’re treated. Yes, camels stopped by an inn, but all they saw was a newborn girl. The camels were on the way to a family reunion and wanted to stop at the inn to get something to drink. But you guys will believe ANYTHING. Do you have any idea how much money people spend on statues of camels for the holiday you made up? A lot. And for what? Camels don’t get a kick back, you know. Now, ask me something else before I stomp on you.”
“Did you know those camels?”
“Seriously? Do I look that old to you?”
“No. Of course not.”
“Why don’t you go ask lambs, or shepherds, or inn keepers what they think about that story?”
“I just thought camels were smart and would know stuff.”
“Well, we are smart,” said the camel, holding his head high.
“Is it true that camels spit at people?”
“Because it’s fun, and because people make us carry a lot of heavy stuff, including them. How would you like it? It’s not as if we have a choice. We’re tied up and can’t escape.”
“I’m sorry. That’ does sound horrible.”
“Do you know that you’re called ships of the desert?”
“That shows how stupid you are. Ships need water. Water is not abundant in a desert, in case you haven’t noticed. Ships my hoofs. And why do you people think you should be carried everywhere? How is that MY job, to get you from place to place?”
“I don’t know. I never rode on a camel.”
“Well, see that you never do. How would you like to carry me?”
“I don’t think it would be possible,” he said, honestly.
“No one carries us anywhere.”
“I’m just saying that if you wanted me to carry you somewhere I couldn’t do it, because I couldn’t lift you.”
“Don’t you wonder about that?”
“About what?” he asked.
“About the fact that you’re weak, scrawny, things and yet you chain every other being up up for your own use?”
“A lot good that does,” said the camel, turning his back on the man. “Go away. I’m thinking of how I can escape.”
“Can I help?”
“Sure,” said Tommy. “Just tell me what I can do.”
“Take this stuff off of me. The reins and everything else.”
“Okay,” he said, as he pulled things off the camel. “How’s that?” he asked, dropping everything to the sand.
“I owe you one,” said the camel.
“No. You don’t,” said Tommy. “Have a good life.”
The camel nodded and walked toward the setting sun. Free at last. Tommy smiled and went back to his Jeep.
A Happy Ending…
Photo: Mariam Soliman