As our young protagonists near their collision, a military general named Jafar sulks in an undisclosed location, whining to anyone who will listen about the Supreme Council of Armed Forces. Having lost most of his friends after deciding to become a power-hungry, money-grubbing, good-for-nothing, his one companion is Stanley, a hairless rat he found in the desert and nursed back to life with cat milk. It was weird.
For as long as Stanley will listen, Jafar complains about how the SCAF’s poor leadership is leading the country along an ever lengthening road towards democracy. Why are they even bothering with the illusion of democracy at all? Can’t they just kill it, both the delusion and democracy itself, altogether and quickly?
If he, Jafar, were in power, there would be no more of this ridiculous talk along with the facade of free elections or free speech. He alone would command the country, an evil dictator that would host weekend parties where the glitterati of Hollywood and Bollywood swims in champagne purchased at one thousand dollars a bottle. No one would dare challenge him and he would catapult Egypt to the top of every development index by force, regardless of whether true benefits reached the peasants.
One thing stands in the way of his dream: the gassy compatriots that make up the SCAF. An outsider to the group, he only spies them when entering or exiting their lounge that is stocked with an endless supply of Redbull and Snickers Bars. There is no application process to enter this warm circle of military minds. You are either born into it, or claw your way to the inside by putting its entry above even the necessity of your bodily functions.
Though the way appears messy, Jafar is ready to sacrifice everything, even Stanley, in order to rule this thorny country. And he even has a plan. A ill-hatched, half-cooked, likely-to-fail plan.
Jafar dabbles in trolling websites concerning conspiracy theories, urban myths, and cute pictures of animals. While perusing one of these sites, he came across the legend of a sweet potato oven in Shubra that houses the ghost of Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish state. When the sweet wood of a balsam tree is burned in this oven, the ghost rises and grants three wishes concerning statecraft and/or nation building.
The oven, however, can only be found by one from the neighborhood of Shubra itself, since the streets are quite difficult to navigate and change without documentation. Moreover, the person who locates the oven must be the only living relative of the man currently in charge of keeping it and selling hot sweet potatoes to passersby.
After long years of internet searching and hanging out in bars, Jafar has found the shab he needs to locate the oven: Aladdin. Now it’s only a matter of time before the young man falls into the desperate clutch of the would-be tyrant.
To be continued…..