“I used to Count My Friends on My Fingers” by Ahmed Saadawi

“I used to Count My Friends on My Fingers,” short story by Ahmed Saadawi. Banipal 49, Spring 2014, pp. 116-23.

His staring eyes glistened in the candle’s steady flame, while the silhouette of the colossal five-fingered hand played on the nearby wall. It slowly moved down towards the head of the second friend, then stopped, sort of hovered, and withdrew languorously from the wall.
“Why didn’t you commit suicide? Was that not an important decision?” he asked his second friend. Silence reigned for a few moments before the answer came.
“Such a matter requires the courage of all desperate men on the face of the earth in order for one person to do it on behalf of them all. If all their courage comes together in this one person, then the ritual will be consummated, and the sacrifice thrown into the pit of nothingness.”
“Why didn’t you commit suicide? Was that not an important decision?” he asked his second friend. Silence reigned for a few moments before the answer came.
“Such a matter requires the courage of all desperate men on the face of the earth in order for one person to do it on behalf of them all. If all their courage comes together in this one person, then the ritual will be consummated, and the sacrifice thrown into the pit of nothingness.”

http://www.banipal.co.uk/back_issues/87/%20issue-49/

Cover of Banipal 49: A Cornucopia of Short Stories
Cover of Banipal 49