Ellen’s Experience in a Bedouin Tent, Somewhere in Southern Tunisia

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Jan 01

What Started The Arab Spring

Excerpt from Quantum Entity | American
Spring, Book 2 in Quantum Entity Trilogy

Small things can ignite big
changes. Witness what is happening in Turkey circa June 2013, Park Defender Helped Set Off Turkey’s Crisis, New York Times.
Here is an excerpt from Book 2–Ellen Brooks visits with the brother of the man
who set off the Arab Spring, some 60 years earlier.

enters a large Bedouin tent. It has many colorful rugs covering every square
foot of its floor area. There is a raised sleeping platform at the far end with
heavy blankets to keep him warm in the cold desert night air. The tent is lit
by flickering oil lamps whose wicks are made of some type of plant material.
There are three dark hardwood columns that keep the structure upright. There
are comfortable cushions arranged neatly in a square where they can chat. Ellen
will not have to sit cross-legged on the floor although her yoga-trained body
would have no trouble doing so for hours at a time if required.
She knows that Dekka is not far away. Even though no one else is invited, he
and Tristan follow them here. Even a novice tracker like Ellen can see the
light sand plume 1,000 yards astern. She still uses some of the sailing lingo
Damien taught her years ago.
“Bonsoir,” she says standing before a man of 75, maybe 80.
“Hello, Madam First Secretary. Welcome to le temple du message. Forgive my
Engleesh,” he asks. “It has been some year since I try.”
“It is much better than my French,” she says with a smile.
“S’il vous plaît, seet down,” he gestures to a cushion nearby.
“Merci bien.”
“Peut-être, you to take off your head scarf?” he asks with a smile in return.
Then he says, “May I?”
With her permission given, he gently touches her long golden hair, undoing her
Chatillon Creek barrette which was hidden by her head scarf until now so that
her hair falls loose about her shoulders. Then he runs its thickness through
his fingers and brings it to his nose where he takes a long whiff. He then
gestures for her to put her barrette and head scarf back on.
She supposes there aren’t too many women in this part of the world who visit
this place. In fact, she is the first outsider to do so.
“Do you know why I am here?”
“Oui. You wish to comprehend what you do to overthrow your government.”
“It isn’t my government, Monsieur Bouazizi.”
“Je comprehends. Still, they are powerful. Many guns. Many weapons. They fly
one in ma tente. Et voilà, you and I… finis.” He takes his hand and makes a
slitting motion across his throat. “Kaput!”
“I realize I have put you in grave danger by coming here but we need your
“Non. Not my aid. You need something more.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Oui, je sais,
mais peut-être, you will,” he says looking deep into her troubled soul.
“May I tell you what we have done so far?” Ellen asks.
“If you wish.”
“We have established a Provisional Government based in San Francisco. It is based on a General
Assembly which will remain in place until there is a transfer of power from the
United States of America to
a new Commonwealth of the United
 States. I was elected First Secretary of the
General Assembly last year and I have a shadow cabinet that is preparing for a
handover of government and a transition afterward—peaceful we hope.
“We have asked people to continue to pay their taxes, to go to work and respect
each other, even those that oppose the Provisional Government and our Quantum
Allies. We ask people to engage in civil disobedience and we have brought back
our Quantum brothers and sisters to work with us as we try to put this great
recession behind us.
“We have created a new central bank, Quantum Reserve Bank, a highly trusted
institution, and a new currency called QE Dollars (ironically referred to by
everyone as QED, Dr. Luis’ favorite shorthand) that is rapidly replacing both
the old worthless US Dollar and the New Dollar which is depreciating at Weimar
Republic levels since the US Federal Reserve, under pressure from President
Schwinn’s regime, is printing unprecedented amounts of their currency.
“While people must still pay their taxes, millions have switched their payments
over to the Commonwealth.”
“Bien sur. Government run on money. This is wise,” Bouazizi says.
“The General Assembly is debating our new constitution and the policies we must
put in place to serve our people, all our people, rich and poor, warm and cold.
“But still Schwinn and his henchmen hang on. They are searching for me and will
kill me and members of my Cabinet without second thought or a soupcon of
“We are not sure what more we can do—except perhaps call a general strike but
with unemployment at 25% and rising, we are afraid. Our people may starve come
winter in the north and they won’t do much better in the south but at least
there they won’t freeze to death. We are at a stalemate. So I came here to see…
“Ah, but you only tell me poquito,” he says switching to some Italian.
“I’m not sure I understand you?” Ellen says.
He just looks at her again.
She shifts uncomfortably on her cushion. She is not used to being treated this
way. She waits for him to clarify his comment. He declines to do so; apparently
he is quite OK with the idea of sitting there indefinitely, silently,
She takes a deep breath and says, “They have Damien.”
He nods for her to go on.
“He is my, ah, friend. He created our Quantum Counterparts. “
Spider just stares at her, willing her to go on, to be honest with him but
also, more importantly, with herself.
“Umm, he is my… lover.”
“Ah, oui. Now we understand each other. They have your King in checkmate. C’est
ca, oui?”
“You know of course how Arab Spring happen?”
“It was my brother, Mohamed. My beautiful Basboosa. While I learn to work in
Russian hotel, Basboosa, he support our family. He 26-year. Fruit seller with
brouette.” He stops and makes hand motions showing her Basboosa’s wheelbarrow.
“He make 150$ chaque mois. Aider à huit personnes,” he holds up eight fingers
as he says this for emphasis. “He try to buy truck. Police takes him, hit him,
steal all his fruit. He demand see Governor. Governor say ‘no’. He no tell me. He no
come to me.
“Il utiliser de l’huile. Basboosa tout brûler. Il est mort. Mort ! 2 0 1 1.” Again he holds up
fingers to indicate the year for her.
“Je vois cela à la télévision. Puis, les gens se lèvent dans la révolte!
“Soon Ben Ali no more.
After Jasmine Révolution, I come here. Never go back.”
Ellen says nothing but reaches out and touches him gently on the shoulder as
the elder recounts the horror of those days almost 60 years ago.
Then he is looking at her again, willing her to see what he can see. But she
does not want to. So he waits some more.
“What are you trying to tell me?”
“Je pense que vous savez,” he says penetratingly.
“That our revolution needs a martyr, a match, a burning?”
“C’est ca.”
“No I cannot accept that. No. Never.”
“It better if he die,” Spider says.
Ellen jumps up, runs out of the tent and sprints into the desert followed
closely by a bewildered Dekka, Glock 29 in hand.

She lies in the cold desert night, first baring her stomach to Mother Earth as
her friend Angelo Keller told her to do years ago to repair her hara. Then she
flips over to watch a fantastic performance the Milky Way is putting on
tonight. Dekka has brought her heavy coat from her pack and Hortense has come
over and is keeping them both company too.
‘There must be another way,’ Ellen is saying over and over again to herself.
But she can’t think of any. Almost all revolutions have their martyrs why
should hers be any different. What’s one life in the scheme of things?
But every life is precious to Ellen who puts her hands over her womb wishing
she had a baby of her own, wishing she had Damien with her right now to help
her make one in this beautiful desert. She turned 31 last year and time is
running out for that part of her life. As First Secretary, leader of their
Provisional Government, there is no time for a baby and she has no right to
bring her child into such a troubled world anyway. Still she doesn’t care one
whit about anything other than her promise to free Damien and to have his baby.
Of course, she is now lying to herself.

“May I meet him, per favore?” Spider asks her when she, now more calm, returns
to his tent.
He has never met a Quantum person before. So she places her Q-phone between
them, there being no media walls in his tent of course, and Ash3r appears
momentarily about a meter high. He says, ‘Hello’ in his usual polite manner.
Spider gets up and walks around the projection, rudely putting his hand through
Ash3r and making polite noises of his own.
Then Spider sits down and invites Ellen to smoke some shisha with him. He calls
it his ‘peace pipe offering’ and gives her a wide smile. He has a brazier going
inside his tent where camel dung is burning quite nicely. He vents it through a
complex flap system that lets smoke out but keeps (infrequent) rains out.
Ellen does not smoke, drinks sparingly and never takes any drugs, legal or
illegal, if she can help it.
“It is special blend. Me, I make.”
“I’m sorry Mr. Bouazizi, I don’t smoke,” Ellen says.
“Correct. Correct. American don’t smoke. Healthy. Yoga. (He has read a briefing
on Ellen and knows this about her and a lot more.) But I think this one time,
you smoke.”
“What’s in it?”
“Special. Special for you.”
“I don’t think so, I am sorry.”
“You want to save this man?”
“You help your ‘friend’? You do anything to help him? You want find another
way? You smoke.”
So she does.

Presently, Ellen is vomiting profusely but politely outside his tent. Bouazizi
is there holding her hair that has somehow become disengaged from its previous
bondage. He holds it so that it will not become coated in crap. When she feels
better, they go back inside.
Bouazizi has his own blend of herbs, spices and hashish combined with
unadulterated tobacco that they grow themselves. While they are toking up,
Hortense sticks her big nose inside the tent. She knows that she is not allowed
to bring her whole body inside. Camels are homebodies—they’d stay in their pens
and never leave their brothers, sisters, children or mates if they could. But
they do love to both smoke and toke up Salem explains to her. Her camel is no
exception so Hortense has moseyed over.
“What you experience,” Spider says to a now completely zonked Ellen, “is
science through which you travel into presence of the Divine to purify you and
beautify yourself via praiseworthy traits. These are words of Ahmad ibn Ajiba,
Darqawi Sufi teacher.”
“I am not beautiful, Salem. I am not praiseworthy. My company is lost, my man
is almost gone, I have no baby.”
“You must draw closer to God.”
“God has forsaken me.”
“You have been ordered to serve for 1,001 day in kitchens of hospice for the
poor. This is by order of Mevlevi,” Salem answers.
“I worked in the Toronto Soup Kitchen and in the kitchen of the Women’s Shelter
where they took me in when I first came to San Francisco. But I did it for me.
For my ego. I am a total loser, Spider.”
“Bahya ibn Paquda say Duties of Heart are never for self and can only grow you
bigger. But you full of self pity. You full of doubt. You full of self
loathing. Yes, a loser you are,” Salem says sternly.
“Madam First Secretary? Grow up! Look up!” he adds.
So she does. She sees that Bouazizi is floating a few inches above his cushion
but not looking at her. He is looking at Ash3r.
“So why you no tell her?” Bouazizi asks Ash3r.
“I have no idea what you are talking about, Sir,” Ash3r says.
“I see it. You think you fool Sufi? Fool creature.”
“What is it, Spider?” Ellen asks softly.
“It is your answer. Your other path. He know it,” Spider says pointing at Ash3r
who has by this time shrunk in embarrassment to about an inch in diameter.
“Ash3r, stop that,” Ellen says.
He returns to more human scale proportion but cannot look at her.
“Tell me,” she commands.
“I cannot,” Ash3r replies.
Ellen, even in her altered state, cannot believe what she has just heard. Never
in all the tests they’ve run nor in all her interactions with Ash3r has he ever
said such a thing to her or, as far as she knows, has any QE ever said to a
human counterpart before.
She can see that he is suffering stress because of it but she says again
simply, “Tell me.”
So she goes in a new direction. “Why not?”
“To tell you, I would break all three laws.”
“Ash3r, there is nothing that you may tell me that will in any way alter our
relationship. I, I… I love you.” This last comment just slips out. The normal
Ellen never would have said it.
“I love you too, Ellen. I would die for you. I care for you. I would go to the
end of the Universe with you and for you. But this I cannot do.”
Another stalemate has been reached.
“Love? What love have to do with it?” Salem asks. “Let’s play 20 Questions,” he
adds with a wicked sense of humor. He and Basboosa used to play 20q when they
were kids. They were really good at stumping the program. Of course, this is in
the time before Damien Bell and QEs. Now if you have access to a QE, no way,
you’re gonna stump ‘em. Of course, it’s now the other way round—the QE is
trying to bamboozle the human.
“OK,” says Ellen.
“Alright,” Ash3r agrees.
But then Ellen just sits there; she’s still quite stoned. The impact of the
shisha mixture will not fully wear off for two days.
So Bouazizi gives her a light poke in her side to wake her up.
“Right. Yes. OK. So let’s see. Hmm.”
“1) Is it classified as animal, vegetable or mineral?” she asks.

in Book 2, Quantum Entity | American Spring)


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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.