Spring 1960 • Vol. XXII No. 2 Fiction |

Haboob

Over the bar in the flat stone building which served as a combined Officers' Club and barracks at El Geneina there hung a sign which read: "In case of haboob settle acount before leaving." The captain, a solid muscular man, who stood alone trying to enjoy a can of weak flat beer, stared bemusedly at the belabored letters as though instead of seeing the sign every day for more than two years he had just discovered it. He wondered if many of the transient personnel whom one circumstance or another had detained here ever noticed the misspelling. He wondered how long before his coming the sign had been lettered, and if the painter had been one of the Sudanese employed on the station. The lettering commission would have presented Mohammed, or Ali—for surely he would have been so named—with a unique opportunity to display to his world at a single stroke his knowledge of English and his ability to paint the unfamiliar symbols, symbols so gross, so disunited and impersonal in comparison

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