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by Albert Russo

Ishmael has the face of an angel like you see in them old paintings fulla love and shmooz, so that nobody believes he is fifteen, even though he is so tall. Apparently when he first knocked at the door of the refuge he was pathetically thin, sweating and with his hair in a mess. He was crying like there was no tomorrow, the poor chappie. Actually, that expreshun is right in this case, coz he didn’t know what his life was going to be, since he fled from his Arab town in the center of Israel.

Ishmael is the baby of a family of three children, and his two sisters loved him so much, they acted like he was their doll. He was also his parents’ favorite. He was very good at school and dreamed of becoming an electronic engineer so that he could have his own start-up business.

His widowed uncle Rashid lived with his family. That uncle too loved Ishmael to bits - you’ll see later how many of them there were - , telling him how clever he was and how handsome he would grow, having all the girls at his feet. What kinda miss-o-jean-ist was he to treat us like we are just rugs! Jeezette almighty.

That rake of a Rashid went every night to the boy’s room to complain that since his wifey died, he felt so lonely, and that to see his darlin’ lil nephew before going to sleep made him feel better. He even cried a few times, so that Ishmael took pity on him and let the devil kiss him. First it was on the cheek, then on the mouth. But when the uncle, the carbuncle, started fiddling with Ishmael’s tummy, opening his pajama, and slipping his fingers down under, the ladder told him to please stop it and if he could leave his room. And do you know what Rash-o-shmuck answered? “After all the affection and love I gave you, that is the way you are repaying me? How ungrateful of you!”

The next day, his father, usually so sweet, said to him in the voice of an ogre:

“Come to my room and lock the door behind you.”

That is when hell’s bells started ringing in mega decibels. Ishmael never saw his father so furious and so frightening. He thought that the ladder’s eyes were going to pop out of their socks and splash against the wall any second.

But before he could open his mouth, his father slapped him so hard that the boy fell to the floor.

“I won’t allow a homosexual to live in this house. Tomorrow I shall send you to a correctional institution where they will teach you to become a normal human being.”

Ishmael coudn’t sleep that night, and before dawn, crying and hardly believing what was happening to him, he packed some clothes in his sport’s duffel bag and left the home where he grew up and spent such wonderful moments.