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Edition 2: The Narrow Gate by Daniel Pearlman

flag USAbu Melek enjoys all the priviledges of being a merchant of the Middle East, and why should he not? But he should beware his indolent attitudes, because the desert is all about survival of the fittest and compromising the caravan is not an option. SY


Abu Melek had much desert still to cross before reaching Baghdad with his caravan-load of silks, spices, gems and women from the East. Was there anything better than the life of a merchant? Every night he took pleasure in his goods—occasionally damaging a roll of silk or breaking an excessively delicate spine in his ardor (affordable losses all). He could eat his kaleb halwa and have it too!

Abu traveled longer in the heat of day than custom prescribed. Time being money, the days thus gained more than offset the losses incurred: inferior camels and women of weak constitution, tidbits tossed to the ever-present jackals. Pushing his troupe to the limits raised not a hackle among his sword-wielding guards, for they too had their nightly pick of the seventy black-haired beauties that had lasted thus far.

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