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The Fall of the Dinars

By: Reamaj

Page 1, Jordan is undergoing a burning phase as the economical depression is suppressing the Jordanians by creating waves of anger and insecurity.

 

THE FALL OF THE DINARS

 

 

composed by

 

Ream Odetallah

 

 

 

 

 

Unusually, the sun's glow has not blocked Asem's straight view of the sky, enjoying the birds' united flight, acknowledging that this unity is becoming more and more impossible in his messed up life. As he keeps staring numbly at the peaceful sky, he dives into the hymns of a Gregorian song ‘The Moment of Peace’ implying the mêlée he will encounter before eternal peace.

 

 

1.INT. ASEM'S HOUSE– AFTERNOON

 

FADE IN: Asem enters the glassed-built flat that views the serene blue ocean. He places his suitcase carelessly next to the kitchen table and walks in numbness towards the extended mirrored windows.

 

 

DALIA (ASEM'S MOTHER)

 

Good afternoon, dear. (She walks pass him and steals a look at his gloomy face) Is everything OK?

 

 

ASEM

 

Mum. (Smiles unpleasantly) Yes, I'm good. (He turns his head down to hide his true feelings) The house is quiet. Dad and Samer?

 

 

DALIA

 

Dad is in an urgent meeting with his investors. Your brother does not know when to stop partying!

 

 

ASEM

 

(Laughs lightly) Too early to be responsible.

 

 

Silence takes place until Asem relieves his mother from her eagerness.

 

 

ASEM

 

Kamal got promoted instead. It was officially said today.

 

 

DALIA

 

(She looks at him speechlessly at first, and then puts her glass down for consolation) I am sorry, love. So this what has been bothering you?

 

 

GEORGE

 

Yup! It sure was a shock. Me five years in management and him just a year.

 

 

DALIA

 

But don't make this feel you down. You can always apply again. Believe in yourself.

 

 

ASEM

 

That's not the point mum. I mean all the time I've been a scapegoat for his scheme. It wasn't clear to me what he was foxing for.

 

 

DALIA

 

Well, he isn't what he claims to be. And you can learn from this incident.

 

 

 

ASEM

 

A fool swims in his own pool. (Looks up at his loving mother, who cherishes his charisma and determination)

 

 

DALIA

 

He is only a manager of a department in a huge company. You can head for the presidency office.

 

 

ASEM

 

You are amazing mum. You have always looked for ways to make us feel better than what we are.

 

 

DALIA

 

That's because you are what you are, and you make me proud.

 

 

He gets up from the stool and kisses her forehead as Samer comes home looking sloppy.

 

Asem and Dalia are not content with what they see. Asem sways angrily out of the kitchen as Dalia eyes her other son with her disapproval.

 

 

SAMER

 

What? Is he right again?

 

 

DALIA

 

Samer! Are you saying the way you look and walk are not a problem? You leave at midnight and turn up the next day like a lousy drunkard?

 

 

SAMER

 

C'mon mum. I have been studying my ass in England, and I am trying to chill out when I am home.

 

DALIA

 

This is not a chill out! (Her soft tone rises a bit) This is a way to show your family disrespect.

 

 

SAMER

 

(Hugs his mother and kisses her on the head and her cheeks) You know I have the utmost respect for you. I love you mum.

 

Her softness and unconditional tenderness prevent her from further scolding, but she uncomfortably watches Samer waggling his way to his room, trying not to trip over or stumble.

 

 

2. INT. HAIDAR'S OFFICE – EARLY EVENING

 

 

LOAY ALHASSAN

 

It's all in the news Haidar. If we don't declare bankruptcy, the government will confiscate our properties.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Why don't we call our agents first for evaluation?

 

 

LOAY

 

I did call the Concorde Company, but no one was answering. Obviously, they know the calls are from their clients.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

This can't be happening. All of our lifesavings are on stock. And we have been profiting from them for 4 years. I must call my lawyer.

 

He dials the number and waits for a long time until the lawyer picks up the mobile.

 

Loay sits with unrest on the sofa couch. He seems to know more than what has been said.

 

 

MAZEN ALJAMEL

 

Yes, Haidar?

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Tell me how bad?

 

 

MAZEN

 

I must go over your papers first to see the damages caused. I will try my best to redeem some of your investments.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

This is going to take me to hell.

 

 

He hangs up and stays staring at the wall facing him.

 

Loay leaves the office as the secretary signs him to come over.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

This must not be my end.

 

 

3. INT. – THE CONFERENCE ROOM – SAME TIME

 

 

CLARA

 

Your co-investors have been calling since morning.

 

 

LOAY

 

I know and I am expecting this, but now I can't reply to their calls until I get a clear idea of what is really going on.

 

CLARA

 

Abu Laban and his wife are in your office.

 

 

LOAY

 

(Stunningly he peeks a look and curses) Listen in 15 minutes bring them to Haidar's office. Let me prepare him.

 

Loay sways nervously back to the office, and as he opens the door, he hears a shout from Haidar to someone over the phone.

 

Haidar shouts unpleasantly about the latest news he has received.

 

Who was that?

 

 

HAIDAR

 

That was our loyal friend from Concorde. He stopped running business from last night, without contacting his favourite clients! He is cheap! They are all liars! They all knew from before what would happen. (Stoops from his seat and is about to grab his formal jacket)

 

 

LOAY

 

Mr and Mrs Abu Laban are here.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Deal with them.

 

 

LOAY

 

No, Haidar! We are in this together. Plus you are the head signer. You took in their cheques. 

 

 

HAIDAR

 

(His eyes go red as if a bomb is about to explode in him) Loay, put me on the face of the canon, but I can't see them now. I don't know what to tell them! Your money is gone!!

 

 

The unwelcomed guests barge into the grand office.

 

CLARA

 

I am sorry sir. They have just passed through me.

 

 

LOAY

 

It's OK Clara. We'll take it from here. (Looks at the fired up guests) Shall we get you something?

 

 

MRS ABU LABAN

 

Yes. Our money!

 

 

HAIDAR

 

As if we have them.

 

 

MRS ABU LABAN

 

Excuse me? I see your tone has changed.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

I am not happy to what has happened, too. But if we have lost millions, how do you expect us to return your millions???

 

 

MR ABU LABAN

 

By starting to contact your investors and agents……

 

 

MRS ABU LABAN

 

(Interrupts her wimpy husband) Give us a guarantee or we will sue you for fraud.

Haidar laughs to this fake accusation, grasping the point of their visit.

 

 

LOAY

 

This is blackmailing.

 

 

MRS ABU LABAN

 

We gave you our trust, didn't we?

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Were you aware of what your wife had in mind Mr Abu Laban?

 

 

MR ABU LABAN

 

I wasn't happy with the news (Takes a quick look at his wife, who narrows her eyes as to stick to her plan)But I have to agree with what she says. It's her money afterall.

 

 

LOAY

 

Hmmmmm….Then on behalf of our company, we are not going to accept your charges Mrs Abu Laban. You can sue us if you want. (Opens the door for them to leave)

 

 

MRS ABU LABAN

 

You will regret this. (Turns to Haidar) Both of you will.

 

 

 

4. INT. ASEM'S HOUSE – LATE EVENING

 

 

SAMER

 

Good morning.

 

 

ASEM

 

(Steals a quick look at his wristwatch) Why don't we stay indoors together tonight?

 

Samer pretends not to hear what his brother has just said.

 

 

SAMER

 

Have a nice evening. See you later.

 

As he grabs the car key, their father walks in with a pale face.

 

Hi dad. (Shows no reaction to his greetings, but Samer pays attention to his unintended non-response)

 

Dad. Are you OK?

 

 

ASEM

 

Dad? (Sill no response. Asem stood up and looked deeply into his painful eyes)

 

(Raises his voice) Dad, are you hurt?

 

Asem moved towards his father and touched him gently, worried from a total collapse or a sudden seizure.

 

Can you hear me? What's wrong?

 

 

HAIDAR

 

I am tired. I need to lie down.

 

He seats himself upright and Samer sits next to him. Haidar faces Samer and touches his handsome face as tears roll down his cheeks.

 

I am sorry son. You don't deserve this.

 

 

SAMER

 

(Chuckles in vex) What's going on Dad? You are freaking us out!

Haidar covers his face with his hands and cries with agony and the boys look at each other not knowing what to do in this estranged situation.

 

 

DALIA

 

(Comes in hurriedly from her bedroom) What's that? Asem…Haidar. (Moves closer to her weeping husband) Haidar? Darling? Why are you crying?Is there something wrong with your health?

 

As he silences his weeping, he looks at his warm-hearted wife.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

We lost everything. All our savings.

 

 

DALIA

 

What? (Misinterprets his claims) What are you talking about?

 

Asem stands up, realizing the point his father is trying to get to.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Our lifesavings! Our investments are all gone!

 

 

DALIA

 

Honey, could you be more specific? I don't get you. How our lifesavings are…..

 

 

ASEM

 

Our money is all confiscated and blocked by the government. It's all in the news.

 

 

DALIA

 

(Faces Asem) Could you please explain to me what's going on?!

SAMER

 

(In frustration) Yes. I don't get it, too!

 

 

ASEM

 

No more investments and the stock markets have our money!

So, are you telling us that every dinar was put in these trailing companies?

 

Haidar looks up at his elder son, his wife and other son in turn with deep remorse.

 

 

DALIA

 

Say something. Say it's not all true. Say that there is a light of hope. Say something!

 

 

HAIDAR

 

I wish I can.

 

 

SAMER

 

No way! You gotta be kidding us Dad! I am supposed to leave back to university in 3 weeks! And what are you planning to do about that?

 

Haidar remains speechless for a while, then he moves with deep breathings to his bedroom.

 

So, that's it? Our end! Great Dad!

 

 

ASEM

 

Samer. Calm down! Leave him alone for now. We can talk to him tomorrow and get the pieces together.

 

Dalia walks numbly to the kitchen more worried about her family than their financial disaster to come.

 

 

SAMER

 

I'll keep that for you coz I can't get this. The most important shit is my future here.

 

He stumbles out of the house with a bang of the door house, leaving his family in astray for the whole night.

 

 

5. EXT. COFFEE SHOP – AFTERNOON

 

 

LAILA

 

Hi (She bends down to Asem for a kiss. He was expecting her, but she came to him from behind) What’s that?

 

 

ASEM

 

Hi, newspapers.

 

 

LAILA

 

I know they are newspapers. But why so many?

 

 

ASEM

 

I am looking for news in marketing and investments.

 

 

LAILA

 

Boring! What are your plans this weekend?

 

 

ASEM

 

Nothing planned. (His mood changes) You have something specific? (His pimples show)

 

 

LAILA

 

I think I am reading your mind. But no, not that specific. What I meant lover boy if we can go cruising with friends?

 

 

ASEM

 

(He was about to say No) I, I don’t think so love. (Laila is waiting for an explanation) I really did not want to worry you, but my father has been ill for more than a week now.

 

 

LAILA

 

Why? What’s wrong with him?

 

 

ASEM

 

Well, he has….really high blood pressure. So, when he consulted a doctor, she recommended him to take a sick break to avoid other serious diseases like strokes. So, mum and I are looking after him.

 

 

LAILA

 

Asem! Why didn’t you tell me? I can help. I can even sleep over and be by your parents. You are so silly! (She was about to dial her future-to-be in law’s number)

 

 

ASEM

 

Who are you calling?

 

 

LAILA

 

Who else?

 

 

ASEM

 

No! don’t! (He shuts her folded mobile and puts it on the table)

 

 

 

 

LAILA

 

(She looks at him for a short while with astonishment of his estranged attitude) I don’t understand you.

 

 

ASEM

 

I am sorry, sweetheart. I don’t know how to put this for you. Dad told everyone he is out of town. He is not receiving visitors or answering anyone’s calls. He won’t be happy if he knows I told you.

 

 

LAILA

 

Still, you could have told me. I can help in any way.

 

 

ASEM

 

I know sugar bun. But he looks at it as his pride is on pain. And we are dealing with him just fine. What I am telling you is that I can’t move anywhere until he is back to his feet again.

 

 

LAILA

 

(After being convinced of his justification, she grabs his hands) I just want to be there for you. I love you and I can’t see you handling this on your own.

 

 

ASEM

 

(He caresses her baby face and kisses her right hand) I love you, too, Laila. And I am not alone, Mum and Samer are with me, (lying) and we are just doing fine.

 

 

LAILA

 

OK. (Digresses topics) I got these brochures from some ball rooms that I want to show you.

 

 

Asem’s marriage promises are not obvious in his current situation. But telling the total truth to his fiancée might friction their relationship. However, sooner or later he is aware that the truth should come out as soon as he is ready to talk.

 

 

….and I suggest we go to meet with a wedding organizer first. What do you think?

 

 

ASEM

 

Errr..I think that we can….you know why don’t we talk about this some time later? What are we in a hurry for?

 

 

LAILA

 

What? (Laughs to her surprise) I thought you wanted us to be married by next winter?

 

 

ASEM

 

Now, if I could. But I was thinking lately why not keeping it till next summer? What do you say?

 

 

LAILA

 

But we have told our families and friends. And I bought a lot of things for the wedding and our honeymoon. Asem, what are you up to?

 

 

ASEM

 

I am up to nothing. Why are you making a big deal out of this? All what I am saying if we just keep it till the summer and just relax and enjoy our time now?

 

 

LAILA

 

I don’t know. I am just too excited and I didn’t expect this from you.

 

ASEM

 

When we get married, we can’t flirt. And we have the whole life in front of us, I just want to have fun with you.

 

 

LAILA

 

You are acting weird, Asem. Is there anything you want to tell me? I am getting strange thoughts.

 

 

ASEM

 

Strange thoughts like what?

 

 

LAILA

 

Like you do not want to get married?

 

 

ASEM

 

Noooooooooooo, babe! Don’t say that! Of course I do. I mean we haven’t done things officially yet, and I am a bit worried about Dad. Plus we are happy together, so I asked myself why not, if it’s OK with you?

 

 

LAILA

 

It seems you’ve made up your mind. (He smiles at this comment and touches her hand) Fine! But not after summer?

 

 

ASEM

 

OK with me. You are an angel. I have a lot of things in mind for us to do before marriage.

 

 

LAILA

 

Tell me.

 

 

FADE OUT: Asem tries to limit her fantasies in a funny way as she stays listening to him with enjoyment.

 

 

6. INT. ASEM’S HOUSE – LATE THAT EVENING

 

 

Dalia rushes to the door as Asem enters the house. Wariness is obvious on her face as he looks surprisingly at his Mum.

 

 

DALIA

 

Asem! I was trying to call you all day long. Why you didn’t answer?

 

 

ASEM

 

I forgot my personal mobile in my desk’s drawer. What’s wrong, Mum? Where’s Da…..

 

 

DALIA

 

Your Dad has gone since morning, and he is not back. (She holds her breath for a second) It’s almost 9 o’ clock! Something must have happened! (Tears roll down to her face) I just didn’t know what to do!

 

 

ASEM

 

OK, OK Mum. (He hugs her tightly against his chest thinking of what to say) I will go to his office, and I am sure he is there trying to figure out what he must do. Where is Samer?

 

 

DALIA

 

He didn’t come home from last night. I called him yesterday, but he refused to answer. He just sent a message saying ‘staying over at a friend’s’.

 

 

 

 

ASEM

 

OK. I can’t leave you like this. If you promise me to wait calmly, I will leave now. And this is my business number since I left the other phone at the office.

 

 

He kisses her head softly and leaves the house in a very perplexing mood. His main concern is Samer. He knows how wild and careless he may be when he is in a bad mood.

 

 

7. INT. HAIDAR’S WORK PLACE – SAME EVENING

 

 

Asem walks through the rotating doors, greets the security and orders the elevator in pain silence. As he reaches to the destination, as expected he found his father in the lobby with messy papers all around him.

 

 

ASEM

 

Hi, Dad. (Haidar just looks at him as if he were happy to see him here) Mum is so worried about you. She tried calling you, but you haven’t answered her calls. Same with Samer. (He continues rummaging the papers with more nervousness, but Asem holds his shaky hands and asks him to relax for a while)

 

 

HAIDAR

 

I have to find those documents.

 

 

ASEM

 

What documents?

 

 

HAIDAR

 

I went to the Chamber of Commerce today morning to calculate the damages and the percentages lost. What they had were lists of loans from my offices and from my personal accounts. The amount in total is almost the same amount I used for my investments and payments. And what’s worst, which I really do not understand, the deducted amount from my profits! It seems as if the chamber had taken more than what is accounted.

 

 

ASEM

 

So, you are looking for the documents that verify your main investments and their profits?

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Yes! I only found papers from last year, and I need the past 3 years.

 

 

ASEM

 

OK Dad, why don’t we come here tomorrow morning and look for them together? You are so tired now and searching all the files would not do at this moment. Plus Samer didn’t come home and Mum is sick worried. So let’s call the night off.

 

 

He stands up first, knowing that his father would not answer directly. So he starts piling the papers and puts them randomly, but neatly into an empty box and back to his father’s head office.

 

C’mon Dad. Let’s go. (He holds his father from one arm and they leave together back home, in silence)

 

 

8. INT. ASEM’S HOUSE – SAME EVENING

 

 

HAIDAR

 

(His wife was about to ask questions) Please Dalia, don’t say anything. I just want to sleep. (He stays walking to the bedroom)

 

 

DALIA

 

Where was he? Is there anything wrong?

 

ASEM

 

He was at the office. He is fine, Mum. Just tired. I will take a day off tomorrow and go with him to the office. Did Samer call or you called him again?

 

 

DALIA

 

He came after you left a while. He is in his room. He also refuses to talk to me. I think he has been drinking.

 

 

ASEM

 

OK, Mum. Please calm down a bit. Everything will be just fine and I need your help to support this family. Why don’t you go to bed and tomorrow we’ll start a better new day?

 

 

DALIA

 

OK. (She doesn’t want to bother Asem more, and her full time vex contracted her muscles, so she knows some rest would do her well)

 

 

Asem also takes a rest without changing his clothes. A few hours later he wakes up as if someone threw a bucket of water at him.

 

He goes to Samer’s room and realizes that the door was open. He looks everywhere for him until he found him on the house’s doorsteps with a bottle of beer.

 

 

ASEM

 

Is this is your way in dealing with hard times?

 

 

SAMER

 

Good morning to you, too.

 

 

 

 

ASEM

 

You sure know how to party.

 

 

SAMER

 

Listen! Don’t play Dad with me coz he screwed up! Not in the groove.

 

 

ASEM

 

Not willing to. I am just checking up on you. I think if I don’t give some attention now, you all would end up in the same coffin.

 

 

SAMER

 

(Laughs sarcastically) Make sure mine is made from England.

 

 

ASEM

 

Samer. I don’t want to lecture you, but don’t be an extra worry for me. Why don’t you sleep till whenever you want to wake up, so we can talk and solve your problem with rationality?

 

 

SAMER

 

The only rational here is the 15,000 dollars I need for the year, other than that keep your talks to yourselves. (He gets up and goes to his room with a bang of the door)

 

 

ASEM

 

This is a nightmare. (He addresses himself. He stays awake till early morning when his Dad woke up)

 

Good morning, Dad. How are you feeling now?

 

 

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Better than last night.

 

 

ASEM

 

Coffee? Breakfast?

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Just coffee and water, please. Is Samer still sleeping?

 

 

ASEM

 

He went to bed just 2 hours ago. More sleep would do him well.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

You look terrible. I am sorry, son. I don’t want to put you through this with me….

 

 

ASEM

 

It’s OK, Dad. I am glad to help in any way.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

(He admires the optimism in Asem and gives a hearty smile) You always made me proud, this why I am so concerned about our situation, especially that you are planning to get married. Samer’s education is another priority that I am worried about.

 

 

ASEM

 

Dad, let’s take things easily at first. And I see Samer before me. Whatever you get, keep it for him. And please look after your health. It has just been 2 days since the news and look at us! Cheer up, I’ll do some coffee and we’ll leave soon.

 

 

Haidar sits in the TV room and watches the latest news. He tries to glance a shadow of hope from what is being printed in the news bar.

 

He calls his lawyer for the misinformation he has read.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

I almost forgot. I called you a million times yesterday. Why didn’t you pick up the phone?

 

 

MAZEN

 

I am sorry, Haidar. I was in many meetings.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Well, you could have called back! (Silence breaks in) But that’s not why I called you. I am watching the news and it is being said that all companies would be closed down permanently.

 

 

MAZEN

 

Yes, I know. The companies that have been established by bank loans will all be shut down without returns.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

What without returns?

 

 

MAZEN

 

Haidar, you have put your money along with the loans in these companies that have no foundation to return the people’s money. Their money has been confiscated and they have been demolished from the Chamber of Commerce. In other words, they don’t exist any more.

 

 

 

 

HAIDAR

 

That doesn’t make sense at all. Companies that have been running for years cannot be demolished just like that! Especially that they were legal and enlisted.

 

 

MAZEN

 

Listen, Haidar. The justification for that is because many companies are not enrolled legally in the chamber. Haidar, I am affected by the news just like you. These companies depended on banks. They’ve collapsed for unknown reasons, and investors just like us are victimized. It could be a temporary situation. Let’s wait and see what happens next.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

I smell lies and fraud. Big companies can’t just collapse like that. It is a scheme of gain for the government. The big question is ‘where did the registered money go?’

 

 

MAZEN

 

I’ll come by later today, so we can talk with evidence in front of us. Alright?

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Fine, Mazen. See you later.

 

 

ASEM

 

What is it, Dad?

 

 

HAIDAR

 

This is just not right. I feel like a fool. Even my lawyer is not by my side.

 

 

 

ASEM

 

Maybe this dilemma is happening for political reasons??

 

 

 

HAIDAR

 

 

No, I don’t think so. But for power and money. We have been exploited and here are the results. (Silence) Asem, I want you to go to my office, look for the deposited bank checks from year 2005. Ask Clara to help. I must go to the chamber for clarifications, and if I have time I might go to some banks.

 

 

ASEM

 

OK. I think you must take one of our cars. Yours is still there.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Oh, yes. I’ll take Samer’s.

 

 

ASEM

 

(Prepares to leave) Once I get them, I’ll call you to continue with you.

 

 

Asem leaves the house with high hopes as Haidar takes a deep breath in realization of the trauma they are about to go through. He stares out of the window and flashes back to the days when he was encouraged by Mazen into this mess from the first place.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

You’re awake?

 

 

SAMER

 

Ya, and going out.

HAIDAR

 

Have a shower first and eat something. But I am taking your car.

 

 

SAMER

 

No, you’re not!

 

 

HAIDAR

 

What have you just said, son?

 

 

SAMER

 

I am going out with my car. I’ll take you where you wanna go.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

And which pub would be open at this time of the day??

 

 

SAMER

 

Many! (He smiles at his father mockingly)

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Know your limits, otherwise….

 

 

SAMER

 

(Interrupts in a loud voice) Otherwise what? You’ll hit me? C’mon do it!

 

A big slap on the face turns him backward, and he starts tearing.

 

Take your fucking car! (He throws the keys on the floor in front of Haidar and bangs the door house really hard as he leaves)

 

 

9. INT. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE – SAME MORNING

 

 

SAYED SALAH (MANAGER)

 

Yes, Abu Asem. I am sorry for letting you wait. As you can see, we are teemed up. (Haidar is in no mood for a complimentary) OK. Obviously, we can do nothing now since this new situation is unexpectedly overwhelming.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

This is not enough Ustaz Salah…I want to….

 

 

SAYED SALAH

 

(Interrupts politely) You want to know what’s going on, and this I can help you with. Your personal investments turned out to be confiscated by the government due to the fall of the stock markets. This applies to everyone who has put some money in these investments. Of course, your agents that have been looking after your businesses are either in custody or on the run.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

These businesses are my sources of income. What will happen to us and how long would this situation remain?

 

 

SAYED SALAH

 

Not too long I hope. Abu Asem, this is also affecting our chamber. No companies to administer, whether externally or internally, means unemployment. I suggest that you cut down your spending and be patient.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

What spending ustaz? All of my savings and above that the loans are invested. I even don’t know how to pay my debts to the banks.

 

 

SAYED SALAH

 

I think that you should visit the banks you took your loans from and discuss with them how are they going to deal with your matter.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

I am not really optimistic about that. Banks just want their money back. (He stays looking at Sayed Salah who does not comment, for he realizes the awful situation he is in)

 

 

SAYED SALAH

 

I really don’t know what to tell you.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

(Stands up) You don’t need to say anything. Thank you for your time. (They shake hands and he leaves the office with hard sweat around his neck and arm pits)

 

 

10. INT. HAIDAR’S OFFICE – SAME TIME

 

 

CLARA

 

Here they are. You said from 2005?

 

 

ASEM

 

Yes. Thank you, Clara. I’ll call Dad and meet with him.

 

 

CLARA

 

You’re most welcome. How is he by the way?

 

 

ASEM

 

Not so good, but I hope these documents would do something.

CLARA

 

The Abu Labans are not backing off. Even Loay is avoiding them.

 

 

ASEM

 

Who are the Abu Labans?

 

 

CLARA

 

One of your Dad’s main clients. They want their money back.

 

 

ASEM

 

How much is it?

 

 

CLARA

 

2 million dinars.

 

 

ASEM

 

(He lifts his eyebrows misconceiving the whole money game) What the hell? How can that be?

 

 

CLARA

 

It’s business, investing, profiting and gaining. It’s like gambling and many people liked the idea of profiting without working or to add to their incomes for a better lifestyle.

 

 

ASEM

 

But it’s risky and stupid. What is so good and easy is always a deceiver. I can’t believe Dad has fallen into this snaky prank.

 

 

Asem’s phone rings.

 

 

ASEM

 

Hi, Mum.

 

 

DALIA

 

Are you with your father?

 

 

ASEM

 

No, but going to meet him soon. I was helping him with some matters. How are you feeling today?

 

 

DALIA

 

Still worried. Please take care of him. Do you know where is Samer?

 

 

ASEM

 

Sleeping, isn’t he?

 

 

DALIA

 

No, he is not here. Did you see him or anything?

 

 

ASEM

 

No. I’ll check up on him later. He is just a pain in the ass now. He can help rather than adding to our concerns.

 

 

DALIA

 

He is just a young man. He is worried about his education. Allah kareem.

 

 

ASEM

 

Cheer up, Mum. Don’t worry. Inshallah, everything will be just fine.

 

 

The day passes with nothing going on fine.

 

Samer is in one of these cheap pubs, dancing with a hooker.

 

Haidar does not answer Asem’s calls until he receives a sudden phone call from his mother, screaming and crying as she informs him of their father sick in a local hospital.

 

Laila calls Asem, but still receives no answer because he has left his personal mobile at his office. They were supposed to meet over the weekend, but Asem has forgotten about all of the arrangements.

 

 

11. INT. ASEM’S HOUSE – THE NEXT DAY

 

 

The door bell rings.

 

 

LAILA

 

Good afternoon Aunt Dalia. (Approaches her and kisses her on the cheeks)

 

 

DALIA

 

Good afternoon, dear. Come in. (They walk to the dining room) Have a seat. I’ll call Asem.

 

 

LAILA

 

OK. Aunt, you look so tired. Hope I haven’t waken you up?

 

 

DALIA

 

No, sweetheart. Just a minute.

 

 

Laila finds it weird that Dalia hasn’t sit with her. They usually talk a bit and drink coffee together, whether Asem was around or not.

 

 

Asem shows up after 15 minutes as Laila collects her handbag and wants to leave secretly.

 

 

ASEM

 

Laila? Where are you going?

 

 

LAILA

 

Home. Sorry to disturb you.

 

 

ASEM

 

Why? What’s wrong?

 

 

LAILA

 

(Laughs at this ridiculous question) What’s wrong? You serious? Well, let me tell you what’s wrong. A couple of days ago I met my so-called fiancée and we agreed to meet this weekend. Apparently, he isn’t really interested in this meeting because I have been calling him all day long yesterday and he didn’t even bother to pick up the phone.

 

 

ASEM

 

(He genuinely forgets about his phone as it shows on his face) Laila, I am so sorry. I don’t have my phone. I forgot it at the office and yesterday I didn’t go to work, so it has been there for 2 days now. You know my landline, why didn’t you call me?

 

 

LAILA

 

Really? Because I am having these thoughts that you are not interested in talking to me. Actually, lately you have been avoiding me. What’s going on?

 

 

Haidar seems to hear their conversation, wants to interfere, but Dalia who can read his mind sometimes, shakes her head.

 

 

Well, if you care enough, you would have called me. Asem, tell me what’s wrong.

 

 

ASEM

 

Listen, you are right. I owe you an explanation. But it’s not the time or the mood. I will come by to your house today evening. (She looks at him in a funny way, wanting to believe him) I promise.

 

 

LAILA

 

What time?

 

 

ASEM

 

6?

 

 

LAILA

 

OK. I’ll be waiting. If you don’t’ show up, I swear I’ll never talk to you again.

 

 

ASEM

 

I love you. (He knows his boyish and handsome looks would make her smile)

 

 

LAILA

 

Bye. (Trying to resist his charm, but he grabs her arm and kisses her hardly) I’ll be waiting.

 

 

 

 

 

DALIA

 

What are you going to tell her?

 

 

ASEM

 

The truth.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Do you think it’s wise? She might end it up if she knows you’re broke.

 

 

ASEM

 

I am not broke Dad. I have a job and a life. What’s only different is my marriage plans.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

I know, Asem. I am so sorry. What is killing me most is you and Samer. I want the best for both of you, and I am thinking on circles of how to fix my mistakes.

 

 

ASEM

 

Dad, there always must be a way out. We are in this together and we will get out of it together, OK?

 

 

HAIDAR

 

May Allah protect you and your brother. My only hopes are the both of you.

 

 

 

34 days pass and things got only worst.

 

Haidar’s company was closing down and the banks were pursuing him for their money.

 

The door bell rings.

 

 

MESSENGER

 

Hello, the house of Haidar Salem?

 

 

DALIA

 

Yes.

 

 

MESSENGER

 

Is he here?

 

 

DALIA

 

How can I help?

 

 

MESSENGER

 

I have to give him this message from the court house.

 

 

DALIA

 

(Looks at the cold blooded young man in frustration) I will give it to him. (She snatches the letter from his hands and closes the door as he is saying something)

 

 

She opens the letter with a constant breath. In less than a second, she starts crying and walks sonorously to the TV room and looks at her husband.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Who was it? (She gives him the letter) Oh God! These bastards are planning to exterminate us. (He looks at Dalia) Love, don’t worry. I will try to get any money and pay them. Over my dead body would they take our house.

 

12. INT. CENTRAL BANK – NOON

 

BANK CLERK

 

I'll have to pass these transcripts to the manager first, sir. I understand your concern, but the procedures require the bank's approval before processing your objections.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Objections? You think I am not aware of your replies before coming here.

 

 

The clerk looks at him bewildered as if misunderstanding the point he's trying to reach.

 

 

Before you had your diapers off your butt I was dealing with the grandfather of your manager, so I know the regulations more than what you can imagine!

 

 

BANK CLERK

 

Sir, I am…….

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Don't pity me or set your baby rules! I want to reduce the limit of my debts and try to save my house before it falls for auction in the newspapers!

 

 

BANK CLERK

 

OK, I will call Mr. Faisal and will get back to you as soon as I can.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Trash! Look at you! Look at all of you! As if this crisis got you business! So busy screwing our lives? (Yelling) I want to know what has happened to our money? Why are we in deep debts since the basic investments are our savings?? What profit does it bring you?

 

 

The clerk has started to file the papers. He has been ignoring Haidar since he started to raise his voice because most people in the bank seems to agree with what Haidar has been saying.

 

 

ASEM

 

Dad? Are you OK? (He looks at the clerk) What's wrong?

 

 

BANK CLERK

 

I am terribly sorry for what's happening between you and your family, but there's nothing to do in the meantime except to defend for your properties. The bank is not responsible!

 

 

ASEM

 

The bank can compromise or consider the current situation and try to help the people, especially your regular customers that profited your bank.

 

 

BANK CLERK

 

Get a lawyer. I am so sorry.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

(Chuckles) A lawyer! My lifetime lawyer left me before I had the chance to tell him that I can't pay him. What lawyer would take my losing case?

 

 

ASEM

 

We will hire one Dad. This is our only chance now before it's too late.

 

 

 

13. EXT.  OUTSIDE THE BANK

 

 

HAIDAR

 

I am so sorry Asem.

 

 

ASEM

 

Dad, could you stop apologizing? This is not the end.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

I know what happened between you and Laila. (Asem looks away speechlessly trying to forget about her) It's my fault.

 

 

ASEM

 

No. Laila was forced by her mother to leave me and I couldn't do anything to save her from fire.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Because I left you nothing to offer her.

 

 

ASEM

 

If she wants me for my money, then I really don't want a wife like her. Dad, her mother is a very strong woman and I am sure she had brainwashed her or threatened her.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

You don't deserve this. Both of you don't.

 

 

ASEM

 

C'mon Dad. there is always light at the end of every tunnel.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Yes. You are that light, son. (Tears start to show up in both of them. They both feel mistaken for what they are going through)

 

 

13. INT. ASEM'S HOUSE – EVENING

 

DALIA

 

(She keeps on dialing Samer's number, but it has been turned off for days now) Where the hell is he? How children can be selfish sometimes? (She dials Asem's number)

 

 

ASEM

 

Yes?

 

 

DALIA

 

Asem, sweety, I am trying to call Samer but he is not answering my calls.

 

 

ASEM

 

I am sure he is hanging out with one of his bratty friends. You know Samer, Mum. He can't handle responsibilities like a mature person.

 

 

DALIA

 

I am worried about him. I can imagine him doing the worst things! If he doesn't come home by tomorrow, I will call the police!

 

 

ASEM

 

Don't! I will try to look for him, OK? Just calm down.

 

 

 

 

DALIA

 

Promise?

 

 

ASEM

 

(Gasps) I promise.

 

 

DALIA

 

Don't come home without any news. I can't handle this.

 

 

ASEM

 

OK, Mum. I have to go now. Bye.

 

He feels as if the whole world is minimized on his shoulders. He gets the chill of being hopeless and lost, and collapses as he recalls his house in danger.

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Who were you talking to?

 

 

DALIA

 

(Absent-minded) What? You're awake? Do you need anything?

 

 

HAIDAR

 

(He looks at her feeling that her sanity may drop out in any minute. He approaches her to comfort her from the pain she's in) Dalia, this is just a phase. It's just that we are not young to deal with it strongly enough. I am sure something good will come out of all of this mess.

 

 

DALIA

 

No. It's happening too fast and I can't absorb it easily. First, our lifesavings, then your company, now our house. I can deal with them by time but if I lose any of our sons I will never forgive you till the day I die. They are both out in the streets and God knows what are they doing in this mess!

 

 

HAIDAR

 

Blame me! I know it's my fault but I cannot control them. Samer is being so selfish and inconsiderate. If he doesn't want to talk to me, fine! But hiding away from us and from the family's crisis proves that he is not man enough to overcome the crisis!

 

Dalia moves toward the kitchen counter and she starts weeping nervously.

 

Her husband holds her tightly, but she opens free from him and goes into the room hurriedly before he thinks of following her.

 

 

14. INT. LAILA'S HOUSE – EVENING

 

 

SAMIA (LAILA'S MUM)

 

Ahmad was on the phone with me and he was wondering why don't you pick up the phone when he rings?

 

 

LAILA

 

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