Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge – The Ship of the Desert, Day Two

Dear follower/visitor,

this is my second attempt in taking up fellow blogger Jane Dougherty’s challenge to write a post each day. I decided to come up with one story in five parts. It is an English translation of a Dutch story which was published earlier on this site.

I hope you will like what you find.




ShipShape shipyard buzzed with action. “Is that dishy sheik coming yet?” was the talk among the excited, overdressed secretaries as they ran around the main assembly hall, the nervous click of their high heels resounding through its overwhelming emptiness: the company was in desperate need of shipbuilding orders now imminent. A temporary stage was constructed to welcome the sultan in style and make him feel at home. “Test, test,” a sound engineer mumbled into his microphone while his companion at the sound mixing table blinked at a belly dancer who looked just a little too European. She blushed, covering her face in a veil as she tried to perform another hip swaying pirouette.

Suddenly, the Arabic background muzak was rudely torn by a terribly false police alarm crescendo. Another wave of excitement rushed through the hall: there he was, at last!

“Salem aleikum!” the gathered crowd loudly welcomed the high guest as he made his entry followed by his colourful attendants including the swift camel. He threw a fake smile to the belly dancer who put her best bare leg forward, then turned to address the shipyard CEO. She patiently waited for him to conclude his speech, then listened to the interpreter: “My master wants you to put all of your nautic expertise into the ship to beat all ships. She shall be swifter than a magic carpet, more untouchable than the spirit from Aladdin’s lamp; she will be equipped to remain at sea for a thousand and one nights, and when she is attacked by pirates it will be their last attempt ever! Allah is great!”

That night, the signing of the building contract was celebrated with a board room gala dinner. “That’s one hell of a job we have!” a shipyard worker mumbled with a full mouth, “And time is tight!”

“Oh, don’t worry,” the CEO secretary replied from behind her veil, “didn’t you hear that Abdullah say money’s no object? The CEO and I will be going to France tomorrow to meet a very innovative designer. If we can hire him, everything is going to be all right.”


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