The next morning Joseph awoke when the telephone started to ring. Seeing Allie beginning to stir, he put his finger to his lips to quiet him and reached over lifting the receiver he sleepily asked, 'Hello, who is this?'

'Hello is this Yussef Benson?' A voice asked in Arabic.

'Yes, who is this?' He answered in the same language.

'It is I, the Imam, I hope it is not too early to call?'

'Oh no your Eminence, I was just waking up anyway. Is there anything I can do for you?'

'I am sorry to have disturbed your sleep but the reason I'm calling is because I wanted to apologize for last night. There was no need for me to get all hot and angry. What I should have said was that I would think about the idea...'

'Your Eminence, there is no need to apologize. In fact I was going to call you later today and ask your forgiveness for the way Mr. Balbak acted. He had no right to talk to you that way, not in my house. He did not talk in my name.' Joseph said still hoping there might be a way to convince the Imam. 'I had hoped to convince you on the pure merits of the proposal itself. I did not think it was necessary to use pressure. I still think that if you had a few days to think about the idea you would have willingly come around.'

'I must admit that I was angry when I left. I was so upset that I did not really consider what I said or did. But then I started giving it a lot of thought and this morning, after a restless nights sleep, I called and spoke with some of the officers of the Mosque.'

'I hope you and your officers have not come to any hasty conclusions, as I would like to have the opportunity to present my proposal and speak to them myself.' Joseph said.

'Will Mr. Balbak come with you if I arrange such a meeting?'

Joseph realizing and knowing that the Imam would not have bothered to call him if he were not looking for an honorable way to appear to have a change of mind, smiled and answered, 'No. I assure you he will not! Need I remind you that it was you who asked him to join us at the table last night, not I? I saw no need to pressure you then and neither do I see the need to do it to your officers. I will try to sell the idea on its merits at this time.'

'I am glad to hear that. I agree that there is no need to include him in our discussions at this time.'

'I most assuredly agree with you. However, just between you and me, the way in which Americans and Muslims think about each other must change. I think we can both agree it cannot continue the way it is going now. We both know the score and in the end if we want to control and direct that change, we must work together. We cannot leave this to 'outsiders'. The most important component here is that both parties want and know what's best for our people. It is our job to teach each other that mutual respect must come first. Without that there can never be any real understanding and brotherly love. It is the only way. All other ways will lead to the destruction of everyone.'

After a long pause that had Joseph wondering if maybe he had pushed it too far, the Imam said with tears in his voice. 'Allah Akbar, I thank god that Fazzi never listened to me when he insisted that he wanted you to be his son and heir. I was wrong then and perhaps I was wrong last night. I realize now that youth is the wave of the future. However, you too must realize that I and the elders will fight you on this and everything 'modern' that you bring into the community.'

'Why would you do that, your Eminence?' Joseph asked.

'Because, as I told you last night, it is a complete departure from everything I and my people have been brought up to believe in. However, in the end do not be shocked to find me supporting you.'

'Now that sounds weird to me. Why waste energy fighting me if you know that what I propose is right?'

'Yussef if this sounds weird to you, then you have not learned as much as you think you have about Arab culture. It is the Arab way of doing things, fight the changes and then accept them because most times the changes are right. My son and I hope you don't mind my calling you that, I will call you when I have set up the meeting. Goodbye for now.'

'Salam and Shokran my friend, my teacher and father!' Joseph smiled and then he hung up the phone.

'I assume that was the Imam. What the fuck did that old bastard want?'

'He wanted to apologize for last night and to tell me that he is going to arrange a meeting for me to explain Fazzi's idea.' Joseph told Allie. 'You see all that force you used was really unnecessary.'

Laughing Allie said, 'You don't really think he would have called you if he were not scared shitless about what would happen to him if I were to ask the Emirate to get him to cooperate with you, do you?'

'You know I keep hearing about this Emirate thing. No one has ever told me what it is. Although Fazzi did mention it a few times, he never would tell me who or what it is? He just alluded to some sort of hidden and vast powers it seems to have. It was one of those mysteries that he said he would uncover for me when he got back from Syria.' Joseph then warily asked, 'Is it some sort of illegal secret organization? Perhaps I should not even ask you this.'

'There is nothing illegal about it. I'm surprised that Fazzi never told you about it. If he were serious about converting you, sooner or later he would have had to tell you about it.'

'Oh he was serious about his desire to have me become a Muslim. I was just beginning to show a lot of interest, and he knew I was getting serious. He had promised to start my lessons in earnest when he returned from Syria.'

'Yes I remember him talking about how the two of you were going to become even closer when he returned. Since he will not be able to do this - I will try. Let's see how can I explain it? O.K let's start by saying that every religion has a group of people or an organization that sets its policies and provides guidelines for its members. In the early years after Muhammad's death a Caliphate was established. In one form or another this lasted until the early nineteen hundreds when the Ottoman Empire was split apart by the victorious European powers as a result of the First World War. This created a void in the Muslim world. The Emirate is an organization that came into being to fill that vacuum. Today the Emirate is to Muslims what the Vatican is to Catholics. Only the Emirate has much more power and means at its disposal to enforce its edicts. While it is not secret, it is the hidden force behind the Muslim religion. They can and do issue grave pronouncements and edicts. Some of these take a form known as Fatwa. These sometimes call for the elimination of people they consider to be a direct threat against the religion. In rare cases they will sanction and direct their enforcers to carry out death sentences. Many of the so-called fundamentalist Muslim groups will issue a Fatwa but they really do not have the moral authority to issue one. Unless the Emirate concurs, and today it seldom does, that Fatwa never is carried out.'

'Are you are a member of that group?' Asked Joseph.

'Fazzi was a member and for a time was very high in the organization.' At this point he lied not wanting to disclose his involvement yet. 'As far as my involvement - I know people who know people. How do you think Fazzi and I were able to get your friend Ibrahim out of the hands of those terrorists? You remember at that time I told you it was nice to have influential friends like Fazzi. Do I have to draw pictures for you?'

'No you don't have to draw pictures. I think I get the picture.' Joseph said trying not to sound to critical. 'Every religion uses some form of coercion to keep its members in line. It has to do that or you will have utter chaos. You would have hundreds of people claiming to speak for the religion. You have to have some order.'

'Then you don't object to the Emirate?'

'Islam is a state religion and the state has the right to enforce its laws for those wishing to belong to that religion. No I don't object to this per se. No more than I object to the Pope or a Synod or Board of Rabbis speaking for their religious followers.' Joseph argued, trying to cover up his real revulsion. 'I guess someone has to do it. Look Allie, the truth be told, until I knew Fazzi I never was interested in the inner workings of any religion. I never questioned my own religion or how it worked. I just followed what my adopted parents taught me. They were not that religious and we went to church once in a while and on a few special holidays. I did not even go to Sunday school for long. That cost money and they would not pay for it.'

'You poor kid. No wonder Fazzi felt the need to convert you.' Allie said. 'It is incumbent on a good Muslim to educate and convert infidels.'

'Hey! I'm not an infidel.' Joseph protested. 'I'm a Christian.'

'All non-Muslims are infidels and uneducated Christians are no exception. They are worthy of redemption but only through Islam.' Allie said as he reached for Joseph. 'And as long as Fazzi is gone it is my duty and obligation to save you from your decadent western ways and enlighten you about to ways of Arab love.' With this he grabbed Joseph and pulled his nude body to him, kissing him hard on the mouth.

'And the method of enlightenment you're planning to use is it to have this Christian inject you with his uncircumcised hypodermic needle and then you will feed him this enlightenment by reverse infusion?' Joseph jested.

'Well that will have to do-until after your conversion. After that my darling ex-Christian will be riding this Arab's big stallion off into the sunset....' Allie said as he enfolded Joseph in his strong arms and kissed him. 'Yes even though you will be the master, I hope you will permit me to spear you now and then.'

'Yes, that is for sure. I will not be able, as a good Muslim, to see how I could refuse you then. One cannot allow such a fine gift; one that Allah has given you, to go to waste. That would be a crime and a sin worthy of issuing a Fatwa against.' Joseph moaned as his fingers circled the 10 inches of hard meat and moved back and forth slowly. 'What's more I don't think I would want you to even think of sleeping with anyone but me ever again. So I had better start to study with the Imam.'

'Are you serious? You are thinking of becoming a Muslim.' Allie shouted. 'You are thinking of doing this for me?'

'No you damn idiot. I am doing it for me!' Joseph said. 'Do you think I would go through having my cock cut for you? If I did that I would be certifiable.'

'Do you know that I love you Yussef?'

'No you don't. You just like the sex.' Joseph said as he adjusted his body so that they were head to foot and he was able to kiss the tip of Allie's cock. Opening his mouth he went down on it slowly and drew back creating a suction of great force. Slowly up and down along the hard shaft his mouth moved advancing a little bit deeper each time. Driving Allie crazy with his cock worship.

Allie moaning and beating his fists against the sheets finally pulled Joseph over on top of him and started to lick his balls and along the sensitive skin to his ass hole. The Arab's tongue darted in and out over the rosebud. Spreading apart Joseph's Ass he buried his mouth and face into the hot valley and his tongue delved into the treasure hole making Joseph hump Allie's mouth. Moving his mouth down to the soldier's mouth he at first nibbled on the long foreskin then using his lips he pushed the shin back and in one hot forceful push, swallowed Joseph's meat.

For several minutes they 69ed each other and feed on each other's sex until the pressure became too much and both exploded in each other's mouths.

They lay there exhausted, but not wanting to get out of bed just yet.

It was as if they had touched on the perimeter of a question and were afraid to enter the circle. Allie was deep in thought and Joseph felt that he was on the way to asking him something that had bothered him a long time. He waited a bit but finally asked him. 'What's wrong Allie? Is something bothering you?'

'Are you now the mind-reader? How did you know that I was worried about something?'

'You don't think that I could care for someone and not know that something is bothering him?' Come on out with it.'

'O.K. You asked for it. When you get out of the army ---- I want you to come with me to Syria.' He blurted out. 'I want you to see my land and my people. I want you to see with your own eyes how great it is to live as a Muslim in our land. I want you to get to really know my people and to have you make them your people. Once you see and learn to submit to Allah of your own free will, there will be a complete union between us. You could become the head of the American branch office of the Emirate.'

'What???? Are you nuts? That would be impossible. I could not do it. Are you smoking Hashish?' Joseph laughed. 'They would be crazy to appoint me.'

'No they wouldn't. Look Your name has come up in several discussions that I have had with them and they are very impressed.' Allie said. 'They would not have permitted you to take over the fund if they had not had confidence in you. Fazzi was thinking of your being second in command under him. At the time, I could never understand why but as I get to know you better I can see why.'

'And what has convinced you all of a sudden?' Joseph asked. 'Am I that much of a good lover?'

'It really has nothing to do with your sexual ability, although it doesn't hurt it any. It has to do with your other passion - your passion for the good of our people. Unlike most of our leaders, you really care for them. If you were in Syria the 'Fellahin' would follow you more than their Imams. And this would make you a very dangerous man. I was right about you, Yussef, when I said you were a dangerous mole.' Allie gasped as he took Joseph in his arms. 'You dig your way into my soul and if I don't watch it you will be converting me instead of the other way around. I keep telling myself that this is not right. You and I are not going to be able to make this work... but then I tell myself that it is right and it is Allah's will. Are you the one the Imams warn us about? Are you are the tool of Satan? I just don't care any more.'

'But my dear Allie, you should care. 'A little devil' that's what Fazzi used to call me,' Joseph started to laugh, 'his little devil, but he found a way to live with it and I hope so will you. As far as going with you back to Syria, I would love to go with you. I had begged my father to take me the last time, but he wanted to wait. So yes, the answer is yes. I will be happy to go with you, if and when the American government will issue me a passport and when you can set up the proper safeguards for such a visit. Now, my dear Allie we have to get up and get to work. I have to see about fund distributions and you have to start the ball rolling with that other Imam who is involved with inter-faith relations. I think you should go and tell him that we are going to join his crusade and help him. From what I hear, he will welcome us with open arms.'

'Do you mind if I do not use the word Crusade?'

'How stupid of me.... I should have realized that term would be offensive. Well perhaps we can use the word 'Quest'. Yes I think that would be better.'

'Yes my love. Much better.'

'That is yet another reason to keep you near to me. You are my rudder through rough waters.'

'Later that day after Allie had left and while Joseph was working on Fund allocations, Richard called.'

'How is it going? When are you going to open?' Joseph asked.

'Everything is moving along. We will have a pre-press show this coming Thursday evening and Friday is the big day. We open Friday night and I'm falling apart. Can you come into the city and just hold my hand?'

'I'll hold more than that, babe. When do you want me?'

'Can you make it Thursday afternoon and stay the weekend?' Rich begged him.

'I'll arrange it and let you know for sure as soon as I can.' Joseph said and then asked, 'look if you are so uptight, why not come over here now. Or perhaps you want me to come in to the city tonight?'

'That's really nice and considerate of you, but I have too much to do and we would have no time together. I miss you very much and I would get all loused up if you were around.' He said. 'In some ways it would be wonderful but I fear it would throw off my timing. Forgive me - I don't know what I'm saying. I'll be okay. Just come in Thursday. I love you! See you then.'

Joseph put down the phone and thought about the call for a while. Then an idea came to him and he called a florist that Fazzi had used several times. After he established who he was, he ordered two-dozen roses to be sent every day until Thursday to Rich with a card wishing him good luck. He then called Allie and told him that the rest of the week was out as far as the two of them seeing each other. 'It is too risky, Rich may call at anytime or he just might show up unannounced and that would be disastrous.'

Allie agreed and told Joseph that he would be out of town for a few days to visit that Imam and he would report back when he had news.

'Allie as long as I have you on the phone, there was a few questions I had about one of the organizations on the list you gave me. It appears to be a very legitimate organization and one that I personally would like to help. I was thinking of not only increasing our funding but also donating some of my personal funds as well. Can you give me some more information? It is some kind of Muslim boys camp.'

'Yes that would be the Muslim Scouts. It is similar to your Boy Scouts except that there are a lot of religious activities that our boys would not get at your American camps. It is a place Muslim parents can feel free to send our children in the summer months without the fear of Christian indoctrination.' Allie said. 'You don't realize how hard it is to find a camp that will allow prayer five times a day.'

'Yes I can understand that.' Joseph said. However why not have a camp for girls as well?'

'There, my love, you have me. Why not ask that question of your new friend, the Imam? Perhaps it is one of the modern ideas you can bring up at that meeting you will soon have? If you are serious about increasing the money - I am sure I can arrange for you and I to spend a day at the camp. Perhaps we might even sleep over one night.' Allie suggested hopefully. 'That way you can see where and how your money is being used. Besides it will provide an opportunity for the two of us to spend some quality time together; living in a tent just like my ancestors did. At least we will not have to be bothered by a midnight visit from Rich.'

'Now don't turn jealous on me! You know that I have to keep him happy or his father will do God knows what to our fund. And then where will our fund be?'

'Sorry lover but this three way love affair is beginning to get me edgy. I want to have you to myself without the fear of Mr. Broadway busting in on us some night. Yussef, think of it, the two of us sleeping outside in one sleeping bag on the soft forest floor. We can pretend it is our oasis. Perhaps we could even go skinny dipping at night when the kids are asleep.'

'If we like the place, the fund might even buy it and then we could use it as a weekend getaway.' Joseph said. 'You my love might have been joking, but I think it is an excellent idea.'

'I am not joking - I am serious. Besides being a way for the both of us to relax and enjoy a normal life together, it would be a great way to acclimate yourself for our trip to Syria.' Allie insisted.

'I love the thought and you. You make the arrangements for a visit. Just let me know the date and I will be there.' Joseph said and then said he had some more calls to make. 'I look forward to your return and that report from your visit to the Imam. Remember, no force with this one. Use diplomacy. I will miss you, my dear.'

'I will miss you too, in fact I miss you already.' Allie said and hung up the phone. Then he called Syria and spoke over a secure telephone line to his boss in the Emirate. He told him about Joseph's wanting to visit the Boy's camp and how he was thinking of donating some of his personal funds as well as the Fund's money.

'He said he might even buy the place and use it as a weekend get-away.' Allie said. 'That would take care of the mortgage and free up a lot of the camps funds for its other activities.'

'That sounds great but you must not let him even suspect that there are these other activities.'

'I will see to that myself.' Allie said. 'As far as he will be able to determine, this is a place for boys to enjoy the outdoors and learn about our culture.'

'I am glad to hear that. You are doing a very good job. Is there anything else you wish to report?'

'Yes, and this I did not have anything to do with. He is softening as far as conversion is concerned. He has told me he is going to study with the Paterson Imam.' Allie said.

The Emir hit the fan screaming and yelling at Allie. 'We told you not to push him. It is not our desire for him to convert. Under no circumstance will he be permitted to become a Muslim at this time. You must prevent it.'

'But it is not my choice. I have nothing to do with it. Fazzi started it and now he himself is talking about it. When he told me this I told him he should wait. He said that he only wants to explore the possibility. He is going to take instruction from the Imam and he will not listen to me. He says he wants to believe and that he wants to become a Muslim. There is nothing I can do to stop him!'

'You will stop him! That is an order! You must keep him from doing this or else.'

'Now how can I do that?'

'You tell him that I will be in New York for a United Nations meeting in two weeks. If he is still serious about this, I will grant him a special audience and private meeting. I will meet secretly with him then and I will impress upon him that as a non-converted ally; he is worth much more than a hundred converts. I will convince him that he should not, cannot and will not have to do this. See to it that he does nothing till then. I am issuing an order to you to see that my will is enforced. Do you understand?'

'Yes your Eminence.'

To be continued............


Jay Benson/Joystick

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