By Talal Chami
Stonie wore a Machiavellian smile and fashioned a Cobra Shades like Stallone wore as Marion Cobretti in Cobra, 1986. The truth of the matter is that this guy looked more like a train-ticket conductor or inspector with a twist, for all I know. He looked like a mutant gorilla on the run. And not even close to what a member of an elite division called Zombie Squad looked like. A truck is macabre. After a moment, he panned his head, appearing entirely as a more recent version of the black drummer in Youtube Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine, with a grin.
He looked up from his tiny, half-open, smoke-twirling window and said: Hello, Mr Ruggles, I am Stonie. Welcome to Lebanon. The Switzerland of the East. Wesley Ruggles – was an accomplished and prominent American photojournalist. He got in the back seat of the white Peugeot 504 and smiled all the way to the Commodore Hotel in Hamra.
Stonie looked at his customer, adjusting himself in the back seat, as he got in, on the rear-view mirror and said: Our country is the best place if you wish to take on the challenge of surfing and skiing the same day. There’s no particular way to do it – some prefer to hit the waves early in the morning and end the day with a cup of mulled wine after a great ski or snowboard session; others prefer to hit the slopes in the morning and watch the sunset from Ain El Mraisse on West End, after catching some waves. It’s really up to you, Mr Ruggles. You decide. I leave it up to you. Wesley Ruggles grinned. He wasn’t much of a talker if you know what I mean.
He nodded affirmatively to all the words Stonie shot at him. Lester Young Stardust – 1952 was coming out of the radio. Soft and easy. Let me tell ya a story…
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