Zoetrope: All-Story

The Tale of Dully’s Reversion

Jamil Jan Kochai

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Shakako Jani was praying Fajr beneath the makeshift shrine she had built for her two martyred brothers, Fahim and Kadeem, when, at approximately 6:45 a.m., Dully Abdul Kareem, her second-born son, crossed the path of her janamaz and promptly transformed into a small monkey. And although, as she would later recall, Shakako did not see the transformation—her eyes fixed upon her janamaz—she did hear the cracking of seven English rifles being fired from somewhere deep within the Black Mountains, and because she knew that the Black Mountains were eight thousand miles away, in Logar, and that the last of the English rifles in Naw’e Kaleh had sold for a hundred pieces of cornbread in 1982, during the worst months of the massacre-famines, she realized that the cracking was not of death but of a different sort of reversion. Thus, upon finishing her prayer, Shakako knelt forward, picked through her son’s fallen leather satchel, his striped cardigan, and his unlocked phone (the first draft of an email lingering on its screen), to find Dully sleeping atop seven perfectly round pellets of his own shit. Then she lifted him into her arms and rushed to call the Imam.

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