I pinch Q’s arm. He shakes his head, whispering: ”Don’t go. Domestic affair. None of our business.”


by Azarin Sadegh

Flies and mosquitoes. An eagle flies above the trees, above the lake, above the sandy road, above the tent.

I zip up the little window. The tent is hot and humid. My right hand is swollen.

It’s 3 PM by Sucshahaungxuiamaulta lake. The wind is going to blow tonight.

We have already burnt all the wood and all the marshmallows. But it doesn’t matter since tonight it’s going to be too hot for sitting around a fire.

“Too hot,” I say. “I’m dying.”

“Wait till the night,” Q says.

“It’s gonna be too late,” I say. “Who’s going to find us? Nobody can even pronounce this place’s name.”

“You’re ridiculous,” he says. “Look at all the other people here. Everybody’s having fun except you.”

I unzip the window to look at those who’re having fun.

The campground seems empty.

“Where did they go?” I ask.

“They’ve gone swimming, or fishing,” he says. “Or maybe sleeping in there.”

“Too quiet,” I say. “We should call someone. I’m dying of solitude.”

Q frowns. His face is sweaty. “I’m going swimming,” he says. “Come with me.”

“I can’t,” I say glancing at baby. She’s still sleeping.

He shrugs and then shrugs again, sighing deeply.

“What?” I ask.

“Nothing,” he says, breathing even deeper.

“Go, go swimming,” I say. “Don’t feel bad.” I smile.

“Are you sure?” he asks.

“Sure! I’m gonna read a book,” I say. I’ve always known he’s a coward.

“Cool,” he whispers shyly and the excitement like electricity brightens up his eyes.

A noise. A moving bump appears at the side of tent where the baby is sleeping.

I look outside.

“Oh, the raccoon’s back,” I say. “My hand’s killing me. Why on earth did I forget my allergy pills?”

Our raccoon’s playing its favorite game. A fly has managed to enter the tent. Where’s that hole, I wonder.

The phone rings, sounding like the trumpets of heaven.

Q picks up the phone. “Hi CJ,” he says.

I grab the baby with care. She’s pink and warm. Her mouth, wide open. She’s snoring. Her toes, unforgettable.

The nasty fly sits on her cheek. I blow softly on her face. The fly doesn’t give up. I place the baby on my sleeping bag. I follow the fly.

It’s a war.

“Great view. Great lake,” Q says. “It’s so cool in here."

It’s so hot in here, I think.

“Yeah, we all need to connect to nature,” he’s mumbling stuff and I realize that the fly has already won the battle. Nature always wins. Laws of nature or wilderness? I wonder. I wonder as if I don’t want to be part of this nature anymore. I wonder as if I’ve never been part of its wilderness.

A woman screams outside. It’s coming from the neighboring tent. The dark blue tent with no window, an old model. I can’t leave the baby to sneak outside. To see what’s going on. To possibly help a person in need. She screams over and over.

“I’m dying,” she says.

I’m dying too, I think.

I pinch Q’s arm. He shakes his head, whispering: ”Don’t go. Domestic affair. None of our business.”

She keeps screaming and Q keeps nodding his head to the indistinguishable noise on the phone.

I don’t want to know. None of my business.

Our baby has stopped snoring. The fly has found the jar of honey.

“We went swimming and we ate marshmallows,” Q continues. “Huh? No. No bear in sight.” Then he laughs inconsolably. I look at him, wondering, knowing he would never share the source of this strange kind of joy.

I wait. I want to sleep.

The woman with domestic affair is silent. Baby’s awake. The raccoon is still outside. The fly still in. The eagle long gone and the camp slowly fills up with noise of those who had disappeared in a blissful day. Those who have already missed on saving a soul.

“Why wouldn’t you join us?” Q asks CJ. “I promise. We gonna have fun.”

Baby’s hungry. CJ and his wife don’t have kids. My right hand’s almost senseless and red. I scratch it, feel nothing.

Q hangs up.

“Are they coming?” I ask.

He rolls his eyes. “Who know,” he whispers. “They always promise. They never come.”

“I wish they come this time,” I say, shaking the bottle. “I’m tired of being alone. It’s hard to be so lonely in here.”

He chuckles. “You’d always be lonely in your miseries.”

I nod as he drags himself outside of the tent. He hasn’t noticed what I wished to say. The raccoon doesn’t move as Q gets farther and farther. Q doesn’t turn to look at us. Baby doesn’t cry when we leave, zipping up the tent, following the flies and mosquitoes, the eagle, crossing the blue tent, roads, bushes, jumping into the green polluted water of historical lake with thousands years of ineffable algaes wrapping around my hands, my neck, around her toes.

The lake is cold, cold, cold.

Times have changed.

These days raccoons of Sucshahaungxuiamaulta lake are not scared of humans.


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Azarin Sadegh


by Azarin Sadegh on

Dear JD,

Thanks a lot for your smart feedback!

Yes, I love metaphors! I love their absoluteness. The way they simplify complex issues. The way they eliminate any doubts over the gray zone of my mind with their clear lines...Like living in a black and white simple world, without relativity! It's true that I use them a lot in my writing! (But sometimes I abuse them too...:-)

Unfortunately, life itself is more complicated than this and our choices never clear... Thanks again! Azarin

Jeesh Daram

the captive audience

by Jeesh Daram on

I read the story twice and somehow the issue is beyond a simple camping trip.
This is a metaphor on how we are sometimes trapped in undesirable situations that defies our initial intentions. We are inhibited by forces from within and without and we are imprisoned in our bubbles, tents and boxes because of misinformation, compliance and submission.

Azarin challenges our imagination and plays well with the desire of the captive audience to exit the tent for freedom and fresh air and more information, yet she ends the story the way it should end -the fact that the issue is not just a simple camping trip.


Dear Irandokht

by Azarin not logged (not verified) on

Oh my...you take me to places that I don't want to go..but why not?
Don't go camping if you cannot run fast enough and you are not patient enough while waiting in long line of restless people who (like you) hope to reach that limited zone of relief with just a few available spaces!! and then if you have OCD (especially any obsession with germs)...camping is not really for you!



Azarin jan

by IRANdokht on

you forgot my least favorite part of camping (again) ;-)

if you enjoy the luxury of indoor plumbing...


Azarin Sadegh

Niki Jan,

by Azarin Sadegh on

Niki Jan,

Thanks a lot for your kind words! 

And about this camping business...I wouldn't blame you at all.

You really shouldn't go camping:

If you're spoiled, if you're attached to your soft bed and silent space and air-conditioning...if you don't like hot dogs, if you're a vegetarian, if you have different kinds of allergy, if you have a toddler, if you don't know how to swim, if you're afraid of racoons and snakes, if you have ocd, etc. 

Otherwise, it's a wonderful activity for the rest of the population!

Thanks again,


Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

I really enjoyed it. The short simple sentences are surprisingly powerful. Great piece.



by IRANdokht. (not verified) on

I got all excited reading the story, and now I learned not only Q is not the one I thought he was, the lake doesn't exist either?
Where can I get some real and juicy personal info around here?

Good one again Azarin jan!

Niki Tehranchi


by Niki Tehranchi on

I have never gone camping and the reason is I imagine it would be a nightmare. (Yes I am spoiled). In this story, you made the nightmare so palpable that I could almost feel my own hand itching and red, and the feeling of helplessness and alienation and frustration etc. Masterful writing. I really liked it.

Azarin Sadegh

The story behind the story...

by Azarin Sadegh on

Actually, I wrote this story after a short camping trip I took last week with my best friends! That's why I had to write the disclaimer!

Plus, my story had so many grammatical errors and none of you guys even mentioned it...Oh, I feel so humbled after reading your comments now! So I have to write an individual reply to each of you:

Thanks Jamshid for your lovely comment. But honestly, I hope - I know - there wouldn't be a second part, since I am pretty sure from now on, my friends wouldn't include me in any of their camping trips!!

Dear Abarmard, You have no idea how good it feels to know that -even if I am still struggling with my next scene - there is one reader like you who's open to the idea of buying this unwritten novel...Thank you!

Dear honest fan, You sound so familiar! I really appreciate your original comment! There’s something heroic in your efforts to find this place that you've always wanted to go. Like you, I wanted also to find this same place...and I found it! But look at the results: it killed me! Such a disappointment! My suggestion to you? If something doesn't exist on Google earth, please don't try to find it!

 Thanks again to all of you! Azarin


Sucshahaungxuiamaulta Lake!!!

by An Honest Fan (not verified) on

I figured out your story was purely fictional once you mentioned Sucshahaungxuiamaulta Lake. You see I’ve always wanted to go to the Sucshahaungxuiamaulta Lake but there is no such a thing anywhere on the map, in Google Earth, British Britannica, WikiMaia, Wikipedia, nowhere. Thanks for the declaimer, now I can rest in peace knowing there is no such a lake.
Great story, at least the polluted lake was cold :O)



by Abarmard on

Enjoyed reading it. You seem to be getting ready for your novel ;) Let me know and I will sure buy a copy. thanks


Dear Azarin,Great story!

by jamshid on

Dear Azarin,

Great story! I truely enjoyed reading it. I never imagined the possiblity of expressing a character in this way. Take that as my lack of imagination, something that you never run out of.

My favorites:

Great view. Great lake,” Q says. “It’s so cool in here.

I pinch Q’s arm. He shakes his head, whispering: ”Don’t go. Domestic affair. None of our business.”

“Huh? No. No bear in sight.” Then he laughs inconsolably.

These days raccoons of Sucshahaungxuiamaulta lake are not scared of humans.

This is priceless! I am officially asking, even demanding, a part 2!



by Azarin not logged (not verified) on

This piece is purely fictional. The lake, the camp, all names, all events, and all people in this story are made-up and imaginary.
I insist: The Q. of the story does not stand for Qumars! He doesn't write for Iranian.com!