A loud shower of rain disturbs Ameer’s concentration, causing his finger to twitch. The carefully balanced screw Ameer is about to insert in the rear wheel of the model Lamborghini he’s constructing slips from the tweezers, rolls around a few times before falling over the side of the desk, landing with a tiny plink somewhere under it.

“Hell’s bloody bells!” Ameer swears in frustration. “How am I supposed to retrieve that screw now?” he asks aloud. His pet cockatiel, Cassiopia, looks sternly at him from her perch in her cage before she screeches loudly, “Be quiet!”.

His last strand of patience shattered, Ameer snaps at her in response. “You be quiet, birdbrain! Don’t make me throw your cover over you and turn your day into night!” he threatens her, but only light-heartedly. He loves Cassiopia too much to ever be mean to her. As if the bird knows this, she chirps back bossily, “You and what army, hombre?”

In spite of his annoyance, Ameer can’t help but to laugh at the bird’s sarcasm.

Just as Ameer is about to bend down to look for the lost screw, his bedroom door opens. His brother, Rafeeq, stands just at the threshold, knowing he dare not set foot into Ameer’s domain unless invited.

“What d’ya want, shrimp?”

“Mom’s looking for you. She says you need to go to Uncle Ebie to fetch the vacuum cleaner,” Rafeeq blurts out, afraid of Ameer’s temper.

Tsking irritably, Ameer says, “Fine. I’ll be down soon. I need to find a loose screw that fell under the desk.”

“Oh,” Rafeeq says, then smiles mischievously. “I always knew you had a screw loose, Ameer.”

Then Rafeeq runs for his life as his brother’s fury explodes.

From the bedroom, Cassiopia shrieks petulantly, “No loose screws here. Be quiet, I say!”

Image: Nik Demidko (www.unsplash.com)