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The queue tangled around the block. As Babak began to move along with the current, he no longer saw the entrance. Some of these people knew one another, and exchanged certain handshakes that he had always liked but never engaged in. Pounds; graceful complex smacks at the wrists. He had been taught and he had taught Navid that handshakes were supposed to be firm, one pump, straight on. If a man tries to twist his hand while he shook yours, Babak would tell Navid, then that person is trying to get the upper hand. Babak had noticed that Navid now shook everyone's hand with an extra torque, an upwards turn of the wrist. He did this even when he shook Babak's hand.
Babak heard one of the men who had just exited say the words "hip-hop legend," which confused him because the radio had called the dead man a rapper. He did not know much about music. The only CDs he owned were Puzzles! Volume 1, Puzzles! Volume 4, Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, Cruisin' Classics, and an Iranian mix CD that Navid had made for him in college. Navid used to teach his father about music but now Babak couldn't remember any details, only the scent of the spiced tea that they would drink together during their evening conversations. Had Navid once said that he preferred hip-hop to rap, or rap to hip-hop, or that hip-hop was a take-off from rap, like the way that baki pakhlavasi was just a different version of baklava? A few years ago, Babak could have asked his son to clarify the difference. Not anymore. Babak couldn't pinpoint when Navid had started growing distant from him, but it was around the time of Atefeh's accident, in which the impact of car on car had left two discs ruptured in Atefeh's back. The accident was by all standards not even a serious one, but it had left her with chronic pain that no doctor could alleviate.
The woman in front of Babak wore a light blue jacket and chewed bubble gum. The boy with her seemed like her younger brother, or a neighbor, or a cousin; he carried three roses in his right hand. He wore a black shirt with silver jeweled patterns in the shape of a snake. The boy's eyes were open as wide as the hood of the overheated car in the middle of the block.
People played Big Dane's music on boom boxes, and the heavy bass lifted Babak's spirits. The rhythms themselves delighted him; if he wasn't mistaken, they borrowed from some traditional Persian drum rhythms, particularly the Saghghezi. Some of the lines embarrassed Babak, but he couldn't help being attracted to the melodies and percussive lyrics of the songs: "Hypertension" ("You mah salt shaka girl/You a white girl and you so damn fly/I don't think I can take ya/You like salt out the shaka") and "I Ain't No Sitcom" ("This ain't no sitcom/I'm dead serious/I don't finish in twenty-three minutes/but I leave you delirious"). There was one song in which the phrase "I am marvelous, you is the horriblest" was repeated for at least half a minute.