The royal family was delighted when the Queen gave birth to her fifteenth son. The Persian royalty were not averse to girl children, but they had to preserve the family name. Now there was no chance of it passing into oblivion.
The old Sheikh (who will remain unnamed for political reasons) looked proudly at his baby, which didn’t care to return his gaze. “Fifteen should do it,” he thought to himself happily. “He’ll never be King, but it’s always good to have standbys. Just in case.” He was so sure that this son would never be called upon to serve his country that he decided to be innovative with the child’s name. “I shall call him Vell,” he decided.
The young sheikh had a happy childhood, growing up being bullied and kicked around by his fourteen elder brothers and one younger sister. By the time he was twenty, only seven of them had died in inter-family disputes and civil wars. Clearly, his father had been overcautious.
The kingdom was not destined to be his. He would not be allowed to strike fear into the hearts of his subjects, imprison his uncles and cousins or sleep with a knife under the pillow to deal with potential assassinators. But the young sheikh craved such things. With politics being a closed door, he knew that the shortest routes to an exciting career lay in acting or music.
He figured that he had a natural affinity for acting, judging by the excellent reception his portrayal of an old tree had received back in the third grade (in truth, the audience was too scared of the royal family to boo). Moving to Lahore, he tried to get the film world to accept him as a new star. But his royal name did not go too far in this country – the producers at Lollywood Lol’ed at the sight of him. But Vell would not accept failure.
With the world of cinema failing to perceive his obvious talent, he took to music. After playing around with some Arabic pop, classic rock and club music, he decided that his talents lay in pure gangsta rap. Once his creative juices ran amok and revealed enough songs to put together an album, he placed all of his energy into landing a concert performance contract. The (by now not-so-young) Sheikh was not a crazy idealist – as a relative unknown, he knew that his only chance lay in opening for another relatively unknown band.
His relatively unknown agent tried hard to find the least relatively unknown band that would agree. Finally, a rock band called United State of Electronica, or USE, heard his music and were convinced enough that they were better than him to sign him on as an opener.
The Sheikh thought about his father, mother, and siblings and laughed quietly. Soon, he would be a famous man, eclipsing everything they had ever expected of him. Back home, royalty-obsessed local newspapers ran large headlines about the upcoming concert:
“Sheikh Vell Before USE”
Yes, I wrote this whole story just so that I could throw that last sentence in there. Sorry.