“Room No. 12,” a short story by Naguib Mahfouz, is published in the Fall 2005 issue of Zoetrope (which is not online yet.) Check it out at your local bookstore. It’s really good, one of many that will be included in Supernatural Stories, which AUC press is bringing out in 2006.
In “Room No. 12,” a sharp-dressed woman takes a room at a Cairo hotel, and begins to accept dozens of visitors. I first heard of the story in Cairo last summer from Ahmad Aidy’s cousin Magdy, who told me it was a parable about the Nasser administration. But after reading it, I couldn’t help but think of it as a commentary on America and on capitalism and globalism, in general.
You must check it for yourself.