Entering Tahrir Square, a teenager holds up a steel gas bottle. He points towards soldiers moving against protesters across the square, mimes lighting then throwing his version of an IED.
'Boom,' he says laughing, before leading his crew of four, all wearing hardhats and one around 12 years old, into the melee.
Ten months after Egypt's revolution ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year dictatorship, there is no sign of stable government arriving any time soon. After two days of pitch battles with the military in downtown Cairo, 10 protesters have been killed and over 300 injured.
Prior to the eruption of clashes on Friday, protesters had been 'occupying' the front of the Cabinet building, demanding the resignation of cabinet members appointed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Early on Friday morning, one protester climbed into the parliament grounds to retrieve a stray football. When he emerged bruised and beaten, the protesters outside were enraged, and began setting cars on fire in the street.
This relatively minor incident escalated quickly and dramatically, and by sunset on Friday, four people were dead, including the popular moderate Sheikh Emad Effat, who had joined the protesters.
On Saturday, as street warfare surged from Tahrir Square into the streets of downtown Cairo, thousands attended the sheik's funeral. At the cemetery, they chanted for the execution of SCAF leader Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.
Meanwhile in Tahrir Square, Tantawi's military was unleashing deadly force against a movement united primarily by demands for SCAF to transfer power to a civilian authority.
Not trained for crowd control, the soldiers appeared erratic, charging, hesitating, dispersing, regrouping then retreating before charging again. Protesters hurled rocks and pieces of concrete lifted from footpaths and soldiers hurled them back. Buildings around the square blazed, including the historic science ministry building where thousands of centuries-old documents perished. Running battles continued until 10.00pm; the army had by then erected a concrete wall near the cabinet building and retreated behind it and onto surrounding rooftops.
The death of the sheik, along with the killing and injuring of protesters - many shocking instances of which have appeared in graphic detail on Al Jazeera and YouTube - are a serious blow to SCAF, which had positioned itself as steward of the revolution since January 25.
From the beginning of the revolution, demonstrators were mostly targeted by the widely-hated police and security forces. In the eyes of most Egyptians, SCAF remained a neutral, securing influence. But in November, the SCAF's draft constitution was leaked, revealing its plan to place itself outside government authority. Such a flagrant attempt to maintain power ignited six days of intense conflict between police and demonstrators that left 45 dead.
Crucially, SCAF's attempt to entrench its own power ended the Muslim Brotherhood's tacit acceptance of the army's role as transitional authority. Last week, the Brotherhood withdrew representatives from SCAF's advisory council on the constitution. And now, the death of Sheikh Emad Effat at the hands of the army has brought the Brotherhood into open opposition with SCAF.
In a statement released on its website today, the Brotherhood called for an 'immediate apology by SCAF for the crimes committed on Friday Dec 16' and an investigation into the deaths. It also demanded confirmation that presidential elections would transfer power to civilian rule 'before the end of June 2012'.
The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has already gained the lion's share of the first two rounds of voting and is expected to do at least as well in the third round, to be held in January. After two more days of violence and chaos, Muslim Brotherhood stands yet more secure as the most likely way to stability.
Almost a year into their revolution, Egyptians are suffering economically. The value of its pound is at a seven-year low and foreign reserves are down 44 per cent since January 25. Growth and foreign investment have all but stalled, and tourism is down by one third.
After the latest round of clashes, a concrete barrier now divides the army and the protesters. Such a clear-cut division is, however, illusory. Many protesters understand and sympathise with the soldiers' predicament; separating the average soldier from thugs from SCAF's powerbrokers is difficult. The army itself is riven over its role fighting a revolution they once defended.
Secular Egyptians are deeply frustrated that after so much sacrifice, their views will take second place behind a dominant Muslim Brotherhood, and fear what the more fundamental Salafi's will do with their significant share of the vote - around 15 per cent so far. Presidential elections don't occur until July 2012, and few would confidently predict their outcome.
As an older, more seasoned campaigner for change told me, 'That's democracy - if we don't like them, we can vote them out in four years, and if they won't go, well, now we know the way to Tahrir.'