A short story that appeared in Rosh Ha-Shono, Fall 1972.
FABLE 1: The Show Must Go On
We played three or four neighborhoods in Brooklyn, a country house along the Jersey SHore, a number of relative parties, occasional requests from The Clients: Fredi & Shirl & The Kids. A family. Straight! Like a jab. Everybody on the block knew us. Some were more or less like us. Intimacies as crass as a grab, or a poke. A straight family type affair.
A miracle. Fredi & Shirl, Bennett & Richard, all the same flesh: a lawyer, a housewife, an older brother. Hey, what about me?
"You write (have written?) to tell me that my late uncle, the former Belas Yagodah (changed to James) is my benefactor through his estate in Merton, Ohio, of which you, in New York (sic) are the principal executor.
That I am beautiful it cannot be denied. My face. My eyes. My hair. Surely, few are endowed as fortunately as I have been. How it bores me! Alex stares and stares, as if he could discover some meaning in my loveliness, a reason-- there are no reasons. To be beautiful is my fate. (Lilo's Diary, p. 11).
December 31, 1943
The year ends with work on a new book: The Abolition of Poverty. Thoughts very confused, intentions honorable, I think. My hope is to make a contribution to the postwar reconstruction such as will be necessary if men of my position are to remain in public respect.
'...I remember blood, Judith's, a great pool thickening against the floor as in a shallow basin. The tiny octagonal floor tiles slanting ever so slightly toward the base of the old crow-footed yellow tub. Each tile hiding flecks of blood.
'Within the tub more blood, liberally marbleizing the smooth porcelain in clots, fibers, speckles, flakes: some partly hemolized; others gummy resins; or little red rainbow bubbles on the dark soapy surface of the water bobbing...
An ordinary life can be a disaster. You don't despise people any less for not being very much at all. They are people, and we all make errors, some of us, of course, more than others. If only they knew there were others making errors just like themselves they would be no less ordinary. But they are not our peers, or friends, just our brothers.
(CROSSING OVER, p. 3)
Early one April morning, in the year 1905, Herschl Schenkman, a soldier in the army of the Tsar, ran out from behind a thick clump of meadow grass onto the dirt country road between Pinsk and Brest-Litovsk. He stood for a moment blinking in the sun. The run from the meadow had been uphill, and Herschl felt exhausted when he was out on the road again. Only fifteen minutes before he had been walking hurriedly along that road, with his head bowed forward, but in looking up once he fixed his eyes upon a think column of men, moving around a bend in the turf, some five hundred yards ahead.
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