Every morning I’m allowed to go have a dip in the sea with my uncle – with him you don’t get nothing for nothing, it’s been like that ever since he first took me out of our apartment (my mom was quite happy to get rid of me for a few hours), that is as early as when I was five years old – and in the afternoons I have to abide by his cultural shenanigans, whether I’m tired or not, and when it’s hot like now, I can nap only for half an hour, the child torturor!
Let me tell you that there are some real hunks here on the beach, and they like to preen themselves in front of the girls in bikini, who range from light blond to pitch black, a real United Nations, but it’s not only in front of the girls that they flaunt their muscles and something else too – a few even wear just a jockstrap, shameless that they are -, coz Tel Aviv is also supposed to be a haven for gays. How do I know? I read it in Time Out, which lists all kinds of pornographic addresses. But what’s funny is that, a hundred meters to the right, you have a beach reserved for the Haredim, that’s the religious folk whose women go fully clothed into the water. Jeezette, what contrasts within such a small distance! Apparently the latter throw stones at the lay people in Jerusalem who drive their cars past their ghetto in Mea Shearim on Shabbat. They don’t dare do that here in Tel Aviv, which they call Sin City. And how did I learn this? Do you think my uncle leaves me in peace, even when he sees that I’m about to yawn – I do that loudly, first to hint that I’m fed up with his local history, and secondly so that he too starts yawning, on account that it’s the most contagious addiction men and animals alike have invented. But low and bee hold, after imitating me, he gets back to his anecdotes … and he supposedly dotes on his lil niece. So, now whenever I pass by a bearded, hatted and cassocked bozo, I put my arms around my head to protect my poor lil self from the possibility of getting stone-faced. What, it’s not the right word? Tough luck if you don’t understand me. I ain’t your walking dictionary.
Here in Israel the religious folk are a very small minority, but in the Moslem world, there are millions of them, and even in the more advanced countries like Turkey, their numbers are increasing, instead of the other way round. Being the felinist that I am, I think it outrageous that women be treated almost like slaves, having to cover themselves from head to toe, many of them can’t even breathe properly with their nose and their eyes hidden behind them slits that look like mail boxes or mosquito nets. What kind of MCPs – it means ‘male chauvinist pigs’, you ninny, even if they aren’t allowed to eat pork – do they have for husbands, fathers and brothers! Specially since these bozos can trot around dressed in the most modern fashion, with shorts or bermudas and bathing trunks, when they go swimming. Those backward countries deserve to have a real Feminist Revolution, like the non-violent movement led by Gandhi to chase the British colonialists out of India, not like the French Revolution, with all the guillotining and the bloodshed that went with it, and which the Islamic terrorists take as an example, hiding their bearded faces washmore behind hoods, double cowards that they are!
My Muslim sisters oughta go on strike day after day, is what I say, and stop cooking delicious food for their male oppressors – mmm … steaming aromarous (yeah yeah yeah, I’ve just invented that word and tough luck if you don’t like it) couscous , with … mmm … mu tutut mutton and … triple mmm … spicy lil sausages, with all them nifty veggies -, or darning their stinking clothes, then running the family errands, loaded like bloomin mules under the bloomin hot morning sun on the edge of the bloomin desert. And I get the shivers thinking of the poor lassies that get lashed or even worse, stoned, on account that they’ve been abused by strangers, or even by a family member.
This, dear reader and readeress, is called an aside, and I love writing asides!
We spent the whole afternoon at the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, and I must admit that even if before going there I pulled the sourest face this side of purgatory, I couldn’t stop staring at those old pictures and the funny garments the Jews scattered on the five continents wore before the Second World War and during the past centuries. Once you see all of this, you don’t know anymore what a Jew looks like – for those of you who believed that they all had crooked noses and that the men wore long beards with spaghetti-like curls hanging on both sides of their heads -, on account that they acted and dressed in a thousand different ways. If there’s a Rainbow people, they are the ones. And I can vouch for that, specially today, just look at the faces you see in the streets of Tel Aviv, you’d think they all just walked out of the United Nations building in Manhattan. And you wouldn’t believe it, some of them look like they were siblings of the Swedish royal family, with their long flowing platinum manes, while others have the color of ebony – those young Ethiopian men can be stunning, they look like they descended from Ancient Egypt’s Pharaohs. But you also come across scary looking bozos you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark corner. I even thought I saw the twin brother of Saddam Hussein or his double and let out a scream.
«What’s the matter, dearie?» my baffled uncle hissed, like Shoesha the snake.
«I thought they’d killed him after all the people he tortured and gassed.» I muttered.
And when Bonka insisted to know what was on my mind, I growled «Never mind!» and shut him up, on account that I didn’t want to appear ridiculous, even in front of him, coz such hallucinations don’t smell kosher, specially if what I saw was the Jewish cousin of the late – he should have been hanged much earlier – dictator of Irak. Wow, talk of Jerusalem sin drome! If you didn’t know it yet, this is the land where they invented sin, starting with the Ten Commandments and all them you shan’t’s and so fork and ding dong. And we haven’t even gotten to the capital yet.
Outside it was hot and sticky and we had to take two buses to get back to the pension. The shoving and pushing was nobody’s business, actually, it was mine since I was pressed like a poor lil sardine – my uncle thought it terribly funny and didn’t seem to be bothered by all the hullaballoo, pancake that he is! – and my ears were caught in the fire of screaming schoolkids.
«Ma ze ballagan! this has nothing to do with a maze or balls, it means, ‘cut out the din’» I shouted in Hebrew with all the strtength of my deflated lungs, coz I was drenched in sweat.
A boy my age looked at me, at first non-pussied, then, realizing I was a foreigner, he imitated my accent and his pals started giggling. Bonka baboola put on one of his Purina chow smiles, like he was watching some bloomin dog vaudeville. And he’s supposed to protect me, the shlemiel. I might as well carry a cardboard poster for a body guard, with Arnold the Termitator on it, or be accompanied by a bloomin sandwhichman, in which case we might both get mugged together. Didn’t you guess it yet? I’m the bloomin protector of my shenaniganned uncle. There oughta be fines for such pussy-mousied adults. Who’s the egg and who’s the chicken here, for crying out loud? And you think I’m mixed up!
Yaloni greeted us home with arms wide stretched. She didn’t come too near us on account that we were huffing and puffing and dripping something too terrible.
«Go refresh yourselves quickly, my dear boy – hey she thinks my uncle is a kid now – and dear little Zoompy – damn it, everytime she calls me a different name! -, because I have a sur prrr ise for you.»
So, we hurried up, taking a nice hot shower each, me first tho – lassies get the priority, specially when they’re the protectress.
We were sitting, the three of us, in the livingroom, when the bell rang, with a drilling sound that can scorch your eardrums.
«Here sheee eeez.» boomed Yaloni, jumping out of her chair like a well-fed djinnette.
The surprise was a bones and knuckles lady with a long neck that reminded one that man, instead of descending from monkeys, had girafes for ancestors.
She did have a pretty face though – usually girafes are cute -, with silky blue jay hair and big brown eyes that almost gobbled you alive, when they stared at you. She wore a flowery blouse and a salmon-colored mid-length skirt, with shocking pink high heels, like them nineteen-fifties pin-ups. But Goddess almighty, when she spoke, she gave you the willies, on account that her voice was that of a witch, hoarse and crackling, which didn’t fit at all with her elegant appearance.
«Let me introduce you to my very best friend, Boolissa.» chanted Yaloni, as she flailed her arms in her direction, like two mega butterflies performing in ‘Le ballet des papillons’. «And she’s a widowww!» Yaloni added.
I didn’t understand why she made that last remark until she turned towards my uncle, adding: «And furrr the morre she’s frrreee like a bird. No man in sight, not yyyet.»
You should have seen Bonka’s face, a beetroot! I myself must have turned lizardy, coz I knew that we were going to face a tough one this time. How do you say to two complete strangers:
«My uncle is totally asetchual, not only because he’s a teetotaller, but because after having been heather (hetero, ha!) he became bike then homey, and now he can’t be bothered with any kind of setchual shenanigans. Then too, he’s quite satisfied with spending most of his free time with his dear lil niece – hey don’t even try to think he’s a child molestor, he doesn’t do pedophilia; first of all I wouldn’t let him and second of all, my uncle is a dreamer, not a doer, ok, he’s what is known in literatoity lingo as a purely plutonic dude – I don’t remember Pluto having a girlfriend, do you? Actually, I sometimes believe Unky Berky is a fictitious character, so much so, that I often want to knock one or two of his teeth out, to make sure he is real.»
All the while I was mulling over how I could help Bonka get out of this sorry situation, Boolissa was making doe eyes at him and didn’t stop asking him questions, like:
«So, tell me young man – ahem, he’s forty-six! – what do you prefer in women, their minds or their bodies?» in that low-pitched toady voice of hers. «Do you fancy ‘la femme fatale‘ or rather the gentle housewife type?» «Being a Parisian, I’m sure you have had a lot of experiences with the sassy kind. I hear men there gallivant like there’s no tomorrow, whether they’re married or not. Oh, you latin lovers, swashbuckling devils!» And she winked at him like a shameless hussie.
My poor uncle probably forgot all of the latin he learned at school the minute she spoke to him. I call it black hole amnesia. He began to sweat again profusely, in spite of the pleasant little breeze that was now blowing through the drawn curtains.
We were in a real spot and I had to act fast before Bonka disappeared inside his own clothes, coz that’s what happens when he can’t disentagle himself from a bad situation. Yeah, all of a sudden his clothes seem two sizes too large and all you can see is part of his forehead, with tufts of hair sticking out. He acts like a turtle, with the difference that he can’t hide himself entirely, the tip of his shoes also emerging clownishly.
«Yo!» I exclaimed, addressing both women, «my uncle has a new girlfriend, a colleague of his at the post-office where he works, her name is Annette.»
Suddenly non-pussied, Unky Berky rolled his eyes like them stoned bozos sprawled on a Turkish sofa with a hookah between their teeth. And before he could conk out, I slipped right next to him and pinched him through his shorts.
«Whoaah tss tss!» he whistled, coming to, while shifting from one buttock to the other on his chair like he wanted to scratch himself.
Locking my gaze into his, furiously, like a schoolmarm, warning her pupil, I said:
«I hope you didn’t forget to give Annette our address here, she might get worried, coz you know how anxious she can get.» And, without waiting for his response, I turned to Boolissa: «She’s a very sweet girl, really, the only problem is that she is terribly jealous. She calls him every hour on the hour when my uncle is at home to see what he is up to. Imagine, he even has to tell her when he goes to the loo!»
Boolissa’s face was mostly slack now, but she nevertheless let out a muffled roar:
«Errr, don’t they live together?»
«No wwwaaay!» I almost shouted, «my uncle needs me by his side after work.» Then, realizing I was being a little patronizing, I added on a softer tone, «Unky Berky and I are like two fingers in a hand (or whatever the expression is), ever since I was a little girl. Isn’t that sssooo?» I insisted, sporting a perfect Colgate smile at Bonka, making him well understand that he had better not contradict me, orrr else.»
My uncle, being used to my frequent about-faces and improvisations during emergencies, like this one, nodded sheepishly. At times tho I babble thru my nostrils, so that I get people confused, which was the case of our hostess and her guest. They must have thought that my uncle was under the spell of some witch – me, for krisssakes – and that he was consequently feeble-minded. Gosh, what situations I sometimes get myself into! But thank Goddess, unlike my poor uncle, who can stay dummy founded for an unconscious stretch of time, I swiftly put two and two together, that make four (and not five or such), which literatoitily means that I have what is known as repartee, and pussy-footed:
«Mind you, he doesn’t brag about it, but my uncle is the most cultured man you’ve ever met, and without his help, coz he takes me to the movies, to variety shows, to museums, to concerts and even to the opera – shiiit, do I hate them last three -, I would be the boorishest of all ignoramusses.»
A light suddenly shone like a halo around my uncle’s face. He was beaming and instantly forgot all the nonsense I mushed about his nonexistent Annette, while Yaloni and Boolissa stared at both of us like we had just landed from Galactica.
After that intermission, the talk was all about food, cookies, pretty clothes, Israeli artifacts and such, and, of course, Bonka, the history nerd that he is, asked the two ladies what interesting sites and events we could see and take part in, here in Tel Aviv and around the country. The two dudesses tried to be graceful but had rather longish faces, specially Lady Boolissa, disappointed as she was that Unky Berky was not the latin lover she had expected, rather, that here now stood instead two more friggin useless tourists, who wasted her time and her breath.
The Tel Avivians oughta give a few lessons to our Parisian dog owners who never pick up their pets‘ shit, causing a lot of old ladies to fall down on their faces and break an arm or an ankle. Having lived in the US of A and in Italy – yeah I’ve been around all right, in spite of my tender age, haven’t I told you that already? – I still can’t get used to French incivility. They’re all soi-disant gourmets and boast that they have the best cuisine in the world, but when they go to a restaurant they don’t mind rubbing their shoes in dog crap on the way. I would be disgusted to swallow anything after that, even if it was cooked by a renowned cordon bleu – look up your dictionary, French ain’t just for the birds, the deers or for Red Riding-Hood!
I promised my uncle that when we get back to Cacaville sur Seine, I’ll write to the mayor and tell him off, saying that he oughta be ashamed to be offering tourists his so-called City of Light, the Capital of Haute Couture, with such an abundance of Haute Merde littering the streets.
What you also see here are quite a few mixed couples – of color and gender, and I don’t only mean male and female, or same sex couples of different races, I include transetchuals, transvestits and other kinds of tits. Because of all the rigmarole I’ve just mentioned and because it is so full of energy, Tel Aviv reminds you more of New York than of any European city. You also come across an unconscious number of people who fled the Soviet Union. Apparently there are a million Russians, Georgians and Ukranians living nowadays in this country, of whom at least one third pretended they were Jews in order to escape from the Iron Curtain, when in truth they were, and still are, Christian Orthodox. Well now, they all consider themselves Israeli citizens. In some areas of the city you only hear folk chattering and cussing in Po rusky and you ask yourself whether you haven’t landed in Vladivostok or thereabouts. About this town in Siberia, my uncle told me that when he was a student, he could never remember its name for his geography class, and that one day he found a way not to forget it: he made a mental note and called it Bloody Bastard, which pronounced with a Slavic accent – maybe these people were slaves in the past, but that’s another matter -, becomes Vladyvostod, then too some people must think you are referring to Bloody Mary, the cocktail. This is called a mnemonic trick. You want to remember this last outrageous name? Think of demonic Monique. Enough already with them linguistic gymnastics, you end up becoming a groveling spastic, with your brain reduced to a salad of twisted mushrooms, swimming in olive oil, and your tongue hanging out, completely dehydrated; hey hey, in the meantime you owe me $100 for all the trouble.
The next day was Shabbat, which is the Jewish Sunday, for you ignoramisters and missus, and we had the pleasure of meeting Miki, who was on leave from the army for the weekend. Good looking guy, I must admit, and nicely tanned too. You could see he was Yaloni’s son, coz he had the same smiley face and wavy chestnut hair, but he was much leaner than she – thank goddess! – and, lassie but no woozy, he too had eyes of different colors, which was kinda eerie. Now, if you haven’t seen anybody like that, let me tell you what happens. When you stare at Miki or at his mother for a while – yeah, that’s impolite, I know, but then you pretend you’re missing a screw and gawp like you’ve just seen the Virgin Mary -, you get a bit confused on account that you have the impreshun that you have someone with a double personality in front of you, sort of Dr Jackal and Mrs Hide-in-the-bush, but unlike Stevenson’s character, you don’t know who appears during the day and who pops up at night. And if you keep staring, your knees become weak and your heart starts galloping like them flying horses called Pegasissies, particularly in Miki’s case, on account that he gets handsomer and handsomer as the seconds pass, and you swear he is casting a spell on you. Gawddess almighty, what an uncomfortable situation that is, specially since like my mother, I have vowed to be an inveterate – if pestered though, I can turn into a rabid invertabrat – felinist and won’t let any male talk down to me. But here you feel not at all like a threatening panthera, rather like some helpless pussycat that’s meowing after her mummy who went out to chase a mouse or two for dinner.
So as not to fall into that trap I force myself to avoid Miki’s gaze when he speaks to me and focus instead on his eyebrows, which are of a fiery auburn and perfectly designed. Jeezette, he must think that I suffer from some kind of a skewed vision, or that I’m a bit moronic. Nevermind, I prefer that than to be jinxed and to start drooling like them Ricky Martin’s fans – by the way, that cuty pie of a Latino singer admitted he was a
homeysetchual, a fat lot I care, he’s still a hunk and facsimile sexy, only now it’s the gay folk who go haywire whenever he appears, and me too, doesn’t my uncle call me a tomboy, whoa whoa whoa, I’m neither a homey nor a lesbie, ok, and if I was, it’s none of your business!
«How would you like to spend the evening in Old Jaffa with me? I could introduce you to a couple of artist friends who share a studio there.» Miki offered, looking at me then at my uncle.
Before we could say boo, his mother cut in:
«Are you talking about Shanty the punk and Mahmood the conjuror? They’re still living together? A strange pair they make, those two!»
«Oh Ima (‘Mum’ in Hebrew)», Miki responded, lifting his two arms in a gesture that expressed at once respect and determination, coz this guy had incredibly good manners for a soldier, «this is the twenty-first century, and furthermore, they both are very talented in their specialty.»
«Yes indeed!» answered Yaloni, with an exaggerated squint, «the girl is full of sophisticated piercings, one dangling from her nostril, almost reaching her mouth, another one hanging from her chin, which make her look like some kind of Hindu goddess, and if that wasn’t enough, she has two of them stuck at the tip of her tongue and high up in her ears; where else, I don’t dare ask. As for Wahala Mahmood, apart from pulling prozacked rabbits from his hat, he paints the weirdest faces, no, not like Picasso or Van Dongen – did he have his limbs in the right place with a name like that? -, all dismembered and squashed, they’re figurative all right. He tattoos their foreheads and cheeks with bleeding stars of David and Islamic crescents, and if you look closely enough, you realize that they’re fighting, yes, fighting, you heard me right. I wonder if those two, even if she is a gothik renegade Jewess and he a non-practicing fatwa’d Muslim – that’s what he claims to be; a fatwa is the punishment meted by them bearded mollahs to Muslims who don’t pray five times a day and act like us Infidels -, aren’t plotting a terror attack together.»
«Imaaa, what are you saying!» countered Miki, «If that was their intention, they would have done it during the second Intifada, years ago.»
For you, politically illiterate ninnies, Intifada means Palestinian uprising against the Israeli army. But the more I learn about the ongoing feud between these two peoples living in this tiny area, the more I start sweating, coz everybody you speak to over here believes there will never be any peace, on account that both sides maintain that the other one is dead wrong. There must be a Yasser Bin Mandela and a Solomon Ben Gandhi somewhere in the neighborhood – leave your hiding place, you two, and do your friggin job, for Chrisssake, yeah, I’m also talking to you, Jeeezuuus, get a move on, for crying out loud, where have YOU been all this time? As for you, God the Father Christmas, I’m sure you’ve been messing around with all them pagan goddesses, instead of looking after your people, so why the hell did you choose them? Force these two peaceniks to do their coming out lest the place falls to pieces and gets riddled with holes like that stinking Swiss cheese you forgot in the pantry last year! This can’t go on indefinitely! The Palestinians claim that the Jews stole their land – which is a half lie, since much of it was bought from private Arab folks, and yeah, many others were expelled -, while the Israelis claim that the land has been lived in by Jews since the days of the Bible – which is half a truth, coz there were just a few stray Jewish cats during all those centuries and perhaps a couple of dogs too – and that Jerusalem, with its First and Second Temples (in ruin – you just have to see how often Jews wail in front of that Western Wall) on whose mount the Muslims built their beautiful – whoah, mag ni fi cent – Golden mosque, is the center of Judaism, proven by them Dead Sea scrolls which were rescoopcitated sixty years ago by a poor Beduin, whereas it is only Islam’s third or fourth holy site. Jeezette, how many holy sites do they have around the world? Is that why the Sunni hate the Shia and vice versa and bomb each other’s mosques? Holy Shiiit is what I say!
Miki took us to a coffee shop in old Jaffa called Napoleon, maybe he wanted to honor us, since we live in France. Old Napo freed the Jews of Europe from their ghettos, giving them the same rights the Christians had, after two-thousand years of Jew-bashing, when Jesus, Jeezette, Jacko, their brother, the Virgin (lol … lol … lol) Mary and her hubby Joey were all kosherized Jews! and he even tried to conquer Palestine. To mislead his enemies, Napoleon dressed like an Arab sheik and wore a turban, then when he came near them, he shouted: «In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful» and so fork an ding dong, but the Mamluks – they were an army of slaves who had their own generals – weren’t fooled and they stopped him before he could reach Jerusalem. He lost that war and thousands of French soldiers with it. But before that he had the time to visit Jaffa, Gaza and Haifa … no, not as a tourist, you nitwit! You think I’m talking bunk. Open your history books, damn it!
My uncle tells me that I’ll get a fatwa if I keep saying ‘damn’ this and ‘damn’ that, on account that there are Islamists spying on some street corners, specially in Jerusalem. What’s friggin freedom of expreshun for, damn it! I’ll cuss as much as I want and no chadored Mamluk – them bozos who adore their enslaved women to be cloaked from head to toe -, Haredim with spaghetti hair or Pigvangelists who seem to be born with a mike hooked to their tongue, will stop me. My ancestors haven’t invented the French Revolution for the dogs, coz if that were the case, we would be ruled by French poodles, chihuahas, and dobermistresses.
So here we were at the café in Ole Jaffa, me, clutched between sexy Miki and dreamy Unky Berky, sitting opposite Shanty and Mahmood, the two dragabushkins we were told about earlier, coz she, apart from all the stalactites dangling from her skinny tips, like she was a walking altar, had cheeks dabbed with torero red, so glaring that you needed sunglasses, while her Palestinian boyfriend had circles of purple day glo around his eyes and a zillion little sequins dotting his face and his fluffed-up hair, as if he’d just come out of a jacuzzi bath full of mercury or, since I’m supposed to be a powetess too, as if he’d fallen off the star-spangled firmament.
I don’t know whether it was the sight of these two which made my uncle look so stoned or whether he was fantasizing being himself a maverick, with the hope of joining them in a freak triangle, but I was getting a little worried for him. To be sure he got down back to reality, I pinched his left buttock. He squealed with a very piggish sound, so I was relieved.
«Oh, what a lovely voice you have!» said Mahmood, whistling in appreciation, and he blinked like a daft puppet. «I woudn’t be surprised if you sang professionally or that you were part of a choir. Could you give us a taste of your talent?»
Jeezette, what next! And gap-toothed Shanty who added on cue in broken, very broken French:
«Oui, oui, nous vouloir toi chanter!»
«Indeed,» Miki chimed in, «how about a Jacques Brel song, like ‘Ne me quitte pas’?»
Where had I landed, amid a bunch of screwballs, including now our hunk of a host? Or were these people typical of this country, once they left the army, even just for the weekend? Coz I learned that Shanty too had served a couple of years as a soldieress, under much duress. As for grinning Mahmood, being an Arab citizen, he was not allowed to join the Israeli military, on account that he might spy for the enemy and give strategic clues to the terrorists.
«Whoah … sss … jjj!» I whooshed. That’s what I do when I get flummoxed and can’t find my words, but it proves quite efficient, coz people stare back at me open-mouthed then totally flabbyghosted, like they were the ones who did something wrong. «Now, let’s not get excited,» I was finally able to udder, «my uncle doesn’t know how to sing at all. If Jacques Brel ever heard him so much as try to imitate him, he would rescoopcitate from his Polynesian grave, bones and all, and smack Unky Berky on his friggin head». Yeah, I know, it’s not my uncle’s fault, but better warn everybody at the same time, if you don’t want to have leaks.
The pair in front of us looked at me like I was the crazy one, not they. Well I never, so sayeth Shake ‘m Pears. And you should have seen Bonka’s expression, he looked like I had flogged him the way the Iranian mollars punish teenaged transgressors. Under that Mamluk regime young girls get flogged if they’re found wearing jeans under their mosquito-net cassocks, the poor dudesses. And of course, in this case I feel like twisting my uncle’s nose and both his ears, coz he loooves to show strangers what an underdog he is, specially after he gets scolded – by me, who else? Then, to win back my affection, he gives me that slavish labrador look which almost breaks my heart. Drivelling nincompoop that he is.
To break that poofy atmosphere, I turned towards Miki and asked him if we could go to one of them trendy nightclubs mentioned in Time Out magazine after dinner.
«Of course, Zapy,» answered the sweety pie – I felt like squeezing his cute lil chin and smooch him on the cheek, but I didn’t want to pass for a clot. «I’ll take you to the best one, where we might come across some famous people from this country and even from abroad. The bouncer looks like an enraged gorilla, but don’t worry, he’s a buddy and always lets me in, along with my guests, even those he’s never seen before.»
Our pair of freaky chums started to clap their hands all the while my uncle was shifting his backside on his chair, and making squeaky noises on account that he wanted to intervene.
He gave an unwanted fart, immediately followed by a boorish roar, which is totally unexpected from such a delicate and pussy-mouseyed guy. But I knew what it meant.
«Ahem … er… grrr» he insisted, half barking, so that the audience paid attention. «Isn’t Zapy too young for such … er … a place? She’s not even thirteen you know.»
I cast him such a dirty look that he had to turn his gaze above my head, like he was suddenly staring at a bloomin fly.
«The lassie is as tall as I am, no one will see the age difference, specially inside the nightclub where the lights are dimmed!» said Shanty with a funny smile – was she jealous of me, the midget, or was it a compliment? I still can’t figure it out.
«Don’t you worry Bonky,» said Miki reassuringly – I repressed a laugh, coz it was the first time I had heard someone call him that, and it rhymed with … donkey, which served him right -,«we’re quite open-minded in this city you know, and in any case people behave where I’m taking you. It’s pretty kosher. Zoopy will be like a fish in the sea there.»
«Hey, Mooky Nooky Tushy yourself,» I retorted, trying to squint and blink at the same time, «you do have a problem with names in this country,» I grumbled hoarsely, like a school principal who’d had too many cocktails, addressing all and sundry around the table, «either you call me Esmeralda, as it is written on my passport, or Esmée, Zapinette too, if you insist, orrr Zapy, but no other donkey names, ok!»
Mahmood started to giggle and to shake like a bloomin camel that’s found a water hole in an oasis, after having trotted ten days in the desert, and soon everybody guffawed, including Bonka. After telling myself that I shouldn’t be a killjoy, I joined in the most stupid laughter this side of the Negev. Jeezette, what baboons we are!
In order to make me pass for a young adult, Shanty applied some of her own makeup on my face. The moment I saw myself in the compact mirror she lent me, I almost jumped out of my skin, on account that I looked like a ventriloquist’s puppet, or worse, like Nina Hagen’s baby sister, a real witch, with all that mascara, the layers of rouge on the cheeks and the black lines surrounding my eyes. My mum would have had a heart attack seeing me like this. But, low and bee hold, my Israeli buddies thought I was a stunner. Unky Berky looked stunned all right, only in his case I was afraid he would swallow his tongue forever, coz he could hardly recognize his darling lil niece. So as to avoid that such an accident should occur, I asked Miki to order a triple gin and tonic for my uncle, whether he liked it or not, I know how to put my foot down in situations of emergency.
I won’t tell you about my experience at that nightclub, except that both my uncle and I came out of it completely deaf and bleary-eyed. How can people enjoy all them decibels for so many hours? I hate techno music, oh yeah I hate it with all my guts, and I don’t care if that’s what my generation goes for. It’s the kind of noise that can give an elephant instant diarrhea, let alone make its tiny eyes pop out of their socks and turn its jumbo ears into two overgrown lettuces that have suddenly become all whitered and floppy, on account of an unexpected heatwave, which here they call Hamsin. Hey, did you notice something about this word? Do I have to remind you that Jews and Muslims consider that to eat ham is a sin? And therefore God punishes the would-be offenders with a hellish wind that blows from the Sahara, which then hops over Egypt and the Sinai, before it finally hits these parts.
Like I said before, in these here biblical lands there are so many do’s and don’t’s that you are a sinner even before you are born, the worst four-letter word being SINS, yes in plural, on account of all the stations of your afterlife – in case you are Christian – that can start in limbo, if you die without being baptised, then comes purgatory, if your sins on earth weren’t so serious, like throwing a stray cat in a dustbin, without killing it, like that English mum who mistook a flea-bitten pussy for some dirty plush toy. And then comes the devil’s may-care kingdom, which all the fanatics of this planet promise you will go to, on account of all them do’s and don’t’s, which you pretend you keep confusing.
Jerusalem … Yerushalaïm, in the Bible – don’t warble, it’s pronounced Yeah roo shah lyim – and not lying! Get up, will you, there’s so much to see in this here city of King David and of Jesus the Son of … well I don’t know whose son he is if Joseph wasn’t his real father, since Mary was a virgin … gulp, I’m 12 but I don’t gobble such nannities!
Now, to get here we took a sherut whose driver was an Israeli Arab. He was courteous, shaloming and salaaming every one with a broad mint-flavored smile, and he was very much in a hurry too, maybe he had to meet his lover or something, coz we almost flew in his van. The trip just took us forty-five minutes and we crossed the country through quite a hilly landscape. During the war of Independence, this road was hell, Arab snipers aiming at every passing Jewish vehicle.
We stood just 60-odd kilometers away from a hundred-year old Tel Aviv and yet, you’d think we were in another country; wasn’t Jerusalem, which had celebrated its third millenium, supposed to be the center of the world, both to the Jews and the Christians of yore – yo, nifty, hey! -, the Muslims having theirs in Mecca, but insisting that the city belongs to them too, even to those who live in Indonesia, Bangle Desh, Malaysia, Pakistan and all the other non-Arab stans? Where do we all stand here is nobody’s business! Maybe the United States oughta claim back London, Dublin, Port-au-Prince (see how many Haitian taxi drivers there are in NYC!) and Lagos too, on account that millions of its citizens were originally from these cities, including the former slaves. Or Australia, or even New Zeland for that matter, or … or, enough already!
Now, what do you think my uncle forced me to visit just as we arrived? Yad Vashem, which means Memorial of Names, the Holocaust Museum, for crying out loud. And I did cry my eyes out and sniffle nonstop, as quietly as a mouse, mind you, coz in such surroundings you don’t start bawling, it’s ungodlike. Yeah, gosh, God Almighty – a goddess could never have been so insensitive -, where the hell were you when all this happened, you sleazy traitor, you unworthy creator, you …
There were so many pictures of pathetically thin people in prison rags, of adults, of old grandpas and grannies, and of so many little children, from a few days-old to teenagers who looked half their age, you could almost see their skeletons pierce through their skins, that you’d think they were stills of a horror series. But no, these were photos of real people, all sent to the gas chambers, then, even before they were all dead, coz some were still agonizing, they got heaped up into crematorium furnaces, Jeezette, triple zette!
If the ratty president of Iran continues to deny that this ever happened, he and his ilk, like that English evangelist who claimed that the Jews invented it all, oughta be brought here, shackled and gagged and thrown in the middle of these images, then left alone during forty long nights, without food, drink or air-conditioning, so that he too gets skeletonized and asks Allah for forgiveness. You want to know why I always hark back to that Iranian shlemiel? Coz them TV reporter perverts show him every second day, smiling like a devil while promising, in his crocodilish voice, to wipe out Israel from the map. Any other country would declare war to that nincompoop pronto presto, but lil Israel isn’t allowed to do that, on account that Jews are used to suffering.
You can’t imagine what I also saw: bundles of human hair, bars of soap the nazis made out of Jewish flesh, layers of torn clothes that looked like shredded bark and photos of heaps of golden teeth extracted from corpses which were lying piled up and naked in communal graves which were still open. All of this made me want to scream and run away. This place is the exact opposite of pretty dingaling Disney World, coz it’s all so damn awfully incredibly true.
Oh, when we got out of that place, how I wanted to flatten my uncle’s face, like them pug dogs, twist his ears and his low and bee hold youknowwhat, then fill his mouth with sand and manure, even if he too had red albino eyes, coz you don’t let delicate lil girls like me see such horrendipiteous stuff, that turns your stomach inside out and vice versa, like your food suddenly wants to get ejected then runs back into your throat, not sure what direction to take, but now with a disgusting taste of goulash vomit.
«I want to go back to Tel Aviiiv, right now, you shmoozle, you!» I spat at my uncle, the skunkle. «I hate this place and I hate you too.»
Bloomkish remained silent for a few seconds then burst out into the most convulsive sobs, I had ever heard from here to eternal hell, like there was a ping pong match inside his stomach, echoed by stratospheric woofers. The sobs became so loud and fulla damn hiccups that people started staring at us, then giving me dirty looks as if I was the one torturing the poor old soul. Poor old schmuck, is what I say. But I couldn’t let the situation deteriorate, lest Bonka strangled himself, swallowing both his eyes and his nose, let alone his tongue. Have you ever seen a human embryo? That’s what he was going to look like if I didn’t act immediately.
«Shsh … shush … shusha!» I hissed, rounding the tip of my clapper like Ju Ju the snake, then sending virtual bubbles in the air, so that the sound swished into his delicate ears, tickling them to death – I got a patent for that tour de force, coz nobody else knows how to do it like me.
My uncle stood stock still, mermerised, with nary a blink, totally marshmellowed.
«Now, listen here, Bloomkish,» I whispered, «another one of your howlings or public hooplas and I’ll catch the next crazy donkey that runs away to the West Bank and leave you here all alone, so behave, ok.» Then I got near him, with my fingers pressed like the claws of an angry lobster and threatened to pinch his kishkas.
«Gulp! Whatever you say, dearie,» he whooshed – coz he darn well knows how vengeful I can get.
People around us were still gossiping and pointing at me. I was going to blow the heads of two old hags who were trotting in our direction, on account that I saw that they intended giving me a lesson, the mooshes. So I clapped my hands in their direction like a spastic to scare them away while I ordered my uncle to come and hug me. Which he did like an obedient labrador. That’s our stratagem in such cases of emergency. And he almost licked my face, calling me his darling little niece, and so fork and ding dong.
«Enough already!» I commanded, «Droolamoosh, you’re wetting me something too terrible. Control yourself, man!»
The two witches backed off like two mega puppets that someone was pulling behind them with a wire contraption. You oughta have seen their expressions. They phewed with the sound of two deflating hot-air balloons.
Once they were at a safer distance, the fatter one screamed in a high-pitch so that all and sundry could hear her:
«That guy is either suffering from Jerusalem syndrome, believing the girl is the ghost of the Virgin Mary, when the latter was a teenager, or else he’s Masoch resuscitated. I’ve never seen such crap. And if I were her mother, I would give the brat the biggest smack of her life.»
«Not only you’re not worthy of being a mother,» I retorted, barking like a bitch in heat, «but you oughta go to a sigh kayak tryst, coz you need to be locked up in a loony bin for mastodon freaks on account that when you fart, not only must people around you fall like intoxicated flies, but you’re a massive danger to our ozone.»
My poor uncle was peeing in his pants, he was so shook up. How do I know? He was hiding the stain with one hand while pulling me with the other one away from the two witches and the maddening crowd that began to swell around them, attracted by the ruckus. We were running in the opposite direction to avoid a brawl and a mega fistfight, but every so often I would turn towards them and give them the finger. Ah you think I’m vulgar! Because all them bloody wars still going on in Congo, Sudan and elsewhere aren’t a thousand times worse than vulgar, with them poor lassies being raped over and over again? What’s the connection? Think man, think, it all has to do with being filtersoftickle, Plato, Pluto & stuff.