Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Short Story About a Hasidic Girl

Author Rachel Ament emailed me a link to a very good short story she wrote called I Am a Criminal. She says it's "very loosely" based on stories told to her by neighbors in Boro Park. Excerpt:
Tamar opened the door to her apartment, pulled me inside with a hug.

“Baruch Hashem! Baruch Hashem!” she cheered. She led me to the dining room table where we played Gin-Rummy with Chinese playing cards. She held her fan of seven cards real close to her face. “Masha, stop looking,” she kept saying. Her mother soon entered with a casserole dish in hand, steam waving from its crust and her six or seven kids took their seats at the table. I took a seat diagonally across from Menachem, looked at him every now and then using only the corner of my eyes. He had grown into an attractive man, that Menachem. His face was quite youthful, all rounded edges, nice copper eyes that turned green in bad lighting. The only problem was his mouth which was rowed with these huge splint-sharp teeth. Teeth for a rodent, my mama once whispered to me with a laugh.

I didn’t want to stare at him so I tried to find something else to do with my eyes. I looked at my arm hair. I looked at the dog. I looked at Tamar, who was cutting her potato kugel into the shape of a star, swinging at the crust with these grand, seesawing motions, like she was sawing wood or something. She was no doubt about it soliciting for attention.

Tamar,” I finally gave in, “What are you doing?”

“Its just, well you know… kugel,” Tamar’s face grew serious. “It's just so ugly, it's like...orphan mush. I’m just trying to make it more attractive.”

“You are so mental,” I said.

“She really is,” Menachem said, staring at his plate, already regretful. As he should have been. Menachem was a frum boy, mind you, and was weeding his way into conversation between two girls, one of whom was not related to him!—surely this meant our great solar system had kicked out of orbit. Surely this meant the planets were suddenly rotating the sun in the broken-wheeled motions of the hora instead of in its usual clean circuit. I mean surely.

My father once said that sins happen in clumps. You bee-bee-gun a bird for pleasure, enjoy the thuggish feeling of watching feathers blasting with blood and you begin killing animals higher up the kingdom. Shoot to the top, so to speak. I guess the same phenomenon was happening with Menachem. He began talking to me with longer and longer sentence and it was not long before he had curled his upper lip behind his gumline and smiled at me. It wasn’t some shy smile either but a giant comedian performance smile toppling over with all sorts of chemicals and romantic implications. I even spotted a matching wink in his left eye.

7 comments:

jewish philosopher said...

"I looked at the dog."

Ultra-orthodox don't have dogs.

Otherwise, not bad.

Baal Devarim said...

"Short Story About a Hasidic Girl"

Don't insult our intelligence, Rachel. It might (or might not) be a short story about a girl, but about a Hasidic girl it is not. Dogs and Mexican pop singers? The cultural (and behavioral) milieu is way off for it to be a believable story about a Hasidic girl, and the mere mention of kugel doesn't make it so.

Although, that detail about the sticky milk pouring from the spout of her vagina was...... interesting.

Off the Derech said...

Thanks. I liked the story.
btw, your post above this looks familiar ;D

BlackEyedP said...

ok,t hats something i've never heard. why don't OJ's have dogs?

Rachel Ament said...

BD, fantasizing about Mexican pop stars is plausible for any Boro Park kid who has taken the D train or has snuck onto the internet.

mOOm said...

I was also going to write "dog?" :)

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner said...

While I certainly respect your humanistic atheism, how far does that go? Only till you perish. I have a solution not many people even think about - in fact, with my head injury, I more-than-likely am the first. If you think this life ends at death, can I turn-you-on to believe in sex in Heaven?? In the Exclusive Landscape Upstairs, like the NYC El but muuuch better, outside the stanky litter box of earth, a Beyond-Wonderfully-Delicious-Panorama of guys or girls await you for eternity. So, here’s my peAce de resistance: doesn’t matter whether you believe or not, brudda, you’re still gonna croak in our lifelong demise; then, while our mortal bodies are recycled in the grave to make fertilizer, our indelible soul rises-up to be judged at the General Judgment. Here’s the point I want you to consider BEFORE leaving this world: sex in Heaven. If nuthin else, that alone should persuade you to get baptized-and-believe. Why not? Can’t God provide everything? Thot so. The Trinity’s just as happy you made it to the realm where the sun is ever present rather than shadows at night. Lookit, if God provides everything else, why not passionate, intimate love make’n interspersed withe length of eternity?

See, God knew the ol El Diablo would lie-like-a-rug and trick U.S. into believing sex wouldn’t ever be possible in Heaven, so why not get a buncha ho’s and condemn yourself? Lookit Eminem. You think Upstairs, we have be stanch, hardcore blox with no feelings whatsoever; we have to sit at church and be good religious zealot with our hands in prayer 24/7 …?? 101% WRONG. If you yourself have the desire when you walk through the Pearly Gates, anything and everything and MORE is possible in the Great Beyond. I know. I’m head injured. I left this world in October ‘85. So dream BIG, America. God loves that. God loves for U.S. to ‘pull Him outta the sky’ and fantasize about where we’re going. God can and will provide if we have a seed of faith.

Type-out on your browser ‘Pascal’s wager’ …and you’ll soon realize this lifelong demise is merely the very tip-of-the-iceberg for the TWO eternities. God bless you with discernment. Can I kiss your adorable feet in Heaven?