Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the one hundred and seventh piece in this series. This week’s is a 434-worder by contemporary and historical novelist, non-fiction author, interviewee and spotlightee Dorit Kedar. This story will be podcasted in episode 34 (with two other stories and some 6-worders) on Sunday 1st December.
Sweet Idleness (The Happy Hobo)
by Dorit Kedar (translation from Hebrew by Annael Jonas-Paneth)
I have my own personal hobo.
Bloomsbury Square at its finest, majestic trees, a bench, and there he’s entrenched.
Every day I cross the square at a light jog, battle the calories and throw one pound into the box.
Rags hang on him frail and pale, he is always composed in the pose of a snail and only a black tuft of hair proves that this is a human being.
And today it’s my birthday, so I invite him to breakfast.
He straightens his pants and swears to himself.
His feet are bare.
At first he hesitates.
Then, energetic, he rises briskly, ties the rags that once were clothes in a rope that becomes a belt.
Carefully he folds the scrap that is now a bed, empties the box of a pound and ten pence and follows me.
I am generous today.
” Thou may order whatever thy fancies!,” I say, festively.
“Eat whatever you feel like eating,” I translate.
He exposes a smile that one might see on American tooth paste commercials.
“I have a PHD in philosophy,” he declares in a BBC English, and I turn blue.
“Yes,” he says, “this is out of choice.”
Still I am speechless and he adds and chuckles, “Not bad, huh?”
We both sigh.
It’s my birthday today.
We sit at the center, all the diners are curious.
He wants granola.
“There is no method to the madness,” I declare and order pancakes dipped in maple syrup.
“It’s a sort of principle for me,” he says.
“I only share my profits with friends or acquaintances,” he states.
“Profits?” I ask.
“Profits,” he replies.
“I have a modest house in Mayfair,” he adds.
” Mayfair?” I ask.
” Bond Street Mayfair,” he emphasizes.
“A house made of paper or carton?” I ask, dropping my voice by half a tone so as not to impose on his privacy.
“Prejudice,” he accuses.
“And the clothing?” I inquire.
“I am wrapped in badly-sewn splendor,” he declares in all earnestness.
“All that’s missing is the cloak,” I offer.
“Yes,” he agrees, “maybe at the end of the season.”
“Why flirt with humiliation?” I rebel.
“It’s a matter of rejection,” he interprets.
“Rejection?” I wonder.
“A full-time job is a curse,” he clarifies.
We both sigh.
“I have a pretty well-developed idleness,” I reveal.
“I have a natural gift for it,” he chuckles.
“Idleness is like a kiss, said Jerome Jerome” he laughs and rises.
“Many thanks!” He says.
“Maybe some cake?” I offer.
“The time is up. I have to get back to the bench,” he grunts, sighs, tut-tuts and disappears.
I asked Dorit what prompted this piece and she said…
During the winter of 2011, an Israeli author (me) babysits a red house, a dog and two cats. She writes letters to her friend in Israel, reporting on the perfect stillness and the ultimate silence in her private little bubble. In this big and empty white, on the river bank in the freezing silence, she sends her friend short stories that, strangely enough, describe encounters that occur in the blazing heat of a Tel Avivian cafe. “Sweet Idleness and/or The Happy Hobo” is one of these 21 stories.
As you were kind enough to write about me already twice: a short story:
“A Clumsy Tale”, which you also read in your fantastic accent – and before that you gave me the author spotlight – I would like this time to write only a few words about my new novel that will be published in Tel Aviv on 9.9. at 9.
Read along and see how suitable the date is to this kind of book.
I am so sorry that you won’t be able to read it as it is written in Hebrew, but here are few words about it – we can see it as a short story by itself: Komish bath Machlafta, a Fake Biography of a Real Woman
Once upon a time, at the beginning of the fifth century, Komish Bat Machlafta was born. She had the nerve to rush out of her mother’s womb as a female. On top of that, 6 fingers adorned her palms. The anomaly of multiple thumbs forecast her future as a sorceress.
The fake biography of the real Komish begins at the age of nine. During this time she discovers her sexuality and the essence of the human kind. The reader accompanies Komish during her forced marriage at the age of eleven, through her escape to a monastery in the desert and eventually to her flamboyant life in the prostitutes’ alley in Jerusalem.
Illustration by Salit Krac salitkrac.blogspot.co.il
No she-demon has ever achieved a fantastic career as Lilith. By her beauty and naughty behavior, one might think that she is much younger than 4000 years. Thousands of books have been written about this beautiful, promiscuous and vampiric demoness, but only in this book, one can find the missing link of the demonic species and especially the lost chapter of Lilith’s biography. This book presents an extraordinary magical aspect of the Jewish society, it’s heroes in the times of antiquity and a panoramic view of women not only as a wife, but as a multi-disciplinary expert craftswoman and sorceress.
Lilith book is available on Amazon (kindle) for only $3.33 and you can get it here.
(Illustration by Lola Kedar http://lolakedar.carbonmade.com).
Exciting news… Dorit has a new novel, Komish Bath Machlafta – A Fake Biography of a Real Woman, so new I just have the photograph for it so far… Illustration by Salit Krac salitkrac.blogspot.co.il.
Thank you so much Morgen. I am so happy to be a guest again in your wonderful blog.
I’m delighted to have you. Thank you, Dorit.
Dorit Kedar travels around the world, looking for inspirational places to write her books. She was a special education art teacher in the morning and a Religious Studies student in the afternoon – completing her MA degree and researching societies and their beliefs in the 1st millennium in the ancient east, for her thesis. She then wrote her book “Lilith, the Jewish demoness – 1000 years of borderline personality disorder.”
This was followed by articles and lectures about ancient life, recruiting angels, demons and spirits and about amulets and incantation bowls. Dorit carried on studying Journalism and Museum studies. All this while raising two wonderful daughters and one dog…
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Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
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