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Evil - for dummies

What you do is you start a bank, then by sleight of hand you convince everyone that while you only have 10 units of coin in your coffers y...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lee the Palestinian

Ten thousand dead, he said, and he pulled me by the sleeve, pulled me so close his face was like A Fistful of Dollars, like Lee van Cleef, pocked and greasy, and his breath a barrel of old herring. A hundred thousdand dead, he said – the numbers rose by order of magnitude – What are you talking about man, but I knew what he was talking about. I was waiting for Goni outside the Israeli embassy. I knew he was a palestinian, with his scarf and his placard, I knew he was fighting the impossible fight, the fight he would loose, the fight that has shamed us all for over half a century. Gimme a cigarette, he said, and I gave.

Since tuesday I’ve been purging evil from my heart. On tuesday I killed. With the wheel of my bike I rode across a pigeon's back. The little rat didn’t get out of the way! Its job is to get the out of the way. A life-long training prepares it to GET OUT OF THE WAY. My wheel tore across him. I heard a shreak and a violent flutter of wings. My heart stopped and then... then evil descended.

Gimme your life, Lee said. I balked. You can borrow it... and then he showed me his teeth and laughed a laugh full of herring. Evil was waning in me I could feel it. When Goni appeared we were still laughing, but she saw his scarf and his face and immediately, with her eyes, she sentenced him and scolded me (la mère Goni!). Then later in the car she said,

“You know he’s crazy, right?”

“He’s not crazy.”

“He’s crazy, Lui.”

“Gon, he’s not crazy. That’s too easy. Maybe he’s just tired that his mom has to sleep in a tent. Maybe they bulldozed his whole village while he was out with his brother. Maybe his brother was bulldozed too because he didn’t have the reflex, because he didn’t have the fucking reflex to get out of the way.”

What are you talking about?

“Nothing. Just drive.... and watch the birds.”