by Zachary H. Loewenstein
Not only Jerusalem. Not only the old city. Not only the western wall. The fucking thing that the wall is holding up. The fucking Temple Mount. The fucking Temple Mount and the original site of the Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant. The original gilded receptacle of the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments which were given directly to Moses by Almighty God Himself on the summit of Mt. Sinai.
“It was just right about there.” The entirely bald and unlicensed tour guide pointed with his swollen index finger. His brain was cooking in the heat and he shouted. He clapped his hands and insisted, “Ok! Everybody! It’s time to move to the market! Everybody!” He is a typical guide. They always want to fuck, but they must be weighed down by of all of their gold jewelry.
It’s like they say, easy cheese makes for easy mice. Something must have been lost in translation.
Watching from a bench was a young Arab named Abdul. He lived in the old city and saw the same thing every day. Stupid German tourists being led around by some Arsim Guido Sephardic Jew who doesn’t know The Shema from the descriptions of Slavic prostitutes in Banana Magazine.
Abdul was the son of a traveling tobacco and hookah salesman and nephew of a dedicated microbiology researcher and professor at the University. His cousin also happened to be that Iraqi pilot who defected in that new Soviet fighter jet all those years ago. What balls did that guy have!
Abdul had other intentions for this usually hot and dry day in this unusually hot and dry land which did not involve German tourists or unlicensed tour guides with swollen fingers. Abdul was going to the forest. He hadn’t been to the forest below the city for almost a year now. He had all but forgotten about the crisp, cool air. He had all but forgotten about the scent of pine. He had all but forgotten about the Earth itself.
Abdul began his adventure on a midday sherut. “Service minibuses” were terrible places. The overcrowded vans of heavily sweating, hairy men would always stink overwhelmingly. Arab and Jew. Who would have thunk.
There was never enough water or Arak in the world to make this experience tolerable.
Eventually, Abdul managed to depart the unpleasant climate of the bus and relocated to his secret spot on the stream’s shore off–trail near some lichen and moist moss.
The air was crisp and cool. The scent of pine was wafting and the Earth continued to exist despite anyone’s desires.
(Zachary H Loewenstein never meant for things to be like this. He was born in a barn but prefers caves. Zachary has lived and worked for many years in Lower Luxembourg after having received his Doctoral Degree in Anesthesiology from the University of Leiden in The Netherlands. Zachary illustriously retired from the Non-Arab Affairs Department of the Shin Bet as an officer and is a successful organic gardener. His favorite bird is Maglan. In Zachary’s spare time, he likes to finance and provide logistical support for coups d’etat in Latin America because why the fuck not?)