By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
was knocking down a wall.
All women reporters are whores and I was knocking down a wall. It had already been something like four months since she left. At first, I thought all that renovating would calm me down, but actually all it did was just upset me more. The wall I was knocking down was the one between the living room and the bedroom, so that the balcony was always behind me. But I remembered. You don’t have to see to remember. I remembered how we used to sit there all night.
“Look,” she’d said, “a falling star. Let’s make a wish. Right now,” and she lay her head on my shoulder, “go on and wish for something.”
“All right,” I said, “I’m wishing.”
“What did you wish for?” she asked, giving me a squeeze. “Tell me, please, tell me.”
“That it’ll always be like this, like it is now.” I ran my hand through her hair. “A breeze. The two of us together on the balcony.”
“No,” she said, pushing me away, “that’s not a good wish. Wish for something else, something just for you.”
“Okay, okay,” I said, and laughed, “take it easy. An FZR 1000. I wish for a Yamaha FZR 1000.”
“A motorcycle?” She looked at me, shocked. “You get a wish and you ask for a motorcycle?”
“Yes. Why, what did you wish for?”
“I’m not telling,” she said, hiding her face in my sweater. “If you tell, it never comes true.”
But if you don’t tell, maybe it does. Two months later, she moved to Tel Aviv to work on a daily paper, national circulation. She didn’t say a word to me, just disappeared. Her parents wouldn’t give me her address. They said she asked them to tell me she didn’t want to talk to me.
“Why not?” I asked her father. “Did I hurt her feelings? Did I do something to her?”
“I don’t know,” he said, shrugging. “That’s what she told me to say.”
“Tell me, Mr. Brosh,” I said, getting angry, “you think it’s normal that your daughter and I have been going out together for two years, and all of a sudden, just like that, for no reason, she doesn’t want to talk to me? You don’t think I deserve an explanation?”
“That’s not fair, Eli,” her father said, leaning on the door handle. The whole conversation was taking place at the door to their apartment. “It really isn’t fair,” he said, running his free hand over his bald head. “I’m not the one who left you, you know. I never did anything bad to you, right? I don’t deserve to have you take that tone with me.” He was right. Simple as that. And suddenly he looked so forlorn. I said I was sorry and left. After that, I tried to track her down through the paper. But they wouldn’t give me her home number, and she was never at the office. So I left a message, I left a thousand messages, but she didn’t call. A few months later, I decided to renovate.
People were screaming. Between one blow and another on the wall, I suddenly realized that people were screaming on the street, not far from my house. I went outside. Near the intersection, 30 meters from me, two people were lying on the road, and a woman was running toward me, yelling, and a man in a green woolen hat was chasing her. About 10 meters away from me, he caught up to her and grabbed her by the hair. That’s when I noticed the knife. The tip of it was sticking out of the front of her neck. And blood, there was lots and lots of blood. She fell to her knees, the man pulled his arm back and the blade just disappeared. She was lying on the sidewalk now. And the guy with the knife was looking at me, moving slightly toward me, but slowly. I wanted to run away, but my feet wouldn’t move. He kept coming closer, taking small, hesitant steps as if we were kids playing tag. And the whole time, I kept saying to myself, something’s not right here. Why’s he walking so slowly? I mean, he ran after that woman like a madman. Here I am in my slippers and he’s holding a knife 20 centimeters long. What’s he afraid of? Why doesn’t he come and stab me? And then I saw him step off the sidewalk onto the road, trying to walk around me very, very slowly. I watched him, half-aware of the sledgehammer in my hand, a 5-kilo sledgehammer. I took a step toward him and whacked him on the head with it.
He wasn’t moving. I sat down on the sidewalk. The guy from the grocery store came over with a Coke. I felt around in the pocket of my sweatpants so I could pay him. He grabbed my wrist and wouldn’t let me take out the money. “Forget it,” he said, “it’s on me.”