Eilat, December 6, 2021, the last day of Hanukkah, Khamsin.
My son and I recently, after more than a year of wandering abroad, returned home to Eilat with an almost zero budget, and that day in the morning we started looking for work again.
We managed to rent a small apartment in the Lev Eilat residential complex,
the entrance gate of which was located right next to the “Shuk” grocery store.
“I’m terribly hungry, Maayan!” ― looking in the direction of the store, the son said as soon as we left.
“Okay, Yaron, wait a minute, I’ll run into the store and I’ll see what products we can buy on the way back.”
With a brisk step, I reached the shelves with products of interest to us, having looked at the assortment and prices, and leaving the “Shuk” I went to my son, who was waiting to continue the journey, but then hearing that someone was shouting something, I turned around and saw that a woman who was sitting in a store at the checkout was hurrying towards us, excitedly and loudly speaking something in Hebrew.
“Yaron, what is she saying? You know that I am not strong in the local language.” ― I asked my son.
“She asks why did you leave so quickly? Because you heard some screams or saw something terrible happening on the street?
She said that they found someone’s teeth in the burekas today.
She asks if we know what happened here?” ― translated the son.
“What happened here? As far as I can see, nothing” ― I replied.
But the woman continued to tell something emotionally, and I suddenly felt an uncontrollable burst of laughter, although I did not understand what she was saying and laughed, and suddenly, looking at me, she began to laugh too.
“Maayan, she said someone had their head cut off. Now she added that it was actually such a joke.”
“She has strange jokes. That is, fortunately, all the heads are in place, Yaron?”
“Yes, apparently it is.”
“Okay, let’s go quickly, we already lost a lot of time on some nonsense.
Let’s go, we will go to the villa “Laguna”, there is a vacancy, we will find out if we can find at least some kind of work. It would be very helpful.”
The small white villa “Laguna” was located five minutes walk from the shop on Odem Lane. This place was familiar to us, in this small alley we rented an apartment when we first moved to live in Eilat.
A smiling man and a woman welcomed us.
“We take you, come tomorrow, but for part-time work, there is not much work now, the season is ending, but it will be like this everywhere before Passover.”
“Good! At least something. I’m so hungry all the time!” ― suddenly the son said.
“Are you really hungry? Take and buy yourself some food” ― the man said, taking 50 shekels out of his wallet.
“Thank you, thank you very much! See you tomorrow!”
“Yeah, Yaron. Okay, we have to go buy you food and go clean the apartments to pay off our debt.” ― I suggested.
I was already cleaning, I don’t remember exactly, the second or third apartment, when I opened the door to put out the trash and saw a short middle-aged man standing near the door with a strange and empty expression in his eyes.
“Good afternoon, adoni (dear)! What did you want?”
“Yaron, ask him what he needs, I don’t know Hebrew” ― I called my son.
“Maayan, he says he has a leak in his apartment, I’ll go down and take a look.”
“Some kind of inadequate person. Maybe I should have gone with my son?” ― I thought.
A few minutes later Yaron returned, but, as I expected, he looked frightened.
“What happened, my dear?”
“There was no leakage at the downstairs neighbor. He said that someone had been kidnapped here, some Puerto Ricans. I asked what became of them, were their heads cut off?
He said yes, it was.
He had a knife on the floor in his apartment, smeared with something red, possibly ketchup, and some other objects of unknown purpose, and he looked completely insane. It was very, very unpleasant, Maayan!”
“Yes, I understand. Wish I went with you.”
And I started cleaning my last apartment for that day when I heard a loud conversation in Hebrew – some rude male voice asked something, and Yaron answered.
Soon I heard that my son slammed the door and called him to ask who was coming.
“Some man knocked on the door, he was sitting in the car when we entered the entrance and
asked if I had seen a body on the stairs. I answered him, “You followed us and saw everything the same that we saw. If it was, then where could it go, what did you think I ate it?”
The man looked at me in horror and ran away.
It all looked like some kind of show.”
“Strange people, strange jokes. The last day of Hanukkah and Sharav. True, and Sharav is so dear, I missed without it! Okay, I’m already finishing cleaning, let’s go buy more food, Yaroshka, this will make you happy.”
“I’m always in favor.”
“Well, that’s “Shuk”.
Yaron, while I choose vegetables for the salad, please go to the bread department, so as not to waste time and take a loaf of bread.”
“Did something happen again? Someone approached you?” ― I involuntarily asked, seeing the strange expression on my son’s face.
“Yes, while I was choosing bread, two guys came up to the department and asked me, “Where are the pits here?”
“I don’t know, it looks like they are not there, take bread instead.”
“No, we just need pita, because we want to fry someone and put there.”
“Maybe they want to fry and put chicken in there, for example.”
“Yes, but usually it is not said ‘someone’ about it.”
“Anything can happen.”
My son and I collected quite a few products, and I, thinking that this was too ruinous for our meager budget, suggested ― “Yaron, let’s leave the soy cheese, I think we can do without it, especially since we bought the usual one today.”
“Of course, I think so too.”
“Please take it to the place, and I will choose a few more tangerines for us, they are the cheapest of all fruits.”
“You know, I’m even just wondering – is it possible that someone will again become attached to you with old questions on the same topic, because there are so few people here and you only need to walk a few yards?…”
“Tell me what happened, Yaron!” ― I asked, seeing the changed expression on my son’s face.
“While I was putting the cheese in place, a man came up to me and grabbed my hand and said:
“I want meat, I need meat!” And his eyes sparkled strangely.
“Boy, help me pick out the freshest sausage” ― he added.
“Again the same theme! Terribly funny!” – I could not resist and laughed.
“Look, this is that man. He’s standing behind us in the checkout line.”
I turned around – there really was smoked sausage with fat on the tape where the products were laid out, and the eyes of the man behind us were strangely sparkling with an insane shine.
For some reason it seemed incredibly funny to me, I burst out laughing and as soon as I looked towards this man my laughter intensified.
“What is the meaning of this so-called cut-off head joke, repeated in different variations, Yaron?”
More and more questions arise in my head.
“Who are people in general and who directs their actions? How does the world actually work?”