Peck of Pickled Pollsters — “Necessary Stories” from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

illustration by Avi Katz
illustration by Avi Katz
Remember my friend Frank from Fifty-Ninth Street, whose feelings for fairness are so fine-tuned that any abuse sends him into an ardor of alliteration and assonance that invariably infects me every time we have a heart-to-heart on Hangouts? Frank requires forbearance and a willingness to lapse into his lingo. I can talk perfectly normally, and here’s proof, but you know how it goes with people who hold powerful political perceptions—if you can’t chant their cant, they negate your notions and insist you are insipid.

I used to try to contain his cascading consonants and viva voce vowels, but then relinquished all resistance. Frankly, I was happy that there had been a hiatus—for some four fortnights my Skype had been silent, but then belatedly on my browser, just as I was autographing my absentee ballot, his avatar aparated.

“Hey, Frank, wherya been?” I queried on my qwerty keyboard.

Post-pregnant pause, Frank formulated: “Brooding on the blight that plagues the planet.”

“As always,” I answered.

“I have been agonizing over William Butler’s legendary lyric: ‘a kind of chaos is unleashed on the universe, the blood-blinded tide is untethered.’”

“You mean Yeats?” I yammered. “But you revise his vocabulary.”

“Dare you doubt my veracity in verse?” Frank was awfully offended.

With a sad sigh I said: “Apologies, amigo. This señor is at your service.”

“I call with concern in connection with your far-off franchise.” My chum chided: “As our buddyhood began before our birth, I have grave grounds for goosebumps. Do you value your vote? Do you take your suffrage seriously?”

“Absolutely,” I affirmed. “In fact, my ballot is before me.”

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The Next Prime Monster — “Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

“I think you should wear white this winter,” Amir says to Tziporah. He rummages through the box of dress-up clothes and dons a homburg and a brown clip-on tie that matches his hair.

           illustration by Pepe Fainberg
     illustration by Pepe Fainberg

Tziporah is decked out in an orange paisley number with spaghetti straps, over which she’s draped a long, trailing, and somewhat ratty purple boa. “I think I am beautifulest this way,” she says, walking over to the child-high mirror on our living room wall and primping her curls.

Amir frowns and turns to me. “Haim, don’t you think she should wear white?”

Ilana has a doctor’s appointment, so I’ve come up from my basement office for half an hour to take charge of the mishpahton, the small pre-school for three-year-olds that Ilana runs in our living room.

“It’ll be easy,” she says at the door before she leaves. “Just give them a game, or read them a story.”

“I have something in mind,” I say.

Ilana takes her hand off the door handle and turns back to me. “Just let them play.”

“But I want to do something interesting,” I say. “

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Republicanfellas — “Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

One very large hand landing on your shoulder is not a good sign at McCloskey’s on 46th Street. Two hands, one on each shoulder, is red alert. And that is what I felt Wednesday night as I was downing a shot of Wild Turkey and wondering whether the blonde doll behind the bar had health insurance. Mrs. McCloskey runs a good bar, but does she provide employee benefits? Could I risk making a pass at a good looker who might not have seen a doctor since she was last in the emergency room with a bloody nose?

illustration by Avi Katz

I did not look right and I did not look left, just crooked a finger at the girl to show her I needed another shot in my glass. But I could feel the two goons settling onto the stools on either side of me. I could feel their emanations, I mean. What was emanating was “red state,” and “shaft the poor,” with a dash of “corporations are people.” Goons do not need to be seen to be felt, and I mean even before they shove a piece in your backside.

The blonde poured me a shot. I glanced up at her and said: “Gorgeous,
you see these two guys on my either sides? Would you mind telling them to move on?”

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