Off Gaza — “Necessary Stories” from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

Ido and I are starting on our second beer on a Monday night at Carousela on Mitudela, just off Gaza, when this old guy comes off the crosswalk, sits down at the table next to us, and begins to cry.

Ido turns and stares. It’s the second weird thing that’s happened since we took our regular spot on the patio to shoot bull and brainstorm our latest project, which is still in the cloudy stage but has, we’re sure of it, incredible potential to turn two part-time art students who met last year on their post-army South American trek into the Next Big Thing.

illustration by Avi Katz


“Gavriel, he’s crying,” Ido says, too loudly.

Ido’s got talent, but he can be a pain. Says whatever’s on his mind, no filters. I put my hand up in a vertical salute, just by my left eye, to indicate blinders. “What do you think about putting up a strobe light under Ubinas and a mirror under Lake Salinas?” I suggest, referring to our multimedia sculpture, in which we will abstractly portray this newly awakened Peruvian volcano and adjacent salt lake with compostable materials as a metaphor for the bitterness and ecstasy of life and love. We’re not sure whether the volcano represents life and the salt lake love, or the other way around, but that will come, that will come.

Ido doesn’t take the hint. His first beer always gives him a double buzz. So he leans over, puts his arm around the old guy’s shoulder, and asks him what’s wrong. I don’t have time for this.

The guy is old, but how old? Sixty? Seventy? More? He’s got a fringe of white and brown hair surrounding a bald pate and a face that looks weathered and tired. But he straightens his gaunt torso as Lily, the waitress, complaining that she’s been literally run off her feet

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