Anne Caryl

Page twenty-nine

A Christmas Poem
Merry Christmas. Are you kidding me?
About Me
The Gold Train Connection
Back to Reason
Virtual Art Gallery

         Maxine could be annoying. He never thought he’d say it, but there it was. After three solid weeks of waking up to her clatter in the kitchen and going to sleep despite her chatter in the living room, Abraham Sorkin needed a break. Now he had a ready answer for the yentas who plagued him with the question,

            “Why, Abraham, have you never married?”

            “Because, dear ladies, I like to wear my socks until they have little bare spots on the heels. I enjoy reading my paper without having the recipes cut out first, and I don’t mind cold spaghetti for supper.”

            He told Maxine she needn’t come today, but she insisted. She was late and he spent the time without her sitting at his kitchen table doing what he truly loved: thinking. When the woman arrived, bringing her chit-chat and her bustling, he remembered some bills at the clinic that needed paying. He left her waxing the kitchen floor.

            “I’ll get out of your hair,” he told her.

            Putting on his floppy leather slippers and a vest over the wrappings on his ribs, he shuffled out to his garage. His Dart sat there, as it had since it was new, dependable and predictable. When you find something you can count on, Abraham Sorkin thought, you stick with it. Otherwise, something unexpected comes along and you don’t know how to act.

            Abraham remembered when he got the car, in 1967.

            “So, you know how to drive an automatic?” The cocky sales clerk was jiggling the gleaming keys against his pants leg. His gaze traveled from Abraham’s scuffed black shoes to his slicked back hair.

            Abraham shrank under the inspection. He stuttered his answer. “Of course.”

            The salesman threw the keys to Abraham and climbed into the passenger side of the shiny new Dart. Abraham turned the ignition, and the machine purred. He put it in reverse and inched out of the drive and onto the street. Then he shifted, and started off. The only love affair he’d had began at that moment, with her radio chattering at him, the breeze coming in through her

lowered windows and the morning sun glancing off her cobalt paint.

            “Watch it.” The cocky kid grabbed at the wheel.

            A bus was stalled in front of them and Abraham felt with his foot for the clutch. He slid his foot left and found the brake, nearly sending both of them through the windshield.

            “Hey, man. I thought you said you knew how to drive.” The kid laughed at him.

            Abraham nearly told him to keep his car. But the dark blue machine caught the sun and threw it like kisses at his heart. He emptied his savings to pay cash. Now the car fit him like his old broken-in slippers.

            Abraham coaxed the vehicle into the clinic drive and shut off the engine. Jonquils pushed through the dirt at the back door, crowding the grape hyacinths. He pulled a few blooms and tucked them into his vest pocket as he walked to the building. He felt safe in the morning sun. Broad daylight. He turned the key and urged the door open.

            Abraham sat at his desk, eyes closed, drinking in quiet. The florescent light tubes hummed at him. Everything else was still. He was almost asleep when he heard footsteps on the gravel at the back door. Abraham looked up, his breath catching at his healing ribs. Michael Austin

opened the storm door and entered.

            “So, Michael. You return to the crime scene.”

            “ I’m glad you’re all right, Abraham. I tried to warn you.” Austin sat across from him, leaned into the table. “ These aren’t nice people, but we’re in bed with them now and they’re calling the plays.”

            “Maybe for you. But I’m an old man. Genug iz genug. . . Enough is enough.”

            “Abraham, you don’t have to continue, but we need your papers. . . your notes. If you turn them over to me, they’ll leave you alone.”

            “And why should you need my notes? You were there. You know the procedures.”

            “I can’t reproduce all your experiments. I don’t have the time. We need to be the first to come out with the organ list. If the government beats us…”

            “I should stay up all night and worry.” Abraham spat on the floor beside him.

            “If you don’t listen to me, I can’t help you.”

            “What good could you do? One Kapo helping another. Get out of here. A broch tzu dir. . . a curse on you.”

            Austin left without saying anything more. The doctor followed him to the door and watched him get into a gray sedan. The driver said something and the other man shook his head, hard. Then they backed out. Abraham pounded his fist against the door.

            “A broch tzu dir.”















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Anne Caryl
504 East Furry St.
Holyoke, Co. 80734