Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Waggon Horchers

‘where’s the boy?’ he asked, his enormous head sinking into his chest. ‘I haven’t got all day. I’m a busy man you know’. His mother searched all through the house, from top to bottom, but couldn’t find her son. He must be hiding, she thought; or has simply forgotten that today is the day. ‘just a minute’ she said, her face reddening. ‘I know he’s here somewhere’. Tightening his belt, his trousers bagging round his socks, the Mohel cleared his throat loudly, a gravelly rasp like a steam-shovel scrapping a mined-out quarry quickening her pace.

The day began anew; the sky opening like a perfectly cracked walnut, revealing a buttery yellow sun. ‘now hold on, boys in his position tend to squirm’ said the Mohel, his goatskin skullcap shifting on the top of his head. ‘grab him round the hips… that’s it, now push down… !’ Loosening his belt then tightening it again the Mohel coupled the boy’s testicles in his right hand, and with his left pinched the tip of his fleischig, the boy squirming like a fidgety baby. ‘stop that you little ganef!’ hollered the Mohel, ‘you’ll only make it worse!’ Snipping off the orlah with his scissors, the boy’s mother covering her face with her shawl, the Mohel bent over the boy’s privates and drew the blood into his mouth. ‘it’ll heal quicker if its exposed to the air… and for the Love of YHVH don’t play with it!’

The Waggon Horchers arrived two abreast; the left one keeling rightward like a failing kiss. Reining in the horses, his teeth clenched like a farrier’s clinchers the leftward Waggon Horcher slowed the waggon down to a stop, the rightward one pulling in behind him. Qabbals, for that was his name, bestowed on him by his father, jumped from his waggon landing irrefutably on his arse. ‘quickly, pull me up from this godforsaken fen’ quipped Qabbals, his upper lip quavering. The second Waggoner, a lithe, lissome man who went by the name Squibs hurdled from his waggon landing squarely on his two sturdy, albeit flat feet. The Mohel, his goatskin skullcap tilting like a windmill, hurried up the sideways, his Mohel’s bag pinched under his arm. Unable to see more than an inch in front of him, his locks, untrimmed in abeyance to Rabbinical law, covering his eyes, the Mohel ran amok into the first Waggoner’s waggon, his Mohel’s bag skidding sideways under the waggon. Lela, who happened that day to be sitting atop the hill just outside town watched on as the Mohel tried to un-upend himself, her eyes fixed on the lead horse who’s bridle had become entangled in the legless man’s pushcart; the alms man, sitting on his patch of cardboard in front of the Waymart, laughing to split a gut. And that was that.

Jean-Philippe Pringles, Coronel, his smart gentleman’s hat perched atop his full-head of hair, slivered an ivory toothpick between his eyetooth and his incisor, no one within earshot paying him any notice. For you see the Coronel was in town to visit a dear friend, and if time permitted, buy a toothpick placemat from the harridan’s sister, who that afternoon could be found with the other hawkers and peddlers in the basement of the church. Old Pitschobed wanted a Dolldy Icon and was willing to part with a day’s wage to purloin it. He had heard say that a hawker, one who barks and vends handmade goods, had a table in the basement of the Church of the Perpetual Sinner, alongside a woman who vended Pop-siècle placemats and gravy bibs. Old Pitschobed (born in Oalgoak’s Cheloven to a Barbary whore and a tinsmith) collected Dolldy Icons and women’s silk supper gloves. He fell down the stairs to the basement of the church, his tumbling caroming body going kun-ruhtnenedroohoohootnwaksnwanuohrravortnnuhtnnoutnnorrennotnnorbnnoknnorranimmakathgarahgladababab!

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"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

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