Simon says he is happy I was brined. I ask him if he knows what became of my Sarah. He shakes his head. He has worked very hard to research our family, journeying all the way to place called Ancestry Dotcom. But all he could find about Sarah was the address she shared with me in Williamsburg: Bedford.
You can stay with me for as long as you want. He leads me down Atlantic Avenue. We pass many strange peoples wearing tight pants and circus mustaches. Once again, I am confused. I have been with Simon all day. I explain this fact to him. Simon and I look very much the same. We are both tall five feet seven and have handsome bump in nose. There are differences, though. Also, his arms are weak and small. They remind me of baby I saw once who had the infant paralysis.
The way it works is this: each day, for twenty minutes, he sits down and types up words. The rest he spends complaining.
You know what I mean, Hersch? I do not know what he means. But it is clear he is upset, because he is drinking so much alcohols in the middle of the day. And there was blood coming out of his mouth and he was screaming. And I plead with them to stop the machine, because my friend is dying, but no one listens to me, and my friend keeps howling until he is dead. And for years I see his face inside my dreams, with the blood coming out of his eyes and his mouth, begging for me to please save him.
He is wrong, but I do not contradict him. He seems very proud of knowing this one fact about me. He opens thick, smelly book with shiny pages. It is magazine, he explains, called The Vogue.
Then they begin to shake. They ask for the water, but when you bring them some to drink it makes them vomit up the black. They die screaming, their eyes wide open, afraid. One day, I wake up to the sound of yelling. It is Simon. He is kicking his foot against his desk, shouting profanities. I jump up from couch and run down hall.
It is clear Simon has experienced a tragedy—something monstrous, like the death of someone close. I get to his office and gently open door. Simon is sitting at his desk, shaking his head and muttering under his breath.
watch His skin is pale and he is out of breath from screaming. It takes him long time, but eventually Simon is able to explain. A computer is a magical box that provides endless pleasure for free. Simon is used to constant access to this box—a never-ending flow of pleasures. When the box stops working—or even just briefly slows down—he becomes so enraged that he curses our God, the one who gave us life and brought us forth from Egypt.
I glance at his computer machine. I am still learning about modern technologies. In first, there is sports scores. In second, there is pornographies. He continues to pace, but slower, and with a strange expression on his face. It reminds me of time I saw hurdy-gurdy man get hit by brick. He was very embarrassed, and also in pain because the brick had been thrown into his genitals. But his desire for moneys was so great he continued to play his song, and try to dance his jig.
I mean, they already had Captain Cow go to outer space in the fifth one. In truth I despise eating pickles, because they remind me of the deaths of many friends. But I do not want to be rude. She takes out an onion and begins to chop it, very slowly, in an incorrect way. When Sarah chopped vegetable, she used big, heavy knife.
She would hold one end down and then swiftly lower blade like it was lever. Claire chops onion using tiny, skinny knife, making one little cut at a time.
We will not eat for many hours. She starts to cry as her blood seeps onto counter. Suddenly, I hear the sound of another woman shriek. I spin around and am surprised to see that it is Simon, standing there, with his hands over his eyes. I grab a rag, rip off strip, dry her cut, tie the wound, and pull. Simon sighs loudly and steps out from the shadows.
Somehow, at some point, he has poured himself giant glass of alcohols. She has all her teeth, I notice, just like Sarah. Even though Claire is bad at cooking, and believes in false God, and dresses like prostitute, with both ankles exposed, she is not so stupid a person. I know this because she is always reading books. I have read books before—a red one and also two blue ones—so I know a little bit about it.
To be honest, I kind of tune out when she starts blabbing about it. This comment is strange, I think, coming from man who studied English in college—a language he already spoke.
But I say nothing. It takes her long time to spread materials onto table. There is pencils, papers, books, ruler, electric number machine, erasing stick. The last thing she pulls out is the strangest: it is terrifying golem with wrinkled face and purple hair.
She notices me staring and smiles. She laughs for some reason and opens up her book. Before she can start studying, though, Simon enters holding his computer. I watch as Simon begins to pace the room, his baby arms shaking at his sides. Every few steps he glances at Claire, to watch her face. Simon groans into his hands like a man who has lost his family.
Claire hops out of chair and begins to stroke his back. It reminds me of when my boss gave me tour of pickle factory.