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The Tel Aviv Dossier by Lavie Tidhar and Nir Yaniv (FREE EXCERPT 2/5)

All this week, SF Signal is running an excerpt from The Tel Aviv Dossier by Lavie Tidhar and Nir Yaniv.

Previous excerpt: one.



<BenZ> flight on wednesday, then.

<Ori> cn’t wait 2 see u, bro! i teach you how 2 curse in heb

<BenZ> you already taught me how to say “ben zona”, this is like “son of a bitch” right?

<Ori> y, but the best is 2 curse in arab

<BenZ> arab? but they’re your enemies, no?

<Ori> arab’s an official lang of israel, like heb and eng

<BenZ> i didn’t know that. so what can you say in arab to piss someone?

<Ori> say KOOS EMAK

<BenZ> what’s that?

<Ori> means, the vagina of ur mother

<BenZ> nice. i’ll try to remember that. KOOS EMAK.

<Ori> wrks every time, remember 2 say KOOS like MOOSE <BenZ> koos like moose. i’ll remember that.

<BenZ> so how’s the weather in your area? is it hot like a desert? is it summer there now?

<Ori> spring, lemme go 2 the wndow 2 see, brb

<BenZ> hello? you still there?

<Ori> sorry, something weird going on, i dont know

<BenZ> ?

<Ori> earthquake or something, dunno, funny stuff in the streets <BenZ> what?

<Ori> ur not going 2 believe it but i think i see a tornado <BenZ> WTF?

<Ori> people are flying, i dont blv it

<BenZ> you’re kidding, right?

<Ori> i swear! w8, taking my webcam, try to show you

<BenZ> is this some kind of practical joke? cuz it’s not funny. <BenZ> you there?

<BenZ> ori? you there?

<Ori> sory, webcam connected, u c?

<BenZ> no.

<Ori> i put it on the window, u c?

<BenZ> i see something, not sure what it is.

<Ori> people fly! u c people fly!

<BenZ> it can’t be. you’re doing something! you put your webcam in front of the tv or something, your showing me a movie. i know that trick.

<Ori> i swear its real! ill show u myself in the webcam, see? <BenZ> i don’t buy that. nice try, but it didn’t work.


<BenZ> hey!

<Ori> i swear its real, im telling you, its crazy, i dunno how long i can hold

<BenZ> i’m not that gullible

<Ori> wind like tornado

<BenZ> come on, get off it.

<System Msg: Ori Disconnected and is now offline>




They came out of the yeshiva to find the world transformed. They were three: at twenty-seven Moyshe was the oldest. All wore fedora hats. “Does not the Lubbavitche Rebbe say, ‘The time of our redemption is nigh’?” Moyshe murmured. There was a scream in the distance, and the wail of a siren, abruptly cut off.

“Long live our master, our teacher and our rabbi, King Messiah for ever and ever!” said Noam, half-singing. He was the youngest, and most recent to the yeshiva. Above their heads the stars seemed to form in crazy patterns. A strong wind blew across the street. There were gun shots in the distance, and more screams.

“But friends,” said the third, Daniel, and adjusted his fedora against the wind, “can there not be another interpretation? This is death and destruction all around us!”

“Really, Daniel,” Moyshe said. He pulled out a packet of Noblesse cigarettes and tried to extract one, but the wind snatched it from his hand and hurtled it away into the rising darkness. He stared after it with a mournful expression. “Did not the Rebbe’s son-in-law say, ‘Ask me what I say and I will tell thee that soon it will come true the

words and the dwellers in the earth shall rise and rejoice and he, the

Rebbe, will bring us from exile’?”

“It is true,” Daniel admitted. “Why, what then is your opinion of this carnage, Moyshe?”

“Clearly,” Moyshe said, “this is the end of days. As had been prophesied so it is. And as you know, when Moshiach comes-”

“Long live our master, our teacher and our rabbi, King Messiah for ever and ever!” said Noam.

“Yes, yes,” Moyshe said. “Now, as I was saying-”

A fire truck sped directly at them. A grinning, demented man was sitting behind the wheel. The three yeshiva boys leaped back as the madman drove past them. In the distance they saw a yacht floating in the air, upside down, with its sails dragging on the ground.

“You crazy bastard!” Noam shouted. There was a loud explosion. Soft, warm drops of rain began to fall, staining the three men’s heavy black coats.

“I think we should . . . we should go and see if we can help people!” Daniel said. He was surprised when Moyshe, who had assumed a half-crouching position with his hands on his knees and was breathing rather heavily, suddenly straightened up and leaped at him, pinning him against the wall. “Only the righteous shall live, you fool!” he said. “The Messiah is returned to us. What did you expect? This is not Jerusalem! This is Tel Aviv, the city of the shvarts-yor, the city of sin! What do you expect, that God would let the goyim and the non-believers rise alongside us?”

“I’m not sure about this, Moyshe . . . let me go.”

Moyshe released him. Daniel massaged his throat. “This is wrong,” he said. “I’m sorry. I . . . we must try and help.” He didn’t wait. Before Moyshe had time to react, Daniel moved. He sprinted down the street, shedding his heavy rekel coat as he ran.

Moyshe stared after him. It took him a moment to gather himself together at this affront. Then-“Ruen zolstu nisht afile in keyver!” he shouted after him, the Yiddish words like poison darts following him. May you find no rest even in the grave!

Beside him, Noam began rocking. “Mosiach,” he sang. “Mosiach, mosiach, mosiach, na na nana na. Mosiach, mosiach, mosiach-”

“Oh, shut up,” Moyshe said. “Zol dir lign in keyver der eyver!” he shouted after Daniel. May your penis lie in a grave! Noam turned and looked up. “Oh, look,” he said. “It’s so pretty.”

There was a trail of fire in the sky. It looked strangely familiar to Moyshe. It looked like something out of-out of-

The Gulf War, he thought. The first one, he thought. Missiles, he thought. He started to run but there was nowhere to go. He heard the beginning of an explosion; then there was nothing. Nothing at all.



Sababi babi babi, my brother! Ahu! How you are? It is some strong shit, man, it is making the ground she shakes! Ahu! Yabba-dabbadabba! Remember when we were in Lebanon and those fucking Hezbollah shot that missile on the fort and it killed Yossi? It is like this only there is fireworks, very pretty, and Yossi isn’t screaming like a girl! I am sitting on the veranda and watching the world go by. You are missing one big fuckin’ show here, my man. Remember that model I telling you about, Tali, the one with the big titties? She and a friend came by last night, talking, laughing, smoking some doobie, I put on one of those movies in the TV, a bit of whisky, yaddi-yaddiyadda, then we make our own movie in my bed. Yeah, man. And then the friend, she is like, biatch, she goes down on me and comes up and she has a piece of paper in her mouth and she kisses me and passes it to me and I says, “What’s that, like?” and she says, “It’s the good stuff, Mr. Goodstuff,” and I’m laughing so hard I mean what the fuck, Mr. Goodstuff? And then I fucked her from behind. Yo.

So this acid is like just kicking in and the girls left and I’m on my own, chillin’, thinking about you my brother, so far away in India with the Scandinavian girls all naked on the beach and the full-moon parties and all that shit and I’m making my own full-moon party, why not? Only it’s kinda morning, but then the acid is making movie in my head. One movie! It’s like The Wizard of Oz but in reverse! And all the pretty colours are sucked out of the sky and the world becomes this grey and black and Tel Aviv she is burning and the buildings are collapsing and from up here in the penthouse apartment, with the big cheese daddy gone to LA to schmooze with Milchan and Arad and all the Israeli boys down there in movie-town, I have the whole place to myself, high above the city like a god, brother of mine, like a fucking god. Like, what’s his name in that movie with the Ten Commandments. Whatever. Ahu!

There’s this things moving through the city, like “This ain’t Kansas no more, Tanto,” you know what I’m sayin’? Like, what’s the English for it hurikan? Huriken?-ah, hurricane, Word spellchecker is my bitch. They’re like hurricanes moving through the city and tearing it up and throwing people and cars and tanks around. I think they got your house! I think they got yo mama! OK, my brother, I won’t let you down! Maybe I am tripping a little but by god I am an Israeli soldier and I will not let the monsters, Arabs or otherwise, ruin this town and take my best buddy’s mama and turn her into a tomato sauce. That’s it! I’m taking the gun, you know my dad’s hunting rifle with the telescopic sight? It’s right here, baby! I put the stand up and-here we go! Here we go-!


Nailed her baby! Some biatch running around down below and screaming, I mean, a man can’t concentrate writing to his best friend, can he? Bam! I always wanted to do that! Bam! I’m shooting those fuckers up, man, I just got someone through the window of his apartment while his scared little face was staring outside-bam! Bam! Bam!

Man, fuck India, fuck Goa, this is it! I’m like a fuckin’ god up here, d’you hear me? I’m like James Cameron in Titanic. I’m the king of the world!

Hey, one of those tornado-thingies is passing down below. It’s pulling into itself like cars and cats and potted plants-hey, it’s like a song, my brother-cars and cats and potted plants, cars and cats and potted plants-wo-wo-wo! Easy! The whole building is starting to shake, like, all it’s missing is a Kylie Mynogue song, lalala, lala lala la, la la la, and this thing, it’s got people inside it and they’re spinning, I think they’re screaming, I can’t even take proper aim, the wind is pulling me, it’s trying to grab the laptop, wo-wo-ho! My brother, I-

[Tune in tomorrow for the next excerpt!]

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.
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