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From Shenkin to Dizengoff to Ben Yehuda, from the glitz to the greasy mist of refried falafel balls, I inhale the morning, pay the driver and start walking. I am dressed down so much that I look like an Israeli and that is why an Arab security guard heads me off before I reach the front door.

“Mah atah ‘sarikh?” he asks me in Hebrew: What do you need? I am cool, composed and dreaming of my lunch date. He is annoyed. I am a cold WASP from Vermont. With a mime motion I display my security badge, the one of pastel yellow and a diagonal blue stripe.
“Shoowadah?” he switches to Arabic: What’s this thing? He acts like a sheik, I feel like million bucks and hold the security card right up to his face, just in case of a culturally selective myopia. He has figured out the badge, in English wishes me a nice day and offers me subservient apologies.

I put in four hours of studying passports, of looking up faraway databases on an old computer, and, finally, greet the lunch break.

The elevator to heaven. I am in front of a boring steel door festooned with heavy-duty industrial bolts. There, at the entrance to the sacred Top Hat, a new marine guard, a pair of non-descript khaki pants plus a golf shirt, and a desk greet me with a pleasant naysay: you, bearing your badge of pastel colors, do not belong here.
“Don’t worry. I am going to the roof.”
The Communications Security Khakis shuts up, smiles but escorts me. I make my way to the pair of eagle-eyed, taxpayer-bought binoculars on a sun-baked swiveling mount.
“And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m on my lunch,” I send away the Communications Security.

The magnification is great: the dehumanizing mass of the futuristic hotels, the Old Jaffa, the obscenely phallic minaret, and my section of the beach. I am a poet: empty is the spot next to the chartreuse umbrella.

I have time. I am admiring the beachfront, the swaying of hips, the blinding silver of the Mediterranean. Whoever at the State Department it was - what a genius to have built the embassy - a dumb cinderblock amid the Picasso jewels – at front seat to the Tel Aviv beach!

The time is right. I scan back to the chartreuse umbrella, and, as expected, I feel my systolic, diastolic and erectile blood pressures: she is even more beautiful dressed then not, she wears a robe-like summer dress of a religious simplicity, a generously open collar exposes her delectably girlish neck, her hair is combed as if by her mother’s loving hands, her breasts – thank you the US taxpayer, the optics are just wonderful – proud, unsupported, and trembling as she moves. Her hips are similarly unbound, and with each carelessly voluptuous stride, a length of perfect leg peeks flirting through the slit of the dress.

A mouthwatering Jewess: she lets her beach bag fall, she unwraps her exotic body, she moves regardless of the men that have appeared on the bench nearby, she lays on her side, she looks easily classical, she offers her face to the sun, she crosses her knees, she becomes Goya’s Maja, - no, more beckoning – naked and fully clothed. She stands up, she sits down, she wraps herself in a beach towel, she combs her hair in long brown waves down her bare statuesque back, her skin radiates the intimate glow of a recently undressed woman -

Suddenly I think of the minaret and I feel my third blood pressure throb. The range finder says three hundred meters. I think I have time.



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Comments

The following comments are for "A Bureaucrat and the Sea"
by Teflon

bureacrat by the sea
This guy reads like a Raymond Chandler original in a government job. Turn him into a book.
thanks,
imagecarver

( Posted by: imagecarver [Member] On: January 11, 2005 )

@Imagecarver - Thanks.
Chandler - even the pursuit of hedonism? I haven't read much of Chandler. For the last 5 years I have been reading his Long Good-Bye. On page 136.

Thank you for the suggestion. How many books you know have been written about embassy clerks?

Reggards,

Tefflon

( Posted by: Teflon [Member] On: January 11, 2005 )

Loved it
Modern-day David and Bathsheba. The bathing beauty, spied from a rooftop.

Your clerk has an urban 'hip-ness' that seems to be fueled entirely by his private lunch musings. He's empowered by, it and is more than he would be without it. You've really gotten inside your Bureaucrat's head, which gives this piece a real human quality.

I think you're getting even better; right before our eyes. -Philo

( Posted by: Philo [Member] On: January 13, 2005 )

I'm dumb
Sometimes, I'm very dumb. I'm trying to think of something to edit, but I'm out of ideas. So I'll resort to the old standby; technical faults.

"Empty is the spot next to the chartreuse umbrella."
This is badly phrased. 'The spot next to the chartreuse umbrella is empty' works better.

"Suddenly I think of the minaret and feel my third blood pressure."
This is a surprisingly amatuerish sentence to be found in the middle of sophisticated work like this. I didn't think 'blood pressure' was a noun.
'...feel my blood pressure rise again' would work a lot better, I think.

I like the strange, almost clinical style that is present amid the body of work. My favourite in this piece is the distinction of 'systolic, diastolic and erectile blood pressures', though again 'rise' should be appended to that sentence.

( Posted by: MacLaren [Member] On: January 14, 2005 )

The ". he" thanks
Thank you for reading. Just found a wayward period and an incomplete article. The spellchecker is not that smart. Back to unpublishing and edit.

Thanks,

Teflon

( Posted by: Teflon [Member] On: January 14, 2005 )

verbification,@McLaren
blood pressure can be construed as a verb? Neither "blood" or "pressure" is. You know we don't use it as “blood-pressuring” someone. It is a media-government fad to make nouns onto verbs nowadays ("up-armor") but "pressure?"

Regarding "the spot next to... is empty," I think it breaks other cliché-like variants.

The choice of words here should be judged not as whether the words meet the quality of the work (because it is not a narrative)but whether they click with the personality of the character - if we are privy to his inner, creative thoughts, can't we allow that he is capable of thinking like that?

( Posted by: Teflon [Member] On: January 15, 2005 )





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