Thumbnail for 79959It is 8:40pm. A rocket landed close by some 30 minutes ago and blew out our electricity.

[Back in pre-histrionic times, the Korean War was happening. Like every other junior high school yeshiva kid I was a great patriot, and sought kits for model planes, tanks, etc. Even then, when I still had two hands and ten fingers, I was a klutz and looked for the model with the fewest and largest parts. Which was the Grumman F6F Hellcat. Of course I ruined the decals, and ended up — the shame of it — putting someone else’s unused decals from a model Messerschmitt. It’s a wonder I wasn’t expelled from yeshiva.]

[A fellow yeshiva student, a Hispanic named Joe Katz, took upon himself the holy task of listening to our conversations and reporting anything said that did not support the Official Yeshiva Line. Kids — except for a few brain-challenged like myself, we were a largely intelligent group — think  and talk, and most of us at one time or another expressed opinions that might be construed as heretical. Those snitched upon were humiliated, even suspended. So whenever Senor Katz was spotted, conversation ceased. If he entered the lav, silence reigned. If he emerged from a lav stall, speakers would tremble at the thought of what he may have overheard. Finally, underneath the ‘We Aim to Please/You Aim Too, Please’ sign someone wrote “go to Hell, Katz…”]

Before I start on the cats, in fairness — stop smirking — I must acknowledge that there are other gifts from Nature that drive us crazy. We are swamped with slimy slugs and snails, slithering centipedes, smelly salamanders, scary snakes and spiders and scorpions.

It would be pointless to repeat, for the umpteenth time, why I hate the FF [Furry Fiends]. You don’t have to hear again how they have gotten into the crawl space between the ceiling and the rafters, and parade around in the nighttime darkness making noises that keep us awake. You don’t have to hear again how they screech round the clock when in heat, which seems to be every 72 hours. Nor how they climb the screen door, making holes large enough for wasps to enter. Nor how their ever-present products of procreation whine ceaselessly. Nor how their numbers increase daily as more and more people abandon the caravillas for what is laughingly called permanent housing, and their abandoned FFs come to one of the few places where the soup kitchen still operates.

Add to the above — plus all the other things I have written about them that have dripped through my sieve-like cranial depository, which is now more of a cranial suppository — a new wrinkle: I have started giving them names, with faces to match.  Interestingly, except for one I truly despise whom I have misnamed for our testicularly challenged prime minister, Ahmed Bibi, all are leftist politicians/journalists/intellectuals whose absence would not cause me a moment’s discomfort.

It is 8:40pm. A rocket landed close by some 30 minutes ago and blew out our electricity. Just restored. So, to my frustration and your relief I will end this soon as I doubt I’ll be able to continue rambling as the sirens are continuous, as are the explosions, as are my runs to the smallest room in the house. Rachel runs to the Sewervilla and shmoozes with the few neighbors remaining. Also in the last few minutes we learned that our Piss Partners tried to land a boat with rockets on our beach. We blew it up.

Rachel and I had been fighting about feeding the FFs. Her motherly/grandmotherly heart couldn’t bear hearing them whine. So not only were they driving us crazy, they were costing us a fortune. We went from one 3kg bag of cat food every month to two bags a week. Before Rachel left for ten days for a family affair in the States, she made me promise to keep feeding them. The evening of the day she left I was stepping out to feed them, and saw they had ripped off the entire screen. Did I mention that we’ve had the screen fixed four or five times? So I put the food back in the bag and slammed the door. I haven’t fed them since. When Rachel returned and saw the shreds of the screen, she agreed we were done. And, I am proud of her beyond words, though they line up morning and evening and scratch at the door, she has stuck to it.

On a lighter note, even our present situation has an upside. Unlike the four-legged moochers who are still around, the two-legged moochers who used to harass us daily have disappeared. It almost makes me wish the ‘festivities’ continue. Almost.

Finally — I can hear the cheering — something heartbreaking, certainly the toughest and most painful moment I have had since ‘festivities’ began. Yesterday, late afternoon, we learned that a rocket hit and destroyed the home of very close friends on a kibbutz in our area. The couple is safe, but badly shaken. Rachel was on the phone with them for an extended period, and seemed deep in depression. When darkness fell she said “I have to go for a walk” and left the house. Minutes later a siren and a series of explosions very close by. I called her cellphone. No answer. Minutes after, another siren and explosions. I called again. No answer. I went outside looking for her, calling for her. I knocked on doors, looked in sewervillas, ran through the streets shouting her name. Having no idea where she was, and in a panic, I decided to wait in the house. A mistake. The phone rang time after time and I answered, hoping it was her. Three calls were family in Israel, one from a friend in the States. All had heard we are being shelled and were checking on our well-being. When she did walk in I was hysterical, in tears. She was with friends, a doctor and his wife, and because of her depression had forgotten her cellphone.

She apologized for not calling, I apologized for yelling at her. We wept until we slept. Had something happened to her I would not have survived.

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