I am worker for Strickland. They call me houseboy. This is true: I watch house. But I am man, I have twenty-three year, I serve as officer in Tzava, this is Israeli army, I travel to Thailand, Laos, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, I smoke the hashish on lazy bitch and acquire radical armband tattoo, I make the little repair. Press caulk tipping to hermit the window and squeeze; it is like fucking. Strickland have nice country house in Bucks County, PA but he does not give shit for insect. I execute the ant of red fire. They do not molest me. They run for a meaningless life. I exclaimate, Die ant! I paint the fence, the baseboard. I am not electrical. In Strickland family there is loaded money, nice mansion house. I sleep in bunker. Do you know how to make beitzim in microwave oven? I also eat cornflakes.

They have massive lawn, maybe 20,000 meter. They have a tractor for haircuts on Thursday. They have Olympic-size swimming pool! Strickland family have pool worker to measure the fever but I skim leaf and fly with net like Trojan condom. This duty I perform most excellent even when Strickland is away in big city because excellent is first and foremost. Without duty there is balagan. Houseboy! They funny me. Ma pitom! I say, You funny me. They say: No, Avital. You are saver the life. There is God in my name, you believe it. There is also father and the pitiful droppings of dew. I adjust the house fever to 21 centigrade. I thirsty the plants. Without you, Strickland say, would be balagan.

All week is quiet. I hear birds. I hear insect legs rubbing like violin bow. I ride skateboard from son of Strickland to town called Main Street. There is WaWa convenience store. I shop. This is what I buy: hot dog, pickle, pretzel; I buy Slim Jim, noodle soup exploding like sponge in hot water. I buy beera in cans and put them in my sack and skate the board home. When you are alone your mind can go to crazy but I tempt not to go there. It is safe in Bucks County, PA. Sometime there is deer eating the hydrangea bush and sometime I exclaimate, Die deer! But sometime I stand there and say, you are my friend, deer, you have eyes like hand grenade, when I vision your blood pulsating true animal vein make me want to be a better man.

For weekends I put the lounge cushion out. I bring the cushion in when it rains or such weather. I sit outside the pool. It is very rich! Strickland territory have light sensitive as spies for motion detection. Make yourself at home, Strickland say after I carry equipage so I am to make very comfortable. There is no care in the world! At night everything is awesome and pacifist. Water shimmers like the scale of fish and sometime I think of Tzipi. She works for car dealer in Haifa, she sells the Peugeot gently used but I desire the fantasy love and what we have, what we had, is sex. The fucking. Her mother have jelly arms in total vibration like the ass of Britney Spears. I love Britney Spears! I also love Pearl Jam, White Wedding song by Billy Idol, Red Hot Chili Peppers. Blood sugar baby. There is a bounty of forgetful CDs in a brown box down in the bunker where I dig them from Strickland son and play radical tunes on digital radio alarm clock.

Let me explain you something, I tell Tzipi. I don’t tell her classified but she has her own secrets. This is the way of life—who knows nothing? It is good, the fuck, it used to went plenty, but now I am affirmative: fucking is not enough. What will happen when you get sick and fat? She throws shoe at my head. Ars! I duck. What is this bullshit? I am not even arsim. But Tzipi is true. Everyone funnies me: Who is making such time for love fantasy? Americans are wild for fantasy, so I come to U.S. for summer. Strickland family are good people and very lovish with wine at parties.

There is much items to fix. I take my hammer to pool deck. When I vision a lonely nail I hammer that nail because Mrs. Strickland worries the tetanus emergency. Then—how do you say?—I light up the pool deck. My fire glows green breakthrough to other side. My fire is a Pink Floyd song. I love Pink Floyd! I smoke Marlboro. I think. I try thinking English. I try to dream in English but in dream wild beasts rush the humble mountaintop like refuges to Yam Suf. A stampede of zebra and giraffa and peacock. The pool makes hypnotic on me. The wind blows, the water gleam the color the eyes of Tzipi when she wear blue contact lens. I swim Olympic. I swim and swim without thought or molesting.

Tonight the sister of Strickland have come for visit. She wears tight bodice with horny nipple and her hair tied in bread like dancer. She has long neck like dancer but she is not young like dancer but old like cougar town. She is call Bette and there is God in her name, too. She repose the guest quarter above my head and I am quiet, I hear the padding of feet, I smell lemon soap ventilation, I am mouse in bunker. She is no sister. Basement, she whispers me.

Please, to listen: At the table I chew silent as fucking Mossad. I vision Bette. There is something shell shockage about her. She does not flutter the eyelash. Her lips they are a wire fence. On Friday Strickland have housemaid but Bette say she must to clean her own goddamn cup. I leave my plate—I am a man feeling the home like Strickland—I leave everything and go to pool calling my name like round rosy ass of virgin. Bette is at the sink soaping. Through the window I hear Strickland: Lighten up! Why must you be all the time thinking? I sit. I massage the cushion. I smoke through the glowing sensation. What am I doing? I look out the pool and up the sky. There are stars. I connect the dot. Bette has shoulders ripe as Jericho orange from once upon a time. I do not go there. Where do I go? The whole world is cry. Water flood her cup, spill her wrist, soften the elbow, I drain in tears, but when she close the tap to breathe I pray maybe she have place deep inside lung for me.


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About the Author

Sara Lippmann received her MFA from the New School. Her stories have appeared in PANK, Sententia, Our Stories, Slice Magazine, Smokelong Quarterly and other publications. She co-hosts the Sunday Salon, a monthly NYC reading series, and lives with her family in Brooklyn.