Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-ix

You are lucky to be holding this book in your hand or reading it on a screen. Few American readers have had the opportunity to enjoy David Ehrlich’s stories, because until now little of his work has been printed in English....

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To the Limit

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pp. 1-2

I left a meeting in Ashkelon at 3:30, and at the first intersection a red Lantis tried to pass me on the right. Usually I let people pass instead of getting into a fight, but this guy pissed me off. In the side-view mirror I could see his gaudy,...

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The Store

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pp. 3-10

When Micha Rothman and his group founded our village eighty-two years ago, not a single road in Palestine had been paved yet, and hardly anyone had settled to the north and east. Once every day or two, a horseback rider...

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Stars

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pp. 11-26

I give him a hangdog look as he tries to shape my mouth with his finger—as if he can instill “No” in me from the outside. But I know why I’m standing there with my mouth open like a cement mixer. It’s his kiss I’m waiting for—and...

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The Sol Popovitch War

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pp. 27-35

After her military service, my niece did exactly what every other Israeli her age does: she traveled as far away from Israel as she could for the least amount of money. When she returned, she had a bagful of stories to tell. Some of them I...

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Green Island

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pp. 36-49

There was a guy who adopted a traffic island. He planted a nice garden with red and blue flowers, small bushes, and a little bit of grass. He did it because he lived in a gloomy apartment: no balcony, no courtyard, nothing at all. It’s not...

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On Reserve

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pp. 37-55

In the army, a story went around among us about Sgt. Eyni. Once, during training, he went out to look for a water tank that had been forgotten in the field. When he found it, he marked it on a map so he could return to the place and get it....

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Vadim

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pp. 56-59

When Lana walk out, everything was black. I was black, life was black. Only Grisha was not black, he like playing at flowers. I take Grisha to big park, Lenin Park. Grisha was playing and playing, I was thinking and thinking. My...

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How the World Is Run

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pp. 60-63

In an alley in the industrial neighborhood of Romema, not far from Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station, there is a gray, peeling building from which the world is run. There decisions are made about who will be born, who will die, who...

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The Life and Deathof Frank 22

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pp. 64-69

Frank 22” was born after I killed “Mike 25” who replaced “Yoav 27” who succeeded “Liav 30.” But unlike his predecessors, a bunch of empty nicknames I invented for the sake of chatting on the Internet—which were in fact...

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On the Porch

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pp. 70-73

The first time Nadav Lieberman met God, he thought He was just another old nudnik with lots of money. It didn’t bother him; quite the contrary. The type fit perfectly the profile of his favorite clientele. This happened two months...

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Utterly Nameless

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pp. 74-92

I put the tray down on the table, take off my backpack, and look up at the big window of the cafeteria, through which I can see the courtyard between Humanities and Social Sciences and the lawn outside Education. It’s the only open vista...

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The National Library

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pp. 93-96

Barry and Liz are close friends of close friends. As soon as I received the first e-mail regarding them, it was obvious that, along with the pleasure of meeting such nice and interesting people, there would also be challenges. I would...

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Alone

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pp. 97-102

He suggested that I join him for a conference on management methods at Hotel Moriah in Sodom, but I was already exhausted from the ostentation at public events in his line of work. We were like a walking flag: a couple of...

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Keeping Kosher

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pp. 103-104

The second time that Nir and I did the weekly shopping in the supermarket together, I realized that without saying so, we had become a couple. It was then that the woman from the cheese section asked what our connection was. I...

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It’s All Right

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pp. 105-112

Once a month, according to the Hebrew calendar, Mom and Dad write me a letter from Israel. Here in Moab, Utah, I tear open the envelope with my fingers, too rushed to look for a knife, and put a small pile of news on...

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Lilly

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pp. 113-117

Where HaLamed Heh Street bends around and Judges Street rises to meet it, the presence of a small café on that corner is a mystery to all. It has already been there for so many years, however, that it is impossible to imagine the...

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That Boy

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pp. 118-126

For a long time now, I have been going to the bar once a week. Without excitement or expectation—more like someone going to work. Dutifully I drink, trade glances, flirt a little and drink more, and then, if I’m lucky, they...

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Sushi

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pp. 127-128

When they get to the point that they’re dying of curiosity, I reach into the suitcase and pull out my ego. The audience is stunned. This they didn’t expect. Then we do our bit with a tango. My ego is dressed in a coat of many...

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Tuesday and Thursday Mornings

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pp. 129-139

One Tuesday morning, the passersby on Emek Refaim Street were surprised by an unusual sight: a redhaired youth, wearing a green silk garment, had set down a portable cassette player at a corner of the street where it...

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At the Port

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pp. 140-141

I’m sitting in a café at the port writing a story called “Where My Life Is Going.” The story is about my having no idea where my life is going or what to do with it. In front of me is a huge ship. Two sailors hang off the side, painting the ship’s...

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Who Will Die Last

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pp. 142-147

I am recording this on the voice recorder I bought last week. I enter the elevator of the building of Big TV. Inside I turn my back to the mirror and count in my head all the men I’ve been with. Thirteen names in the space of eighteen...

About the Translators

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pp. 149-151

About the Author and Editor

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pp. 153-154