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Fantasy Adventure Funny

The morning haze was gone, and the usual humid heat was coming. The sultry sky had taken on the colour of the faded blue overalls issued to the working class in factories and plants. The asphalt was melting. Minimarkets, with their colourful windows, beckoned for fruit and vegetables. Young girls wandered back and forth in lightweight shirts and shorts. But I wasn't tempted. I was not in the mood to store, to lust after the beautiful sex, or to kill my health under the southern Israeli sun. At home, we have air conditioning and the kind of peace we only dream of. In the evening, I took Miriam out to dinner at a fish restaurant in Jaffa, where we had been and really enjoyed it. The sea had already calmed down at this evening hour, preparing for bed, a fresh breeze was still blowing, and the sun was illuminating the rocky shore. The waves rolled in one by one, breaking against the breakwater into a myriad of glittering splashes. What an amazing sunset I'd never seen anywhere else: the horizon like a strip of red gold, with the seagulls circling in an intricate dance. It was dinner time, too.

The food was delicious, no doubt, but my thoughts were far away. What's next? What would the ending be? Anything could happen to me, much less my informant agents. The police might pick up on me. They might simply disappear, as people disappear on the streets. As the song goes: and no one will ever know where your grave is. According to the scenario, which has developed in my head but is still raw, at X hour, I have to warn London about a possible failure and the fact that one of the informants was a traitor and betrayed the whole group.

- What are you thinking about? - Miriam asked. - Why are you so quiet as a rainy day? Are you grieving?

- She said to him. Did you study Pushkin in school, too? I was thinking of the pilot.

The smooth blue-green surface of the bay in front of the restaurant was filled with small fishing boats, Arabian dhows with gasoline engines and sails. The fishermen had just returned, and it was evident that the catch was not rich. Tomorrow morning, early in the morning, out to sea again. Maybe we'll get lucky.

- Pilot? What pilot? Why are you worried about him?

- Didn't I tell you?

- You don't tell me much about what you do.

- He's one of the repatriates. Unemployed. The boss fired him. He said: "Lech abayta"... (go home, - Hebrew.).

- He must have been drinking.

- He seemed all right. I don't know, though. But he said he worked with agricultural aviation, sprayed fertilizer and pesticides on collective farms' fields. He's probably lying.

- So what now?

- I'm thinking about how to put him to work.

- Business?

- Ivanov called, remember. He gave me a new assignment: We have to find a pilot. Didn't say why.

- Ivanov looks at your agents as puppets, and you look at them as characters in a novel. But is this pilot a living person, or what?

- I haven't made up my mind yet.

- I'm sorry... It's not easy for you, I understand.

- I'm sorry, too. But I need the pilot badly. I feel he's a key figure in the game the Patriots are playing.

We went up to the central square on Yafet Street, with the famous clock tower. The First Star glittered in the sky as a bold platinum dot. The air was moist and heavy enough to be sliced with a kitchen knife. The proximity of the ocean had its effect. The few street lamps glowed dimly. In the bar across from the Tower, hookah-smokers sat talking over each other. A young Arab stood by the door, the Arabic script on his T-shirt promising something enticing otherwise. Why would he stand at the door like a sentry on guard duty? A homemade sign was stuck to the wall of the house next door: "With our guides, you will find yourself in paradise as soon as tonight. It all made sense. The nightlife in Jaffa, as in any port city, did not stop for a minute. What was known about the Tower itself was that it was built in 1903 by Moritz Scheinberg, a watchmaker and jeweller, with donations from Jaffa residents, Arabs and Jews. The Jews call it Migdal as Shaon (the Clock Tower), and there is also a bell that rings every half hour. The Tower has a very interesting history: when the Turks were in power in Palestine, it was decided to erect a hundred such towers in honour of the 25th anniversary of the accession of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II to the throne of the Ottoman Empire. I do not know how many of them have survived to this day, but the Tower of Jaffa still decorates the city and is a subject of contemplative admiration and photo sessions for tourists from all over the world.

I realized that sooner or later I would have to tell Miriam about some important details of the plan, to confess that I was no spy, that all my informants had emerged from nothingness as the setting for a novel I was secretly writing, and that I simply did not know how to be, how to reconcile reality and fiction. Miriam is a reasonable woman; after all, she was in the army, she's trained, she's bright-headed, and she'll help me find a way out. What conspiracy? To hell with conspiracy. God won't give you away, and a pig won't eat you.

- You're asking questions I don't even know the answer to. All I know is that the end game is near.

- But you understand that the "patriots" want the pilot for a reason. What do you think it means?

- How would I know that? As an author, I can make my hero a disaster at any moment.

- Yeah, you want a dramatic denouement? Don't you feel sorry for your agents?

- But you're in the game, aren't you?

- Spy games are played by the last fools because they usually end badly. Why are you doing all this? You could write your novels and live in peace...

- I do. Or rather, I try to write when inspiration strikes me. A novel, but short stories too," I answered.

- Detective stories?

- All sorts of things whatever works. You never know what you'll get.

- A lot of people read nothing but detectives and thrillers and "magic" stories. They say it calms the nerves.

- It's hard, believe me, to write detectives. You have to be very well versed in the psychology of the criminal, to know the criminal world from the inside, to dive into it. Jokers advise doing time in prison for robbery or drugs. Many detectives have been written, all the shelves are stocked, and many of them are really good. But not everyone gets it, you know? Every vegetable has its own fruit, as they say. To make it interesting, you have to provide a lot of details, think through the plot lines... And expose the killer at the very end, not before and not later.

- From what I've read, I've noticed that in order to expose the killer, you have to understand the motive for the crime. Without a motive, the evidence is useless. You can scrap it. It's a thread, by pulling it - well, you know.

- Those who argue that literature, detectives, in particular, should reflect or imitate life, are not quite right. In my opinion, the writer must use his knowledge, observations, life experience as a kind of raw material - one writer said when you process thousands of tons of verbal ore for the sake of a single word - you can also call it a semi-finished product, suitable or not for the preparation of a delicious dish in the future.

June 29, 2021 17:21

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