The HuntedBook - 1986
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“I think the way to see Israel is in an air-conditioned Mercedes. Start in the north, in the Galilee. There’s a little town up there built on a cliff, Sefad, with a great artist colony. And a kibbutz near there, at Sasa. Come down to Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee. Visit Jericho on the Dead Sea, the oldest city in the world. Hebron, the city of patriarchs, where Abraham’s buried. Maybe Ramallah—” ... “Spend a week in Jerusalem, then drive through the Negev to the Red Sea, follow the Sinai coast to an oasis on the southernmost tip, Sharm el Sheikh.”
" ... Actually, there’s only one word you have to know, at least when you’re driving. Meshugah.”
“That’s it. It means ‘Idiot.’ You yell it at the other drivers,”
The five-star hotels in Tel Aviv are all on the Mediterranean on a one-mile stretch of beach: the Dan, the Continental, the Plaza, the Hilton, and the Pal.
He say, ‘But you an Arab.’ I say, ‘My man, I’m a Muslim. You don’t have to be an Arab to be a Muslim.’ “
“You don’t want the waiter to see me. Listen, they’ve seen everything. You can’t shock a room-service waiter.”
" ... But listen, living in Jerusalem three years—the Jewish, Christian, and Moslem religions all jammed together there in the Old City—all these holy places, everything directed to the worship of God—maybe some of it rubbed off on me. I started thinking about God and what it might do for me. Then I started thinking about God’s will and how people referred to it. Somebody dies, it’s God’s will. Somebody gets wiped out in business—God’s will. You find out you’ve got cancer or multiple sclerosis—you know what I’m saying?”
The man asked him where he was going, if he’d be staying right around here. Davis said the country wasn’t that big. Anywhere you went, you were still around, you might say.
" ...I know, I put in four more years, at least I get some retirement. . . .”
“Some? You get half pay the rest of your life,” Sgt. Cox said. “Twelve more years, seventy-five percent for life.”
“I know, but if I stay in any longer—this is how I feel—it’ll be too late to do anything else.”
Davis appeared squared away, but with a tarnished look about him: a scrub farmer in his good Sunday shirt and tie. Davis was thirty-four. He had been in the Marines sixteen years. He was getting out of the Corps in exactly twenty-seven days and he couldn’t sleep thinking about it. It scared him.
“Tel Aviv used to be an ugly town. Now they’re building all these Hiltons and Sheratons to hide the view of the sea and it’s uglier than it was before.”
Hangovers were made to be cured with cold beer and hot lamb and peppers stuffed inside pita bread.
“If you take one step toward Allah, he’ll take two steps toward you.”
... an inscription scrawled on the wall that said, “Fxck Kilroy. The cobrahookie’s been here.” Yes sir, it was a serviceman’s-working man’s bar. Loud but very friendly.
It was Dizengoff Street, but ten blocks from the Dizengoff that was the heart of Tel Aviv—a carnival midway of cafés with sidewalk tables, pizza joints, ice-cream stands, and the movie theaters on the Circle. Up at this end, Dizengoff had a few cafés and small stores, but it was quiet and apartment-house residential, without the stream of people on the sidewalk.
“Mortgage broker,” Rosen said. “We secure government-approved mortgages, usually on low-cost housing around Detroit, and sell them to out-of-state banks at one, one and a quarter percent.”
“you done time?”
“Yes, in Jerusalem it was demonstrating. Last May.”
“Just trying to make yourself heard, huh? Explain your beef?”
“We were in front of the Knesset to speak to Sapir, the minister of finance. The police come and beat us with clubs. In jail they treat us like animals, don’t give us to eat any good food.
“Well, as I say, it’s up to you, considering the remote possibility anything happens. But I can’t imagine a Marine taking any shxt from anybody.”
Davis said, “It’s about all a Marine takes.”
... see those mountains, the color? Like dull, dirty copper. They go all the way down into Saudi Arabia and they say their reflection on the water makes the sea look red.
“Why are you helping him?”
“Because he doesn’t know how to do it himself.”
“That’s the only reason? Not for yourself?”
“What do you mean, for money?”
“No, it’s why I ask you,” Tali said, “do you miss war?
Women could be stubborn and have to be persuaded nicely to do things they wanted to do.
It had shaken her up to find out she had Jewish blood, she said, and she was over here to learn something about the Jewish faith and see if she could buy any of it.
This isn’t an emotional thing with him, it’s a score. And scores you settle.”
Mainly it’s accepting things that happen to you. But it doesn’t mean standing there when you can move out of the way. I’m too old to be playing guns,” Rosen said. “But I’m not too old to run like a sonofabitch.”
“Over there, a Bronze Star was like a good-conduct medal. Win a Silver Star, maybe you held off twenty gooks coming through the wire with an M–16 and a bayonet. Navy Cross, you held off two hundred gooks coming through the wire with the same thing. And a Medal of Honor, you held off that many without an M–16 or a bayonet.”
Do something else. Or don’t do anything. Sit. You don’t have to do anything, he told himself. You don’t have to prove anything.
The only thing they’d told him was that he had to be something. See, if he’d known it then, he’d have had all that time to enjoy being. Except it doesn’t have anything to do with time, he thought. Being is an hour or a minute or even a moment. Being is being, no matter where you are.
Kids don’t know their parents. They grow up and start thinking about them as real people after they’re dead. People waste time, years, playing games with each other—who am I?—and never get to know anybody.”
" ... I don’t have a trade. My military occupational specialty is infantry, and I don’t think there’s much call for infantrymen in civilian life.” “Learning a trade, doing one thing the rest of your life, that’s for clucks without imagination,”
It’s nice to stand up and be independent, but you can’t be selfish about it. You’ve got to give me a chance to show off, too, and I do it with money.
“He’s older than she is.” “He’s not. Mr. Rosen is forty. He told me. That woman is at least forty-five. He’ll still be young when she’s old.”
People lived in their own world and believed what they wanted to believe. They worried about the wrong things. Little pissy things with big problems staring at them.
Don’t let people scare you; because nine times out of ten they don’t know any more than you do. Or even less. They got there pushing and shoving, acting, conning, bullshitting. If they had to get by on basic intelligence alone—most of the people I’ve done business with—they’d be on the street selling Good Humors and probably fxcking up the change.
“I don’t think I need a reward,” Davis said. “Why don’t I just settle for what’s mine?”
“Why not?” Davis said. It seemed that simple. Why not?
“Hot enough for you?”
“Man, this is a vacation spot, huh? Eilat?”
“Down closer to the water,”
The point being that learning required a change of attitude and sometimes, usually, pain. He knew that but wasn’t sure how he knew it. He wondered if it would do any good if he called out for his mother.
But that was planning and he wasn’t going to plan. He was going to do nothing. He began to think that it would be better to do nothing in the sunlight than in the dark. Thinking was doing something. He wished he could stop thinking.
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