Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Mauser Pistol

In those years we lived in a small apartment on the third floor of an old brick apartment building overlooking Surf Avenue. By bending out our kitchen window I could make out not only my school, P. S. 100, but also, in the distance, the Boardwalk and a thin blue sliver of the sea. On summer evenings, sitting out on the fire escape, I could see over the rooftops all the way to the magical lights of Steeplechase and Luna Park out on the Island. In the apartment right below us lived the Berkowitz’s. Larry and his twin sister Annabelle were classmates of mine. Larry was alright but Annabelle was a pain in the ass—always insisting on hanging around with us even when we made it clear we didn’t want her. Larry and I spent a lot of time together up on the roof. He kept a couple of pigeons up there in Tony’s pigeon cote. Tony, the janitor’s son would come up sometimes, whenever he had time and futz around with us, cleaning up the birds’ pen and all. He had to help his father after school. Sometimes, when his father was on one of his benders, he had to do all the work and he’d have to cut school. The school principal knew all about it and tried to make things easier for Tony. The three of us were a team and we didn’t need fat Annabelle trailing around after us. One day Tony even punched her one in the nose, giving her a black eye for following us up there. Larry and I maybe would just have just yelled at her but Tony, well Tony had a temper.
Tony’s family, he said, was from Italy, Calabria. I looked it up once on the rolled-up and peeling world map hanging from above the blackboard in our geography class. It was all the way at the bottom of Italy; I never heard of it. Our families were all from Russia and Poland. My father said he’d come from Poland, but his old passport, which he kept in the back of his desk drawer, was Russian. I couldn’t figure it out. Everybody in the apartment building, it seemed, was originally from Europe except Mr. Fogarty, the old soldier who lived in 1D and Miss Cassidy who lived in the back of her store next to Mr. Savarese’s barber shop. They were Americans.

Miss Cassidy had a dry goods store filled with all kinds of ancient crazy stuff; merchandise that I couldn’t imagine anyone ever wanting to buy. It was like a museum; full of dusty, old-fashioned, absolutely obsolete artifacts. She had butter churns and razor strops, tins of moustache wax and men’s high button shoes, even racks of buggy whips—Can you imagine that? There were whole shelves filled with bottles of liniment and horse collars, neat’s foot oil, dusty bits and harness-ware. Anti-Macassars all around. I loved that word, the way it sounded, Anti-Macassars. After Miss Cassidy explained what it meant, I kept on repeating it over and over under my breath, wondering how they got the oil out of the bears. Lots and lots of women’s clothes, summery dresses and big feathery hats. Crazy corsets and stuff. Annabelle said it was all junk that nobody’d wear even to costume parties, but they looked alright to me—what did I know about women’s clothes? There were piles of yellowing sheet music and brittle rolls of music for player pianos and there was the prize of her collection: a big and elaborate music box. I loved looking at it and she even allowed me once to wind it up and turn it on. It was built into a large mahogany box with a cover richly and delicately inlaid with strips of ivory, mother of pearl and ebony in a multi-colored floral design. Smack-dab in the center of the cover was a small brass plate engraved in fancy Old English letters: “Sublime Harmony,” and underneath in smaller letters: Made in Switzerland.The mechanism was complicated; it was wound up by a large brass key and you could choose any one of the twenty tunes, popular melodies from long before the Great War, which were listed on a sheet of paper pasted into the inner cover, by moving a bronze lever on the side. Then you’d push a button and a big brass drum studded with tiny spikes would begin to revolve slowly, the spikes ticking one after the other against the many teeth of a long metal comb, making sweet tinny sounds while a little china figure of a ballerina would spring up and spin slowly back and forth to the music. It wasn’t very loud and you’d have to be very quiet to be able to hear the sounds. One or two of the songs couldn’t be heard anymore. Miss Cassidy said that her mother had liked those songs especially and had simply wore them out. The music box wasn’t for sale of course; Miss Cassidy said that her mother had brought it with her when she came across the Atlantic from Dublin, to work in Service and to marry at the beginning of the century.
The store was fairly big, half as big again as Mr. Savarese’s barber shop. It was dusty and lighted only by two old hanging lamps. There were two big bay windows, but they were blocked by piles of old magazines and newspapers. Miss Cassidy saved them, saying that they’d be worth good money someday.
She wasn’t a nut, Miss Cassidy, not at all. I’m sorry if I may be giving that impression, though I don’t know how she lived or how she made her living—nobody ever bought anything at her store! Today of course, the stuff she had would attract a lot of attention, that’s for sure. She seemed to be always busy helping the neighbors, making soup, taking care of sick kids, visiting, helping out in her very energetic manner. Why, she was the one who managed to teach Mrs. Fusilio’s daughter crippled from the Polio to walk again when the doctors had given up. People certainly needed help in those days. Kids in another neighborhood might have had a lot of fun, making her out to be a delicious witch. She looked the part, thin and erect, always wearing a hat, a big cameo brooch on her shirt front, right next to her buttoned-on watch, always dressed in black, bombazine I suppose it was called. But here on Surf Avenue we knew her too well and respected her too much, for that to happen.

Mr. Fogarty was very very different. He was tall, over six feet tall, and scrawny, almost emaciated with pronounced furrows running down his cheeks. He was bald with only a thin and obviously dyed fringe of hair above his ears. To make up for that he sported a well brushed pepper and salt moustache, which was turning yellow white at the lower edges from the strong tobacco he smoked. He was a retired thirty-year Army man, a lifer; that’s what he called himself and the kids on the block made fun of him, imitating his erect thirty inch pace, following him every afternoon to the bar on the corner. He was always well-dressed, almost dandified by the standards of our neighborhood. He wore an old and well worn but always freshly pressed brown suit and a white shirt anchored by a tight, black leather bow tie under his prominent Adam’s apple, spit-polished high shoes, a grey fedora in winter or a straw boater in summer. He wore a tiny Legion badge in his suit lapel. You could practically set your clock by him; breakfast at eight, lunch at twelve every day at the diner down the block near the service station. We’d see him sitting there every day on our way to school, and then on our lunch break. When I got a bit older and started work there as a part time bus-boy I saw what he ate, the same thing every day. Three hard sunny-side up eggs with fried onions and sausage for breakfast and the big hamburger that Gus, the owner, called a Salisbury steak with peas and mashed potatoes floating on the side in a pool of dark gravy for lunch. Lots of strong black coffee, always. Every afternoon around five, he’d step smartly down to the Four Roses Bar where he’d sit drinking big schooners of beer and gabbing with the other regulars until long past our bed time. Once a month he’d go to the Post Office to pick up his retirement check. Once every two weeks a short trim at Mr. Savarese’s. The rest of the time he’d sit on a bench in Seaside Park watching the chess players or playing pinochle with some of his cronies. That’s where I got to know him.
I knew him before, but of course I never paid much attention; he was just one of the old men. There were a lot of them around. Larry and I played on the stairs sometimes and Mr. Fogarty often passed us on his way to the Four Roses. He nodded and we’d say hello; politeness to our elders had been drummed into us. I don’t think he knew our names. We were all of us just “Sonny” to him.
One hot summer afternoon I was in Seaside Park waiting for Larry, who had his piano lesson, and for Tony who had to help his father unload a truck of coal for the big furnace. We were going to play stick ball and I had brought a tennis ball and an old broom stick which we used as a bat. The vacation was already more than half over. I was over on the edge of the big lawn, if you could call it that—it was mostly just a sand lot with some grass still growing here and there. I flipped the ball up in the air and when it fell I’d try to clip it lightly. I only succeeded once in a while; I never was much of a ball player. Most of the time I just swung—and missed. After a while I got bored and I saw Mr. Fogarty sitting on one of the benches, reading the Daily News so I walked over and sat down on the end of the bench.
‘Hi, Mr. Fogarty,’ I said. On the first page of the Daily News were some big black headlines about China, Shanghai or Nanking; there was a lot in the papers then about China, the war and all, and underneath was a big photograph. I frowned. ‘Wow!’ I said. ‘That’s sumpin’ Huh?’
Mr. Fogarty folded the newspaper and looked at me and then at the front page and the photograph. ‘Yes, Sonny. It sure is,’ he said softly.
I looked at it carefully. It was taken hurriedly, I guess; a mass of stark black and white streaks and blurred, I suppose, from the wire-service transmission. It depicted what looked like a bombed-out railway station. There was the wreckage of a shed in the background with a smashed roof, and burned cars and twisted railway tracks all around. There were no bodies in the picture but right in the center was a half naked Chinese baby sitting upright all alone, deserted and screaming.
‘Jeez,’ I said. ‘D’ya think he’s OK?’ Stupid question.
Mr. Fogarty looked at me and shook his head decisively. ‘I guess not, Sonny,’ he said, getting out his pipe. He smoked a small, curved-stem pipe a lot, always some kind of harsh tobacco. Often the smell lingered in the stairwell of our house all day long. ‘That’s in Shanghai,’ he said, ‘the railway station in Shanghai. I sailed home from there.’
I looked at him.
‘Yep, I was a lot of years in China,’ he said, nodding. ‘In the Army with the Fifteenth Infantry in Tientsin, all through the Twenties. “Can Do”, that was our motto. Yesiree, Can Do.’ He sat looking quietly at the picture, then he folded up the newspaper and got up. ‘See you around, Sonny,’ he said and started walking stiffly towards the men’s room just by the park exit.
‘Will you tell me sometime about it?’ I called out to him, ‘About China?’ But he just waved the newspaper; I guess it was close to five and he was about ready to go to the Four Roses.

The long summer vacation was drawing to a close. Shit! If you asked us we wouldn’t call it long. We had so much to do and never enough time to do it in. Yet now, most of what I recall of those days was sitting on the stoop of the Four Roses watching some of the older kids playing stoop ball and listening to big league games broadcast from the bar’s big console radio. We were all baseball fans, and the Dodgers was our team but they never seemed to live up to our expectations. Sometimes, once in a blue moon, they’d win a game. You could always tell on game days if the Dodgers were losing; John, the bartender would switch off the game and all you’d hear from that big old radio speaker’d be the news coming from WOR.
One afternoon, it must have been after five because I could see Mr. Fogarty sitting at the bar with a big half-empty schooner in front of him, the Dodgers had lost and the news broadcast was on. This time I listened to the news; couldn’t help it. The bartender had turned up the volume and the radio announcer’s excited voice kept on talking about the Panay, whatever that was, and the Japs and the Chinks. The men in the bar just sat and listened. That’s what they did all the time anyway, but this time they really seemed to be paying attention.Then finally the news broadcast ended. It was late already, getting on towards suppertime, but I waited for a while longer; I wanted to ask Mr. Fogarty about the Panay, he’d told me he’d been in China.
Finally he stepped out back, to where there was a still an old-fashioned one hole privy near the Bocce court. I waited and when he came out and while he washed his hands at the old horse trough I asked him about the Panay.
He looked at me. ‘How old are you, Sonny?’ he asked.
I was mystified. ‘I’m seven, gonna be eight in a few days,’ I said. ‘I’m big for my age.’
‘Well then, you’ve got nothin’ to worry about. You won’t be goin’ to war,’ he said, smiling sourly it seemed, ‘not this time anyway!’
‘There’s gonna be a war?’ I asked. Wow!
‘Looks like it, Sonny. Damn well oughta be, firing on our ship, a US naval gunboat, fuh Chrissake!’ he shook his head. ‘Jesus, fuckin’ slopeheads.’
‘Uh, why’d they do it, Mr. Fogarty?’
‘Maybe tomorrow,’ he said, shaking the drops of water from his hands as he went back into the bar. We kids weren’t ever allowed in there. ‘Come around to the park, I’ll tell you kids all about it.’
The next afternoon Tony was busy loading coal so I got Larry to go with me to the park. I told him all about how Mr. Fogarty had been in China. Larry was a bit sceptical and I must have embroidered it somewhat.
‘C’mon,’ he said. ‘You believe that old fart?’
‘Don’t talk that way about him,’ I protested. ‘You saw he’s got the Legion badge.’
‘Big deal, so what? My uncle Louie’s got one too, ‘n he faked a hernia. Never even got overseas!’
‘Hi, boys!’ Mr. Fogarty was sitting on the first bench in the park. The famous one, the one where Luigi Fantino was shot, so they said, years ago during Prohibition. Nobody knew if it was true or not, the story about the shooting, but he’d been an actual famous gangster and he had grown up on our block. Everybody in the neighborhood knew the story and nobody from the neighborhood ever sat on that bench, out of respect. As a result the bench looked comparatively new. I wondered why Mr. Fogarty was sitting there, usually he sat further on in the park, near the concrete chess tables that were put up by the WPA a couple of years before, during the worst part of the depression. Maybe he was waiting for us.
‘Hello, Mr. Fogarty,’ we both said. As I mentioned before, we’d been taught to be polite to older people.
‘So, you boys want to hear something about China, huh? The Fifteenth Infantry?’
We nodded.
‘Well,’ he said, nodding his head. ‘I wasn’t too much older than you boys when I joined up.’
‘Aw, C’mon now!’ Larry protested.
‘Yep,’ he said, not paying any attention. ‘When I was sixteen I faked my way in, right out of South Dakota. That’s all I wanted to be, a sojer. I sure wasn’t cut out for the wheat fields. Even Boot Camp was fun. I remember our First Sarn’t, what a card he was! One day he made us all…’ He went into a long drawn-out story about his training camp.
Jeez, I thought, my heart sinking, he’s just a long-winded old fart.
‘…After boot I was posted to Fort Riley. Shit, I wanted to get outa the Plains! Then I got lucky—transferred right to Shofield Barracks outside Honolulu. Did my whole first tour there, company clerk in a rifle battalion. But I was a twitchy kid, as soon as my time was up I signed up again, this time right into the Fifteenth. I’d heard all about them then, ‘n you could do that then. Sweated it out there at Shofield just waitin’ around ‘til finally the troop ship for the short timers came across from the Presidio, and I sailed off, to China.’ He fell silent, squinting out towards a couple of big sycamores overlooking the lawn. It was quiet then and we could hear the sound of the beach. Today it’d be called something like White Noise: the sound of the waves mixing and merging with the noises made by the many many thousands of people on the beach into a sort of audio-mousse. Mr. Fogarty sighed and got out his old battered pipe, twisting it apart. He seemed to have forgotten we were sitting there, waiting impatiently. The pipe had a thick pewter band between the curved stem and the bowl and we watched him as he blew through the stem and carefully scraped out the bowl, finally filling it with some kind of black tobacco he cut from a roll with his pocket knife. His hands were gnarled with prominent veins. I wanted to have hands like that when I grew up. ‘This here’s a Peterson,’ he suddenly said. ‘Good pipe, had it for years. Used to smoke a couple of Comoys, from the arcade off the Bund in Shanghai.’ He lit up the pipe using a big kitchen match and our eyes teared from the acrid smoke. He grinned, ‘Don’t like the smell, huh? Bad habit, smoking. Wouldn’t want to be without it.’
‘Tell us about China,’ Larry said.
‘All in good time, Sonny. You’re in a hurry?’
‘Sorry, Mr. Fogarty, but you were gonna—’
‘Sure, kid. About China…’ Mr. Fogarty sighed deeply and shook his head slowly. ‘That’s a whole world out there! Yuh know, whenever I think about it, I recall the smell. It all smelled like shit, always, shit and wood smoke.’ he said, and we giggled. He looked at us. ‘Alright, well…The Fifteenth wasn’t like any other regiment I ever saw. We all had our own servants. You’d be woken by your servant bringing you yer tea. You’d be shaved right afterwards then and there, by another, a barber and then someone else’d collect yer laundry,’ he laughed. ‘They’d clean ‘n oil yer Springfield, they’d holystone down the barrack floor, they’d launder yer webbing, spit-polish yer boots, anything…You couldn’t do any of that for yerself—they’d get inna uproar, you’d be breaking their rice bowl. That’s what they called it.’
‘So what did you have to do there?’ I asked.
‘What did we have to do? Well, I’ll tell you, Sonny. We had legation duty, protecting US and foreign interests and nationals. We were there to show the flag. We had to deal with all sorts, warlords and such…’
‘Yeah?’ I asked. Larry and I looked at each other.
‘There was one son of a bitch I remember. He was one of Yuan Shih-kai’s underlings. A real prick he was. I…you kids come on over sometime to my place, I got a picture of him I’ll show you, if you want.’
I hesitated, we’d all been warned about going anywhere with strangers. Whenever nothing much else was going on, the Daily News would print a lot of scare stories about kidnappers and molesters. Besides, who could forget the Lindbergh kidnapping? Shit, I thought, I’ll take Tony with me. Tony’s a bruiser, he can take old Mr. Fogarty apart, he gives us any trouble.
‘Sure!’ I said. ‘Swell! Uh, when can we come over?’ I asked, though I wasn’t that sure.
‘Any time, Sonny, anytime at all,’ he said, looking at his pocket watch. ‘I’m got to go somewhere now. I’ve got an appointment. You kids come around sometime, anytime.’ As if we didn’t know he’d be going to the Four Roses now, this time of day.

One day I hadn’t had anything to do so I just stood outside the bar looking in through the big window and I saw Mr. Fogarty sitting there. There wasn’t anybody else there except John, the bartender. He was always there, always polishing shot glasses. Mr. Fogarty sat at the bar and there was an empty schooner in front of him. He just sat there, looking down at the bar, all alone and he was just like a department store dummy; not a move out of him. I shuddered, looking in at him, I don’t know why.

Once a queer thing happened. The Four Roses didn’t open in the afternoon. This never happened before; everyday, even on Sundays I think, it opened promptly at five. I don’t know anything about liquor laws then, or why it wasn’t open earlier. I suppose that, since it was a workingman’s bar, there wasn’t much point in opening it during working hours. Tony and I came home from the beach and we saw Mr. Fogarty peering in through the window. It was dark in the bar and Mr. Fogarty looked lost. He spotted us and asked, ‘You know anything about this?’
We looked at each other and shrugged. For us the Four Roses was just a bar for the old geezers in the neighborhood, a place for us to hang out near. Sometimes Tony’s father sent him over there for what he called a bucket of suds. The bar was always there, we never paid much attention to it. I had a sudden idea.
‘Hey, Mr. Fogarty,’ I said. ‘Maybe you can show us that picture now.’
‘What picture?’ he frowned, still hopefully peering through the bar window. ‘What picture was that?’
‘Y’know, the one from China, the, the warlord you was tellin’ us about.’
‘Uh, oh yeah. Well…,’ he said, giving up, ‘sure. C’mon over.’
‘What’s all this about?’ Tony whispered. I gestured to him to shut up. ‘Thanks a lot, Mr. Fogarty,’ I said. Tony kept looking at me. ‘Later,’ I whispered back.
All the apartments in our building were the same. You’d come through a small vestibule right into the linoleum-floored kitchen, then there was either a living room or a dining room depending on how it was furnished, then the bathroom and finally the bedroom. The apartments were really small—I slept on a fold-up army cot in the dining room, which I had to fold up and stow in the closet every morning. Larry’s family and mine had furnished the apartments more or less the same way; full of heavily carved, dark mahogany furniture, always smelling of furniture polish. The apartments, in the morning hours were always alive with the noise of vacuum cleaners. Every couple of years they’d paint the apartments and I’d have a headache for days on end from the stink of the fresh paint. There were pictures on the walls of flowers and stuff like that. There was a big mirror on one wall surrounded by an elaborately carved plaster frame painted to resemble wood. There was a big but never used dining table in our apartment, completely covered with a lace table cloth. The legs of the table peeping out were in the shape of fanciful lions’ heads complete with carved eyes. Those eyes used to scare the shit out of me. In Larry’s family’s place there was an upright piano squashed between a pair of matched overstuffed sofas. Larry’s mother had made a huge fuss over the upholstery for those sofas, looking for the right shades and pattern and eventually finally having them upholstered at a shop in Manhattan. Then when she got them home, she promptly hid them under slip-covers. Go figure. In both our apartments between the two windows overlooking Surf Avenue was a big console radio with a large round green dial listing the names of radio stations coming from far-off exotic places; Monte Carlo, Vienna, London, Bucharest. Nobody could really dial those places and mostly what we listened to were radio dramas and serials in the late afternoons and early evenings: The Shadow, Jack Armstrong, The FBI in Peace and War, The Lone Ranger.
Mr. Fogarty’s place was very different. First of all it was a mess; heaps of laundry everywhere, the kitchen sink full of dishes, the kitchen table piled high with cans, both opened and still sealed. The living room, if that’s what you’d call it, was full of mismatched casual furniture; a couple of kitchen chairs, a folding card table, a standing lamp and lots and lots of books. Larry and I gaped; it was great! It was all so comfortable looking and messy.
‘You boys want a soda? I’ll see if I have any,’ Mr. Fogarty said, opening his window ice box. ‘Nope, Sorry about that, just beer. You boys want a beer?’
We grinned at each other. ‘No, thank you, Mr Fogarty,’ Tony said. I jabbed him with my elbow. ‘C’mon,’ I whispered, ‘Let’s try a beer!’
‘Na, fergit that. You kids are a bit young for beer.’ He looked around, scratching his ear and said, ‘What was I lookin’ for? Oh yeah, the pictures. OK, you kids clear off that card table, I’ll get my album.’
He came back from his bedroom carrying a big leather bound album and put it down on the table. He brushed off the dusty cover. ‘Had this bound in pigskin in one of the treaty ports, don’t remember which one, in nineteen…, Jesus, I can’t remember that either,’ he sighed, opening the two leather snaps fastening the cover. ‘Ah well, let’s see what we have here.’
There were an awful lot of snapshots glued onto the thick black pages of the album. All the pictures were sepia toned and still quite clear. We looked at them avidly. There were pictures of soldiers staring at the camera, wearing old-style knee high woolen putties and the same kind of funny khaki cowboy hat that my uncle Abe wore in the snapshots he had from the Great War. We turned the pages, looking at the funny pictures of Chinamen, and funny houses and junks and river boats and lots of soldiers—
‘Jeez!’ I almost shouted.
Mr. Fogarty grinned showing his yellowed horse teeth. ‘That’s sumpin’ huh?’ he said, pointing to the big photograph all by itself in the center of the page. In it was a Chinaman, arms bound behind his back, kneeling on what looked like sand. There was a uniformed Chinaman standing right behind him with a big curved axe or sword in his hand. There were other Chinamen and soldiers around looking on.
‘What’s goin’ on here?’ Tony asked, in a hushed tone. ‘Is he gonna chop off his head?’
‘Just turn the page,’ Mr. Fogarty said.
I turned the page and I gasped, ‘Wow!’ I breathed, ‘Is that his head?’ I asked. ‘Really?’ There was another picture all by itself on the page, like the previous one. It must have been taken a few seconds after the first. But it was blurred a bit. In this one only the man with the sword seemed to have moved. The sword no longer pointed to the sky. The other men, soldiers and Chinese still looked on and the kneeling man still kneeled—but now he seemed to be headless and a blurred round object lay at his feet.
‘Yep, Sonny,’ Mr. Fogarty said, quietly. ‘That’s the way they did it in those days.’
Now I could see what must have been blood spurting from the neck. Hard to tell, the photograph was indistinct. Tony and I looked at that picture silently for a few minutes and then I turned the page. Here were three snap-shots in a diagonal row. All showed a group of young soldiers seated around a table in what looked like a dark Chinese bar. But the table was well lighted and suddenly I made out Mr. Fogarty as a young soldier, beaming, saluting the camera with an uplifted beer bottle. He didn’t have a mustache yet and he looked just like a kid.
I looked up and he nodded his head. ‘That’s me, alright,’ he said, a bit sadly. ‘Long time ago.’ I looked at the pictures and then I turned the page again. There were pictures of Chinese men playing cards and smoking funny looking long pipes and there were some pictures of Chinese girls too, wearing all kinds of costumes. Tony nudged me, there was a picture of two girls all naked and we grinned at each other. Then I turned the page and on one side we caught a glimpse of—
‘Never mind them pitchers,’ Mr. Fogarty said, hurriedly turning the pages. ‘You wouldn’t be interested in that, not yet. Yeah, here we are; this is the Chink I was talking about,’ he said, tapping a grubby finger on a photograph of a tall and imposing Chinaman standing in the center of what looked like a bunch of bodyguards. These men were all barefooted, wore visored caps, quilted grey uniforms and stood at attention facing him bearing bayonetted rifles in their hands. The two body guards nearest to the tall man brandished short guns with long wooden stocks against their chests. The tall Chinaman wore a big fur cap, a long leather trench-coat over highly polished riding boots and what I guessed to be an enormous holstered pistol on a broad leather belt. His chest was criss-crossed by two filled cartridge belts.
‘Wow!’ I breathed.
‘Yep,’ Mr. Fogarty said, ‘that’s him alright. Cruel son of a bitch. Used that pistol a lot on people.’
‘What kind is it?’ I asked. In the photograph it looked big and clumsy. I wasn’t sure but the holster seemed to be made of wood.
‘That’s a Mauser pistol. That’s top-notch, you can’t get anything better.’
‘It looks funny,’ I said. It did; a large squarish brown box in a leather cradle, which strapped it to the man’s belt. The butt protruded from the side of the box near the the top and at the bottom the box ended in a panhandle holding the barrel, I suppose. There was a braided lanyard reaching from the gun butt up around the man’s neck.
‘Yes, it does,’ he said. ‘Doesn’t matter. Take that outa the holster, it’s wood, see? Snap the broom handle onto the holster, and you’ve got a carbine. See the way these two greasers are holding their Mausers? Not only that, it’s so accurate you can knock off a slope head at a thousand yards!’
‘Wow!’ I said, though I wasn’t altogether sure what he meant, but his enthusiasm was catching. He looked at me, then at Tony and said, ‘Wanna see one?’
I looked at him, and at the gun belt in the photograph. ‘Sure!’ I exclaimed, ‘You got one? You mean you gotta Mouse gun right here?’
‘Mauser, not mouse,’ he laughed, correcting me. ‘Yes, I do. Bought it once off a White Russian officer in Harbin. Those sons of bitches’d sell you anything, but it sure cost me a pretty penny. Brought it home with me, all the way, wrapped up in an old shirt down at the bottom of my ditty bag. No customs inspection in those days. Wait here,’ he said, getting up and going to his closet. We looked at each other and shook our heads, grinning at each other. Wait’ll the other kids hear about this!
‘Lookit this,’ Mr. Fogarty said, coming back, carrying a towel-wrapped package. He carefully put it down in the center of the card table and slowly unwrapped the package. First the towel, then cord-tied brown paper wrapping, finally some old newspapers and then…there it was.

I had seen real guns before. My Uncle Abe had a battered Thirty-Thirty with a cracked and reglued stock which he kept in the back of his closet. Sometimes he tried to hunt with it during the season. But he never succeeded in hitting anything. And once Tony’s cousin Paulie, brought his brand new Colt revolver home when he finished the Police Academy. Tony pestered him into showing it to us. We gaped at that potent shiny black weapon which he allowed us to touch only with one clean finger, after he had very carefully unloaded it. But it was only for a second or so. Paulie was full of Gun Safety from the academy and he immediately put the gun away, leaving us hungrier than ever.

Now in front of us on the table was a hefty and clumsy-looking pistol with a long thin tapering barrel. It was old and the blueing on the barrel was worn away, but it glistened cleanly with oil. The wooden stocks were deeply embossed with the number “9” and there was a lanyard ring with a long braided cord. Engraved onto the side of the gun were some Chinese ideograms.
Tony cleared his throat and said, ‘What’s that?’ pointing to a box-like extension in front of the trigger.
‘That’s the magazine,’ Mr. Fogarty said. We just looked at him questioningly. ‘The bullets are in there. Holds ten rounds.’ He pressed on one of the buttons on the gun and the magazine jumped out. We could see the shiny brass cartridges before he stored the thing in his pocket. ‘Now I’ll check the receiver before you kids can hold it,’ he said.
‘We can hold it?’ I asked, my heart jumping.
‘Hold yer horses,’ Mr. Fogarty said, laughing. ‘Wait’ll I make sure it’s empty.’ He picked up the pistol with practised hands, pulled back on something or other and a bullet flipped up and out of the gun onto the floor. ‘Shit,’ Mr. Fogarty muttered under his breath, ‘didn’t think that thing was still loaded.’ Both Tony and I scampered to find it and I managed to get to it first. The bullet felt cool in my hand.
‘Give it here,’ Mr. Fogarty said, taking it from me. ‘That’s dangerous.’ He lifted the pistol, extending his arm and aimed it out the window. We watched as he pulled the trigger and heard the satisfying snap as the hammer fell. But of course there wasn’t any shot.
‘OK, Sonny,’ Mr. Fogarty said, handing me the gun. ‘Your turn now.’
Boy! Was it ever heavy! I looked it over carefully and, after pulling back on the thing Mr. Fogarty called the receiver I peered through the barrel, seeing all the shining rings, then I let the receiver snap back. Tony was itching for his turn but I took my time; I certainly wasn’t in any rush. I lifted the gun, using both hands, it was so heavy, extending my arm just the way Mr. Fogarty had. I turned, closed one eye and aimed that big pistol at Tony.
‘No!’ Mr. Fogarty shouted and grabbed the gun right out of my hand. ‘Never, ever, ever aim a weapon at anyone you don’t want to kill!’ He still shouted and he was turkey-red. ‘You hear!’
‘I’m sorry, Mr. Fogarty,’ I was close to tears. ‘I didn’t mean it. I’ll never do that again.’
‘Damn right you won’t,’ he said, no longer shouting but obviously still angry. He wrapped and tied the gun up again with shaking fingers.
‘But Mr. Fogarty!’ Tony protested.
Mr. Fogarty shook his head emphatically. ‘No,’ he said. ‘I made a mistake. You kids aren’t ready yet for lethal weapons.’
I wanted to say something, but I could see that he was still upset.
‘Now you kids get the fuck outa here,’ he growled and slammed the door on us.
‘Jeez, Jackie,’ Tony said angrily as we went down the stairs. ‘ Why’dja do that. I didn’t even get a chance to hold it!’
Outside, on Surf Avenue I sniffed my hand. There was a faint odor of machine oil and an even fainter stink of gunpowder, just like Fourth of July firecrackers.

Time passed, summer vacations and school years. Winter snows and summer at the beach. We were beginning to grow up. The war came along and went on and on and we began to dream about getting old enough to get into it. Annabelle got slimmer and I got interested. Larry, Tony and I were still buddies but we were growing apart now that we all had part-time jobs and less time to futz around. We didn’t see much of Mr. Fogarty anymore, though we did sometimes smell his tobacco on the stairs. Sometimes I caught glimpses of him through the window of the Four Roses or playing Pinochle in the park. I worked part-time at the diner during the lunch hour and of course promptly at twelve Mr. Fogarty ate his meal there. We’d nod to each other, that’d be all.
Our graduation was to be late in June and we were all busy rehearsing. The school band practised playing “Oh Victorious People” until it was coming out of our ears. We practised marching to the music, into and out of the school auditorium. We marched in, two by two and Annabelle, who was only an inch or so shorter than me, was my partner. I liked that. I looked forward to the evening after graduation when, we’d all invite our partners out, for an ice cream or something. School tradition, and it’d be my first date. I hoped she’d like me.
It looked like everybody in the neighborhood knew all about the graduation, and my date. I was getting snide comments left and right all over. It annoyed me, but not too much; next year I’d be a freshman in high school and I could tease some other kids. Finally we graduated and I won the Science medal. No big deal; there wasn’t much competition. And then the big evening. I wore my suit. It was a dark blue suit and my father made me pin the science medal on the lapel. I took the corsage, we all had corsages we bought together, and I went to pick up my date. All the way to apartment 2C, one flight down. But Annabelle was beautiful! I hadn’t noticed during the ceremony but now, yeah, she was. She wore some kind of pale flowery dress. She said that Miss Cassidy had sown it for her. She pinned my corsage on her dress, at the waist. It looked good to me, what do I know about girl’s clothes?
It was a warm almost sultry night and there was a pale crescent moon. The three of us, Larry, Tony, me and our dates got together on the Boardwalk and we walked along. I held hands with Annabelle.Tony and Larry were talking about what they were going to do during this, our last vacation. Larry was careful not to talk about high school since Tony was quitting school now. He already had working papers even if he was still too young. His father had arranged it for him. Their dates were whispering to each other. Funny to think of them as dates, Joannie and Martha, classmates of ours. Now they were dates. Annabelle and I walked along behind them and neither of us spoke. I couldn’t. I listened to the talk and to the sounds coming from the Island but mostly I listened to Annabelle. Not that she had anything to say either. Both of us never let out a peep. But we were so aware of each other. Our hands were sweating but I didn’t let go, I was afraid to. I guess she was too.
We left the Boardwalk and went down the long wooden ramp to Seaside Park. There we split up and Annabelle and I sat, by ourselves on one of the park benches. The other couples sat on benches along the path and I could see the girls’ white dresses in the darkness. I put my arm around Annabelle and then I kissed her.

It takes only a few seconds to write that sentence—but to do it, to get up the courage to put my arm around her shoulder and to bend and reach her lips, to actually kiss Annabelle, took a long long time and all my resolve. I sat there on the bench next to her in the dark and I kept counting to ten, over and over again, resolving to do it, at the count of ten. Neither of us said anything and it seemed like hours passing; it must have been many minutes. I heard Joannie giggling and then yelling: “Hey! Stop that!” Then she giggled again. But I just sat there, despairing. My arm on the bench behind Annabelle was getting numb and then, finally I gulped, licked my dry lips, grabbed her warm shoulder, bent and bumped, pressed my lips against hers. There. At first I was afraid that I had offended her. I kept my arm around her and my hand on her shoulder and I bent and kissed her again.
Annabelle was in my arms and her lips were soft against mine. Suddenly I was no longer tense. I relaxed and Annabelle and I smiled, in the dark and we kissed again and again until our lips were numb. I sighed. Annabelle looked at her watch and nodded, so we got up and walked slowly home, holding hands.

It didn’t last, of course. One day we argued about something, something stupid, I can’t imagine what. We were in the Berkowitz’s apartment, just the two of us and Annabelle was at the piano, playing scales. I sat next to her, on the piano bench, shaking, angry at her, wanting to punch on the nose or to kiss her. I know she was angry at me too. Suddenly I remembered the pictures in Mr Fogarty’s album, the ones of the naked girls and I put my hand on Annabelle’s breast. Only for a second. She burst into tears, slapping my face clumsily. I was close to tears myself; I had never done anything like that before. I held her tight, in my arms, she kept crying and slapping me and I cried too, but I didn’t, I couldn’t let go.
I was angry with Mr. Fogarty too. After all it was because of his album that I did what I did. Yeah sure. That didn’t last long. I soon enough realized that I was the one who did it, and I hadn’t needed Mr. Fogarty’s album to give me ideas. I had them all along. But I was upset and ashamed of what I had done. I really liked Annabelle, but she didn’t want to have anything more to do with me. Worse, she told the other girls in our class about it and I was aware of the looks I was getting in the school corridors. Unfortunately for me, I was too young still to be able to discern any speculative looks aimed at me among all those disdainful ones.

‘What’cha tryin’ wid my sister?’ Larry shouted at me.
‘Nothin,’ I said, denying it automatically. ‘She’s my girl-friend, I like her, you know that.’
‘Don’t gimme that,’ he said, grabbing my shirt front. He was angry, I’d never seen him that angry before. ‘She tole me what you did. You fuckin’ shit!’ He punched me in the nose and I instinctively punched back, hitting him in the solar plexus, hard. That was the end of the fight; I was bleeding all over my shirt. Larry’s punch had broken my nose, it turned out, and the swelling blocked my view for a week. My lucky punch in the solar plexus had knocked the wind out of him and he had, then and there, another of his famous asthma attacks. Luckily Mr. Fogarty came out of the building on his way to the Four Roses just then and he helped Larry to get up to his apartment. Everybody in the building, all the tenants knew of Larry’s asthma. I sat on the stoop, my head back, my bloody handkerchief pressed to my swollen nose. It took a long time for the bleeding to stop.
‘Whatter you kids fightin’ about?’ I opened my eyes and saw Mr. Fogarty. He’d gotten down here again fast, I thought, he must have been anxious to get to the bar. I just shrugged.
‘Fightin’ over wimmen?’ he asked, grinning. ‘You got fresh with his sister, huh?’ I smiled weakly. How’d he know about that? ‘C’mon upstairs with me,’ he said, sighing. ‘ I’ll put some ice on that.’
He sat me down on one of his kitchen chairs and cracked some ice cubes into a dish cloth. He handed it to me and it felt good on my swollen face.
‘She put out?’ he asked.
‘C’mon, Mr. Fogarty!’ I protested. ‘She’s a nice girl, she ain’t like that!’
‘No, huh? Mebbe not,’ he said, shrugging, and poured himself a shot of Old Overholt. ‘Want some?’ he asked, holding out the pint bottle. I shook my head. It was a cheap rye whiskey, my father drank it and in fact it was a standard refreshment at all the Bar-Mitzvahs at the synagogue, that and sponge cake. Once I sneaked a taste of it, at my cousin Julia’s wedding when no one was looking. Ugh, bitter, ugh.
‘Fightin’ over wimmen is a big waste of time,’ Mr. Fogarty said, and sipped his whiskey. ‘How’s yer nose?’
I sniffed. ‘Much better,’ I said. ‘Thanks.’ It was better, the pain was almost gone but it was like trying to see around a red brick wall.
‘Yeah, sure is a waste. Can’t say though that I didn’t do my share of fightin’ over wimmen,’ he chuckled then he looked at me as if gauging what to tell me. ‘You know,’ he said, somehow hesitantly, ‘I once bought a woman.’
I just looked at Mr. Fogarty. Several of his stories sounded reasonable, but some of the others? I was really beginning to realize that a lot of his stories were just plain fabrications. But which ones?
‘Yep,’ he said. ‘It’s hard to believe now, here. But they was different times then. Different, that’s fer sure.’
‘Who was she?’
‘Little village girl. It was a drought year, see?’ Mr. Fogarty shook his head slowly back and forth. ‘Can’t imagine, can’t begin to imagine what that was like then, no. There was, If I recall right, a storm of locusts come down from Manchuria, et all the wheat around. they grew a lot of wheat there, up north. Then the rains stopped, just terrible dust storms, blew everything off the land. So there was a drought. Jesus, people starving right and left, dying off in the streets.’ He stopped talking for a minute, just staring. I felt uneasy.
‘We had a couple of horses, small cavalry detachment for legation duty. Well, during that drought they’d follow us through the streets, just waiting and then fighting over the horse droppings!’
‘So? I don’t get it,’ I said.
‘What don’t you get?’ he asked angrily. ‘What’s so hard to get? Them horses was well fed and sometimes there were still barley grains in the shit.’
‘Jeez!’ I whispered.
‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘It was my third year in Tientsin. Never saw nothin’ like it. But I was still a kid and I did a stupid thing, buying that girl. Otherwise she’d have starved, like all the rest. Whole lines of people comin’ down from the villages, spread out stinking dead on the roads. Caught hell from my company commander, court-martialed me, sent me to the Stockade.’
‘What happened?’
’We used to go to a house, y’know?’
I nodded. The Island was filled now, during the season with girls and servicemen on leave, with money to burn. There was a hotel off Surf Avenue they’d use. We knew all about it. Hotel Doris, we used to snigger, calling it Hot Doris.
‘Village girls, young. just like your buddy’s sister,’ he said and I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t like that. ‘This place was only for the Fifteenth, and the Italians, Bersagliari they was, good soldiers, see? Nobody else. The Japs and the Limies had their own places. Then we got a new battalion commander, straight from the Point, together with his missus. She didn’t like the idea of American boys goin’ to a house,’ Mr. Fogarty grinned. ‘So suddenly the place was off limits.’
‘Well, that meant that we sort of broke their rice bowl. They hadda close up, the girls went out on the streets. Jesus!’ he shuddered, ‘you know what that meant? There was one little girl, real tiny, big eyes. Cryin’…I don’t know. Two, three of us chipped in, we bought her from the whoremaster.’
‘What’d you do? Where’d you keep her?’
‘Huh?’ Mr. Fogarty seemed lost in memories. ‘Well, we got us a small place, set her up there, not far from the barracks. It didn’t matter, didn’t last. The Missus found out about it and we caught all hell. Right into the stockade for two months, all of us. From there,’ he said softly, and shrugged, ‘to an outpost near the Manchurian border, then to Shanghai for the rest of my tour. Took my discharge there, shipped home finally. Didn’t ever get back to Tientsin.’

‘You believe him?’ Tony asked, scoffing.
‘Yeah, I do. Why not?’
‘Because he’s a class-A bullshit artist, that’s why!’
I didn’t want to argue with Tony. I did want to believe Mr. Fogarty’s stories. He had an awful lot of them and I guess it looked funny, friendship with an old geezer like that. But I liked him and his stories. I’d drop by his apartment sometimes in the afternoon after school and he’d tell me stories about China and the army until it was time for him to go to the Four Roses. I never knew why he went there; he had bottles of beer stacked up in his ice box and always an opened fifth of Old Overholt standing on the card table among all the books. He’d talk and drink and I’d gobble peanuts until finally he’d look at his pocket watch, an old battered gold Elgin on a leather fob, and then I’d walk him to the bar.

‘Look, I said I’m sorry.’ I was begging, I know. but I had to make up with her. I really didn’t want to be the bad guy.
‘I can’t trust you,’ she said. ‘How can I trust you? It’s not only what you did, but that you did it that way, without asking me. If you’d had asked me, if …well, maybe I’d have liked you to, to touch me, I don’t know. But I don’t like being grabbed, not like that! You wanted to hurt me!’ She was almost in tears again.
‘Please,’ I begged. Jesus, how come she was so smart? ‘I didn’t,’ I said, but I suppose maybe I really had wanted to hurt her. My God, she made me so angry.
Yeah, we finally made up. But it never was the same anymore.

One afternoon coming home from school during a snowstorm the week before Christmas I suddenly saw Miss Cassidy coming out of Mr. Fogarty’s place. I was surprised; they never had had anything to do with each other and in fact Mr. Fogarty always snickered at her and her good works.
‘ He’s sick?’ I asked.
‘Sprained back,’ Miss Cassidy said. She had her big canister of beef broth with her. She was famous in the neighborhood, anybody sick would be sure to be visited and fed her beef broth. It wasn’t bad; strong and just a bit too salty. ‘He slipped on the icy pavement just outside the Four Roses,’ she sniffed. ‘He was drunk.’
‘He’s old enough to decide that for himself,’ I said. I wondered why I was defending him.
‘Don’t get fresh with me, young man,’ she said, waving her finger at me. ‘I know about him.’
I was puzzled by the animosity between them. I’d have expected them to be friends at least. After all, they were the only real Goyim in the neighborhood. That’s what Mrs. Berkowitz always said, laughing. Somehow our Italian neighbors weren’t Goyim.

Mr. Fogarty never seemed to get over the sprained back. He was laid up for a long time, all winter long, it seemed. In early spring he finally did get up, and I saw him once or twice hobbling crab-like to the Four Roses. He got thinner and thinner and his skin was almost translucent. One day Mrs. Savarese stopped me in the stairwell.
‘You’re friends with Mist’ Fogarty, yes?’ she asked.
‘Yeah, you could say so.’
‘Go to him. You take him this, make him wear it,’ she said furtively and handed me something.
‘What’s this,’ I asked, mystified. It was a small leather pouch on a long shoe string.
‘Don’ worry about that,’ she said and sighed. I looked at her and I was surprised. There were tears in her eyes. ‘He’s got the bad sickness, the Cancer. This will ease it for him.’
I watched her going down the stairs and I tried to see what was in the pouch but it was tightly sealed. I shrugged and knocked on Mr. Fogarty’s door. There was no answer so I knocked again a bit louder and finally I pushed the door open. I guessed that he was probably drunk.
I looked around and I was astounded. All the comfortable mess was gone; books back in the bookshelves, newspapers and magazines neatly stacked, the dishes out of the sink and off the card table and there was a pervasive carbolic odor of cleanliness in the air. It was just depressing. Mr. Fogarty sat in his arm chair, he seemed asleep. I turned to go but then he opened his eyes. Jesus, he looked bad.
‘Hello sonny, Come to visit me?’
I nodded.
‘Good, get that pack of cards outa the desk drawer. We’ll play some pinochle,’ he said and smiled. It wasn’t his usual smile. ‘I had to hide them from her.’
‘She did all this?’ I asked looking around.
‘Yep,’ he said. ‘Old bitch just landed on me soon’s she heard I was laid up.’
‘What’s with Miss Cassidy,’ I asked. ‘What’s she got against you?’
‘Old harpy,’ he said, grinning sourly and then he belched, from the beef broth. ‘Got fresh with her once, a long time ago, before you were born. Shoulda known better.’
I didn’t ask him about that, it sounded just impossible. We played a few games until he fell asleep. I left the amulet on the card table for him.

One hot spring day an ambulance came and took Mr. Fogarty away to the veteran’s hospital. All the neighbors said that that was that, he’d never be back, not from the veteran’s hospital. I didn’t believe them, but I kept my mouth shut. I knew he was a tough nut. It turned out that I was right; two weeks later a taxi pulled up at our door. Taxis came rarely into our neighborhood then, the only time I had ever ridden in one was when I came back from the hospital when I had the pneumonia. We were playing stickball when the taxi came and I guess I immediately knew it was Mr. Fogarty coming home again. There were two negro men in white with him, hospital attendants I suppose, and they helped him up the stairs to his apartment. I mumbled some kind of a welcome as he passed me and he raised his head, and smiled, if you could call that a smile.
I went to visit him the next afternoon. I knocked on the door and then opened it. He was sitting in his armchair. I guess it was hard for him to lie in bed.
‘Wanna play some pinochle?’ he asked and I nodded. I got out the cards and we played a game or two but he was distracted. ‘Kid,’ he said. ‘Go down to the Four Roses and bring me up a pint. There’s some change around here somewhere.’
‘You allowed that?’ I asked. I had heard that drinking was bad for you.
He looked at me. ‘What difference does that make now?’ he asked. I did as he asked and then when I got back upstairs I poured him a shot. He drank it down and sighed but then he broke out in a paroxysm of coughing. He leaned back, closed his eyes and seemed to go to sleep. He was yellowish grey. I was about to leave when he opened his eyes again and said: ‘Sonny, help me to get to the can.’
It was shocking. He weighed nothing at all and I practically had to carry him. I didn’t want to touch him. I got him in there and closed the door. I waited outside and wondered what I had gotten myself into. Finally he rattled the door knob and I brought him back to the armchair. He breathed slowly in and out, his eyes closed, his pale skin glistening with globules of sweat. I was revolted. Finally he tried to smile and said, ‘Not much of a life, huh kid?’

‘Listen sonny,’ he said to me the next afternoon. ‘There’s sumpin’ I want you to do for me,’
‘Sure thing,’ I said. Maybe he wanted me to bring him something from the Four Roses. Jesus, I hoped he didn’t have to go to the bathroom again.
‘Get a chair,’ he said. ‘Go to the back of my closet, up on the top shelf, there’s my pistol. Bring it here.’
‘OK,’ I said. I couldn’t figure what he wanted it for. I picked up one of the kitchen chairs, went into the closet and turned on the light. I looked up at the top shelf, at the wrapped gun up there. I got up onto the kitchen chair and it suddenly struck me what he wanted it for.
‘Hey!’ I said, getting down off the chair. ‘Jesus,’ I whispered, ‘You’re not gonna…?’
‘It’s not worth waitin’ anymore,’ he said slowly. ‘I don’t wanna have to beg. Just bring me the fuckin’ thing, you hear!’
What could I do? I was just a kid and he was a grown man. Maybe he was right, I don’t know. How could I know? On the way down the stairs I heard the shot. It wasn’t as loud or dramatic as the shots you’d hear in the movies. But this one I heard alright.

The Fourth of July came around again. There was a parade; ever since the war started they held a parade on the Fourth. It started at Seaside Park and went down along Surf Avenue, through all the concessions and rides, passing Luna Park and Steeplechase, ending up somewhere, pretty near Sea Gate. There were American Legion bands with polished shiny instruments and chromed-plated Springfield rifles. There were Ladies Auxiliary contingents and small detachments from the naval training station at Plum Island. The Legionnaires marched along playing Souza marches, wearing helmets so mirror-bright that their reflections made you squint in the sunlight. Later on, in the evening, there were fireworks ending the festivities. The next morning I found the burnt-out shell of one of the Roman Candles on my way to work at the diner. I picked it up and on an impulse I sniffed it. I wrinkled my nose and sighed; the stink reminded me of Mr. Fogarty’s Mauser pistol.

Early one morning, long before dawn, on my way out to pasture some wolves attacked the flock. It was pitch black and with the dust scattered by the stampeding sheep I couldn’t see anything. The kibbutz armorer had outfitted me with an old Mauser pistol because there had been some border incidents. I hadn’t liked it; too clumsy, I thought, but the armorer said that that was all he had. I drew that big pistol and fired two shots into the air. Things quieted down, I got the flock together again and went on to the hill pastures. When I came home later in the day I found several dead sheep and the partly eaten carcass of a young ram on the way, and one or two wounded sheep in the pen. Two weeks later at the end of a day in pasture on the hay stubble fields, the wolves returned. I killed one with my pistol. I attached the wooden holster-stock, lay down, aimed carefully and squeezed off a shot at a wolf stalking the flock. It was pretty far off, but I was afraid to wait any longer; the sheep might stampede. I couldn’t believe that I could hit it, but at least maybe I could scare it off. But I hit it alright, through the chest and the wolf dropped instantly. The others ran off, never ever returning. That was some gun, that old Mauser.

The End


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About Me

Eventually I may add a few words about my short story writing, and about myself, personally - Here, in the meanwhile, is my resumé as an art photographer Born and educated in New York, living in Israel from 1950 and since 1952 a member of Kibbutz Gal-On. Basically I‘m self-taught in Photography, except for participation in workshops with Yosaif Cohain, Hanan Laskin, Eyal Onne and Mark Sheps. My works are in private collections and in the permanent collection of the Eretz Israel Museum. I won the Nikon world photography competition in 1970. I was Secretary of the Art Photographer’s Organization of the Kibbutz movement between 1983-1991. Selected shows: ’Works’ - Gallery of the Kibbutz Artzi, Tel Aviv, 1977. ‘Urban Gypsies’ - Kibbutz Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, 1984. ‘A Dialog with Families’ - Kibbutz Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, 1987. ‘A Dialog with Myself’ - Sixth Annual International Film Festival, Haifa, 1990. I’ve also exhibited in several One Artist shows in galleries and universities in the United States during the 1980s.