by Simon Pinkerton
When a man converts to Judaism in the US he has a ritual circumcision, or if already circumcised, he has a crazy little fake circumcision. They want to see blood, these rabbis. They want to know you’re in it for real.
“Expose the member,” the rabbi said grandiosely.
Geoff Roni stood in the messy kitchen of the rabbi, pants down around his ankles. Rabbi Kensky pricked the shaft of Geoff’s penis with a needle, a tiny but atom-splitting sting.
“So marks the end of the ceremony.”
Geoff watched as a little ball of bright-red blood teed itself up on the top of his penis, just below the tip. In his periphery he saw piles of unwashed dishes.
“Now if you don’t mind — my daughters are due back from school.”
Geoff had jumped headlong into all this for Dan. He had studied Judaism, its culture, history and customs, as well as memorising the Commandments of the Torah and some of the Rabbinic Enactments. He had learned some Hebrew. He had bathed in a mikvah, the tiniest and most unwelcoming swimming pool ever created. He had been questioned by a loathsome council of smug men at a beit din, and been received coolly despite his proficiency.
Now he had been initiated with the symbolic circumcision. A grown, bearded adult male had blessed him intimately with a pin.
The rabbi tore a square of kitchen roll from the dispenser on the wall next to the towering stacks of dirty crockery and muttered, “Here, wipe yourself.” Geoff dabbed it onto his sore penis. He pulled up his pants and started to fasten his belt while the rabbi watched in silence.
“See yourself out,” the rabbi said. He went to the fridge and got a Sprite. He opened it noisily. Geoff shuffled to the hallway before getting his pants all the way back up and his belt completely fastened, and then strode to the door. The lock was a complicated arrangement. The Sprite was gulped loudly.
Jesus, I’m never getting out of this, he thought.
Simon Pinkerton is a balloon with a face scrawled on it. When you untie the balloon and the air comes out it distinctly says “You’re not my real dad!” He writes fiction and humour for the sweetest mags, and his first novel is almost written, mostly by him. He is the hot sausage you dream of @simonpinkerton.
I think in flash fiction it is extremely difficult to avoid some sort of generalisation about particular groups if they’re in the story (for purely technical reasons – you have little space!). I certainly didn’t read it as making any comment on Jewish people beyond those in the immediate context of the story, and I imagine/hope I would feel the same were it other minority groups. It read like characterisation rather than prejudice.
This is great! Some lovely detail in there