A second volume of short stories and poetry translated from the Hebrew.
Excerpt from Language of Black and Red:
Eli and I sit on ladder-backs next to a luxurious roulette in a casino in Spain. I can almost pick glitters from the heavy, lowered chandeliers. I can practically touch the shiny wooden wheel. I can see the croupier's manicured nails. Lithe young bellhops, clad in ornamental uniforms, place trays on gypsum pillars next to our chairs. We fervently gulp the champagne from the tall, prismatic glasses and nibble at the tiny sandwiches.
We are that lucky that we dare not leave the table, not even to relieve ourselves.
Piles of shiny square chips represent our exceptional streak of winnings. The table supervisor looks very anxious. He shifts restlessly on his elevated seat, hawk-eyeing everyone malevolently. Sure enough, he doesn't like us. He clears all other players, letting us bet in splendid isolation, facing each other.
Eli's upper lip and temples glisten. My armpits ooze the acrid smell of manly perspiration. Easy to tell we are tense or apprehensive or both. We evade each other's gaze. Our hands are shaking and the boys keep pumping us with increasingly inebriating drinks. They want us under the influence. They want us to cough up everything we have and then some. We want to win. We want the casino broke. Our differences are profoundly irreconcilable.
Eli is a quarter of a tough century my senior. His life-swept face is haggard, straggly and raven eyebrows, lips cruel and eyes chillingly penetrating. He finds his sense of humour irresistible. It often is.
My baby face is framed by the plastic quadrangles of my glasses. I broadcast innocence and guile. The reactions I provoke are mixed. Some sense my vulnerability and hasten to protect me. Others find my haughty slyness loathsome. I guess I conjure my defencelessness to con my victims.
It may prove unhealthy to lose our sponsors' money. These people are charm itself and sheer delight - until you breach their pockets. They tend to lose their fabled equanimity. They regard business losses as hostile acts and the perpetrators as lethal enemies. So, they strike first, giving you no chance to err, to apologise, to scrutinise.
We are piling on not be piled in. The dough is multiplying. What if we lose? Eli says he has this thing going for him tonight, a wild card, from nature, and he does not dream to stop even though we reek of the casino's funds, even though two Spanish beauties resolutely scramble over him and heavies in bursting suits forage around obtrusively.
Eli's protruding eyes fixated on the wheel, mesmerically attempting to bring it to a favoured halt.
It smoothly winds down and Eli ignores my furious pestering: our underwriters invested to test and implement a betting method I developed. "I am offended" - I whisper, he ignores me. A febrile Eli has bonded with the table and every number wins, especially his choices.