The Center Does Not Hold By Fred Skolnik

December 30, 2013 Comments Off on The Center Does Not Hold By Fred Skolnik

It started when the toilet fan went. I got it going again by pulling it out of the wall and oiling it up but after a few days it gave out again and I figured that was that and just started using the other toilet. Then one of the sinks got stopped up and I tried unclogging it with a plunger but all I got was the water trickling down the drain which I could live with because sooner or later the sink would empty out. The next thing to go was the washing machine so I started doing my laundry at the laundromat.

I’d always been pretty good about maintaining the house but it gets to a point where things start to overwhelm you and you’re too tired to make the effort to keep it up. Things just take their inevitable course. I stopped mowing and watering the lawn and naturally it died after a time and things started coming up wild and the plants in the house died too and I left the burnt-out bulbs in their sockets so the house was pretty dark. It was amazing how everything added up and pretty soon there were dozens of things to fix and I knew it had gotten to a critical point where I couldn’t catch up anymore. I stayed in bed most of the time and then I felt my body burning and a sharp pain in my chest and though the phone was right beside the bed I couldn’t bring myself to use it.

© 2013 Fred Skolnik, previously published at Concisely, Issue 2, Winter 2010.

Fred Skolnik was born in New York City and has lived in Israel since 1963. He is best known as the editor in chief of the 22-volume second edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, winner of the 2007 Dartmouth Medal. His novel The Other Shore (Aqueous Books, 2011) is an epic work depicting Israeli society at a critical juncture in its recent history. His stories, essays and poems have appeared in over 100 journals, including TriQuarterly, Gargoyle, The MacGuffin, Minnetonka Review, Los Angeles Review, Prism Review, Words & Images, Literary House Review, Underground Voices, Third Coast and Polluto.

Glass by Fred Skolnik

June 18, 2012 Comments Off on Glass by Fred Skolnik

After I removed the glass from the window, I had to figure out how to get it onto the roof down below. It was nearly a 10-foot drop, and there was a gap of about 5 feet between the two buildings. Ordinarily I would have jumped, but I couldn’t do that holding on to a big pane of glass, which was itself 10 feet in length and maybe 4 feet wide. I pushed the glass out of the window until it was balanced on the sill and hanging above the edge of the roof. Then I jumped from the second window in the room. Once across, I stood on the parapet and slowly pulled the glass in. The critical moment was when I reached the midpoint and the glass was about to slip off the sill. At that point, I gave it a tug, and the momentum carried it over so that I was now balancing it above my head safe and sound on the other side. I stepped off the parapet and laid the glass down, wondering now how I was going to get it off the roof. There was a steel ladder on the side of the building, but I didn’t think I could negotiate it with the glass in hand. I walked to the opposite side of the roof and noticed that it sloped down, and in fact, came pretty close to the level of the street so that, at a certain point, I was able to step over the parapet and found myself on the sidewalk. I remember thinking that it would be a little awkward to carry the glass through the crowded streets. I left the glass on the roof and began walking without really knowing where I was going. I also couldn’t remember why I had removed the glass from the window. As I moved into the crowd, I could feel the gap in my memory growing wider and wider. I just kept walking, knowing now that I would never find the answer.

© 2012 Fred Skolnik

Fred Skolnik was born in New York City and has lived in Israel since 1963, working mostly as an editor and translator. He is best known as the editor in chief of the 22-volume second edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, winner of the 2007 Dartmouth Medal and hailed as a landmark achievement by the Library Journal. Now writing full time, he has published dozens of stories in the past few years (in TriQuarterly, Gargoyle, The MacGuffin, Minnetonka Review, Los Angeles Review, Prism Review, Words & Images, Literary House Review, Underground Voices, Third Coast, Polluto, etc.). His novel The Other Shore (Aqueous Books, 2011), set in Israel in the 1980s, is an epic work depicting Israeli society at a critical juncture in its recent history.

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