The seas are cold, but the blood of a whale is hot, like a kettle on the boil. Giant kettles traverse the depths of the icy sea. Steampunk creatures, they fill their vast guts with plankton, like a steam engineer shoveling coal, slowly and methodically.
Warra Warra! were the first words spoken by an Australian native to a white. Go away!
But the whites didn’t, though they were appalled by the women, whose bodies were sooty from cook fires, smeared with fish oil, and whose upper lips were ripe with “excrementous” snot.
For the aborigines, who lived naked, the gender of their white visitors was the great enigma. Captain Porcelain ordered my ancestor, Dwight Keplin, to satisfy their curiosity. It was never known if he picked Dwight because he was a Jew, and thus circumcised. Dwight had followed many hard and onerous orders but pulling out his cock for the savages seemed like no great imposition—great fun, in fact. He’d always played the card in school, and, when the natives made a great cheer, showing their awe and admiration, Uncle Dwight beamed like the fool that he was, which again, was notable, considering that Jews have a reputation for intelligence.
Having this glorious lineage, it’s no wonder I turned out the way I did, liberally sharing my cock with schoolgirls, only by showing it off, of course. In the eyes of the law, I might as well have put it in them, as I am equally a sex offender and treated as unfairly. No forgiveness ever for a crime much less dangerous than selling drugs or knocking someone about the head and robbing him.
I legally changed my name to Dwight Keplin, a name no one remembers, except the most meticulous of historians. Warra warra! Go away! Stop tormenting me. Go back in time and don’t begin to torment me. I am who I am, Dwight Keplin, the innumerable.
3. (With thanks to Rabbi Nachman)
He had a little room in his father’s house, where he used to sit, like the little room in which I sit, bare, featureless, but with a Samsung laptop and a Canon printer and a picture of Ma and Pa Bunny from Broken Toyland, so I can look up occasionally and be reminded that degradation exists apart from me. His little room had only a table and a chair and books, well-thumbed, well-fingered. His soul could not persevere over the books. He was like a child in an American public school in the 1950’s, looking every seventeen seconds at the clock on the wall, the clock like a flat, round stone. His glance did not stay on the endless surfaces of rigid letters but, again and again, flew out over the yellow billows of corn to the dark streak of the distant fir woods. There were Christian boys working out there, not manacled by words. He got up and left the classroom, the scolding voice of the rabbi fast fading in his ears.
He approached the Christians, who began to deride him. He knew the only way he could escape from the endless words was not to use them. Wordlessly he approached the biggest boy and punched him, knocked him down—and hard. He was naturally strong, even without exercise. When the boy got up, he knocked him down again. In that way he got work, and escaped, once and for all, from biblical studies and his father, whom he detested.
Work by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois appears in magazines worldwide. Nominated for numerous prizes, he was awarded the 2017 Booranga Centre (Australia) Fiction Prize. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and as a print edition. His poetry collection, THE ARREST OF MR. KISSY FACE, published in March 2019 by Pski’s Porch Publications, is available here. Visit his Website to read more of his poetry and flash fiction.