Abahn Sabana David - EXCERPT
Tucked into David’s belt there is a gun.
They sit. Sabana pushes a chair toward David. She sits back in her chair.
The Jew is silent.
She sits up straight, looks around. She looks out at the road, the park, the cold. Everything is bathed in the same intense light, inside, outside. Nothing else is so lit. She looks over at the one sitting next to the table.
“We wait for the dawn,” he says.
Sabana’s eyes are blue, dark and somber.
“You are Sabana.”
The dogs howl in the dark park.
David listens for the dogs.
The howling dies down.
David the mason reclines his head on the back of the chair, his hands draped along the armrests. He looks over at the base of the other chair. He speaks.
“There is someone else in the house.”
“It’s just me,” says the Jew.
“He’s here alone,” she says.
“The Jew,” says David.
“Yes. Don’t be afraid.” She is still looking around. She is perched on the edge of her seat, still alert. Looking around. “David has to work tomorrow morning. He is going to sleep a little. If you try to save yourself I’ll cry out and he’ll wake up.”
“Let him sleep. You guard me. And I’ll stay where I am, over here.”
Slumber settles on David. He looks over at the Jew.
She says, “He’s falling asleep now.”
The Jew doesn’t answer.
Sabana says, “The merchants’ police aren’t out tonight. Gringo made a deal with the merchants. They told him, ‘If you let us deal with the Greeks then we’ll give you Abahn the Jew. Gringo accepted. The police sleep tonight. The town is Gringo’s.”
The Jew doesn’t answer, doesn’t move.
“Are you going to try to save yourself?”
The fatigue seems to grow over him.
“I have no desire to save myself.”
They sit quietly for a moment. Sabana, alert, turns toward the frost covered road. David has closed his eyes.
“Why did you come to Staadt?”
The Jew shrugs his shoulders.
“To kill Gringo?”
“In Staadt Gringo is strong. He runs the show with the merchants. He runs the government offices. He has his own police, army, guns. He’s been making the merchants afraid for a long time now. You understand?”
“The merchants of Staadt aren’t afraid of Gringo,” says the Jew.
“For a long time. The merchants are afraid of the Jews.”
“And who is Gringo afraid of?”
“Gringo is afraid of the Jews.”
“Like the merchants?”
“You know that.”
“Yes.” Sabana looks at him.
“You don’t know what to do with yourself anymore, do you? So you came here?”
“Maybe at first. But then I found Staadt.”
“Like any other place?”
They fall silent. David sleeps.
Sabana gestures at him, says to the Jew, “They all sleep.”
They both look at him. Still silent. She waits.
He asks, “Who are you?”
She hesitates. She looks at David.
“There’s nothing here,” he says. “I am not part of Gringo’s party.”
She is perched on the edge of the chair, waiting.
“Are you are enemy then?” she asks.
“What do you want?”
“I don’t know what I want anymore.” They look at each other in silence for a long moment. “Who are you?” he asks again.
He waits. Her eyes narrow, searching. Her face is unreadable. She opens her eyes and says, “I don’t know.”
The Jews slumps forward over the table. His rests his head in his arms. He stays like that without moving.
“You don’t want more?” she asks.
“I want everything. I want nothing.”
His face was buried in his arms.
“One day you came to David’s workshop. You waited until the workday was finished. It was David who saw you. He asked you, ‘Are you Abahn?’ You said yes. He asked you, ‘What do you want?’ You said you wanted to talk to someone. He said, ‘Who?’ You didn’t answer. You just looked at him. He said, ‘Are you looking for David? That’s me.’ You said yes. He asked, ‘Why?’ You said, ‘Because you addressed me.”
The Jew is silent.
“Do you remember?”
“That’s when all this started.”
He doesn’t say a word, doesn’t move.
“I told you, I explained it to you, weren’t you listening?”
He wasn’t listening.
Sabana, at full attention, her eyes fixed on him.