Thursday, January 1, 2009

Prison Exchange

Prison Exchange

"Mazal tov," the large man in the grey suit said gloomily. He passed the chunk of stale brown bread to his companion, a skinny man with a ratlike pointed nose and beady eyes. "You've got your wish."

"Yes, and I'd like to thank you." The skinny man passed him an equal-sized chunk. "I know you think I'm being silly and that I'm in denial about the reality of our situation."

"You are."

"But I appreciate your agreeing to do it anyway," the skinny man continued. "It means a lot to me."

"Cut the sap, man."

"I will, I will; I just had to say it."

A moment of silence between the two was broken by the large man's sigh. "Remember the Purim seuda at home? My wife always made light, fluffy kneidlach, chicken soup with real meat, real vegetables, a kugel so good you wanted to keep on eating more of it forever, and all day long, hamantaschen and wine and candy were coming in the door."

"I don't like that kind of talk," the skinny man growled.

"Sorry, just thinking."

"Keep it in your head, then."

The large man looked hurt. "But- but we agreed- we need to keep-"

"I'm sorry," the skinny man said contritely. "I know. I just- just don't talk about food, okay? My wife was only a barely average cook anyway."

"Sorry too," the large man mumbled.

"It's getting dark," the skinny man said, staring up towards the ceiling at the tiny crack that served them as a window.

They sat in silence, munching their dry bread, watching the sky fade again into twilight.

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