Friday 21 October 2022

In the cities of the dead no one cares what kind of car you drive by Steven Lebow, a tall ice, black coffee. With sugar. That's the ticket. Lot's of sugar

 Aren't you a little old for apples?" Ssaid Baj, a former check out clerk at the local Food-Fair, to Dram, the former meat slicer.

"You're right," said Dram. "But when I think of what I miss the most fresh fruit is always what comes to mind."

"The fruit that falls from the trees nearby is fresh," Baj agreed. "But you and I have been here a hundred years. There's not a tooth left between us."

"Both true and tragic," said Dram. "Nonetheless, I enjoy looking at something that was once alive."

"Yes, well that's what they call irony," admitted Baj.

"And you?" said Dram. What do you miss most of all?"

"That's easy," replied Baj. "Certain smells .When a customer checked out at the register and they were buying fresh flowers. I remember how that smelled."

Baj and Dram had worked at the same grocery store for over fifty years. They had been friends who went to watch the Jai Alai matches every week in Old Miami.


“Do you think they are afraid of us?” asked Dram, as he watched a couple pass by the tree he was leaning against.


“Of course,” said Baj. “And yet, strangely, I find myself repelled by them. I’m the one who’s scared of them! I see them screaming at their children and berating their elder parents. Their cars are fast. Their parties are too loud. And all of their laughter seems so forced..”


“It’s strange that they think we would come and visit their little world of desire and disappointment. Why would we ever want to haunt them?”


“Yes,” agreed Dram. “In fact, they scare me to death.”


“An apt choice of words,” smirked Baj.


“The fact of the matter is,” he continued, “It is the living who are haunted. They run around making noise and never being happy! Do you remember tears? Or pain? Or fearing death’s sweet breath?”

“That is the one thing I do remember from one hundred years ago. I always wanted to by a new car. I always wanted to buy something that I didn’t really need. And then when I bought the new car I was only excited for a week, a day. The excitement of a new car never really satisfied me!”


“And so it goes,” said Baj. “The living should be in love with living. Instead, they love to talk about us. They call us ghosts and spirits and spooks. They imagine that we are werewolves, or vampires or zombies.”


“Please,” said Dram. “If I ever have to see another vampire or zombie movie I’m going to kill myself!”


“Yes, well you always knew how to turn a phrase,” admitted Baj.


“In any case, let’s you and I go sit beneath another tree, somewhere far away from the un-living. It depresses me to watch them. It’s they who are suffering and it’s finally we who are at peace,” said. Dram.


“You’re right,” he agreed. “Let’s walk away. After all, we’re the only ones who aren’t truly haunted. “In the cities of the dead no one cares what kind of car you drive.”

About the author

Rabbi Steven Lebow was the first Jewish clergy to perform same sex ceremonies in the Deep South. He is the leading advocate for exonerating Leo Frank, an innocent man who was lynched in Georgia in 1915.

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