MONSTER PILLOW: MOMENT SHORT FICTION.

Author:Keret, Etgar
 
FREE EXCERPT

I bring the little one fresh pistachios from Iran, but she's still suspicious. "Mommy, what does Daddy do?" she asks. Once, she didn't have so many questions. "Sweetie," Tamar says, "you know that Daddy builds buildings."

"So if he builds buildings, why does he always go to other countries?" she asks while chewing a pistachio. I stroke her head and say, "Don't eat and talk at the same time, pumpkin, you can choke." She swallows silently, then immediately asks, "Daddy, if you build buildings, what do you need a gun for?"

"What gun?" Tamar says, sweating now. She's so beautiful when she's stressed. That trembling in her hands, her tongue wetting her dry lips, they add something to her, something special. That's why I married her. "Daddy doesn't have a gun, and you're going to bed now."

"You're lying," she shouts, "he does so have a gun. I saw it myself." Tamar tries to slap her, but I grab her hand. "It's not nice to call Mommy a liar," I scold the little one, and kiss Tamar on the cheek.

"Come on, sweetie," I hold out my hand to my little girl, "Daddy will put you to bed." Tamar is stressed again, "Never mind, honey, I'm calm now. I'll put her to bed myself." But the little one insists. "Not Mommy," she says, shaking her head, "I want Daddy. You're a bad mommy." Tamar's crying now, "Yaron, please, let me put her to bed, I'm begging you. You had a long day. The flights and all. Let me, I'm her mother, she's the only little girl we have left, please."

"Don't want Mommy," the little one persists, she's so adorable when she's angry, stamping her patent-leather shoes, "I want Daddy." She and I go to the pink kids' room. Behind me I can hear the muted sound of Tamar crying into the couch backrest. She's so sensitive, my wife. But she doesn't matter now, the kid does.

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