– ‘Who’s next?’ asked Giuliano stately, and the spotlight started scanning the crowd again. Tomasz felt restless, but he was curious about the next victim. His beer got warmer, and it tasted even more bitter than last time around. After a couple of rapid and random shifting around the room, the spotlight settled on a small, average-looking middle-aged man.
– ‘Good evening Sir, please join me on the stage!’ Giuliano jovial again. The man not quite keen to participate in the show with slow and hesitating steps riched the stage. The clown took his hand and pull him up kindly.
– ‘What’s your name, Sir?’ How may I introduce you to this fantastic audience?’
– ‘Jerry…’ said the man, ‘You can call me Jerry.’
– ‘Jerry! Ladies and gentlemen, please warm welcome Jerry from…’ and Giuliano turned around looking questioning at the man.
– ‘I’m from Jericho, Arkansas… I was born there, but I live in New Yo…’ The man did not manage to finish his sentence due to Giuliano’s uncaring intervention.
– ‘Jerry from Jericho, folks! It is a twisted joke of destiny or merely a coincidence? Arkansas you said? We’ve got a Yankee here! Show some love for our special guest and all welcome Jerry!’ The crowd cheered delightedly.
America was always the prodigal son, but a Yankee here was highly unusual, thought Tomasz. Everything was out of place, out of the ordinary and out of this world. He wanted to pinch himself but was afraid of the consequences. Awkward as it is, this world
– ‘Arkansas, not Palestina? What a shame! Do you have any famous walls or notable tower around Jericho, Arkansas?’
– ‘No, actually we don’t…’
– ‘Safety and security are crucial, my friend, and nothing’s like a good-old-fashioned brick wall or a wondrous tower from where one may overwatch the entire neighbouring. Trust me.’
– ‘Nothing remarkable, I’m afraid,’ said Jerry almost regretfully like it was his fault. ‘It is a small settlement with only a handful of people living there.’
– ‘That’s a shame, Jerry, I guess you, and by you, I mean the good, hard-working people of Jericho, should build something sensational before it’s too late. Time and history are ruthless, one may pass away without leaving any memorable trace.’
– ‘If you say so…’ Jerry looked resigned. Standing up here in the front of these strangers getting gradually drunker and louder, talking about his hometown with a man dressed as a clown was indubitably not how he imagined he will spend his evening at the joint. And what possibly could have gone worse than a clown making fun of him?
– ‘Jerry, you know that the name Jericho, allegedly, derivers from the Canaanite word for ‘moon’, which is Yareaẖ, respectively the name of the lunar deity called Yarikh for whom worship the city was founded? Apparently, it was one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Did you know all that, Jerry? May I call you Jerry, don’t I?’ and without waiting for an answer, Giuliano continued, ‘Are you a lunatic, Jerry?’
– ‘Not I’m aware of it, no,’ responded Jerry getting defensive.
– ‘No walls then, no sights to see, Jerry, but secrets, what kind of secrets are you hiding? I bet you have dug some deep dark holes and hide away some juice stuff.’
– ‘I’m a nobody…’ Jerry seemed genuinely sincere.
– ‘May I see your palm, Jerry? Your palm is your private diary, it keeps you all your secrets in plain sight, but only someone with knowledge can read the stories.’
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Excerpt from the novel ‘Two thousand fifty-six’ by Attila Kárpáthy. Full or partial use of this text for commercial or non-commercial distribution by any means whatsoever is strictly prohibited unless expressly authorised by the author.