This unique and memorable short story by Racelle Rosett won the 2008 Moment-Karma Short Fiction Contest. Now open for entries, this contest
offers a top prize of $1,000 for unpublished short fiction with Jewish
content. The 2010 deadline is December 31.
Rosett’s brilliantly offbeat young narrator, who sounds like he has an autism spectrum disorder (though it’s never spelled out), finds unexpected connections between Jewish tradition, yoga practice, and popular culture, as he tries to orient himself in a violent and overstimulating world.
There are 72 disturbing images on the way to my school. Saw I, Saw II, Two and Half Men. There is a billboard for jeans in which no one is wearing clothes. I don’t know why there isn’t a law about this. In another billboard there was a picture of a woman with a plastic tube up her nose. Her eyes were red and bruised underneath. My mother gasped and called the billboard company, CBS Outdoor, right from her car. My friend Gabriel’s mother called, too, and I guess about a hundred or so other mothers, because the next day in the LA Times there was an article saying the billboards were coming down. On Highland, they had the tube-in-the-nose billboard three times, so that even if I were very fast and looked down at my shoes, when I looked up again it was there three more times and another hundred or so times in my mind the rest of the day. Good morning tube-in-her-nose take out your pencils tube-in-her-nose today we’re going to learn tube-in-her-nose, tube-in-her-nose, tube-in-her-nose. Underneath the picture was the word torture, like what they did at Abu Ghraib, the prison in Iraq, because George Bush told them to. I hate George Bush most of all. My doctor, who is a cognitive therapist, who is six feet six inches tall and looks like Jon Heder, but more handsome (my mother says), told me to use thought-stopping techniques when this happens. He told me to imagine a stop sign crashing down into my brain, which is a disturbing image all by itself. I am identified highly gifted. My mother says that being gifted doesn’t mean that the gift is yours, it means that the gift is for the world and it is given through you, that you are chosen to carry the gift. Sometimes I feel like I have a giant chicken on my back.
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