Move Over, Madoff — “Necessary Stories” column, Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

“Why so somber?” laughed my eldest son, as he settled onto the couch. But his face fell when I shook my head sadly. We were sitting in the spacious living room of the Jerusalem apartment that I had purchased when times were better, before the crash.

ist2_308457-old-book-with-blank-pagesI remember when I first brought my wife here, in those heady days when everything seemed possible. One, two, three, four – it took her a full five paces to cross the room from the door to the picture window with its breathtaking view of the faux-factory architectural wonders of the Talpiot Industrial Zone.

My younger son was fidgety. He’d picked up one of those rare gewgaws I love leaving out for our guests to marvel at, an antique television remote control I once received from a grateful client. He turned it over and over in his hands. How could I have done this to them? I steeled myself. “Boys, look at me,” I commanded. “There’s something important you need to know.”

Their eyes met mine. I sighed and put my hands squarely on my knees. “It’s all just one big lie.”
“What?” said my younger son blankly. “What’s a lie?”
“The business,” I said.
“The business?” said my older son.

“We’re going to lose all we have,” I told them. “All this,” I said, waving my hand to show them the paintings hanging on the wall, some of which vaguely resembled famous and much-admired works of art. “All that,” I said, gesturing toward the wine rack in the kitchen, with its nine bottles of venerable Carmel reds and whites. I rose from my armchair and walked to the window. “And all that,” I said, pointing to the street below, where our fleet of bicycles stood locked in the parking lot.

“What do you mean, one big lie?” asked my older son. “You’re a world-famous writer, translator, and blogger….

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