I racconti del Premio Energheia Europa

Crane, Ofir Ashery_Tel-Aviv

Mention Energheia Israel Award 2022

Yellow, naked hills spread out to the horizon. Above them, from the blue, shines a great sun. It is hot, so hot that the heat can be seen. It swirls the tired air that rests upon the ground. It shrinks the scorpions and shadows under rocks. It pushes the snakes into burrows and bends the heads of the yolk-flowers that grew solitary, almost accidentally, out of the arid soil.

It is so hot that the heat can even be heard, as if the sounds were dripping from the air. The heat is heard in a distant, lost wind. It is heard in a heavy fly passing by and disappearing. Something is chirping, maybe a rock rabbit. Stone upon stone crackles in a clear, sharp sound. A vulture screams from the depths of the sky. Warm wind is heard again; a heavy fly. A lizard falls on sand. A donkey brays in the distance. Chirping again, wind again… And now steps are approaching. Heavy, failing feet are grinding stones underneath them. And something is dragged on the ground, twisting, pulling on a dry bush, scratching the earth. A sigh of pain passes through the air.

Quiet, says a broken, deep male voice. Everything falls still; heavy breathing is heard. A moment later the movement returns. Wind whistles, a fly flies, the steps approach, and the dragged behind them. The breathing becomes faster. Quiet quiet, mumbles the man.

Now the approaching feet are seen. Bare feet, thick-skinned, scarred in the nails, crushing thorns and stones. Following them, on the ground, appears the dragged – a soft boy with black curls. He is twisting in the grips of a rough rope. He sobs, and his eyes, his big, brown doe eyes, swirl confused towards the sky. He sobs and wets the soil that is pulled under his bare body.

The pulling man stops at the top of a round hill. Sweat drips from his beard. His strong hands swing up the crying boy and place him on a large rock ledge. A pink mouth is filled with white dust and shouts soundlessly. The boy’s big eyes are drawn towards the sky, praying to soar. The man’s black eyes are also pulled up. Something chirps, a stone falls, a fly passes by, and then complete silence, breathless. For a long moment the two seem to be searching for a non-existent cloud. But finally, a vulture screams, a wind blows and the black eyes fall down towards the boy. A strong hand grabs a wet face, a knee presses on a trembling pelvis, a neck is stretched on a rock, a long knife flickers, rises up, is squeezed between fingers, stabs the sky, and then, just before it is sent down, the angel appears.

The angel dives down from the heavens on strings of light, he is wrapped in azure and gold, his face is round and feminine. He glides down quickly, his plump legs dance in the air, his white hands are drawn forward, towards the sharp knife, towards the steady hand, towards the boy. He wants to stop them, to say something, but he fails. The knife shakes, the boy chokes and the confused angel continues to glide in the air. He passes over the two, moves his legs in frightened swimming motions, clings with all his might to the strings of light and sends a helpless look up towards the firmament.

Cut!!! A loud voice falls on the hills.

Cut!!! Screams the angel swinging in the sky.

Cut!!! Laughs the boy and wipes his lips.

Cut… Sighs the man and sheds his beard.

Crane!!!! Calls the loud voice. What is happening with the fucked crane today? Will someone run to see what’s going on there?!

A thin legged boy runs past the rock ledge and disappears over the hill. Water! Water! He shouts. Water! He fainted – the craneman fainted!

Two boys run with water and pass under the angel, who is still spinning in the sky, but is already hanging slack on the wires and mumbling to himself a soothing melody. Meanwhile, the director, a fat sweaty man, curses, lights a cigarette, and walks over to the rock ledge.

Isaac, he turns to the boy who has already covered himself in a light blue robe and is now shaking the sand from his curls. Isaac, tell me – did your father ever slap you? Did he, or didn’t he? And how did you react? You Surrendered. Exactly. That’s how I want you to react here as well. Here you are already after the slap, not before the slap, remember, you do not cry, you do not twist you do not shout; you do nothing. You are submissive, you are devoted. This is your father, and you are his. You trust him. And Abraham – it was good, good, but again this… this flat… you are apathic, Apathic! We’ve already talked about it – I want you to live it. I want you to feel it. I want you to give it to us. Show it to us. Show us that you understand what you are doing. That you are well aware of it – you’re killing your son! Don’t be pathetic – you feel it, you don’t repress it. Feel. Feel! I want you to feel it in your eyes, in your hands. Here, put your hand on him. Stronger. On the face. Sorry Isaac, just a moment. Here, yes, crush him. Squeeze your son. Do you feel? Do you feel the pulse? Press harder. Is there a pulse? Very well, go on, give it a moment, close your eyes. There is the pulse… here it is… Now tell me – is it his pulse or your pulse? Or is it mine? You do not know? Very good! Very well! Exactly! This is your son – this is you! You are sacrificing your only son, whom you love! So give it to us! Sacrifice him to God! And if you do not have a God – sacrifice him to me! Sacrifice for the sake of this movie! Give it to us! From the beginning! Take your places! Crane! What’s wrong with this crane today??