Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Black (10/15/09)
TITLE: Out of the Gloom and Into the Black
By Noel Mitaxa
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But Martha, the love of his life, was not so easily deterred: “Isaac, see here in the newspaper. Tomorrow those monster department stores on either side of us will drive us out of business. We are not young any more. Such darkness is upon us. Whatever will we do?”
Next morning, on his way into town, Isaac considered how ominous things looked.
Yes, he knew his people had developed a legendary DNA of determination to survive centuries with no homeland; sustained racial prejudice; cruel pogroms; and the Holocaust with its death camps.
Yes, adversity had regularly turned into opportunities to introduce the world to great musicians, scientists or doctors. And Jewish financial roots were impervious to the shifting sands and surges of politics.
He also paused to reflect on how starved the world of comedy would be without the black twists of Jewish humor. Our Hasidic brothers wear black, he thought; though he knew they were not noted for their one-liners.
But here on the street, outside his beloved haberdashery and tailoring business, it was not funny. Sandwiched between two gigantic emporiums that had colluded to drive him from their neighbourhood by undercutting his prices, he could sense their owners salivating at the prospect of his drowning in his own Red Sea; the ink that would surely engulf his financial records.
“Creditors!” he muttered; “so friendly when they loan their money, but so cold when they want it back. Whoever thought of calling it interest, when everyone knows they could not care less?”
Isaac began reflecting on his personal struggles, and how they had infused his natural sense of caution with sharper insights as he trusted the Almighty’s sense of justice and wit. Like when a young Beatles fan had entered the old-fashioned premises and smirkingly asked to be measured up for a Beatles jacket.
“A Beatles jacket? Could you please describe this jacket to me?”
“Yes, it has no lapels, and no vent, no buttons and no button holes. These jackets also have no epaulets or braid; and they have no pockets. How much would it be?”
“Well, normally a jacket would cost about eighty dollars, but with all these extras….”
But here his whole future was on the line. Two bargain-priced behemoths were pressing him from both sides; just as the Egyptian army had squeezed Moses and the Israelites towards the immoveable, terrifying depths of the Red Sea over three thousand years earlier.
Then suddenly, like Moses, Isaac saw a way through his Red Sea ….
His rivals, having enjoyed breakfast together two blocks away, happily noticed many more shoppers than usual heading for their stores, and they quickly decided to follow them.
Imagine their dismay as they turned into their street to find the crowds filing in through Isaac’s front door; ensuring that red ink would be furthest from his auditor’s mind.
Isaac had seized the initiative. For between their massive competitive discount banners; he’d placed a sign above his doorway: “Main Entrance
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