by Charles Marowitz
[Note from the author: This little joking tale depends on translating the Jewish dialect and some readers will be more adept at that than others. But obviously, the oddball spelling attempts to capture the Yiddish vernacular and all the mispellings are deliberate.]
(Swans - June 19, 2006) Members of the National Security Agency recently arrested a terrorist suspect who had been operating a small kosher catering company in Hackensack, New Jersey. The arrest was effected by officers of NSA's wiretapping program after being tipped off by a local merchant who grew suspicious of the fact that the suspect in question -- Manny Goldheim -- refused to stand for the playing of the National Anthem at a local soccer game organized by the The Knights of Columbus. His justification was his "Depends" prevented him from getting up, but this was considered a lame excuse that didn't hold water.
The suspect Goldheim was contacted by J. Renfrew O'Malley, a member of the NSA who pretended he required catering services for the bar mitzvah party of his 13-year-old son. As soon as the suspect arrived, he was handcuffed and detained.
Although no explosives were found on his person, the arresting officer revealed that the suspect did have twelve stale hotdogs stuffed into his pants pockets and a small quantity of potato knishes wrapped in cellophane inside his duffle bag. Although none of these items appeared to contain any explosive material, the suspect behaved suspiciously, gestured wildly, and had discernible traces of a foreign accent, and therefore detention was warranted. The following is an unedited transcript of the interrogation.
O'MALLEY: On April 3rd 2006, in a telephone conversation with a foreign-sounding associate, you mentioned Al Qaeda four times in quick succession. Do you deny that?
GOLDHEIM: Vaid ah minute! -- vaid ah minute! De slogan of my catering company is: "Call Goldheim; he'll cater to all your needs." I was talking to an old customer and explainink det alldough I vas very busy vit odder orders, because he vas an old customer, I'll cater his upcoming party. He was a little hard of hearink, so I had to shout down da phone: "I'll cater! I'll cater! I'll cater!" He finally got the message, but ven he ordered ham sandwiches and fried bacon I had to tell him -- for religious reasons I couldn't help him.
O'MALLEY: Later in the conversation you are reported as saying, "Osama Bin Laden is late in coming?" What did you mean by that phrase?
GOLDHEIM; Please, mister, let's get dis straight. It vas raining for tree veeks vitout stop and I was talkink to an old customer and vot I said vas: "O, summer's been late in coming?" - Sometimes I run all my voids togedder because I'm usually eatink ven I'm on the telephone.
OFFICER: In another conversation with a Mr. Chaim Krupke you made several direct references to Islam.
GOLDHEIM: No, please, for God's sake, vot I said vas: "I'm thinkink of moving away because the neighborhood has become ah slum -- "Ah slum" -- not Islam -- "ah slum!" And it's true, dair's hookers on every corner and de garbage-men von't pick up de garbage on da veekendz. Islam! Shmisslam! I don't even know vot part of Europe Islam is in!
O'MALLEY: In another conversation, according to our transcript, you were heard constantly repeating "Allah is great!"
GOLDHEIM: No, no, you got dat wrong as vell. I had just got in ah new betch of challeh, you know dat braided loaf of Jewish bread made vit egg-vhites, and I vas on da phone to da baker vot made it and I said, "The challeh is great! -- it'll sell like hotcakes!" Vot I said vas "Challeh is great!" Vots challeh got to do vit Allah, you tell me!
O'MALLEY: And what exactly were you referring to in your conversation of April 15th, with your comments about Saddam Hussein?
GOLDHEIM: Oh, yeah, yeah... April 15th. I'd heard from my driver dat a competitor had been spreadink da word dat my chicken sandwiches were not kosher. I vas so mad at det I yelled out "Who's sayin' -- Who's sayin' -- Who's sayin' such a goddam lie about my chicken sandwiches!?" So tell me, vots dat got to do vit Sodom Hussein?!
O'MALLEY: And on three separate occasions, you were heard referring to IEDs, that is Improvised Explosive Devices, which have been killing our troops in Iraq!
GOLDHEIM: Your people must heff potatoes in dair ears! Vot I said vas "I ead de chopped liver; I ead de knishes; I ead de humontashin. - I ead all de same food det I serve to my customers -- and it's all kosher!" - Let me tell you Mr. O'Malley, I am a patriodic American. I voted fah Bush twice (maybe even three times -- who remembers?) -- and if he ever runs for President, I vould definitely vote for Rumsfeld coz I think it's high time ve had a Jewish president in dis country!
O'MALLEY: Donald Rumsfeld is not Jewish.
GOLDHEIM: Den vy has he got a Jewish name!? 'N how come he's always flyink to Israel? - You bedder check your records dair, mister.
O'MALLEY: (firmly) DID YOU OR DID YOU NOT INSULT VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY IN A TELEPHONE CONVERSATION ON APRIL 28TH!?
GOLDHEIM: (Pause) You got me dair feller, I godda confess! I did say det if I had a choice betveen Dick Cheney and Lon Chaney, I would rather have Lon Chaney because if there's gonna be a monster in da Vite House, I'd rather have one I could vatch on re-runs of The Phantom of The Opera. So, shoot me, I'm guilty! But lissen, dat don't take notink avay frum vot I said about Rumsfeld: In my book, he's still a real mensch!
The suspect was subsequently transferred to the prison at Guantánamo where he was last seen peddling knishes to Muslim prisoners.
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