Turtles
World Literature Today|Winter 2021
In a field near the Gaza Strip, a missile strike, visions, and onlookers searching for an explanation.
Moria Dayan Codish

Yes, my Lord. Yes, my Lord.”In the middle of the field, not far from the Gaza border, filled with a raging fire and fervor, Guy was burning up inside. Gathered around him by then were the security coordinator on behalf of the army, a patrol jeep, an ambulance from which a paramedic and a young female medic had emerged, and the moshav secretary.

The paramedic, an ultra-Orthodox man of around thirty, took charge of the negotiations.

“Up you get, son. We want to take you for tests to see if everything’s okay.”

Sprawled on the ground, toying with clods of earth and calling out longingly to a living God, Guy was unresponsive.

“You need to come with us, buddy. A missile has just fallen here and we have to make sure you haven’t been hit by any shrapnel, God forbid.”

Guy remained unresponsive. The young medic, boasting a long pony tail, approached Guy, touched him gently, and asked: “Is everything okay?”

Guy looked up at her, his eyes awash with visions, his mouth filled with dirt. He fixed everyone with a prolonged stare before burrowing into the earth again.

“He’s suffering from post-trauma or an anxiety attack,” the medic said to the paramedic. “He needs immediate attention; the initial moments after the incident are the most important.”

The paramedic didn’t like the fact that the young medic, just twenty years old, was telling him what to do, and stating the obvious in the process, and he particularly didn’t like the fact that he was the one forced to take charge of the incident, without having a clue how to do so. Bodily injuries he can deal with, but this kid’s having some serious mental issues.

The circle around Guy was growing ever larger and had turned into a tight noose. Hefetz, who owned the field, moshav residents, media crews, police vehicles, the school psychologist, who was summoned from her home in the neighboring community, and also, as bad fortune would have it, Guy’s father.

“Guy, Guy,” he approached, his fat jiggling. “What’s with you, Guy? What are you doing? Get up, son.”

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