Excerpts From Aviva's Short Stories     
Excerpt from short story, The Silver Flute, published in Room of One's Own, Vol. X:1, 1985

      ..."I stand on the bed digging in the vegetable garden working up a sweat fling up mud and dust drop seeds into the earth swing at a cow that broke out of the pasture call Flegge who is spraying an apple tree behind the barn.  "You have to fix the fence.  Bossy's got out again!"  And I'm singing louder than the horses neighing the crowing quacking squawking roosters ducks chickens waiting for their grain and mush.  "Me and my gal can pick a bale of cotton, me and my gal can pick a bale a day."
       Ida her arms outstretched pleads, "Mom, please, cut that out, please Mom."
       But I carry on with my work and singing until she screams, "If you don't stop that, I'll call the police!  You're disturbing the peace!"  So I drop down mop my brow catch my breath, now she stands before me her arms folded staring me down like a drill sergeant.  Behind her brown head in the wood-frame mirror that belongs to the bedroom set, our first big purchase paid out to Eaton's $10 a month, I can see the entire room, the knick-knack shelf with all the junk I collected when Flegge was in the army - imagine I once thought the stuff was pretty - souvenirs on the dresser from family trip - glass turtle, furry monkey,  mug from Niagara Falls.....I speak my mind to the woman with the loaded potato sack belly and Flegge's eyes mouth and lips.  "If we'd gone to the farm, you, Tom, and Ena wouldn't've been so spoiled.  You wouldn't've gone off the deep end at sixteen running around with a wild bunch and having an abortion...."
       "Ida holds two pink tablets in her palm.  "Take these.  Dr. Spitz says..."
       "Screw Dr. Spitz."
       "I'm warning you, Mom, if you don't settle down you'll have to go to the loony bin.  They'll lock you up so you won't hurt yourself and disturb everybody.  Take them."


Excerpt from "Christmas Decorations".  The setting is Germany in the mid 'thirties'.


         ...At school Herr Schumann makes me separate, and I have to sit with Alice at the back of the room I don't like her I want to sit near Marlene, but she says it's Christmas and her father won't let her play with me anymore and we mustn't even talk in the yard because her brother Karl who has a new uniform and shiny boots will tell on her.  Herr Schumann hangs a flag in the classroom with a crooked cross, not a nice one like on the church and we have to salute it three times.  Frau Edelshtein has shrunk and her face is white like paper and one day she doesn't come in to teach us.  Frau Reinhardt comes instead I don't like her she doesn't make me laugh she talks like a drum and has long crooked fingers.  She says my story isn't 'satisfactory' and sends me home to write it again and I mustn't come back until it's perfect.  I know the story is perfect because Fati helped me and he's a professor.  She also sent Alice Peter Ernest Hans and Frederich home, all the Hanukka people.  I tell Omi I'm not going to school anymore because Marlene won't play with me.  Omi teaches me at home a new language with funny letters you read backwards and Fati is mad all the time.  Mami's smile disappears and they walk as though someone was watching them like Karl watched Marlene.
           In the spring when flowers bloom in our garden and window boxes Fati doesn't go to the university anymore and talks to Mami in whispers all the time and they're fighting.  Mami want to buy tickets but Fati says it's a storm that will pass.  Omi says she's too old to travel but Mami says she'll get her a ticket anyway..  Omi sends me to the store to buy eggs horseradish parley wine with a star on it, six points not like the silver star on our tree,  and matsah that's the bread for Passover the Hanukka people have to eat, but when I get to the butcher for the special chicken there's no store anymore the glass is broken and it's boarded up with wood.  All the coffins in the window are gone and across the street the big women with the big bosoms wave at the soldiers in the street.  They come toward me in high boots and fierce faces no one pats my head anymore, the crazy man with the accordion has disappeared the street is scary like Frau Reindhart's fingers and Mami and Fati's whispers.....

        You can also read the following short stories on this web site:  
  Longevity     READ  
  The Girl on the Balcony     READ