Monday, January 23, 2012

Grunstein's Sabbath (a short story)

Grunstein did not handle money on the Sabbath, for that was forbidden.  But on this Saturday he went home and extracted ten dollars and T fare from his wallet.  He did not usually carry objects, either, for that was proscribed work on the Sabbath, but today he went to the basement and retrieved a dented gas can which sat suggestively next to a pile of old rags.  He stepped onto the C line trolley, another violation, for one is not allowed to travel on the Sabbath, and rode the few stops to Cleveland Circle.  As the trolley rattled down the center of Beacon Street, he ticked off his Sabbath violations on his fingers.  He was climbing to greater heights of sin.  The rabbis in the Talmud would have used him as an example of the compounding nature of evil:  one sin leads to another. 
On alighting from the trolley, he walked the block to the gas station.  He paid an attendant for five dollars worth of gas in the can.   It was heavier than he thought.  Grunstein had no idea how he got in and out of the trolley, down Beacon Street, and up the slight incline to Egremont Road.  Once through his threshold, he collapsed on the bed.

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