“Woke up this morning,discovered I ‘d been turned into a gigantic bug, which made it hard to get out of bed…..” Franz Kafka Blues, in rough translation.
“Yu can’t have the blues in Prague,” Memphis Earlene says. “Not even if you’re Jewish.”
She won’t elaborate. That’s my job.
Consider Prague’s tragic history of being on the losing side of most wars…..but “tragic” doesn’t sound right.
Irish history is tragic. Prague history is existentially absurd. The fountain outside the Kafka Museum consists of what looks like two statues of cyborgs pissing into a shallow pool shaped like the Czech Republic. Or is it the country formerly known as Czechoslvakia? Our writing workshop classroom overlooks the old Prague Jewish cemetery.
“You should channel your inner Stephen King and write Jewish Pet Sematary,” Scarlett says.
“That’s a sick idea, ” I say. It is also irresistable. Irresistable as absinthe ice cream, another local delicacy.
Prague has second hand stores, fabulous Baroque architechture, and an English language bookstore. I could almost live here. So could Scarlett.
We have two more weeks to convince Memphis Earlene.
One day as I walked toward the Charles Bridge a very tall young man with a buzz cut was handing out leaflets. I shook my head and said, “No thanks.” He sneered and said, “American! You all love Jews.” I stopped in my tracks and turned back to look at him. “Yes,” i said. “We do.”
We stopped to admire the puppets in a shop nearby. A kindly old gentlemen indicated that I should make my purchase while he waited to talk with the shop owner. I told her I love Prague, and how beautiful it is. She said, “Be careful. Don’t trust anyone.”
Visiting Prague is like having tea and pastries with a charming great aunt who is rumored to have a sinister past.
I love it. Wish I could meet you there to hear all about your experiences with Memphis Earlene in this exquisite, intriguing city.