“The Key of Sepharad”, 16 short stories.

16 ultra-short imaginary stories.

“Son, for your 14th birthday, I want to give you something really special”. 
“The key of a house in Sepharad”. 
“I was more thinking along the lines of a record player”. 
“A record player! Who do you think we are? Rockefeller“? 
“Well, apparantly you can give me a house”. 
“Don’t talk nonsense. It was there 500 years ago. Now it’s rubble, or gone”. 
“Err…. so remind me… what am I going to find there”? 
“The key, boy, the key”.

“Mum, I read here that it’s called Spain now”. 
“That’s right”. 
“So why do you keep calling it Sepharad“? 
“Because names change, packaging changes, but the soul remains the same. I want to remember the soul”.
Remember! It’s 500 years ago”! 
“That doesn’t matter. It’s written in my book of life. That book that stores absolutely everything, whether you remember it or not. I think you would call it DNA”. 
“I need to go to Sepharad, to know about of an old chapter in my book”? 
“No. Because your soul will start to sing. I mean, your DNA will get all excited”. 
“How will I notice”?
 “My dear boy,… when your soul sings, you will notice“!
“What am I with a singing soul”? 
Ask not what your soul can do for you, but what you can do for your soul“. 
“I need to pay money for a flight and…”
It’s a small step for a human, but a great step for your humanity“. 
“You do know that Kennedy was a Catholic, right”? 
“He was NOT! That was his packaging! He was a soul”! 
“How do you know”? 
“He was shot, wasn’t he”?
“I don’t understand what you mean”. 
“Wait for your birthday. Then you’ll get the key”. 

“Grandpa, is het true that in Sepharad, we were only allowed to ride on a donkey”?  
“Ow, yes, those were the days”. 
Those were the days?? We ranked so low, that we were not allowed to sit on a horse”! 
“Ah, yes, what a beautiful lesson”. 
“What on earth is the lesson in that”? 
“Ow, where are they, all those mighty empires, and all those princes on high horses? All vanished in the fog of time. And look who is sitting here, having so much fun”?
“Huh? How can that be”? 
“Because, my boy, humility is stronger than pride. Humility is 10 times stronger than pride. A 100 times. A 1000 times. All the ones with big and shiny horses and castles and palaces and weapons, they are ants on the back of an elephant. Dust in the wind. History is made by the ones who come in on a donkey”. 
“Downstairs always knows Upstairs far better, than the other way around. The one who looks down on you from a horse, only sees how weak you are. They don’t see your strengths. And you, from the donkey, know all their ways”. 
“Is this like “pride comes before the fall”? 
“Pride has already fallen, it’s just not aware of it yet. It’s only still a matter of giving it a gentle nudge”. 
“You want to make proud people fall”?? 
“I have no say in the matter. They are already falling. I can only nudge the fall in the right direction”. 

“Grandpa, did you know Little David and Goliath”? 
“Ow, ow, yes, that was terrible, that poor, poor Goliath”. 
“Poor? He was 7ft tall and horrible and dangerous and invincible”!
“Ow yes, the poor creature, he didn’t stand a chance”. 
“100 kgs of weaponry! No miracle he was so slow. All that weight of ego and pompousness and arrogance and blindness of the eyes. He couldn’t even imagine someone coming in from left field. Against a small, lean shepherd! Who chased away lions with rocks all day long, and had no ego to carry, and no other option than to win. The most unfair fight in history”! 
“Did you see Goliath go down”? 
“Every day, my boy, everywhere”. 

“Granddad, why were we the tax collectors in Sefarad”? 
“Because we had to be”. 
“How so”?
“So that the King would appear to be benevolent and innocent, and the hatred would be directed to us. That’s called Divide-and-Rule”.
“How unfair”! 
“You have to learn what unfair kings are, to become a fair one”. 
“I would have taken up arms”! 
“We were forbidden to carry arms, my boy. We were forbidden to become farmer or soldier, or professions that made healthy or strong. We only had experience with weaving and carpets and poetry and diamonds, everything that would make us pale and skinny and looked down upon”. 
“That’s horrendous”! 
“Grandpa! Why are you smiling”? 
“Do you know what a diamond is? It’s the result of the most extreme heat and extreme pressure. That is why your dad gives you extreme heat and extreme pressure. And life is a very, very good dad”. 

“Mum, how much did we suffer in Sepharad”? 
“Not that much, we only lost our houses and country”. 
“Yes, well, everyone lost their houses too, it was a time of upheaval, it was only a house. It was not as bad as under the Czars”. 
“No, and that wasn’t as bad as under Communism”. 
“No, and that wasn’t as bad as under Rome”.
“No, and that wasn’t as bad as under Fascism”.  
“Was that the worst”? 
“Haha, no, the worst is yet to come. Now have some of my cake”.  
“I suddenly don’t have appetite”. 
“Always have appetite. You’re trained. What is there that you cannot handle? Have cake, who cares if a meteorite hits”. 
“A meteorite“!?!!
“The chocolate one, or the strawberries? Don’t look like that, your ancestors wrestled sabre-tooth tigers, for crying out loud”!

“I quickly go to the supermarket, what can…”
“You are so NOT”! 
“What now again”? 
“Is this what I’m raising? Someone who wants easy access, easy parking, easy opening doors, easy-listening? What do you want to become, a couch-potato”?
“Well, you’ve got to eat”. 
“Do we not have enough poison under the kitchen sink, that you need to go look for it elsewhere? Have the bleach, if you’re so desperate to put toxins in yourself! I need you to become 80, so you can take care of me when I’m 100”.
“That’s why we’ve got taste buds. To know the difference”. 
“Taste buds. Taste buds! What about your ethical buds? Your social buds? Your fairness buds? Respecting-Animal-Buds? Your intelligence buds? What do taste buds know? Are they who are going to govern your life? Some cells“?
“I’m sorry I started this conversation. I quickly go to our vegetable garden, is that better”?
“You are NOT”! 
“You are NOT doing things quickly. You are doing things right“. 
“How do you do things right”? 
“As though you are on a donkey. Slow, so that you can take everything in and empathize with everything. Sense it all. Not high above on a horse, but amidst all things”. 
“Not seeing the horizon”. 
“On the contrary, seeing the horizon from further away, making it more beautiful, more vast, giving you the possibility to study its every grain. So that when you get there, you can conquer it, and keep it”.

“Dad, why on earth would anyone want me to go back to Sepharad”?! 
“Because we’ve got a key”. 
“Yeah, of a hellhole”! 
“That was but one season. After the harshest winter comes the loveliest spring”. 
“It will just be my luck to arrive there in winter again”. 
“That’s a given”. 
“I don’t understand you guys. You are all nuts”! 
“No, we are fruits”. 
“Of a berzerk tree! Crooked, antiquated”! 
“So, as an olive tree”? 
“I give up”. 
“You can’t. An olive tree never gives up. It survives without any water. When neglected. In a desert. Between rocks. At a sea that is dead”. 
“And that’s supposed to sound like the Promised Land”? 
“Mother, he’s got it! He’s got it”! 
“What have I got”? 
“That YOU must be the promised land. That this is the only way that you can learn to create one”!

“Grandma, what was your job in Sepharad”?
“Well, I did not actually live in Sepharad. But I think I would have woven tapestries”.
“Because that was your dream”? 
“Oh no! Who do you think I am! Someone who dreams of weaving”?? 
“So then… why did you do it”? 
“Dreams have no imagination. They aim low. Never follow the dream of a 3-pound brain, it’s bound to be insipid and mediocre and a follower of fashions, and gives no surprises whatsoever, least of all the tremendous surprises of life”.  
“But what do I follow then? What shall I be when I’m big? What do I study”? 
“Where do you get this modern nonsense? Don’t study life, let life study you. You are being stitched, piece by piece your story is built”. 
“How do you know that”? 
“Because I have woven tapestries. And noticed that they don’t do this by themselves”. 
“Was it easy”? 
“No, how rebellious they are, they curl and wriggle and pull in other directions; all threads think that they know better, and think they want to be in a better garment or a more beautiful rug or with other colours. But I knew better than that. Trust me, don’t weave yourself”.
“Grandma, did you weave me? How are the children woven? Who will weave my life”? 
“Life will, my little one, have confidence in it. Life is the best weaver of them all, the most surprising and most talented. Do you want to get exhausted and frustrated, going against life”?
“Right. Inch’Allah. Que sera, sera, and all that”. 
“I would leave Allah out of this. I’m more of a Doris Day. A true Sephardic”. 
“Everyone’s Sephardic with you guys”! 
“Everyone’s has got a Sephardic side. We have spread it”. 
“It sure sounds like a virus”.
“Let’s call it a Chip, shall we”?

“Oh sh… Oh no! I forgot my homework for Fysics! This is terrible”! 
“Wash your mouth, young man”! 
“I can’t even say the word… terrible“? 
“You should walk 40 years through the desert. Then you know what terrible is. Or walk through a sea that is opening, that’s stress”! 
“Yeah, well, I don’t believe that”. 
“You believe in Fysics, but you don’t believe in seas opening”? 
“No, I don’t. And I don’t believe in a burning bush either”. 
“You don’t… oh, now you give your grandmother a heart attack”. 
“Because I don’t believe in that old stuff”? 
“Because you don’t believe in NEW stuff. Because you will not search how it’s possible to create a fire from a distance, or how to manipulate waves”!
“Yeah, well, that’s never gonna happen”. 
“G-d Almighty, have pity on this soul. What have we put on earth. May he not live the day when this is possible. When it are others who figured it out, and will use it”! 
“Why do ME I have to do that”? 
“Because I know you, I don’t know the others. Better the devil you know. Now make your homework for fysics”. 
“Will you help me”? 
“No, I’m good”.
“I will just have to walk through this desert”? 
“On a donkey”. 
“What’s with the donkey! Can we leave the donkey out for once! People can also still just walk, you know”.
“Then you go too fast”. 
“A donkey is stubborn. For all you know, it will stop, and you can’t get it forward for an hour”. 
“If that stresses you, then you know that your stress levels are too high, and that you need a stop of an hour”.

“I get it that you all love me, and stuff, and think me a diamond and stuff, all parents think that of their children”. “Pardon, we think no such thing”. 
“But you always say…”
“Forget what we say. We speak nonsense”. 
“Oh, oh, I get it. The Humility Lesson”.
“Chapter one”.
“Just a moment. Calling someone. Hello? Oh, hi God, it’s me, I want other parents. But you know what, I just want a whole different ethnicity. Can that be arranged? Like, just put me back where I came from, and then I pop up somewhere entirely else, is that ok”? 
“What did God say”? 
“He’s on it. He knows a better destination. WHY are you laughing”?!
“We’re so happy. You are going to Sepharad”!

“One day the Messiah will come, right”? 
“I guess he will come on a donkey”? 
“The Messiah! No! He’ll come as a King! The King of all kings”!  
“Is it possible that you missed your Messiah”? 

“Ah, a question, I like that”. 
“Can too much humility make you proud”? 
“No. You can never be too humble. When you are proud, you fall”. 
“Why did Sepharad fall”? 

I! Beg! Your! Pardon!? Sepharad never fell! We still have got the keys”!
“Leave me alone. I’ve got a headache”.
“Aren’t you clinging to the key, so you won’t see that you fell”?
“Who cares? It’s great that I fell! That makes you stronger and wiser”!
“I think that you will be the strongest and wisest person on earth. But not yet, not yet”.
“True, true, true, true, I need that final key”.
“You know to what, don’t you”?
“To heaven”.
“Do you think you will get it”?
“I will leave no stone unturned”.
“For it’s the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search it out”.
“You want to be a king”.
“It’s horrendous, isn’t it? It’s prideful, isn’t it? I feel miserable”.
“I understand why you rode on donkeys”.
“Tell me, Mr Now Know It All”.
“So that you would have the earth’s most burning desire to become a king”.

“Hello young man”.
“Hello, err…”
“Old, dying man”.
“How are you feeling, granddad”?
“Oh, you know what they say, it’s a breathtaking experience”.
“You are going to be King, granddad”.
“You think so”?
“I know how diamonds are made. I recognise the right shine from the false one”.
“You went to Sepharad, didn’t you”?
“I never left it”.

16 – Last one

“Boy, there will come a time when the world will go upside down”.
“So be it”.
“Good will be called evil, and evil will be good”.
“Listen, it’s a civilised country here, this is really no longer the Middle Ages”.
“Beautiful will be ugly, and ugliness will be beautiful”.
“So be it”.
“Health will be unhealthy, and unhealthy called health”.
“So be it, I’ll just go my own way”.
“Peace will be violence, and violence be declared peace”.
“That’s not possible – the police won’t allow it – but ok, I’ll bite; what do I do”? 
“There won’t be police. They will be replaced by something that is called ‘Hitler Jugend‘, and by mobs and goons called ‘Brownshirts’, who for years have been made to be enraged and will police their families and neighbours”. “What do I do”? 
“You will be rounded up, and go to places where they will put a thermometer in your mouth, to detect the useful and healthy”. 
“Society is not going to accept that! These are no longer the dark ages! We are a modern country! With the greatest and most refined composers and poets and philosophers and workers”! 
“These will be destroyed. Everything will be destroyed”. 
“That’s idiotic. In one small ghetto in Russia, OK, but not in a whole country, a big country like Germany, you know how big this country is”? 
“Everything learns from its predecessor, and so does Evil”. 
“No, it can’t. If only because it’s not good for the economy. We are very useful to them. No country is going to commit suicide”. 
“Economy will be of no more interest. Money will be of no more interest. Freedom, democracy, entrepreneurial spirit, craftmanship, culture, they will no longer be of interest. What will be of interest are little dots, weakened and separated and lonely, to be a workforce that does not need rights and votes and money”. 
“Oh my word, why on earth would people accept that”?! 
“Because, my boy, people are innocent. They don’t know about evil”. 
“And you do”.
“We are Sephardim. We’ve seen it 20 times before”. 
“Right. Sure. 20 times. But still not much of an Action Plan for me”.  
“I have an action plan. Telling this to you. So that you will dedicate your life to the quest of wisdom”. 
“Papa, but what if I don’t find it!? Or not in time?! And I become a dot in a camp”? 
“Then, my son, you become a shiny dot”. 
“Great. So they see me better? And kill me quicker”? 
“Indeed. You’ve got it. The darker it will get around you, the more you will shine”. 
“Great action plan, dad, great strategy”. 
“I’m happy that you understand it. Only one thing can take darkness on: light. Only one thing can beat evil: goodness”. 
“Mmm. Like 2 energies? Like Newton: ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction‘”?
“Exactly. Except that they are not equal. Light is the far stronger one. Darkness stands no chance whatsoever. And that’s why darkness hates it. Evil knows that goodness belongs on the highest and strongest and most beautiful horse, that goodness and courage and craft and beauty and wisdom and kindness and unity and harmony and dignity and love are the real Kings. It has no way to compete with light, and thus it drags it down. Remember that then there was light – and the darkness did not understand it”.  
“And if I don’t shine, daddy, what if my life eclipses my light??? And I don’t find the place of wisdom”? 
“Here is a key, of a house in Sepharad”. 
“We’re forever going in circles here”. 
“You make me smile, son. You found the first wisdom of life”. 
“What, that we’re just going in circles”? 
“Big, bright golden circles, forever wider, forever bigger, and each swoop gives you the wisdom and strength and speed for the next one”. 
“Like survival of the fittest”. 
“Indeed, the fittest light, and the fittest darkness”. 
“And we win”. 
“That depends. Pick your team wisely, my son. Very, very, very wisely”.
“How do I do that”?
“When it gets dark, shine, shine, shine as though your life depends on it”.


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