Dybbuks

by Jeff Fleischer

“Why did you let that dybbuk in?” Hiram’s mother asked nearly as soon as the man closed the bathroom door.

“Shhh.” Hiram looked back to see if the visitor had heard. “Ma, he’s just a repairman. We called him to fix the leaking pipe under the sink, remember?”

She’d been forgetting things lately. Hiram hoped it was just the rote nature of this months-long lockdown, with every day bleeding into the next. He still met patients by video every day, and he now needed to take pages of notes to replace what he used to be able to hold in his memory. But his mother was also getting older, and there was a family history.

“I don’t like him being here, Hy,” she continued. “He has unfinished business.”

“Yes, he does. To fix the sink. I told you.” 

They’d had variations of the same argument about the bicycle messenger who brought Hiram some patient records, two pizza deliverymen, and a woman from FedEx.

“Sometimes I think you want the dybbuks to stay so you don’t have to be alone with me.”

When the repairman left, Hiram turned on the water and stood at the sink a long time. Thinking about how much longer this lockdown would last, and what his mother would be like when it ended.

Check out Jeff’s work on his website, and connect with him on Twitter.

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