April 17th, 2004 was a typical day for most people; doctors doctored, butchers butchered, mothers mothered, and bikers biked. It was business as usual, a typically typical day. For Omer Shomroni however, it was not. For his entire life, Omer Shomroni was a bum. He was a genuine waste of space. He kept to himself and didn’t smile much. In fact, in middle school, he was voted most likely to be voted least likely to succeed in high school, in high school, he was voted least likely to succeed, and upon graduation, he fulfilled his destiny. People who knew him liked to believe that life was tough for him and that since he was such a miserable human being he deserved nothing less than the misery that he incessantly brought upon himself. They figured that if they worked hard and still had problems, then surely Omer would be far worse off than they. This thought comforted them. But Omer had no high aspirations and no lofty goals. He was content.
Omer lived in a messy studio apartment in Bet She’an, a small city in the northern Galilee. An unemployed elevator repairman, he luxuriated in spending most of his day smoking bowl after bowl of Jamalian hashish and watching his favorite Borekas films on his ancient VCR and his even more ancient television. The routine of his life was a fine-tuned machine. Every day at around eleven thirty in the morning he roused himself out of bed, shuffled down to the local makolet, and bought himself an ice cold bottle of strawberry-banana fruit drink—Prigat brand of course—a falafel, a large bag of Bamba snacks, and two packs of unfiltered Noblesse cigarettes. Once the goods were paid for, he would return to his apartment, plop himself in front of his television, and eat and smoke and eat and smoke and eat and smoke until both his supply of snacks and smokes were thoroughly depleted; this often occurred at around five o’clock in the evening. At this time he would drag himself to his bedroom, leaf through some trashy, European girly magazines, jerk off and fall asleep. On the first Sunday of every month, he would pick up his unemployment check, his only deviation from the usual routine. He lived a mundane life that would drive most men insane. But he was content.
Then on that mid-April day, everything changed. At a quarter past eight on Saturday morning, hours before he had planned to wake, there was a knock at his door.
“Omer? Omer? Atah poh? Are you there? Titorer ya batata! Wake up lazy bones!”
Omer thought that he had heard something, but he simply did not care enough to stir. His landlord Sergei, he figured. So he lay in bed and fell back asleep with ease. While Omer slept, his visitor continued to bang on the door and shout for him. Eventually, the banging stopped, and eventually Omer rose from his bed. He laced up his tattered sneakers, put on his fraying sweatpants, donned his falafel-grease stained sleeveless T-shirt, and left his apartment. When he returned from the makolet, he noticed that his visitor had tacked up a note on his door. It plainly read, “hem chazru—they’ve returned.” For the first time in months—maybe years—Omer’s listless expression changed into something else. It was unclear whether he was happy, afraid, sad, intrigued or what, but the way the muscles in his face contracted hinted that under his vapid exterior lay some semblance of emotion. Omer had a sneaking suspicion that he knew who had left the note, and figured that his not-so-mysterious visitor would return. Knowing this, he sat down in his worn out, faux-leather reclining chair, took a swig of tepid Prigat, relit a half-smoked cigarette and pressed play on his remote control. He was about ten minutes into Hagiga basnooker when he heard knocking on his door accompanied by the familiar voice calling him once again. Instead of just sitting there on his duff, this time Omer calmly got up and answered the door.
If you didn’t know it, you might have thought that Omer had opened up the door to a mirror, because standing before him was a near perfect replica of himself. It was Amir, his twin brother. After an awkward handshake and gauche half hug, the two brothers sat down at the kitchen table and began discussing the issue at hand. Amir, not one to waste time, got right to the point.
“Achi, bro, you know what the note I left is about, right?”
“Then you know that we may be a little bit screwed, right?”
Omer always answered questions like this. His simple, short and relatively meaningless answers drove Amir crazy. He couldn’t stand it.
“Ya tembel—Idiot! What are we going to do? I have the three most powerful creatures on earth sitting in my living room and you fucking say nothing? Ma avar alecha? What has come over you?”
Omer just sat there and stared deeply into his brother’s concerned, deep blue eyes. He thought back to the time when he and his brother were teenagers, and how during the summer of 1986 they went on a tiyul—a short excursion—to the mountains that surround the Sea of Galilee, and came upon what seemed to be an odd looking shadow at the base of a high cliff. Upon closer inspection, they determined that the shadow was, in fact, a small cave. Like all teenage boys, they had a strong proclivity towards adventure and an even stronger one towards risk. At least Amir did.
They entered. Inside the cave, they found a small stone tablet engraved with the pictures of the three most powerful biblical creatures: the Leviathan, the Behemoth, and the Ziz. Amir, being the adventurous one, picked up the tablet and began to clean it off. As he rubbed the image of the leviathan, a small but monstrous fish appeared in the cave’s natural cistern. Thinking that their eyes must have deceived them, Amir rubbed the impression of the Behemoth. It too came to life before their very eyes. Although the creatures did not seem hostile, Omer let Amir know that he did not want to stick around any longer to give them the chance. He grabbed his twin and ran like the dickens. They swore to each other never to tell anyone about their discovery. Upon their return home, the boys were shocked to discover that the two creatures that they had summoned were sitting caged in the room that they shared in their parents’ Rishon Le’Tzion apartment. As soon as the creatures noticed the brothers, they vanished into thin air. Amir made it clear how excited and scared and shocked and confused he was, but Omer, figuring that it must have been his mind playing tricks on him simply didn’t care. He was content with returning to his uneventful life. After many attempts to force the gravity of their experience upon Omer, Amir begrudgingly went back to the normalcy of his regular teenage life. He kept the experience to himself. He already took enough flack from his friends for being the twin of the most socially maladjusted, boring kid in the entire country. As he put it, he did not need any more “weird shit” in his life.
Sitting in Omer’s Beit She’an apartment, Amir explained to his brother that only the day before he called upon him, he found the diminutive Leviathan, Behemoth, and a prehistoric-looking bird that he assumed to be the Ziz, sitting in his Tel-Aviv flat. Though the creatures had a frightening appearance, they were all restrained, tethered to iron daisy chains.
It was not that the brothers were afraid, they truly weren’t. It was that they were content with the routine of their lives and had no interest in the attention that would surely come with such a discovery. Omer suggested they ignore the problem, a remedy that served him day-in and day-out as a panacea. It was of no concern to him anyway; they weren’t in his apartment. Amir proclaimed that it did indeed concern him and that they needed to go back to his place to scope out the situation. Omer’s second favorite solution to problems was to take the path of least resistance. Thus, he acquiesced to his twin brother’s request. The brothers left Omer’s apartment, got into Amir’s white Renault Mégane, and headed towards his condominium on the corner of Dizengoff and Gordon—the heart of Tel-Aviv. They arrived, but it was too late.
Death Destruction Mayhem The apartment complex from where Amir had come just a few short hours earlier had been razed to the ground The Leviathan and the Ziz were nowhere to bee seen but the Behemoth was no longer a miniature replica rather it was its legendary gargantuan self rampaging through the streets News reports came in that a massive bird was terrorizing the Americas and that a large whale was the cause of tsunamis all over Asia and Australia The world seemed to be at the end of days The apocalypse that had been described in scripture had begun It was all over The end of the world was here
But it wasn’t.
Amir had made the whole thing up.
It turned out that Amir had also staged the entire discovery when they were teenagers. You can do a lot with a few puppets, a flashlight, and an old 386 computer. All he wanted was for his brother to have something interesting about him, to be excited about something. He always knew that Omer was dull and needed some spice in his life. Some meretz—some energy. In the simplest of terms, Amir was sick of seeing Omer being a bum.
Omer hugged his brother, and in a few words, thanked him for wanting to help. Omer walked away from his twin and headed for the bus stop on the corner of Dizengoff and Gordon and waited for the 961 back to Bet She’an. There were tears in his brother’s eyes. When Omer arrived in Bet She’an, he headed to his usual makolet and bought a Prigat strawberry-banana juice drink, a falafel, a bag of Bamba, and two packs of Noblesse cigarettes. He also bought a jar of lingonberry jam—he was feeling adventurous.