>Daniel Adler’s Uncle Todd


Daniel Adler met his uncle for the first time on his trip. He lives in Israel and lay on the bed in Granny’s upstairs guest bedroom. He wore a black fleece beanie and black sunglasses in the style of the elderly. He had two days of salted-peppery stubble. He is tall, dark and thin, and walks quickly with the same stuttered steps of infants just learning the motion.

We began to speak of Nelson, BC, which is reputedly a small rastafarian-style community seven hours east of Vancouver. “They have the best shit in the world. The stuff you got me is crazy shit man, but the stuff they have in Nelson is sick.” He bared his yellow teeth as he pronounced sick. “The Israeli police will kill you, they will bash your face in (he gesticulated as though he were holding a billy club) if they see you smoking one fucking joint.” They will put you into jail and you will get killed by Arabs, he said.

Since Granny’s passport expired we couldn’t take the road trip; he was not deterred. He took the 27 hour bus ride to arrive in his dream town on Sunday. He has spoken of Nelson for ten years or so. It is hard to tell if the town is the paradise he makes it out to be, or if he is entirely deluded.

Todd knows about life. He is schizophrenic, though. It is easy to see that. When we went for a walk together he maintained a distance from everyone. He eats in the garage from kosher pots and pans. He won’t eat from silver, preferring plastic.

He may be crazy, but he’s no dummy. He knows that money rules the world and that there are societal norms that he has no chance or desire of fitting into. He’s been partially living off of stipends from the Israeli and American government over the past twenty years. Money is power. He knows he’s impotent. Money is a legacy. When rich people lose a lot of money, they may feel closer to their end.  I guess in that way he’s pretty far removed from death.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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