THE DYBBUK AND OTHER WRITINGS
Glashka had scraped all the mud off the floor, swept it into one pile, and taken it outside. With a cigarette for her labors, she lit up and satdown on the bench, calm and satisfied, like a person who hadconscientiously fulfilled a given task. Then Khanke entrusted her with amore important one: to return the empty barrel to the liquor store.Deliberately but with a good deal of inner satisfaction, Glashka picked upthe barrel. She was flattered by the trust shown in her; she also knew thatshe would be treated to a drink both in the liquor store and upon her successful return.A Jew about thirty years of age, thin, phlegmatic, came into thetavern. He looked around, went up to the counter, put down a five-kopeck piece, silently pointed at the barrel with his chin. Khanke understood and poured him a glass.“Reb Mikhel, you were two kopecks shy this morning,” shereminded him.He looked at her with disdain. “I’m not leaving town,” he mutteredthrough his teeth, spat to the side, picked up the glass with a shaking hand,and gulped his drink down in one swallow.He was barely done when his wife rushed into the tavern; she wasa short, sharp-nosed woman, with tiny wild eyes; she stopped in front of her husband and addressed him angrily: “Another little glass? Your throatall dry, is it? Gotta moisten it, do you? How many is that today? Eh?”“The fif-tee-nth….” Mikhel answered with imperturbable calm.“Oh, you swine! You might at least be ashamed of yourself!”“The fifteenth!” She mimicked him.Mikhel looked at her with contempt and burst into quiet,monotonously steady laughter.