(enter Professor Alkobi)
Alkobi: aahhh! You barbarians. What are you trying to do, break my hand? Where is my?—
Detective: Start talking professor.
Alkobi: About what?
(for this sarcasm the professor is rewarded a smack)
Detective: Where is he Professor, where is he!
Alkobi: Where is who? Why don’t you—
(another smack…this time with the back of the detective’s hand. Alkobi puts his finger underneath the bleeding nostril)
Detective: Don’t play stupid with me Alkobi! Where’s your boss? (Black Jerry is again heard barking from down the hall) Someone shut that damn dog up.
(The detective lights another cigarette, rises from his chair and walks to the other side of the interrogation table. He applies the cherry of the cigarette to the art professor’s hand. Alkobi falls to his knees, his chair collapsing underneath him)
Alkobi: ahhh! You barbarians. Have you not bigger fish to fry? Where are the soldiers, kidnapped by European activists?
(Black Jerry begins again to bark)
Detective: That’s it. Kill the damn dog!
(one gunshot is heard. The dog wimpers. Another gunshot – now silence)
Alkobi: I don’t know where he is. Really. (holds his wounded hand, climbing back in his chair)
I do not know where Danziger ben Colman is. We made the mural so fast. It was all a blur. If I could help you – God knows I would. You think I know something that you don’t, but you are wrong, you are wasting your time. All I know is art, and here is what I can tell you: Herod himself would weep at the beauty of this mural! The ruins of our temple have finally found a proper place in God’s service. Anyway, wherever ben Colman is, you’ll never be able to find him. He will be as elusive to you as the meaning of his art.
Detective: What is the meaning of this mural? – The nation’s flag and the mysterious angelic woman? Were you protesting something?
Alkobi: The master seeks not to protest anything. The master has worshipped at the Kotel his entire life. It is a very holy place to him. The master seeks merely to express the ennui of the current state of Zion and his longing for the Messianic era. The master seeks to express the unsung Dyonisian genius of the Jewish country. He feels that the beauty of Jewish Man’s creative expression is the missing link to Israel’s redemption. The master’s mural was his offering to the Lord of Hosts. To color the material world with art in hope to influence God to send us redemption. To build God a temple of Jewish Man’s creative expression.
Detective: (a silly look on his face) Tell me what it was like being in ben Colman’s classroom. You WERE his pupil once.
Alkobi: He would sit on top of his desk while teaching at the Bezalel. His legs would cross at his shins, hovering above the ground, pointing upward – they would bend and twist with his feet in all different directions. This is how you could tell that his mind was active. His legs looked like they wanted to break free from his stationary torso and run – striding across fields of vacant pastures – away from the familial expectations and cultural norms which so terrified him – these hilly pastures were his imagination.
Detective: Well, enough about his legs. What did he wear?!
Alkobi: He dressed like his father. Black pants. White shirt. Black shoes. His pants would sag slightly below the desired position – slightly – and the gentlemen would be too embarrassed to be seen sloppily sliding his fingers into the waist line or hooking a belt loop to attempt a hopeless lift. A corner of his shirt might become untucked. A string from his tzitzit might occasionally escape the darkness of its tucked in home. He had no problem though, proudly pushing his hand through his light brown hair and casually groping his traditional black skull-cap. Not to set it in place on his scalp – but to make sure that the thing had not fallen off – as if some mysterious wind, felt only by him, was blowing it off.
Detective: Very eloquently put Professor. You talk like you paint. I do apologize about your hand. I hope they won’t do worse to you in prison.
(The detective motions for the guards to take him away)
Alkobi: (being dragged away) You fools! You’ll never find him!
Detective: Is Mordechai ben Colman still here? Bring him in. (The detective gets up from his chair and begins pacing)
(Enter Danziger Ben Colman’s father, unescorted)
Detective: Good evening sir. I am sorry about the circumstance. I believe that you do not know anything more about Achotinu or your son’s whereabouts than we do. Just tell us a little about Danziger as a boy. It may give us clues as to where he could be hiding.
Mr. Ben Colman: He was a good boy. A good heart. Not a slow Torah learner. He was strange though. (he begins to weep…the detective hands the ultra-Orthodox Jew a tissue) He stole once in his life – but he returned daf tzadi of the Rav’s Tractate Nezikim after sketching a portrait of the Rav in almost microscopic proportion below the Ayn Mishpat. For this, they almost kicked Danziger out of the Yeshiva. None of the other boys would talk to him. He would just hang out with that damn dog, Black Jerry.
(someone in the room coughs)
Detective: Did you ever have to discipline him?
Mr. Ben Colman: One year, motze Yom Kippur, I yanked him by his scrawny arm to the electric stove and forced his hand on the hot top.
Mr. Ben Colman: He tore apart my Shulchan Aruch. He divided each law and explanation with scissors and pasted the shapes to the living room table. Halachicly indexed! It was sad, his mother did not touch him – Black Jerry whimpered and licked his hand, I’ll never forget.
(suddenly an officer barges in…his clothes wet from the rain)
Officer: We can’t find him. We’ve combed nearly the entire country.
Detective: The deserts?
Detective: The forests?
Detective: Well, keep on looking. I want every damn inch of this country scrutinized. I mean it! It’s only been 48 hours. Every home, the sea, everything! Dispatch the Navy! Call the United States, whatever you can do!
Officer: One thing detective.
Detective: What is it Alvarez?
Officer: Where is Black Jerry, he might hold a clue.
Detective: I had the dog shot.
Officer: You imbecile! Don’t you know that he spent all of his damn time since his childhood with the dog?
Mr. Ben Colman: That’s true too.
Officer: If there were any way to find Danziger the dog would have been needed. We could have had it psychoanalyzed by the K9 specialist. And I wonder detective, if your haste in killing Black Jerry, does not represent your inability to understand the unsung Dyonisian genius of this country!