Alphabet Soup
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A story best heard while standing up | Alphabet Audio Soup
Illustration by Maya Betser

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I’ve never read “Hemorrhoid” to an audience. A story that begins and ends with a literal pain in the ass isn’t something you necessarily want to share with strangers. But I have no shame when it comes to my Alphabet Soup readers. The story behind the story takes place in the waiting room of a particularly invasive proctologist. If I’d been waiting for a Swedish massage or a dental hygienist, I probably would have written a different story.
I remember sitting there for a long time, staring at Bloomberg TV on a muted screen. They were interviewing a hedge fund CEO, or a senior analyst at some investment bank – I don’t remember his exact title, just that he looked like a rich man whose job was to move money around. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but even with no sound, he looked determined and persuasive. Still, something about his body language made me sense that he wasn’t having a good time—not just in the interview, but in life. Every thirty seconds or so, he twisted the left side of his mouth into a grimace that was probably demonstrating his frustration with the Fed’s recent interest rate hike, but it was more than that. Something else was clearly bothering him. While undergoing my delightfully thorough rectal examination, I had time to ponder the issue at length, and it eventually struck me that the rich but unhappy man on Wall Street probably had hemorrhoids too.

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Story translated by Miriam Shlesinger 
Intro translated by Jessica Cohen

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Etgar Keret