Arnon Grunberg

Nail polish remover


Day four in the hospital: “I’m looking at the bird on the door,” my mother said.
“That looks like a bird, but it isn’t a bird,” I answered.

Before my visit to the hospital I had lunch in the garden of the Pulitzer Hotel. I ordered a sandwich with bresaola, Parmesan cheese and sundried tomatoes.
The sundried tomatoes tasted like nail polish remover. I don’t like to complain, but in this case I had to inform the waitress.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “Can I offer you a drink?” I asked for an espresso, but the waitress didn’t take the sandwich off the bill.
Is this because of the crisis? Because of capitalism? Communism? Was she an incompetent waitress? Is this hotel run by incompetent management? Or was it just an attempt to kill me?

When I told this to my mother she said: “You should have called the police.”

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