No Shibboleth

“Hi, whats your name?”

“Mikhail Boris son of, younger ma’am.”


“Could not frame to pronounce.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”

“No shibboleth.”


“No one hears me right in America.”

The phrasing was strange but it could no longer be considered wrong. It was all and all very likely that he was speaking correctly. Right after the changeover took place, Midori took it to mean that everyone spoke English, as she always had. She had since been corrected. After a moment, he caught his breath.

“I must go hospital.”

“What’s wrong?”

He looked at her as if she told him that two and two was five. The bus had many empty seats and Midori was wishing she had chosen one away from this man.

“I hurt, I must go hospital.”

That was as in depth as he was willing to answer.

“Shibboleth, isn’t that from the bible?”

“When I was young, I had two holy books, Russian Orthodox Book and King James Book.”

“So you can speak English.”

“No, not good. I memorized passage. I like how it sounds.”

“You know, so do I.”

“I knew not.”

“Are there any other passages you like?”

“ I thought lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith odd, Russian Orthodox frowns on that.”

Midori laughed.

“You skipped a few words.”

“Ah. Logical.”

Suddenly, he was coughing.

“Can I get you anything?”

“No, I leaving.”

“But you still have a few blocks.”

“I leave now.”

“Miser Boris, I promise you it won’t be ten minutes till the hospital.”

He had already left.