Angel Zone


What does a fetus resemble in his mother’s intestines? A folded notebook… And he sees from one end of the world to the other, and he is taught all the torah. And when he enters the world, an angel comes and smacks him on his mouth and makes him forget all the torah.

– Talmud Nidda 30b

He’s so dumb, the angel must have hit him a bit too hard
– Yiddish insult

Shlemple had first discovered his ability by accident.

While twiddling with his lip during a particularly boring second grade class (different parts of dismembered cows were being discussed) he tapped himself a bit too hard.

Instantly, he erased the memory of all internal organs accrued thus far, as well as that morning’s prayer session and his mother yelling at him that he was late for school.

This pleased him greatly.

It took a while to hone this skill. He was clumsy about it at first. Sometimes he’d tap himself too lightly and have the haziest short term amnesia that was a of use to no one. Other times he’d overdo it and erase an entire week.

He eventually got the hang of it, and used it to its full advantage.

That time his Rabbi beat him for asking how God had created trees before he created the sun.


Along with 17 species of plant names of biblical origin.

That time his mother had fed him soap when he asked her why men have nipples, explaining that a ben torah shouldn’t be asking such questions.


Along with the names of the 40 places the Israelites had camped in the desert.

The memory of his friend, Shimmy Frankeklein who died in a terror attack outside the Puzmack sock shop in Geula.


Along with most of tractate taharos, which dealt with purifying vessels that come in contact with the dead.

Sometimes he didn’t even need to trigger it directly.

Like that bad car accident when his 6th son, Chetzkel, had died. I guess they tell people to use seat-belts for a reason, as opposed to, say, hypothetically transporting your children in the trunk of your minivan.

That time, he’d hit his mouth on the steering wheel so hard that he’d forgotten about Chetzkel, most of psalms, and how to pray. Conveniently, this included the mourner’s kaddish.

As Shlemple saw it, he’d emerged with a net zero.

A breakeven in this game of life.

When Shlemple eventually made it to the Never-ending Kiddush in the Sky, the heavenly court was not impressed.

The amount of things he’d forgotten, neglected, or otherwise failed at was staggering.

Shlemple had no recollection of such failings.

“Keep your soul pure, or we’ll take it from you,” the celestial bodies had warned him when he was born.

Shlemple did not remember this warning.

“Even if others tell you you’re righteous, don’t believe them,” the divine messengers had admonished.

No one had ever accused Shlemple of being righteous.

As is the the prescription for all those who don’t make the cut, it was decided that Shlemple would be headed down for another round.


Back to the womb, back to the diapers, back to Cheder.

To another set of shitty parents.

Another school that looked more like a prison.

Another set of experiences that far exceeded the human capacity to contain them.

Shlemple fondled his philtrum.

He was ready.

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