Excerpt from Beaufort by Ron Leshem, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Beaufort

by Ron Leshem

Beaufort by Ron Leshem X
Beaufort by Ron Leshem
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2007, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2009, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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Print Excerpt


Beaufort is the Southern Lebanese Army, local Christians, a crazy bunch of Phalangists. Cigarettes in their mouths all day long. Smelly, wild, funny. They come in every morning at eight o’clock and we put a guard on them. They build, renovate whatever’s been destroyed by the air raids, do what they’re told. They’re not allowed inside the secure area, not even permitted near the dining room.

Beaufort is guard duty. Sixteen hours a day. How do you stay sane after thousands of dead hours? We’re all fucked up in different ways, just do me a favor and don’t choke it during guard duty. “Choke it” is our way of saying “jack off.” It’s not that there aren’t guys who choke it; they choke it big time. You won’t believe this but a lot of people get super horny from our green jungle atmosphere. I’m not kidding. Nature is totally romantic, sensual. You would lose control, too. And it’s not only nature that makes us horny. The Sayas network at 67 MHz, used for open transmissions between the outposts, can also give you a hard-on sometimes. It’s not an official network—it got its underground nickname from a radio broadcaster who specializes in melancholy late-night chats—but everyone knows it because everyone, at one stage of boredom or another, tunes the dial to Sayas, the guys’ favorite, where they can talk bullshit all night long and melt from the female voices. That’s because girls from the command post are on the other end, in the war room, hot as fire, no AC, no boys, no reason not to unbutton their shirts a little, let off some steam. They sprawl across their chairs—I’ll bet on it—stretching their muscles, spreading their legs, dripping hormones, dying for someone to make them laugh and slowly flirt with them and in the end make a little date with them back in Israel. Why not? Give them what they really need. Sure, baby, I got lots of weapons. I got my short-barrel M16 flat top, a real beauty. And my Glock, a fantastic pistol. And I also have . . . my personal weapon. Measure it? You want me to? No problem, sure, I’m happy to measure it for you, actually forgot how long it is, apologies, baby. That’s the way you talk, making it up as you go along, turning yourself on, and they giggle, toying and teasing on that very thin border, one step over the line, one step back, and you’re dying to believe that maybe at the end of the night, when all the other guys drop out, the girls are left alone, poor things, to satisfy one another. What, you don’t think so? A few strokes, great stuff, nobody’s ever died of it. Just don’t build any major expectations: the nicer her voice is over the airwaves, the more of a dog she is. I take full responsibility for that statement, I’ve been disappointed often enough in my life. A high squeaky voice, on the other hand, means you might want to invest a little time, because she’s got mile-long tits. It’s a fact, I’m not jerking you around.

Beaufort is going out on seventy-two-hour ambushes with a huge supply of beef jerky in your knapsack. You can’t believe how much of that stuff you can eat in three days. Beef jerky with chocolate and beef jerky with strawberry jam. And how much you can talk and talk without really saying anything. Pretty soon you reach the stage where you know everything about everyone. Who did what, when, with who, why, in what position, and what he was thinking about while he was doing it. I can tell you about their parents, their brothers and sisters, their not-so-close friends, their darkest perversions. There’s a lot of alone time, too, when you’re fed up with all that talking. You think about yourself, your home. You wonder if your mother is hanging laundry just now, or maybe she’s watching Dudu Topaz on television. Lila’s probably showering now, too. Or maybe she’s cheating on me.

Excerpted from Beaufort by Ron Leshem, translated by Evan Fallenberg. Copyright © 2007 by Ron Leshem. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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