Rachel Snider


Rachel Snider is a performer and writer living in London.

Email: RachelSnider@hotmail.com

View as PDF: Rachel Snider - Maybe Tuesday...

Maybe Tuesday will be my good news day 


The screaming rose up through the gentle jasmine air of a warm Tuesday in May and into the quiet of the knitting shop. Initially the oinking didn’t disturb me because I was concentrating on the precise texture of a ball of Aran wool as I rolled it up and down my face.

“You think I can’t fucking see you, you rancid donkey schlong?” the screaming continued to rise.

My eyes were shut because like kissing and sneezing it is best to listen to the language of wool with your eyes closed. It was tender and rough like a man’s stubble brushing over the soft flesh of your inner thigh and it told me secrets of the sea. It whispered of wandering Albatrosses and warring Narwhals. It told me that when you cross the equator for the first time Neptune and his gang come on board your boat and put you on trial. It said that you must chew on ginger to prevent sea sickness.

I was using that day’s shift to continue to work out how I could knit a life size white baby grand piano for my knitted show.

“OINKY OINK, OINK OINKS! I can you see you and I can smell you. I can smell your sagging cunty cunt. It smells of taramasalata.”

I knew this voice, as I knew my own toes. It was part of me. As I realized who was doing the screaming I went cold. So cold it was as if my internal organs were made of teeth and my bile was melting them and freezing tooth slush was flushing through the blue of my veins. I put down the ball of white Aran wool and went to my screaming Grandfather.


Zayde and I always agreed that Tuesday could be such a difficult sort of a day. To help ease us through this juncture in the week we devised a ritual. Every Tuesday lunch-break Zayde would come and meet me at the knitting shop and we would walk to get smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels on Brick Lane.

Zayde was a tall man although he was worried that in his old age his spinal column was getting shorter with every shit he took.

“Seriously Lorna, soon I’m going to need to stand on the baby step to reach the Goddam flush.”

His face was long and thin with a high arched proud nose and fabulous eyebrows, as thick and as black as freezing nights in the desert. His hair, that once also thick and black, was still thick but now so white it looked blue. Zayde aged like trees.

He had always been a natty, theatrical kind of a dresser, but he was also colour blind, which added a fruity otherness to his sartorial sensibility. Bubbe had kept a tight reign on this when she was alive.

“Gabe, I’m telling you, you can’t dress as a prawn cocktail. Go get changed.”

Now Bubbe was dead as the crunch of an empty snail’s shell I had noticed some quite flavoursome accessorising creeping back in. On one of our Tuesdays he turned up to the knitting shop wearing high heels. Perplexed I examined the shoes from where I stood at the counter of the knitting shop. They were Cow- Boy boots of sorts. There was no denying the heel was high.

They gave his walk a cute kind of Jane Mansfield quality. As he walked towards me the clickity clack of his high heels reminded me of the tap of lobsters claws against their tanks, desperate for the sea, as they wait to be boiled alive. All they have left for them now is a numbers game. Which one of them will be picked first? Their only certainty is that they will scream when they are plopped in the boiling water.

“Zayde, are you wearing high heels?” I asked kissing each of his beloved cheeks.

“What are you talking about Lorna?”

As usual he had toothpaste stains on his jumper. I spat on a tissue and tried to ease them.

“I’m talking about the sexy footwear you are sporting today.”

It was no good; toothpaste stains are as obstinate as a constipated dairy cow. Proudly Zayde lifted the leg of his trouser to reveal a high heeled bedecked foot and twisted it around like he was Liberace.

“These are not high heels Lorna.”

“Zayde, we could get a letter box fitted into the heels on those shoes they are so high. We should! That’s what all the dancers do. So that punters can put money into their heels as they dance.”

“These are my Cuban Heels. I got them from this nice man on Bethnal Green Road who gave them to me for a very good price.”

Bethnal Green Road was my Grandfather’s favourite place to shop, along with all Pound Shops of the world and the Food Hall of Fortnum and Mason.

There was always an element of the miraculous with Zayde. Not just in his accessorising but in all things. Not miraculous in a host of golden clouds with angels dressed in their nighties emerging singing Purcell sort of a way. It was a finer, quieter quality than that. It was the joy of sifting sand through your fingers. Zayde took great care of the small things. The details. He heard the sweet song of the Finch and would close his eyes and sway and really listen. Just like that, on Dean Street. He took note of the beautiful bead trimming on your moss green jacket. He would ask you about your favourite flavor of ice cream and your first love. People would tell him their truths and he would listen. Zayde believed that, of course, the devil was in the detail because that is where life itself is.

Zayde told stories, brilliant, outlandish and thrilling stories. So when you were with him you were not only sifting sand through your fingers but hunting for the rarest of blood diamonds. Which you would find and then together you would turn them into rings, for your fingers and for your toes. When you were with him you were an Elizabethan Count or a blue Changeling boy or listening to the time he once made love to Elizabeth Taylor. Who had so many jewels she even kept some in the soft flaps of her vagina.

“As she climaxed, she pulled a string of Tiffany diamonds from her exquisite pussy.”

Choosing the bagel always took a bit of time because my Grandfather was immensely sensitive to the poetry of bagels. When he was selecting his bagel through the glass of the counter his face would rearrange itself as if he were a Medium at a Séance tuning into the strange tongues of the dead.

“Bagels are all about balance bubbala.”

He always said this as if it were for the first time. As if I had not been hearing about the balance of bagels my whole life and that he had not been my teacher in all things; love, cartwheels, bagels.

“Lorna what is this? Cream Cheese is not butter already. You don’t want to spread it sparingly. “

He always said this as if there were ever times when he used butter sparingly or indeed as if there were ever times when Gabriel Ezekiel Schwartz ever did anything at all sparingly.

David who served us at the bagel shop understood the poetry of bagels. David was small with a beautiful smile and skin so ravaged from acne it looked as if his chin had been laced by a lighter.

You could tell he was self-conscious of it because he always kept one of his hands in front of his face lingering like a lazy fan. It gave him a curiously coquettish quality so now when I think of David a Japanese Concubine shuffles across my mind’s eye. When moments would arrive that he had to use his hands and reveal himself to us he always dipped his naked chin inwards. The effect made his chin look like a furious and humiliated showgirl who had dropped her orange ostrich feathers fans.

Without fail my Grandfather always told David that he knew a very good dermatologist. Because despite his own words of having lived in England from before anyone was a salty drip from the end of their Daddy’s cock he had doggedly refused to adopt that most English of habits, minding your own Goddam business.

“Seriously David I’m telling you, when we were worried about the mole cluster on my back Dr Viglioni was wonderful. Look, there is no scar.”

Then ensued a dumb show of my Grandfather taking off his coat and lifting the dusty layers of his jumpers to reveal the silver markings that lived on his lower back. He picked up his coat and went through its pockets to find a pen and his notebook and fluttered through it to find the number for Dr Viglioni. He would write the number out for David on one of the napkins. Then I realized that it was not his note - book at all but my Grandmother’s old address book.

I could see her tracing her small fine fingers down the numbers written on its pages and I saw the red of her always beautifully manicured nails. That address book transported me to the kitchen, the heart -land, of my Grandparents house in Hampstead Garden Suburb. I remembered crumpets and marmite for tea and the stench of Chanel No22 that rose from the plain between her breasts and filled the whole house. I remembered my school report.

Even today the very thought of school reports makes me have to pluck out my knickers from the crack of my arse where they have rushed to soak up the seeping anxiety sweat.

One year my Math’s report had been a particularly hopeless state of affairs. Mr. Credwyn-Davies believed that not only was my capacity in the subject dismal but there was an “arrogant willfulness and hopeless dreaminess to Lorna’s dim wittedness”. I have no doubt now that he was quite right in his assessment. He cited his evidence for this in having caught me reading PG Woodhouse in one of our long division classes. I was fifteen. I had my school skirt rolled up so that it formed a bulge round my waist so strange and terrible it looked like I had a tumour. I was fifteen, drenched in cheap body spray and blue lipstick on both my lips and my eyebrows. This amused Zayde greatly. He said that such make up reminded him of Picasso’s weeping woman and so he started calling me Miss Maas, after Dora Maas, Picasso’s mistress and muse.

Along with my blue eyebrows I was sure that you didn’t need maths in the heart shaped swimming pool where I would be making love to Henry Miller. In the Hollywood Hills. This was where I was headed. So Fuck You Mr. Credwyn-Davies. I would think.

This report was a heady mix of disaster for my Grandparents and I knew it. Education was everything to them. There was no pressure on me except to assimilate and be the best.

It had already been discovered earlier in my life that numbers were not the only problem. Words changed shape for me, when I listened to music I saw colours and my way of sequencing was deranged. I was dragged through tests and it was revealed I was dyslexic.

“Dyslexia schmlexia,” Bubbe retorted.

“Let me tell you something, your uncle Soloman, he had his right hand cut clean off in a flour factory. And you know what he did? He taught himself to write with his left hand. That’s what he did. So I don’t want to hear anymore of this Diaspora crap.”

“Dyslexia Bubbe, not Diaspora.”

“Whatever. Don’t get smart with me.”

Bubbe sat down to read my report as dinner simmered on the side. Her reading was interjected with deep sighs as if she was in the chorus of Trojan woman. Finally she put the report down.

“I know you are fifteen and you think you know shit. But lemme tell you something Lorna. The only number you know at fifteen is a big fat zero. Do you hear me? Up there in the clouds where you are having Nigroni cocktails with the Pre-Raphaelites and Tallulah Bankhead and whoever the hell else. You think you don’t need to worry yourself over Math’s because you think you are going to be an actress?”

If Zayde was miraculous then Bubbe was fucking telepathic. She threw her head of dyed red hair, like a bowl of sweet cherries, to the clouds and spoke to the Pre Raphaelites or God or whoever else she thought was up there who might listen.

“Oi Va, help me with this duckling. “

She returned to me.

“I’m telling you Lorna, if you want to be an actress you’ve got to be smart. I mean smarter than all the Toms and all the Dicks. Are you listening to me baby girl? I mean smart in all ways. You’ve got to be Classics at University smart and you gotta be street smart. Most of all, lemme tell ya, you got to know numbers Lorna. You’ve got to know numbers otherwise you’re going to wake up one day and find two fifty pound notes on your dressing table because life has fucked you up the arse. Do you understand what I’m saying? This report, this report is not smart. This is farshtunkn. Now help me lay this table. We won’t mention it to Zayde because his heart is already playing up.”

Humiliated I went to collect the dishes from the cupboard, but Bubbe was not finished with me yet.

“Can you think of your poor Mummy Lorna. No wonder she needs a rest. Your daddy will be turning in his grave over this report Lorna.”

I knew this was a particularly dirty line of attack. First off, my mother was not resting. My mother had been sectioned. Secondly it is cruel trick to put the disappointments of the dead onto the living. For thirdsies, as I climbed onto a chair to reach the plates in the cupboard, it struck me that a lot has happened to get us dead and I was sure that by this point the dead would not be giving a fuck about my math’s report. Not even my own dead daddy.

I was smart enough to know that my own strand of reasoning was not proving successful at this point and that I should keep my mouth shut. I took my revenge by laying all the forks that bit too far away from the plates.

When we sat down to eat Zayde complained that his fork seemed to be taking a hike like the dogs recently castrated cock but my fork laying had not been for his benefit and Bubbe knew it,

“Lorna, I have a number for everything and let me tell you I have your number.”
Bubbe had a number for everything until the tumour in her throat told us all, very quickly, that her number was up. Seeing her address book reminded me that she always had my number in a way that no one would ever bother to have again and I missed her so madly I wanted to eat it page by page.

David took the napkin with the dermatologist’s number on it and said

“Thank you Mr. Schwartz.”

Tenderly he folded the napkin and put it in the pocket of his white over coat. His grace in the face of my Grandfather moved me so much I had the urge to be in the bath with him. Later I would say to Zayde that perhaps he did not always have to draw attention to David’s acne.

“Lorna, David is a very handsome boy. He’s just got to deal with his skin problem already. I’m helping him.”

Despite David’s quiet coquettish agony in the unrelenting glare of my Grandfather he would always wish us a good day. When I would look back at him he would be smiling his beautiful smile from behind his hands. My Grandfather never noticed because my Grandfather never looked back.

Eating our bagels we would make the return journey to the knitting shop. My Grandfather was in his eighties but I had to do my best and quickest walking to keep up with him.

“I keep walking Lorna. I never look back. I just keep walking you know? One step after the other.”

This was a fact buried in the very marrow of my bones. I knew I just had to keep up. I did this for him but also because I was too scared to stop and look back at what we were leaving behind.

“Your problem, my light, is that you wear such shoes.”

That was not my problem. The problem is that whatever we are walking away from catches up with us in the end. It doesn’t matter what shoes you are wearing.


My Grandfather’s shouting was getting louder, rising up through that hot Tuesday in May.

“Tell Mr. Himmler that I know all about his pig army. Give him a personal message from me. Tell him that I hope Mr. Pickles rapes his daughter in the back of his Pink Cadillac. I hope he rips her arse open with his cork screw piggy wiggy cock.”

I walked out of the knitting shop. A deranged screaming stranger was wearing a white beret that I recognized as being Bubbe’s. It was too small for the head it now sat on. The head didn’t seem to look like a head but a rotting peach. It shocked me, a rotting peach wearing a saucer. The peach head with its blue faded fur and hollowed flesh was screaming at an elderly lady carrying an umbrella. She looked terrified.

“Zayde, come with me.”

I put my arm round his shivering shoulders. He didn’t even seem to register me.

“Zayde, come on we have to go and get bagels.”

He stood shivering. The terrified elderly lady shifted away.

“You piggy fucking whore!” Zayde shouted after her

“Zayde, please don’t shout at her like that. Please. Not on a Tuesday.”

He turned slowly to me. His beautiful face began melting back into itself and I saw him again.

“I’m sorry you had to see that Lorna but I’m afraid I have bad news for you.”

“Oh no, but Tuesday is our good news day Zayde.”

“I’m being followed. “

My tooth heart broke. It couldn’t be worse.

“I am being followed by the oink oinks.”

Then I remembered things can always be worse.

I held his frantic sweating hands and led him into the knitting shop. Mogg was sat on the rocking chair holding Luna. Lydia was on all fours on the floor trying to catch a spider with her tongue.

“Hello my darlings,” Mogg whispered. She blinked her understanding at me. The ways cats do as a way of kissing.

“Mogg I am just going to go for my Tuesday lunch with Zayde. I know it’s a bit early….”

“Of course darlings, you must. Now’s the perfect time for lunch. Do you need cash?” She began groping around in her handbag.

I love Mogg. Zayde loved Mogg too and Luna and Lydia barely acknowledged them because he was too busy looking for Oink Oinks through the window. I took my knitting bag and led Zayde by his arm.

“Take as long as you need Lorna,” Mogg called after us.

As we weaved our way to the Bagel shop he told me the story. He had been being followed for six weeks. Snitches were following him.

“Snitches are everywhere Lorna.”

I nodded

“Do you want to know who the worst snitches are?”

“Who?” I asked, genuinely curious



“Luckily I am wise to them. When they give fillings it is not fillings. “

“What is it?”

“Hydrogen Cyanide.“

I knew that Hydrogen Cyanide was what the Nazis used in the gas chambers. I knew it smelt of almonds. Zayde explained that the snitches were taking orders from Mr. Himmler and his evil second in command the randy Dr. Pickles

“Mr. Himmler, as in the Nazi?” I asked

“No Lorna. Mr. Himmler is a pig.”

“A real pig?”

“Yes. Mr. Himmler is an enormous Black Berkshire Boar and he is the head of the Oink Oink mafia.”


Later as I sat clicking, knit one, purl one, I thought again that Tuesdays could be such a difficult sort of a day. I was knitting with the Aran wool. I would knit the white baby grand piano for Zayde. I mean you knit babies hats and sweet little booties for when they are born, why not knit the elderly something for when they are dying. And a white baby grand piano would suit Zayde. I would knit endless peaches to sit on top of it.