Etgar Keret is the author of five bestselling story collections, which have been translated into twenty-nine languages. His latest collection Suddenly, a Knock on the Door is published by Chatto & Windus and FSG Originals.

Big pockets

Everything I have in my pockets is carefully chosen so I'll always be prepared. Everything is there so I can be at an advantage at the moment of truth. Actually, that's not accurate. Everything's there so I won't be at a disadvantage at the moment of truth. Because what kind of an advantage can a wooden toothpick or a postage stamp really give you? But if, for example, a beautiful girl – you know what, not even beautiful, just charming, an ordinary-looking girl with an entrancing smile that takes your breath away – asks you for a stamp, or doesn't even ask, just stands there on the street next to a red postbox on a rainy night with a stampless envelope in her hand and wonders if you happen to know where there's an open post office at that hour, and then gives a little cough because she's cold, but also desperate, since deep in her heart, she knows that there's no open post office in the area, definitely not at that hour, and at that moment, that moment of truth, she won't say, "What the fuck do you have in your pockets?" but she'll be so grateful for the stamp, maybe not even grateful, she'll just smile that entrancing smile of hers, an entrancing smile for a postage stamp – I'd go for a deal like that any time, even if the price of stamps soars and the price of smiles plummets.

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