Robert J. BAUMANN
had me scrubbing the one tabletop in Flip's "Dining
Area". I really
don't know what else to call this space. Flip had only
one table and it
had historically been a storage space that was deliberately
left in a
shambles. Lori wanted to clean it up, put in a computer
and make the area an
internet cafe. Lori's preference was latte or cappuccino,
whereas Flip's idea
of coffee was marginally flavored brown water. He could
drink a cup at Starbucks
[if someone else paid] and comment that it needed more
water. Flip made
coffee like he made chicken soup. The chicken was "introduced"
to the water
but pulled out before any flavor might be removed from
the bird. Flip replaced
the chicken with a very mild blast of flavoring and color
Noodles also help to mask how little real chicken was
a part of the
broth. Ditto for the coffee, save that it was served sans
noodles.... so far.
tabletop had grime on it from ages past. It was proving
to remove than one might have thought. One of the boxes
that had sat
on the table for a decade or so had left its own mark
on the veneer wood-grained
surface. I had spent the better part of an hour scrubbing
thing when Lori made her inspection.
Boo-boo. We'll use a tablecloth", she said.
about telling me that a lot sooner, Lori. I spent an hour
wouldn't have known it couldn't be cleaned until you tried,
grumped a bit at the logic of Lori's remark. If the tables
reversed I'd have been hearing of her nails being broken
in the effort, her
back being thrown out while scrubbing, her hands being
harshly burned by the
detergent, etc etc. Lori was in someways exactly like
the formidable Marie
DeGaetano. Telling Lori this was a death sentence, so
I avoided any comment
that would surely lead to my own execution.
wasn't exactly sure I'd survive when Flip returned to
find his table
cleaned and boxes discarded. The area being cleaned up
was now only a day
away from being set up to Lori's specifications. She had
planned how to connect the computer to the internet via
one of Flip's
phone lines. Flip had two. One was for outgoing orders,
which almost always
never came and the other was for Flip's "important"
Flip was addressing the healthy looking Morris Dombitz
in the hospital room. He had arrived only to find Dombitz
sitting in a chair, not in the bed. The bed was occupied
by another man, dressed like the good rabbi. The "rabbi"
looked a lot like Dombitz in the places where the makeup
on his face had not rubbed off. This could mean only one
thing. Flip knew at once who was in the bed.
is no rabbi. This is Morris Trabsomething. What is going
on here?", Flip intoned.
it is Trab... uh... Trab...."
good rabbi like everyone else had difficult remembering
the name of the man in the bed. It was in fact Morris
Trabshot, the "World Foremost Impersonator",
or so his business cards said. Mr. Trabshot has been around
the neighborhood of Flip's Hole in stories past and might
be remembered by some. Then again, as with the rabbi,
he might not.
I think it was Trabway, wasn't it?"
This cretin comes up to me a week ago and tells me he
is up for a part in a major film. He's going to play the
part of a rabbi and he wants to model himself after a
legend, a genius of rabbis. Me!"
'World's Foremost Impersonator' wanted to imitate the
'World Self-Proclaimed Greatest Rabbi' ?", laughed
you are correct in that, except it isn't self-proclaimed.
I have letters of praise worldwide. Fifteen or more languages.
Letters from Jews. Letters from Christians. Letters from
Muslims. Why I even have a letter from an Agnostic, blessing
me. He said that fifteen minutes with me was enough to
convince him to become an Atheist! Who else but a great
rabbi could change a person's mind like that?"
I surrender. I am glad to see you are not dead, but what
is Trablot doing in the bed?"
Trabshaw, I think. He appears to be breathing normally.
This is an improvement. When he first arrived they could
not find a pulse. They thought I was dead and the whole
emergency room was in an uproar. The very thought of the
great Rabbi Dombitz dying had everyone panicked. I came
in to attend to the poor man, followed by hospital security.
I kept telling them that I was him, meaning Trabknot,
but they thought he was me. I had to reach into my own
pants, which Trabcourt was wearing to show them a picture
of myself. Problem is that I looked just like myself.
There were two of us and so they decided to keep us both
under observation. They thought one of us must be crazy,
whereas the other was simply near dying. Death does not
come looking for a Dombitz without a fight. I kicked the
dumb bastard in the bed for getting me in such trouble
and wouldn't you know it? He started breathing again!
Dombitz! A miracle healer!"
Flip interjected, "how did Trabman wind up wearing
it's a long story."
that very reason, I will have to return and tell you all
the rest.... in the next installment.