Taub and Lloyd Flahs were arguing about nothing at all.
It was a typical Monday at Flip's Hole. The battle was
over who had longer fingers, Brittany Spears or Hale Berry.
You might well ask why this could matter. Believe me it
could. A King's ransom of FIVE US dollars was resting
on the decision.
in a situation like this Flip would decide the matter
by throwing both Flahs and Taub out the door. Today however,
there were few distractions, so Flip just put the filter
end of his cigarette on the countertop so the burning
end was pointing up and he listened in.
got documentary proof," gloated Taub. He dug into
a ratty old brown paper bag that passed for his briefcase
and produced two magazines. The well worn covers of the
magazines were a sign of age, frequent readership or both.
One was entitled "Babz", a non-English title
popular with those who cannot read or write even slang.
The main focus of the magazine seemed to be amply endowed
women in various poses of undress. Taub was turning to
a photo of Brittany Spears. He next opened a copy of "Hood
Life" and turned to a stunning photo of Ms. Berry.
Measuring the fingers in both photos Taub had
was sufficient proof that Spears' fingers were indeed
simply isn't proof, Buddy, and you know it." Flahs
was contentious, but rightly so.
is believing. Cough up.", said Buddy.
at their heads, Buddy. They are not the same size photos.
You can't compare them. What about proportion? One photo
could be slightly bigger than another. You can't win this
looked up at me. I had worked in publishing long enough
to know that Flahs had a point. This proof of Buddy's
was far from conclusive. I nodded agreement with Flahs,
and Buddy angrily stuffed the sheets back into his bag.
but it doesn't prove you are right, either."
added a cheerful "Who cares?" and picked up
his cigarette for a puff. He knew neither of them would
drop the subject, but that did not matter either. It was
keeping him entertained.
was at this point that Moe Ippai, a Japanese sign painter,
entered the store huffing from the cold. He took off his
winter gloves and sat on the nearest stool next to Flahs,
thus avoiding Taub. Taub, as I have mentioned before,
was a bit of a pariah among those who entered and left
hear who's in the hospital?", said Ippai. Immediately
I though of Jesse, Flip's dishwasher/deliveryman. Jesse
caught everyone with this joke. When the question aroused
curiosity and you asked who was in the hospital, Jesse
would answer "sick people". He burned everyone
with this dumb joke. No matter how many times I heard
him catch someone, it was still funny. Flip looked straight
at Ippai and covered himself with the right wording.
sick people, who else? Doctors, nurses... what?"
I am serious with you. I just heard it on the news. Rabbi
Dombitz. He suffered a stroke and they have him down at
Maimonedes Medical on the critical list. The whole neighborhood
is talking about it. Dombitz may not be able to continue,
even if he recovers."
face went ashen. Dombitz was a friend, not just a customer.
"When did this happen?", he asked.
was early this morning. He wasn't sleeping well these
days. His wife found him face down in the kitchen when
she woke up. He must've gone for a snack or something
when it hit him. Poor bastard. My uncle Kanji? Same thing.
He lasted a day or two then...."
was already reaching for his coat. "Mind the store,
Bart. Call Lori for help if you need it." In a flash
he was gone, headed for Brooklyn and the bedside of his
old, rabbinical pal.
to Robert Baumann>