EVERYTHING SHOULD BE UNDER THE SUN...
NO New Nuclear Weapons... NO New Nuclear Targets... NO New Pretexts For Nuclear War... NO Nuclear Testing...
NO Star Wars... NO Weapons In Space...
NO All Types Of Weapons, War & War Culture...
We have only one WORLD yet! If we destroy it, where else will we go?

Flip's Hole-Dombitz
Part 1

Robert J. BAUMANN

Buddy 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.

Normally 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.

"I 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 concluded was sufficient proof that Spears' fingers were indeed longer.

"That simply isn't proof, Buddy, and you know it." Flahs was contentious, but rightly so.

"Seeing is believing. Cough up.", said Buddy.

"Look 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 way."

Taub 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.

"OK, but it doesn't prove you are right, either."

Flip 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.

It 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 Flip's Hole.

"You 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.

"Besides sick people, who else? Doctors, nurses... what?"

"No, 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."

Flip's face went ashen. Dombitz was a friend, not just a customer. "When did this happen?", he asked.

"It 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...."

Flip 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.

 

E-mail to Robert Baumann> rbaumann@nyc.rr.com

   
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