Monday, April 11, 2016

The New Neighbors. (hats off to Vonnegut.)

Kurt Vonnegut died 9 years ago today...in his honor, I'm stealing his style. Apologies to the great man, but this just popped into my head during my 2nd cup of coffee.

The New Neighbors...

They grew up in a city in the Midwest, actually more of a town in the Midwest, a small town in the Midwest. No, it was a small, insignificant town in the Midwest. But they had big dreams.

Don't we all?

One night after a heavy necking session in his car. He dropped her off right on time. He was a good boy and she was a good girl. At the door, under the porch light, she said, "Look at your poor blazer." He looked and noticed it was covered with pink angora fuzz from her sweater.

"Oh well, that's what you get." He said.

After a brief kiss, he got in his car, drove down the block. Parked. Walked back to her house, hid in the bushes for a few minutes and smoked a Marlboro.

Everybody smoked in those days, didn't they?

He climbed up on her front porch. It was easy enough for him, he was quite strong and athletic athletic in those days. Through her window he said, "Look, let's get the hell out of here, go to New York and pursue our art. This town is killing us." The girl agreed with one caveat, "We can't leave until we graduate from high school."

She was a very smart girl!

Two days after graduation, they left. Nobody knew where they went. Rumors were rampant. A certain percentage of people thought she was with child, others thought they ran away to California. The vast majority of people after thinking about them for 30 seconds, shrugged their shoulders and thought about other things. Things like, what was playing that night at the Empire Theater?

Their parents were frantic of course.

They arrived in New York, a town they had never visited, but they had seen it a lot in the movies. He sold his car to a Puerto Rican kid. He wouldn't take a check and gave the Puerto Rican a cash discount. She said, "That guy looks like Natalie Woods boyfriend in "West Side Story". He counted their money and said, "Yeah, he does, a little." She hummed "Maria" as they walked the 237 blocks to Greenwich Village. He missed his car after the first 112 blocks, he didn't say anything but she did. "Gosh, maybe we should have that Jesus guy give us a ride?" He didn't say anything, he couldn't because it was 91 degrees, humid and he was carrying three suitcases, two easels and twenty seven pounds of art supplies. She was carrying her purse and singing "I Feel Pretty".

"West Side Story" made a big impression on kids from the Midwest. New York kids thought it was all bullshit. As one of them later told them, "Sharks and Jets, my ass."

He had a point.

The car money got them a one room apartment over a night club in the Village. It was hard to sleep because the bands played until three in the morning. The apartment had a single bed, she claimed it and he slept on the linoleum floor, the reason? She was committed to not sleeping together until they got married.

It was hard to do their Art because it was so hot in the apartment in the daytime. Not a breath of air. They decided to paint in Washington Square. The first day they painted for 7 hours. Because they had no sleep the night before, they fell asleep on the grass at 5 in the afternoon. When they woke up at 6 thirty their art equipment was gone.

No surprise there.

The third week in New York, she was sitting in a coffee shop weeping. She'd just quit her job at Marco Delacontini Insurance. The reason? Marco couldn't keep his hands to himself. While she was weeping and trying to eat a jelly donut. Lou Reed invited her to a party at Andy Warhol's loft. The party lasted for 4 and half days. The party was filmed for all 4 and half days with the exception of an hour, when Andy had to send out for more film. During the party she was propositioned almost 100 times. She said "no thanks" every time.If you have the patience, you can see her 6 or 7 times during the film. She is on screen for 49 seconds of the 59 hour movie. She is the blonde girl weeping.

An impressive debut.

While she was at Andy's party. He was working in the back kitchen at Abe Lipshitz Village Deli. It was the only job he could get. He missed her, but at least he got to sleep in the bed at night. He guessed she'd left for home. He was so tired from his 18 hours days at Abe's he didn't notice her suitcases were still in the apartment.

He was so tired, he didn't even hear the bands at night.

When she finally came home, she was wearing a new dress, it was made out of an expensive Italian scarf, over it she was wearing an extra large motorcycle jacket. Lou Reed gave her the jacket at Andy's party because he said, "it's too fucking big for me, take it."

Lou was kind of a punk ass, but he was unfailingly generous.

She sat down on the bed next to him, she told him she was going home. "This has been fun, but not quite the picture you painted of life in New York. Here, you take Lou's jacket, my cab will be here any minute." She kissed him on the top of the head and left for home. "Bye, bye."

He was too tired to care.

After a few months, Abe grabbed him by the collar, "Come here you son of a bitch. I need to talk to you." The talk proved to a god send. Abe promoted him to the front counter. At the front counter, he worked alongside Abe's daughter Deborah. Debbie worked and went to school at City College of New York. They got along. One day Debbie said, "Hey, you fucking jerk, why don't you ever ask me out?" He did. They went to see a folk singer that night, some guy who called himself Bob Dylan. He was pretty good.

He lost his virginity that night. He and Debbie had sex everyday for 6 months, sometimes twice a day and one Sunday they had sex 5 times in 18 hours.

It was great.

Abe grabbed him by the collar again one day, it happened right after he sold 7 pounds of sliced brisket to Milly Schwartz, for her Hadassah get together . "Hey Asshole, you poking my daughter, right?" All he could do is admit it. Abe said, "I don't give a shit, just don't knock her up, okay?"

He breathed a sigh of relief. Abbe had a cleaver in his hand.

He did knock Debbie up. They sat down with Abe and his wife Elishiva. "Here's the deal you assholes." Abe said. "We both decided you two should get married. But, you have to convert, you need to be a Jew. Me I don't give a rat's ass, but Deborah's mother here thinks it's a big deal, aint that right?" Elishiva just nodded and wiped her eyes. "I got it all set up with a rabbi, won't take long, a couple of lessons and it's done. The bastard really held me up, so keep that in mind, you two little shits."

"I've got a question Abe."

'What's that?"

"I'm okay with this as long as I don't have to wear a yarmulke."

"No fuckin' problem." Elishiva stopped weeping, wiped her eyes and started making wedding plans.

Abe handed him a cigar and they settled back on the plastic covered furniture, drank some whisky and smoked. They would continue that practice until Abe died of a massive heart attack, 10 years later. Dr. Gottleib at Mount Sinai  said Abe's heart looked like it was stuffed with schmaltz.

No wonder it quit.

Being a modern Jewish couple, they only had one child, the original love child that brought them together forever. Little Rebecca was spoiled rotten and why not? After Abe died, Elishiva moved in with them and spoiled Rebecca even more. He and Debbie worked hard, partied hard and grew the Village Deli together to 6 locations in New York, one in Darien, Connecticut, one in Boston and another in Boca Raton. Debbie's cousin Lance Lipshitz urged them to open an LA location, saying "There's a shitload of hungry Jews out here."

They bought 16 year old Rebecca another new wardrobe, her third that year and flew first class to LA. Lance was right, the market was ripe. They found a spot on Rodeo Drive, rented it and sent Antonio Morales and Morrie Weisman from their Manhattan location out to sent it up and run it. It was an instant success. Lance had been right, after all he was a sharp New York Jew lawyer in LA, why wouldn't he be?

The Dominican Antonio Morales came up with the Village Deli of LA's signature sandwich, a 5 inch high corned beef on rye with raw red onions, sauerkraut and a house brand hot deli mustard made by a Chinese guy named Tu Wong in the Bronx. It was called "The Famous Sandwich that Killed Buppa Abe." The customers thought it was funny and bought thousands of them.

Little did they know. 

More years went by, they decided to leave New York and move to LA, they had nine west coast locations by then. They sent Morrie and his Mexican wife Delores back to run the East Coast operations. Promoted Antonio Morales to VP of West Coast Operations.

The spoiled. but brilliant, Rebecca finished medical school at USC. "Becca opened a plastic surgery practice in Beverley Hills. By the second year of private practice she had done 1141, as she called them, "Tit Jobs."

She offered financing to her customers who needed it. It worked really well, since porn stars and strippers were a big part of her practice. Her Uncle Lance set up the financing through some close friends of his in the LA banking community. Once again Lance Lipshitz was right on target saying "They love big tits in LA."

Lance was a funny guy, but seldom wrong.

They bought a big house in Brentwood, too big really. Reality says two people with an aging mother in law in tow don't need a house with 9 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms, do they?

The house was a pain in the ass, they had a maid, two part time house keepers, a live in nurse for Elishiva, who wasn't sick but needed someone to listen to her stories of the old days in Greenwich Village. They also had a large group of immigrant men from Central America who took care of the yard, they worked on it all day every day, six days a week from 7am to 6pm. The smell of 2 stroke and 4 stroke motors and the sounds of lawnmowers and hedge trimmers filled the air and scared the shit out of the squirrels and the birds. Not to mention the pool guy, who was gay as Rock Hudson and better looking.

Once Debbie thought the house was in shape they decided to throw a big party. A lot of people came, including Bob Dylan, when reminded of the set he did in Greenwich Village so long ago said, "That was me, me in another time, me in another place, the man on the corner needed 11 dollar bills and I only had ten. You've got a lot of nerve, Johnny's in the basement, cannon balls fly, go away from my window, leave at your own chosen speed, white dove fly, you don't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows do you Mr. Jones?"

Dylan is an interesting guy.

The neighbors from across the street arrived, they came in a silver Rolls Royce Corniche convertible even though they only lived one hundred and 9 yards away. He watched them get out of the huge car. She was a tall, elegant blonde woman in a designer dress and Jimmy Choo shoes that cost north of 4 thousand dollars. he only knew that, because both Debbie and Becca wore them, loved them. The woman looked familiar. Her husband was the principal in one of the biggest talent agencies in the world, they had offices in LA, New York, London, Paris, Berlin and Beijing. He was short, fat, jowly and always looked pissed off. As they came up the walk to the house she instantly recognized him, she smiled, extended her hand and then her cheek.

She whispered in his ear, "interesting isn't it, we both married Jews."

























3 comments:

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