Archive for April, 2013

Previously: Brilliant was right. In the same way a 15 watt light bulb is brilliant. This was not going to end well.

And now: Little did any of us towering intellects know that we would soon be needing a mouthpiece sooner than later and not just for resisting arrest.

Pops was down with the lawyer idea. He thought it might bring some here-to-fore needed class the pizzeria sorely lacked. F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz, and Johnny Cochran could not have brought class to this place, but, hey, I’ve crushed enough of Pops’ dreams to say anything about it. So, unbelievably, the resisting arrest scam was working. Look, it’s New Jersey, anything is possible here. And things were quiet. No PETA protests, Doris Day was happy with her new dogs, Pops was selling pizza and juris medicine in the back. It was too quiet. But we take our gifts where we get ’em.

6327151234_bd3c0dbf8a Not the caliber of lawyer at O’Shea’s.

Now that all that was humming along nicely, the drama reduced to a low, barely-discernible moan, I could go visit O’Shea’s and watch Ahmed polish his new glass, and finally indulge in one of his falafels. Life was good. Yeah, for the moment. I know I told you about O’Shea’s before, but it does have the best falafel in town. Town being Newark. Newark is out there, hanging on in the dark by its fingernails to the border, right across the river from New York City wishing it wasn’t in New Jersey. It had pretensions once, but now it’s come to grips with itself. It even at one time had its own theatre district. Now why you ask am I mentioning that? Well, what remains of the old and decrepit theatre crowd of hangers-on and former wannabees like to come into O’Shea’s and reminisce over their falafels and gin and tonics. It’s a strange crowd. It’s like watching outtakes from the old Mel Brooks movie, The Producers. Usually, it’s a harmless and almost amusing group of farts. Usually.

Tonight, we’re about to experience an out-of-body event, but I’m not sure whose body. One of the old-timers, named Kippy Sewell, creeps up to the bar next to me and signals Ahmed to join us. Us? I’m just sitting there nursing my falafel. I didn’t ask to join this but it looks like I’m into it.

“Hehnnn… Ahmed. C’mere.” hisses Kippy. Hissing is about all Kippy can manage after Tranks and Barry shook him down, literally, for an unpaid debt of some forgotten nature. “Ahmed, c’mere.”

Ahmed is deep into polishing the glass and doesn’t want to be bothered especially by the likes of Kippy. But Kippy is that rare bird seldom found in O’Shea’s – he pays his tab, so Ahmed reluctantly wanders over, but not before slowly straightening every bottle on the shelf behind him. “OK, Kippy, whadisit? I got glasses to polish.”

“Ahmed, you’re going to love this. You too Fog. But you’ve got to keep it on the down low.” You gotta give Kippy this – he speaks really well, enunciating each word as if in a Shakespearean play, only with hissing sibilance. You can take the boy out of the theatre, but… well, you know the rest.

Neither Ahmed or I are particularly interested in this, but boredom seeps in quickly at O’Shea’s so we listen. “What is it this time, Kippy?”

“I’ve just come across the most unique and original script of a play that I’ve seen in a long time. It is guaranteed to bring live theatre musicals back to the top. I’m looking for backers and you two need to get in on the ground floor. You’ll get rich!”

8318342482_5eb31fdb56 Yeah, it is a Broadway musical, but it looks more like the PETA protest.

Ahmed looks around and realizes there are more bottles that need straightening and departs for his shelves, leaving me with Kippy. I have to decide whether to make an excuse and leave, not finishing my falafel. Nope, can’t do THAT. So, I stay and listen to what Kippy believes will make us all rich. Looking back, I realize I can get a falafel pretty much anytime, but too late.

“Fog, do you go to the movies? Do you like movies? Musicals? Dance numbers?” Kippy says. “This is important.”

“No, Kippy, not really. The last movie I saw didn’t have sound.” I really didn’t want to indulge him, so sarcasm was my only refuge.

“Fog, I know that’s not true. I remember seeing you removing Polly from a Dana Delaney film festival. So there.” he hehnned triumphantly.

“OK, Kippy, shoot. I can’t hide the truth from you any longer.”

“Fog,” he always starts each query with your name. “Remember that actress with the big lips, Angela… what was it? Not Lansbury. No, no. Angelina, Yes, yes, Angelina… Jolie. That’s her. remember her? She was married to that weird guy who tattooed her name on himself. Well he made a movie that I’ll never forget.”

Oh great. He’s made a few. Which one and why? “OK, I’ll bite..which one?”

“Fog, you know the one. The one where he mumbles all the time.. Hmgnnhh. Right. Well, this script is marvelous. It’s a musical version of Sling Blade!”

2788022437_7cf29e2035 Hey, he does sing. Maybe it could work!

Good grief, I wish I had a blade so I could cut myself out of this joke. But, Kippy was serious.

Previously: “Pops, how’d you like to be a lawyer?”

And now: Pops was so deep into debt with Tranks, he had to just stand there and ask “What now?”

“Pops, you watch any late night TV? You know the stuff, meet girls, get rich, lawyers, that stuff?” Tranks asked. Barry in the meantime had brought a gift of corn dogs over to Pops as a reminder of what they had done together in the recent past. Barry was anything if not subtle.

11802394_8461416465 Corn dogs…yum? Not really.

“Tranks, look, I don’t know anything about lawyers. And Barry, by the way, thanks for the corn dogs, Polly loves ’em.” Pops did not pick up on the subtlety that Barry was pushing.

“Pops, this little joint would be perfect for a PI lawyer to operate out of. Cheap, seedy, bad food, and it’s got a bathroom. It’s perfect.”

I have to admit it, Tranks was resourceful. Certainly not above the law, but hey, who here is? He wanted to install one of his not-quite-bright minions as a personal injury lawyer in Pops place. If I knew this was on the level, I’d vote for it. Lawyers, even the bad ones (well, how do you make that distinction?) tend to class up the place. Or would in Pops’ case. However, I’m pretty sure this guy would not have passed the bar, at least not one without alcohol sold in it.

“Look Pops, it’s a no-brainer. We’ll take only those cases in which the perp has been charged with resisting arrest. Do you know how easy it is to defend those? I’ve come up with a fool-proof defense.” Tranks claiming something was fool-proof was an oxymoronic statement, right up there with political ethics. But since I hadn’t had a good laugh that day, I was willing to listen and suspend disbelief if possible. Afterwards, possible was not the operational word, “required” was.

“OK, Tranks, this’ll be good. Let’s hear it,” I offered.

“Fog, you do speak after all. I may have to hire you next. Anyway, this is the deal. Say, I decide I want to smash you in the face and I do it. And I get you good. Do you stop me? No. Why? Because I did it unexpectedly. You didn’t know what I wanted or was going to do. Same thing with the cops. Let’s say now that I’m driving a little on the fast side. Ehh, maybe a lot. Anyway, a cop comes up behind me and flashes his lights. I pull over and stop. The cop gets out and walks over. With me so far? Good. He asks the dumb question, ‘Do you know how fast you’re going?’ Well, yeah, of course I do, I was driving the damn car. Figuring he just wanted to talk I politely answered him and told him it was nice talking with him but I had to be someplace soon. And I drive off, leaving him by the side of the road. Aside from driving maybe a little too fast. I haven’t done anything wrong, right? But he gets in his car, puts on the lights, calls out for back-up and catches me further down the highway and charges me with resisting arrest.

4008096740_221b4763d0 Dramatic re-enactment.

“That’s where this whole thing works. Like me smashing you in the face, you didn’t know what I was going to do. So, how did I know what he was going to do? Did he mention he was going to arrest me? No. Could I read his mind? No again. So how the hell can he get me for resisting arrest when I didn’t know that’s what he was going to do. It’s brilliant, I tell you. I would have had to have known that’s what he was going to do in order for me to resist it. Brilliant. I thought of that myself.”

Brilliant was right. In the same way a 15 watt light bulb is brilliant. This was not going to end well.

Previously: Barry wasn’t kidding nor was the newly arrived Trank. OK, it wouldn’t have seemed possible but Pops turned even paler. Could anything be whiter than Pat Boone?

 And now: Well, yeah it could, but why go into that now? At this moment, Pops had to find a way out of this. He had tickets for the Cyndi Lauper Really Final Tour of My Career show that night and he never missed one of those. By his count, he had seen this show 53 times. Final tour…really? After Pops had a few, he would wax enthusiastically if not somewhat remorsefully how Cyndi, even in her younger years, was an overlooked and misunderstood musical genius. I don’t know… maybe he was huffing some Sterno with Polly too. But I digress, again. In the meantime, Tranks was humming happily, probably thinking about the mayhem he was about to unleash.

2564228353_bfc1736120 Polly’s “drug” of choice.

Pops looked at Tranks with wonder. I’d seen this look before and it in itself was a wonder. Pops had an idea out of this. I waited with an uneasiness to see what foolhardy thing this would be.
“That’s it!’ screamed Pops. “Let’s call Patti Page!” OK, we were all now wondering if Pops had lost it for good. Patti Page, wtf?

“Pops, what are you talking about?” we all asked. “What does she have to do with this?”

Pops, eyes gleaming with triumph answered, “When I came over to New Jersey, there was this song on the radio, ‘How much is that doggie in the window?‘ She must like dogs,  she loves animals, we’ll give ’em to her.” Ahhh, that was the song Tranks was humming mindlessly.

8343027767_85958a3247Patti Page wants to know how much the mutt costs.

As usual, when Pops has an idea, it’s probably based on a somewhat faulty historical recollection. And this one was no exception. “Uh Pops, you fool, Patti Page is dead.” snorted Polly gleefully between Sterno huffs.

“No, no, I see her on Entertainment Tonight, she’s still alive with all those animals.” Great, now Pops is channeling some screwed up TV show. Great. Just great. But, and I hate to admit this as it means Pops had had an influence on me, he might just be onto something. Thinking as Pops might, he was confusing Ms. Page with another singer of that time, Doris Day. And to the best of my knowledge and the internet, she was alive.

Fast forward a couple of days. Somehow or another, we were able to make contact with Ms. Day, a lovely lady of 91 and still a looker as far as Pops was concerned. He wanted to pack up a truck immediately and make the delivery himself. He had had the hots for her for years and he thought this would be a good opportunity to put his moves on her. Jeez, I thought the tyranny of testosterone died down at his age. Evidently not. But it was arranged, she agreed to take the mutts and give them all a home on her estate and that solved a couple of problems. Pops could keep his questionable vegetarian pizzeria open, he didn’t have to serve dogs on the menu, and Tranks got the dogs off his hands. Win, win, right? Yeah, right. No, not so easy.

2131086396_1e072e2d2c Doris Day wants the mutts.

A couple of weeks later, Tranks comes in with a new idea. Doesn’t he have any other place he can unload this crap on?

“Pops, how’d you like to be a lawyer?”