Saturday, July 22, 2017

A NOVEL Idea

Trying out a few ideas for a novel with the central character based on my dad, Sammy. I'm not sure where its going but I've experimented with a screenplay and now a novel.

Here's a sample chapter. What do you think?

************************************
        Barry wheeled Sammy into Haim’s Deli. As soon as he stepped through the front door, the unmistakable smells and sounds of the delicatessen settled over Barry’s senses and calmed him. He spotted Haim Shear working behind the counter, slicing meat carefully in long strips and placing them in butcher rap. Haim learned the business from his father, Izzy. He carried on the tradition when Izzy passed away 10 years ago and bought the building that bears his name today. 

“Sam. You’re looking pretty chipper today.”  Haim yelled across the counter as he spotted the Levines. “Is Barry taking you out on the town today?”

Sammy pointed to the meat counter. “Say, Haim  ... Make me a corned beef on rye very lean ... lots of mustard and potato salad.” 


“Coming right up. Barry ... what can I get for you?”

“Pastrami for me ... the works.”

“Oh … Haim ...” Sammy added. “This is my son, Barry.”

“A fine looking boy, Sammy.” He winked at Barry. “Sit. Sit. I’ll bring it over.”

Barry slipped Sammy’s wheelchair into a table and settled into his seat.

“Did I tell you that Bertha died?” Sammy looked at Barry.

“Who died?”

“Bertha. Remember Bertha? She used to sit with me at lunch and dinner. She died ... Another one dead ... They’re dropping like flies. I really liked Bertha. She had a real asshole for a daughter though ... never came to see her.” 

“I remember Bertha. I didn’t think you liked her.”

“She was a lovely woman. She stopped sitting with me about a year ago. Said something about me to the nurses. I guess I didn’t have good table manners. What are you gonna do?” 

Sammy pulled out his wallet. It was worn and thin just like him. He took out a piece of folded paper and handed it to Barry. “Barry ... I want you to do me a favor.”

Haim came up to the table with lunch and set down the plates.

“Okay ... Corned beef for Mr. Sam and Pastrami for the boychik. Anything else?”

Sammy grabbed the note back again quickly. “No nothing. This is fine.” 

Sammy shooed Haim away as Barry grabbed his sleeve. “Thanks Haim ... this looks great.”

Barry took the note and opened it. Sammy closed it. “No, no not here. Don’t open it here.”

“Top secret, huh? Is this the formula for Coca Cola?”

“What? What are you talking about Barry? This is very important to me and I need your help. It’s no joke.”

“I will guard it with my life. The last note is still in a safe place at the house. I remember the coded words ... ‘sans-a-belt pants in size 34 and a bar of soap’.”

“Always joking. Ha ha ha. Well this is not a joke Barry. It’s very important to me so try to do what I ask.”

“I will. How’s your lunch?”

“Too much fat on the corned beef. This should be lean. Haim must be getting his meat from gentiles. It’s not like the old days. Remember Izzy’s? Now that was great food.” 

Barry’s mind drifted back in time. He was sitting at Izzy’s as a little boy. The usual crowd was there. Lots of old Jews yelling at their children, talking with their mouths full and gesturing wildly. At his table were Sammy and his mom, Esther. They were in their 40s then. He and his younger brother Mikey were sitting across from them. 

Younger Sammy spoke. “Too much damned fat on this corned beef. I’m not gonna pay Izzy for kosher meat if he keeps serving this crap.” Sammy grumbled and then turned his attention to Barry. “Don’t play with your food. Look at your little brother. He’s four years younger than you and eats like a real gentleman.” 

Barry answered. “Mikey’s eating crackers and cheerios with his fingers.”

“And he sits up very straight.” Esther pinched Mikey’s cheek. “Such a good boy”.

“Eat your food Barry.” Sam said. “Listen to your mother.”

“You’re not eating yours.”

“I’m an adult, Barry. The difference is that you just need to listen and eat.”

Barry continued to stare at present day Sammy.

“Barry. What the hell’s wrong with you?”

“Huh? Oh. Just thinking.” 

“Well. I’m ready to go if you are.”

Barry grabbed the check and walked to the deli counter.

“Oh ... And Barry tell Haim how delicious the sandwich was. I loved it.”

Haim smiled at Sammy and rung up the check for Barry.

“He LOVES it Haim.”

“God’s got a special place for you, Barry.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of.”

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Great Game ... Someone Tell The Guy Sitting Behind Me

Great game yesterday between the Rays and Red Sox.

Sitting there in the stadium, I felt a mix of euphoria and claustrophobia. My euphoria was brought on by the quality of the game and the quality of my eyesight. Great plays ... and I saw them all. I saw the ball ... CLEARLY. So if an errant pitch or a random foul ball came into the stands, I could clearly see it right before it hit me in the eye and destroyed my vision forever.

Ironically, that comforted me.

My claustrophobia on the other hand was caused by a loud, obnoxious, dorky looking guy in his sixties and another guy named Derek ... sitting right behind me. I only know Derek's name because he used it in every sentence. Loud talker is really a conservative description for this guy. Just ask the ten rows in front of me.

He had comments about every play. The good ones would all make the highlight reel.

"Derek ... that's a HIGHLIGHT reel on ESPN. I'm telling you ... that's a HIGHLIGHT reel play. I bet anything it's on the highlights tonight. Don't you think so Derek?"
"Yeah ..."
"Better BELIEVE it ... how about you buddy (to someone two rows back) Highlight reel right? I can guarantee it."

Every time someone hit a fly ball he said ... "That's it ... HOME RUN!" When they were just pop ups he'd correct himself and say ... "Should of been a home run ... You see Derek ... (he demonstrates) if they got their power behind it like this ...(if he hits me in the back if the head I will KILL him).

 He didn't take a breath the entire time. I know about his entire family ... his mom for example ...

"You know, Derek ... mom has a fear of poverty."
"I don't think its a fear ..."
"Derek ... it is a fear ... a real fear."
"I think ..."
"Derek listen I know what I'm saying ... she has a REAL FEAR."
"Maybe she just is frugal ..."
"Derek, Derek, Derek ... she's afraid of being poor. It's a FEAR its a real FEAR!"
"If you say so."
"Derek, Derek ... I KNOW so ..."

I wanted to turn around and say ... "DEREK JUST AGREE WITH HIM DAMMIT!" It was like that kid on you tube who says "Linda listen ... Listen Linda ... LEEENDA LISTEN" Except that kid was cute and funny.

Then there was a conversation about the price of the seats.

"You know ... I paid about $50 more for these seats but they're great  ... these seats .. got them on Stubhub  ... I could have gotten other ones ... but I like these ... I don't care about being behind the net at home plate ... I don't care if a ball hits me (OH PLEASE LET A BALL HIT YOU) ..."

I know that he's a car salesman, he is on an investment chat site where he's learning how to invest and was instructing Derek on the fine points of IRAs, and that he dates a nurse ...

"Derek ... are you seeing anyone?"
"Um ... well I have been seeing this girl I met at a bar ..."
"Derek ... if I were you, I'd look for a nurse like my girlfriend (he has a girlfriend???)."
"Well I do know a nurse ..."
"Is she an RN or an LPN?"
"I don't know .."
"Derek ... does she work at a hospital?
"Um"
"...doctor's office?"
"I think ..."
"Is she a physician's assistant?"
"A what?''
"Oh Derek ... you gotta learn these things ... now a physician's assistant makes more money ... and let me tell you what else she does ... (I'll save you the graphic details)."

Thank the Lord it was a fast game ... I don't know if I could have done extra innings. In the 9th, Alex Colome pitched. He apparently didn't like Alex.

"Uh oh Derek ... here he comes ... Colome ... inconsistent ... big mistake ... wouldn't have put him in. What the hell are they thinking? Oh great ... now he walked that guy. They should have taken him out after the first batter. BUM! BUM!"

Colome winds up getting three outs with the bases loaded and wins the game.

"Derek ... SEE I TOLD you when he's on ... he's so GOOD!"

Kill me (or him) NOW.  




  

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Better Call Saul or at least ... Watch Him!

Better Call Saul is the Breaking Bad spinoff that tells the backstory of Saul Goodman, the sleazeball lawyer played by Bob Odenkirk. Deb and I started watching the first two seasons on Netflix this past week when I was home between cataract surgeries.

It is brilliant!

One critic said: "It is already better than Breaking Bad, and has a shot—if it stays this good—at being one of the best television shows ever made ...

Better Call Saul takes the style that made Breaking Bad distinctive—the cinematography, dark comedy, and brashly confident pacing—and elevates it by applying it with more beauty, subtlety, and moral sophistication. "

I'm gonna save all the details about plot and characters and let you be surprised and entertained.

Don't miss it!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

I Can See!

Both eyes are 20/20 ... amazing after Friday's surgery ... so cool. I haven't been 20/20 since ... EVER. I woke up and looked outside and saw things I haven't seen for years. Seriously ... I saw colors, details, definition. I was like a kid!!! I was SO happy!

Then I looked in the mirror.

I was depressed for the rest of the day.