Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Uncle Slappy arrives.

Our issues with Con Ed continue.
Aunt Sylvie and Uncle Slappy arrived last night, though how they did it, I'm not entirely sure. They showed up at my apartment around eight, having flown in from Boca.

Uncle Slappy was carrying their things in a large dufflebag he had slung over his shoulder. He insists he would rather be dead than pull a wheelie bag. Aunt Sylvie carried a large Corning Ware casserole dish with its glass lid atop it. Inside was, of course, a brisket. Said brisket being her gracious response to our ongoing problem with Consolidated Edison of New York.

They barged in, of course, and Slappy greeted me with these immortal words: "The itinerant cow is here."

"The itinerant cow," I repeated, "the peregrinating pot-roast."

Uncle Slappy dropped the bag he was carrying in our foyer. I give the old man credit. He's nearing 87 and he keeps on going. He's a regular Jack Palance. Aunt Sylvie meanwhile headed right to our kitchen to confab with my wife. I'm sure they were discussing the intricacies of brisket management.

Free from baggage Uncle Slappy and I went to hug. Neither of us are very good at hugging but somehow we managed. When we unclenched he began his gallop.

"Get me Mr. Consolidated on the blower. He needs a piece of my mind."

"I'm afraid that won't help," I said, trying to calm the old man. "We're making do, managing to stave off starvation even though we have no stove or oven."

"It's a cabal. Con Ed's in league with the local takeout places. It's a scandal. A conspiracy."

I led him into the kitchen where my wife and Aunt Sylvie were still in flagrante delicto over the brisket. He sat down and I poured him a cup of viscous coffee, black, and brought him a small platter of danish pastries, including a cherry danish, his favorite. I figured coffee and would take the edge off the old man.

No dice.

"You got these from someone's Shiva?" he asked.
Glaser's on 87th and First. One of the last places on earth to get a decent danish.

"No, Uncle Slappy," I assured him. "These are pre-death pastries. I bought the danish at Glaser's (the last real bakery in my neighborhood) and the coffee's from Fairway--the blend you like. 99% espresso beans with one Colombian thrown in for texture."

He peeled the outer ring of danish off from the main structure of the disc. He took a small bite, closed his eyes, then took another bite.

"No one makes danish like this anymore. It's impossible to find anything like this below the Mason-Danish line."

"You mean the Mason-Dixon line."

"No, I mean there's a line down the center of Bleeker Street below which there's no more good danish. The Mason-Danish line."

He turned his focus from me back to his cake. He was circling around it, isolating the cherried goop in the center.

"This is the apotheosis," he said "of the danish-maker's art. This is the Venus de Milo of danish. The danish-equivalent of Nike at Samothrace."

I went over to the kitchen counter and refilled his cup of coffee just as he was polishing off the last of his treat. He pushed himself away from the small table in our eat-in and he, too, walked to our kitchen table. There, he found a baker's cardboard box with three more danish inside: an almond, an apple and another cherry.

"You are a good man," he said to me.

He then padded off to the guest room.

It was late. And his stomach was full.

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