Jen gets engaged at Coney Island, Or does she?

Jake was very excited. He purchased what his mom and sister decided was the perfect ring for Jen. The plan was to propose in a few days near the medicinal Coney Island waters. He was checking the weather nonstop. Nothing could ruin the big day.

Late Wednesday afternoon was perfect. Jake and Jen just finished their sixth straight ride on the Cyclone. His sister was nearby with the ring. Jen went to the ladies room, while she was taking care of business, Jake’s sister made the handoff.

Jen emerged from the restroom and told Jake she needed water. Or maybe a Coney Island Mermaid brew. Jake was happy. All was going as planned. They headed to Nathan’s. Jen found a seat, while Jake purchased the beverages and a few hot dogs and fries.

They people gazed while they were chowing down on their dogs and making idle conversation. Jake’s family was lurking in the background. As were Jen’s. Jake tipped off everyone that today was the day.

The two lovebirds disposed of their cups and walked over to the Wonder Wheel Jake smiled and started telling Jen how much he enjoyed their time together. Jen was blushing. A tear fell from her eye. The two rode the Wonder Wheel. Jake told her Jen how she was his mermaid. They exited the ride and walked toward Grimaldi’s chair on the beach.

A small beach blanket with Ariel and Flounder was waiting for them. Both of their families were around. But not in plain view. One family member was snapping photos and another videoing.

Jake trembled as he reached into his jacket pocket. Jen was shaking. She knew what was about to happen. Or did she?

“Jen, the last few months have been the best time of my life. I want this to continue for the rest of our lives.” He opened the ring box. Jen’s eyes lit up when she saw her diamonds. As Jake was about to take it out of the box to place on her finger, Anat, who had been floating unnoticed in the medicinal waters burst out of the ocean and stood in front of the lovebirds. Despite her swim, she was still filthy. Her boots were sopping wet.

“Jen, Jen, Jen. I bet you forgot about me. I learned to swim. I’m happy for you and Jake. Not. I see you have a nice life and are about to get engaged. I hope you treat your future kids to respect people. Your parents failed at that.”

Jake had no idea what was going on. Jen was shivering.

“Anat, we’ve grown up now. I have no idea what you’ve been up to. But I hope you’re doing well. Please let me be. I didn’t mean to torture you camp. Throwing you in the lake was not nice. But we were kids. Back in the day we teased each other.”

“Well, I did ok. I went to Stanford and live on the Upper East Side. I have a good job. I still don’t have friends or a boyfriend. But I don’t care. You know you threatened to steal my dried fruit. That was from my now deceased grandmother. She was the only person whoever took an interest in me. The boots I loved wearing she gave me. You took them off me and threw them around.”

“Anat, I am sorry, I was a dumb kid. Many of us were. Things were different back then. You probably in many ways did better than me.”

Anat stood listening and began to laugh. Her teeth and fists clenched.

Suddenly dried fruit flew from Anat’s hands. However, this time was it was different. She usually fights with prunes and apricots. This time she unleashed the might raisin. Raisins harder than stones nailed Jen and Jake. Both were shivering, as the held onto to each other. Anat ran up to them and grabbed the ring out of Jake’s hands. He was upset. But at this point he wanted he and Jen to live.

Anat tossed the ring toward the waters. It was about to land in the water. As it dropped Alana, who was swimming jumped out of the water and caught it in her teeth. Marc was right behind her. She slipped the ring into the top of her black bikini and ran toward Anat.

Anat was pelted with honey, figs and pomegranates. Marc looked over at a shaking Jen. He smiled at her. And yelled out, “I will save you. I want you to be happy. But I will always love you. And I bet you will always love me.”

Alana showered Anat with pomegranate wine. Anat fought back with even heavier raisins. The three of them volleyed for the next 15 minutes. Jen looked at Marc and smiled and mouthed out, “Your are right. But Jake is my guy now.”

Anat jumped back into the water. Although Alana wanted to place the ring on Marc’s finger, she tossed it to Jake and went after Anat.

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Anat flips out over bad dried fruit

Tzipora was seeing a patient in her office at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. Several weeks ago, the young woman, a beloved teacher suffered a fractured left orbit playing basketball. She was getting better. But was still having vision and other problems as a result of her injuries. Tzipora is a young and rising neuro-ophthalmologist. She was conducting a visual field to test the optic nerves transmission of visual signals from the eyes to her patient’s brain. Thankfully the woman was doing well. Tzipora recommended a follow-up with her ophthalmologist.

She was still hanging with Eran. The ride was getting more fun. They had some serious conversations and really respected his work ethic and felt he is a genuine guy. She felt bad that she wasn’t one hundred percent faithful. But he was her only guy. She wondered whether she needed to talk to him about this. This was the first time she ever thought of telling her partner about her sexuality. But Eran was her first that she felt this deeply about.

She met him for lunch. They discussed the market, the Yankees and their plans to see Depeche Mode at Barclay’s Center in a few weeks. All was going well. Until Anat stormed into the café they were dining in. The cheery mood vanished. The aroma of freshly baked bread turned to an aroma akin to a Dumpster.

Anat sat down and ordered a cup of coffee and a salad. She started eyeing the other diners. The smiles on their faces, as they cheerfully ate with their families and friends enraged her. She sipped her coffee and nibbled on her mixed greens.

Eran and Anat kissed briefly and were feeding each other in a teeny bopper fashion.

Anat asked Joey, the server if they had any dried fruit. Of course, Joey said,. I can run into the kitchen and get you a plate. She smiled.
She continued eating. She noticed some of the lettuce was wilted and the tomato was puckered and wrinkled. Anat was calm for a moment and pushed the bad veggies off to the side of her plate. Joey came back with a plate of mixed dried fruit. She began eating it. The prunes were not as sweet as they should be. Anat knew they were past their prime. This was unsettling.

All of a sudden she started screaming about this. The server ran over to see if she was ok. He thought she might have been choking on her food or having a severe allergic reaction. He didn’t hear what she was saying. He just heard her loud somewhat inaudible screams. As he got to her table she stood up and flipped it over.


Tzipora and Eran were seated next to Anat. Some of the coffee spilled onto Eran’s pant leg. Anat started shooting fresh dried fruit from her eyes and fingers at Joey. He fell down. Anat started laughing. She hit a few other customers and ran out slamming the café’s door.

Marc and Alana Plot to take out Anat

“Alana, we need to get together. We have a real problem. Tomorrow, meet me at our bench at Wolfe’s Pond Park.”

Alana was sitting nose deep into her Kindle Fire on the Staten Island Ferry Newhouse. She jumped on the train and got off at Huguenot. As she headed to the park, she passed her and Marc’s alma mater, Tottenville High School. The two of them hated that place. Pure misery.

Marc was seated on their bench overlooking the water. Alana walked over and gave him a hello hug.

“Let me guess, our problem is that crazy boot wearing woman, who fights with prunes and dates? A few days ago, she was hurting someone in Prospect Park. We fought. She’s tough.”

Marc shook his head. “She attacked me last Sunday outside the Stadium.”

They chatted for a few minutes. Marc explained that she was actually after Jen.

“We need to take her out,” exclaimed Alana.

Marc’s blinked his eyes and smiled. “I know. But how? Do we double-team her? I don’t want her to hurt Jen.”

Marc went on to tell Alana that he thinks Jen will get married to the guy she’s dating. Alana responded by telling him that she thinks it is nice and knows the two of them will never wed anyone. Marc smiled and told her that they at least have their own messed up friendship. And that’s life.

The two got up and walked along the trail hand in hand. They continued to discuss their plan to take out Anat. Marc was assigned the task to warn Jen. Alana was somewhat jealous of Jen. Partially due to her former relationship with Marc. And because she was able to find someone. She got out of the web that chained Marc and Alana.

They left the park. Marc called Jen.

“Hey, Marc. Listen I know I will always love you and our time together. But I am moving on. I am talking marriage with Jake. I think he may get me a ring any day now.”

“That’s nice, Jen. Tell me about some crazy smelly lady named Anat who claims you tortured her when she was growing up?”

“What? How do you know her? I was thinking about her the other day. Please tell me she’s not your girlfriend. I am on a new path. I know you and Alana will always have your twisted relationship. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”

“Anat attacked me outside the Stadium. She attacked some woman in Prospect Park. Alana broke up the fight. After she went after me, she said she’s after you.”

“We tortured her in summer camp. I was a ringleader. She couldn’t swim. We did the old “put the crazy kid in a canoe trick.” You taught it to me.

“Oh boy, Jen. You’re in for it. I will always you, too. Be careful.’

Anat and Marc fight in the Bronx

 

Marc was on the 4-subway line heading up to his favorite place, the Stadium.  In his mind, nothing could be better, a hot dog, knish, Pepsi and victory over the Red Sox.  He went solo. He usually does.  His mom came once on his birthday. He used to go with his dad.

He exited the train and went through the same turnstile he has been exiting for years.  He looked at the new monstrosity of a stadium and had flashbacks of his precious old stadium. Not just his  — But New York’s, the Yankees’ and the worlds.  A rabbi once promised him it’d be rebuilt next to the temple and he could live in it.

He walked around the hallowed grounds of the old Stadium. It was now a kid’s park. Did these younglings know that their sliding ponds, swings and fields were once the grounds that the Babe, Iron Horse, the Yankee Clipper, Yogi, the Scooter, Reggie and many other hall of famers called home?  Oh well.  The sun was shining and it was a great day to take on Boston.

He purchased a bottle of water and walked by Stan’s and was ready to enter the Stadium. He downloaded his ticket and had a big smile on his face.  His phone played Joy Division’s “Isolation”.  He wasn’t in the mood for Alana. He’d get back to her after the game.

He probably should have read her text.  He stood on the corner by the McDonald’s across the street from the Stadium.  Tons of people were milling around.  The ticket scalpers were doing their thing, the people who sold merchandise that fell off a truck were making the money and the smells of hot dogs, sausages and everything else permeated the air.

He gazed aimlessly at the Stadium and was about to cross the street to go in.  His feet started to move him.  All of a sudden he heard someone shrieking his name. At times he ran into friends from his temple, scouting, etc. at the game.

He quickly turned around. He didn’t see anyone he knew.  He saw Anat and some other folks. At this point, he had no idea who or what she is. She was wearing tattered shorts, boots and a worn Big Papi t-shirt.  She had a red purse with a baseball rolling around in it.  She had cakes of dirt on her arms and well-toned legs.  People were moving away from her. Once again, Marc glanced at the crowd and figured whoever called his name out must have thought he didn’t hear them and carried on.

“Marc, Marc,” Anat belted out.

“Do I know you? I apologize but I don’t seem to recognize you.”

“You don’t know me. We’ve never met. But your ex-girlfriend tormented me as a kid.”

He breathed in deep and asked what did Alana do. Not that she was his girlfriend or ex-girlfriend.  The two have never determined their relationship. He had no idea why he picked her. But figured she might be the right choice. As a young girl people sometimes picked on her for her darkness. But she always held her ground and flew high.

“No. Not Alana.  I know you went to grade school with Jen.  I stalk her on Facebook.  I know you dated her.  I don’t like her current happiness. You don’t even know what she did to me. And yes, I know about your goth chic.  We’ve met. She’s of no worry to me. “

Marc wasn’t sure what to do. He wanted to go into the stadium. He had an overpriced hot dog to buy. And he likely had an expensive t-shirt to purchase. He waved goodbye to Anat.  She ran toward him and raised her left boot and connected to his abdomen. He was aghast for air.  He tensed up. He started chanting about the seven species of fruit and grains. The last of which is honey. He thought of when Samson killed the lion and how he found bees its tummy.  As he was speaking his eyes were shooting honey at Anat.  She was shooting prunes, dates and enlarged raisins out of her hands.  Some hit Marc.

He began smacking her with pomegranates that were flying like Rivera’s cutter.  She stomped her boots on 161 Street. He shot barley.  Raisins hit him the eye. He was temporarily blinded.  He took a deep breath, rubbed his eyes.  As his eyes opened honey with the speed of heavy rapids on the Delaware River shot out of them and knocked down Anat. She rose quickly.  They battled for a few more moments. She turned looked at him and said, I’ve only just begun.  Jen better watch herself. I know you’re silly enough to come to her rescue. But I am going to get her.  By the way, I know you taught her about canoe swamps. Ask her what she did to me in camp.  She walked off.  He raced into the Stadium, bought a hot dog, took his seat and read the text he should have read an hour ago, “Marc I think we have an enemy. I was attacked by a crazy boot-clad woman who fights with dried fruit.”

 

 

Anat’s Origin and her grandmother’s death

Tzipora was out and about. She was having a fairly normal day. She was still hanging out with Eran. The two were getting along. She wasn’t one hundred percent sure about him. But she was enjoying the ride. She was fairly faithful. However, she had a tryst or two with some women she hooked up within a vampire bar.

Alana was still thinking about her fight with the woman in Prospect Park. She wasn’t sure what to make of it. She kept it to herself. However, she figured she’d have to tell Marc. They may have to join forces.

Anat, the boot-clad women was trolling the city. Born in Flatbush, she had a rough upbringing. Her parents are of mixed Middle Eastern descent — Syrian, Lebanese and Iraqi. They lived in Safed for a short period before coming to Brooklyn. Her parents really weren’t ready to have children when they had her. They weren’t poor or uneducated. They were just having a really hard time adjusting to life in the U.S. They didn’t pay much attention to her pretty much from the time she was born. Both parents drank too much Arak and at times were physically abusive to each other and their daughter.

She had trouble making friends. Her grandmother loved her and did her best to take care of her. Anat loved this woman more than anything. Grandma gave her the only love she ever knew. Her first pair of boots was given to her as a toddler from grandma. She never took them off. This caring woman made her bathe. But her parents sometimes wouldn’t let their daughter see grandma and never cared if she showered. So she didn’t.

Sadly this caring woman died in a bad fall, while Alana was an undergrad enrolled as a finance major at Stanford. She did well in school. She didn’t have any friends. She stuck to herself and always wore a ratty pair of boots. Anat still had hygiene issues. No one would sit near her in the library. She flew home to Brooklyn for the funeral. She sat Shiva and went back to San Jose.

Waiting in her dorm room was a dried fruit platter sent by grandma. Anat freaked out.   The platter arrived via FedEx the day Anat flew home. Grandma shipped it a day before she passed. It was her grandmother who got her hooked on dried fruit. Grandma’s apartment always had this delicacy. She opened the package, cried and dug in. She read the card, “Anat, Enjoy. Study hard. You will do well. — Love, Grandma.” She clutched the card to her chest and cried in her bed. She remembered when she first fell in love with dried fruit. At first, it scared her. It was so dry. But grandma told her it’d be okay. She did have some allergic reactions. And for a short time was afraid of it. It turned out she was allergic to grandma’s awful smelling perfume. Not the snacks. For a long time that’s all, she would eat. She sometimes rubbed the fruit all over herself.

Anat walked down Madison Avenue. She started kicking trash cans.

Jen talks marriage and has memories of camp

Jen and Jake were dining on juicy bone-in ribeyes with perfect marbling at Reserve Cut. A bottle of Shiloh Legend was poured into their wine glasses by the wait staff. Things were getting serious with these two. Jen was hoping a ring was not so far away. Jake felt the same. He even started looking for them with his mom and sister.

As Jen dug into her perfect cut of meat an old camp memory hit her right in the head. She remembered Anat Ovadia. She was a weird kid in camp. She wasn’t the friendliest. She didn’t bathe much. She always wore boots, whether she was hiking the trails, playing softball and soccer. She never took them off. She had an affinity for eating dried fruit. Her grandmother often mailed her platters of it. She never shared.

Jen remembered one late evening when she and her girlfriends, all about 11 or 12 years old grabbed her out of their bunk. She was wearing her boots. The tweens held their noses. They dragged her down to Stone Lake. They pulled her boots off. Anat freaked. They had to gag her to shut her up. They put a life preserver on her and tossed her into a canoe. Jen and the others got into their own canoes. Sarah jumped into Anat’s canoe. They all paddled out to the center of the lake. Jen paddled over to Sarah and Anat. Sarah gave the high sign. Jen swamped Sarah and Anat’s canoe. Sarah pulled herself over the side of Jen’s vessel. The other girls circled Anat and started a splash war while Anat struggled. She was not a good swimmer. Thankfully she was wearing a life preserver. She was treading. Tears fell down her face. The girls were taunting her. They stopped and paddled back to the docks. They left Anat in the center of the lake.

The girls sat on the docks and ate chocolate snacks. They laughed while they watched Anat slowly swim back.   When she got out of the lake, they made her swear to keep her mouth shut. If she blabbed they promised they’d take her fruit snacks and leave them out for the raccoons. They let he put her boots back on and made her march back to the bunk in silence.

Man, we were mean Jen thought to herself. She sipped her wine and gazed into Jake’s eyes. Jake started talking to her about marriage. Jen felt the butterflies twingle. As he was talking she thought of Marc and was wondering whatever happened to Anat. She was connected with all of her camp friends on Facebook and Linkedin. One or two might even be bridesmaids if everyone goes as she wishes. Later she’d look Anat up. She figured she probably turned out ok and might even be a mom. Her mind flipped to the time she was kissing Marc as Bowie played Starman at the Garden many years ago.

The two left the restaurant, kissed each other good night and headed to their respective subway lines.

Meanwhile, Anat was trolling the city munching on dates and apricots. Life was not kind to her. But she was not kind too much.

 

 

Alana is attacked

A woman was sitting in Prospect Park reading a book on her Kindle. Dogs were running around. Kids were laughing and playing. Nothing was unusual on this typical sunny late morning Sunday afternoon at the beginning of the spring.

Alana was skating through the park. She hadn’t been on her skates in many moons. She was gliding by. Her earbuds were pumping Love & Rockets’ “Ball of Confusion”. Her mind was clear. She knew she had to talk to her rebbetzin and her parents. She would get to them all in due time. She wanted to enjoy her morning.

She took her skates off, stretched and sat on a bench for a little while. She all heard the usual sounds basketballs dribbling, kids screaming, bats connecting to balls and music blaring out of people’s mobiles. All was well.

The next sound she heard was a blood-curdling scream from a woman. Her head quickly turned in the direction of the yell. She saw an unkempt woman wearing boots swinging at bat at someone. People gathered around and were shooting shots. No one tried to help. Alana raced over and called out to the assailant. No response. Alana started saying lady chill and drink some wine. Alana even said the blessing for it.

The woman dropped the bat. People went over to the victim and gave her water. Someone took ice out of their picnic cooler and put it on the knee that was smacked with the bat. Meanwhile, the attacker looked at Alana who was still screaming out a blessing. Alana concluded and shot wine out her fingers. She hit the attacker in her eyes and nose. She was miffed for a minute. But seemed unharmed.

All of a sudden the woman’s eyes started flinging dried fruit at Alana, who was beginning to unleash a wave of figs. Some landed in the lady’s mouth and momentarily choked her. The two went at it.

They got closer to the lake. Alana tried to kick her. But was blocked. The dried fruit lady raised her left boot and tried to connect with Alana’s head. Alana ducked. Alana started screaming at the boot-clad woman. Her screams were returned with a deafening silence. The woman’s eyes opened wide and started right at Alana. Alana shot wine into her eyes. She blinked and nailed Alana with fruit and gave one last look and walked away.