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.


Mourning a New York Yankee hat

By Mitchell Slepian

About 12 years ago, maybe longer, I was with my dad in Tampa, Fla. We drove up to Legends Field, now Steinbrenner Field. It is the spring training field for the 27-time World Champion N.Y. Yankees and home to their single-A team, the Tampa Yankees.

It was my first time there. In the main lobby were several championship trophies. They are now in the museum in the Stadium. I was having a religious experience. We purchased tickets for the next day’s minor league game and I bought an official NY Yankee baseball hat.

I wore that hat nearly daily. It was like a body part. It has been to many Yankee games, including playoff games, Old Timer’s Day, Mariano Rivera’s last home game, BBQs, picnics, amusement park rides, etc. It was worn and torn for how much I wore it. And loved it.

Last week, it was on my head as I boarded Coney Island’s Cyclone. As the great coaster climbed the tracks it blew off my head. I got sick. Not from the ride. I’ve been on the Cyclone countless times. It is fun. But it is harmless. I was ready to puke over my missing hat. I figured landed in the empty seat behind me.

As soon as we pulled in after the ride, I looked and told the ride attendants. They looked in each car. It was missing. They told me to fill out a missing item report at guest services and they’d try to find it when they swept the tracks when the park closed at midnight.

I did exactly that. I was so sick. In tears, I filled out my form. I walked away. Five minutes later, I went back to make sure my awful penmanship was completely legible. The staff made some edits to make it easier to make out my phone number and email.

I went right back for another Cyclone ride. I don’t blame it. I blame me. I should have removed it from my head.  The hat had survived many Cyclone and other rides. Perhaps its number was up. I don’t know.

For the next few hours, I droned around Luna Park like a dead person. I wound up winning a poop emoji and two Deadpools in the arcade. The emoji cheered me up. But not much.

A few hours later, I was seeing Echo and the Bunnymen and the Violent Femmes in the dump of a theater they built last year. The concert rocked. When it concluded, I went back to guest services. They said they called it in and they’d find it.

Days have passed. No word from Luna Park. My hat is somewhere along the tracks or in heaven for Yankee hats.

To help ease my depression, I went to the Yankee store on 49th Street, NYC and bought a new one. I tried on dozens of official hats to find the one with the best fit. I asked everyone in the store, which looked best. I explained my situation. They all consoled me. I walked up to register, swiped my credit card and put the new one on my head. I hope this one lives up to the old one.

I am not done mourning my old hat. But the new one is striving to take its place.Newhat copy