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.”



Pomegranate — 15

Jen was loafing aimlessly around the city. She has her music blasting on her iPhone. She went to J.Crew bought a skirt and some other items. She was thinking about reaching out to Marc again. But was confused. She knew she liked him. And she knew she didn’t. It wasn’t that she didn’t like him. She knew he probably wasn’t her match.

He was acting weird lately. She knew it was because of Alana. She thought to herself they think I am so dumb and daffy. Daffy, I am. But not dumb. I know they have something going. They always will. But so do I.

She got some ice cream and looked at shots of she and Marc on her iPhone. They were from many years ago. She saw the shots of them at concerts and their Delaware rafting trip.

She wanted to be happy and break away from her current situation.

Just as she wanted to break away so did Marc and Alana. But the three of them have been entangled in their web for years. What will it take to spin out?

Meanwhile, Marc was heading up to watch his beloved Yankees take on the Red Sox. As always the two teams were fighting for the division. Marc was walking along the sacred grounds where the old stadium resided. Tears were in his eyes. They always were at this holy spot.

His mind was set on the game. But as always he was thinking about Jen and Alana. He thought his couple of days in camp would break him away. His break lasted for about two weeks. He went into the Stadium and purchased his hot dog, Pepsi and knish. He washed his hands, went to his seat and dug in. He hoped the game would change the course of his life. Baseball can do that.



Pomegranate Man-Book 1

Marc woke up and said Modeh Ani, the wake up prayer. He slurped down a glass of Tropicana while wolfing down a bowl of Frosted Flakes. He put on a grey dress shirt, black pants and sneakers. He’d change into his dress when he got to work.

He grabbed his bag containing his teffilin, talit and siddur and exited his apartment. He opened his shul and put on his religious materials and began to pray while awaiting a minyan.

Slowly folks strolled in. Prayers were said. People left.

Marc took off his kippah and went to the train. Marc is a good Jew. He doesn’t classify himself. He certainly isn’t a Chasidic or Ultra-Orthodox. But an observant person. Many people don’t even recognize him as a Jew. He looks like your typical New Yorker. Half the time he’s wearing his Yankee hat and t-shirt. The other times he’s in his usual Lacoste shirt and Gap jeans or dress pants.

He hopped on the train and went to Midtown to his office. He exited the M train and began to walk down Avenue of the Americas. The usual breakfast carts were bustling with customers. New Yorkers moved in their hurried way to them and raced to their offices.

Marc bumped into a friend on the way to his office. They chatted momentarily. “Hey, Marc Russo, what’s up my bud?”

“Nothing, Jimmy, you?”

“Marc I was invited for Pesach dinner at a friend’s house? What kind of wine do I need to bring?”

“Just make sure it is Kosher for Passover. To be safe get a bottle that is also mevushal. I doubt the people that invited you are ultra observant. I’m willing to bet they don’t know what mevushal means. But go that way to be safe. Bear in mind, we have so many dietary rules we don’t even understand them all. Someone at the Seder might,” chuckled Marc. They fist bumped and went to their offices.

Marc’s friends ranged from Chasidic to secular Jews and people other faiths. He is always happy to explain customs to his friends. He’s a firm believer that understanding each other will promote a healthier lifestyle. Most goyim know of Chanukah, Rosh Hashanah and Pesach. But the reality is they really don’t understand the customs and meaning behind the holidays. Or Yom Tovs as Marc and his fellow Yids would say.

He got to his desk and tried to login. Of course, the network was down. That’s the routine in his office. He checked in with his IT buddy. He was told they expect to get things going in about 20 minutes. He waltzed over to the kitchen for a glass of water and grabbed an orange. from the fruit tray.

He did a little work. He put on his Yankees jacket and decided to jump on the train to get a haircut at lunchtime. The people he works for are clueless. He was sad when he saw the number of homeless on the train’s platform. And really disgusted when he saw a rat on the tracks. They usually come out in the evening. But the city so overrun that they come out anytime. Two late aged male teens started harassing a homeless man.

They started taunting him and laughing at him.

“Why don’t you kids shut up. If you only understood my situation maybe you’d have some sympathy,” blurted out the homeless man, who was about 30, frail with blonde hair.

The kids just teased him and said he’s probably a junkie.

“No, I’ve never touched drugs. A beer or a shot of Vodka once in a while, but I’ve done nothing else. My brother and uncle sexually abused me. When I spoke up about it, I was beaten and thrown out of the house. I’ve lived here and there all of my life.”

The teen huddled and one yelled out, “Great story sounds like a load of BS.” Then they opened a Coke and poured it all over him.

Marc was pissed. He hated the way these obnoxious have it all, never worked for anything kids acted. They were walking around with $1,000 iPhones and the latest in everything else.

“Why don’t you guys leave this poor soul alone and jump on the approaching train,” Marc bellowed out to the kids. Shut up you dumb Yankee fan. Boston rules.

Marc decided not for to get too crazy walked down the platform. He was surprised he even opened his mouth that much. He normally was not confrontational. He thought he was done with the chaos when a Coke bottle hit him in the head. He turned around and saw the belligerent kids approaching him.

“I’d get walk back to the other side of the platform if I were you guys. Or better yet, exit the station and forget about your little episode,”

“Why Yankee what are you going to do? There are two of us and we are bigger than you.”

“And stupider,” chuckled Marc.

The teens ran toward him. He moved away and they fell on fell on their butts. But were up quickly and readied themselves to throw punches at Marc. The taller kid tossed a punch. Marc blocked the punch. The other kid tried to kick Marc the stomach.

Marc laughed harder. The two kids started screaming. A small crowd gathered. Someone dialed 911. But lost the connection on their iPhone. The crowd continued to gather. But no one approached any of the three. They were a captive audience. All had their phones out ready to shoot away. It says little about our society. That people would rather snap photos of criminals than trying to help the victim. But Marc was no victim.

The kids lunged at him. All of a sudden Marc tensed up, his muscle toned arms got bigger. His head started to shake. His huge legs stomped down on the platform. He quickly reached his enlarged left hand into the pockets of his jeans. He pulled out a bright red oversized pomegranate. He held it up to the sky. Then he let it loose with the precision of a game closer waiting for the third out in the World Series. While airborne it split in half and nailed each kid in the knees. The kids fell down. One started to cry. He reached back into his pocket. As he reached in he heard the kids beg for mercy. He pulled out another pomegranate. He wound up and let it loose. It nailed the first kid in the face and ricocheted off and smacked the one in the arm.

“Now boys, I think you’ve learned your lesson. Let this be a warning if you ever harass anyone, I will unleash the other weapons in my arsenal. I don’t want to get into fights. But I won’t stand for troubled people getting hurt.”

The kids nodded in acceptance. The R-train pulled in and those on the platform shoved their way on.

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

Bleach Monster, Part XII


Their dead on deep stare was very scary.  Neither Murray nor Mark moved. It was like a dual to see who would break first.  Murray would never break. Too much was riding on this.


It was business as usual for everyone else in the area, while the two men stood there. Mark was telling himself to remain strong. His stomach turned and he was drenched in sweat.


Murray was cool as a cucumber. Mark then suddenly realized he had a key position in D.C. He could have Murray removed from the area. But he had to act with prudence. Failure to do so would wreck everything he worked for.


Mark’s eyes moved slightly.  Murray’s did not.


Mark waved his arms toward his buddy, Jerry, a capital police officer.  Leisurely Jerry strolled over.  Mark wanted to do this on a friendly basis. He figured he’d make introductions. Say Murray is an old friend and a sports freak. The two would get engaged in a conversation about baseball and Mark would sneak on into the House.


Mark was trying to prove how grown up was.  But why should he have to prove anything?  Yeah, he had a very rough teenage life. But he turned everything around. He got a good job, made new friends that really care about him and did a lot of interesting things. But for some reason, these blasts from the past unnerved him.  He was much stronger. But he was not strong enough.  Or maybe he still had hidden fears of his past lodged deeply within him.


Anyway, Jerry came by.  Quick introductions were made.  But Murray was onto Mark. Murray quickly brought up his pain over all the injuries his beloved Bronx Bombers had. But then he brought up how it was such a beautiful summer day and the memories he had of spending his teen years in summer camp.


Mark panicked.  He started to shake.  About 10 feet away, Dani was watching this all. She was ready to strike if need be. But somehow she knew Murray was in control.


Mark’s body was twisted.  His conscience was telling him to stand tall. Tears were coming out of his eyes in buckets.


Jerry was perplexed.  Murray smiled. Jerry asked Mark what was wrong. Mark tried to speak. But all that came out of his mouth was gibberish.  He put his head down into his hands.


Jerry was thinking about radioing for an ambulance.  Murray chatted with Jerry for a brief moment.  They spoke about A-Rod’s constant mishaps.  Of course one could discuss that for much more than a brief moment.  A guy was having convulsions in front of them. But bring up baseball and that takes the stage.


Dani was in awe of Murray and the control he exhibited. It was almost as if the Force was truly channeling through him.  She knew know that their little group was unstoppable.


Murray shook Jerry’s hand, told Mark to calm down and said he’d text him later and wandered off to a hot dog stand.