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The Problem with Mitzie is Resolved
by Adam Kluger




After the magazine party at the New York Athletic Club, Blake Schnellenberg made small talk with a lawyer waiting in line for his coat.

"Lawyer, huh? Hope you are one of the good ones, I'm sure you are. " Blake laughed generously.

The lawyer, who was managing partner of his firm, smiled and chatted more with Blake and a group of others and then as Blake was leaving he offered a card and said to Blake,

"I don't know what it is Blake, but you have a very winning quality about you. Confident and likable."  "Thanks, (looking down at the business card) Preston... these days I will take all the compliments can get."

" I mean it, you just have this indefinable quality...a kind soul." 

"Thanks, Preston that's very kind and thoughtful...you guys have a great rest of the evening." 

Blake was a good person but that didn't count for much to the IRS, his landlord or his ex-wife; to them he was a loser and a deadbeat. The next morning he was walking to face his past. Past 5th Avenue handymen who were spraying down the sidewalk in front of the gates to mansions and fancy apartments. The wet streets could not be avoided and the water found its way into Blake Schnellenberg's socks through the holes in his shoes. Blake thought of the mahogany desks and Persian rugs and tumblers filled with scotch. This was how the rich kids in high school entertained like a scene out of a Whit Stillman movie. This was 12th grade over 35 years ago.


I need a job


I need a job


I need a job


I need a job


Being Editor in Chief of Sharkpool Magazine was just not paying the bills. Blake walked dutifully toward the synagogue about a mile away across the street from Central Park with screeching buses and early morning pedestrians.


I need a job


I need a job


I need a job


Maybe if he said it out loud enough on his way to the funeral service he would have the guts to repeat it when the time was right not that there is ever a right time.

"My father worked for your grandfather during the war selling piece goods. What are piece goods? Bolts of fabric. My father was such a good salesman that your grandfather had to pay him in piece goods instead of money."

This was the extent of the conversation with Blake's friend's dad.

"Oh my God" was what his other old friend from high school said with a quick hug and then on to the other mourners.


Blake nodded to no one in particular and walked out - dreading the Shiva the following day. Where he would reminisce on high school while eating a pastrami sandwich at the buffet table. 


I need a job


I need a job


I need a job



He couldn't ask them. He pussied out.


The conversation about yachts and luxury cars left Blake feeling depressed.


Instead, he snuck out and retired to a nearby diner shortly thereafter. One cup of coffee and unlimited refills. What a deal!  Frank Sinatra crooned a silky ballad that wasn't familiar but comforting nonetheless. The joint was jumping with tots running around with little dolls and New York's finest eating lunch among citizens on a cold, breezy-rainy afternoon. And this was life and hope was a small seed inside of Blake as he watched the steam atop his coffee and felt the tears roll down his face.


She says the city's strange


She says the weather's cold


Earlier that morning after pissing he felt the pull of the toilet flush trying to pull him all the way down forever.  Now, listening to Sinatra, his mind exploded in fireworks of possibility he felt almost giddy. It was hope. Perhaps It was a sign from a chandelier making noise in the temple from his father and from a couple of new business leads on his phone and a couple of small signs that all was not lost and it never truly is. Hope. Maybe becoming a teacher is not such a bad idea.  The dead man had it right. If you love what you do, it is never work and if you are having fun the money will come. Always be closing. Blake looked back at his life suddenly and realized it wasn't bad at all. He had done things. Good things. Had been modestly successful and had acted honorably and that as long as he was alive and willing to take on new risk and challenge that he could still escape the quicksand. Little things. They mattered. People. Relationships. Time to be proactive Blake!


Then his iPhone pinged.

"Blake! How come you stopped answering my emails? Madone! Get yourself out of that shit show of a magazine!!!" Wrote Mitzie Kerfuffle who had posted on FB that [I've left Sharkpool Magazine because there was nothing there for me]


"Blake, since my official resignation announcement I have been deluged by people who have told me that Bob Beauregard is a snake, a crook, a liar, a thief and a philanderer - which means he will fuck anything or anyone in a skirt #metoo!... That fucker still owes me $3,500 for the reporter wardrobe I purchased on his demand... I swear to god that creep smelled my hair on the dance floor and pinched my ass or something touched my ass.. maybe it was his trouser snake that tried to make its way up my caboose--whatever it was you can be sure that my legal team is going to do DNA testing on the dress I was wearing on the dance floor and if his wrinkled up worm rubbed up against my innocent tush then there is going to be a motherfucking enormous lawsuit against Sharkpool that is going to make Ol Bobby Boy's head spin. My goods are meant only for my husband when I find him and not some sleazy old man who can't keep his pecker in his pants when he sees a pretty girl on a dance floor. I'm a lady Blake and I don't take kindly to being treated like a whore. He defiled me Blake and I'm going to take a stand with all my sisters. Hallelujah. Retribution will be mine!" He's going to pay for 10 new wardrobes, a new apartment and a cool Mil for pain and suffering and he will be lucky to get off that easy!"   


Blake was about to turn off his phone ... he was tired of all the Mitzie nonsense.


"Blake you are a thousand times better than this I pray for you. I am so glad I quit that piece of shit Sharkpool  - you need to wake the fuck up as I did. I'm woke! So much happier but I still see that that weasel-motherfucking piece of shit would be rapist pervert cocksucker Montgomery is still embarrassing your so-called magazine with his douchebag social media posts - when are you going to wake up Blake... he's bad news and so is Sharkpool."


Blake read the text and replied.


[good luck Mitzie...wishing you every success and happiness.]


There was no need to take the bait or remind Mitzie that she was actually fired for inappropriate behavior... she knew that - but she decided to deal with that by re-writing the ending a little. She was a piece of work. Blake wished her well and hoped not to keep getting any new texts or emails from her. She was exhausting.


The guy in the next booth in the diner had an affected and exaggerated way of speaking on the phone that was annoying and off-putting. In the past Blake would get on his own phone and be just as loud and annoying to illustrate how uncivil it is to speak loudly in a diner where people are drinking coffee and trying to sort their life out and arrange their priorities. This passive-aggressive approach was pretty childish and ineffective Blake decided as he walked out the door of the diner... on the corner was a fruit stand. Blake complimented the fruit stand guy on his wonderful looking bananas. The fruit-stand owner ripped a banana (4 for a dollar) from the bunch and handed it to Blake.


"Here you go, my friend"


"Thank you- how much do I owe you?"


"No charge my friend"


Blake nodded appreciatively. He kept walking. It was a new day and Blake had even made a new friend.



And then Blake's iPhone pinged again.




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