Happy Events Will Take Place Shortly in Your Home


Barney Lefkowitz takes one look at his bill, pounds his fist on the counter, and promptly keels over from a massive coronary. Screw him. I never liked him anyway. Let's talk about his brother Harry instead.

Harry Lefkowitz has a little pug dog that his wife, Myrna, has fed until now it's as round as a basketball and can't walk right even on a level sidewalk. In addition, his daughter Alex recently took up with a longhaired guitarist from Bay Ridge and can't be trusted anyway, not by a long shot. Only the other day she took the money Harry gave her for lottery tickets and spent it instead on penny stocks, which she said were a better investment in today's economy. "What does she know about today's economy?" he says to himself, and spits.

For her part, Alex thinks her father is as dumb as a stone, and now that I think about it, so do I. So let's talk about Alex.

She's eighteen, with large dark eyes and a Maori-style tattoo around the upper part of her right arm. She got it with her boyfriend Marty, before she left him for Ed, who she thinks is cuter anyway. In point of fact, Ed and Alex look so much alike that I'd be tempted to weave a long story involving separation at birth, and black market babies, and the amazing quirk of fate that brought them back together again after so many long years. I'd be tempted, only I have to go to the market at 6:30 and don't want this story to go on too long anyway, so let's just say they look a lot alike.

Ed is nineteen, and took up guitar five years ago when he realized it's a good way to meet girls. His father, Frank, complains constantly about his practicing, and with good reason: Ed is a terrible guitar player. He has no talent for it, but still plays loud enough to make the earth shake. It's shameful. If I were Frank, and it was my son, I'd have taken the thing away from him years ago and maybe sold him to the gypsies to boot. He looks like one anyway, with that hair.

"Hey," Frank says, "that's my son you're talking about. I can complain, I'm his father, but who are you to talk? It's not like you can do any better. And anyway, he's got a nice girl now who's straightening him out. She's studying to be a stockbroker."

Now, I'm not one to tell people what they should and shouldn't do — well, no, that's not right; I am. I admit it. But that's because I'm the narrator, and can do what I want.

"Frank," I say, "Go piss up a rope."

And he does.

But that still leaves Alex, who as I say is very attractive, and I'm tempted to just end the story right here and ask her to have a drink with me, but I have to draw the line somewhere, so I'll just go have one on my own.

My favorite bar is a dark old place called Mallone's, frequented by notorious low-lifes and a regular contingent of boozy old women. This time, when I walk in, the first thing I see is Barney Lefkowitz, who's lying on the floor clutching his chest, and since that's where we came in, and since I have my shopping to do anyway, let's just leave it at that.

Matt Hannafin