Early on Friday my brother Pat and I walked into Rosenblum's little trinkety-junky kind of jewelry store that is just around the corner from Limpy's Place. Pat had just enjoyed an early morning scotch or three too many and I had broken my rule about never drinking more martinis before breakfast than the number of pennants the Yankees have won in the decade (this rule could have made for a boring 1980's, but just think of what the 1950's could have been like! Zoiks!). Pat and I had to prop each other up as we walked toward the rickety little brownstone. You've never seen a brownstone look rickety? Well, you've never seen this place, then.
We shuffled inside and Mr. Rosenblum, the owner, took one look at us, and rolled his eyes. “Oy. The Andrews boys again,” he said, “and shtinking like a chaloshes garbage dump. What do you two need today?”
“Good morning, Mr. Rosenblum,” Pat began, “we are, the both of us, that's two...me and Tom...Tom and me...the two of us, we're looking for some nice gifts for our wives. Big day comin' up on Monday, you know.”
“That's Tuesday, you shmendrick. Tuesday is Valentine's Day.”
“Ushish...umm...no,” I interrupted, “well, yes, Tuesday is St. Valentine's Day, but Pat's right...Monday is a big day, too.”
“Monday? February 13th?” asked Mr. Rosenblum.
“St. Kentigern's Day,” replied Patrick. “A seventh-century bishop and confessor...it's a big day in our family. We always spend it with our wives or girlfriends, depending which of the two we happen to have.”
“There was Uncle Hawthorn, of course,” I interjected, “who tried spending it with both at the same time. We pray for the repose of his soul on Armistice Day, too.”
“Vei is mir...” sighed Mr. Rosenblum under his breath, “so what do you need? And quickly.”
“How about a nice locket? Or a letter opener or something?” asked Pat, swaying to and fro.
“Or a snow-globe,” said Pat.
“Or a phone dialer,” I suggested..
“Yes, like in that movie with Audrey Hepburn, “ I said
“You mean Katherine Hepburn,” said Pat.
“No, it was Audrey Hepburn,” I replied, “ohhhh...cat...I have the mean reds...or something like that,” doing my best Audrey Hepburn impersonation.
“No, Tom, it was Katherine Hepburn,” said Pat, “Mooooooooooooooon Rivah...widah than a miiiiiiile...” singing at the top of his lungs in his best Katherine Hepburn transatlantic accent.
“Your golf ball. Your car. Your goiter. Is there anything in the world that doesn't belong to you?” I quoted. “It's Audrey.”
“I cahn't go to Sing Sing with a green face...reahhlly, dahling...”
“Don't forget to put me over your shoulder and burp me after lunch,” I said, coyly.
“Now that is DEFINITELY Katherine Hepburn, Tom,” said Pat, shaking his head. “Mistah Miyagi, you silly little mahn...I'm just hahving a little pahty...I cahn't heah you...stop ban-ging on the blessed dohr”
“No, Pat, it's Audrey Hepburn...” I said, “Norman, Norman! The loons...the fricking loons...they're coming back!”
“Fred...Fred...oh deah...it's cold, Fred. Bring me a scotch, Fred,” said Pat.
“Enough!” cried Mr. Rosenblum, turning red in the face and reaching up to a box marked 'studio promotions' on a high shelf behind the counter. He pulled down two cellophane-wrapped rotary phone dialers and handed them to us. “This is just meshugenik...take these and get out of here. Come back when you can stand up without weaving!” He helped us to the door, and with a gentle shove helped us back out onto the street.
Pat and I looked at the phone dialers in our hands.
“Yeah...I'm thinking the same thing,” he said, and turned to walk back into Mr. Rosenblum's store. He returned a minute later with two gift boxes.
“Pat, I love shopping with you,” I said, “you always cover all the bases. Thank you.”
“No problem, Tom,” he said. “But I'm starving. Let's go over to Tiffany's and see if we can get some breakfast, OK?”