< Light Millennium: Flip & Dombitz - Conclusion, by Robert J. Baumann
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Flip & Dombitz

Edward Hopper

by Robert J. BAUMANN


We had no luck in hearing anything from Flip about Rabbi Dombitz, but there were larger problems on the horizon. Against all wisdom Lori had cleaned up Flip's storage area. It was nothing more than a table or two which had filthy boxes stacked to the ceiling. The tables were the only ones in the Hole and Flip deliberately put them out of service, not wanting to have to walk back and forth to the tables to provide service. The Hole was only a counter operation... or at least it was until now.

Lori had wasted no time in cleaning up the place with my help and had put computers on the tables. She was going to re-christen the place as "Flip's CyberCafe". She wanted to upgrade Flip's re-cycled grounds to a full menu of coffee options. It was almost laughable to think of the usual customers being faced with a choice of a double frappucino, but that was Lori. She thought the higher prices would upgrade the clientele. Flip knew better.

Brophy probably would have not minded the change. He could always web surf for the thousands of references to his name, the only word that he ever spoke. Schnipple, of course, would avoid the computer like the plague as that was how Buddy Taub had tracked down hundreds of his brothers and sisters worldwide. Lloyd Flahs, our discount Media Guru and Marketing Maven had a computer of his own. It led me to wonder who would be the first to sit down for a spin.

Might you guess? No, it was not Jesse or Fax. It was Buddy Taub himself. Only Buddy would sit in a public space and access adult web sites. Lori would not let me go to the tables to bring him his latte. She said I was not allowed to view such things and simply avoided any description of what Taub had been into. It was relatively safe as Lori had been sure to disable the ability of the computer to download. Taub, however, was undaunted. He used the printer.

At $5.99 per hour for the computer time Lori felt she'd be making some money. The printer time was charged at .25 a sheet. When she gave Taub his double digit bill, he smiled and told her to add it to his tab. "Include a nice tip for yourself, Lori," he intoned. "Say 15%".

" 15% is a standard tip, Buddy," I admonished.

"OK, make that 20%, then," he said.

Lori gave him the malocchio, a combination of death wish and curse combined. The evil eye, as it was called in Italian, was Lori's version of Marie DeGaetano's look when she first met me. It simply conferred upon the recipient a host of plagues to be endured for a short and miserable lifetime followed by an excruciatingly painful death. I think the downfall would be extended until payment on the account was made. Following a cleaned up bill, I expected Taub's days on the planet to be quite short. Knowing how slowly Taub cleared up his debts he would no doubt die of old age, which if Lori had a say, would not be pleasant at all.

Breaking into this love fest was Moe Ippai, the one armed Japanese sign painter that Flip had once used to make a new sign for his store.

"Heard anything about the Rabbi?", he asked.

"Not a peep. We closed last night and opened this morning but we've had no word from Flip at all. I hope everything will be ok, but the silence is disturbing. Lori had tried to call the hospital last night but the operator said that a gang fight had taken place in the ER and everything was in a state of panic. It did not change when we called later on. Couldn't even dial into the Rabbi's room."

It was more than a gang fight that delayed Flip's return, as you have read here. Here's the rest of what happened then, as Flip had told it to me afterwards:

"I guess I could begin to tell you that it wasn't pretty. I've been in combat situations and there's a lot I don't like to talk about. I get depressed thinking about what I have seen, so it is something I block out of memory... as much as a human being can block stuff from memory.

"That kid we left in the clothes closet was shot, but we had no way to know how severely. I just thought hiding him would help save his life. If any of those gang bangers came back and found him, he'd have been shot and possibly even Trabsend might have been taken care of too, just to be sure.

"We saw the kid was bleeding, which was why we tried to get real help as quick as possible. It just wasn't soon enough."

Flip went into the whole story of how he and Dombitz had gone looking for assistance. He picked up the narrative when he and Dombitz were taken back to the room by the hospital security guards.

"Dombitz was both explaining and protesting all the way down the hall. It wasn't going to do much good, so I kept quiet. Dombitz never was one to be silent and nothing I could signal to him would've changed much.

"This guy Simpson was the first into the room with his gun drawn just in case. We followed him in when it was clear and this other alleged guard was behind us. Dombitz was still handcuffed to this other fellow name Glasser. It was a joke. Every time Dombitz stopped to take a breath, Glasser looked at him and asked 'Yeah, you... you want that?'. A lesser man would've just shut up, but not Dombitz.

"Anyway, there's blood all over the floor, leaking out from the closet. Simpson gave Valenzano a look and then he was out the door looking for a medic. The closet was opened and the kid dropped out of it. He looked pretty bad. Must've lost a lot of blood from the wound. They eventually put the kid on a gurney and headed him down to the E.R."

"How about Trabshot?", I asked.

"Trabway? Oh, he was fine. Still in the bed recuperating but not yet conscious. He missed it all."

"Did the kid make it?"

"Nah. Some of the bangers were still around and still on the prowl. They finished the job and shot the orderlies taking him down the hall."

"The guards, too?"

"No, but they winged one or two of the attackers. It almost doesn't pay. A few years in jail and they'll be out again. It's just a shame what the country has fallen into."

"What about Dombitz?", Lori asked.

"He ran down the hall at the sound of the gunfire. He and the loon were still handcuffed. Nobody shot them. They were not the kind that looked like gang members. The Rabbi was just there trying to offer some comfort to the orderlies and gang bangers who were shot. Glasser, too."

"How was that fellow of any use?", I asked.

"He was behind the Rabbi all the time. While Dombitz prayed, Glasser looked right at those wounded Bloods. All he said was 'Yeah? You.. you want that?'.  I think I've had enough for one day. I'm going home to my wife."

I thought it but it was Buddy Taub who said it: "Yeah!... yeah?... You..."

Before he could finish everyone spoke the usual three words he was used to:

1. Shut     2. Up    3. Buddy.

Just one more day, much like any other at Flip's Hole.

_ . _

Flip & Dombitz - For Previous part

E-mail to Robert J. Baumann: rbaumann@nyc.rr.com

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