Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Brushes flick against a tight snare drum.  The crisp bite of the high-hat on the two and four ushers in Abe Tummler.  His white loafers skid in time with the drummer’s take to the ride.  His stage presence is wider than the spotlight that tries to take in his mountainous 350 lb. frame.  If all the rimshots and snare hits were silenced, the audience would be able to hear the swish of his green polyestered legs slapping together as he dances.  But even if the drums weren’t there, they wouldn’t be able to hear this over their screams and applause.  Yet none of this seems to phase him.  The glitz is just part of the life.


A snare roll crescendos with the applause and firmly snaps the crowd to attention as Abe confronts the smoky microphone.  Even the clinking of the highballs on the tables fall deaf as the house waits for what song he’ll start off with.  Abe holds the silence, milking it, knowing full well that he was the crowd by the short hairs.  An uncomfortable lull falls over them.  A woman in the front row giggles a bit.  A waiter near the back stops serving.  All attention is pulled to him , like an overfed black hole.


He closes his eyes and drops the dangling cigarette from his lips.


“Mother,” he whispers.



The room is still.  Smoke is the only living thing in the The Happy Chozzer tonight.  No one moves, nothing is said.  He still has them right where he wants them – a place there even he doesn’t want to be right now.



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