- Books, Literature, and Writing
Dialogue-Only Short Story: Mordy and Selma Have a Conversation
Come listen in on this unintentionally humorous exchange between Selma and Mordy Feldman, a senior Jewish couple from New York
"Oy, my back is killing me."
"So what else is new?"
"And my joints-you couldn't imagine the pain."
"I couldn't imagine? What do you think my arthritis is, a picnic?"
"Oh, no, you're right. I skip around all day, picking daisies."
"All right, Selma, you have a point."
"Oh, thanks a lot, he tells me I have a point. Well anyway, guess who died?"
"You'll never guess. Rita Goldfarb!""Really?"
"I thought she died last year."
"No, that was Lena Goldman."
"The one with the psoriasis?"
"What a shanda."
"I don't know how Irving put up with it. The woman had hands like bricks."
"Oh, and he was such a prize?"
"What was wrong with Irving?"
"Nothing, if you have a hearing problem. Don't you remember how loud he talks? Like he's screaming down a well, that one."
"So you want I should go get the bagels or what? It's almost 9 o'clock, the pumpernickels are always gone by 9 o'clock."
"And he world would stop spinning if for once, you didn't have a pumpernickel? Every Sunday with the pumpernickels. Pumpernickels this, pumpernickels that. God forbid you should sit in the house with me and have a bowl of All-Bran. No, Mordy Feldman is too good to sit at the breakfast table with his wife!"
"Don't 'Selma' me, buster! I wonder who is working the counter at Glassman's this morning."
"No, don't tell me! I don't want to know! What, you think I don't know? I know! Believe you me, I know!"
"You know what?"
"Oh, look at him sitting there, looking like the cat who shtupped* the canary!"
"You want I should say it?"
"Selma, we've been over this."
"No, I won't give you the satisfaction."
"No, you could beg me, I wouldn't tell you. You could crawl on your knees across broken glass, and still I wouldn't lower myself to say the name Sheila Greenblatt."
"Selma, I told you I am not interested in Sheila Greenblatt."
"...So he says it. The name that shall not be spoken, he speaks it. Like two fists ripping out my kishkes*, this is. After all I've done for you for 45 years, all the laundry, the shopping, the schlepping*...this is how you repay me? Not that I ever asked for anything, of course. I do what I do. That's me. I'm a doer. But in my golden years, to think that my husband could shame me by consorting with a woman who parades around the neighborhood like a tramp..."
"Oh, you think I'm stupid, don't you, Mordy. You think I don't notice those short skirts of hers?"
"Selma, the woman wears an apron over a house dress."
"You think I'm just sweet little Selma, goes along to get along, never makes a problem, never opens her mouth, demure..."
"...So busy being the perfect wife, never stops her housework for a minute to wonder..."
"Selma, Kendall comes in twice a week to clean the house."
"Oh, now you're going to split hairs?"
"Selma. Listen to me. Listen to me, darling. I didn't want to tell you, I wanted it to be a surprise, but...here. Open this brochure to page 27.""Mordy."
"Wh at, sweetheart?"
"...Mordy. Th-the one with the terrace?"
"In the development with its own canasta room?"
"Yes, dear, the one with its own canasta room."
"I know, I told you we couldn't afford Florida yet. But you see, Sheila Greenblatt is a real estate agent at for 'Get Up and GOlden Active Community'. Turns out her brother-in-law has a cousin who's ex-daughter-in-law used to to go to school with Saul Mandelbaum, who just happens to be head mortgage broker over at First Bank of Borough Park. Being that I was family, he couldn't do enough for me. You could live your whole life and never see treatment like I got from this Saul Mandelbaum."
"S-so...we got the condo?"
"...falling all over me, it was almost embarrassing. Like pearls, my credit is, he tells me."
"...Did we get it?"
"...and this unit, this unit, the A4, this is what they save for the big shots. You think you could just walk into an A4? Not on your life. People from here to New Jersey are lining up around the block for the A4. Putting their names on a waiting list 3 years long, just to be considered for the A4. Just for the chance to interview. And after the 3 years, do you think you just walk right up to the interview? No, they pull your name out of a hat, out of a thousand other names. And then half of those they throw in the garbage. That is what we are talking about here."
"But DID WE GET IT?"
"Yes, Selma. We got it."
"Don't cry, Sell. I know, I didn't think we'd be able to move to Florida until we were senior citizens either, but...it's true."
"Oh, and to think I doubted you...I should have known better. That Sheila was way too busty for you. I should have known better...Oh, what a wife I've been, accusing you like this! Around the world you could go 10 times and not meet a wife as horrendous as me. Oy, my darling, if you could ever forgive me..."
"I love you, Selma, as much as I did at our wedding."
"Here's a tissue, Mor. I love you t-"
"..........And such a kisser you still are. 'You made me love you...I didn't want to do it, I didn't want to do it...'"
"So we can leave as soon as you're packed."
"What, so I have to do all the work?"