Last Laff

Last Laff
by Zalman Velvel

"Mother, what are you doing?" Billy Lipshitz grabbed her and held her.
 
Ida Lipshitz was still spry at 61, even if she was only five foot tall in her orthopedic shoes. Billy was a head taller; he was 40, but looked 50, was prematurely bald, and his ten year old pin-striped suit was shiny and two sizes too small.
 
Ida managed to wiggle her right hand free. She squeezed Billy's balls and he let go of her immediately. Billy looked to his sister for help, his face contorted with pain.
 
Heather Lipshitz was no help. She just stood there, her eyes as big as basketballs, her hands covering her mouth. She should have put them over her eyes, but at 36, and after two ex- husbands, she was too curious to do that.
 
"Heather, come over here." Ida's hands were a blur of activity.
 
"Mr. Greenbaum will never allow it," Billy warned as his sister edged closer.
 
"What he doesn't know won't hurt him."
 
Ida stopped paying attention to Billy. She and Heather were busy with the job at hand, the same silly expression on each of their faces.
 
"Now, when he comes in here, do what I tell you," Ida ordered,
 
Heather nodded obediently. The two women finished their crazy task and examined the product.
 
"Oh, Mother!" Heather gasped. "Billy, would you give a look!"
 
Billy looked, in spite of himself.
 
"We'll see who has the last laugh, now!" Ida looked pleased for the first time in a long time.
 
Almost on cue, Abe Greenbaum peeked his little 70 year old white-haired head into the room.
 
"Ladies, how are you holding up? Anything I can do?"
 
Ida turned Heather around and tugged on the front of her dress, almost ripping the thin little straps that held it up.
 
"Mother! My nipples are showing."
 
Heather moved her hands to cover her breasts. No good. She would need catcher mitts on both hands to hide those beauties. 38 triple D's. The family heritage – all the Lipshitz women were top heavy. Heather was bottom heavy, too, with a big ass ripe for pinching.
 
All this flesh was supported by two toothpick legs.
 
Billy began to grudgingly see the wisdom of his mother's plan. Abe Greenbaum was one of those men who looked like they were reading a girlie magazine every time they talked to a woman. He wore a depraved smile, like a hooker just unzipped his fly with her teeth.
 
Ida pinched Heather, and Heather jumped.
 
"Mr. Greenbaum, my mother wants me to talk to you – Ow!… Mother! …."
 
Ida pinched her again, then whispered something.
 
"Mr. Greenbaum, could we do this privately …. in your office?" Heather shimmied inside her dress while she said this. By the time she uttered the word 'office', the tops of her areolae peeked out naughtily.
 
Abe Greenbaum flashed a thousand megawatt smile and adjusted himself.
 
"Of course! Come right this way, Heather."
 
When her daughter left, Abe Greenbaum in tow, Ida walked to the front of the room and stood by the door. She looked at her watch.
 
"Mother, even by your standards, this is crazy."
 
"William, it's five minutes to eleven. You can either stand up here and help me greet people, or sit down there with that stupid look on your face. Either way, this is the way it's going to play.
 
Billy took a long time before he shrugged, stood up, and joined his mother. He wondered if there were other ultra-dysfunctional families like his in the world. Surely the Boston Strangler and Jack The Ripper were spawned by similar unions, but were there many others, lurking?
 
No sooner had Billy arrived at the door when his Uncle Benny, his Dad's brother, arrived with Aunt Isabel. Isabel hugged his mother and then came over to him, tear-faced.
 
"I'm so sorry, Billy." Aunt Isabel's head came up to his chest, all four feet 10 inches of her.
 
He smelled her perfume and his nose started running. He was allergic to lilacs.
 
Billy watched as Uncle Benny put his whole body into hugging his mother, all three hundred and fifty pounds of him. And then, true to form, he grabbed her ass with one of his pudgy hands, and whispered something in her ear. After Ida plucked his hand off her backside, he became serious.
 
"He was my younger brother, Ida. I should have gone first."
 
"I wish you had gone first, Benny." Ida looked like she meant it.
 
Benny turned red. "I don't know if I can look inside the coffin, Ida."
 
"I can't look either … I can't imagine Moe like this … he was always so full of life," Aunt Isabel concurred.
 
"Don't be silly, both of you. Mr. Greenbaum did a wonderful job on him." Ida guided them gently toward the back of the room. "Now go pay your last respects."
 
Benny and Isabel approached Moe Lipshitz's coffin slowly. When they got up close to it, Benny grabbed his heart. Isabel screamed.
 
After a few deep breaths, Benny stormed up to his sister-in-law. "What's the meaning of this, Ida?"
 
"Meaning of what? Why whatever do you mean, Benjamin?" His mother was using her Scarlett O'Hara voice now.
 
"You know damn well what I mean! My brother is naked!"
 
"Oh, is he? I have been so broken hearted that I didn't notice. I do remember Mr. Greenbaum asking me how we should dress him, and I said, dress him just the way he was when he died. Dress him like the other men in his family like to be seen."
 
Aunt Isabel pulled Benny away. "Benjamin, take me home," she ordered. Together, they stomped out of Greenbaum's Funeral Home.
 
"Mother, you've had your fun. Now let's dress Dad before the others arrive."
 
"William Lipshitz, if you touch one thread of your father's clothes, I will make sure I outlive you, and then bury you the same way."
 
Billy was neutralized by his mother's threat. He was a modest boy, not the kind who paraded around locker rooms without a towel.
 
Maury Hapstein, his Dad's business partner of forty years, entered with his wife Hazel on his arm. They were dressed like they expected a photo shoot from People Magazine. Maury wore a three piece suit from Hickey Freeman, and Hazel was awash in diamonds and mink.
 
"Ida, we're so sorry. The world will be a much colder place without Moe around." Maury almost looked like he was going to cry.
 
"Is there anything we can do, Ida?" Hazel Hapstein offered, extending her ring finger so Ida could appraise the flawless four karat pear shape glowing there.
 
"Yes, anything," Maury chimed in.
 
"Why don't you two pay your last respects, and then we'll talk later." Ida suggested.
 
Ida received another hug from both of them, then they gave the same to Billy. They proceeded solemnly toward Moe's coffin.
 
"Jesus H. Christ!" Maury commented.
 
"Ida, have you lost your mind?" Hazel's eyebrows tried to knit themselves, but the recent face lift stopped them in mid-stitch.
 
"Is something wrong?" Ida came running.
 
Maury and Hazel's eyes looked like they were following a tennis match. First, they narrowed on Moe's naked body, then their gazes rested on Ida's innocent face. Then back again. And again.
 
"Oh that!" Ida answered. "We had to bury him this way because after all the money Maury stole from the business, he left poor Moe without the shirt on his back."
 
Maury and Hazel looked at each other, then turned on their heels and walked outside to their waiting limo.
 
"Mother, enough is enough." Billy reached down and placed something in his father's coffin.
 
"You get that sock off him, William Lipshitz."
 
"Mother, for God's sake."
 
She pulled the sock off his private parts.
 
This exchange was interrupted by Kimberly Fenstamocker, Moe's 25 year old secretary. She made her entrance in a skin-tight, clinging silk dress, her long blonde hair spilling over her shoulders.
 
"Kimberly!" Ida ran to her. "Please come in."
 
"Hello, Mrs. Lipshitz."
 
"Please call me Ida. I'm so glad you could make it. I know you and Moe were very close. He told me you were like a daughter to him."
 
"And I loved him like a father."
 
They walked arm in arm to Moe's coffin.
 
"Kimberly, I don't believe what some people are saying, not for a minute."
 
"I knew you wouldn't, Ida. Moe always said you were bigger than that. A real lady."
 
"You don't live with a man for forty-two years and not get to know his little habits, his likes and dislikes. I know Moe liked to take showers in the middle of the day, and your apartment was the closest one to the office."
 
"He was always such a clean man."
 
"Yes, he was saintly in that respect. And I know he liked to lie down after he took a warm, soothing shower and relax, and your bed was right there."
 
"He looked so peaceful when I found him."
 
When they stopped next to the coffin, Kimberly gasped.
 
"So what do you think?" Ida asked. "Doesn't he look just the way you remember him?"
 
Kimberly stood there hypnotized. When she could speak, she said, "Well, I never!"
 
"Of course you never," Ida said, patting her hand. "And here are the Polaroids we found in Moe's desk. I know he would want you to have them. I especially liked the one with the whipped cream and sprinkles, but the people at the office liked the one where you were tied up and had the snake wrapped around you and … well, you know the one."
 
"You showed these to the people I work with?"
 
"Used to work with. You're fired, Kimberly."
 
His mother had a twisted smile while she watched Kimberly flee from Greenbaum's Funeral Home. Ida glanced at her watch, and then her hands got busy again.
 
"Okay, Billy, don't just stand there." She pulled Billy over to the coffin.
 
"Mother, what the hell are you doing now?"
 
"Come on, dummy, lift up his legs so I can get his pants on … higher … that's it … now lift up his shoulders …. more … you put on his shoes and socks while I button his shirt and tie the tie….What?" She looked up into Billy's eyes when he stopped responding. "The real funeral starts at noon … I invited those bastards to come an hour before everyone else."
 
"Excuse me?"
 
"Did you think I would do this in front of your grandmother … or the children! Close your mouth, you're attracting flies … look, if you're not going to help, go stand by the door and keep the people out until I'm finished. Come on. Move! They'll be here any minute."
 
THE END
 
 
____________________________________________________________
 
Gift Section
 
Dear ____________________
 
This Story was a special Gift for a Special Person
on the occasion of your _______________________ .
 
I love you,
 
 
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Person Giving Gift
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Copyright 2012 by Zalman Velvel Inc.
You may print this story for yourself, but you may not copy it without permission from the author.