OVERTURE (by telephone):

“I have a big bag of garbage. Would you prefer to come to the back door?”
“I don’t care.”
“Surely you must have a preference?”
“OK, the front door as usual.”
“Wouldn’t the back door be easier?”
“OK, the back door.”
“Why must you make things so difficult?”


“Please don’t start the car yet.”
“You should not take that person to the airport.”
“There’s nothing scheduled.”
“Do you want to know why I say this?”
“If you want me to know…if not…I don’t care—you brought it up.”
“Will you get upset if I tell you?”
“I don’t get upset.”
“And don’t put your hand on your forehead either.”
“Well, you are too nice to people.”
“Why would that make me mad? That’s a compliment.”
“It is not meant as one.”
“It was NOT an insult.”
“It certainly was.”
“Aunt Helen, we’re just different. You choose to punish people—I don’t.”

—-momentary silence, and then…..

“What about Michael? Remember when you gave each of the kids Chanukah gelt except him?”
“That was not a punishment.”
“Aunt Helen…I’m not judging you. That’s how you do business…but it WAS a punishment.”
“It was no such thing. I was just severing my ties with him. Am I not entitled to do so?”
“Of course you are—but he was a kid! Can you see how others would perceive it as punishment?”
“You are stupid, and further, why do you impugn my integrity?”
“I’m not impugning your integrity—just saying we handle things differently.”
“Do you even know what the word ‘impugn’ means?”
“Yes, Aunt Helen. I know I’m not as smart as you but—-“
“You certainly are not. Just drive. Don’t speak to me.”



(Accellerando) “And another thing, you once told me I find fault in everyone. I remember it well—it was right after your mother died.”
“That was two years ago.”
“Perhaps, but you have yet to name one person.”
“As I recall you were criticizing Barri Lee Cleaners and Norm Diamond and complaining about not getting a thank you from the Cleveland Institute Of Music..”
“Did I not have a right to?”


“And another thing: do you know that one out of three times you take me shopping I get upset?”
“Why do you get upset?”
“Never you mind. That is an actual statistic I’m giving you: one out of three times. Do you not believe me?”
“I not only believe you—I believe you write it down.”
“So you admit it then!”
“Aunt Helen, (staccato), do you think maybe when you’re upset you bring some of it on yourself? Do you own any piece of it?”

—–Fifteen minutes of silence—

“Please make sure the envelopes are completely in the mail slot.”
“You’re just not nice.”
“I try to be. I’ve asked you to dinner but you refuse.”
“Of course I do. Surely you know why?”
“I know what you say, but I don’t know why.”
“You insist on a weekday night. How dare you!”
“Why is that bad?”
“Why should I be relegated to a week night. Surely you see your friends on Saturdays!”
“Aunt Helen—“
“You are selfish—no less.”
“Do you say the same things to Harold? Do you call him names? Is he selfish too? ”
“Never you mind about Harold. Why must you change the subject?”
“I was just wondering—“
“Until Margie chooses to talk to me I choose not to ask Harold.”
“First of all, Margie talks to you.  But let me ask you:   Are you saying that if I had a wife and she chose not to talk to you that we wouldn’t be having this conversation?  That I could get married tomorrow and put an end to this?”
“Would it hurt you to have dinner with me on a Saturday night? Surely you must eat!”
“I offered five other nights.”
“You are stupid.”

ENCORE (by telephone)

“I would like to finish our conversation of yesterday.”

Interject the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

“Are you willing to admit you never once asked me to join you on a Saturday night?”
“Yes, Aunt Helen.”
“So there—then I am right, am I not?”
“Yes Aunt Helen.”

One Response to “MISS HELUNIA’S OPUS”

  1. Unknown says:

    whatta bitch

Leave a Reply