Eliezer Sobel
Schneiderman, p.4

"Listen I have a cheaper solution," Baumgartner tells me. "Just promise her you'll never do it again, and then don't. And use the money you save to help needy children. You'll feel like a million bucks."

Baumgartner is no monkey.

But then I start dreaming of Matisse, everyone dancing naked in circles.

Gaugin, and Marcy's topless in Tahiti while I bite into juicy, tropical fruits.

Rembrandt, and you can look right through me and see my soul. There is a weathered sense of the ancient all around me. Cracked parchment. Dark shadows and wrinkled skin. Mahler's Adagietto. When I wake up from that one, I'm no longer afraid to die.

We decide to go in for one last session with Schneiderman, the lunatic, to tell him in person that we're terminating, and why. The waiting room is silent, and the walls are empty. As if he knew my last dream: the Japanese brush painting of empty sky, the John Cage piece where nobody plays and everyone listens. We say what we came to say:

"We both felt it was inappropriate for you to share with us about your personal fetish," Marcy says.

"Maybe I felt it was inappropriate for you to tell me about your undergarments," he responds.

Marcy and I are speechless.

"Just maybe," he says. "if you hadn't told me about your Betty Boop boxer shorts, and you hadn't told me about your masturbation exercise in San Francisco, and you hadn't told me that you and Marcy never make love, and you hadn't bored me to tears with your goddamn personal history, maybe you wouldn't be in this predicament in which you presently find yourself. "


"What I mean is," and this next part is true, this is exactly the way it happens: He steps up from behind his desk, dramatically opens one button of his shirt, and begins softly singing, almost in a whisper, "There's no business, like show business, like no business I know" and gradually he peels off layers, one by one, until he has stripped down to his thong bikinis, while belting out the song loud and Ethel-Merman-big, with grand hand gestures and kicking Rockette legs, and then, still singing, he literally ushers us out of his office, while hitting his big finish:

"Let's go on with the showwwwww!"

The door clicks shut behind us on what would have been the orchestra's final downbeat.

And that, believe it or not, is how Marvin Schneiderman cured our marriage.

[1]       [2]       [3]       4

Eliezer Sobel is a writer, teacher, actor, and musician who lives in Batesville, VA. His novel, MINYAN: Ten Jewish Men in a World that is Heartbroken will be published this fall.

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