published in The Widow magazine, fall 1975

Following the publication of Schildtkraut in Epoch, the editor of The Widow, Cornell’s humor magazine, called me and asked if I had anything else. I sent him Berlinsky for their fall ’75 issue. I recently reread it for the first time in close to 30 years, and discovered that several of its ideas reappear in Minyan.

Both works, for example, make mention of those little hotdogs wrapped in dough that were a favorite hors d’oeuvre at the Jewish celebrations of my youth. I only recently discovered that this is what Gentiles call “pigs in blankets.” And certainly the voice is very similar. It may well be the only fiction voice I have. Also, what seemed a clever and original idea back then — the idea of personalized birthday cards — is now a common sight at Hallmark.

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      “It was time, he had said, to meet a pretty lady. Sitting next to him at a cheap subway food counter, he imagined, she would be a nickel short and would look around helplessly. He would fall in love for five cents. Or walking out of a supermarket, she would drop her bag and grapefruits would roll down the sidewalk, oranges in the gutter. Love for a fruit salad. She would be a telephone operator taking his late night call, a waitress serving him black coffee at six in the morning, a stewardess fastening his jammed seatbelt…"