Thursday, January 19, 2006

Cheese Man Part 2

The funeral was the next day. Everybody was there. Michael and I had been one of those fabulous couples that get involved in everything, so the whole world made time for the funeral. Even the old, crotchety guy from shul who always complained that young people were taking over the shul showed up to pay his respects to the 'young punk.'

The Rabbi spoke beautifully, talking about how when a couple is ripped apart by something so tragic, it is like a bagel being destroyed, and the only way to soothe the pain, he said, for me, for Michael’s family, for the entire community, was with cream cheese. A few people laughed out loud, and the old crotchety guy shook his head and muttered something about the young punk rabbi, but most people were able to maintain the proper funeral decorum.

It wasn’t until Michael was being lowered into the ground that all hell started to break loose. First, the casket fell slipped off one of the ropes that was holding it up above the hole, before they lowered it in. The people tried to lift the casket up and straighten in out, but it was too heavy, and the rabbi decided they should lower the foot end of the casket into the ground, so Michael could find peace and not be crunched up head first inside the casket.

But that was nothing compared to what happened next. Town yentas live their entire lives waiting for a moment like this, and today was their day. As the bottom half of the casket was being lowered into the ground, Michael’s mother walked over to me.

“Mom, I’m so sorry,” I started.

The tears that had filled her eyes during the service were replaced with rage. “You killed my boy,” she yelled. “You knew he was standing there, and you did it on purpose. I never liked you anyway. You little slut. You stole my little Mikey, and then you killed him.”

She would have continued to yell and scream, but one of her sons grabbed her by the arm and led her away, back to the car. As she was led away, all she kept yelling was “You little slut, you killed my boy.”

Carol came over and held my hand. “Are you ok,” she asked.

“I’m just glad I’m not related to her anymore,” I said.

Shiva was a disaster. When we got back to my apartment, friends had come and set up the house. Mirrors were covered, there were those small chairs for me to sit on, and four people had dropped off huge cheese platters.

Really, hadn’t I suffered enough?

Carol was with me. Come to think of it, she had barely left my side since the incident the night before. “When this shiva is over,” I whispered to her, “I am going to get rid of all the cheese in this house. I am going to have a huge cheese tossing party, and get rid of every single stinking piece of cheese in this house. I don’t ever want to see another piece of cheese again. Not cheddar, mozzarella, muenster, brie, or any of the other crappy cheese flavors that have filled my fridge the past six months.”

The doorbell rang; it was a delivery boy. "Cheese delivery," the boy said, handing the tray to Carol before I could shoo him away.

I was OK for the first few days of Shiva, but by the third or fourth day, I was ready for a shower. I hadn’t planned on Mike dying, and I hadn’t showered since the morning before he died. It had been a week since my last shower, and I was feeling really disgusting. I still had two days to go, and I didn’t know if I was going to make it.

“Carol,” I said. “If anyone ever asks you, tell them to take a shower before they kill their husband.”

Carol gave a nervous laugh. “You know,” she said, “the police officers that were here the night Michael died came over to talk with me last night.”


“I don’t know. I guess they are just trying to see if you killed him on purpose.”

“You told them I would never kill him, didn’t you?”

“Of course I told him that, but I just wanted you to know they are asking questions, so you might want to tone down the ‘I just killed my husband’ talk.”

“Can I talk to you about something personal,” I asked her, changing the subject.

“Sure, go ahead.”

“This is kind of awkward, but do you think you and Yitzi could go one night without, you know, umm, doing it?”

Carol started to turn red.

“Carol, I love listening to you guys most of the time, but with Michael being dead, and me sleeping alone, I was just hoping you guys could, ya know, take a night off, out of respect for the grieving.”

Carol stood up, and walked out the door.


Shiva was almost over. It was Wednesday afternoon, and I all could think about was taking a shower and cleaning my apartment, when there was a knock on the door. My mother was over, and opened the door. There were two police officers at the door, the same ones who had come by the night Michael died.

“Is Lisa here,” one of them asked. “She’s inside,” I heard my mother answer.

“Can we come in,” the officer asked. “We’d like to talk to her about a few things.”

“I don’t think now is a good time,” my mother answered. “She is getting up from Shiva, you know mourning, this evening, and I think needs some quiet time.”

“Ma’am, we could come back with a warrant, or we can just talk to her now,” the officer said.

My mother started to answer, but I interrupted. “Let them come in, Ma,” I shouted.

The two officers walked into the living room. I was still sitting in the low chair, and they sat on the couch across from me.

“We’re sorry for your loss, Mrs. Berger,” one of the officers said. “We just want to talk to you a bit, for the file.”

My mother sat down on the floor next to me, and I instinctively grabbed her hand.

“I’m Detective Lawrence Gil, and this is my partner, Detective Eizen.”

I nodded at both of them. They returned my nod, so I nodded again. Again, they returned my nod. I thought about nodding one more time, but let it go. Detective Gil started to talk.

“I understand you and Michael had a fight the day he died. Is that true?”

I shrugged. “I guess so. We used to fight a lot. He was always trying to serve cheese all the time.”

“So you did fight on the day that he died.” He paused, wrote something on his notepad, and then continued. “Can you tell me about the events that happened the night that Michael died?”

“What events?”

“The timeline. What you were doing leading up to the Q-Tip.”

“We ate dinner, watched some TV, and went to bed. He was in the bathroom getting ready to go to sleep, and that’s when it happened.”

“When what happened?”

“When I opened the door to the bathroom. That’s what killed him, I guess. I opened the door, it bumped into his arm, and the force of the door pushed the Q-Tip into his brain.”

“What did you do after he fell?”

“What do you mean, after he fell?”

“Did you call an ambulance?”


“Why not?”

“I checked his pulse. He was dead. I called my rabbi because I didn’t know what to do.”

“Our witness says she thinks she heard something large fall down at 10:15. She knows it was exactly 10:15 because she was watching TV and ran into the bathroom at the commercial. She says it had to be really big because you play your music very loudly. She also says that you like to get involved in other people's business for no reason at all. Phone records show that you didn’t make a call for almost 20 minutes, until 10:33. What happened during those twenty minutes?”

“Umm, I don’t remember.”

“The Q-Tip was pushed pretty far into your husband’s brain. Are you sure he didn’t fall down, and then you pushed the Q-Tip deeper into his head, ultimately killing him.”

“You’re crazy. I didn’t intentionally kill my husband. I went into the bathroom to get a hair removal kit. I checked his pulse. He was dead, so I got the hair removal kit out, used it, and called my rabbi. Are you happy now? I have a hairy upper lip, and didn't want that to go in the file. But now there it is for everyone to see.”

He ignored my ranting, wrote something else in his notebook, and continued.

“Let me get this straight. You fought with your husband. He was dead on the floor, and the first thing you could think of was to take care of some unwanted hair?”

“Yes. That’s exactly what happened.”

“But you just said you didn’t remember what happened.”

“Stop trying to confuse me. Please leave. This conversation is over.” I squeezed my mother’s hand tightly. She hadn’t said a word at all to the detectives, and I was wondering what she thought of me now.

Detective Gil looked over at Detective Eizen.

They both stood up. “Detective Eizen spoke for the first time. “Please stand up ma’am,” he said.

He was tall and imposing, and I listened. “Lisa Berger, you are under arrest for the murder of Michael Berger.” In one motion, my hands were handcuffed behind my back. “Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney.”

I looked over at my mother, and watched as she collapsed on the floor.

The preceding story is Fiction.

Part One

Part Three


Anonymous Keglavithcher Rav said...

Stinky situation

10:33 AM  
Blogger macabee said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:28 AM  
Blogger macabee said...

I have never laughed so hard in my life... creamcheese and a bagel, um... where have I heard that before? Detective Gil and Eizen? Lisa Winer? This is getting too close to home.

The Q tip murderer, I can't wait to see what happens next.

Keep up the comedy, it suits you well.

11:28 AM

11:36 AM  
Blogger Krunk said...

Sucks for her.

12:33 PM  
Blogger weltate said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:37 PM  
Blogger weltate said...

my husband and i are on this crazy diet. cheese is on it, and half the time it's all we eat. lots and lots of cheese.

1:38 PM  
Blogger weltate said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:41 PM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

The preceding story is Fiction

you don't say

1:59 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

As you might recall, people needed that clarification for Friday Night Races, and I've been uincluding it ever since.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Did I ever mention that you are one twisted individual?

9:04 AM  
Blogger swiftthinker said...

Is it Mrs Berger or Lisa Winer? and also the first thing people do after shiva is get off the low chairs. They kill the back.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Swift -

I was wondering when someone was going to catch that.

Originally I named her berger in tribute to you, but then I couldn't remember if I had given them last names, so I picked a different name.

I think I will have Winer be her maiden name.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Veev said...

I need more of this story.

8:36 AM  
Blogger swiftthinker said...

thanks for the tribute but you'll obviously have to explain why the detective uses both maiden and current name.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

or I could just change her name back to Berger

1:09 PM  

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