UNITED STATES—Max E. White, who until a few minutes ago was the CEO of powerhouse of Allied Brands Corporation, was suspended at a point in space around the 31st floor of the Pan-Am Building, experiencing weightlessness. I had a lot of time on my hands, brother. I thought about photographs, images. I was one of these people who never came out the same in a picture.

I’d like to get a photo now that would have substance and be definitive like the picture we have of George Washington. Was Washingston Jewish? Sometimes my hair was longish, short and dark cookie-cutter Wall St., the beatnik goatee—you could put all the version of Max E. White in a police line-up and no one would know who to pick.

The Coroner’s Boys will get some shots before the Meat Wagon comes. I am not looking too bad, really, the jarring thing is the orifices out of which the blood spurted upon impact, 31 floors below. It’s flowing out in brilliant red, out of the ears, the mouth and nose. An unholy sight.

Max, you were really Manache all the time. What’s in a name, that’s a lot. One Thing I got right.

Hey, you schmuck, that was directed at myself, not you, G-d! You didn’t know it but you were Menashe, named after the first-born son of Joseph.

But you lived life as Menache because somebody in the public records in Poland didn’t know how to spell. Ha ha ha. Hitler

Shame on me, that’s where we were from, the Ashkenazi diaspora, forgive me G-d, I have broken the sacred proscription against naming our issue after ourself in naming my son after myself, Menache Elihu White. Oh gallaphonous propinquity of the godhead. True to our teacher’s fearful wisdom, you have gone after the elder first and I myself incarnating Thy will, instead of being the lowliest of filth under They fingernails, the chosen executor of Thy will. Oh G-d, you Devil!

I usually do outsource that kind of work, you’ve seen right through me. . .

Max, you do not deserve to leave this veil of tears and laughter in shame, no, and be pleased that you are a fairly young man. As we tune up the dial toward the new millennium, 50 is going to be the new 39. Trust me, the good die young. So where does that put Bernard Lukasey?

Pardon. . .?

Bernard Lukasey, you know the Adman Wiz…

You don’t say. I don’t place.

C’mon, you gotta know him. When I came on as CEO after the merger of SKG and Allied Fruit Co. (AFCO).

What is this alphabet soup? You know, Max, I set the ball in motion and sit back and watch the circus, so to speak, but if I do say so, it’s a very holy circus in which we are all given the chance to be scoundrel or saint. Who exactly is this Bernard Lukasey? Can’t really place him—then again I just can’t get bogged in the details or the whole shebang would stop spinning…

Well, Bernie is this amazing guy, who I kept on retainer from the time of El Hombre. By around my time he was getting a quarter million a year, and he worked out of this dusty little shop off of West End Avenue, it looked like a tailor shop and always smelled of roasting acorns, but he was the shizzle. He did a good job on the hem of my pants, too.

After I took over as CEO of Allied Fruit Co., after my sneaky anonymous buy out, Bernie said I needed to ditch the Fruit from the company name; it was noxious and poisonous with its connotation of invisible, faceless empire…He’d done a Big One for El Hombre, Sam Delaney, when he was still alive. They say he was the nephew of Freud and as much as I benefited from his sage PR counsel, I wondered what his uncle would make of him and could say what made Bernie tick.

I think on some deep level he must get some kind of unsavory kick shilling for corporate, nameless America—the same jerks, if you will forgive my French, that El Hombre had to deal with when he took the reins of Chamelecón when it merged with Allied Fruit. They were the same waspish dweebs who sold me a bill of goods, leading me to believe that the prospectus of Allied was rosier than it looked…

Bernie, why of course, why didn’t you say so? Why confuse me with all the alphabet soup, and when you say WASP I honestly think of the beautiful flies with the nasty sting, but oh so aerodynamic. They were complementary, Delaney and Bernie, who was born in Vienna…And they were total opposites. Bernie came from a very well-off and intellectual family. To be continued…

Graydon Miller is the Wizard of Fiction. His new story collection “Watsonville Stories” can be browsed at amazon.com. 

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Hollywood humorist Grady grew up in the heart of Steinbeck Country on the Central California coast. More Bombeck than Steinbeck, Grady Miller has been compared to T.C. Boyle, Joel Stein, and Voltaire. He briefly attended Columbia University in New York and came to Los Angeles to study filmmaking, but discovered literature instead, in T.C. Boyle’s fiction writing workshop at USC. In addition to A Very Grady Christmas, he has written the humorous diet book, Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet and the popular humor collection, Late Bloomer (both on Amazon) and its follow-up, Later Bloomer: Tales from Darkest Hollywood. (https://amzn.to/3bGBLB8) His humor column, Miller Time, appears weekly in The Canyon News (www.canyon-news.com)