He looked under furniture and to his total astonishment several pages of listings for furniture of all sorts appeared. There was lawn furniture, furniture for camping out, furniture for making out, and even furniture for rent. He thought about it for a moment, but decided his improved means required purchase not lease. But he had to have it right away, so his eye was struck by an quarter page ad for “Melvin’s Cut Rate Genuine Imitation Plastic-Wood Furniture. Same Day Delivery Sometimes Available.”

The ad had hit Grollman’s sole criterion for spending his money, or more accurately the money he expected to have. He didn’t want to sleep on the floor again. He dialed the number printed in large red numbers. A woman answered.

“May I speak to Melvin, please,” he said in the most serious tone he could muster.

“Who?” said a woman with a heavy Mineralwater accent.

“Is this 967-0789?” he said reading the red number, his tone returning to Brooklyn.


“Melvin’s Cut Rate etc?”


“Can I speak to Melvin?”

“Oh Melvin.”

“Yeah Melvin.”


“Why not?”

“He’s dead.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, he was a schmuck; besides he’d been dead for 37 years.”

“You do still sell furniture?”

“Is this a joke?”

“No I want to buy some furniture.”

“Well you can’t do it over the phone.

“Do you deliver?”

“Where do you live?”

“Wait a minute, I’ll check.” He had forgotten his address, which didn’t mean a whole lot to him anyway. He told her the number.

“We go there for cash.”

“Will you take a post-dated check?”

“How many days post-dated?”