Elementary School Drop-out

Steve Katz

Steve Katz

Steve Katz
Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA
November 27
Norma Glamp's
Steve Katz, owner of Norma Glamp's and Memories Gallery, began his career as a school teacher. He has taught art and ceramics at the high school and elementary school levels. His family is in iron and steel. His mother irons and his father steals, In 1988, he took a break from teaching to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood. While finding neither, he did manage to secure a recurring role as an extra on the TV sitcom, 'Cheers." Duties performed included sitting, standing and leaning against walls making silent conversation. Returning to the east coast in 1992, he became a full-time Provincetown resident and founded his two galleries to showcase his hand-colored Polaroid transfers and woven photographs. He lives with his partner Herb and his cat Louey in a home located on the most bumpy and rutted road in North America.....are you listening Provincetown Highway Department???????


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NOVEMBER 21, 2010 5:33PM


Rate: 34 Flag

"Don't forget, "Over Fifty Bowling Night" at Lois Lanes on Sunday."

Shirley Finklestein loved to go to "Over Fifty Ladies Bowling" every week. Free shoe rentals...and a chance to see all her girlfriends.

"Not comin' this week, Shirley," her friend Betty said."Gonna try the Singles Mixer at the Community Center. She laughed. "I could use me a new boyfriend. You oughta come too."

"Feh," Shirley answered. I buried one old man. What would I want with another?"

"Shirley, Saul has been dead a long time. Believe me, he wouldn't mind if you were dating again," Betty  replied."You can see those old ladies at the bowling alley any week. Promise me you'll come with me on Sunday."

"Well, OK," Shirley accepted. "....but just so you know I'm just lookin'. I ain't buyin."


Sunday afternoon, Shirley entered the Fresh Meadows Community Center and scoped out the room. Betty was already talking to some old coot with a lone tuft of white hair on his head.

"I'll just walk around the room once and grab some punch. If there are cookies, I'll put some in my purse for later," she promised herself. "Then I'm outta here."

As she walked around the room, she couldn't help but notice the people. All ages. All sizes. Someone for everyone. "Well good luck to everyone," she thought to herself. "I'm grabbin' a handful of cookies and going home."

As she was approaching the exit, a thin man in a tee shirt and jeans ran up to her. "Hey Momma, where 'ya going?"

Shirley turned around to match the voice with the body. And it was a body. Shiny black hair, bright white teeth, and upper arms the size of bowling balls. Shirley had to admit to herself that he was quite a package.

"You talking to me?" she asked.

"Sure am, Momma. What's your name?"

"What's your name," she asked suspiciously. "And what do you want with me? I'm at least a hundred years older than you."

He smiled. My name is Nick, " he replied. And I like my ladies more.... mature. More experienced," he winked. "If you catch my drift."

"Get the fuck outta here, Shirley," she told herself. "This one is trouble."

But she couldn't leave. When would a man like this ever flirt with her again? And she knew it was just flirting. He couldn't have been more than thirty years old."

"Hmmmm....you're a pretty Momma," he cooed. "Why don't we get out of here we'll go for coffee? My treat."

"His treat," Shirley thought. "What a sport." She looked around the room. Betty was still talking to Mr. One Tuft. Shirley was on her way out the door anyway.What harm could one cup of coffee do?

"OK, Mr. Bright Eyes," she said as she took his arm. "One cup of coffee."

Nick smiled.

"And," she patted her purse. "I got the cookies to go with it."


They were at Stabuck's for over two hours. Nick was a good listener. Shirley told him about her late husband Saul, her bowling league, and her grandchildren whom she never saw.

"I bet you really miss them," Nick said, brown eyes flashing.

"Yeah, I do." Shirley sighed. Her thoughts of her grandchildren were interrupted by his voice.

"Gotta make a pit stop," he smiled as he got up. I'll be right back, Momma."

Shirley sat alone at the table assessing the situation. On one hand, what the hell was she doing? A man like that wasn't interested in a women her age.

But on the other hand, she had heard about men who were attracted to much older women.  And she was beginning to really like him.

Was she a cougar?

Or a foolish old lady?"

"Ready for a walk, Momma?" He was back.

Shirley heard herself say, "Ready."


"So what do you do for a living?" Shirley asked her partner as they entered the park.

"I was in sales for many years," he replied. "But recently, I decided to go back to school. My major is Music."

"Very nice," Shirley replied. "My Saul, may he rest in peace, played the clarinet." What was going on? They had known each other less than three hours and she felt so comfortable with Nick. Was she going crazy?

"You know Shirley, I'm having such a wonderful time with you." His dark brown eyes looked into hers. I'd love to see you again. Maybe for dinner?"

"That would be nice," Shirley said sweetly. "That would be nice."


Another hour went by. They left the park and were strolling around the Fresh Meadows shopping district. Arm in arm, she could feel the warmth of his body against hers.

As they passed a store filled with suit jackets and ties, Nick abruptly changed the subject."You know, Shirley, I've lost a lot of weight recently."

Shirley laughed. "Yeah, well I wish you could tell me how to do it I could stand to lose a few pounds." She patted her ample stomach.

Nick ignored her question and pushed on. "In fact, I've lost so much weight, that my clothes don't fit me anymore."

There was a pause.

He looked Shirley directly in the eyes, "Do you know anyone who would like to buy me some new clothes?"

Shirley blinked, but didn't miss a beat. "I'd be happy to do that for you Nick."

"Hey! Great, Momma! There's a nice store two blocks up." He grinned. "No time like the present."

"Nope," Shirley replied, "No time like the present."


When they got to the store, Shirley poked her head inside. "Looks like they got some really nice stuff in there. Looks expensive too."

"Well, you get what you pay for," Nick replied.

"You certainly do," Shirley said as she ran her hand down Nick's shoulder. "You get what you pay for." She paused. "How much do you think you'll need to spend in there?" she asked.

"Oh, five hundred, a thousand dollars should cover it Momma." He kissed her on the cheek. "You're a good Momma for doing this for me."

"I'm the best Momma," she said as she pinched his cheek. "You go in  and pick out some really cute things. I'll just slip down the street to my ATM and get some money. You wait for me. I'll be right back."

 Shirley kissed him passionately. It was the first time she had kissed a man in years and she was going to make the most of it. 

"You just wait here. I'll be back as soon as I can." She squeezed his hand and pointed towards the bank.

She blew him a kiss as she watched him enter the store.

"OK Momma," he replied. "I'll be right here waiting for you."

Shirley Finklestein walked up to the ATM at the First Bank of Fresh Meadows and withdrew exactly five dollars.

Just enough for popcorn and a soda.

This gal was going bowling.







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Terrific. God I love your characters. Absolutely wonderful. Great ending. RRRRRR
Thanks Bernadine.
I have a feeling that Shirley will be around for a while.
Oi, I was so nervous for her! Glad she was a smarty pants! R
Yay for Shirley. She's nobody's fool.
One can get wrapped up in the moment, but Shirley was smart enough to smell a rat.
Great dialogue.
Hope we see more of Shirley!
My Gd you're an amazing story-teller. R.
zing! you got us again with a turn in the story ~ !!!!!!!
don't know how many times since you began posting here that i've said with admiration and awe 'oh, steve' both in the comment section and to myself --- but perhaps, wink, wink, that's what o.henry's admirers used to say, too after reading a wonderful story of his! oh, henry!
so oh steve! do it again..more, more, more!!
Thank God! And thank you Steve.
Great characters and imagination. A wonderful story.
great story, steve. shirley deserves popcorn and a soda and a night of happiness. and she isn't going to find that with nick. love the ending.
I thank you and Shirley Finkelstein would also thank you...but she is still bowling!
Oh my god, I actually was holding my breath. A little voice in my head kept saying, "Steve wouldn't let anything terrible happen to her..." But it looked like it was going so bad.
This was soooo good.~r
badly. sorry I was a little verklempt.
Hah! And I bet she's a great bowler too.
You just never know what's gonna happen in Fresh Meadows. That's a wild a crazy kinda place. I knew that sly lady was up to something, there's just no way she'd give him her cookies for free.

I would say "another good one" Steve, but then what else would come from you. Your head must be one amazing place to live.
Shirley didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday! Lotharios like that need a horse whippin'.
Boomer Bob: Do you know Fresh Meadows? I lived there as a teenager...of course when I was a teenager, NY was not yet a state.
No, I've never even been to NY, unfotunately. Since my wife sees terrorists under every airplane, bus and boat seat (and often behind the wheel of the car I'm driving :-) and hates to travel, I use the Net and my mind to travel and encountered pictures of Fresh Meadows some time ago. I remember being taken completely by surprise as it simply doesn't look like a place I had pictured as NY. I love quaint places and it seems the very definiition of quaint to me.
Hell, when we were teenagers the U.S. hadn't yet won independence from England :-)
I think we're talking about two different Fresh Meadowses...
Mine was a community of 1300 garden apartments built just after the second world war for the returning vets....about as urban as you can get.
I hope your Fresh Meadows is nicer.
A nicely spun yarn.

I was wondering how it was that Shirley got out of the park alive and virgo intacto. That Nick wanted something more works. Works well.

Purty fair writin' my friend, purty fair indeed!

Glad you're writing again. We need more solid characters like Shirley. Hope she went right out and bought herself a pair of sparkling bowling shoes. She deserves them. Keep them coming Steve. Rated.
Might be - the place I'm referring to is in NY by Queens? I suppose pictures aren't always the best reference. I once saw someone here on OS say she loved Oklahoma, where I grew up, and I thought she must've been nuts too.
Oh, man, that was great, from "Lois Lanes" to "This gal was going bowling." One of your very best, Steve!
Whew! I can breathe now. This was scary, but Momma's no dummy!
My first clue was him calling her momma and then when he asked to have clothes bought for him. Glad Shirley was no fool!
STEVE, Glad to see you back! Nick is an ass. Guess he didn't count on how smart those stealthy felines are.
Shirley forgot to answer a question with a question.

I never had popcorn at a bowling alley. It must be a NY thing.

I have to admit there's a kernel of truth in what you say.
Sounds like the cougar outsmarted the fox. Great story. R.
That Shirley; she's clever.
Wow! Shirley is very interesting.
I had a feeling that Shirley wouldn't fall for Nick when she gave him that passionate kiss and left for the ATM machine, but I just didn't know how you'd end the story - and you did so brilliantly. Thank you for another wonderful treat. ~R
Wonderful. Great story. I'm glad she was so wise. I was getting worried.
Steve, you know I love your stories...I hope we can get back to talking about getting you published! xoxoxo
Thanks Robin.
I would really appreciate that.
Wonderful tale told so well. ( As a side note, I shall never see/hear the sentence. "Are you talking to me?" without thinking of Taxi Driver...)
haha - I felt myself really sucked into this story - I am glad it ended the way it did...I really enjoyed myself.
Ooooooo, this made me smile today--THANK you, Steve!
Just catching up, Steve. Great story, and as usual really well told. Sharp lady, that Shirley ... explains a lot about the son.
Heee!! Love it! Oh to have seen his face...
Ha! Nice twist. Glad Shirley hasn't lost her sense.
At the movie theater, did Shirley perhaps see a re-mastered version of The Graduate? This was GREAT! R