New Yorkers, despite the ghettoness of their daily lives, are still somehow expectant of always getting what they want. Unfortunately, it was Carrie Bradshaw who helped perpetuate that lie by saying, “Anything is possible. This is New York.” Of course, her intent behind the statement was that a person could get whatever they wanted (even “true love”), literally–as further emphasized in the season three episode, “All Or Nothing,” when Samantha touts the virtues of a delivery service that brought her DVDs (reminder: this was 2000) in addition to condoms within an hour. But those still clinging to the dream of what New York “means” never seem to fathom that when a platitude like “anything is possible” is bandied, it usually entails just how low in depth things can sink. Especially when taking into account the many white people problems of the town in the face of all its proud declarations of being a melting pot.
For bagel shop owner Melvin Mirisch, he was up to his oyern in white people problems. And since he didn’t really consider himself one–what with the “good Aryans” of the world never including Jews in their reinschmear games–he was not very interested in hearing their day-to-day complaints of late about how their bagels did not have enough cream cheese slathered onto it. He wanted to tell them all to get a real fuckin’ problem and fling their cream cheese apportionment right up their assholes. But, of course, like everyone who was a slave to capitalism, he was not going to lose his temper, therefore more of his customers. Who would likely be disappearing as the cream cheese continued to.
He was also perfectly aware that, just as in the days when procuring alcohol during Prohibition required “getting creative,” so, too, would there probably be some kind of cream cheese speakeasy, likely requiring passwords such as “accept no substitutes” and “Neufchâtel.” And speaking of the very similar tasting and textured French cheese, Melvin had already tried his best to get in contact with a French importer he was close enough with to ask a favor. Per Romain, his own access to such goods was being drastically affected by the supply chain shortage. He couldn’t afford to give out any favors when he was barely getting by himself. And so everyone, it seemed, was in the merde.
The inevitable day when there was nothing left to put on the bagels kept Melvin awake at night. He wanted to be optimistic, to believe that this could be an opportunity to reinvent the wheel of what was acceptable as a bagel spread. But he knew it was a lie. And everyone else would, too. Then again, so committed were the people of New York to constantly “staying true” to their shithole city that they might actually just try to convince themselves that even Camembert was a viable substitute. Or jam, for that matter. What’s wrong with jam? Ah, but no. This was different. This was one lie that even the ilk of New York could not pull off. Like calling something a “sun-filled” “studio” when it was really a dark broom closet. Or insisting that riding the subway was the best way to “soak up local color” when, in fact, it was really the best way to get kicked in the face by someone doing showtime or spit on by a stranger who arbitrarily chose you to unleash their rage upon. Melvin knew it as well as anybody else. The end of cream cheese meant the end of New York. Because New York was all about its “brand”–and at least half that brand was bagels. The other half was pizza (even if the city had been resting on its laurels for too long to realize many other places in America had better to offer). Who would this city be without the very entity which “greased” that “selfhood”?
Taking the J train after schlepping to the Marcy Avenue stop from his longtime apartment on S. 11th Street, Melvin thought long and hard about what he would do if he was faced with the prospect of going out of business. The New York Times wasn’t doing anything to assuage the panic either, assuring its readers that things seemed unlikely to change anytime soon. How was that helpful? he seethed as yet another customer mentioned the article to him the following morning. Were they trying to kill him? Possibly. Everyone was always trying to kill a Jew minding his own business. Maybe, if push came to shove, he could offer his services at Gottlieb’s, the kosher deli he frequented on his days off. Right next to his synagogue, where there was never any shortage of snot-nosed brats running around him, making him remember why he never took a wife: it would mean being surrounded by her children during all of his off hours. Not that he had so many. The bagel shop was an almost 24/7 relationship.
Every bagel purveyor in town was creaming themselves over the news that a major shipment had come in from Kraft Heinz to one local distributor in Queens. A “hot tip” that spread as quickly as cream cheese once did on a bagel. The key was getting to the person at the top of that distribution operation before anyone else could. And Melvin just knew that if he could plead his case, make the head honcho understand why his bagel shop needed it the most, then maybe he could get by for another couple of weeks. That the person in charge happened to be a woman made him all the more elated. This would be his time to turn on the charm, something he rarely did because, well, he knew he could be quite irresistible and that it was dangerous to attract women. He preferred to keep his nose to the cutting board, so to speak. Women were a distraction that only ever seemed to bring drama. But if making an exception to his rule also meant getting to the front of the line on some cream cheese action, so be it. Thus, he daubed each ear with King Solomon eau de toilette and set about his journey to Queens.
Eva Meyersohn was a robust woman. What some would call “hearty.” She had rosy cheeks and beady eyes set against fair skin. Her attire was more “fashionable” than most matronly Jewish women’s, but still largely describable as “paper sack-chic.” And yes, that should infer she dressed heavily in browns and beiges. As usual, she was wearing a skirt that left everything to the imagination. And all Melvin was imagining underneath it was hairy legs with the same texture as cream cheese itself. He observed her for several moments as she proceeded to tally off some numbers in her ledger, the spectacles she wore all the time perched on her nose so that half of each eye was behind them and half not. In short, she was a thirty-eight-year-old woman who came across as sixty-eight. Complete with errant yet noticeable grays that she didn’t bother to dye, sort of like Cher during the first portion of Moonstruck. He finally cleared his throat, startling her out of her reverie and said, “Eva? A word?”
Before she could reply with a yes or no, he ambled in and closed the door behind him. She sighed. “I know what you’re here about and there’s nothing I can do to get you ahead on the list.”
He took a seat in front of her desk, slowly manspreading in a way that brought attention to the bulge in his slightly too-tight pants. “Oh Eva. Are you absolutely sure?” He could tell by the gleam in her eye at the sight of his groin that she probably hadn’t been ravaged in years. All those long, lonely nights without touch, without orgasm can take their toll on a woman. Age her as much as it had done to Eva. She arched her brow. “Since when do you offer yourself up to anyone?”
“Since I decided it was time to lay down on the altar of cream cheese.”
Slowly, she removed her glasses and took her hair out of its bun. “I see. Well, how about this for a deal? If you can make me cream myself every night, I’ll get you all the cream cheese you want.”
“Every night? For how long?”
Melvin furrowed his brow. “I see.” Inwardly, he screamed. The thought of shtupping this woman for the foreseeable future was enough to make him regurgitate the gefilte fish sandwich he had eaten for lunch. Which was already enough to make one regurgitate without the thought of banging someone horribly unattractive. But, these were desperate times. And the cream cheese would not be procured any other way.
This is how Eva found herself, ass out, bent over the desk as Melvin railed her from behind. He didn’t let on that he would be planning to always have her back turned to him when they fucked for the sake of being able to maintain his erection.
After three nights of hard work, however, Eva still hadn’t given up the goods and Melvin was starting to wonder if this wasn’t all some terrible ruse. And so, upon making her cum for that third time, he whipped her around and demanded, “Give me that white or I’ll never let any white spew out of you again.”
Her eyes widened, genuinely threatened by the prospect of losing her orgasm gravy train. “Okay, okay. I’ll need you to come with me.”
They rode in her car, something that could only be described as a “jalopy,” to the warehouse. On the way, she felt obliged to regale him with some fun facts about cream cheese, like how it’s made from nothing but lactic acid, pasteurized milk and cream. And that a Jew didn’t even invent it–it was some goy from Upstate named William Lawrence. A farmer just trying to do his best at making Neufchâtel, only to fuck it up and get the result now known as cream cheese. Which just goes to show that “genius” is rarely intentional. In fact, “dumb” is built right into the phenomenon of most people who have the dumb luck to land on a million dollar idea. Such was the case with William Lawrence. But obviously Melvin already knew all of this. He wasn’t in the bagel business for almost twenty years only to be a simp when it came to knowing the ins and outs of his industry, including its historical facets. As far as anyone was concerned, bagels weren’t even on the map in America until cream cheese came along. And cream cheese wasn’t on the map until Jews started putting it on their bagels. And later, lox. Sure, goys might have done it too, but the Jews made it all their own. After all, they should have something of their own in this ostracizing country, shouldn’t they?
Despite knowing it all, Melvin allowed her to keep prattling on. If it made her feel superior, why not? All he cared about was getting his hands on those pallets of cream cheese. Naturally, when they arrived and the goods were finally within his grasp, Eva still couldn’t be satisfied, demanding that Melvin “take her” one more time before she let him loose.
“Have you gone insane? I cannot possibly satisfy you again tonight,” he shouted.
She smirked. “You’ll have to. And I want you to do it to me against the cream cheese.”
This was madness. Did she not understand what a waste it would be to feign carnal passion with her for the sake of fulfilling some infantile fantasy that would end up smushing all of that valuable cream cheese? Enough was enough. At first, he pretended to start kissing her in earnest as he undressed her, pulling off her hand-knit sweater with the Star of David pattern on it, followed by her knee-length brown corduroy skirt. When she was just naked enough, he threw her down on the ground, practically knocking her unconscious as he bolted for the pallets and proceeded to load as many blocks of the “undiluted stuff” into Eva’s car as he could. He didn’t care if he was leaving her for dead. There were more important things in this world. Like ensuring the time-honored relationship between bagel and cream cheese. Elohim knows that no one was threatening the classic goy pairing of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches–so what does that say? In any event, Melvin was able to take quite a haul back to his bagel joint on 2nd Avenue. Was it the thousands of pounds worth of cream cheese he needed just to get through a normal few weeks? No. But it would definitely give him an edge over every other bagel shop in town.
Regrettably, what he didn’t count on was a front-page image of Eva on the NY Daily News the following morning in her beat-up, disheveled state with the headline “Cream (Cheese) Yourself!” As far as headlines went for the publication, it wasn’t exactly up there with “Britney Shears,” but it would have to do. The article went on to describe how a certain Melvin Mirish assaulted a well-respected pillar of the community named Eva Meyersohn over several pallets of cream cheese that he loaded into her stolen vehicle. Melvin didn’t know why he should be surprised that Eva would report his crime. Maybe some part of him thought he would be granted her silence in exchange for giving her continued dick. Maybe he was, quite simply, possessed. Overtaken and crazed with his need for cream cheese. Just like the rest of the city soon would be as they started trickling into other nearby states to dip into the supply. Oh sure, New York was “the center of the universe” when there were endless reserves of cream cheese. But when there were not, all of the sudden other locations looked real shiny and new. Unfortunately, Melvin wouldn’t be seeing any other locations outside of the four walls of his prison cell. Well good riddance, he thought. He didn’t need to deal with any more headaches of running a business that the goyim viewed, ultimately, as a “New York novelty” anyway. Come stare at the Jew while you get a bagel and schmear!
He washed his hands of the goyim now. And maybe Eva had done him a favor. Prison wasn’t so bad, minus the plethora of neo-Nazis that seemed to populate every gang faction. But if you weren’t dealing with neo-Nazis in prison, you’d be dealing with them in your bagel shop as they pretended not to be disgusted by you while carrying on about “just adoring” “Jew food.” He never had the heart to educate them that cream cheese was the creation of a goy. They so badly wanted to believe they were “tolerant,” after all. And the best way for them to express that was through the consumption of “ethnic” food.
Just thinking about all their open maws as they tried to eat their bagels with some kind of substitute spread was enough to bring tears of joy to Melvin’s eyes. They couldn’t have known that the beautiful irony of it all was that the thing they loved most about bagels was the gentile-generated spread it came with. Fuck ‘em all, he mused as he began to strategize his eventual escape to the true bagel capital of the world when this was all over: Montreal.