Cleveland, The Treatment. Chapter 3: Meeting Jacob

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Cleveland Cavaliers

“Hearts flutter and race, the moon’s on the wane
Tarts mutter their dream, hopes the night will ordain
Come schemers and dancers, cherry delight
As a Cleveland-bound Greyhound, and it cuts through the night.”   

– “Drunk on the Moon” by Tom Waits, 1974

Chapter 3: Meeting Jacob

Song Selection: Muddy Waters – Manish Boy


Every city has a moment in its history when the entire world is watching. The privileged and the connected tend to have front seats to these milestone events, while the rest of the population looks through the screens of their television sets, flat or otherwise. This mass viewing makes the non-privileged feel like they are still part of the scene, the decision, the concert, the parade. When, in reality, the masses have much less influence than they think they do. But that’s OK: perception is reality.


On June 14, 2007, the entire planet was watching Cleveland. The Cleveland Cavaliers had advanced to the NBA Finals and, while outmatched by the Spurs, like every other underdog town in America, the local population truly believed that, for the first time in decades, the 216 had a chance at winning. And, so, whoever had access or was owed a favor, had a ticket to the Quicken Loans Arena, known locally as simply The Q. The rest of the population stayed home, or went to a local pub, to watch what may be a historical moment.


Jacob could have easily watched from his company’s box seats. Correction: from his father’s company’s box seats. Like so many other young men in town, Jewish men to be exact, Jacob stood to inherit and then continue his father’s real estate legacy. And, while dad built his from the ground up, Jacob was simply born to it. Just like Prince William was born into his birthright. The difference being that while William’s fortune depends on the tax payers of his countrymen who, for whatever reason, find it perfectly normal to work hard and then give their money away to preserve some sort of outdated sovereignty, Jacob’s father earned his. Which paved for a much easier path for his son.


That night, Jacob, 33, could have easily spent his evening watching that pivotal game. However, instead, he found himself with the commoners, at Flannery’s Pub on East 4th Street. Most of the street was still underdeveloped and while a more fine establishment would have suited him, it made for a convenient early dinner with his fiance, Rebecca, who, at 25, knew that her only role in life, her only true ambition, was to marry a rich Jewish man. This is what her parents groomed her for. This is why her surprising admission to Brandeis, despite a 2.5 high school GPA, raised a few eye brows at the local Israel fundraisers. But what surprised, and disappointed, her family, was that, after four years at Brandeis, she came home without a profession and, even worse, without a rich Jewish man to marry.


However, her time away from home didn’t all go to waste. One of her Women’s Studies cohorts, over a poetry slam at Chums, mentioned that she had a single cousin in Cleveland, one that graduated from Ohio State, and was to inherit his father’s business. “How very bourgeoisie,” Rebecca at first thought. Her parents agreed. But then they quickly realized that she, with her Women’s Studies $100K diploma, was out of options. So reluctantly, they encouraged their daughter to go on a date with Jacob. Rebecca obliged her parents.  Two years later, Jacob proposed.


And, tonight, they found themselves in the midst of a crowded Irish pub in Downtown Cleveland, where all the hanging television screens played the big game. Rebecca, the Beachwood princess, 25, attractive and wearing Prada, is picking over her salad. Jacob, dark-haired, handsome and dressed in in a Burberry suit, nurses his empty glass, trying to get the attention of their waiter.



…the florist has committed to August 14th, but the caterer has another event that day…so I told him, ‘Look, do you want to do the biggest event in the city this summer or not?  Jean Grezuese is doing the styling, so Cleveland Magazine is going to make our wedding the feature in their August issue.


Rebecca pauses and notices that Jacob has tuned out.


Jacob…You alright there?


(looking away from the tv)

I’m sorry hon, this is the final game. It’s the championship and our city is in it.


I don’t see what is so interesting about basketball.  They score like a hundred goals…So, anyway, everything except for the catering is set.  We’ve got people coming from Israel, Vancouver, New York and Switzerland for our big day…

As she continues on her monologue, most of it fades away from Jacob’s consciousness.



Rebecca tilts her head and rolls her eyes.


My mother’s brother. 

Jacob tunes in, if briefly.



Rebecca smiles sarcastically.


Yes. He’s works to recover Holocaust funds.

Rebecca says this with the determination of a newly minted politician.


Really?  What does he do with the money?


(startled by the question)

It goes to the JWF. To plant trees in Israel…Or something.


(raising an eyebrow)

I’m sure.


Are you kidding?  These people are really important, and they will be really helpful to our life together.

Rebecca looks down and resumes picking at her salad. All the while, she imagines the wedding checks arriving in several months.


I know, you’re right. I’ve just been a bit distracted…


Did your mother review the list?



Rebecca, irritated, quits her salad and throws her napkin on her plate.


Ok, I can’t believe you!  The invite list. Our planner emailed it to your office for you to give to your mother!  The invitations need to go out ASAP!


I’m sure it’s there. Besides, I GUARANTEE my mom will approve.

At this point, Jacob glances over to the TV above the bar and notices the waitress.


If we don’t get our ducks in a row, this thing won’t fly.  Honey, we have SO many great people working on this…you think it’s easy to pull off THE most glamorous wedding in Cleveland this year?


(looking back at Rebecca)

Why this year?  Why not for all time?  I know it’s like your Superbowl, I’m doing everything….

Jacob’s phone rings in his jacket pocket.


I’m sorry, hon, can you hold on?


Jacob walks over to the bar, reaching for his phone. The female bartender, mid 20’s, pretty, with a Joan Jett haircut and overall punk look, is wearing black corset over her tight white t-shirt with tattoo peaking out. She approaches Jacob.



You look like you could use a drink.


Vodka. Straight up. Double shot.

(on phone)

Shit! Did you just see this on the news?  What do they say?


Jacob furiously scans the televisions.  The game is on all of them. Puts cell phone away back into pocket. Female Bartender comes back with the drink and puts glass on coaster and slides it over to Jacob.


One double shot of vodka, straight up.


Female Bartender seductively looks at Jacob, who picks up his glass. She then walks away. Jacob, while putting his glass back on coaster, notices that she has scrawled him a note: “I’m going to fuck you. 555-4646.”

Jacob, surprised, glances over at Female Bartender, who’s helping other customers. He puts the shot down and quickly walks back to the table.


Honey, I’m really sorry, I just found out my dad’s building is on fire.


(genuinely surprised)

Oh, no. Which one?


(points down the street)

Euclid.   I need to run over there.


The casino one?




So what about the list?

Jacob, nods, picks up his keys from the table and puts them in his pocket.


Honey, I’ll have dad print it out.

Jacob leans in and kisses Rebecca on the cheek.


I need to go check out this fire.  My dad wants me to see what’s going on.


That dump should have been torn down years ago. Could be a blessing.

Jacob looks at her incredulously and tosses a $100 bill on the table. He then walks over to the bar, picks up the coaster, puts it in his pocket and exits the Pub. Rebecca misses this as she’s too busy admiring her Tiffany 3-carat engagement ring.

1 Comment

  1. love the writing…what was that phone number on the coaster again?

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