Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Giuseppe Rabinowitz and the Interplanetary Drugstore………………….. by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© September 8, 2008

Not every story, especially a true story, begins with its narrator (hero?) lying in a pool of his own blood and ends up relatively happy, um, eventually.

Not exactly “Happily EVER After”…let’s just say, happy for at least that one weekend.

Because, in 1978, my having a happy time of any length, was a rare experience, indeed. But it inevitably led to my meeting the incredible, the-larger-than-life Giuseppe Rabinowitz, a bizarre character that neither you, nor I, will ever forget.


The Incident

Part 1

In Fall, 1978, I was embroiled in a vicious competitive battle with a major Chicago magazine distribution company. It began in 1976 and would end in March of 1980. Even though they are gone now, even though their name is erased from their former buildings in Chicago, I will not name them. It hasn’t been long enough, yet, for me.

One of my good accounts, out of sixty, was located in the chic shopping Mall on Chicago’s North Side. I would deliver several heavy magazines bundles to that particular store twice each week.

The Mall required all deliveries be made in the back or west side of the building, through a slim alleyway with all the trucks backing up flush to a concrete docking area. There were no supervisory people there, just the bare dock, and frequently, I would back in my thirteen-ton truck, unload the store’s order onto my hand truck, deliver it and then return and drive away without ever seeing another person. But I would learn that the docking area was NOT unobserved. Soon.

One cool Autumn day, I was running late in heavy traffic. I quickly backed my big truck into the docking area, like I’d done over one hundred times, uneventfully, jumped out of my cab into the otherwise empty delivery area, lifted myself up onto the dock that was level with the back of the truck, unlocked the strong black iron lever that kept my truck’s overhead door secure, lifted up the door and immediately began separating the correct five bundles from the one hundred bundles squashed together in the back of my truck. I worked alone, almost always, and had to be fast and efficient to keep my accounts happy and not lose them.

I was 28, slender, athletic, pretty fit and very fast. Working sixteen hours a day was a good way to stay thin, but I don’t recommend it to anyone. Inside of my truck the overhead light was burned out, so I struggled to single out the right bundles by their account numbers. I had a computer print-out list with how many bundles there were for each account. My sturdy, aluminum, custom-designed, oversized hand truck was waiting on the dock to receive the bundles. I grabbed several bundles, two bigger ones in my stronger left hand, and one smaller bundle in my right one. I held the smaller bundle flat against my chest so I could lean my body a little to the right, to balance the dead weight of the two bigger bundles.

(Read on …)