By Ray Schultz
A Sunday or two ago, I was enjoying a stroll in Central Park when I was almost knocked over by a lout on a skateboard, wearing no shirt and no mask. I was about to curse the Millennials, then I saw it was a particular Millennial: Yale Moss by name.
I tried to hold my temper because Yale’s wife Danny was sitting on a bench not three feet away, wheeling a baby carriage back and forth. And she at least had a mask on.
The last time, I had seen this pair was at their wedding reception in January. Danny’s dad Hal Hall had finally accepted Yale as his son-in-law, mostly because of Yale’s sales record, and had even named him as VP in charge of used car lots and hauling and cartage concerns for the Middle-Atlantic region. And a baby was on the way.
Not that I cared, but how had they been faring and what were they doing in Central Park? They looked a little gaunt. I sat down with them, carefully social distancing myself, and they told me the story. Yale did most of the talking.
The baby arrived in March and he was named in honor of his two grandfathers. There was some debate over whose name should go first, but Hal’s was chosen because Hal Mo sounds better than Mo Hal when the contractions are used together, and Hal is the billionaire.
Over Danny’s objections, Yale insisted that they fly to Tampa to see his folks Mo and Wendy. But the minute they landed, they were clapped into quarantine because Florida ordered that anyone from New York be isolated for two weeks. The only food they could get was takeout pizza during a three-hour window each day. Fortunately, they had enough baby formula and diapers.
When the quarantine was up, Florida put them on a plane back to New York, and the minute they arrived, they were thrown into quarantine again because New York was retaliating by blocking anyone arriving from Florida. Here they were given leftover jailhouse bologna sandwiches once a day.
No sooner had the last two weeks expired, with things getting gamier by the day, when they were grabbed by ICE and transported on a bus with barred windows to Easton, Pennsylvania because someone heard Yale joke that they were being “deported.” They were quarantined again, and left to rot in a motel where there was no food available at all, and they had to subsist on small packets of Famous Amos cookies and Cheezits from a vending machine.
Meanwhile, Hal Hall’s battery of high-priced legal help couldn’t even figure where his family members were, let alone how to get them out of this predicament.
One night, Hal was venting to Mo over the phone, and Mo suggested he call Erwin Forrest, a landlord-tenant lawyer who might be able to help. Hal called and Erwin was happy to hear from him because business was slow, there being a moratorium on evictions in New York State.
Hal, a man accustomed to great authority, had to visit Erwin’s office in a rat-trap office on Fulton Street, where file cabinets were kept in the hallway outside the elevators. Speaking over a telecom, Hal explained the problem and Erwin gruffly ordered Hal to deliver $20,000 in small unmarked bills, exclusive of fees.
Hal has never been talked to this way in his life, but he had a certain familiarity with criminality. He sent the assistant who was with him to his office to get the cash from a safe. Then he had to deposit the money into a automated teller’s window in the wall in Erwin’s hallway. It took a day or two, but thanks to Erwin’s magic, Yale, Danny and little Hal Mo arrived back in the city by private limo.
All three had contracted colds, but thankfully not Covid-19. They were sure of this because the adults were painfully tested with long nasal swabs that went right up to the eyeball at every step of the journey.
Altogether, they were in custody for two months, and their marital relations were severely strained. Danny threw Yale out of her apartment in the Pierre the day they got back.
Luckily, Yale had won a contract to gut the office of a bankrupt Philadelphia law firm, and the bankruptcy court insanely approved a fee of $1.5 million, most of which was profit.
Determined to save the deal, Hal brought in a telehealth marriage counselor, who advised Yale and Danny to laugh at themselves, enjoy the sunshine and then go isolate in the Hall family compound in Southhampton, Long Island. So here they were, making goo-goo eyes at each other again.
I was happy that the lovebirds were reconciled, but not that happy. When I got home, I found that I had a fever.