The Mating Habits of Whooping Cranes

Unlike whooping cranes who, according to his daughter Pru, mate for life, Fat Dan Feldman is hopelessly, shamelessly, and serially unfaithful.

Pru is a precocious third grader who now lives with her mother, Dan’s first wife, in Parsippany, New Jersey. Dan sees Pru on alternate weekends and on the high holy days when they fall in odd-numbered months.

Dan is fast approaching fifty and would be the first to admit that he is the sole cause of the impending demise of his second marriage. He is just wired differently. He has a reflexive, sub-cognitive, nerve circuit that instantaneously transmits nubile female images from his eyes directly to his loins and then up to his heart, entirely bypassing and willfully subverting the scrutiny of any higher rational brain centers.

He’s no dummy. He majored in journalism at Hopkins. He teaches creative writing at Forest Hills High School to rather well-off adolescents whose parents both read hardcover books and pay cash for their children’s orthodonture. He likes it all well enough on most days and on the others he adequately pretends to.

His adorable two-year old twins, Max and Minnie, share a room in their three-bedroom apartment in Hollis, Queens.

Mirabelle, Dan’s chaste, thin-lipped, current wife of thirty-four who, when they first met, was like a rare and outstanding kosher cabernet: a woman with a big nose and a full body. She sleeps now each night in her own bedroom, claiming that his snoring drives her insane. Dan is sure that this condition befell her long before he met her on J-Date, shortly over three years ago.

What drives Dan insane now, assuredly, is the smooth curve of his “Fit-Before-Fifty” aerobic yoga instructor’s bottom. She is tight, trim, and twenty-two. Admittedly, so totally not interested in him and so is not even remotely within his reach.

Soma Fitzgerald McCoy, though, is the new true love of his life. On her Facebook page, she bears a remarkably striking resemblance to a twenty-ish Valerie Bertinelli. Her raven hair, her lips like glazed raspberries and her eyes like wet walnuts have captured his yearning heart.

She seems to be a remarkable woman. A Fulbright Scholar with a degree in helping others, she volunteers at the local hospice three evenings a week and serves meals in a mobile soup kitchen on the other two nights. She loves dancing in the rain and says her favorite food is “to be surprised by anything you would like to cook for me.”

Soma has sent Dan a warm and enthusiastic “I’m All Yours” response to his personal profile posting on The dot com you need “when your life deserves more than just a match!” Which is exactly what Dan desires and feels he deserves: to experience once again that florid flush of gland-grinding, full-throated, old-time, real-time, lust.

In less than one week of fervent texts, Soma has promised him all of that and more.

She has it all: the allure of girlish innocence, the tenderness of vulnerability, and the full promise of luscious unbridled abandon.

They have agreed to meet this coming Wednesday night at Sweet Basil in the West Village after her regularly-scheduled monthly blood donation at Children’s Hospital.

This meet-up, of course, has little chance of happening. Soma, you see, has sent Dan a text this afternoon, describing in detail what she will be wearing when they meet, and the notification has popped up on his iPhone. This has gladdened his heart.

At the very same instant though, in the rolling hills of Parsippany, the same text notification has appeared on his laptop. The very same laptop he loaned to Pru this weekend so that she could work on her research project on the mating habits of whooping cranes for her third grade class.

Pru asks her mom what a ‘cream colored, crocheted camy, you could just die for,’ is.

And her mom, with great gratification, immediately placed a call to Mirablelle, who has by now packed Dan’s underwear, a toothbrush, one clean button-down shirt, his rumpled collection of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues, and his bundle of anime cartoon books, into an overnight bag.

This, along with a creased coupon for a one time only two-for-one discount on White Castle burgers, the phone number of Myron Rosenblatt, her attorney, and a new 2017 edition of “Matrimony, Volume 2: From Acrimony to Alimony: A guide for Dummies,” all of which she has left in the building lobby with Enrique, their implacable and well-muscled doorman who, no doubt, has long seen all of this coming.




7 thoughts on “The Mating Habits of Whooping Cranes”

  1. Another great story, Joe. Somehow, I love that you got Hollis, Queens in there! And the details about Dan’s final care package are so satisfying. Always great when the protagonist gets what is deserved!


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