Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pulling a Lenny

Lenny Conn. Lenny Conn. Uggh. I've been meaning to write a post about him, literally, for years, but for some reason I never got around to it. I can't avoid it now. For the first time in five years, I've actually had to interact with him. My family has a long and storied history with this man. I don't even know where to start.

When we last left off we were mulling around the cold cuts right before Lupo Lama and his bride's wedding ceremony was about to start when a six foot five African drag queen strolled in, stopping all conversation instantly. Now when I say "Drag Queen" I mean just that. This is not a slur against transgendered people. I don't even know if this person considered herself transgendered. This person was all show, like with a sequined gown and boa and the whole deal. There was theatrics. I thought she was entertainment and expected a cabaret style rendition of something from "Dream Girls" any second. But no. After she made her dramatic entrance we heard the most annoying, grating voice in all of South Florida shrieking in amazement that my parents were there. It sounded like Gilbert Gottfried on crystal meth and there is only one person on earth who sounds like that - Lenny Conn.

First we heard his voice and then we saw his teeth. Lenny's teeth arrive before the rest of him. They're about seven sizes too big for his withered, sunken jaw and shriveling head and they're as white and square as bathroom tiles. The man is all teeth.

"LENNY CONN!!!" my mother begins gasping in horror.

Everyone looks at her confused, because they don't know this man as Lenny Conn. To them he is only Leonard Wilmont Barrington III, Esquire. That's because they didn't know him when he was younger. Back in the 80s Lenny became a laughingstock around town after getting in to some trouble. People called him "Con-Man" and made fun of his name. I think they even called him that on the news. He disappeared and then made a dramatic come back after legally changing his name to "Leonard Wilmont Barrington III, Esquire." I think he thought that name sounded very aristocratic. Like maybe people would take him seriously. It really is hard to take someone named Lenny Conn seriously. I get that. After the name change, he took on some minorly high profile cases and I think he was on part of an episode of the Richard Bey Show or maybe Rolanda Watts once. Do you remember those shows? Didn't think so. So to me and my parents, he will always be Lenny Conn and I've known him since I was five.

My dad met Lenny Conn in 1974. They were both in their 20s. South Florida was a crazy time back then. You ever see "Scarface?" That was pretty much how it was. Lenny and my dad were good friends because my dad is so easy going that he can be friends with anyone. He is probably the only person who can stand Lenny. When my parents met in '79, Lenny was furious. He couldn't stand my mother and did everything to prevent my parents' marriage. After my mother was busted and ended up in jail, she called Lenny to bail her out. She had to call collect from the jail, but Lenny, because he is cheap, refused to accept the 25 cent charges and let her sit there. She says she's never forgiven him and she never liked him in the first place because back in the day he used to take advantage of my aunt and sleep with her and give her drugs when she was just a teenager.

Lenny hit the ceiling when my dad told him he was marrying my mom in 1980. All three of them were at Lenny's townhouse. He was standing on the top of the stairs while they were on the landing.

"YOU CAN'T MARRY THAT C---!!!" he screamed and with that, as if pushed by some supernatural force, he fell all the way down the stairs, nearly breaking his tailbone.

After that he swore my mother was a witch.

Somehow they got him to officiate their ceremony, which was planned in one day and at their apartment. Come to think of it, it sounds like Lupo Lama's wedding plans. Now why my mother would allow someone to perform her ceremony who had just called her the C-word, I don't know. You'll have to ask her. I think they couldn't find anyone else.

Then, my mother looked at her wedding license and saw that Lenny had stamped it with an expired Notary stamp in an attempt to make the wedding invalid. He swears it was an innocent oversight, but we tend to think he did it on purpose. That's just the sort of thing he does. They made him re-do it, so yes, my parents are actually married.

After that, we didn't live in Florida until the end of 1989. By then I was 15 and when we moved back my parents reconnected with Lenny Conn, who had changed his name by then and was driving around town in a garish pink Porsche.

I forgot to mention that Lenny is/was friends with my Evil-Ex fiance's father, Mr. Electric Shock Treatment himself. Lunatics tend to congregate, especially in South Florida, so that explains that. Were it not for Lenny Conn, I would never have been engaged to a man who got another girl pregnant and then sued me and stole my house. So thanks Lenny Conn, because I apparently needed to experience that level of devastation in my life.

Lenny Conn back then shared our love of Morrisson's cafeteria. He liked it because it was cheap. He had 2 restaurants he'd go to. Morrisson's and this Italian joint. We went to both places too. Lenny'd go to the Italian place and order a veal parm sub without the bread because it was fifty cents cheaper than the veal parm dinner. Then he'd try to complain to see if he could get something for free. He did this at Morrisson's too. If we saw his car, we'd go somewhere else, but then he caught on. I think he stalked us to Morrisson's I swear. We'd be in there enjoying our meals when he'd come in and act like it was a shock to see us there. He'd sit down uninvited and make a big display like he was going to treat us to our Morrisson's Cafeteria dinner. Then he'd get up to the register and create a big scene because "Oh My God, you won't believe it, I've forgotten my wallet!! Can you guys just do me this little favor and get it this time and let me owe you one?" Of course we were on to him. After a couple times of being put in this awkward situation my mom rifled through her purse.

"Oh My God Lenny, what are the odds? You'll never believe it. I forgot my money and credit cards too. What'll we do? Go look in your car and see if your wallet's in there."

And of course his wallet miraculously rematerialized. This is why Lenny hates my mother. That's how Lenny became his very own verb. Whenever someone was cheap or selfish or tried to get out of paying we'd say there were "Pulling a Lenny."

Lenny was just such a jackass. He was rude, annoying, cheap and selfish and vain. A perpetual bachelor with no kids, he hated women and was just insufferable to be around.

Around 2000 when I moved back to Florida after Evil Ex ruined my life, we ran into Lenny at the bagel shop. He was getting deep into his plastic surgery addiction by then and had just had work done. Both of his ears were tracked with stitches and his face was pulled tight as if he were standing in 200 mile per hour winds. This is when the bathroom tile teeth made their first appearance.

Now being a vain jackass, Lenny Conn could never admit to having plastic surgery. No.

"I'm so glad to see you guys," he said, "I nearly died. You won't believe what happened to me. I really almost died."

"What Lenny?" we asked.

"I was in Costa Rica last month and was in a terrible taxi accident. We were hit so hard that my ears literally flew off my head and they had to be sewn back on. And all my teeth had to be replaced."

OK. His ears just FLEW OFF HIS HEAD from the force of the collision. Because people's ears fly off all the time.

We're still laughing over that one.

For a while after that we kept seeing him at the Greek Diner on the Island where he'd eat pancakes and sausage every night.

"I'm trying to kill myself eating this," he'd say despondently, "I know I look so trim and fit and young but on the inside I'm rotting. I have heart disease. I'm dying so I'm eating pancakes to accelerate my death. The doctor gave me two months to live."

My mom and I fell for it once and felt all sorry for him and sat with him for two hours and talked until it was time to pay and then the jerk had the balls to try that forgetting his wallet crap on us again!

We felt it was right to invite him to my wedding. I also wanted him to go so he could tell Evil Ex's Dad about it and then Evil Ex would also know. I know that's immature. I know it is, but you'd do it too. Shut up, yes you would.

Lenny sent the invitation back!

With my parents, we drove to Lenny's house which is the very same townhouse where he fell down the stairs 30 years ago after call my mom a C. We went to implore Lenny to come, to let him know that in spite of the fact that he is one of the biggest idiots in South Florida, that he still holds a special place in our hearts and our family history. We sincerely wanted him there.

"Can't do it. No way," he said.

"Why Lenny? Why?" I asked.

"Because I'm dying. I won't be here in a month. I won't make it to your wedding. I will be gone. I just hope you'll come to my funeral. It's been a long, hard road and I'm ready to go to God now. I'm so frail. I know, I know I don't look it. I look fantastic don't I? I really do. But I'm a dead man. I may die in my sleep tonight. You know, I died on the operating table already. So now I'm just trying to decide who I want my organs to go to. You know how charitable I am, so I want to donate, but I want to see the people on the organ waiting list. I don't want my corneas in some fat bitch."

So we promised Lenny we'd be at his funeral, but no notice of his death ever came and he did not attend my wedding.

We never heard from Lenny Conn again. We thought he really did die and no one had told us. Of course, he really didn't look like he was dying and he is a gigantic drama queen, but you just never know. We didn't even see him around town, which was highly unusual.

We didn't see Lenny until he came to perform the wedding ceremony of Lupo Lama and the woman who looks exactly like a blow up sex doll. We didn't know he'd be there and he didn't know we'd be there. You can imagine how that went.

Tomorrow we'll resume the wedding festivities.


Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read it... "reading" you is always entertaining. You've got a certain something.


Calamity Anne said...

His ears flew off! That's stinkin' priceless!!!

Anonymous said...

"Lenny's teeth arrive before the rest of him" ... I almost fell of my chair laughing. You have the uncanny ability to place us all in the background of that wedding watching it unfold.

Love LOVE *LOVE* your stories!


Missicat said...

Was feeling pretty blad this morning until I read this - thanks for the laughs I needed them!
Can't wait for the rest.

Laurie said...


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