The luxurious offices of Largeman Property Investments sat on the 10th floor of the One57 building in New York City.
The CEO and founder fifty five year old Marjorie Largeman sits behind her expensive walnut desk reading a draft Irish property fund prospectus. Her propensity to corpulence and name caused her much mockery throughout her life. She stood 170 centre metres tall. A working week of eighty hours plus contributed to her carrying 113 kilos in weight.
An expensive tailored black trouser business suit seals in her corpulent frame. Her desk phone rings. She moves her head upwards from the prospectus and smiles when she sees the name flashing up on her telephone.
Her 22 year old daughter Shoshana is her only child. Shoshana graduated in Law from Harvard with the highest honours. She now is a partner in her mother's business. They are more than business partners as well as mother and daughter. They are in many ways best friends. Both live together in a Hamptons mansion.
Marjorie picks up the phone with her chubby right hand "Hello Darling are you back in New York?"
"Hello mother yes I am. Just coming up to the escalator and thought I would check you were in your office"
Marjorie laughs sarcastically "where else would I be at 6:30pm on a roasting hot Wednesday evening. I am so glad I have aircon. This really isn't business suit weather. I hope your sinuses aren't troubling you in this heat you sound blocked up"
"They are Mother . The pollen count is really high. I am in the elevator now so I will talk to you shortly"
A gentle knock taps the teak dark office door. Marjorie slowly stands up smiling "Come in and hug your mother"
Shoshana enters. Her chubby face expands with a wide smile and her brown eyes sparkle behind big black rimmed designer glasses which are wedged on her prominent nose. Her curly dark hair extends freely down to her shoulders. She too wore a black business suit. Like her mother works eighty hours plus and struggles with her weight. She is slightly smaller at 162cm weighing 77 kilos.
Marjorie slowly walks towards her stiff from an extensive period of sitting. She extends her hands to hug. Her eyes sparkling with delight and pride. In Shoshana she felt she was looking at herself as a young woman.
They both hug "Darling every day you walk in that door it makes me proud to be your mother and business partner"
"Oh mother you're making me blush if I didn't know you I would say you were coming on to me" They both laugh.
"Darling let's sit on the sofa. Do you need any antihistamines for your sinuses you do sound blocked up?"
"That is why I am lucky to be your business partner. You can mother me every minute of the day. I am good thanks. I took some when I parked up"
They sit together on a chocolate brown Italian leather sofa. Shoshana places her suitcase on a glass coffee table and opens it up. She takes out some documents with her beaming broad smile lightening up her face one more time.
"I am delighted to say we are the proud owners of 6 luxury apartments in Newark" handing the contract documents to Marjorie.
Marjorie smiles back proudly taking the documents "That's my girl" Marjorie quickly looks through the document "These two are right underneath the penthouse suites. I think we should invest a sizeable budget into these and we will be able to rent them at a price close to a par with the penthouse prices. The others look like some low cost refurbishment will be efficient to get a greater monthly rental on them then the norm"
Marjorie hands the document back to Shoshana
"Yes mother I have called our property management team and sent them on images of the apartments with specs. They are going to provide us with draft designs and budgeted estimates next Tuesday. I hoped for Monday but they are feeling the pinch with colleagues on vacation'.
"Okay, we will agree timelines with them then for completion. We need to think who will project manage this. This is a good opportunity for one of the junior managers to shine and earn promotion"
Shoshana places the documents back into her brief case and closes it back up. "Mother how was Chicago and the Farooqi brothers. I apologise I had an extremely busy day in Newark. Lunch was a corn beef sandwich and coke while driving from the lawyers to the bank. I really wanted to ring you but the day was too hectic"
Marjories expression transforms to glum and depressed.
"It was awlful. We were meant to meet at the Chicago Hilton hotel beside O'Hare. I got a call mid flight saying the location was changing and I would be notified. The plane landed so I called to find out. Again I was told I would be notified. I don't know which of them I spoke with but he hung up immediately no apology or explanation"
Shoshana gapes in shock "What rude people. So the hotel overbooked or whatever your time is precious. They should have been at the airport waiting for you at the very least".
"Darling, these people do not care about my time. Anyways 20 minutes later one of them rang me back said they would meet me at the airport so I went to get a coffee".
Shoshana shakes her head in disgust "Do they not realise THERE IS NOT a huge queue of investors lining up for their factory. You had every right to walk away there".
"You would think Darling! So my phone rings again. I had to get a shuttle bus to one of the short term car parks and meet them there"
Shoshana places her right hand on her chest "I am speechless. What odd behaviour. That would scare me. If I was there on my own I would have cancelled for a more appropriate time for when we both could be there".
"I was thinking that Darling but I thought at the very worst I would see where we are in terms of making a deal both sides accepted. I just wasn't expecting what happened next"
Shoshana senses her mother's anxiety and wraps both of her hands around her right hand. "What happened Mother? They didn't do something to you. Did they?"
Marjorie rubs the back of her neck with her left hand. "So I had to get into this stinking old limousine. My back was in bits from the hard seats. Again they refused to shake my hand. They must expect to get the Black Death or something from me.
I made our initial offer which was slightly above the current market value. They said no. So then I done our Plan B. Offered 15% offer and they still said no"
Shoshana releases her clasp of her mother's right hand and with her left fist punches the arm rest of the sofa in anger. She is beyond fury "We offer them 15% over the market value for the shell of a factory that more than likely will be demolished. Even at that we are doing ourselves over because that leaves our profit margin a lot tighter. There is no way a better offer was put forward. What did they say?"
Marjorie takes a deep breath and lowers her head "we are Jews. That's why. They hate us. They rather make a loss than see us make a gain. Dragged me all the way to Chicago just to have the pleasure of saying to my face they will not sell to us because we are Jews. Pathetic. "
Shoshana stands up in a rage unsure how to direct her anger she punches her right fist into her left palm.
"Fucking bastards". She places her left hand on her brow while she digests the reasoning.
"Won't do business with us because we are Jews. Won't shake our hands because we are Jews. If anything it should be us not doing business with them. How dare they! All they had to do after our initial meeting was send confirmation they would not sell to us. But no! To ensure they get the message across that they hated us it had to be delivered to your face. Fucking bastards still bitter over the six day war.
Marjorie extends her arms in the air and sighs in resignation. She hates to see Shoshana get so angry especially over those bastards.
"Shoshana please sit down beside me. Shouting will not help your Sinuses. I know you're upset and angry. At the time I was a mix of frightened angry and upset. I am no longer frightened. No longer anger but I am most certainly upset."
The truth is it was the fear that caught Marjorie the most. The hate filled body language of the brothers lanced through her like a spear. On realisation she was a Jewish woman alone in their car; they could bring her anywhere and dump her body. She felt stupid for getting into the car and risking her life. The aggressive tone of the elder brother towards her had her gut belting out warning signals of danger as she sat numb fearful for her faith. Then the sense of relief when she got out of the limo. She was still alive. Beads of sweat had run down her brow. Her body shook so badly she had to sit for a period of time and compose herself.
Marjorie swipes some tissue from a box on the coffee table and wipes tears from her sad eyes. Nothing affected Shoshana more than seeing her mother upset. For a brief moment her memory flashes back to her mother crying one time when Shoshana was not allowed join a play group. A lump swells her throat. Gently she sits beside her mother. Puts her arms around her and kisses her left cheek.
Marjorie sniffles, her voice broken with the mixed emotions of an extremely traumatic experience.
"Darling we are good businesswomen. Yet this is overruled because we are Jewish. It's a constant battle. Anti-Semitic tactics by our competitors. Of course not forgetting the anti-Semitic comments and conspiracy theories. Oh Jews are buying all the property. They are going to rent them to Jews and force us out. Jews have bought that property don't rent there. That's a Jewish business. They are Jews. I don't like them they are Jews. That Jews Company is a vulture fund. Not forgetting the usual we don't hate Jews, our neighbour is a Jew. Are you a Jew? Are you trying to Jew me down? All of this hate thrown at us and we just take it each time." She raises her emotionally broken voice "SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY WE WILL HAVE PARITY"
Shoshana nods in disagreement. "Oh mother please! We will never have parity. You and I share the same experiences growing up. Excluded from play groups. Tormented in High School for not only being Jewish but for also looking Jewish. Branded in university as fat JAPS."
She stops momentarily and bites her lower lip and fights the tears back.
"Here we are today. Yet again as mother and daughter experiencing Jewish hatred."
Shosana's emotions a mix of hopelessness and fear. Hopelessness as this is something they will never defeat alone; yet it felt like they were fighting it alone. Fear as anti-Semitism gains traction the fanatics get more and more riled up and are liable to do anything.
"She makes eye contact with her mother. The teary sad eyes of this woman whom loves her to the moon and back. This confident intelligent businesswoman humiliated for being Jewish. She thinks to herself "how much more humiliation will we endure during our lifetime" She couldn't bite her lower lip any more. The tears began to roll.
"Mother. So many wanting to destroy every one of us. White Supremacists Religious fanatics and liberal movements. Of course liberal movements are happy to have our initial support but as soon as we are not needed we are fucked out and not welcomed. Then there are the others that pride themselves in not belonging to any of those groups but still hate us. There are too many mother. We are targeted by many so races and creeds. We'll never have parity."
Shoshana starts to sob. She reaches over and takes some tissues from the box. She gives her mother a sad half smile. It disheartens her greatly to have this unique hate shadow them wherever they go. For her this shadow waits eagerly to appear and antagonise them. Her mind ponders the question she asks herself each morning. Will I experience anti-Semitism today? She gently wipes away the tears from her mother's eyes and then her own.
They both sit silently holding each others hands, deep in thought.
Marjorie thinks back to her mother. The holocaust had an everlasting effect on her. Growing up under her parent's bed was a suitcase her mother kept. In the suit case were some clothes for all the family in case they had to move in a hurry. She wonders about Shoshana and her. Will they ever have to leave in a hurry?
For Shoshana, childhood memories of hate race back to haunt her. The exclusion and loneliness anti-Semitism gives her a cold shiver. She looks at her mother and recognises the dispirited look on her face. It was the same dispirited expression from when Shoshana would come home from school crying, begging not to be Jewish anymore.
"Mother why do they do these things us. Our Jewishness is virtually nonexistent. We are barely in the Synagogue four times a year. It's not like we walk around with a kippah on our heads and a tallit over our shoulders?"
Marjorie clears her throat and takes a moment to digest the question.
"Darling to them it doesn't matter. We're Jews. That's all that matters to them. They don't distinguish between lax Jews or religious Jews. We are all Jews and they do not like us. To them we are inferior and a scourge. They don't want all Jewry in Israel. They want it completely destroyed. Despite whatever good we do in the world it won't matter. There will always be a conspiracy theory around the work of the Jew. Shoshana embraces her mother with a tight hug and plants a kiss on her right cheek. Their special bond, no one could destroy that. This thought brings a glow back to her face.
"Mother to celebrate doing business with people that hate us and those that hate us and won't do business because they are stupid anti-Semites. Let me get you something from the drinks bar".
Marjorie lightens up and laughs at Shoshana's quick witted sense of humour. "I'll certainly drink to that. I will have a sparkling water. I also have some bottles of the dreadful flavoured water you like". A broad smile returns to her face. Shoshana pats her mother on the back and strides across to a concealed cabinet which contained a cold drinks fridge."
"Mother you are well stocked up with my water thank you"
"Well you are my pride and joy so I need to mother you" They both laugh lightening up the mood further.
Shoshana returns to the sofa sit herself down and begins to pour the drinks. "You know mother I am thinking about the book I'm writing about young women in Business. Maybe I will put it on hold and write one on anti-semitism and Jewish woman. She hands a glass of water to her mother.
Marjorie laughs "Darling that will be a waste of time. The only ones that will buy it will be Jewish women. The ones you want to buy it won't because they don't care". They both laugh.
"Oy vey mother" Laughs Shoshana " Can you imagine the launch. 200 Jewish Businesswomen together all praising a book they could have written themselves that they bought for twenty five dollars when all of a sudden someone shouts stop! Where are the anti-Semites that bought it". They both burst into laughter.
"Darling I propose a toast to the Farooqi brothers and all the other haters out there. Throughout history Jewry has flourished following the trauma of persecution. May we continue to flourish and thrive in doing business with those that hate us"
They smile and clink glasses.
Shoshana stands up and adjusts her glasses on her nose. "To celebrate the contract signed in New Jersey. Earlier I booked us a table at the Hampton Kosher for nine.
"Let me stand up and give your mother a hug. You are an endless bundle of love and joy"
They hug and tears of sadness are replaced with tear of joy.
They release from the hug. Marjorie pats her tummy "The thoughts of it are making me hungry already. As the song goes they tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat"
Marjorie pulls back the sleeve of her expensive suit jacket to check the time "Its 7:45 now by the time I am finished and get across it will be about 9. Do you want to leave your car here and come with me from the office?'
"No mother thank you. I will drop the car home but if you and Max could collect me then we both can have a nice glass of wine. That is if of course if Max has not finished driving you around for the evening"
"No Darling he knows as my chauffeur driver he may have to do some late hours. Apart from dropping me at the airport and collecting me. He has had no other task today. I will let him know shortly."
Shoshana again smiles widening her chubby face. She hugs her mother and gently holds her hands "We need to discuss over dinner the wonderful initiatives put forward for our community program by staff"
Marjorie smiles and nods her head in agreement "yes. We need to address how we can get all employees involved in the decision making process. I just have to finish the draft to the Irish fund prospectus. I will discuss it with you in the morning on our way to our business meeting with the American Bankers Association. I will ring you when I leave".
Shoshana "Okay mother I will see you soon" and kisses her mother on her left cheek and leaves the office gently closing the office door behind her.
Marjorie slowly sits back on her leather desk chair picks up her phone and advises her private chauffeur Max of the evening plan.
At 8:10pm Marjorie takes the elevator to the underground parking first floor. The $150,000 Mercedes G Wagon is parked a few steps from the elevator to save her walking far. Max a 47 year old 183 centimetre former marine dressed in a grey suit waited by the rear passenger door which he opens as she approaches "Good evening Marjorie how was the rest of your day".
Marjorie slides in carefully as Max closes the passenger door behind her. She presses a button and lowers a partition between herself and Max. "It was extremely busy but that is the nature of the business. Thank you for working late at such short notice."
She opens her brief case and hands him an envelope. "Here are some tickets for the Mets game. I don't really know if it is a big game this weekend but I know you are a big fan".
Max's eyes light up like he was ten again on Christmas morning. "Big game it's the Yankees they have. You can get no bigger than that. Thank you very much Marjorie."
"No problem. Much deserved. I do appreciate you being so flexible with my schedule. So just stop off at the house and pick up Shoshana then on to the restaurant"
"No problem Marjorie".
Marjorie opens her black Vera Wang handbag and pulls out her smart phone and dials Shoshana. It dials out and goes to voicemail "Hi Darling. This is your mother. I have just left the office so hopefully traffic will not be heavy".
"Maybe I will try the house phone". Again she dials and it goes to voicemail "Hi Darling. Your cell phone rang out so I am assuming your battery is dead. I have left the office now and on my way. Bye bye love mother".
Marjorie gets lost in thoughts of their emotional conversational earlier. How many times have Jewish families and friends had those conversations she wondered? How many more of those conversations will they have?
She checks her watch and quickly pulls out of her trance. 15 minutes passed since she called Shoshana and still no response. "This is most unlike Shoshana" She takes up her cell phone again and this time sends a message "Darling on my way. Traffic is moving well. Tried ringing you but no answer. See you soon. Lots of love xxx"
To occupy her mind Marjorie opens up Google and completes further research on Irish property investments. She could not concentrate and still no contact from Shoshana.
Marjorie became restless. This was so unlike Shoshana. She rubbed her face with her hands unsure what else to do. She looks at her message and sees it wasn't delivered yet. Her gut began telling her something was wrong. She rang the house phone again and again it went straight to voice mail "Hey Shoshana is everything okay. I will soon be home".
She rechecks the message she sent and it was still undelivered. She dialled her cell phone again. This time it made a disconnected tone.
Her stomach cramps with anxiety. Her breathing suddenly gets heavier. "Max can you step on it a little Shoshana isn't answering and her phone is disconnected. I hope she didn't have an asthma attack. The pollen was very high today and her sinuses are troubling her"
I'm sure she's fine Marjorie. We will soon be there. Traffic is a bit heavy but I will try".
Marjorie spends the next ten minutes redialling the house phone and Shoshanas cell phone which still has a disconnected tone. Her gut aches like never before.
Eventually The G wagon approaches the huge Hampton mansion. The automatic gates opened and the G wagon makes its way up the windy 40 metre avenue.
"Oh vey" screams Marjorie. The drivers' door of Shoshana's two year old racing green Jaguar S type was open and the engine running.
The S Wagon comes to a quick halt beside the jaguar. Marjorie pushes herself out as quick as she can to investigate the open drivers car door.
"Shes not here Max, oh my poor darling where are you"
"Maybe she is around the back Marjorie. Forgot her key or something"
Her gut tells her something sinister has happened. Her body pumps with adrenaline
"Oh God Max you go that side and I'll look this side and meet you around the back. Let's get calling her name in case she collapsed.
Marjorie searches as quickly as she can. Her physical condition was not the best. She drags her expensive suit places it never went before through trees, bushes and flowerbeds. The more she calls Shoshana the more she stresses.
"Marjorie come here quick".
Marjorie moves as quickly as her corpulent frame allows, her breathing consists of deep gasps as she struggles to maintain a speedy pace. Her heart pounds wildly. There a few metres from Shoshanas car Max holds a pair of black glasses. "I think I found her glasses"
"Oy Gevalt" screams Marjorie "Her glasses. They are never off her face. She can't see well without them. This is not right. Something horrible has happened her. My poor daughter my only daughter" Tears stream down her cheeks, any minute now she will get physically sick. She knew it was coming.
Something on the lawn catches the attention of Max. Briskly he walks over to investigate and picks up several pieces of a broken phone.
Marjorie massaged her huge tummy with her left hand trying to massage the pain however her anxiety levels were sky high "What are they?"
He walks over towards Marjorie "A smashed up cell phone, is this hers?"
"I need to sit down Max, I'm afraid I'm going to faint". Max quickly grabs her left arm and assists her to a garden chair where she plonks down breathing deeply.
"Are you okay Marjorie. Do you need a doctor? She might be inside. If you give me the house keys I'll check inside and you rest here. I will bring you out some water"
Marjorie leers towards the front door with its massive Romanesque porch.
"oh no oh no" she screams and leans over her left side to get physically sick on the lawn. A strong flow of tears now descends from her eyeballs down her cheeks. Chest pain now begins; she fears a heart attack is coming.
For the second time in one day her body traumatises from fear. On the large white front door in red spray paint is a massive swastika. The front two marble pillars also desecrated with this symbol of evil.