originally written May 4, 2011 on Open Salon
I was kidding. Jack Heart thinks I'm close.
This post started life as a comment I wrote on Old New Lefty's blog. It is expanded here with his permission.
In the mid 1960's, an extremely wealthy oilman bought a magnificent penthouse in lower Manhattan. It was on the top floor of an elegant building. The penthouse was spacious, with tall ceilings, but its crowning glory was its view: a Southern exposure, where you could see some of the Wall Street neighborhood, the water, the Statue of Liberty, the new Verrazano Narrows Bridge under construction, and get sunlight all day long. Most of all, he loved the view.
It was not to last. Unbeknownst to him, the City of New York had issued construction permits for a new skyscraper project, and soon his view was cluttered with construction that went up and up and up, blocking his beloved view and leaving him in shadow. No consolation in looking at a building with the classic proportions of the Empire State Building or the deco elegance of the Chrysler Building; this thing was just an enormous rectangle with a flat top. Worse yet, there were two of them! He was depressed and furious, angry at the city he now called home and vowing revenge.
One evening, he was having dinner in the Penthouse with an old friend from the oil business, a Saudi. "What's wrong?" his friend asked. "You seem morose."
He gestured out the window. "Look at what they've done to my view. I'm so angry I could kill them all."
The Saudi sat back, pressed his fingers together professorially, and said he had an idea that might help. It involved investing a little money and a huge amount of patience and could result, not only in revenge, but in getting his view back.
"Tell me, do you know what a Madrassa is?"
The discussion continued over coffee. A problem occurred to the businessman. "But what if we run afoul of Washington?"
The Saudi smiled indulgently. "Don't be ridiculous," he replied. "Prescott will take care of everything."