The Leech Doctor

Once upon a time, there was a cardiologist from New Orleans who moved to Manhattan to become a Stand-Up Leech Doctor named Aioli Kornbluth.    Every day in his new Upper East Side office across the street from the famed Comic Strip Live on 2nd Avenue, he’d offer his bad blood removal service free of charge.

            Growing up in New Orleans, his cardiologist father Michael decided to name his kid Aioli because no son, planned or not, could compare to his dearly departed firstborn Zevon Kornbluth, who’d died in Vietnam from a falling tree. Aioli Kornbluth’s father always said, “Laughter is the best medicine for a heavy heart,” so he named his unplanned son Aioli, which lightened his cinderblock-clogged heart every time he ordered his son to do his errands, such as, “Make your bed, Aioli. Take out the trash, Aioli—your Snoop Dog records, too. I don’t care that he samples funk beats and big horns from Curtis Mayfield records. His brain still hovers a notch below porn hell, in my book.”

            As a kid, Aioli Kornbluth was forced to feel like the unwanted, aborted one. This prompted him to save his allowance for a whole year to buy a Henry Kissinger doll from a voodoo doctor in the French Quarter to seek revenge on the merchant of death responsible for the rapid, incessant, blatantly unnecessary acceleration of the Vietnam War, but he didn’t have enough money saved for the costs of so much fabric.

            Still, the voodoo doctor, Chief Longwinded Bow, gave Aioli Kornbluth more than a mere constellation prize, in return, by offering to teach the ancient black magic art of bad blood removal through leech expungement.  

            A young 13-year-old Aioli Kornbluth poured his heart out to Chief Longwinded Bow, trying to look his dapper best and sporting his standard, ironed, Catholic private school suit and tie attire from the same school Eli and Peyton Manning attended as kids, down off the Bayou.

            He says, “Chief, can I call you just Chief? I’d like to be short, so you have more time to ramble on. I can’t shake the feeling that my dad will never forgive God for taking his firstborn, my big brother, away from him so soon. You’d think I’d offer him some solace, being on the honor roll year after year. I even broke Eli Manning’s single season touchdown record. Yet, Pops would rather listen to Fats Domino records on Sunday while sipping more Blanton’s High Balls and reading more damn Michael Crichton novels, than ever taking the time to throw the pigskin around the yard with me.

            “Also, Eli Manning is a bigger pimp than Tom Brady. He’s New Orleans royalty, for starters. Plus, Eli married his college sweetheart—and not some annoying Brazilian chickenhead, either. Giselle is also, like, 80 in model years.”

            Chief Longwinded Bow says, “And Oliver Stone has the gall to call me longwinded compared to my younger brother, Snorts Coke With Vampires, when he hired us as creative consultants on the set of Natural Born Killer.    “Moving forward, I would add some leaches to your diet. You can swallow them whole, or dice them and sauté them in butter nestled within a crawfish pie, if you’d like. Either way, the leeches will remove any ill will you have towards your father for never making you feel like an esteemed, wanted member of your family.”

            Aioli Kornbluth says, “I love crawfish pie. I’ve always told my dad that crawfish are shrimp with more personality. Yeah, my dad doesn’t think I’m funny enough to be stand-up comedian, either.”  

            But now Aioli Kornbluth is about to turn 40 in Manhattan, with no kids or wife in his life. All he’s got is his fancy cardiologist office practice on the Upper East Side and dreams of becoming a Stand-Up Leech Doctor, although tonight was the annual audition tryout for the Comic Strip, which he had been practicing for his entire life.

            His number is called, and Aioli Kornbluth approaches the stage, yet fumbles grabbing the mike out of the stand. Aioli says, “Can you believe I’m a cardiologist and perform open heart surgery for a living?” The crowd screams with approval. Aioli relaxes a tad and roams the stage to take in the crowd and the moment he’s dreamed of turning into reality forever while almost tripping over the coiled microphone chord.

            Aioli stares at the mike cord on stage and says, “The mike cord isn’t a live snake. You’d think that, being raised by a bunch of Mardi Gras Indians, I wouldn’t let a microphone chord rattle my game.” The crowd laughs again.  

            Laughter is the best medicine for a heavy heart, and Aioli Kornbluth was sad no more, until he died on stage soon after and was told to never audition for the Comic Strip ever again. The owner of the Comic Strip said, “Stick with sticking your heart attack patients with more stents.”

Michael Kornbluth

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