The last thing that Roger and Elizabeth Markowitz expected to see as they returned to their apartment on East 66th Street in midtown Manhattan was former Mayor Rudy Giuliani standing in the kitchen making an omelet. They looked at each other with the mutual expression of, “We’re awake, right?”
The mayor also seemed startled. He turned around from the stove top, a spatula still in his right hand. He shrugged.
“Well, I guess this is awkward,” he said.
Elizabeth was the first to regain their breath.
“Mayor Giuliani, right?”
“Indeed,” he said. “Would you like an autograph?”
“I think we would like to know why you’re in our apartment,” Roger blurted out.
“Well, it’s actually my apartment. And weren’t you not supposed to be back until tomorrow?”
It was Elizabeth’s turn to try to make sense of things.
“Maybe I’m having a stroke but we bought this apartment several months ago when you put it up for sale,” she said. “We paid probably a million more than it was worth but we did buy it.”
“Believe me, was I grateful. So thank you,” Giuliani responded. “I really needed the cash.”
“I bet,” Elizabeth said. “I saw all that about how Trump left you on the hook for millions of dollars in legal fees and stuff –"
Roger cut her off, saying “Wait! That’s right! Aren’t you supposed to be on trial or at least getting ready to be on trial down in Atlanta?”
“Yeah!” Elizabeth almost hissed. “You’re supposed to be on trial!”
“Well, thing is,” Giuliani explained. “As far as they’re concerned, I’m missing, maybe even, sad to say, dead.”
Elizabeth and Roger looked at each other for a few moments before she said, “Dead? Not dead. You’re here. Standing. Right before us.”
“Well, you have a point there,” the mayor said. “But, let me ask you, do you?”
Roger and Elizabeth looked at each other again, still confused.
“You look confused,” the mayor started to say before the two cut him off, stumbling over each other in disbelief,
“Not confused,” Elizabeth said.
“You’re standing right here,” Roger added.
“Well, maybe a little confused,” Elizabeth conceded. “You were indicted. You put your apartment up for sale. We bought your apartment. We moved into your apartment. We assumed you had moved out. Yet. Here we are.”
Giuliani shrugged his shoulders. “All true except for the parts where truth isn’t truth,” he said.
Roger and Elizabeth stood there waiting for him to elaborate, something Giuliani hadn’t planned on doing. The mayor finally gave up and tried to explain.
“I was indicted. I did put the apartment up for the sale and moved out of the apartment.”
Elizabeth, who had been practicing that head move her mother used to make, indicating, “And then?” The mayor who responded, “You see, I did move out of the apartment. And just moved into the safe room.”
Roger picked his jaw off the floor. “Safe room?”
“Well, it’s really more of a safe suite. Bedroom, full bath, a room where I record my shows, and a room where I can smoke a cigar,”
“I told you I kept hearing Lucia di Lammermoor,” Roger exclaimed to Elizabeth.
“It’s the Joan Sutherland version,” Giuliani told him. “Really great.”
“Absolutely,” Roger said, causing Elizabeth to punch him in the arm.
“How can there be a safe room let alone a safe suite? It would have come up in the inspection!” she quipped.
“What can I say? I know people,” the mayor responded.
“So, the inspector lied?” Elizabeth and Roger said in unison.
“He was absolutely truthful about what he inspected.”
“Mayor Giuliani,” Roger started out. “So, before you sold the place, you installed a safe room – “
“Safe suite,” he clarified.
“Right. Because a safe room is just a room while a suite has so much more room,” Roger said. “Rooms,” Giuliani said. He then appeared to smile, at least that’s what Roger and Elizabeth told each other later. It took a couple of times before they almost believed it.
“But how do you get food? Are you in there the whole time? How do you get in and out? How is it we have not seen you?” Roger took a breath.
“More questions?” Giuliani asked. “I get food like any other New Yorker, I have it delivered. Except for those times I know you’re out so I might come use my old set up. As for how I get in and out and why haven’t you seen me? I can’t tell you the first one but the second one is because until tonight I have been more careful.”
Elizabeth pondered that for a moment before asking, “Presumably, since you’re supposed to be on trial and you’re here, you’re, as you might have once said, ‘on the lam.’”
“I was a prosecutor in the eighties,” Giuliani said. “I was not riding around with Eliot Ness trying to catch Al Capone. Though, I admit, that would have been fun.”
“Fair point,” she responded. “But back to what I was saying. Given that, why shouldn’t we turn you in?”
“Because I know a lot more about you than you might think,” he replied. “Not to mention the video and audio recordings I have of both of you and others.”
Roger and Elizabeth looked very uncomfortable and awkward.
“Also, the longer you keep quiet, the more I might be able to help you; the shorter you make my stay, the more trouble I can cause. Remember, regardless of what’s going on, I do know people.”
The couple shrugged.
“But won’t people be suspicious? The noise? The extra food?” Roger asked.
“Roger, the building is pet friendly,” Guiliani said. “Tell them you have a ferret. A large ferret.”
Colin Miner has covered New York politics for more than 30 years. He’s reported for the New York Times, New York Post,and NY1 News. He was city editor of The New York Sun and reported for various weeklies including Manhattan Spirit and Our Town.