Friday, February 25, 2022

“Everybody’s Got a Story”

Through the falling snow and arm in arm under Gerry’s umbrella they walked up MacDougal Street, and within a matter of seconds, because this was Greenwich Village, a bar appeared on their right, and its vertical neon sign said, simply:  


A hanging sign shaped like an oval bisected by a smaller oval elaborated:





“I gather this is a bar,” said Araminta.

“So it would seem,” said Gerry.

There was a menu in the window.

“Oh, good – food!” said Araminta. “Shall we go in, mon cher Gérard?

“I think we should,” said Gerry. “You see, Araminta, for me the best bar has always been the nearest bar.”

“This is why you are a philosopher, Gerry. But first –” She removed her arm from his and opened her purse. Gerry was a patient man, and he enjoyed the moment. Watching a pretty girl searching for something in her purse was more enjoyable than looking at a brick wall, or at a Picasso, or even at Picasso himself, whom Gerry had seen once long ago in Paris, sitting at a table at the Dôme with some other people who were possibly just as famous…

Voilà,” said Araminta, and she brought out a fat hand-rolled cigarette. “Let’s fire up, old chap.”

“Oh, wait,” said Gerry.

“For what?”

“Araminta, may I ask if that is a reefer?”

“It most certainly is. We need to smoke a little gage, old bean, in order to heighten our gustatory delectation.”

Who was Gerry to say no? What had saying no ever gotten him?

“Splendid idea,” he said, and five minutes that felt simultaneously like five hours and five seconds later they were inside the door and Gerry was closing up his umbrella.

Yes, once again they were in Bar World, amidst the chatter and laughter and shouting of human beings, the swirling of smoke and the gleaming of bottles of liquor, the smells of beer and whiskey and perfume and aftershave, the sounds of what Gerry presumed to be jazz on a jukebox.

A half hour and a pizza with mushrooms and hot peppers later, sitting at a small table by the window with the snow still falling outside, two Bull Durhams lighted and a half-full pitcher of Rheingold on the table, Araminta said:

“Someday, when I am old, I will look back on this evening, and think, ‘I was young, and full of life.’”

“And I,” said Gerry, “when I am old, or I should say when I am older, I shall also look back on this evening, and say, ‘I was middle-aged, and as full of life as I ever was.’”

“If only,” said Araminta.

“Yes?” said Gerry.

“If only you were twenty years younger.”

“Yes,” said Gerry, “or, perhaps, if you were twenty years older.”

“Ha ha. But it wouldn’t be quite the same then, would it?”

“No,” said Gerry, “but nothing is quite the same as anything else.”

“What would you say, old bean, if I were to take you back to my flat and make savage love to you?”

“I should say that it might be quite embarrassing to have me suffer a myocardial infarction in your bed.”

“Yes, that would be a bother. Would you mind terribly if that happened and I dressed you and just dragged your body out into the hallway and let Mrs. Morgenstern deal with it?”

“I shouldn’t mind in the least. Although I doubt that Mrs. Morgenstern would be pleased.”

“A landlady’s work is never done.”

“Anyway, you have a boyfriend, Araminta.”

“Oh, yes. Terry. But he is so – inchoate, Gerry.”

“He’ll become less inchoate in time. Give him a few more years.”

“I don’t know if I can wait that long.”

“Most of life is waiting. And then when what you’re waiting for comes you start waiting for something else.”

“There you go with your philosophy again!”

“Yes, it’s a habit with me, and if I were a better philosopher I might be able to tell if it’s a good habit…”

“Didn’t you ever want to have any sort of job, Gerry?” asked Araminta, in that way she had of changing the subject without transition.

“No,” said Gerry. “Never.”

“And so you’ve never had a job?”

Gerry paused for a moment.

“Does being drafted into the army count?”

“I should think so. What did you do in the army?”

“I was thirty-two, completely out of shape, and completely lacking in militaristic spirit, however I had a degree from Harvard, and so the army in its wisdom gave me a desk job at Fort Dix. I shuffled papers, and read lots of books. When I was finally discharged in November of 1945 I had risen to the exalted rank of corporal.”

“So that was it, your one job.”

“I shuffled papers, and I shuffled them well.”

“Do you think I should get a job?” asked Araminta.

“Before I answer that, may I ask how you pay your rent and buy groceries at present?”

“My father pays my rent, and he also gives me an allowance of fifty dollars a month.”

“Then my advice to you is not to get a job.”

“I’m so glad you said that. I mean, what sort of job could I get, with a B.A. in English Lit from Vassar?”

“Nothing interesting, I’d warrant.”

“The other girls I graduated with have all gotten jobs on Vogue or Mademoiselle or Harper’s Bazaar.

“I don’t see you working for a ladies’ magazine.”

“What about if I got on the New Yorker?”

“That might be better.”

“I could maybe write those little Talk of the Town pieces, about the city’s oldest doorman, or a good place to buy bagels.”

“Yes, but would you want to?”

“I could write a Talk of the Town piece about you, Gerry. A philosopher living on the sixth floor of a tenement at Bleecker and the Bowery.”

“Oh, I’m sure that would go over well.”

“Ha ha.”

“No, Araminta, you asked my opinion, and – bearing in mind that it’s coming from me and should be taken with several handfuls of salt – my opinion is that you should try to do as I have done, and never take a job if you can help it.”

“So just live off my allowance all my life?”

“Someday you’ll finish your novel, and it just might become a bestseller.”

“I doubt that.”

“Take it from me, Araminta. For three-and-a-half years in the army I worked in an office, and there wasn’t a second when I didn’t wish I were somewhere else. No, jobs are for those who have no choice but to work, or who have nothing better to do with the precious moments they have left on this planet.”

“What have I done to meet such a wise man as you, Gerry?”

“You moved into the same building that I live in.”

“A happy chance.”

“Yes, happy for me as well.”

Louie the waiter stood by the espresso machine smoking a Lucky Strike and gazing at that new odd couple sitting by the window, a man in his forties, a girl in her early twenties? What was their story? A father and daughter? Uncle and niece? If the guy was the girl’s sugar daddy, then why was he wearing that shabby old suit? It looked like a good cut, a Donegal tweed maybe, but it was twenty or twenty-five years old if it was a day, and the elbows were worn bald. The girl wore a black beret and a black sweater, straight black hair and red lips, and she was looking at the man like she was hanging on his every word. The man in his turn looked at the girl almost like he was shy. What was their story? Everybody who came in here had a story, and each story was different, just like Louie had his own story.

The man in the worn tweed suit turned and looked at Louie and raised his finger, but in a nice way, a kind of shy way. Louie put his Lucky in the ashtray on the shelf with the cups and saucers and went over. They wanted to know what was good for dessert, and he recommended the German chocolate cake with the cherry sauce.

{Kindly go here to read the “adult comix” version in A Flophouse Is Not a Home, profusely illustrated by the illustrious rhoda penmarq…”

Thursday, February 17, 2022

"Ode to Joy"

“All right, tough guy,” said Bubbles, “it’s been fun, and thanks for the spaghetti dinner and drinks, but I need my beauty sleep.”

“Oh, but it’s early yet,” said Addison.

“Early for you, maybe, but I have better things to do than sitting in bars until the wee hours. Like sleeping. And, look, I know you’re not exactly John D. Rockefeller, so I’ll take care of Joe’s tip.”

“Gee, but that’s not necessary, Bubbles.”

“Yes, it is, because this joint is one of my regular hangs, and I like to take care of my bartenders, because they take care of me.”

“Well, only if you insist,” said Addison, and he of course did not insist. “But may I walk you home?”

“Sure, just don’t get any ideas.”

“Oh, heaven forfend!”

“You really slay me, daddy-o. Where’d you say you come from? Pittsburgh?”

“Philadelphia, actually.”

“Are they all like you down there?”

“I doubt that very much, Bubbles.”

“Ha ha. Now help me on with my wrap.”

Outside the snow still fell, thick fat flakes falling through the light of the corner street lamp, tinged with the orange red glow of the San Remo’s neon sign. Addison opened his umbrella, Bubbles took his arm, and they trudged along the white-blanketed sidewalk down Bleecker Street. When they got to Bubbles’s building Addison held the umbrella over her while she dug her key out of her red purse that matched her red pillbox hat.

“Bubbles,” said Addison, “I don’t mean to be forward.”

“Now what is it?”

“But I wonder if I might stop up for a cup of coffee?”


“Hot cocoa?”

“What is it with you and cups of coffee and cocoa? I already told you I am not a Horn & Hardart’s.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Besides, I am a civilized girl, and when I want coffee or cocoa I go out to a coffee shop like a civilized person.”

“Would you like to go to a coffee shop?”

“Lookit, buddy, I hate to repeat myself, but I need my sleep. If I don’t get my good ten hours I can’t even show my face to the world.”

“I think you have a lovely face.”

“And it won’t stay lovely if I don’t get my required quota of shut-eye.”

“I wonder – oh, no, I’d better not say it.”

“Say what?”

“You’ll think me frightfully importunate.”

“Out with it.”

“Um –”

“You’ve been talking nonstop all night, and now you’re at a loss for words?”

“I feel somewhat constrained by social custom.”

“You’re not gonna ask to borrow some dough, are you?”

“God forbid!”

“Well, that’s a relief. So what is it, because I’m cold and want to crawl into the sack.”

“I wonder if I might have a kiss?”

“A kiss?”

“Yes. Just a small one.”

“A small kiss.”

“Yes. If it’s not asking too much. You see, well, you may not believe this, but, dash it all, why should I stand on pride? You see, I have never been kissed by a woman before.”

“You’ve never been kissed.”

“Well, I suppose when I was a lad I was kissed once or twice by my grandmother.”

“Christ, Addison, you really are a weirdo.”

“Yes, I am well aware of that.”

“And that’s all you want, a kiss?”

“I know it’s more than I deserve.”

“Nobody deserves anything. Pucker up.”

Addison had seen many movies, and so he puckered up. Bubbles gave him a quick peck on the lips, then she drew her face back.

“Happy now?”

“Oh, ecstatic,” said Addison, without irony.

Bubbles looked at him for a moment, with his shining puppy dog eyes. She had been holding her door key this whole time, and now she put it into the door’s lock, turned it, opened the door.

“I wonder if I might see you again?” said Addison.

She turned.

“What do you mean?”

“When I get my next envelope from home, I wonder if we could, oh, I don’t know, meet for drinks.”


“Yes, and, even, if you were hungry, perhaps I could take you to dinner again. We could have spaghetti at the San Remo again, or, if you would like to try something different I know an excellent place across the street from where I live called Ma’s Diner, she has some superb daily specials –”



“You want to take me to dinner.” 
“Yes. Only because I feel there’s so much more we could talk about.”

Bubbles paused for a moment, holding the door knob.

“How’s your memory?”

“Like a steel trap.”

She rattled off a phone number, a SPring-7 exchange. Addison repeated it.

“You got it?”

“Emblazoned permanently on the inner wall of my egg-like skull.”

“Don’t call me earlier than noon, ‘cause like I said, I like my beauty sleep.”

“Oh, yes, of course –”

“Swell. Nighty night then.”

“Oh, wait!”


“I said I would give you any money I had left over.” Addison reached under his coat and brought out his old Boy Scout wallet. “Look,” he said. “I have, uh, three dollars left.”

“Keep it.”


“I said keep it. I’m not gonna take your last three bucks.”

“You won’t?”

“No, I won’t. Well, good night, hard guy.”

“Wait, Bubbles.”


“If you won’t take the three dollars gratis I wonder if I could give them to you in exchange for another, you know, what you did earlier?”

“Another Billie Burke?”

“I thought it was called a Baltimore handshake?”

“Yeah, they call it that, too.”

“Yes. One of those.”

“Aren’t you the frisky puppy?”

“Just a quick one, and I promise I’ll leave posthaste afterwards so you can get your beauty sleep.”

“You are really too much, pal.”

“Yes, I am aware. I have always been too much. Too much, and too little.”

“Tell you what, Addison, if I wasn’t tired and dying to dive into the rack I’d maybe take you up on your offer. Who knows, maybe I’d even let you have a tug on the house.”

“Gosh, Bubbles, I wouldn’t dream of imposing on you in that way.”

“Hey, I do what I want to do. But, look, save your three bucks, because I’m gonna hit the hay.”

“Yes, of course,” said Addison.

She went inside, and as she was closing the door she said, “Remember, no phone calls before noon.”

“I’ll remember!” said Addison.

The door closed, and after standing there for half a minute Addison went down the stoop and headed off through the falling snow back to the San Remo. He still had three whole dollars to spend!

And as he walked he repeated Bubbles’s phone number over and over again, aloud, “SPring-7, SPring-7, SPring-7 –” to the tune of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”…

{Please go here to read the “adult comix” version, profusely illustrated by the illustrious rhoda penmarq.}

Thursday, February 10, 2022

“Killer McGurk”

“And so you see, Bubbles, my novel, now that I think of it, might just possibly prove to be only the initial installment of a grand multi-volume roman-fleuve which will perhaps someday be to American literature – which I consider still to be in its infancy – what Proust’s masterwork is to French letters. Because even though the volume I am currently working on will probably run to at the least a thousand printed pages, I feel that I can yet explore so much terribly more through the vehicle of my hero Buck Baxter, and…”

Bubbles wasn’t listening, but she didn’t mind. Addison’s babbling was just another soothing element in the smoky drunken symphony of the bar, along with the jukebox music and the laughing and shouting voices of all these other idiots in this place.

“Please, Mr. Johnson,” sang a lady on the jukebox, “don’t play them blues so sad…”

“Hey, Addison,” said Bubbles, “let me interrupt you just a minute.”

“Oh, by all means,” said Addison.

“Why a cowboy book?”

“Pardon me?”

“What I mean is, of all the kinds of books you could write, why did you decide to write a cowboy book? I mean, what do you know from cowboys?”

“Well, Bubbles, you know, that’s actually a very good question, especially as I’ve never even been ‘out west’ as they say, but let me ask you, did Shakespeare ever visit Denmark, or Venice, or Rome, or even France?”

“Beats me.”

“The answer is no, as far as we know he never left England, but you see his imagination through his genius was able to travel to these various far-flung places, not to mention –”

“Yeah, okay, but why a cowboy book?”

“Why indeed? In fact, Bubbles, I think I can answer that question quite specifically. You see, I have a, well, yes, I suppose you can call him a ‘friend’, a man named Tommy McCarthy, he’s involved in some way I’m not quite clear about in the docks on the East River.”

“Tommy McCarthy the big river boss?”

“Yes, the very chap.”

“You’re friends with Tommy McCarthy?”

“Indeed. And, you might not believe this, but Tommy actually even offered me a job –”

“Tommy McCarthy offered you a job? Doing what?”

“That’s not entirely easy to say. You see, we got to chatting one day at my ‘local’, Bob’s Bowery Bar, and, much to my surprise, Tommy suddenly invited me to go see a movie with him. I agreed of course, and on the way to the movie in his enormous Studebaker he stopped outside another bar down by the river called Sailor Sid’s and asked me to wait in the car, and when he came out a couple of minutes later he handed me a gun and told me to put it in my coat pocket.”

“And did you do it?”


“Jeeze. Did he shoot somebody?”

“Well, I didn’t feel it was my place to ask.”

“And then what happened?”

“We went to an Audie Murphy movie, The Preacher Wore a Sixgun. Have you seen it?”

“No. So he told you to hang onto this gun.”


“And how long did you hang onto it?”

“Oh, a week or so. And as I say, he offered to put me on his payroll. But the thing was, you see I got more and more nervous about the gun, and finally I had to tell him I couldn’t accept the position because I needed to concentrate on my writing, and I asked him to take the gun back.”

“Jeeze, Addison. Was he mad?”

“Oh, he may have been a trifle disappointed in me, but in the end I think he took it pretty well.”

“But what’s this have to do with why you’re writing a cowboy book?”

“Well, you see, at the time I was in the nascent stages of writing a compendious study of trends of literary criticism in the twentieth century, but Tommy suggested I write a western novel instead.”

“He did, huh?’

“Yes, you see, Tommy is quite fond of the western genre.”

“You kill me, Addison.”

“I kill myself, Bubbles.”

“Hey, Bubbles,” said some guy who had come up to the bar and stood next to her.

“Oh, you,” said Bubbles.

He was a big fellow with red hair and a red face.

“You busy?” said the guy.

“Busy drinking and minding my own business, Jack.”

“My name’s not Jack.”

“Sorry, Mack,” she said.

“You know my name.”

“I’m trying to forget it,” she said.

“I got some dough,” said the man, and he took out his wallet. “Ten bucks still good for a throw?”

“Take a hike, Mike.”

“My name is Herb, as you well know, Bubbles. Here, up front.”

He took a ten-dollar bill out of his wallet and laid it on the bar next to the Cream of Kentucky highball Bubbles was drinking.

“Listen, Herbie,” said Bubbles, “you take that ten-spot and put it back in your wallet, and then why don’t you dry up and blow away?”

“Hey, you don’t have to be that way.”

“And you don’t have to be the way you are, but you are. Now shove off, because I’m trying to have a conversation with my friend here.”

“This guy?” said the man. “He looks like a fairy to me.”

“A fairy?” said Bubbles.

“Yeah, he looks a little light in the loafers to me.”

“You know who this guy is?”

“I don’t know,” said the man. “He looks like Dan Duryea on a bad day, except a little more weaselly and fairy-like.”

“You know Tommy McCarthy, the river boss?”

“Well, I don’t know him personally. Why?”

“This guy works for Tommy. He’s what you might call Tommy McCarthy’s right-hand man.”

“He is?”

“That’s right. Hey, Killer, say hi to Herbie here.”

“Hello,” said Addison.

“Killer?” said the man.

“That’s what they call him,” said Bubbles. “Killer McGurk. And they call him that for a reason.”

“I didn’t mean any disrespect,” said the man.

“So take that sawbuck and buzz off, Herbert.”

“I really didn’t mean any offense,” said Herbert.

“Hey, Killer,” said Bubbles to Addison, “show him your gat.”

“My gat?” said Addison.

“Yeah, show him your gat and tell him you’re gonna stick it up his fat rump and pull the trigger if he doesn’t beat it.”

“Look, I’m going,” said the guy, and he picked up his ten-dollar bill. “I’m very sorry, sir,” he said to Addison. “I didn’t understand.”

“What I don’t understand is why you’re still standing here,” said Bubbles.

“Sorry, I’m going, but, look can I buy you both a drink before I go?”

“I don’t give a damn what you do, as long as you go,” said Bubbles.

The bartender was standing there smoking a cigar and watching the show.

“Joe,” said the man to the bartender. “Here’s a ten. I want you to back up my friends here with as many drinks as that’ll buy.”

“And what about a tip for Joe?” said Bubbles.

“Oh, right,” said the man. He laid the ten back down on the bar, and then took a dollar bill out of his wallet and put it on the ten. “Here’s a dollar for you, too, Joe.”

“Big spender,” said Bubbles. “Why don’t you give Joe another buck if you can spare it?”

“Oh, sure,” said the guy, and he took out another single and laid it down. “There’s another dollar for you, Joe, and thank you.”

Joe took the money and went away without a word.

“You showed off,” said Bubbles to Herb. “Now – and you should pardon my French – scram, Sam.”

“Okay, I’m going. Nice to meet you, Mr., uh, McGurk, and I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.”

Finally the man staggered away down the bar.

“What a schmuck,” said Bubbles. “He could see we were having a private conversation here.”

“Killer McGurk?” said Addison.

“Okay, so I exaggerated a little bit,” said Bubbles. She took a drink of her highball. “Two-bit punks like that, they’re the reason how come dames turn dyke.”

“Close to you, I will always stay,” sang another lady on the jukebox…

{Kindly go here to read the “adult comix” version in A Flophouse Is Not a Home, lavishly illustrated by the illustrious rhoda penmarq…}

Thursday, February 3, 2022

“Bubbles the Existentialist”

“And so you see,” said Addison, “my goal with this book, all the while, you understand, working within the formal structures – and, yes, strictures – of the so-called western novel, is to explore the deepest questions of identity, of memory, of the fluidity of consciousness –”

“Addison,” said Bubbles, and she wiped up the last traces of sauce in her plate with her bread, “can I tell you something?”

“Oh, by all means, Bubbles.”

“I don’t have the faintest idea what the hell you’re talking about.”

“Heh heh.”

“So you’re writing a cowboy book, right?”

“Well, as I say, the novel exists within the broad framework of what is known as the ‘western novel’ qua Western Novel, and, also, yes, more broadly speaking, within the traditions of the epic heroic quest –”

“But it’s a western book. With cowboys in it.”

“Well, yes, as I say –”

“So, tell you what, you write your cowboy novel, and when it comes out, if you give me a copy, I’ll read it.”

“Oh, of course, I should love to give you a copy –”

“Or I’ll try to read it.”

“Heh heh?”

“Because cowboy novels are not my usual bag, you know, daddy-o?”

“Ha ha, yes, I suppose, being a woman, the western novel is not your usual literary bill-of-fare –”

“You got that right.”

“But as I say, I think that my novel is only ostensibly within the guidelines as it were of the soi-disant ‘Western’, and what I am really attempting –”

“Addison,” said Bubbles, and, her plate now clean and empty, she picked up her pack of Philip Morris Commanders, “listen, and I’m gonna put this as gently as I can, because you seem like a nice enough guy. You can talk about your cowboy novel if you want, but don’t expect me to listen, okay? Because like I already said, you might as well be speaking Chinese, and you know something? I don’t speak Chinese.”

She sat there holding her cigarette, and finally Addison remembered his manners, scrabbled his matchbook off the table and gave her a light.

“Thanks,” she said. “Oh, you want another one?”

She tapped the pack with her red fingernail. Addison had already smoked three or four of her Philip Morrises, but what the hell, the sap was paying for the meal.

“Why, yes, I don’t mind if I do,” said Addison.

“Help yourself, champ,” she said.

Addison helped himself.

“So what would you like to talk about, Bubbles?” he said, waving out his match and trying to toss it nonchalantly into the ashtray, but missing.

“What would I like to talk about?” said Bubbles.

“Yes,” said Addison. He picked the spent match off the tablecloth and dropped it into the astray.

“You want to know what I’d like to talk about?” said Bubbles.

“Yes,” said Addison.

“Since when did any man ever give a damn about what any dame wanted to talk about? Since when did any man ever want to do anything but talk a lot of baloney just to hear himself talk whether a dame wanted to hear what he had to say or not?”

“I should love to hear what you would like to talk about, Bubbles.”

“You would, huh?”

“Yes, very much so.”

“You really want to know what I’d like to talk about?”

“Yes. I mean, I think I do –”

“How about nothing? Is nothing good for you?”

Addison rarely paused in conversation, but now he paused. He tapped the ash off his cigarette, and some of the ash fell onto the table cloth. He considered trying to pick up the ash, but decided he’d better not. He looked at Bubbles, who was looking into her glass of house red wine.

“Gee,” he said, at last, “you’re quite the existentialist, aren’t you, Bubbles?”

“If I knew what that was, maybe I’d tell you,” she said.

“Well,” said Addison, “existentialism, you see, is a philosophical movement, originating in France I believe, and its most basic tenet is that this existence, this world we live in, is all that we can know for sure, that –”

“And it took some Frenchmen to figure that one out?”

“Heh heh. Why, yes, I suppose it did.”

“This is it,” she said, with a small wave of her cigarette. 

She sat back in her chair. 
The music on the jukebox played, a woman singing, “I’m ‘bout to lose my mind…” 

Drunken voices chattered and babbled and laughed and shouted all around the little world in which Addison and Bubbles sat, and the smoke from their cigarettes rose up and mingled with the smoke of dozens of other cigarettes.

“Do you really think so?” said Addison.

“Think what?”

“That this is all there is?”

She let a plume of smoke slowly escape from between her red lips before replying.

“And why wouldn’t I think that?”

“Gee,” said Addison.

“Yeah,” she said. “Gee.”

“I’ve never met a woman like you before, Bubbles.”

“I don’t think you’ve met too many women, my friend.”

“Well, I suppose that’s true. May I ask you a question?”

“Sure, you can ask.”

“What is your raison d’être?”

“My what?”

“Your reason for living.”

“Who says I have one?”


“You say gee a lot.”

“But you must have some purpose, some goals, some –”

“What do you care?”

“Well, I care because I am – yes, hang it all, I’ll say it – I find myself fascinated by you, Bubbles.”

“If you walked around for a day in my high heels you wouldn’t be so fascinated.”

“But you really are a true existentialist. An avatar, a secular goddess of the culmination of all modern philosophies –”

“And you’re an ass. You know that, don’t you?”

Addison paused yet again.

“Yes,” he said, “I do know that, Bubbles. And you are far from the first person to tell me that.”

“Let’s have some cheesecake, ‘cause it’s really good here. Then maybe we’ll move over to the bar and have another cocktail or two.”

“Well, okay, but, I have to say, that if we have cheesecake, and more cocktails, then I might not have very much money left over to, uh, give you –”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“Don’t worry about it?”

“Don’t worry about if you run out of money. I’ve got money.”

“You mean – you would buy me cocktails?”

“I might. If you don’t get too much more boring.”

“Gee, thanks, Bubbles.”

“Don’t mention it. Now flag that waiter down and tell him we want some cheesecake.”

Another song was playing on the jukebox, a lady singing, “I got it bad and that ain’t good…”

{Please go here to read the “adult comix” version in A Flophouse Is Not a Home, profusely illustrated by the illustrious rhoda penmarq…}