humor

Just Zep on in

“And I am a great businessman,” Zeppo said, really swinging the ladder. “You got that right. And funny. Say, did you know I catered my own wedding?”

“How’d that come off?” Carl said.

“I am pleased to say without a hitch,” Zeppo said. “Served animal crackers and duck soup. Didn’t last. She was Daffy. Oh, I get enough of that at home.”

“I understand,” said Carl. “Most marriages end in the home.”

“You can say that again, doctor,” Zeppo said.

“I said, ‘Most marriages end in the home,’” said Carl, glad to be of service. Zeppo was such a nice man. People tended to fall all over themselves. It was a concern. Even now.

“It was then I sent you that letter,” said Zeppo. “Requesting our meeting.”

“It was a strange thing,” Carl said. “An opening and a closing without the part in the middle.”

“I didn’t think that was wholly necessary,” Zeppo said. “Ipso Facto. Superfluous, as my brother Harpo might say. So I cut it all out. Swept it under a rug.”

“Well it really left me,” Carl said, “hanging.”

“Sorry doc,” Zeppo said. “Vaudevillian’s curse.”

Carl thought there must be a better way to enter and exit a Zeppelin, and someone would surely cash in on that in the future. However, upwards. To the inner Zeppelin. The guts of the thing.

I got You, Babe

Babe Ruth visited and was impressed. It was a big building. And he was really just a big kid. Still fresh from the orphanage. And the doctor was a famous man. Babe was a famous man as well, but he never considered himself like that. He was just the Babe, after all. And he needed someone, a father figure maybe, who he could talk with. Not like the guys in his league. Great guys. But he had some trouble making connections. And the bosses, well, they was bosses. And they were taking him to the cleaners, he suspected. Nah, he was sure. But he didn’t argue with figures of authority. Didn’t realize his power dynamic had shifted in his favor yet.

Babe rode the elevator to Carl’s Penthouse. First, he was mobbed before he got in the building. Kids, mostly. Out and about. Wanting autographs. Babe Ruth got such an autograph. Wasn’t even a matter of worth. They wanted a piece of the Babe. Part of his soul. For communion. And he was happy to oblige.

This sort of thing made him late. He stopped wearing a watch. But found people willing to wait, for him, so it was all-reat, brother.

And he entered the spinning doors, revolving inward, and into the grand lobby. And the kids pressed against the windows outside, to see the Babe cross a room and disappear. Like in a terrarium, where living inside was hospitable while artificial.

People look out to look in, pressed against the window, seen inside-out.

There were two elevators. Both waiting for him. Identically attired attendants inside each with one hand on the door, keeping it open, and one hand waiting on the control, to take him to his heart’s desire. The ringers ringing against rhythm. People on other floors pleading for escape. The lights above the doors blink off and on in reverse. The rings were in. They both waited for Babe, on the ground floor. Babe chose one at seeming random and stepped inside. As he did, an apologetic nod to the other, dejected. The disappointment on that operator’s face projected into the faces of the kids pressing against the outer windows. Communion. Disappointment. Universal.

Is it better to be appointed or disappointed? To be ordained or pre-ordained? Does order matter? Who decides? First come. Serve up.

The doors to the elevators closed. Better luck next time. The faces on the windows faded away.

“Where-to?” said that lucky elevator operator.

“Up-top,” said the Babe.

“Will do,” said the operator, “Will do.”

Wasn’t nothin’ said otherwise. A ride up, uninterrupted in silence. And he was off.

For the operator it was over. “Good day,” he said.

Babe mumbled something and walked off. The operator closed the door. Felt a little empty inside, after all.

True ’nuff. True ’nuff.


What’s in a name? Everything.

‪Bonnie & Clyde. They put her name first. It has a better ring to it. And because they were ahead of their time. ‬

‪Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey. The position of these names was chosen in a street brawl.‬ A goof off.

‪Abbott and Costello. Abbott had a gun. He was a straight man. The heavy.‬ The ladies’ man. And he couldn’t take the pressure. In the end, he would become irate when you shouted his own name at him to get his attention. Somehow he made it work. For him.