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Title: My Name Is Danny: Tales From Danny the Dog
Author: Danny the Dog, transcribed by Andrew Joyce
Genre: Humorous Fiction, Humor, Comedic Fiction
Danny the Dog is a prolific writer. He’s written articles for bloggers around the world and has his own very popular blog where he dispenses his wisdom on a monthly basis. He’s humorous, clever, charming, delightful, and sometimes irascible. Or, as he would phrase it, “I’m a purveyor of wit, wisdom, and words.”
In My Name Is Danny, Danny writes about his real-life adventures living on a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his human, Andrew. He tells of their trials and tribulations … and the love they have for one another.
As one of the many readers who clamored for an entire book by Danny The Dog, I was baying at the moon in anticipation of reading this!
Let me tell you Danny didn’t let any dogs lie. This book will have you howling with laughter and your tail will wag at the anticipation of reading the next short.
Witty, entertaining, and fully tongue in cheek, this is a great read. During this time in the world filled with stress and uncertainty, a light farce is just what we all need. I recommend this book to everyone on this planet. The author deftly skewers himself in a dignified fashion through the paw print type of Danny. Simply brilliant. This book is one that will have readers panting for more.
Something Monty Python would have loved to pen in their hey day, had they the inspiration.
My Rating: 5+ stars
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The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.
Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away. — George Carlin
My dog Danny used to pen various episodic epistles. In other words, he had a blog. And I gotta tell ya, he wasn’t shy about letting his opinions be known. Below you’ll find one of his stories. But please take with a grain of salt anything he says about me. I’m a lot cooler than he makes me out to be.
To run or not to run, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them? … to paraphrase Billy Shakespeare.
Howdy, folks. It’s me, Danny the Dog. Today, I’m here to speak about outrageous fortune. And the outrageous fortune of which I speak is the insidious leash my human makes me wear. I mean … really … just because I’ve run away a few times, he thinks I can’t be trusted. I’m a big boy—I’m almost fourteen years old! I can go out catting (excuse the expression) around at night and still make my way home all by myself.
So here’s my problem. Andrew doesn’t use a regular leash like any sane person would. No, he’s gotta use a line from the boat … a twenty-foot-long line, or rope to you landlubbers out there. It’s downright demeaning.
The other night we went to a local biker bar. Andrew doesn’t like going there because he’s a sissy and he thinks the bikers will beat him up, but I bring him anyway. I love the place because the biker girls always crowd around me and pet me and tell me how cute I am. I know that, but it’s always nice to hear. Especially when it comes from women with multiple tattoos claiming they are the property of Big Bear or Grunge or whomever. It makes me feel special.
So there we are. Andrew is sitting by himself—naturally. And I’m the star of the show with the females of the pack—naturally. Now, because Andrew does not trust me, he has me tied to a post (it’s an outdoor bar). It was then that it happened. One of the girls felt sorry for me and unclasped the leash. Well, partners, I took off like a bat outta you-know-where, but I didn’t go far. I just wanted to teach Andrew a lesson.
I ran around to the back and hid under a small tool shed, and there I stayed and watched Andrew walk around calling my name. He passed within feet of me about a hundred times. After a while, I felt sorry for the guy and I let my presence be known by a single bark.
To cut my story short, I miscalculated. I thought if I made Andrew look for me and then showed up on my own, he would forego the leash. But it didn’t work out that way. Now I find myself indoors 24/7, unless I’m taking Andrew for a walk. And then, of course, I’m on the damn leash!
So, my friends, in conclusion, I’d like to paraphrase another great writer, the poet Robert Burns:
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ dogs often go astray.
It’s the 12th of June and I am going to die. We all die at some point, but knowing your death is imminent kinda changes your complacency about the matter. But still, I’m at peace.
I haven’t had a home since shortly after I was laid off. At first, I slept in my car, but then I had to sell it. So, for the last five months I’ve been sleeping in back alleys and doorways. That’s why I was there and saw what I did.
It was getting late. I was on my way to a favored sleeping place. It had been a long day. It’s hard to find work when your clothes are dirty and you are just as dirty. At least I wasn’t hungry. I had found a cornucopia of food behind the Korean market down on 7th Street. It was in the dumpster. I had myself a nice salad once I discarded what was rotten from the head of lettuce. There was also a badly dented and out-of-date can of Vienna sausages. Thank God for pop-off lids. It was the first thing I had eaten all day.
Passing by that abandoned building over on Fairfax, I heard a small scared voice say, “Please don’t hurt me again.” There was a pleading in it that just broke my heart.
I went into the building and searched from room to room. Then I heard the scream. I rushed to where I thought it came from and blundered into a scene from hell. I beheld a man on his knees, bending over the body of a little blonde-haired girl. Blood was pooling on the floor around her head. The man held a knife in his hand—he was cutting off her clothes.
My only thought, not knowing the girl was already dead, was to save her. I jumped on the man’s back, and as he tried to throw me off, we fell, entangled, to the floor. He’d managed to hold onto the knife and slashed me once across my chest. But before he could have another go at me, I grabbed his wrist, and turning it inward, I fell on him. He was dead before we stopped rolling. The knife had pierced his heart.
Without a thought for him, I went to the girl. She was looking at me, her blue eyes wide open, but she did not see me. She was dead; he had slit her throat. I knelt down beside her and brushed the blonde hair from her pretty face. She couldn’t have been more than ten years old. Then I did something I hadn’t done in a long, long time … I cried. I cried for the girl and I cried for myself. I did not want to live in a world where something like this could happen.
“What the fuck!”
I looked up to see Teddy turn and bolt through the door. Teddy was someone I had met at the soup kitchen while waiting in line. He saw me drenched in blood and ran. I couldn’t blame him. I didn’t care what he thought. I closed the little girl’s eyes and then I prayed for her soul … and mine.
Teddy must have told the police what he had seen. I am surrounded by five cops. They all have their guns drawn. That’s rich. But it’s also opportune. I’m tired. I just want to move on. I stand and point the killer’s knife at the cops. The last thing I hear are the pops of five guns. The last thing I feel are the warm bullets as they pierce my flesh and take me off to a better world.
It’s here today, gone tomorrow.
It’s strong, it’s beautiful, it’s handsome.
It takes you to the heights.
It takes you to the lows.
It takes you everywhere you wanna go.
It’s all you got.
It’s all you need.
It’s all you want.
But then it’s gone.
Where did it go?
What became of it?
What will you do without it?
You’ll be fine without it.
You’ll be better without it.
You’ll be wiser without it.
It’s the way things were meant to be.
At some point you had to separate.
At some point you had to leave it behind.
But now you are you.
You are who you have striven to be.
And your youth is just a fleeting memory.
I was hanging out the other night at the Tiki Hut, minding my own business, when a voice behind me said, “Hey, man. What’s up?”
I should first explain that the Tiki Hut is an edifice at the marina where I live. The denizens of said marina congregate there on occasion to commune with one another. I, on the other hand, avoid it like the plague. It’s not that I don’t like people; it’s just that I don’t like being around people. But that particular evening, I had the place to myself.
I turned around, and standing there was this dude I had never seen before, although he did look somewhat familiar.
“Hello,” I said in response. I was a little perturbed at having my solitude interrupted, but decided not to be rude. “Are you new here?” I asked in a friendly manner.
“Kind of,” he said with a slight smile.
I mentally shrugged. I didn’t care one way or the other. I was just trying to be polite. Well, I had done my part and started to head back to my boat. I had a six-pack of cold beers waiting for me, and I thought it about time I paid it some attention.
“Want a beer?”
It was the dude. He was holding a plastic grocery bag that I had not noticed before. It definitely had the outline of a six-pack. Figuring the guy might be lonely, and thinking I might as well do my Christian duty, I said, “Sure, why not?” I would have a beer and we’d shoot the shit and then I’d get the hell out of there. I reckoned I could put up with him for the time it would take to drink one beer.
He reached into the bag and came out with two bottles of my favorite beer. Things were looking up. He did the honors of popping the caps and we both took a long pull of that cold, good-tasting beverage.
“So,” I said, “you moving in?”
“I’m thinking about it. I wanted to get a feel for the place first. Do you like living here?”
“It’s okay. As long as you pay your rent on time, they leave you alone.”
I’ll not bore you with the rest of the mundane conversation. That first beer led to a second and then a third. I was starting to warm up to the guy by the fourth. Then it dawned on me. We both had had four beers each, but we had started out with only one six-pack. When I mentioned that fact, he said, “No, you must be mistaken. There were two six-packs in the bag.”
Another mental shrug on my part.
As I popped the cap on my fifth beer, he asked me, “So, what do you think of the state the world is in?”
If I had been asked that question on the first or second or even the third beer, I would have bolted. I don’t get into conversations like that. Truth be known, I generally don’t get into conversations at all. I live alone and I like it that way. I don’t have to please anyone and I sure as hell don’t have to answer stupid questions. But … I was on my fifth beer and the guy was buying. So, what the hell?
“It depends on what world you are talking about. My little world is doing just fine. I eat every day. And when it rains, I’m dry. What more could a man ask for?”
He nodded, but said nothing. Fueled by Guinness Stout, I went on.
“Now, if you’re asking about the world in general, I would have to say that, for the majority of the people in it, the place is a shit-hole. Wouldn’t you say so?”
“I would say that the vast majority of the people on this planet are living the lives they want to live.”
Now the guy was pissing me off. Being of Irish descent and having four and a half Guinnesses in me got me up on my soap box.
“Do you believe in God?” I asked with a drunken sneer.
“I have heard of Him, but I don’t know if I believe in Him.”
“Well, if God is real, how can he let the suffering go on? How can he allow a baby to get cancer? How can the son-of-a-bitch let the world get into the mess that it is in today?”
“Good questions, my friend. Very good questions.”
“Don’t patronize me, and hand me another of those goddamn beers.”
I was in rare form.
When I had been placated with my sixth beer (but who was counting?), my new-found friend went on.
“Many people feel as you do. They use the same argument. ‘If there is a God, how can He allow the suffering?’ I think the answer is that there is no God. There is only the Oneness. There is only us. Perhaps we are God. And if we are God, how could we allow ourselves to suffer?”
That was it for me. Free beer or not, I was out of there. The guy was crazy. But first I would finish my beer … just to be polite.
Then he went on.
“It’s a shame that we don’t believe in reincarnation, because that would explain many things. If reincarnation was for real, that would mean souls exist before birth. It might even mean that we choose our lives. That life is not a crap shoot.”
About then, I was thinking, You’re a crap shoot!
“Do you know that physicists have proven, mathematically at least, that there is no such thing as time, and that we are living in a hologram? And if that is so, then what does anything matter? Look at it this way. We live in a dimension known as space-time. You cannot have one without the other. You cannot have time without space and you cannot have space without time. Right?”
“If you say so. How about another beer?” We were now into the third six-pack that wasn’t there.
“Think of it this way. Space-time is a manifestation only of the physical plane. Off the physical plane, there is no space-time by definition. Correct?”
“Please stop asking me to confirm what you are saying. I’ll admit it makes sense . . . so far. So, I’ll sit here and listen to you as long as that magic bag keeps popping out Guinnesses.”
“Okay. Now visualize this. If you were to look into a dimension of time-space from a dimension of non-time-space, meaning a non-physical universe, what would you see?”
He smiled at me with such forbearance that I felt ashamed at having made such a flippant remark. And I sobered up instantly. “I’m sorry I said that. Please go on.”
“I take no offense and I assure you, ‘my momma’ takes no offense.”
I pushed my half-finished beer aside and waited. He didn’t seem drunk, yet he had had as many beers as I had. He took another deep swallow of his Guinness and continued.
“What you would see is all time happening at once. That is what you would see. Now, here’s my point. If all time happens at once and we are living in a hologram—a false reality if you will—and if we exist before we are physically conceived, and if we know the lives we are going to live, and if there is no time, which means the duration of our lives are as one-millionth of the time it takes to blink an eye . . . then how are we harmed?”
A good question to which I had no answer. But I had to ask, “Who the hell are you?”
“I’ve been known by many names over many lives. My time on the space-time plane is over. I just come to visit once in a while because that’s what I do. I am a teacher. Sometimes to the multitudes, sometimes to just one lonely man thinking of drinking a beer by himself. In my last incarnation, I was known as Jesus Bar Joseph, or Jesus, Son of Joseph. In parting, let me say this. There is no God. There is only the Oneness and we are all fragments of that Oneness, playing out our existence. Working our way back to the Oneness where we will be reunited. There is no hell and there is no heaven. There is no loss, there is only us. Peace be with you, my friend.”
Then he glowed with such intensity that I had to cover my eyes. The brilliance was filled with so much love. I have never felt such love. I have never been so loved. It was all I could do to not break down and cry right there on the spot.
Then he was gone.
Now I sit here pondering his words. If we are all One, then hiding from my neighbors might not be such a smart thing. I think I’ll invite that nice young couple who live a few boats over for a Sunday brunch. If I can make it through that, perhaps I’ll visit the Tiki Hut a little more often.
You never know who you might meet there.
Once, I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump.
I said, “Don’t do it!”
He said, “Nobody loves me.”
I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”
He said, “A Christian.”
I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?”
He said, “Protestant.”
I said, “Me, too! What franchise?”
He said, “Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”
I said, “Me, too!” Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879 or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.
(I stole—I mean borrowed—this from Emo Philips)
I’m three steps from meeting my maker. Three more steps to the noose. I am ready to die; I reckon I deserve to die. I have killed before, but never for such a frivolous reason as brings me to these last three steps.
The whole mess started down El Paso way when I walked into that little cantina. It was a bucket of blood, a real dive. But I had a thirst to slack and it was the first saloon I saw as I rode into town. Once inside, it took my eyes a moment to adjust to the gloom. When I could see again, I saw a bar against the far wall. Two men were leaning against it, staring into their drinks. A few tables were scattered around the room—all empty. It was mid-day, so that was no surprise.
I made my way to the bar and put my foot on the brass rail. The barman was a little slow in coming my way. I had just rode twenty-five miles and the dust was thick in my throat. I had no patience for a slow-movin’ barkeep. When he was opposite me, I grabbed his shirt and pulled his face to mine. Looking him dead in the eye, I said, “Give me your finest rotgut and if you dilly-dally, I’ll put a bullet in your leg.” As I said it, I drew my .45 from its leather. His eyes widened and he reached under the bar and came up with an almost full bottle of some good stuff. “Here, mister, it’s on the house,” he stuttered.
With that taken care of, I picked up the bottle and, leaving the glass where it was, took a good pull. I had ridden my horse almost to death. I had to move fast, they were on my trail. Yes, I had killed two men, but they were trying to kill me. I finally lost the posse in the badlands. Now I’m only a few miles from Mexico and freedom. But as it turned out, I might as well have been a million miles from the border.
I don’t know what she was doing coming into that hellhole of a bar, but when I saw her, my plans flew out the window. She pushed through the swing doors as though she owned the place. And, in a way, she did. She was tall and blonde. Her figure had more curves than a coiled rattler. Her hair was up—her smile could kill. Her eyes were gray and they looked my way.
She strolled right up and in a voice that would have made strong men weep, she said, “Ain’t you the big one.”
Without a word, I took the empty glass from the bar and poured some of the amber liquid into it. She took the proffered glass and said, “My name is Rose and I like a man who will buy a girl a drink.”
When we had worked the bottle down to half empty, she told me to grab it and took me by the hand. She led me to the stairs and we ascended to the second floor, to a door at the far end of the hall. “This is where I call home,” she purred. By now I had forgotten about the twenty-five dust-coated miles, the posse, the killings—everything.
Once in the room with the door locked, she pointed to a table and said, “You’ll find some glasses over there. Pour us a shot.” I found the glasses, blew the dust out of ’em, and did as I was told. When I turned back around, she was sitting on the bed. Patting the mattress, she beckoned softly. “Come and sit by me.”
Well, partners, that was all she wrote. For the next three days, we barely left that room. We had our hooch and food sent up. I had never known a woman like her. I’d mostly only been with whores, but she was no whore. She told me that she loved me. We spent three days exploring every inch of each other’s bodies, and I fell in love for the first time in my life.
It was on the morning of the fourth day that my head started to clear. We were lying in bed. I was on my back and she was propped up on one elbow, running her finger down my chest when she said she wanted to go to Mexico with me. I told her that was fine by me, but there was no rush. That’s when she got a funny look on her face and exclaimed, “No, we have to leave today!” Before I could say anything else, there was a knock on the door. I got out of bed and slipped on my pants. I knew who it was; it was the little Mex boy who had been bringing us our food and booze. I usually took the tray at the door and handed him a dollar. But this time was different. He beckoned me out into the hall and asked that I shut the door. When it was closed behind me, he whispered, “Señor, you have been good to me, so I must tell you that you are in great danger.”
I took the tray from his hands and said, “Don’t worry, son. This is the kind of danger I like,” and winked at him.
I started to turn, but he grabbed my arm. “You do not understand. She belongs to another man, a bad man. She has done this before and three men have died. Her man will be back tomorrow, so today she will ask you to leave and take her with you. If you are here tomorrow, José will kill you.”
I put the tray on the floor and asked the boy to tell me all that he knew. He told me people were making bets with each other if I’d get away before José got back or if I’d be planted up on the hill with the other three. It seemed Rose, my great love, was using me to get away from José. In this country, a woman can’t travel alone. And besides, as the boy told me, José leaves her with no money when he goes away.
The news kinda punched me in the gut. I gave the boy a five-dollar gold piece and thanked him. Picking up the tray, I entered the room with a smile on my face.
“Where have you been? I missed you, big boy.”
Still smiling, I placed the tray on the bed. “You chow down. I’m gonna have me a drink.”
I had me some thinking to do.
As I sat in the chair and watched her eat, I weighed my options. We could leave together and avoid this man José, or I could leave alone. Or, we could stay and could have it out with José. The problem was I didn’t know if she was worth it. She had played me. If I took her with me, would she ditch me once we were in Mexico?
I was still thinking on those thoughts when she broke my reverie by saying, “I want to be out of here by noon. I’m going to take a bath; you pack and then settle our bill. I’ll meet you at the livery stable.”
Still smiling, I said, “I’ll see you at the livery.” She gathered up some clothes, got herself dressed, and left to take her bath.
When she had gone, I sat there in thought and added another option to the other three. I could just kill the lying bitch and be done with her.
I put on my shirt and boots, strapped on my .45, and went downstairs still undecided. By the time I reached the livery, I had decided that I’d leave without her. She was a fine-looking woman and the sex was good, but I had enough trouble in my life without no crazy man coming after me. I saddled my pinto and started down the street at a slow pace. As I passed the saloon, Rose pushed through the swing doors and saw me. She dropped her bags and ran up, grabbed ahold of the saddle horn, and walked alongside. Looking up at me, she implored, “Where you going? Wait! I’ll get my horse.”
“I’m sorry. It was nice, but this here is where we go down our separate trails.”
She wouldn’t let go, so I picked up the pace a mite. She still hung on. Then I saw her look down the street and the look on her face said it all. She let go and hightailed it back to the saloon.
Astride a sorrel rode a big man … a big, mean-looking man. It had to be José. As we came abreast of each other, he grabbed the reins of my horse. There we stood, eye to eye, neither one of us speaking. Finally he said in a very deep voice, “Whatcha doin’ with my woman?”
“Nothing, just tryin’ to get outta town,” I answered.
I saw it in his eyes; he was going to draw on me. I may be slow when it comes to women, but I’m fast when it comes to gun play. I had a bullet through his forehead before he cleared leather. That was my mistake, that and taking up with Rose. I should have let him draw first. The whole thing was seen by the town marshal and I was quickly arrested. I thought for a moment of killing the marshal before he arrested me, but I never did kill no man that was not trying to kill me.
For three days, I knew of love. In three steps, I die.
By Mike Royko
March 7, 1973
Many people were shocked by the recent news report of the two baseball players who swapped their wives, their children—even their dogs. They see it as still another example of our new, loose morality.
That may be. But it isn’t the first time such a thing has happened.
I remember a slightly similar incident involving the Grobnik family, who used to live in my old neighborhood.
The cause of it all was Slats Grobnik, the eldest son.
One day he decided to join the alderman’s marching boys band, which played in his parades and rallies and also threw stones at windows displaying pictures of his opponent.
The alderman had been Slats’ hero ever since his father had said the man never worked a day in his life.
Because of his peculiar ear for music, Slats was given the cymbals to play. He rushed home and immediately began practicing. He hoped that if he did well, the alderman would let him play something else, such as the horses.
Mr. Grobnik was working nights at the time, so when Slats began marching through the flat, clanging the cymbals, he came roaring out of bed.
He hit Slats on the head with one of the cymbals, causing the boy’s eyes to roll even more than they usually did.
This touched off a terrible row, with Mrs. Grobnik crying that her husband should not stifle Slats’ musical development.
That was when Mr. Grobnik said he would like to swap his family.
“I would trade all of you for a little peace and quiet,” he shouted, hitting Mrs. Grobnik with a cymbal, too.
“Ma, you can get alimony,” Slats yelled. “I will be your witness.”
Mrs. Grobnik gathered her clothes and children and said she was leaving and would not return until Mr. Grobnik apologized.
At first, Mr. Grobnik could not believe they were really gone. To make sure, he changed the locks. Then he want back to bed.
Mrs. Grobnik took the children and went around the corner to stay with her friend Ruby Peak, who had a nice apartment above the war-surplus store.
“Now you are the man of the family,” Mrs. Grobnik tearfully told Slats. He turned pale, thinking that meant he might have to go to work.
Word of the breakup quickly spread through the neighborhood. Naturally, some of the unattached women set their caps for Mr. Grobnik. They didn’t get anywhere with him, though, because he didn’t like women who wore caps.
The shapely widow who ran the corner bakery hurried over with some fresh sweet rolls for him.
And as Mr. Grobnik ate them, she leaned forward and whispered huskily in his ear:
“Is there anything else you would like?”
“Yeah,” he said, “next time bring a loaf of rye.”
When Slats’ teacher heard of the separation, she worried that he might suffer a trauma.
The next day he came to class with tears streaming down his face.
The teacher assumed it had something to do with his home life. Actually, somebody in the school yard had told a filthy joke, and Slats had laughed until he cried.
She put her arm around him and said: “There, there.”
Slats said: “Where, where?” and gave her a pinch.
She ordered him from the room, which didn’t bother Slats, as he figured he had learned enough for one day.
A few days after the separation, old Mrs. Novak asked Slats what his mother was doing.
“She is going to Reno,” Slats said.
He didn’t know what that meant, but he had heard someone say it in a movie.
Old Mrs. Novak didn’t know what it meant either. She figured it must mean Mrs. Grobnik had run off with a man named Reno.
So she went to the grocery store and told all the other ladies about it.
“I’ll bet he is a no-good gigolo,” one of them said.
That afternoon, they all told their husbands that Mrs. Grobnik was carrying on with Mr. Reno, a notorious gigolo.
The husbands discussed it in the tavern. One of them said: “I think I know the guy. He lives over in the Italian neighborhood.”
Another said: “I know the one. He has a mustache and hangs out in the pool hall.”
When Mr. Grobnik stopped for a beer, they told him his wife was in love with a notorious pool shark and fortune hunter named Reno, who had a mustache and pointy shoes.
“Everybody in the neighborhood knows about it,” the bartender said. “I hear she has even sold her wedding ring to give him money.”
Enraged, Mr. Grobnik went to the pool hall and punched the first man he saw wearing a mustache. He turned out to be a jukebox distributor, and three of his boys beat Mr. Grobnik with pool cues.
When Mr. Grobnik came to in the hospital, his wife and children were at his bedside. Mrs. Grobnik said she would come back home and make Slats give up the cymbals.
“Will you stay away from Reno?” Mr. Grobnik said.
“But Reno is in Nevada,” said Mrs. Grobnik.
Mr. Grobnik smiled. “Good. I must have really taught him a lesson.”