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Deal 1180

Frog ran the numbers rackets. No one remembered why he was called “Frog”, he just was. And if anyone tried to short him or cheat, he was quick to punish them. And remember that he did, as he lurked behind his one way glass and watched the action on the street and in his casino.

His games were rigged, of course, but the customers never dared complain. Rigged or not, he was a formidable enemy, and no one wanted to play that game.

So when Frog said “Leap”, most would simply ask “How high?”

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Deal 1175: Hot.

The three foot square slab of stainless steel was hot, and stayed hot from opening at dawn until we decided to close sometime after lunch. It was hot and heavy, and was always the perfect temperature for a pancake or fried egg. It was decided not a good place to sit.

Unless you weren’t quite mortal, I suppose.

The kitchen was in a brief lull when she appeared, sitting on the flattop and looking like she belonged there. I just stood there for a moment, staring. I suppose I was waiting for the inevitable scream. It never came.

I gestured with my spatula, but she declined to be turned.

I looked around. My prep cook was in the other room, chasing after something in the walk-in. The wait staff were all out on the floor. In short, I was the only witness to her impossible comfort in the very spot that a full stack of cakes had occupied just moments before her arrival.

This was going to be a very interesting conversation.

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Deal 1166: Writers

‘Ware the humble writer, toiling over his ever-moving pen. He is once again trapped by his need to tell a tale.

The fire alarm is ringing, and still the writer sits at his work table, surrounded by drafts of his magnum opus. When it finally sinks in that the house might be on fire, he sweeps up the latest draft as his only valuable possession.

He can say that he’s tried other things, but they alway felt like a disguise to his essential nature. Once a writer, nothing can hide it, nothing can prevent it, and there is no cure.

The only way forward is to push on through, and learn to manage the condition. Write when able, and come to peace with yourself and your idiosyncratic quirks.

And above all, remember to be nice to editors and fans, for they too might suffer from the same affliction.

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Deal 1161: Mr. Punch’s Lament.

I’m a big fish in a small pond, which leaves me so little to look forward to.

Every day it’s the same old grind. Yell at the wife. Get chased by the Crocodile. Chase the Baby. Avoid the Constable. Watch Judy whack anyone who displeases her. If I’m lucky, apply my slapstick to some lout.

But all in all, it is a dull life confined to the tiny stage.

No chance to exercise my art. I want to write. To publish. To be famous for something aside from slapstick and professed clumsiness.

Alas.

My lot in life is always be a puppet for the Professor.