by Marvin Pinkis
know what to think," wailed Wallace Wheeler.
your dilemma, old bean?" queried Quincy
swear it won't leave these pages?" Wallace
caution. You appear to be quite disquieted,"
quoted Quincy. "You must tell me forthwith
the cause of such anguish. It pains me that you
course I shall tell you. I owe you that."
ten quid you borrowed fourteen fortnights ago."
an eyebrow, for the first time without help. Dunning
dolt, he muttered to no one in particular
but loud enough to be audible. He had never
himself, Wallace explained, "It's like this.
Cynthia calls me a cad, yet Brenda brands me a
bounder. I feel burdened enough, having been
indicted incorrigible and incurably indolent by
Isabel, that to bear yet another crown of thorns
is more than anyone should endure. And you'll get
your quid, Quincy. Cad, bounder, whatever, I've
never been tagged 'Wallace the Welcher.'"
instant who should appear but Dimples Bernstein,
demure, diminutive, yet a vivacious and vixenish
vision of semi-voluptuousness,.who had been
lurking in the shadows of the story, accustomed
to play the femme catalyst, so vital to propel a
Dimples cut to
the quick. "So, me bucko, you're at sixes
and sevens, uncertain which fork to take, that of
a bilious bounder or a contemptuous cad. Small
wonder you are at sea. Wish I could help you."
"If not you, then whom?"
must be recourse. Couldn't I merely be unlikeable?"
for that. Your only avenue to evade ambiguous
character identity is to appeal to a higher
dunce. I refer to none other than the one
responsible for penning this dreck."
gasped in disbelief. What chutzpah.
remarked, "He'll never consent to grant me
everlasting charactericity. He never forgot the
declared, "The guy's a son-of-a-bitch, all
right. Mean to the very marrow, to say naught of
unsharing. Why, once he came across a map of a
lost mime but wouldn't talk about it. Do you
think he'd cut me in for halfsies? Bastard."
from Wallace. "Any chance I could be both? A
cad AND a bounder?"
responded, "Duality has been tried, but that
was with a churl and a varlet."
water. The churl was declasse and the varlet was
the last word in knavery. Each sent an anonymous
note to the author casting vile aspersions on the
other. The fair solution was to write both of
me," said Wallace, "I dare not let that
happen. I don't have another story as a golden
by him, huh?"
wouldn't exactly say 'enthralled'. He IS quite
good-looking and has a way with Latvian cuisine.
Nice car too."
"You're doomed if you don't flee this story.
There's a vessel leaving tonight for Parts
Unknown. Methinks you should be on it and start
your character life anew."
"Does the vessel take vassals?"
tell them you're a deranged literature fugitive
seeking asylum in any port-of-call."
suggested, "When you get settled, start
applying for roles. If they ask for references
tell them you had a list but your dog ate it."
don't have a dog."
have to gamble that they won't check. Take a bag
of 'Puppy Chow' with you."
meantime how do I exit the story?" wondered
Dimples huddled and whispered to themselves, then
turned to Wallace and smiled.
with all the huddling, whispering, turning and
smiling?" quizzed Wallace.
dallied then disclosed a plan. "Quincy and I
will create a diversion. While we're diverting
you distract attention by sporting a jester's cap
and singing 'I'm a Little Teapot.' That will
reaffirm your instability and you can sneak off
as Quincy and yours truly make it very plain that
we have a hot romance going and you are excess
just a goshdarn minute. Quincy never offered that
option to me."
cackled, "Stop kvetching. It's not for real.
There's nothing between us and I'm already spoken
for by a ventriloquist. Besides, I planned to ask
you out for a night on the town, dinner at a
fancy restaurant, a Broadway show over on Elm
Street, capped at my place later for chips and
soda and a screening of secret photos of the
author in compromising positions with a tag team
of Polish lady wrestlers. Bring dip."
shrill ring jolted the conspirators, presumably
the author implementing his regular sadistic wake-up
call to his untermenschen, another reminder of
"I'd know that ring anywhere. I'm not
were equally unwilling and decided a fair
solution would be to draw paper scraps from a
Shriner's fez and whoever got the "x"
would answer. All would be blindfolded, except
the fez. Wallace's blindfold would be of a thick
damask material and Quincy's and Dimples' a filmy
By the time of
the drawing the phone had rung over 100 times,
each one sending a shiver to the trio.
the luck, drew the "X" but demanded to
see what the others had drawn. The conniving
couple, however, had swallowed their scraps and
claimed they were chewing gum.
rang and a Western Union messenger presented a
telegram as the phone continued to ring. As the
messenger left he impishly rang the doorbell
several times, ran off chortling, all the while
tearing off a rubber mask and shedding the
Western Union uniform. Nobody had never noticed
the "Authors Anonymous" logo.
open the telegram, paled and read quiveringly,
"Answer the fucking phone or none of you
will ever character again. Furthermore, no
declared, "You lost the drawing fair and
square, to a degree, Wallace. Now face up to it
and pick up the phone."
Wallace quivered anew and picked up the phone
only to hear Quincy squeal, "Hey, buddy, I
do the quivering around here."
"And I do
the whimpering," trumpeted Dimples.
what Q. and D. heard from Wallace's side of the
"I know, your grace." "No, we
would never, never rebel." "Certainly
we are grateful." "I understand your
patience can only go so far." "We would
be nothing without you. Merely two-dimensional
figures." "Oh, shall I pick up your
Wallace hung up, turned to the others, smirked
faintly, shrugged his shoulders, arched his
eyebrows, pursed his lips, looked around, hummed
the entire score of "Sound of Music"
and blurted out, "You heard it all. What
could I do? Fiddle-la-dee, maybe we can rebel
the barbs and barely maintained his aplomb. Then
he announced, "I need the role so I'm
staying put. You two can take off if you wish.
Lots of characters are begging for work and you'll
never be missed. He and I will just have to find
ways to compensate, like serialization and movie
At the mention
of future gains, Quincy and Dimples stared at
each other and, as one, stated, "Don't you
have a sense of humor? Can't you tell a joke when
you hear one? So, we were a little hasty. Besides,
we have a solution for your dilemma. We recommend
neither a cad nor a bounder be. Instead, try
blighter. Or think about minion."
huh? Hm, possible."
with the quip said, "Yeah, you could be one
ignored that and said, "Let's celebrate our
unity and walk off together into the sunset."
be mucho fun," Quincy grinned.
talking to Dimples."