The character of Jimmy the Gent started as a stock Damon Runyonesque thug-cum-Lenny from Of Mice and Men foil, but he grew into a stand-in for authorial awkwardness. In this scene Jimmy the Gent (whose name I took from a James Cagney movie) appears at the family of Mmrma/Mortimer, who the careful reader may recall is the once jawless ventriloquist dummy sho took my nanowrimo work in a completely different direction from the art-world satire that I started out with. An except from the 1920-word output for November 24:
“Hey Morty, did ja really eat all those people like the lady dreamed, did ja huh?” inquired an inquisitve Gent.
Morty looked over at Crackers, Cheese, and Butter, the sisters all gathered there for the holiday feast. “Why, no, Jimmy,” Morty responded without additional hesitation or sweating of the brow that would indicate that he was hiding something or other to the contrary, Crackers and her sisters ain’t nevah eaten a juicy, tender New York strip of haberdasher marinated with Worcestershire sauce and brown sugah and vinegar –”
“–and gahlic! Lots and lotsa gahlic!” clarified Butter, smacking her lips at the Gent’s thick calf muscles peeking out from under his flood-length pants.
“Not dat I tink dere’s any ting wrong wif dat,” noted the Gent. “Azza mattera fack, I could maybe use somebody like dat in my manner of employment, if ya get my drift.”
Cheese slipped the Gent a card. “Well, and again, like I was sayin’ it’s not like we’re in that kinda business – at least not anymore,” clarified Cheese. “But if ya need a hand you could give us a buzz at that numbah. Anytime after 4,” Cheese whispered. “In the mornin’!“ The card read, in 14-point Gill Sans, [the following is one of my favorite lines in the whole 50,000 words I wrote]:
AVAILABLE FOR PARTIES
Several bottles of wine later, The Gent, who up till then in his acquaintance with Morty had barely so much as raised an eyebrow in guffaughter, was dancing with Cheese and a lampshade on his head, in that order. “Put me down, ya big ape!” Cheese shrieked, afraid for her life and worried she’d have to be refinished. “Put me down! Ye’ll wreck the wood grain! Put me down! Jimmy! Down! Down! Down! Jimmy! Down!”
“Da, have ya ever done da limbo rock, Cheesy? It’s all dey talk about on da islands, mon!”
“No I ain’t nevuh done da limbo rock and I ain’t about ta, now put me down right now Jimmy the Gent or oil moider ya!!” protested Cheese, as if to remind the Gent of that so-called dream.
“Aw, you wooden dames ain’t no fun. And by that double negative, I mean that ye wooden dames are a lotta fun! Haw haw haw!” The Gent swung his head up and down like a heavy-metal singer with a screaming and hanging on for life ventriloquist dummy named Cheese in place of a curly blonde head-banging mane. This rhythmic semi-circular motion continued for several minutes, untill …
“Oh Jimmy, I tink I’m gonna be ill …” Cheese warned tenderly, before her eyes rolled in the back of her head, her spring-loaded double-take mechanism jammed on repeat and the contents of her dinner [begin word-count padding exercise] (mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, dark turkey meat, white turkey meat, turkey gizzards, turkey neck, a slice of ham, a slice of prime rib, a spoonful of green peas, a dollop of cranberry relish, two slices of home-made bread and store-bought unsalted butter, noodles au gratin, a slice of apple raisin pie with crumbly crust and a scoop of fudge ripple ice cream, a slice of pecan pie with toffee and chocolate chips and bourbon topped with low fat chocolate whipped cream, two glasses of red wine, and two hands full of Girl Scout salsa trail mix) [end word-count padding exercise] spewed projectorilly in a wide vibrating arc defined by the angle of the Gent’s headbanging ambition of the moment and the aforementioned jammed spring-loaded double-take mechanism.
“Ah gee, Morty, sorry about dat,” a chastened Gent begged pardon of his host as at the same time he delicately wiped a weary Cheese’s mouth and dinner dress. “Dah, it’s no wonder I don’t get invited ta parties too much. Ya okay dere hon?”
“Don’t … call … me … bleaugh …” an exhausted, and suddenly hungry, Cheese half-heartedly chided her awkward ride.
“Don’t worry about a ting, Gent,” Morty reassured his buddy, although the steam pipes behind Crackers’ ginger pig-tails began to percolate with impatience. [begin word-count padding exercise] “I was already gonna warsh dose curtains, and I had a mind ta hose down the winders, and it was on the toppa my ta-do list ta re-paper that wall over there on the uddah side a the room, and I was just gonna have a conservator look at that Turner etching, and you might see the post-it note to remind myself to polish the Giacometti walking man replica, and tomorrow’s my day ta pressure clean the stucco ceiling, and this weekend I was gonna have the parquet floors refinished, and it’s high time we had the Oriental rug steam-cleaned, and the predetermined hour approacheth for to give Junior, Segundo, Bottles and Tilda a sponge bath, and I gotta wash my hair ever night ya know, and I’d almsot forgotten to take my collection of Madagascar string-ties to the dry-cleaners, and my calendar tells me it’s the semi-annual day to re-bind my first edition of the complete works of Henry James, and bi-weekly bathe my collection of seventy-eight RPM records of Enrico Caruso in soap and distilled water, and after a big holiday supper we always re-fill the salt and pepper shakes in the life-sized shapes of Shields and Yarnell anyways – [end word-count padding exercise] so don’t you worry about a ting, and make sure ta come fer Christmas. If ye ain’t busy, dat is!”
“Aw gee, I’d be happy ta come fer Christmas!” The Gent was touched, a lot, and even more still, and wondered what he’d do for presents, not sure what was cool with the kids dese days. When he was a young tyke, he always wanted a Tonka car carrier, and dreamed he got it but never did get one. He never had a Big Wheel. He never had Rock ’em’ Sock ’em Robots. But he had a tricycle, and then a bicycle, and then a unicycle, and then shoes, and always a roof over his head and warm food in his mouth and a wool blanket with cowboys lassoing cows on it, and he never wanted fer nuthin.
“I wunduh if Cheese’l be there. Aw, I hope she’s fuhgiven me for makin’ her trow up like dat an’ all. Say, I know what I’ll do – I’ll bake cookies – lotsa cookies! Dat’s hat I’ll do!” And that’s what Jimmy the Gent would do indeed, because his source for Hallwoeen Oreos out of season was none udder than himself, Jimmy the Gent, that is (“That’s *me*,” he directs his thumb at his barrel chest to reaffirm his identity as gentleman as well as to answer knock-knock jokes) possessed of an industrial-grade wafer mold procured from the since renovated Oreo plant in Walla Walla Washington, secret recipes wrested from Oreo chefs after minor administrations of troot serum and oil of eucalyptus, to relieve congestion and open up the nasal passages, and a team of elves to man the assembly line production and packaging of Oreos of any season.
But he’d make special cookies from scratch just for the kids. And fer Cheese, if she’d fergive him. And if Crackers would let him back inta the house. It was gonna be Christmas after all.
Outside the American Yeast plant, Giuseppe D’Abbondanza wept and kneaded his yeaAst apron. “No! No! No!” he cried as he watched the unintentional conflagration of his life’s work rise up like fluffy devils in the place of countless loaves of bread that would no longer be any good for sandwiches. “Mamma mia!”