Tuesday, September 25, 2007


     Harry, an old Vaudevillian, is being escorted backstage at the Klondike. Boos and hisses can be heard from the theater crowd. An emcee tries to calm them down as two toughs push Harry into a leather chair in a back room marked "Management." Judah, a ball-breaking hulk of a man, slams the door behind him as he enters. The faint sound of the struggling emcee can be heard behind the door.
     "What the flying fuck, Harry?" Judah asks. "Look, I’m aware that most of your shtick is improvised and we love that here, don’t we boys?"
     The two toughs nod.
     "I told you that you have full creative control of your material at the Klondike and I want to be able to stick to that promise. I just think it was a smidge inappropriate when you said, ‘pussy juice’ out there. What the fuck was going on in your head? May I ask that, Harry, without stifling you creatively? What the fuck were you thinking?"
     "Well, Judah," Harry begins, meekly, "this is my shtick, as you say and whatever comes out, comes out, you know? I don’t know where it comes from or what I was thinking to be perfectly honest."
     "Harry, you’re quicker than this. Gimme’ a good reason why you felt the urge to say ‘pussy juice’ during a matinee!"
     "Uh . . ."
     "On a Sunday!"
     "Well . . ."
     "The Lord’s day, Harry!" 
     "Ummmm . . ."
     "In front a capacity crowd of school kids, whose parent are now going to sue the living shit out of me! Are you going to go door to door and explain to these parents why their have kids now added the phrase ‘pussy juice’ to their vernacular? Huh? Are you?"
     "Well, no."
     "Boys, get him out of my sight! You’re through, Harry! At the Klondike, at the Baltimore, at the Roebuck! By the time I get your name out there, you won’t be able to book a flophouse! Get him out of here!!"
     The toughs grab Harry by his arms and the scruff of his neck and walk him Spanish out the stage door and into the alley.
     As the door slams, it is opened once again by Judah, who tosses Harry’s hat at him.
     "And another thing," Judah screams, "you can tell that deadbeat, no-talent brother of yours that he’s guilty by association! That Mandrake-looking, albino fuck ain’t playing here next week or ever! Magicians are a dime a dozen anyway. Hell, I’d rather book that Jap xylophone player than him at this point! Get the hell out of my alley!"
     "But, Judah! Please!"
     The stage door slams.
     The next week, audiences pile into the Klondike, passing a poster of The Great Loronzo with the words "Cancelled" plastered over Lozonzo’s pale face. No one entering the theater seems to notice the striking resemblance the tall, pasty man has to Loronzo as he mills among the crowd.
     As the Japanese xylophone player dons his blindfold and begins a flawless interpretation of "Caravan," the tall man gets out of his seat and heads the men’s room." He pauses, then breaks right through a thin corridor to a door marked "Entertainer’s Only." He closes the door behind him and makes a beeline for the back room, past a flurry of feathered showgirls, who giggle at him as he passes.
     Judah sits behind a desk, chewing a cigar and talking on the phone as the tall man enters.
     "No, Murray, no," Judah yells into the phone, "we’re taking a bath on that deal. You have to dumb it down for these bastards!"
     He notices the tall man across from the desk and yells, "Who the hell are you?"
     The tall man brandishes a black wand from his coat.
     "This is for Harry," he whispers.
     He points the wand at Judah and suddenly, Judah’s head disappears. His body goes limp, the phone falls to the floor and blood gushes from his neck as the cigar drops onto his bloated belly.
     The tall man walks out and exits into the alley. Harry is waiting for him near a dumpster.
     "It’s done," says the tall man. "Let’s go get coffee."



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