“So, this Zoroastrian, Jennifer Aniston and a Leprechaun walk into a bar – stop me if you’ve heard this, babe.”
Bored chatter on the other end of the cell phone told him that ‘babe’ – aka Jonathan L.F. Morgan, head of Le Fay, Morgan and Sons – had heard the joke before.
“Johnny, Johnny – kid, baby, come on! It’s great! They’re going to love it.”
More chatter. Morty ignored it.
“But Johnny – kid –“
A hissed intake of breath met this last. Jonathan L.F. Morgan hadn’t been a kid for nigh-on eighty years, if his wrinkled mug was anything to go by, but Morty liked to give him the benefit of the doubt – you know, make him feel younger with the lingo. It didn’t work.
“Johnny? You there?”
Dead air. Morty snarled at the blinking ‘call ended’ on his cell phone.
“Call ended – I’ll show you call ended!” He chucked the phone at the couch.
It missed and skittered along the floor, smashing into the slate corner of the sunken fire pit his last wife had thought would look “so fetching” in their split-level family room.
Last wife – what was she, six? Seven? Whatever. He didn’t know why he kept putting a ring on their fingers. Peggy hadn’t even lasted long enough to see the damn fire pit put in – but she had spent what was left of his last gig hiring the guy to do it. Morty thought for sure she would make off with the meaty hunk of good ol’ boy, but it turned out she had eyes for that good ol’ boy’s wife.
Rodger ended up putting in the slate edging free of charge. Nice fella’ – the two of them met for drinks every other Friday.
Morty leaned down to pick up the phone. Peeking out from between eyelids squeezed tight, he scoped the damage.
No, not cracked. Shattered.
He tossed it on the couch. It made it this time, but its bounce amid the cushions was less than satisfactory.
With a disgusted grunt, Morty turned to the unwieldy bowl Rodger had given him at their last meet-up.
“It’s a cauldron,” Roger had insisted. “It’s got powers.”
“What’re those?” Morty had jerked his thumb at the numerous dents and dings on the silver beast’s surface. “Bludgeoning powers?”
“No, you fool – it’s got real powers. The guy who sold it to me said no one can leave it but be satisfied. You should use it –“
“Hey, I ain’t had no problems satisfying anyone. . . Peggy notwithstanding.”
Roger had laughed. “Yeah, I thought the same with Sue. I’m not talking about women, Mort. I mean your career – you should use it to stage your comeback.”
Morty had been trying to stage a comeback for nearly 10 years. For some reason, his brand of stand-up had gone flat. Fads came and went and yet his “Johnny, baby, kid” never seemed to boomerang the way the others did. Maybe Rodger was on to something. It was worth a go.
So he’d clutched that damn cauldron in his sweaty little hand, called up Jonathan L.F. Morgan and given it his best shot. And what had been his reward?
Nothing. Nothing but the shards of another wrecked phone and dead air.
“Satisfied my Aunt Fanny – what the hell are you good for, anyway?”
Morty was about to reach for his bag of marshmallows – it was the only damn thing that fire pit was good for – when the phone began making a half-hearted attempt to ring. Morty caught it before it launched itself at the glass and chrome ‘post-modern’ masterpiece of a coffee table his second wife had insisted they buy.
It was Le Fay Morgan and Son’s competitor.
“You did? Really? Wait – you bug his phones?”
Must be the way they snatch talent.
“How soon can I – are you serious Mr. Pen—yeah, sure, I’ll call you Arthur.”
Arthur wouldn’t let him get a word in edgewise, and that was just fine with Morty. He’d start at the man’s latest and hippest nightclub, Myriad, on Friday night. He even wrangled the best seats in the house for his very best friend, Rodger. It was the least he could do.
As he turned placed the phone gently on wife #2’s coffee table, he failed to notice the cauldron glowing. From within was the faintest hint of laughter.
“It’s the leprechaun” whispered a tiny voice, just beyond the range of hearing. “It gets them every time!”
For Papi Z’s prompt “Jennifer Aniston and a Leprechaun walk into a bar.”
* * *
D: You are twisted, A.
A: What do you mean?
D: I just heard The Boy, A. He’s calling this the Godspell of Pre-Christian Celts . . . . without, you know, the music.
A: Yeah. And?
D: You’re just weird, that’s all.
A: Thank you, D. I consider that a rousing endorsement. But personally, instead of castigating me, I think we should throw our efforts behind some congratulations.
D: Anything to avoid the Druid’s opinion, is that it?
A: Right on the money, babe! So, without further ado. . .
D: First we want to offer a belated but well-meant congratulations to Charles Yallowitz for the release of his fourth Windemere book: Family of the Tri-Rune, which is on sale now!
A: Congratulations, Charles! Also happening “yesterday” – Veronica Mars Fans rejoiced with the release of the Veronica Mars movie. Loukeshan at Green Embers Recommends has a review!
D: Speaking of Green Embers Recommends, today is the weekly ‘read-of-the-week’ roundup for Editor Ionia, from Readful Things.
A: Today is also a lovely day for a walk – and Andra, author of To Live Forever, An Afterlife Journey of Merriweather Lewis, is walking the Natchez Trace to promote her book’s release. Yesterday she reached the halfway-mark, and today . . . well today was a gas, to say the least!
D: Briana Vedsted, author of my very favorite western, Me and Billy the Kid, has a new novella coming out TOMORROW!
D: And finally, check out the latest installments of the Bayou Bonhomme serial written by Helena Hann-Basquiat’s dark-hearted counterpart, alter ego and possible muse, Jessica B. Bell.
A: But be warned, if you have no idea what the Bayou is, you must click here. It will bring you all the way back to the beginning.
D: Why is this in “tomorrow” when all the other ongoing promotions are in “today?”
A: Because with Helena’s story, there is – at this point – always a tomorrow. Until, of course, there isn’t.
D: And because you wanted balance for your categories.
A: Yeah, well, I like symmetry.
D: Well, since I began the dialogue, symmetrically speaking, I should end it.
D: (Takes a bow) And so good people, we bid you adieu. Thank you ever so much for joining us this evening. We hope you have enjoyed the show. And as a final treat, I leave you with this, A’s very favorite Irish song, which she failed to share on St. Patrick’s Day. Goodnight!