No sooner had Mr. Death left than a pair of elbows landed on my table – my usual table here at the GHOP (Gentleman’s House of Pancakes). They were enormous and caused a bit of an earthquake.
I knew who it was without looking up. I looked up anyway and was disappointed to see the massive, shirtless, black-and-white torso of my client, Dick Hercules. He was smiling, and eagerly awaiting my expression of pleasure at his arrival.
I was not pleased. And I made sure my gaze said as much.
He picked up on it. Probably why he fist-bumped his own forehead. He thinks his fist-bump is charming, and he does it to score points.
It looks like this:
I don’t find it charming. Do you?
“It’s not a good time,” I said. “What do you want?”
“Any venues for me?” he said, reaching over the table to grab a pancake.
“I beg your pardon!” I said, swatting at his hand. Alas, I was too late. He’d already pulled a pancake off my plate and stuffed it whole into his mouth.
“I wanna do a reading,” he said, his mouth full. He reached for my orange juice. I swatted. It made no difference – he got his drink.
“Wowawee!” came a voice, followed by a happy fellow wearing a white suit and hat striding up to my booth. It was the infamous Professor VJ Duke. “If it isn’t Mr. Walt!” he said. “And Mr. Hercules!”
“Hello, Old Sport!” I said, pleased to see my friend and colleague. “What brings you here?”
“Well, I happened to overhear a bit of your conversation – not that I was doing the eavesdropping thingy, I just hear all sorts of strong things from time to time – and…well, I was thinking: there’s a perfect opportunity for Dick to read!”
“Oh dear,” I said.
“Hot dog!” yelled Dick, bringing his massive fist down upon the table. My plate of pancakes leapt up an inch and came down with a crash.
The professor nodded. “Yes sir, he can come to V. Shnodgrate’s poetry class. I don’t think you’ve met Shnodgrate, have you Dick?”
Dick turned sidewise and fist-bumped his forehead.
“Yes yes, delightful,” said the Professor. “Anyways and other ways, you two have never met, and it’s a sin. Heavyweights of poetry should get together – at least once, as the case may be. How about it?”
I shook my head. “No way.”
“So it’s settled. Dick is coming. And so are you, Mr. Walt.”
“No. I don’t wish to.”
“Well, you have to come, see – you’re his agent. And he might need…well, to be…controlled, I fear.”
“I can’t control him,” I said. And then Dick came round and hoisted me over his shoulder and smacked me on the bottom.
“Ready to travel!” he bellowed. “Lead the way, good sir, and we shall follow!”
“It will be a wonder and a half!” said P.VJ.
Check out Shnodgrate vs. Hercules at The Punchy Lands!
for a taste of Shnodgrate’s Poetry Class!
Big thanks to Professor VJ Duke, who coauthored this story.
I never would have gone had Dick and P.VJ not forced me to.
They are to blame, in truth.