The Man with Two Left Feet and Other Stories

I’ve read the directly-related-to Jeeves and Wooster short stories out of order as well as one of the novels and I’m now starting where first mention of Gussie was made. Due to most of the stories being insulated with only minimal mention to other stories, I’m not stressing much on the order of the series, but still having fun trying to read them in as chronological as possible.

Bill the Bloodhound is the first story in this collection which introduces Henry, a detective, by a narrator not named as of yet. We come to realize how inept Henry is and looked down upon in his department, also learning of where he resides and how he’d met a woman one day called Alice, description of her disposition, and how she reacted differently from the other girls in her line of business when she found out what Henry did for a living. Henry discovers himself trying to ingratiate himself with her despite her thoughts on his profession and when he proposes to her and is promptly turned down for reasonable reasons, he still waits patiently for the right moment of pursuit of her affections, she already seeing him in good light, but resisting further delving. Henry goes to audition for a comedy musical, more along Alice’s line of career and doesn’t seem to have much talent in this respect, being turned away. Henry is then given a job by his boss to shadow a husband on the road, he being an actor, and Henry realizing it’s the same company Alice was in, he knowing he would soon be tortured with the inability to be in her company directly for having to stay undercover. When he begins his “stalking” of the company he becomes conflicted with the feeling of not being able to come out and speak with Alice, but also enjoying his time seeing the actors up close. During his trip he realizes how much he enjoyed his work of following the unsuspecting, what with having to come up with a different disguise periodically so as to stay unnoticed.

Henry didn’t keep to himself though, he making the same friend in each stop they collectively made, the actor not seeming to ever recognize him, but consistently open to and aiding the blossom of friendship. One night Henry gets an invitation from the comedian, Walter to smoke cigars with him, a sign of great respect since the man was fairly popular in general society, anyways. Walter, after getting Henry comfortable, comes right out and asks him who his mark is, everyone in the company knowing he was undercover, but not knowing who the lucky target was. This dose of reality surprised Henry to pieces and we learn how he’d been able to fool himself into believing the people around him could be tricked by his odd disguises. Walter goes on to describe how the company only made bets on what he’d change into next rather than doing more entertaining pastimes and Walter revealing what nickname they’d given Henry, he being taken aback and embarrassed and revealing nothing about who he was following. When Henry gets up to leave, Walter tries to implore him to confess whom he was following and everyone being excitedly awaiting to know who the winner was, but also due to Henry happening to be their best unofficial mascot, Henry not only being invited to stay and socialize amongst them, but to drop the disguises altogether. Henry then figures he may as well stay on at least so he could speak with Alice freely, but still wouldn’t relinquish information on whom he was tailing since he could still do this unhindered.

The next night Henry looked for Alice on stage, finally able to approach her, but having the greetings cut short by her being in the midst of waiting to go on stage for the acting “action”. We are then introduced to another woman whom no one in the company liked due to her snobbery and lack of talent and then being told of what the play the company was performing in was about, Henry vigilant on the look out for Alice, who played shrubbery and a background dancer at times. After his first approach gave no hint to her feelings, Henry plays his only hand, once Alice is back behind the curtain, asking for hers, she not being able to answer for having to go back on stage, he becoming so in need of a response from her, following blindly to the point of tripping and falling on stage with such color during a song normally taken by the crowd soberly, they were brought to their feet with shouts of approval. The same night Walter commends Henry on his fortuitousness due to what his actions had brought, Walter offering him a job with contract to stay on with him in the troupe, Henry at first not certain he could get along, but then thinking of Alice and making his decision. The ending is a bit open, but one can perceive it is a positive outcome for Henry.

Extricating Young Gussie is of course the bud of Gussie’s character being presented as we see with the start by the narrator, presumably Bertie describing Aunt Agatha when he’s awakened by Jeeves to announce of her arrival. Bertie goes in and immediately takes in her grump of a look and how she was seated in his chair. His Aunt begins by asking about his plans for the coming week and Bertie, sensing his answer had value on how she would proceed, stating of having plenty of tasks he must do, but being unable to quantify specifics, is told he will be going to America after Gussie who has holed up in New York and was making a fool of himself, his Aunt being unable to “get at him”. Aunt Agatha describes the goings on of Gussie’s time there and his foolishness stemming from his love of a girl in vaudeville, which ran in Gussie’s blood, his mother being on vaudeville at one point herself. Bertie describes his fascination of heredity and how Gussie seemed to have gotten the love-bug of vaudevillians, but his Aunt poo poo’s his enchantment to unveil to him he’ll be going to New York to stop Gussie.

When Bertie asks for a reason why, his Aunt gives him a laundry list of reasons to make Bertie realize his qualifications for the job and knowing she would make him regret his decision if he declined. So Bertie is sent off to New York, but upon arriving, in the early morning no less, he is unable to detect where Gussie was supposed to be, and discovers a bar. After sharing with one of the waiters what had happened to him and looking for a suggestion of drink, he gets one which the man had come up with and it doing it’s work, Bertie makes his way out and takes a look around the city. As he sight-sees, he gets the feeling New York tends to give to people, the static energy of being in the middle of a live city at no matter the hour. As Bertie walks up and down near Times Square and gives up caring if he sees Gussie, he spots him going into an office. When he catches up to him and realizes the office is occupied by one of the theatrical variety, Gussie surprised, asks what brought Bertie there and when he came in, the return answer and conversation which ensues confiding why Gussie wasn’t registered under his own name and professing of his love of a girl which Bertie was hesitant of ruining and so felicitates his good fortune. Gussie was then going to proceed listing to Bertie why he was in the office when he sees the object of his need and bum rushes Mr. Riesbitter before he could get to anyone else in the cramped waiting room which works out well for Gussie, landing a job and then going on to mention to Bertie why he’d gotten into show business.

This does not calm Bertie’s nerves in the least and decides he must wire back to Gussie’s mother for reinforcements, knowing he isn’t the best player for his Aunt’s relationship-smashing job. When Bertie has the chance to see Gussie rehearse for his first upcoming performance, he believes if he lets nature run its course, he won’t have to do anything to tear the happy couple up, due to how unfortunate Gussie’s acting skills seemed to be. The two get through the rehearsal which occurs for hours on the weekend and when Monday rolls around, Bertie, having planned a wonderful lunch at the time of Gussie’s first performance, couldn’t understand how he would be starting at one in the afternoon, so Bertie gives up his plans in order to give moral support and once getting a seat, which he chooses solely to ogle the pretty girl next to him, Gussie comes bounding and tripping on stage to begin his debut, which he bombs with the atom variety getting himself off-stage, but only temporarily to have to reappear and sing a song which fortunately blended well with his failure to impress with the start of his set list, leaving Bertie with the woe of the lyrics Gussie was singing, up until the young lady seated next to him stands and starts belting out the song which abruptly shuts Gussie up and embarrasses Bertie to no end. When he goes to see Gussie after the two finish the song together, Bertie realizes Gussie had been saved by his fiancée’s good will in keeping Gussie squared through his obviously difficult debut and was then glad he’d sent for help, he being out of his depth, which he is relieved of when his Aunt Julia, Gussie’s mother gets into town, she seeing Bertie in a similar way to his Aunt Agatha, but quietly so.

Bertie’s Aunt asks why he had cabled her and he decides it would be better if she saw firsthand what the issue was, they being seated to a show, which his Aunt looked on, reminiscing of her own youth. Bertie then makes sure his Aunt is aware to pay careful attention when Ray’s turn comes and her opinion of the girl is positive, Bertie then takes her to where Gussie was about to perform, she seeming a bit mystified by the end of it, but Bertie assuring her they would be going to only one other spot for her to meet Ray’s father and then she could decide what would be done about their impending marriage. When they arrive, his Aunt Julia seems to get quite a shock upon seeing Ray’s father, Joe and vice versa, which puts Bertie in a state of disarray. The two are now ignoring Bertie and catching up with delight and Joe reveals how he’d loved Julia since they’d first met and it causing him to leave England, Julia then supporting his daughter marrying her son, which Joe hadn’t put together by this point. The next few moments puts Bertie off so much, he backs his way out the door and hails for a taxi which then brings us back to Bertie’s room and how he was dealing with trying to reply to a more recent wire from his Aunt Agatha when Gussie comes in to break the news he’d been surprised with when he and Ray had gone back to her father’s place, Bertie asking to be left alone to ponder his reply and figuring an extended stay in New York might be in his immediate future. After reading this, it makes me want to go back and read the others which correspond after this one, and one day I’m sure I will.

Wilton’s Holiday has us see from an unknown Narrator’s standpoint how Jack Wilton would not be pegged for someone with any problems in his life, but for one who could be turned to as a rock of stability for others. Spencer Clay is the first to figure out what was going on with Jack and was known for his fact-sharing nature with the town of Marois Bay and used his skill upon Jack when he’d gone to unwind his tale of woe and got a woe-ier tale in return. We then learn  the details of his terrible experience, and boy is it a doozy. The townspeople at first walked on eggshells to not aggravate Jack’s terrible loss, but after realizing he maintained his sunny and lighthearted disposition, reverted back to their normal ways, allowing him to dictate how to treat him with his optimistic and humorous outlook. Everyone had time to get used to these developments when a young lady, Mary Campbell came to town, which our Narrator couldn’t see the attraction to, but Jack apparently was among those who could, albeit he could draw the attention of any girl in Marois Bay for looking like a hunk. We then are told how the Narrator becomes privy to Jack’s other sad story, he describing to our Narrator himself about his asking for Mary’s hand and being turned down, the details of which are given, as well.

Jack then goes on to supply details of his first confession containing fallacy, revealing his reasons which are fairly reasonable upon the relating, this being Jack’s holiday and not wanting to be treated like he was in his home town, but now suffering the consequences of his lie. In return, the Narrator gives unsound advice and the town sees the results of this after Jack confides the truth to Mary, the two no longer speaking to each other, after which the Narrator apprises us of there only being a second-hand account of the details which follow, we learning Jack didn’t take Mary’s release of him well, seeming deflated, whilst Mary didn’t acknowledge his existence from then on, which Jack took by wearing a pensive look in her presence. The Narrator mentions the absurdity of he taking this, but Jack still defended her sensitivity, somehow still taking pleasure in her “perfection”. We move forward to a time when Jack decides to take a walk on the beach and upon realizing he was becoming over-heated, sought some shade from some rocks and once getting comfortable in his misery, falls asleep for the rhythmic sounds of the sea. When he awakens with a cramp in his leg, he then sees Mary had decided to set up a sitting spot nearby, she believing he’d followed her and he, too caught up in his sadness to realize they were there for the same woeful reasons. After she is told it was purely chance they’d both come to the same spot and fall asleep, she walks off and Jack, wanting to leave as well, had to give her time to walk off so it wouldn’t seem he was following her, waiting uncomfortably, for a wind had picked up.

When Jack thinks she would’ve had enough time for him to start walking, he sees her coming back and believes she’s changed her mind about him after all, only to get shot down with her words being about the tide coming in and needing to go another way around, Jack thoroughly freezing through his thin suit now and a little resentful she’d had all this time to walk around whilst he had to wait and continue to ice over. When she comes back again, the two don’t truly realize what her words of being trapped in the cove would mean for them, but once she sits on a rock for not knowing how else to leave and a wave laps at her feet, she starts to understand their danger, hers especially for not knowing how to swim and bringing this to Jack’s attention who stays firm with his chilly and chilled exterior until she sounds so plaintive he melts with her words of fear, he only wanting to know if she’s forgiven him, she not understanding why he’d ask her a question seemingly so insignificant at the moment, but confessing her true feelings and he finally coming out with the knowledge the tide doesn’t go past a certain rock, having been trapped there once before, she emitting a sound which told of surprise, respite and outrage, she starting the questioning every girl has experienced if having dealt with men, deciding to stay mad at him for a few moments before it begins to get quite cold, coming back to ask whether he’d be interested in snuggling due to the worse chill to come, he accepting without words and the story ends sweetly.

The Mixer – I starts with us having a Narrator we learn is a dog, whom gives description of his job, as a newly purchased pup beginning when the Shy Man became his new owner. Our Narrator describes his life before being bought (which had given him a great sense of responsibility) and how he had a predilection of getting under people’s feet and making mischief in the place he was born (being a bar and the owner entitled to both being mentioned), our Narrator giving reason for his impatience to be hereditary. He then describes of his first meeting with the Shy Man, he having a nap with his mother and how she’d begun to growl, he not taking notice of it anymore since she growled at everyone other than their Master. When our Narrator realizes the Shy Man and their Master was talking about him (due to the mention of being ugly, which he was quite aware), he then opened his eyes and took stock of the Shy Man, the Narrator being chummy with all men, a sociable sort. Our Narrator comes to the opinion of the Shy Man being shy by how he didn’t talk much, which doesn’t turn out to be the case, the Shy Man quickly showing what kind of a master he would become, getting the Narrator to calm down through physical remonstrance.

They walk for what seems like a hundred miles to the pup and when the Shy Man is close to home, he’s stopped by a policeman who makes sure the Shy Man will heed his advice in getting out of town, the Shy Man stating of going to the country and the Narrator impressed a policeman would be so concerned with the Shy Man’s health. When they get into his room, our Narrator couldn’t help but ask and talk about all the possessions he’d kept himself until then, the Shy Man again commanding him to be quiet and when our Narrator continues to babble excitedly on, getting another example of why he believed the Shy Man was so shy. They go off to the country during the night and our Narrator is taking in the scenery of finally experiencing the country and asking the Shy Man if he was going to be a caretaker of one of the large homes they were walking past, he demanding the pup to shut up once more and our Narrator acquiescing. They walk to a cottage where the Shy Man greets another man, Bill with familiarity and they discuss why he’d bought a dog, the Shy Man giving a valid reason, for the jobs they were planning and after they enter the cottage and the pup falls asleep, being awakened by a scratching at the door and knowing how a dog is educated to react to such a situation, begins barking.

The man comes in through the window, turns the light on and whacks our Narrator with a stick, this procedure occurring nightly until our Narrator finally decides to try the opposite of his mother’s sound training, believing her views to be narrow and not having dealt with as shy a man he was owned by, the next night staying quiet and getting rewarded for his silence (positively for once). When the pup had learned this, the next phase of the Shy Man’s plan was put in to effect, being of which his approach to a large house and asking if the man needed a watch dog, the old man in question surprised and pleased since he had been, his other having met an untimely death, he paying for our Narrator and the man leaving. The Narrator was at first unaware of the Shy Man’s absence, but soon changed and he began pining like dogs do until he heard a familiar sound from his old life, being a man, Fred’s motor-bike, our Narrator excitedly running outside when the old man opened the door, we learning our Narrator’s nickname at the bar (an uncommon one in today’s society, but acceptable in the times, I presume…). They all go back inside and have supper, the Narrator setting up camp in the other dog’s basket, but not being able to sleep for his excitement of seeing Fred and smelling rats, investigating and then hearing a noise he was used to hearing during his time with the Shy Man and not barking like he normally would, but waiting and listening, unsure and wondering if it could be his old owner and surprised to learn it was.

Our Narrator, being an extrovert he is, was a little underwhelmed by the Shy Man’s welcome and began to think of ways to help him cure his shyness, plotting of how he could get Fred down there so the two could meet without scaring off the Shy Man before being able to do so. Our Narrator comes up with a solid plan and slips away quietly for the Shy Man being preoccupied with grabbing some objects in another area with his back to the pup, our Narrator going off to get Fred quietly and fortunately after successfully waking Fred, he hearing the Shy Man walking around downstairs and grabbing the rifle his father had given him and going downstairs to confront the Shy Man, our Narrator about to introduce the two when Fred shouts and ruins all of the Narrator’s hard work, the Shy Man jumping out the window and our Narrator after him, Fred following and the pup catching the Shy Man’s scent which ended at a tree, he not seeing anything, Fred believing the man had got away, but our Narrator hearing the branches go and making it known he was up there, still wanting the two to meet and getting his wish even though they didn’t turn out to get along as well as our Narrator hoped, the police coming for the Shy Man and Fred and his father giving our Narrator enough treats to ease his mind about his friendship-making skills. The first half of this story reminding me of a funnier Lady: My Life as a Bitch.

The Mixer – II I’ll list like a second story, even though it looks in the book like a chapter more than a story unto itself, which may be a trick, since the Narrator of this one gets knocked down by a chauffeured car and taken in by a young boy, a Master Peter, naming him Fido, our Narrator not having liked the name, but knowing a good situation when it hit him and deciding it must be the bad which came with this good fortune. Peter seemed to have to convince everyone he’d decided on this dog, Fido to be his, the nurse-maid being the first, his mother the second, she revealing to Peter of his father being a stickler for pedigree dogs he may not like his choice, his father then walking in, but in the end accepting Peter’s firm decision on keeping Fido since he’d not been denied before and why start now.

Peter then takes Fido for his bone, given to him by Cook and then going out to the kennels where all of Peter’s father’s prize-winning dogs stayed, Fido knowing it wouldn’t be pleasant and being spot on with his assumption, the two moving off to the stables where he meets a little terrier called Jack who was owned by one of the grooms, he giving Fido sound advice about not wasting time having fun with Peter since the boy seemed to have a short attention span for the items he loved and would be better off getting favor from one of the adults before his two weeks were up. Jack was sure to make it known it wasn’t Peter’s fault, but his parents keeping him cooped up and away from other children and giving him games to idle his time away, making the boy jaded. Fido soon learned Peter certainly did treat him like his only friend and would describe to him fantastical tales of Indians and pirates making homes near and on the lake nearby. Fido finally gets a taste of what he would be in for if he lost Peter’s favor when Peter’s father gets him a toy plane and how Peter didn’t speak with him the whole time until it broke. Fido then tries to put Jack’s words of getting in with the adults into action, but not starting off well when he chases a guest up a tree whom he hadn’t met until the next morning of the man’s visit. He then makes a real enemy when he tries to play with Peter’s father, mixing signals when he was playing golf.

Fido’s final faux pas happens when there were women visitors in the drawing room and Fido was waiting for cake, but then seeing what he thought to be a rat and trying to impress the women, since he knew women hated rats, he decided to capture it, but upon throwing it across the room and it emitting a bark, surprises the dukes out of Fido, he apologizing to the rat dog before being attacked by everyone in the room, Fido taking refuge under the couch with embarrassment, but the damage having been done, Peter’s mother commanding the butler, Weeks to get Fido and tie him in an empty stall in the stables until such a time as a man could be gotten to shoot poor Fido. He stays tied there for such a long time as to believe they could have forgotten about him when he hears steps and realizes it’s Peter, he untying him and deciding they’ll go through the woods to a city of diamonds which he’d told Fido about earlier. Peter takes Fido as far as he can get before collapsing in the dense wood, tired and pretending he wasn’t scared and making up a story where Fido came to rescue him in the woods, the two falling asleep and Fido being woken in the night by sounds and light, he defending the boy until he found his father was there and Peter, half asleep is sharing the story he’d made up earlier, his father believing Fido had saved Peter from kidnappers and from then on Fido being an esteemed guest. This one ending as nicely as the first.

Crowned Heads – Katie’s story starts with her being unaware she’d be the one to be whisked off her feet, due to believing she played a minor role to her friend’s life, other than one time having been complimented on her eyes whilst Genevieve was constantly told of her good looks and receiving advice to get into show business. Genevieve also had a particular way of speaking which gave the impression of royalty rather than her “menial” role as a model at Macy’s which is why Katie was surprised a man had decided to choose her after seeing Genevieve, the situation making it clear the young man had snubbed her friend for herself which angered Genevieve all the more since she was the one whom had spotted he and his friend as proper gentlemen to escort them on their outing to Palisades Park. Genevieve thought they’d be suitable by their looks and personalities, designating whom Katie would socialize. Upon deciding this, Genevieve approaches them, Katie getting uncomfortable, not ever having gotten used to Genevieve’s ease at engaging new people. Katie knew there wasn’t anything wrong with Genevieve’s ways, but couldn’t get used to it, making her more reserved.

The young man she was walking next to lets her know he can read her feelings, she embarrassed, but confirming his supposition, he stating of seeing her difference from Genevieve and Katie regarding his words by mentioning her friend’s goodness, quick to back her up. The young man claiming Genevieve may be too nice which makes Katie inquire further about his reasons for making conversation with Genevieve if he knew he wasn’t interested, he confessing it was to get closer to her. This new knowledge was so outlandish to Katie, she walked on with the young man in silence. She had thought herself unattractive and unnoticeable by the opposite sex and so knowing the young man held interest in her was overpowering. Katie then began considering his liking her must be a mistake somehow, due to the young man’s princely appearance, presumably all in her mind, and this possibility of he being truly attracted to her was scary for her to accept. He makes conversation about whether she’d been to the park or Coney Island before, surprised her answer to the contrary on the latter, advising she should to truly enjoy the park and mentions other festivities she would have to see, realizing she must not take many trips. He then enquires what she did for a living, Katie replying she worked in a second-hand book shop (a dream of mine which has yet come true) which was a family owned business, he learning her last name once hearing what the shop was called. He then asks what they should do, Katie thinking they should go back for their friends, but the young man suggesting  a couple different ideas, Katie settling on ice cream and their walk.

Katie regards her companion more comfortably, but not feeling the need to ask more about him yet, regardless of the looks she’d noticed some boys giving him as they passed. As the day wound down, he shares of having decided to visit her at her work sometime, giving his name finally, Ted Brady, and where he could be found, then upon seeing Genevieve, bids Katie goodbye. When Katie is reunited with her friend, Genevieve wouldn’t speak to her on their way back which didn’t bother her like it usually would, too caught up in her pleasant day. When she arrived back at the shop to see Mr. Murdoch, her grandfather’s board game buddy and a glass-cutter, he confides being glad to see her and confessing he’d upset her grandfather with news of suffragettes in the paper. Katie eases Mr. Murdoch’s mind to not take it seriously and goes to see her grandfather, discovering him still bristling over the news. Katie suggests he write a letter to the government and shares how he could begin which settled her grandfather’s temper greatly. We then get back-story on Katie’s grandfather’s delusions of grandeur and the latest one being the first to last as long as it had. When first dealing with his illness, it had brought her to the end of her ability to cope, but now she knew how to get through it.

Katie set out her grandfather’s breakfast and updated Mr. Murdoch on having handled the situation. We then are told of her grandfather’s pastimes and how he spent his time at the park in good spirits. Katie, now her circumstances having changed, believed herself uniquely lucky, what with being content with her work, liked caring for her grandfather, and had Ted Brady to look forward to adding to her schedule. Ted making good his promise of visiting, was plain and forward with his reasons for doing so, not being smooth at all. Their second meeting consisted of he presenting Katie with flowers, unceremoniously, sharing with her random facts about himself and referring she speak with anyone who knew him for corroboration. He also confides of not having been in a serious relationship nor being interested in anyone until seeing her, his body language conveying honesty of his statement, and the time he visits after, planting a kiss on her and putting a ring on her finger. Katie was then comparing her proposal to the ones she’d heard Genevieve relate when she’d been asked for her hand and noticed Ted had a serious and reserved countenance in comparison, but regardless to his unemotional countenance, Katie was quite happy with it.

Although after sharing the news with her grandfather, she was no longer as happy; It wasn’t caused by Ted’s social standing, job, or personality, and when Mr. Murdoch found out who Katie’s fiancée was, he was surprised a celebrity such as he would choose her as a suitable spouse. He then shares Ted’s position at the Glencoe being more important than Ted had let on. So when she received this news, she believed there wasn’t anything to worry about when approaching her grandfather with her plans, but regardless of Ted’s status, her grandfather believing he was royalty gave him pause to Ted being good enough. Katie didn’t believe his response and knew she wouldn’t be able to change his mind. Katie then taking the information to Ted whom handled the news optimistically well, but Katie clarifying of they needing to get her grandfather’s blessing and couldn’t go behind his back, considering his illness and how much her grandfather needed looking after. Ted believed it shouldn’t be a problem, mapping out their wedding plans and time frame, concluding if her grandfather had issue with their decision, it would be his own concern, but Katie maintaining the shock of her disobeying would be too much for him and continued to try having Ted understand, which once he had, wasn’t pleased at all, thinking of alternatives, one of which being to visit the old man and becoming resolute after Katie attentively agrees, making sure he’d be kind to her grandfather. After they meet, Katie is updated on they not getting any closer to an accord, but Ted having been designated an Earl, they not giving up. Genevieve even tries to help after her wounded pride had time to heal, they struggling to come up with something within the next two weeks.

Ted’s friend had come close to a decent plan which involved getting Katie’s grandfather to Washington Square to stage a fight where Ted comes out the victor and the old man deciding to allow the marriage proceedings because of his show of courage and strength; Ted approved of the plan, but once Katie heard it she thought they would need to give it another thought, believing her grandfather’s ability to handle such a situation could only end badly. Katie then shares with Ted of needing time apart, since only seeming tortured by their suspended status. Katie coming to this painful decision after many sleepless nights. She considered their state of inaction not fair to Ted and he should feel free to look for a girl whom he could get gratification with more ease. He obeys her request unenthusiastically and Katie continues caring for her grandfather who had forgotten this moment in Katie’s life, wondering why she didn’t seem as happy. During this time, Katie was a bit jealous of the girls Ted had access to meet and the ability to help him forget her. The summer comes and goes after which we see Katie sitting on the book shop’s steps in September, feeling the first breeze after the intolerable heat of summer. She finally having stopped thinking of Ted and closing her eyes to listen to the sounds around her when she hears his voice. He conveys wanting to see her grandfather, she reminding him the uselessness, but Ted insisting on speaking with him and when he begins, Katie overhears the start of their conversation, her grandfather then excitedly calling for her. Katie’s grandfather has trouble sharing the good news of Ted’s status, but he now had no objection to their betrothal. Outside Ted confesses what process his plan had gone through, feeling guilty for lying, but seeing no other way. So the plan worked in their favor and the story ends abruptly, but satisfactorily.

At Geisenheimer’s – We begin with a first person Narrative about the lady we follow not being happy and unable to feel content, all usual entertainments and pastimes uninteresting. We learn she’s gone to Geisenheimer’s, a dance club/restaurant and whilst looking for a table, is noticed by a man who comes up to her and identifies her as a Miss Roxborough, he seeming to know her and she realizing he was from the country, confessing she didn’t remember him after he introduced himself as Ferris. He claimed the last time they were there, they had danced together, she learning the time he referred was the year before and being told his first name was Charlie, he wanting to dance with her again and she of the mind she must do so if asked. She relates how the country theme seemed natural for her day starting with like thoughts, after their dance, Ferris exhilarated and asking how common Roxborough came to the restaurant, she not revealing she was paid to dance there and the rules requiring her she not confide the truth, since patrons wouldn’t take the knowledge well in regards to whom won the contest they had every night.

Roxborough and another girl would win a cup for the dance contest every other night, but she claiming it wasn’t technically rigged, considering it was possible anyone could win, it’s only the two girls must be the best dancers each night, so management made the requirement for they to act unknowing. Ferris then states how great New York was and speaks familiarly to her about he wanting to move there, but having responsibilities keeping up his deceased father’s drugstore and making it quite lucrative, he then sharing of having gotten married during their time apart, and Roxborough berating him for acting single and leaving his wife alone, but Ferris replies his wife was in the restaurant, pointing to the balcony and Roxborough having noticed the lady earlier, looking sad, posing the question to Ferris, he thinking she was having a fine time and after being asked why he wasn’t dancing with her, he confessing she didn’t dance much and was good enough in their hometown in Maine, but needed to take a backseat in New York since he believed he was more agile.

This news understandably upset and angered Roxborough, she deciding to pawn him off on some friends for not feeling like dancing anymore. After doing so, Roxborough goes to the balcony, noticing how country-looking the girl seemed and not knowing how to begin speaking with her, decides to announce she’s going to sit by her and after, surprising her by stating the obvious of having been dancing with her husband, she agreeing to have noticed. Roxborough then felt such a renewed anger, she again had violent thoughts toward Ferris for how he was treating his wife and making her feel. Roxborough then offers a friendly ear for the young lady to unload her troubles to, she at first hesitant to do so with a stranger, but Roxborough putting her reluctant mind at ease after asking her a preliminary question of why they’d come to New York with summer about to hit, she revealing of being on their honeymoon and Charlie having been set to going back to New York, she not liking the city because it scared her and sharing a story of a man whom lived in the same town who’d gotten married, come to New York for his honeymoon and his wife comparing the city and men to their hometown which upon returning home, became restless and not being able to settle. One day she runs off and the man is still waiting for her return, even after three years passing, he not thinking of divorce.

The story shocks Roxborough and upsets the young lady, she convinced the man’s fate would soon be hers as well. After getting another eye-full of Charlie, Roxborough considers the good possibility of what the girl thought, the music then stopping and an announcer speaking of the contest about to begin, Roxborough knowing this was her cue to go down on the dance floor since management constantly worried about a night when one of their hired dancers wouldn’t show and someone random winning the cup, which then gives Roxborough an idea, ushering the young woman with her to dance in the contest, Roxborough having to win her over with the idea. After she succeeds, she retrieves her ticket and one for the young lady, Mary, then going to Charlie to inform him he would be dancing in the contest with her, they going on the dance floor which had filled with all the hopefuls, and as everyone started dancing, numbers were called and the dance floor emptied until it was only Mary, her dance partner, Roxborough, and Ferris, unaware for staring at his feet.

Roxborough started to notice Mary was getting applause for her efforts, knowing people were being struck by her look and being reminded of what they missed about the country. The announcer knew he would be in for it since he was going to have to pick the couple who hadn’t won over the crowd, then the last losing number is called and Charlie finally takes a moment to look up, believing his wife was still on the balcony, but being surprised to see her on the dance floor, everyone cheering her on. Charlie is properly flummoxed and Roxborough makes sure to bop him over the head with his stupidity, they getting a drink whilst waiting for Mary to join them. Roxborough then notices the announcer across the room looking distressed by having to inform the boss of the new winner of the cup. Roxborough attempts a look of encouragement toward him before continuing her plan to keep Charlie properly hooked to his wife by mentioning Mary relating the story of the young man whom lost his wife to New York and he needing to get her back home before the same happened to him.

Charlie seemed to have taken the bait and when Mary comes over and says how she wanted to have been dancing with him, he speaks of she being a marvel and suggests they go show the trophy off at home tomorrow, the two voicing how they were over New York and Roxborough excusing herself. She walks to the announcer who was speaking like an African native, but with anger and less comprehension. Roxborough claims to not have remembered which number was for whom and it being accidental Mary had won and to explain to the boss they had made a new couple happy, the trophy being a wedding gift. The announcer was so enraged knowing Roxborough had done it on purpose and would relate to the boss of it, she confessing her plans to resign anyways, having felt unfulfilled for awhile and planning to return to the country to her (big reveal) husband. This one was cute and enjoyable, quaint and some old-timer ideas, but good indeed.

The Making of Mac’s refers to a restaurant which by now no one called MacFarland’s anymore and the place was shrouded in mystery. It is described as an out-of-the-way spot, but somehow was popular among theatre people. So the question is brought to the only waiter who had been there the longest for his opinion, which is detailed next. Henry, the waiter begins with when the place opened, Mr. MacFarland doing so fifteen years prior. His wife had died and he had a son, Andy, and a daughter, Katie, whom was the child of a dead friend and was adopted.

Henry lists Andy’s attributes as being stubborn in those days and how he differed from the typical child’s behavior, which he grew into, rather than out; Katie meanwhile, was the favored. Henry skips forward to MacFarland getting lucky when acquiring our Narrator, Henry and Jules, whom was from Paris and a phenomenal cook. Henry had taken the job which was technically a step down compared to his previous position, but had conflict with the head waiter and had left after insulting the man. MacFarland treated Henry like a brother and would share his dream of sending Andy to Oxford College until he made it come true. Then giving Katie a job as a cashier which must have helped the business for she getting more beautiful in her sixteen years of age, plus Jules’ cooking and Henry’s service rounding off the reason for popularity.

Katie loved to dance which no one knew for she being secretive about the time she’d spend doing so. During those days, Andy was about to go off to college and Katie is seen by Henry later, crying and blaming a toothache. After, during Andy’s second year in college, MacFarland had a stroke which leaves him bedridden indefinitely and so Andy quits college to run the restaurant. Henry shares his empathy for Andy’s situation and tries to look on the bright side, which unfortunately costs him a tip, after which, Andy has to inform him of the man shouting for him, he being told to focus on his work.

Andy soon shows his dedication to his new position and once hiring more servers for the increase of business, proved his worth by how he cracked the whip and the new hires being eager to fall in line. Then Henry shares of a day when it was only he, Andy, and Katie, the two not realizing he was in hearing distance and he learning of they being more than friends and Katie’s plan to leave for show business. Andy though, by this time was actually the boss since his father had died half a year ago and was now Katie’s guardian which didn’t make him prone to allowing her to go, which is when Katie mentions having been attending a school and practicing for years for this opportunity, but Andy being adamant, Henry knowing if Andy had gone about asking her to stay differently, he would’ve had a better chance of her giving in, but Andy was head-strong and so Katie maintained her resolve, the two parting ways.

Henry keeps an eye out for news of Katie, soon discovering articles about she being a hit, but the play falling short; Henry showing one to Andy and he not being receptive. The restaurant stayed open late and one night it was dead until eleven at night when a group of four came in and one of the party was Katie. She greets Henry familiarly and threatens to share a story he’d have chosen to keep in the past unless he didn’t greet her warmly in return, he not wanting to rock the boat. Henry was noticing her uncommon behavior as she introduced her group and realized it was due to she being nervous of the possibility of Andy appearing, he doing so as if by synchronicity, but after he sees her, walking back out and Katie asking Henry if Andy ever mentioned her, repeating how well he looked before and after they were ready to leave, knowing he must still be angry with her.

The next night Katie returns for supper with a bigger party and as MacFarland’s continued to gain notoriety, Henry and the chef, Jules became more excited by the buzz until Henry figured how it happened and confronted Katie about how gratified he was by the foot traffic they were gaining due to her bringing people there. Andy still refused to acknowledge Katie and she still asked Henry if he did, but due to the increase in business, Henry and Andy made sure they didn’t lose the momentum, working harder; even whilst Henry related the story, the restaurant still doing well.

Henry was satisfied with his story-telling abilities until being reminded by the listener of what had become of Katie and Andy, continuing with how Henry had become tired of Andy’s snobbish game of ignoring whom all his good fortune had come and one night it seemed Andy was close to stating his thankfulness to Katie as she was about to start dancing to the piano music playing from the show she was in, Henry overhearing by discovering a spot to clean nearby. What Andy was about to state to Katie though, was she not being allowed to dance there, he “obliged” to her efforts of bringing in business, but not needing her help and wouldn’t have the place turned into a “nightclub”. Katie sits, but one kid in her party starts a ruckus in support of her dancing, Andy walking back over to request he keep his voice down, but the young man had too much to drink and tried to smack Andy, he reacting by depositing him outside and the scene fouling the mood, but for the better, getting an overflow of business which now required reservations, and Katie not returning, Henry noticing little other than considering her response a natural one. Then on Henry’s night off he receives a letter which shocks him.

Katie not knowing Henry would be back before one in the morning and he going off to the room above him which she had rented and told no one until writing her whereabouts in her letter, he making time to save her from her own actions and she breaking down, he suggesting they go to his apartment so she could explain why she was being irrational and helping her due to seeing she was limping. When she sits and relays what had happened to her since Henry hadn’t seen the news in the paper, he makes sure she won’t doing anything rash in his absence and goes to the restaurant to inform Andy of the letter Katie sent him which gets the reaction Henry was hoping it would induce, even after knowing she hadn’t succeeded, Henry making it seem it was still a possibility and the two rushing to Henry’s apartment. When Katie and Andy see each other, they embrace and Henry leaves to give them privacy, attending the latter half of a music-hall which wasn’t interesting due to needing to be in the right state of mind to appreciate them. Another warm, tender love story which has a nice pacing, but makes me yearn for more details.

One Touch of Nature starts with J. Wilmot Birdsey in line to get into the Chelsea Football Ground, he being happily content with life, even whilst he had the darkness of his future in the depths of his mind, he not letting it concern him on this marvelous day. Mr. Birdsey was attending the first baseball game since leaving New York five years previous due to his daughter, Mae marrying the sixth Earl of Carrickstead, Hugo. Mr. Birdsey, wanted to stay close to his daughter, so moves to England, and he being an easy going fellow, was at the whim of his wife and daughter besides being a businessman, wearing these hats for twenty years, but he being quite crushed by the aspect of not seeing a baseball game, presumingly ever again, until two formidable teams had announced their date of a game he could finally partake.

Mr. Birdsey also met two men who he could relate whilst watching, he seeing them as buddies from youth and reuniting on a foreign land, also not wanting their good company to be finished, so deciding to invite the men to dinner. We then learn each man’s attributes and the ways they reacted whilst watching the game. Birdsey decides first to ask the young man, whom agrees, but when trying to get the attention of the elder man, startles him, but still sallies forth to give his invitation. In the end, Birdsey obtains his guests, but realizes the awkwardness to come, regardless of their like-minded interest. Mr. Birdsey was resolute in making the dinner memorable for the good, though and the young man, seeing Birdsey’s look, starts speaking with the older man, whom again responds as oddly as he had before, looking stalked, and responding with a shake of his head. The young man is convinced he recognized him, though and continues questioning, Birdsey figuring midway through introductions were in order, learning the young man was called Watterall and the older, was Johnson he having moved from New York for his health.

Watterall inquires further and explains recognizing faces isn’t only an obsessive hobby, but helpful in his profession. Birdsey could sense Watterall’s explanation wasn’t making Johnson any more at ease and decided to relieve his tension by speaking positively about Algiers, Johnson’s current residence which didn’t go well, but fortunately being saved by the waiter with their champagne, helping Johnson explain his reaction which allowed Birdsey to return sympathy to his discomfort. Birdsey still believed the conversation needed saving caused by the serious content so turned the topic to the game they saw and Watterall confiding his reason for attending were for his job as a journalist. Birdsey than confesses what event he was missing by scheduling this dinner afterward, which then led into a puzzling exchange between Watterall and Johnson.

Watterall reveals Johnson’s real name and where he now remembered recognizing him. Birdsey was sympathetic and in awe of the lengths Johnson had gone, risking being caught only to see another game of baseball. Birdsey then tries to convince Watterall to keep the discovery to himself, failing, and he calling Scotland Yard for someone to claim Johnson. Birdsey is shocked by his lack of camaraderie, and Johnson breaks down knowing he was sunk. Mr. Birdsey was still until seeing Watterall’s body language which to him seemed too self righteous and so literally springs to action, knocking Watterall down and shouting for Johnson to flee, which he does, and when seeing he was safely gone, gets up. Watterall is dumbfounded by Birdsey’s reaction, he explaining fans must stick together, especially those who’ve been “exiled”. Watterall then inquires what he could possibly say to the police when they arrive, Birdsey having put him in an awkward position. Birdsey states they’ll be easy compared to he making up with his wife. This was an odd story, easy read, but underwhelming due to the style of thinking.

Black For Luck brings us into the mind of a black cat (similarly of course to The Mixer) of simple means, but was noticed by Elizabeth which gave him time to play it cool, albeit still suspiciously, the two staring each other down, the cat twitching his tail reprovingly, although changing his attitude by bumping his head against her dress and allowing her to pick him up, she going to the janitor to inquire if he knew whether the cat belonged to anyone in the building, he confirming the cat’s homelessness. Elizabeth then decides to house the cat, the janitor declaring black cats to be lucky, which Elizabeth wasn’t opposed in acquiring. She brings the cat to her apartment thinking it possible he may wish to escape, but upon exploration cried to her and she agreeing he was right to ask for what was wanted, supplying him with sardines and milk, he being of easy disposition.

Elizabeth then decides to call him Joseph and the cat doesn’t wait long to take run of her apartment. Joseph brought normalcy to the place until one day disappearing, Elizabeth looking out her window after searching her place and seeing Joseph sitting on a young man’s balcony, his name being James. She goes to James’ apartment to retrieve Joseph, but James insists the cat inside is his, called Reginald, and once Elizabeth deduces how and when he’d obtained his cat Reginald, insists on his return regardless of bribes of a plentiful amount of cats. James then explains why he’d decided to take in his Reginald, Elizabeth soon agreeing with his “logic”. After, the two began seeing the other’s reasons for wanting the cat, both arguing why the other should keep him. James then suggests she come visit them both since being in a similar situation of not knowing anyone in New York. The two also being writers was another bonding point, she thinking him to be successful with his writing due to he mentioning a play he had written, which was debuting soon and being modest about his success, this quality endearing James to her all the more.

Before the week ended, Elizabeth felt as if she’d known James since youth, but she still feeling James was missing something from his back story, she revealing all the details of where she came from and how she got to New York. When James spoke it was of his college years and Chicago, briefly and then sharing details about his play, leaving Elizabeth to draw the conclusion by the finish of the second week of James being quite destitute and his play being his world. James made this statement so often, Elizabeth started giving it more reverence than the projects she had in her own career, but she thought the play was wonderful and the two were happy, until James had to start attending rehearsals which left him with down spirits which Elizabeth would drop everything to help him regain optimism. The two were nonetheless still satisfied with their relationship until one quiet evening (of which they had many, but more pleasant).

Elizabeth held a grudge this night, having received the news of being given the position of love adviser in a column, but when sharing her good news, is met with barely an acknowledgement and soon hears of all the issues James had to endure at rehearsal, Elizabeth no longer sympathetic and the two sitting silently afterward until James, whom had lost his mind, lunges at her and she at first shocked and then angered, struggling away from him. She leaves his apartment as she barely hears James, probably trying to either explain himself or apologize, she only knowing forgiveness being out of the question. From then on, she avoids James, easily enough and one day opens her door to observe a note and the newspaper. The note is from James, asking for good tidings since his play was finally premiering and the paper showed of his definitive failure, Elizabeth taking a moment to process what she’d read, then dressing and going down to buy the other papers, having beforehand realizing her feelings for James.

Elizabeth rushes back to knock on James’ door, he answering looking drained and she rushing to him, he taking the opportunity to propose, and if her answer was to accept, he would cease to care what the reviews said, she being a dope and agreeing. Joseph then rushes out, smartly, Elizabeth stating they were better rid of him, not believing in the luck of black cats anymore, but James disagrees, sure of Joseph having brought him plenty of luck. Elizabeth sharing on keeping them afloat on her new job’s salary, but James revealing how he had hoped she’d return with him to Chicago where he had a family business to go into, his father the rich sort and James’ writing being an experiment to see if he had the talent as well as the passion. They are then burst in upon by another neighbor whom Joseph had chosen, James sharing the value of Joseph and the neighbor rushing back to be sure the cat didn’t leave. The story ends with James repeating Elizabeth’s thoughts on the horrors of his family business back to her when it came to the dealings of the pigs before being turned into sausage. Once more, this story isn’t as strong as the former half of this collection due to how much it relies on the fantastical view of how females were supposed to react to stupidity. Oh, well.

The Romance of an Ugly Policeman introduces Constable Plimmer and his route for keeping the peace including Battersea Park Road, which was made up of artists and intellectuals, not making it a cesspool for crime and essentially impossible to prove worthiness for promotion. Plimmer saw his time there as a vacation of sorts, which he wasn’t necessarily upset due to the abuse he’d taken in his previous city. Battersea was a welcome, peaceful change, until he began to have the old familiar itch for action and instead receiving a love interest. Plimmer discovers her behind York Mansions where all the liveliness lay; Rich people were fairly boring, obviously. We then are shown an interaction between a goods dealer and kitchen staff in the roles of Romeo and Juliet, but with different temperaments.

Plimmer then meets the girl around noon, she asking the time and inquiring how long Plimmer had worked there, she stating of having arrived three days earlier and Plimmer hoping she thought the town pleasant, she replying the milkman being nice and Plimmer immediately despising him because of the girl’s review. Plimmer was well acquainted with the milkman, and his good looks, he charming all the girls, which the thought of sent Plimmer on his way, seething of his misfortune being caused by a career which shouldn’t have any effect on someone of his status. Plimmer soon realizes Ellen, the girl he spoke with, was in love with Alf, the milkman when she was about to post a letter which Plimmer offered to deliver, noticing to whom it was addressed. Elizabeth doesn’t take his nosiness well and gives him a taste of her wrath, Plimmer deflated by her description of him which he saw the truth in. Elizabeth’s next question was posed for an answer to continue to fuel her anger, and instead was surprised by its simple affirmation of Plimmer truly being jealous and moving along due to silencing her, she continuing on to post her letter and noticing Plimmer’s retreat.

Plimmer wanted nothing more than the drama of his former beat in Whitechapel, he growling to himself until an old lady screams from an upper window for him to come quickly inside. Plimmer welcoming the possibility of a drunk husband to smack around, but when the old woman meets him at her door, notifies of a theft being made by her cook whom was currently locked in her room, the old woman’s husband then stepping forward to admit to taking his wife’s money, but no more than once, the old woman allowing this to be true, but having missed money more than this, as well as a brooch, leading Plimmer to Ellen’s room, the two entering and Ellen giving the brooch back once asked by the old woman, she then denying she hadn’t taken the old woman’s money. The woman then confirms of she making a formal charge, Plimmer escorting Ellen to the station. As they walked in the sunshine, Alf was awaiting Ellen around the corner, she being late and then seeing her with Plimmer, at first thinking it was by choice, then realizing Plimmer was on duty, Alf admitting after the fact of not reacting well, he choosing to walk by her like he didn’t know her.

After a few more steps, Plimmer stops and with difficulty commands she run, to go after Alf, but she, being hurt and surprised by his inaction had changed her view of him, but Plimmer still insisting she leave, knowing what would happen if she was sentenced to prison, the least of which being her hair being cut. Ellen asked him why he would sacrifice his job and freedom for her, he knowing she already knew, but confirming his love for her. She then decides she can’t let him get in trouble for her sake and insists he take her in no matter how hard he argued for her to flee. As they get closer she asks if he’ll be there to greet her when she’s let go, Plimmer making it plain he’d be there no matter what and to think of considering him to be a better suitor than Alf whilst she served her time, she asking what those close to him called him. This one is better than the last couple and ends more nicely than I’m willing to describe only since the best way to do so would be to quote and if readers haven’t yet read the story, they should uncover a copy or search for it in the usual spots online.

A Sea of Troubles brings us directly into Mr. Meggs’ decision of taking his life, letting us know of the struggle he’d gone through to reach the inevitable conclusion. We then learn Meggs had come to this because of terrible stomach pain caused by indigestion and his love for food. He had tried many tonics for the pain to no avail and was the perfect candidate and age type to fall victim to his own hand. When he was younger, his meager salary kept him from the types of food which would give him this pain, until receiving his legacy, from then on living in luxury with no one to warn him where his appetite and lack of exercise would lead. One moment Meggs was feeling fine and the next, pure pain, so one June morning we are seeing Meggs ready to end it all. The day outside was like any other and Mr. Meggs was calm with his resolve as he had checks on his desk which stated all of his wealth. He had gotten joy from the decision of whom would receive them, those of which were some of his office friends. Since he didn’t know whether he had a remote relative alive somewhere, he forewent making a will and instead drew the checks for sending directly to those he deemed worthy. He methodically readied the checks to be sent and then poured a bottle, the liquid we are not privy, into a glass.

Mr. Meggs had also thought considerably on how he would do the deed, most possibilities being too messy. He then calling his stenographer, whom was an uptight steely demeanor-ed soul, and we then discovering the history Mr. Meggs had gone through to obtain her. As she enters, Mr. Meggs is satisfied with himself for remembering her unwavering loyalty. She, ready to take more notes was unexpectedly treated to a smile instead, which she took to mean something other than his intentions. He regarded her years of employment they’d shared whilst giving her the letters to post and dancing around the point of wanting to gift her for she being a long vigilant employee, planting a kiss on her forehead, he again meaning it quite differently than how it was received and paying for it, she going off on a tirade of the unprofessionalism he’d displayed. After, he tries to explain the misunderstanding, only to be interrupted repeatedly, and making him realize the error of his decision to include her among those deserving of his gratitude, demanding she leave, which she does, noting his scale of anger. Once alone and pacing in fury, it hits him how premature his plan to kill himself had been, realizing people shouldn’t be bestowed such a grand offering he’d almost mistakenly given and death by his own hand not being the answer, preferring to endure his periodic pain, but then noticing the letters were gone and he getting them back would require quick action.

Ms. Pillenger was doing her final task for Mr. Meggs by posting the letters, but then hears and sees him straining to catch up to her. Ms. Pillenger immediately believes he is trying to profess his love to her and dashes off, noticing no one on the street to help her. The woman is obviously demented as we learn details of what she thinks would happen and what the headlines would read about her story in the paper. As they continue down the street though, citizens begin to take curious notice of the scene due to the area’s penchant for being boring. Then, when Mr. Meggs finally lays a hand on Ms. Pillenger, townsmen swoop in to her aid, Mr. Meggs tries to wheeze his reasons as Ms. Pillenger has her say of what occurred and a hilarious suggestion from a bystander is given in response (Monty Python-esque). Mr. Meggs finally expresses his want only for the letters’ return, then the constable shows signs of the scene no longer having a possibility of attempted murder, the crowd dispersing, and Ms. Pillenger handing the letters over, also vowing not to return, Mr. Meggs not arguing. The next day Mr. Meggs wakes happily and realizes the running had made him feel better and would continue to add it to his daily regimen, regardless of the slight pain he sometimes felt, knowing he had the upper-hand. Funny one, which I felt worth the time.

The Man With Two Left Feet mentions a myth which is supposed to be known to Americans involving a man called Clarence MacFadden. The man, like Happy Feet, yearned to dance, but didn’t have the correct foot action to support his affinity. Clarence though, detects his opportunity to seek a coach, of whom remarks he’d have to spike the price due to the challenge involved. We then learn Clarence may not have had the most innocent reasons then the love for it would have been. Henry Mills, meanwhile was an incessant reader and had taken up dancing for the love of his wife, but dreamed of coming home from work to read, of all things, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, taking notes and determined to read it in order. Since before meeting her, this is how he liked to spend his time. We then get a flashback of Henry before marriage during a vacation, deciding to go to a bed and breakfast sort in the country (this being the scene of where Henry met his wife, Minnie).

The circumstances were simply being one night as Henry stood at the shore of the lake, believing the bugs he slapped around him couldn’t possibly be mosquitoes for being of the era where taking the word of an ad instilled a loyalty they wouldn’t lie, he sees Minnie walking along the edge of the lake in his direction, the two make eye contact and Henry greeting her. Conversation was slow going at first, but Henry soon found the reason for she looking worn was caused by dancing in the city, Henry having trouble continuing their chat for not having read far enough in the encyclopaedia, but had remembered some facts on Ballet, which impressed her jaw to dropping. She compliments his factual knowledge and admits to wishing she’d had time to read (don’t we all) and confiding of her assessment to his wonderfulness. Henry was flummoxed by being a fascination to the girl for not having been one before, and walking back to his room, he didn’t even notice the non-mosquitoes bleeding him out, as he laid in bed, realizing he was hit by love. They spent the rest of their time together until Henry travels back to New York, relating to a co-worker of his plans to marry the next week, surprising his co-worker greatly.

We learn Henry’s first year of marriage is idyllic, the two’s lives seamlessly meshing, she adapting to his schedule with ease, the only difference being he’d read from the encyclopaedia aloud to her. They had a consistently contented life, Minnie no longer looking pallid and withdrawn. On their anniversary they celebrate at a popular Italian restaurant, see a musical comedy, and end the night at a restaurant near Times Square. Henry having a particularly romantic view when dining in expensive restaurants which reminded him of certain types of novels, which is when we learn of the restaurant being one we’ve been acquainted to before. Henry truly felt at home in the busy music and conversation-filled atmosphere. He then notices and is recognized by a Sidney Mercer whom looked like he was doing well, they chit chatting, and he learning of Henry’s marriage upon hearing the reason Henry was there, and then sharing his own change of career. When asked why Henry wasn’t dancing it brought to his own attention the reason this was so, he not being of the disposition, then when Sidney offered invitation to Minnie, she declining, Henry was convinced it was for his sake, but he tries to show his acceptance and watches the two dance, making him wonder of his true age being thirty-five and no longer feeling twenty-one. Henry then starts to realize the age difference between he and Minnie as she danced, making it more plain how old he was and how bored she must be for only being read to at night and not having dance be a part of her life anymore.

When the song ended and Henry had discovered a jealousy along with his loathing feelings for Sidney, he noticed how youthful Minnie had looked returning to their table, and once they were in a cab returning home, Henry had come to his decision to learn to dance for Minnie before her birthday in a few weeks and by purchasing a book, thinking it would be easier and more convenient in keeping his plan secret, which he soon found to be quite difficult. When he resolved he would need an instructor, he then had the difficulty for figuring out a convenient time for having such a tight and regular schedule, deciding he must resort to deceptiveness which he hesitated upon the thought of due to it being the first time he would be doing so, struggling through with the update he was going to extend his exercise regimen to an hour more of walking, which Minnie accepted complacently. So Henry had some time to dedicate to learning to dance, his teacher not having had a failure other than one whom began lessons and soon after stopping for losing his feet in an odd way. What Henry wasn’t expecting was the pain he would acquire from his practice of dance, as well as the memories associated with this period of his life bringing such terrible and painful accompanying emotions. Henry also felt guilt with the method of instruction including the teacher’s niece, only reminding him how much he would rather be with Minnie. Henry also had trouble taking the criticism the instructor and niece would argue of how slowly his progress was compared to a previous physically handicapped student.

The instructor tries extensively to help him even though the process was painfully embarrassing to him, but he succeeded in slowly making advancement. As he continued he also perceived Minnie’s stagnation of their lives and no longer enjoyed being read to, he glimpsing her look of boredom, but instead of feeling distressed was excited to uncover his ability. Finally her birthday arrived and the first gift he gives is an accessory she’d been wanting , but was met with only a formal appreciation. When he then informs her of the plans he had for them later, she confesses of not being interested, but he being adamant they should celebrate and after he was out of work would meet her at the restaurant, he confirming he’d continue going on his walk after at first saying it didn’t matter, the two saying goodbye. As they take in his plans later, she is still lackluster and wants to end the night short, but Henry tries to maintain her interest for all the work he’d put in the last few weeks, finally making it to the restaurant which would conclude their night. He had a perfect vision of how he hoped his unveiling would play out, which he partly foresaw correctly, but the successful completion playing a bit out of his favor, leaving him a laughing stock. When they returned home Henry was full of remorse and confesses what he had truly been doing with his extra hour per day. Minnie then revealed her side of seeing him exit his instructress’ house one day and why she was so tired when they first met, she not regretting in the least of ever having to dance again and would much rather listen to Henry read, she confirming this by bringing him a volume, not caring it wasn’t in the chronology they had started, the two content once more. Ridiculous and cute; A fine way to finish the collection, and now on to more!

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Buck Godot – Zap Gun for Hire

 

Quite amusingI finally found an online copy. Thanks to the WayBackMachine!

Aliens who overuse grammatical terminology as description in casual conversations with each other, and of course Buck himself, a strange and somewhat sad-seeming character who goes around collecting contracts to kill whoever is willing to pay in some form or other. Buck is soon tracked by a former employer when he is sent a package, supposedly from Buck himself, which may lead him to Buck’s whereabouts, which aren’t known by anyone. Buck seems to unknowingly sense this and havoc ensues, not soon after we become privy to this information. Godot then has a run-in with the “package” he sent, which actually contained a former opponent, now turned sidekick on Godot’s mission the employer insisting he take on. When they start talking, we learn that Godot is able, or is having delusional conversations with said rival’s guns, which he had been conditioned to no longer believe were ever talking to him, but Godot obviously still did, because he had a nice aside with the “gats” after knocking out his sidekick. Godot then needs to travel to another planet to get information from a teleporter and thinks up a clever plan to get closer, which surprisingly works out well. Once he gets near the Teleporter though, it isn’t as easy to get the time to speak to it due to disembodied hands snatching him up, which do let him down, but not very close to the ground, ending with Buck trying something that is hilariously absurd. The transporter breaks his fall on the way down preventing Godot’s death through painful descent.

After, Godot comes up with a plan about how he can get information about the Teleporter by impersonation, going to the library to find a book which was checked out by the Teleporter already. Godot, after some inquiries, finds out there is another copy at a different library with the pages missing from the one the Teleporter’s checked out. Then the Teleporter comes in asking for a complete copy of the book he checked out, just to find Godot got to it first. When Godot shows off his knowledge about the information in the book, he interests the Teleporter and follows him for further conversation. Eventually Godot makes a date at a restaurant where they can talk about flower arranging more; this is quite an entertaining scene. Godot goes on to learn the Teleporter’s view on why everyone who doesn’t have his natural ability of transportation would want it so badly. Godot then throws X-Tel under the bus and the Teleporter transports them to the headquarters, where he senses certain death, so sets up the Director so the Transporter successfully executes a diversion to aid Godot and in so doing, also has the Director and company arrested, due to being in a certain other planet’s jurisdiction; ha-HA. Godot proceeds to tell the rest of his story in a bar, where it’s learned how he’d been able to meet the Teleporter in the first place; what a crazy plan. Buck shares what he learns from the Transporter of plant arranging, everyone impressed and critical to its salad-like appearance. Love this stuff.

The next episode begins with Buck in distress because Asteroid Al’s wasn’t open so as he’s talking with others to figure out why this could be, Buck goes with his gut in believing something was wrong. When he’s able to ask Al if all’s well, Al is blatant in informing Buck to the affirmative. Buck then comes to the realization, Al’s good mood must be caused by a new love. Al then goes into the details of his love interest and as Buck asks for some personal details as to how she sounds during naughty time, she shows up and Al excitedly introduces her to Buck. Tal, after introductions releases some information Al had told her in confidence about Buck that makes him “return the favor” to Al. When Al gives a newcomer a free drink that turns multiple after answering a question about a picture of someone the man was looking for, he passes out and Buck picks up the picture which had fallen that was in the man’s possession, shocking Buck due to it being of Der Rock the Destroyer. Al tells Buck that he’d been trying to be sure of Der Rock’s death, Buck now being quite interested in speaking with the man, but Al telling him he’d let him know when he’d awoken, since he expected the man would be passed out for awhile. Buck Godot then goes to see a patient in the New Hong Kong Hospital and finds the patient wants to hire Godot for a job, Buck being a bit shocked by his new client’s condition, but the job being just to guard a device that’s being sought after by those who had put the patient in his current condition.

Buck then fishes for more information finding out this job has him going against another corporation which he wants no part in, but the patient makes the taking of it much sweeter even though he isn’t aware of what the device he’s trying to keep from this corporation is, Buck still agreeing to take the job. He finds out he’ll be on this guard duty for a week and a half or so, going back to the bar and telling Al of his new job. A few days after this, Al isn’t feeling fulfilled in his job anymore, then they’re interrupted by the passed out newcomer, claiming they’d killed him and shooting at them in his anger. Buck puts him back into unconsciousness with his gun and Al gets one of his bots to place him back in a sleep room and to notify him when he awakens again. Tal then comes in and notices the danger Al had just been in, reminding him how she’d thought he realized how much better he was than his current job situation allowed him to show. Al defends himself and how well he’s managed his business so far, Tal believing if he truly cared for her, he’d give it up, then telling him she cared for him too much and why he’d “hold that against” her. After she leaves in anger, Buck confronts Al about noticing where he’d gotten the idea of quitting his business and Al actually loving Tal so much as to be torn between doing it, since he loved his bar, as well. A few more days pass and Al is still struggling with his decision when the revived newcomer again blasts his gun at them, declaring they’d killed him.

Buck uses his fists this time to quiet the man, who still seems to be drunk. After putting him back into sleepy-land Al is so angered by his overreaction he’s decided to start charging him for the drinks and the sleep space when Grispfat comes in to ask about whether Al changed his mind about selling him his bar. Grispfat continues to haggle a price when the newcomer awakens once more to threaten Al, this time Buck distracting him for a moment with another noggin hit which gives Al the opportunity to make his own move which surprises Grispfat for how often this violence occurs. Al tries to get a deal solidified, outside sources finding themselves inside Al’s bar and ruining his bar’s reputation. Grispfat is about to give him another chance when the drunken terror makes another appearance which Buck effectively subverts, but now needs a new drink and table. Grispfat then changes his offer for Al to decide upon once he returned. Al catches Tal up on the subject, he not selling the place unless he’s given what it’s worth and then a knock comes at the door, it being a medic for the trouble-maker.

The medic realizes the knocked out man seemed to look like he’d been had by Godot. The medic then learns the trouble-maker is a Jenner, which is someone from a mutagene world and would need to be further analyzed, she taking him with her and updating them later. Al then confides to Tal now their trouble-maker has left them, he might not have to sell after all, she not agreeing to this but knowing  if Al didn’t sell the bar she would be second in his mind and can’t accept this, believing once they’d been together for awhile they could both share a business together, but the bar being too much his for her to feel comfortable in sharing, Al needing time and she willing to give it, but informing she wouldn’t be able to wait forever. Al then asks for Buck’s advice, Godot realizing Tal seemed to know the man he was planning on dealing with without knowing how she’d gotten his name. This upsets Al to the point of lunging at Buck, he stopping him with his hand which was occupied by a can-looking piece of proton-steel, he telling him if anyone asked why his mouth was full of it, being caused by stupidity.

Buck then goes on a tiresome trek up some stairs to speak with a robot, whom apparently worked with the law. Godot relays what he suspects is going on with Tal and Grispfat he then asking if the programmed machine could do anything to help, which was to the negative, Godot descending unhappily and learning the long trek was essentially a forced exercise regime. When he reenters the bar the trouble-maker returns and when spotting Godot, wishes to assault him once more, Buck thinking he was probably drunk and in essence safe from the man’s hostility, he underestimating and having to run for it. The trouble-maker gets hit by a shot, but still goes after Buck as he tries to get to Al to warn him, but the trouble-maker, even though getting continuously thwarted keeps coming back, in the end Buck going to extreme measures to put him off. He gets to Al, but not before getting shot at again, and being saved once more, this time by Tal. When Al’s worker informs him there isn’t anymore room for the now unconscious trouble-maker, they all run to find out how it had gotten so full, the knowledge of which is puzzling to decipher.

Lemuria then runs in to tell of trouble coming, not surprised by the extra trouble-maker and then explaining the man had come from a mutagene world where all the people had developed themselves into a group mind and named themselves Psmith. The reason for this learned, upon one of the trouble-makers enter ing, and declaring Buck had killed him. Two Psmiths then entered, Buck having to bowl them with his fist, Lemuria telling them, more numerous team-ups were assembling. Al then asks if there’s anything more they can do to stop them before they overwhelmed his bar, she finally figuring there could be a way, but expensive, Al agreeing, since this was an emergency. Tal and the medic decide they’ll be the ones to go and collect the device necessary whilst Buck and Al wait at the bar, the former two not being identified by Psmith. Buck helps Al clear the bar of patrons and lock up, Al making compliments to Tal which Buck in turn is tired of having to knock down, but must due to his blind love of her, pointing out all the things which don’t add up about her likes and what she’s been doing and being interrupted before their fight escalates by the Psmiths busting the door down declaring the two as their killers, the two glad of their presence for once.

Buck gets hit by one of the laser guns and Al comes to his rescue, the rest being knocked out by Godot when Al diverts their attention, he then noticing Lemuria was back, but with Grispfat surprisingly and once letting them in, find he has her and now himself at gunpoint, Tal also pointing her gun at them, which doesn’t surprise Godot in the least. Grispfat then reveals how the Psmiths worked into his plan perfectly and was still planning on purchasing Al’s bar and Tal’s part being business which in Al’s race, is acceptable, but he still using her love for him to get the upper hand and when he was showing Grispfat how serious he was, a slew of Psmith burst in.

Grispfat takes the opportunity to revert to his original plan which requires he take the device for the Psmiths and get it to the back room, he making a run for it. Buck notices what Grispfat was up to and informs Al, he then reminding him of a concoction which could help them get through the Psmith flock. Al and Tal get a moment to prove how they feel about each other whilst Al had been preparing the ingredients for the requested mixture, hilarious and similar to what one sees in comedy adventure movies. Grispfat then discovers the clones in the sleep room and notices one which was different from the others, putting him in a device which makes all the others wake from sleep and show their heads getting jarred. Whilst Grispfat is dealing with possibly being taken out in back, the clones in front are starting to pass out, then one of the clones in back about to take a drink from the inviting bottles, hoping it’ll poison him due to the terrible noise they were enduring, but instead cures him, the others desperately trying to get a taste to be relieved, as well.

Psmith then explains his reasons for acting so rashly in the back with Grispfat, the others not holding it against him, since he’d been having a terrible hangover and had similar feelings without being in the same condition and then Psmith’s reasons for thinking one of his selves had been killed having to do with the reaction to the picture of Der Rock, of whom Buck had told Al of and he had known for having worked in security at X-Tel is explained. Buck learns why Psmith was tracking him and feigns not knowing of the item shown, but being ratted out innocently by one of the robots, Psmith annoyed at being lied to and asking how Godot could work for Der Rock, also asking for the device he was searching for, Buck confessing he hadn’t known whom Der Rock was and couldn’t hand over the item, since he was still on the job. After trying to mislead Psmith into he not caring whether Psmith threatened to hurt his friends, he relents in retrieving the device, but insists on knowing whom had hired Psmith, he at first not being helpful, but deciding Buck could signal the job complete by pressing a button the device which would show him whom it was without saying, but also receiving a big show of destruction to Al’s club, since Psmith had left out the information of being outside when setting off the signal due to the reaction.

Buck then realizes the one sent is someone he’s met before, of whom reveals whom the device was for, and since Psmiths’ work was done, offered to stay to help clean up a bit for Al. Buck stays and is eventually joined by someone who realizes his identity had been uncovered by Buck, he then showing the device which Psmith notices and insists must be given to He-Who-Must-Be-Watered, but Godot then flip flops with the truth of whether or not the device was real or not which Buck planned on being paid for either way, Psmith then deciding Der Rock would be worth more if captured, Der Rock trying to show he was stronger than he may have seemed, Psmith thinking it didn’t matter due to his outnumbering him, but learning soon after, it didn’t matter at all, stating although Der Rock had slaughtered some of them, it wouldn’t stop them in the grand scheme, Psmith always returning, Der Rock not intimidated by this promise.

Buck pipes up about his fee once Der Rock had offed the last Psmith, Der Rock still not believing the device was a replica, but upon testing, discovers it worked, and Godot requesting the amount it cost to copy with the raise Der Rock included for his distrusting assumption of Godot’s work. When Der Rock goes for a drink, Godot makes a call which confirms he has played a double-bluff, Godot wanting to sweeten the pot with having Der Rock to hand over, as well as the real device (it not being a copy after all). Der Rock is sent to Godot’s client, but not before promising he’d be back to deal with Buck, which doesn’t bother him, since he was getting paid by his other client as well, bonus and all. After Al mentions Buck’s reaction to Der Rock’s threat was taken so grain-of-salt-like, Buck mentions his client, Thezmothete would most likely keep him busy before he had a chance to carry out his threat. Al and Tal decide to begin their relationship again and vacation, Godot reminding of all the spots Klik had missed cleaning up, which ends the first story. I took so long in between readings, it may have just been the perspective being jilted because of it, but I do love the humor and will be pained to finish the last.

A prologue of what the Gallimaufry is and how it relates to Earth’s new government being taken over by this coalition begins the story, after which Lord Thezmothete takes over as reigning supreme over Humanity which surprises the Gallimaufry as much as Humanity to know of Thezmothete’s existence, going on to describe a police force of robots called the Law Machines. Then it’s discovered Godot is asleep, waking up to knocking at his door and not being amused, but realizing he’d overslept and could be in trouble now. Buck is now running away from the door as someone is shouting his name and blasting the door open, he making a bumpy getaway through his window, it not being close to the ground, but breaks a window before hitting the earth and continues his escape. Godot then blasts his enemy from the opposite balcony with what looks like water raining upon the man, Buck heading for Al’s, he asking for the spare clothes he kept for him, but soon being let down by Klik having cleaned up the storeroom in question. Al then mentions how he and some others were betting on how long Buck would last in being chased by this, Tax Notifier (T.N.), Godot feeling charitable after agreeing to split Al’s winning with him for lasting as long as he’d bet, the T.N. then walking in, but being blasted in the face with Klik, whom was punched by Godot into him.

Buck runs off once more and is recognized by a Law Machine, he has a moral discussion of Buck running from the T.N. which then catches up, but Buck making another getaway by grabbing the Law Machine and it slowing their descent down, requesting to be released and Buck acquiescing. Buck then runs into Tal whom is sun-bathing, quite in the nude, surprising her, he then mentioning how she being a Thuxian made it hard to figure what he’d being looking for when it came to the naughty bits as it was, she relaxing and offering Buck a drink whilst he attempted to make it three hours without getting caught, but he then making a wrong statement about her “thorps”, being flung out the window, the T.N just below. When the T.N. was in the middle of reading Godot’s rights, Tal rights her abrupt reaction by throwing an object at the T.N., making it possible for Buck’s escape once more, she admiring herself in the window’s reflection and agreeing to Buck’s words about her bod. The T.N. then goes about recovering where Buck may have hid, but not succeeding, only hearing a noise which he investigates, noting Godot must have been there, but also insulting the security of the place without realizing they were within earshot. Buck then runs into Lou, whom had heard from her doorman he was there, and unclothed, Buck sharing why he was in such disarray. They commiserate on their T.N. experiences and then Buck asks if she has any clothes he can borrow, she explaining how people left items all the time and would have a look at their uncollected inventory.

When Lou returns after Buck had been speaking with her accountant on how bad business had been, she commands Buck to take off his shorts so she can fully clothe him, he learning her shower wasn’t as private as he’d thought, the last time he’d been there. Lou then reading the portfolio and being livid over the numbers and offering Buck a job as a bodyguard so she could deal with the politicians involved in her dropping business, she convincing him it would be lucrative and he interested in the aspect of further escape as someone brings in a stack of clothing, but they discovering it was the T.N. once more. He’s interrupted again by one of the workers, whom was aching for business and snatches him up and away to her room, again before he could complete him statement in accordance to the law, Lou having Buck agree to meet them at the gate of the spaceport where they’d leave. Buck has now been dressed in the leftovers, but looks a fool, he hoping no one will say anything to him, but is disappointed. Then he hires a cab to the spaceport and as he’s attempting to have the cabbie open the door instead of driving off without him like he had, the T.N. is again racing toward him. Godot moves the cabbie over and drives off, the T.N. programming his hat for “kill”.

Buck then notices the flying hat and tries to maneuver around it, but ends up having to take the cab back toward ground. He almost gets them fried as he’s driving along the spaceport due to he not staying in the proper lane, but had the plan of getting the hat zapped as he did so, and without fail. They are interrupted by a religious being of the Slag-Blah, Buck agreeing to hear his spiel, since he suspected interloping to continue, being lead inside the church and hearing about the all encompassing acceptance of all religions for no one knowing what was true. Buck did find the group’s view interesting, but pushed on to his destination; If religions were anything like this one, it’d be easier to tolerate them. Buck is then greeted by Lou, he again hearing a bit more of the T.N.’s statement, but stopping him once more for having catapulted him away with his own gun; The reader would have to see it (and hopefully has) to understand. Buck makes it to the ship and is listening to the overhead speaker when the speaker is interrupted by the Tax man (If no one reading this has heard of Corner Gas, the readers who haven’t may want to find it, it’s great and has an episode with one of the New Kids in the Hall as a tax man). After the T.N. makes it clear Buck hadn’t aided himself by avoiding him, he walks away, pleased with finishing his task.

A description of what the Gallimaufry is follows, it being a trading center for goods and services, bringing aliens of all kinds to trade ideas, and what humans brought, it having to do with popsicles, apparently and how much of a commodity it became. Buck is moping and Lou tries to pep him up so he can act like a proper bodyguard. Once Lou talks of someone who delayed their taxes by six days and what his punishment had been, Buck attempts seppuku with a pretzel stick, since he’d be delaying his for much longer. Gallimaufry is then shown and as they walk through the docking bay, Buck is noticing a large group of space marines, when someone calls his name and then puts him in a headlock. Buck recognizes him as a man called Frakkus, they immediately rough-housing, but are interrupted by a sergeant telling them to move it away from the dock. They begin to beat up the group when Buck gets zapped with an electric stick.

Frakkus comes to his rescue, but when he insults him by a term he thought unsuitable, he punches Frakkus again. Lou stepping in to warn Frakkus to leave her bodyguard alone so he can do his job, Lou learning Frakkus was Buck’s uncle. Frakkus’ station in his work is provided and he invites the two to a party later, which Lou agrees to, they starting work the next day. They meet Frakkus’ boss and after introductions she goes back to organizing the party, the formal introductions at the party then shown, Frakkus’ official title being, Minister for Human Protocol. The three split up to attend separate interests and duties, Buck mingling with a small alien, whom likes people-watching, he noticing a human having a conversation with an alien which humans were supposed to be enemies with, but Buck recognizing him from earlier and knowing he wasn’t a diplomat. Godot is more interested as the alien explains how many enemies of humans the man goes to, Buck then being interrupted by Psmith who was there in an official capacity and on a job. Psmith then mentions of being able to recognize anyone who wasn’t Psmith and Godot has him identify the interloper as Sergeant Anton Clisp.

Buck then deduces what Clisp was doing after interrupting a conversation between an alien with the Human Ambassador, Etarre. When he goes to speak with the alien he pulled away, he threatens him with the security cameras having recorded his every move and would have caught him betting, so he confided how to make a bet in order for Buck to make his phony bid. Lou interrupts Godot as he’s about to go over to Clisp, since she seems to be getting ignored by the other humans, but it’s explained the humans cycle for “courting” was over (how interesting if this truly happened). Buck then continues on his way to hold up Clisp, and after doing so, faces Clisp’s wrath, which has Buck flung around the room and embarrassing Frakkus, but Buck does suspect Clisp is a cyborg, the only reason he had such strength to overpower him. Buck gets a break from him when Lou bops him in the face with a pie, then Godot deals out some retribution.

Clisp then uses Lou as collateral to get out, until Frakkus steps in with a fork, disabling Clisp for good. The second in command of Human security, Thad explains it’s to do with the no-weapons-allowed rule and when the fork had hit Clisp in a certain spot, it turned on his weapons and the security system came online and took him out. Lou and Buck leave in time to miss charades and Lou finds someone to exert her “frustration” upon once they’re back at their rooms. The Prime Mover of the Gallimaufry is then heard from, whom opens the trading session, but once Godot gets an earful of what this means, he’s searching for the bar. Meanwhile, Etarre is about to make her announcement of donating a large, what looks like a lizard balloon, but speaks; it’s called the Winslow and was a proponent in some religions, but not much else is known about it. The whole place erupts into shouts and everyone is now heading for Etarre.

Then the start of the next chapter, details known about the Winslow are shared and why it was desired by many species. After this, Buck readies himself for the onslaught of creatures heading at them as some are in holy reverie and others in hate of the Winslow. It gets a bit more serious as certain bureaucrats get closer, whom are known for being dangerous, kind of. Buck disables one which gives the wrong idea to a fellow fighter of their team, going after an actually dangerous creature, and not living through the attack. Finally the security chief of the planet puts extra weight in the atmosphere to stop everyone from their aggressive ideas. The security chief, Parahexavoctal, for short, Par then proceeds to end the session for the day and gives security to the humans as everyone leaves for their areas. Etarre then contemplates having to tell the family of Gio, the one whom didn’t make it, of his unfortunate demise. Buck is then led by Thad to the Hall of Icons where the Winslow was being housed, they then confronted by a couple different species who are threatening Thad to release the Winslow to them or more threats would ensue. When the largest of the group makes it’s entrance for ownership of the Winslow though, Thad finally decides it’s time to retreat, but not before the closest species related to the Winslow take one of the aliens of the closest aliens to the Earth as hostage. Buck then knocks out the alien whom claimed to be the one who would be contacting his fellows when they had what they wanted and goes to find the Ambassador before they can get far with their hostage.

Whilst Buck tracks the ship which has Ambassador Hwoolp of the Pogs as hostage, Lou has made a trip to her sister brothel and isn’t pleased by the service they’re running. Buck then implements a plan which isn’t entirely clear at first, involving buying some cargo after landing on the driver. Lou discovers a reason for the business being so bad, and how it had to do with the way she was “shunned” at the party the night before. Buck reveals how he would be using the cargo he now bought as his means of catching the ship with the alien hostage. Then Etarre explains to Frakkus why they had given the Winslow up having to do with discovering whom was breaking the no-weapons rule, and the Winslow being the perfect bait, obviously. Then Buck, having brought the cargo ship to an almost ground level, has the driver continue to follow the ship he’s after.

Back to Frakkus and Etarre, who in the middle of their conversation, is interrupted by the Prime Mover and Par, the former sharing the rule which banned weapons only included a small number and not a variety, of which he mentions, and how this was used as a crutch for the species whom needed it, but the weapons serving only as a “security blanket” and weren’t ever used. The Prime Mover, after learning how Etarre had kept him out of the loop on purpose, decides to break the contract with the humans, and Par is laying out the reason why Etarre will cooperate and take the Winslow back or get the humans expelled from the Gallimaufry when Buck waltzes in with Ambassador Hwoolp, getting Par’s attention and requesting Godot’s file. Hwoolp gives a piece of his mind to Etarre, whom mentions she’d be giving a debriefing soon, Hwoolp stating how she was going to have much explaining due to having put the Pogs in danger.

Buck then meets again with Lou, whom mentions the problem with the sex houses, taking him to a medic to prove there was a problem with human sex drive, the medic not cooperating when she asked for an alert, then insisting he answer when he’d had sex last, he shocked to realize it had been a couple of months, then when Lou gives an example of how the medic should be reacting, and Buck being the one to get aroused (which shouldn’t happen apparently, due to where he’s from), the medic decides to go through with the alert, and Lou helps Buck out with his frisky feelings. Thad then meets them and notices Buck all wet after he’d explained what had been occurring in the Hall of Icons, and hoped it wasn’t raining due to all the other news being so stellar as it was. Then Psmith relays to Thad of the Winslow having been stolen and they needed to block the entrances, since the other species thought it was them.

Next section gives background as to what has happened to weapon ownership on Earth, it being the lower classes not having it, but instead developed their skills of martial arts, it being called Ninja, and most planets and species possessing a form of similar style, but many due to believing theirs was the “one true Ninja way”, would fight others for thinking opposingly. Buck and Thad are viewing through a window Par making another statement which explains the humans not having the Winslow despite popular belief and anyone who attempted to break through security would pay for it. Buck is then summoned by security troops in the common area, he believing it had to do with a speeding ticket, Lou interrupting by mentioning what had been the cause of the loss of sex drive, but Buck not having left to meet the security troops yet, he asking Thad who they were as they then walk to where the troops were, he explaining of their advancement compared to the usual levels of species and how they used popsicles.

When they reach them, the troops request Buck to come with them, but not as a prisoner, Buck deciding to meet them in a slightly dangerous way in order to protect the humans allies. As soon as the door is opened, Buck is met by opposition, but all of them being taken out in some way he wasn’t privy. Buck is quite entertained by the show, though and whilst he saw some of the aliens shouting for his death, some were also shouting for his protection so either they could kill him or be used to learn where the Winslow was, but then it’s shown how Buck had been protected the whole time by the security troops. Par then proves his threat of ejecting an embassy wasn’t all talk, by doing so to the Ninja whom failed last, all of his people sucked into space, leaving Buck shocked. Buck is then transported to core security where he’s met by Par, he being told of his mission being to recover the Winslow, Par being unable to give any hints as to where he could’ve been taken, since no one saw the Winslow disappear.

After discussing of possibilities, Buck convinces Par to halt all garbage barges to be searched, soon after they receive information which Par is requested personally to view for himself. What they witness is the garbage barge carried nothing and was beautifully clean, so far other barges turning up the same, Par wondering where the garbage was by this point, and Godot suggesting they go to Station Maintenance. When they arrive, the worker is so taken aback and thought he’d been caught due to his position not requiring him to actually do anything for quite a long time, Par had to be specific as to he being there to discover where all the garbage was, the maintenance chief not knowing. When they inquire of the robots whom tend the cleaning of the area, Par is unable to override the unauthorization and so makes a request for a debugging of the robots, Buck then thinking he was in need of lunch before they continued any more fun, Par accepting this. Then they are interrupted by an interloper threatening Par with a flossing if he didn’t reveal where the Winslow was, Buck and Par getting amusement from this. Par doesn’t react negatively though, since the little alien had reminded him he should see a dentist. Then the are met by Frakkus whom needed advisement on how to cook poiled slurgs, which Par seemed to be the authority of, he deciding he’d cook them himself, leaving Frakkus in a state of immobility.

The medical officer then calls a meeting which requests the attendance of all humans and Pogs, as well as Par himself. It’s told of the virus affecting the sex drive, it having other dangerous symptoms if uncured. Par immediately decides to get as much information available about what they knew of the virus and was adamant in uncovering whom was responsible for releasing it. He then relates to Etarre of how many races are planning on storming their embassy, and after discussing the probability of opening any or multiple embassies to prove he was serious about the protection of humans, Buck shares of how he may only need to open one embassy to the infinite abyss we know as space. Par then announces which planet would be released to the outside, Etarre and Thad getting sucked through the opening to space. The ruse worked, since the aliens began turning on each other after seeing the footage and Etarre and Thad were safely still aboard, Etarre then asking Hwoolp if Godot could be housed in the Pogs embassy, he unsure, since still being in the dark about what was happening and wanting answers, Etarre acquiescing As they leave for a private room, Buck and Thad discuss how Buck will feel being known as the only human on-board the Gallimaufry, he being able to take this in stride, they then hearing an odd noise, Buck forcing the door open, Thad and he seeing the room was now empty.

A more detailed description of the Pogs background is given, as well as how Humanity teamed up with them due to similarities of goals and like-mindedness. Buck, Thad, and the other two workers of either humans or Pogs try to understand how Etarre and Hwoolp had left with no other exit from the room, before Thad can call Par, Buck finding a message which suggested against the action. Thad then decides to call to agents, a dog and cat who can talk to help with the discovery of where Etarre and Hwoolp had disappeared, the dog learning it was from a concealed door and the smell of whom had taken them was permeating the room. Buck then leaves to speak with the Klegdixal, but is waylaid by another Ninja, but not for long, since Buck again handles her gracefully. Meanwhile, Thad was organizing his team for infiltration of the hidden passage.

When the team of two go inside the passage though, they are attacked, the woman reporting of whatever had gone after them was “mean”. Buck’s presence is relayed to a Klegdixal, Whreee, whom disregards him, but upon hearing the extensive shouts for Buck’s assistance, it’s revealed  he bursting through a door despite the precautions Whreee made by arming himself. Buck then explains his reasons for being there due to the virus and his thoughts on Whreee’s involvement of its release, but once showing the medical report, Whreee informs Buck of how the news was definitely bad and how guilty it made the Klegdixals seem. Whreee isn’t able to help reverse the virus though, since he would need the DNA key sequence, and Buck’s terms in order to be certain of the Klegdixals innocence wasn’t making Whreee feel much better, but slowly agreeing upon knowing the Pogs would be doing the research, and then making his own terms which included an agreement of a more official status, Buck not minding for only needing to learn certain information and if all was on the level, wouldn’t need long to search.

Buck then is informed of the group previously awaiting his exit were gone, one being left, and upon being intrigued by whom, discovers it’s the Ninja again. This time she overpowers Buck, throwing him through the Klegdixal embassy wall, upon landing, he adding medical benefits to their agreement and a back door, if possible. Thad is then shown being approached by a Law Machine offering its assistance in observation by going into the secret tunnel to see if it could discover what was attacking, but once within, being destroyed by an energy weapon. Buck then shares the news with the Pogs of the agreement he’d been able to make with the Klegdixals, then deciding he’d give sleep a chance, and to his discrediting his ability, promptly proves himself wrong. Godot is then awakened by voices in the dark, claiming to know who had released the virus and would give the information upon delivery of the Winslow, Buck dive-bombing the intruder, but when the lights turn on, discover Par, he unaware of why Buck was reacting so violently.

Par then shares what his team had found when they were tracking the garbage being sent to the barges, the team going missing along with the garbage. He also mentions of a ship having broken into the Gallimaufry, an alien called Hyraxx, a deadly creature whom Buck has already run into a few times. As Par was speaking, the whole ship shakes, his intel being unable to learn where it had come from, but Par making it clear he’d have to come up with a better non-reason. Meanwhile, the talking cat and dog team, Martin and Rowan are discussing Martin’s decision of using his Ninja skills to discover more about the creature within the secret passage. Then, Buck is led to where the Prime Mover spent his off time, this being his idea of whom would know more about the tremor felt, Par showing him the Prime Mover’s office also containing his “own little world”. After vouching and insisting Buck would stay to hear Par’s questions answered, the Prime Mover starts with Par’s first question about the details of the contract between he and the humans, also mentioning the two would not mention his words to anyone.

It’s then shared what the Winslow was required by Humanity to house by the Prime Mover in order for Humanity to stay under his protection from extinction, he not knowing why humans would decide to break the contract, Par then asking about whether the Prime Mover knew about the garbage disposal system, he not aware of the actual destination of the trash having currently taken, and so realizing he must go back to work, the two leaving and discussing the Prime Mover’s stance on the station, and how civilized it was now compared to the early years. Par then goes off to deal with some other work whilst Godot decides to go to maintenance, having forgotten to ask about why Hyraxx was such a danger, she then showing herself, but before doing more than responding to his thought out loud, Buck books it down the hall.

After being caught up to though, Buck then discovers Hyraxx’s profession once she asks the question of whether Elvis’ ghost haunted the now empty human embassy, to Buck’s shock. Buck attempts to relay not having the time to chit chat, but doesn’t leave until the Uligb (another alien) shows up, she for some reason being intimidated. Buck then talks with the maintenance chief, requesting to see the station building codes the robots who build the embassies base their construction off of, when the robots begin attacking the tech-hands, Buck leads the way to the other robots to uncover what the deal was. When they see the chaos, the robots are soon stating of all station personnel in their presence, would be destroyed. Then back to Martin, whom reports to Rowan of seeing something which makes him insist he inform Thad of not relaying any details to the Pogs, since he discovers the Winslow, along with some worshipers.

Firstly, a little bit of information on the controlled numbers of journalists which had something to do with mathemagicians having most exterminated is shared. The information given continues to describe how a journalist was kept in each sector in certain planets, others only keeping one for the whole planet, or none at all. It’s also mentioned what occurs when a journalist wishes to move, it being quite a debacle for whatever journalist is occupying the area desired, but it’s also discovered how journalists can behave badly when restricted too often. Then back to Buck and group, still frozen for the threat of being shot by the J-B.O.D.s, Buck then being told of the camera in the room, but it being on a random viewing, so he deciding to make it more necessary to view by pretending to surrender to a J-B.O.D. and then swatting it into the camera, handball-style.

They then need a hand from the maintenance chief whom needed a bit of coaxing before finally subduing the maintenance robots who appeared after the J-B.O.D.s. As Par comes in, annoyed for having to shut down so many systems for Buck and he being a smarty-pants after being asked if there were any others which would be needed to be inconvenienced, as well, they were again rocked by a tremor, Par’s employee relaying of it being originated from the maintenance core, where they currently were, so Par commands all security to tear apart all of the bots to see if they could find the problem, Buck deciding he’d adjourn to his beddy-bye. Meanwhile, Etarre’s team is scrambling to keep everything calm for those transitioning from there upheaval in worshipful prayer of the Winslow, the team settling on giving the human refugees saved from the riots jobs already held by Pogs as a temporary way of keeping them busy, the Pogs’ jobs being taken, being given paid vacation essentially until further notice, Veem, the Pogs ambassador, not happy about this idea at all.

When everyone leaves except Thad and Reege, the co-leader, he divulges of the underlying reason for this being due to they figuring out what was really going on and who was definitely trustworthy, not so certain of the Pogs currently. Buck then comes to speak with Thad when he confides to Buck of the last transmission given by Martin of the Winslow and they not knowing what he’d seen, but they being interrupted by Lou, whom wasn’t pleased with Buck, since he wasn’t acting like a bodyguard, but he reminding her of he not having much to do with the current health issues human males were currently going through, then turning her sights on Thad, whom had to clarify his relationship with Etarre, but Lou making it clear she won’t let anyone working with them be of unsound mind, threatening drugs if they (including her assistant) didn’t do something about it in twenty-four hours, Buck making it clear to Thad, after he’d asked his advice, he should do whatever is best for him to handle the problem, Buck then bowing out for sleepy-time.

Unfortunately for Buck, he’s not alone and the same group who had interrupted his sleep before, were again there to change their terms of Buck needing to be their intermediary with the Prime Mover, they finally showing themselves and Buck not at first seeing why they would be considered dangerous, until one showed how the energy weapons could be brought on board the Gallimaufry. After considering out loud where they must have hidden themselves and being wrong to mention the garbage room, Buck asks if they wanted his assistance, what they would give him in return, they unable to give the DNA key to him for it having been destroyed, the Prime Mover the only one whom could help there, and to convince him the Beemahs would be suitable for the Winslow’s next guardians. Thad then goes to the doctor to see if he had any ideas of how he could help his hormones without feeling morally guilty, but he isn’t in luck, Lou popping in, and quite naked, Thad leaving them to consider another means of relief. He then runs into Buck, whom inadvertently makes it clear what he must do, again leaving for medical, Buck then being stopped by Veem, whom was desperate to have Buck speak on the Pogs behalves to regain their positions, believing it was the way they would be able to reclaim their ambassador.

This is where I was forced to take a break from reading due to technical difficulties with the site and everyone who could fix it either being sick or getting over illness; the unluckiness of my efforts of finishing, continues. A month later, I learn everyone’s fine now, but waiting to put the site back up until they can add new Buck Godot in the Spring, up and downside. 4 years later, here I be. Similar to Bone, but not, since I can’t get this comic out of my head and my brain won’t allow me to move on for the moment. Well, baby steps, I’ll just finish my other half-read novels until then!

Thanks again to the WayBackMachine!

Buck is interrupted by 12-Zinc, he inquiring about the J-B.O.D.s, 12-Zinc not receiving an answer as of yet. Buck describes why someone wanted to get the garbage, he suggesting a tracer in the garbage room and asking after the energy trap. 12-Zinc doesn’t know though, his people not having known this for many years now. Godot then deduces what someone would want with so much trash and considering it could be the size of a planet. Upon speaking with the Prime Mover, Godot learns he doesn’t care about curing the virus, nor would’ve needed to plague humans in this way, Buck revealing he knew a candidate for the new guardians and the P.M. reluctantly agreeing to his retirement terms. Unfortunately, upon asking the P.M. about how the energy weapon works, he didn’t know, but could leave a message for the previous P.M. in order to find out. Buck asks about what fella was doing, he saying he was creating an ocean for his planet, by bucketful. Buck leaves the P.M. and sees the J-B.O.D.s were fixing on destroying everyone again, so after Buck smashes 2 by bouncing them into each other, he decides to revisit the P.M.. Before getting there though, Hyraxx saves his ass with a fuzzbuster. Buck takes the opportunity to have her research why the Pogs would be interested in the Winslow, and in return Buck would give her an exclusive.

Meanwhile, Lou has helped Thad’s other half to release some tension, and then are interrupted by an injured Martin, and Buck is confronted by Oort about the virus, when he’s hit with a dart and goes down, but he’s dead before anything can be done, Buck recognizing the dart as Sclufoniun, he ready to kick some ass, but as he busts through the door, he’s hit with a bunch of darts and passes out. When he comes to, he learns the medic team they’d sent for Oort, was useful to him, Whreee having been showing the freshly designed antidote in a meeting and they using it on him. Buck shares the reason why he’d burst in was because of a Sclufoniun dart killing Oort, but now realizing a Sclufoniun wouldn’t have been responsible if in this meeting the whole time. Par then comes in to announce how the Klegdixal were found guilty of spreading the virus and Buck should head for safety, since the Klegdixal would now be banned from Gallimaufry. Buck decides to stay a moment longer since smelling something fishy, Par noticing it, as well. They deduce they would need to see Oort’s last moments recorded on a device he’d been carrying, but it had been taken by the Pogs (I think…).

Godot and Par exit and Buck is contemplating his nap-time, in his room seeing Lou mourning Oort, he offering they go to his viewing and pick up the body-vid Oort had on him. When Buck finds Thad, Lou and they have a conversation which ends with Buck figuring out whom killed Oort and who released the virus. Lou takes care of this starry-eyed fool whom apparently thought Oort was the bees knees, but knew too much so had to be eliminated. Meanwhile Buck goes to see the quarantined Whreee, to see if he’d allow sponsorship for information of his innocence. After he agrees, upon learning it’s for the Beemahs, the Beemah gives Buck the evidence to support Whreee’s innocence. Buck then runs into Hyraxx whom has learned of the Pogs having been custodians for the Winslow before the Humans, big news. Buck then decides he’s going to enter into the other dimension to see if they find what’s making the trash disappear, he learning he wasn’t alone, and whatever was there, was calling itself Gallimaufry. When Buck has the thing take him to where the issue was, since it trying to eat the trash was making it sick, Buck sees the cutest little thing, ever! Next, Par is shown how Godot had an Info Point attached to him which acts like a body cam.

Par then has 12-Zinc arrested due to not following his order to kill Buck when he arrived, Par confessing he knew this wasn’t right, but he still doing it. Buck, tricks them though, since where he was arriving should’ve been set to where they were, but he somehow being somewhere else on the ship, Par ordering all security to find Buck and his fellow travelers. Beemah finds Buck along with Whreee and they see he has the Winslow, he warning Buck of Par. Buck then entrusts Beemah in escorting the Winslow to the Prime Mover through secret tunnels whilst Buck took the obvious route, which impresses the Beemah, for not having ever been trusted before. Whreee assigns a ninja to escort Buck, due to mistrust and Buck refuses, Veem next finding Buck in his closet, he updating Veem of locating the Winslow, etc. He then asks for Veem to send this as a message to Thad, Veem offering to do the rest of the exchange himself, since one of the ambassadors was the Pogs. Buck then agrees he can go with him, if he provided military back up and disguised him as one of them, Veem totally into it.

At least until implementing Buck’s disguise, which is basically the same idea as the 3 kids in a big man’s jacket, Buck being the legs and bod, ofc. Buck sabotages the plan by smashing one of the drones, Veem still insisting they go to the pick up point, and Buck happily agreeing. When they reach the entry point, though, Buck isn’t able to gain access, they having to fight Uligb. Buck then enlists the help of Hyraxx to open the door, she succeeding and the three interrupting the P.M. and then Buck inviting the Beemah out, Par intrigued as he then learns Klegdixal planned on sponsoring them. Etarre also pops out with the Winslow, confirming Humanity was cool with giving up the Winslow. Then Par bursts in with death threats, executing upon Buck talking after he was finished. P.M. prevents his shots from hitting anyone and wishes to hear from the rest of the group before deciding they were truly arrested or not.

They then interrupted by drones, Par getting another chance to execute as Buck and group attempt escape. Beemah gets hit first after attempting to kill Par, then Buck goes after Par because he’d broken his trust, then the P.M. excommunicates the alien drones, asking for the mess to be explained. Beemah apparently had much more information than most, the P.M. proven this by his knowledge of his secret horndawg stash, Par inquiring why the Beemah hadn’t made him privy. Par had enslaved the Beemah, which the P.M. noted, and Beemahs providing the antidote to the virus given to Humanity. Buck then explains how the Gallimaufry is alive and was much bigger than this plane they lived on, it missing interaction with other beings, which it couldn’t take advantage of, due to choking on the intake of the Winslow. Par receives high praises from the P.M. before he zaps him out, Beemahs prove themselves to be worthy of caring for the Winslow, and Humanity receives protection indefinitely from the P.M. for having been good care-takers of the Winslow. The P.M. then almost banishes the Pogs, but Godot speaks on their behalf, since Oort was lost in this battle and deserves some sort of remembrance, so P.M. decides to banish them temporarily until those involved were dead.

Hyraxx is sworn to secrecy, she in return asking for a pardon in regards to all the trouble she’d caused in order to detect the Winslow’s whereabouts. Buck is offered Par’s old job, but he declines, P.M. then listing how many things he must get to before finishing his bath. The group celebrates in different ways, since Hyraxx had been ordered a lobotomy, but then Buck hears a prediction which seems to have been made by the Winslow, which was well-thought out and more words put together by the thing than heard, ever. Beemahs then escorting it out, he not having heard this long-winded thought. Lou is with a bunch of other people, she sharing how it was about time she head back for her club, thinking business would soon be banging. Buck hangs back after she invites him and when he gets back, goes to deal with his taxes, he sporting a note from the P.M. excusing his tax evasion for so many days. Unfortunately, the fella must deny the note what with he then having to break the same rule for everyone, even if they are a galactic hero, saving a race from slavery and whatnot.

This being the end of the Buck Godot story! Hell yes! I finally did it! It was worth it, because I love humor sci-fi! The story after is an origination story of the Winslow, a fuzzy indestructible alligator. I’m glad to have finished it and will be continuing the ongoing series of Girl Genius.