Frank and Gordon in: Clipshow

Thelonious_Monk,_Minton's_Playhouse,_New_York,_N.Y.,_ca._Sept._1947_(William_P._Gottlieb_06191)

The easygoing sound of Thelonious “Sphere” Monk’s solo piano in ‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’ could be heard on a tinny-sounding lo-fi speaker at Danny’s Diner at the corner of Route 5A and Juniper St. in the small rural town of Brighton Heights, where best friends Melvin, Jeremiah, Rufus, Toby, and Jill laughed, jibed, gossiped, cajoled, and discussed, respectively, over a cheeseburger deluxe, a chicken tender platter, a breakfast special, a bowl of cobb salad with a side order of New England clam chowder, and wheat toast, respectively. After a few minutes of pleasant discourse, the matter of their mutual, currently-absent, though nonetheless best friends, Frank and Gordon, came up in conversation.

—Do you guys remember, said Melvin, way back when we were in middle school, when Frank got shot in the arm?

Frank screamed as blood gushed out of his arm like a shook-up soda can. Gordon applied pressure to the wound, inadvertently pushing the bullet deeper into Frank’s arm, which only made him scream louder. Here, said Melvin, try this tourniquet. Gordon tried to apply the tourniquet but after a few minutes he realized it was no use. It’s no use, he told Melvin, he keeps flailing his arm around. Alright, Melvin replied, we’ll have to amputate. Ignoring Frank’s loud exhortations advising against this course of action, Melvin pulled out a quarter from his pocket. Bite on this, he told Frank, and forced open his mouth, placed the quarter inside and fastened it shut with a strip of duct tape. Gordon held the bowsaw over Frank’s arm, took a few deep breaths in preparation, and began the operation. After about a half hour Frank’s arm was off, and after the bloody stump was cauterized and Melvin’s quarter forced out of his throat with the Heimlich maneuver, Frank would eventually undergo a full recovery, though he could never play the piano for the rest of his life.

—Middle school, said Toby with a sigh. Those were the days, eh?

—I tell ya, it’s a shame about Frank and Gordon, really, said Melvin.

—Yeah, said Jeremiah. It’s just not the same without them, you know what I mean?

–No, replied Rufus.

—I know what you mean, said Toby. I could just never imagine being so destitute I’d have to sell my own refrigerator just so I could feed myself.

—Yeah, that’s really rough, Jill agreed.

—Shut up, will you?

Jill shut up, meekly looking down at her plate, and took another bite of her wheat toast. Meanwhile, Melvin opened his mouth, anxious to say something which had, it seemed, been on his mind for a while, but he hesitated at the last available opportunity, closed his mouth, straightened his tie, and took another bite of his cheeseburger deluxe.

—What were you going to say? asked Jeremiah.

—What do you mean?

—I saw you open your mouth like you were anxious to say something. Like something which had, it seemed, been on your mind for a while, you know what I mean?

—I wasn’t paying attention, said Rufus.

—Yeah, I noticed it too, said Toby. You kind of closed your mouth at the last available opportunity, then straightened your tie and took another bite of your cheeseburger deluxe, you know what I mean?

Melvin sighed and put down his cheeseburger deluxe.

—I suppose you’re right. Well, here’s the thing…

Before he could relate to his friends the thing in question, Kenneth had arrived, who was welcomed with several warm greetings by each of his best friends. He could not have met them earlier for the gathering, as he was already engaged in a previous commitment, that of the interment of his deceased parents (an occasion which regrettable as it was simply could not be avoided), but he promised his friends he could meet them after the engagement if they did not mind his being a bit tardy, a concession that his friends readily accepted.

—Glad you could make it, said Jeremiah. We saved you a seat.

Kenneth looked at the space reserved for him, next to Jill, and frowned.

—Say, guys, thanks a lot for making me sit next to her.

—Oh, sorry about that, said Melvin. We should have known better.

Kenneth sat on the chair reserved for him and pulled himself up to his place at the table.

—Yeah, we owe you that much, said Jeremiah. Since your parents are dead and all.

—Don’t worry about it. Just try to remember next time.

—Sorry about that, said Jill. We’ll try to remember that next time.

—By the way, we already ordered, Melvin said. We didn’t know when you were coming.

—Don’t worry about it, said Kenneth. I brought my own.

He pulled out a bag of gummi bears from his pocket and opened it up, swallowing a red-colored bear in one gulp.

 

—These were left over from the funeral. By the way, I’m sorry I’m so late. You really won’t believe how long it takes to put two people in the ground.

—Try us, said Toby.

—Two hours.

As he had predicted, his friends could not believe it. To express their disbelief most of them settled with the traditional dropped jaw gesture, but Jeremiah decided to embellish their mutual dumbfoundedness with a loud whistle.

—That really is a long time, he added.

—Tell me about it.

Kenneth chomped on a white gummi bear, and wondered what flavor the white gummi bears were supposed to be. The other friends, who, unlike Kenneth, either knew that white gummi bears are traditionally pineapple-flavored (Melvin, Toby, Rufus), or were content to not know this bit of information (Jeremiah, Jill), remained silent and watched his chomping of the white, or, depending on the best friend, pineapple-flavored, bear. Finally, after swallowing a mouthful of bacon-bit-and-hard-boiled-egg-peppered leaves of lettuce, Toby cleared his throat.

—So. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from you. How’ve you been, man?

Kenneth swallowed the white bear and threw the bag of gummi bears down on the table.

—How have I been? I just buried my parents, how do you think I’ve been?

Kenneth’s rebuke cast a pall over the proceedings. The others knew he had been on edge ever since his parents’ deaths, and were hesitant to invite him to their gathering, afraid of hearing exactly this sort of outburst from him. Kenneth noticed the uncomfortable expressions on his best friends’ faces and let out a weak laugh.

—Ah, come on guys, Don’t worry about it. I mean, boo hoo, who wants to listen to me whine about my boring old life anyway, huh?

They let out small chuckles that eased the tension a little, exactly the effect Kenneth was going for. Jeremiah, to further alleviate the tense situation, tried a similar approach.

—Yeah, tell me about it. Aw, gee whiz, your parents are dead, let’s all cry about it!

The others laughed heartily out loud, realizing the absurdity of Jeremiah’s proposal, and proceeded to throw out such ludicrous proposals in kind, which greatly lightened their spirits and eradicated the initial bad will caused by Melvin’s tactless question.

—That sounds like a great idea, said Toby, to great comic effect. Let’s cry about it, for like, forty-five minutes straight!

—Forty five minutes! That’s almost half a funeral’s worth of time, said Kenneth.

—What are you guys talking about, anyway? asked Rufus.

—As if they’re our parents anyway, added Melvin with a laugh.

—Yeah, said Jill. Who cares about your stupid parents, anyway?

The laughter came to a stop, and all stared at Jill in shock for her audacious, insensitive comment. Kenneth grimaced, put his hand over his eyes to stop the involuntary tears coming from his eyes, while Jeremiah placed a comforting hand over Kenneth’s shoulder.

—Hey, are you alright?

Kenneth nodded an unconvincing yes and wiped the tears away from his eyes. Jeremiah shifted his gaze to his inconsiderate friend Jill, pointing a finger at her.

—You’re a monster.

Jill sighed and looked down at her plate of wheat toast in shame. After a minute or so of silence, Jeremiah slapped a hand on the tabletop.

—Anyways…

The others let out a weak chuckle, their spirits adequately lightened, and proceeded to engage in civil conversation, which Toby opened up by asking,

—Hey Kenneth, we were just talking about Frank and Gordon. You guys remember, when we were all in Kindergarten, and Frank got hit in the head with a tire iron?

The errant tire iron careened through the air before reaching its destination, Frank’s forehead, and knocked him onto his back with a loud clonk. Bullseye, exclaimed Toby, and patted Gordon on the back. It looks like your tire iron slingshot works after all. What about Frank, asked Gordon, is he dead? No, he’s just unconscious, so that means we can write funny things on his head and chest! Gordon produced a black permanent marker in glee and, as a puddle of reddish brownish blood accumulated under Frank’s head, wrote the word “balls” on his injured friend’s forehead, careful to avoid the bloody spots. He passed the marker to Toby, who, upset that his word of choice had been taken by his friend, opted to write ‘assclown’ on Frank’s left cheek instead.

 

They all remembered, and all laughed in kind.

—Kindergarten. Boy, those were the days.

—By the way, said Toby to Melvin, weren’t you going to tell us all something?

—Oh, no, I can’t, he replied. It’s stupid. I’m sure you’ll all laugh at me if I told you.

—Come on, said Jeremiah. We’re all friends here.

—Yeah, said Jill. We’re all friends here…

—Alright, fine. Anything to shut her up. Well, I’ve just been thinking, it seems like there’s no point to us. Do you know what I mean?

—No, said Rufus.

—It seems like we have no agency in our lives, Melvin continued. Like we’re a bunch of automatons in the service of some malevolent being playing some kind of cruel game with our lives. Like a bunch of dumb puppets, you know what I mean?

—I think I know what you mean, said Toby. Like in that movie Pinnochio. Walt Disney saw it coming hundreds of years ago, so he made a beloved animated family film to warn us all.

—I think I know what you mean, said Jeremiah. Nowadays all of our beloved animated family films are in 3-D. Modern technology has really taken a hold over our lives, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these days it completely usurps our free will.

—I think I know what you mean, said Jill. Sometimes it seems like we’re arbitrarily thrust into absurd situations for the sole purpose of entertaining the lowest common denominator.

—Actually, that’s not what I was talking about at all, said Melvin.

—You know, you’re really lowering the tone of our discussion, said Jeremiah.

—Yeah, said Toby. If you don’t want to contribute to the conversation with constructive, intelligent discourse, then maybe you just shouldn’t say anything at all.

—Yeah, said Rufus. Maybe you just shouldn’t say anything at all.

Meanwhile, as the leisurely lilt of Thelonious ‘Sphere’ Monk’s rendition of ‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’ started to pick up a steady pace, with the help of a gently stomping ragtime bassline, Kenneth was neither paying attention to the conversation, nor contributing with constructive, intelligent discourse, but, unlike Jill, intentions of lowering the tone of his friends’ conversation had never crossed his mind. Instead, in between white, red and orange gummi bears (which were his favorites), he thought about his parents.

He could not help but remember a sunny July afternoon, when, after playing a rigorous game of soccerball-catch with his father, they both came inside to his mother, waiting with a smile on her face, in her favorite apron and oven mitts, holding a piping-hot tray of crustless mayonnaise sandwiches fresh out of the oven. They were his favorite, and no one in the world baked them like his mother. They were perfect every time, she never put too much lettuce on them, just enough to

 

—How about you? Melvin asked Kenneth. What are you thinking, all quiet over there?

—Oh, nothing, he replied. I was just thinking about my parents. I couldn’t help but remember a sunny July afternoon when, after playing a rigorous game of soccerball-catch with my father, we both came inside to my mother, waiting with a smile on her face, in her favorite apron and oven mitts, holding a piping-hot tray of crustless mayonnaise sandwiches fresh out of

—You know, I never really cared for mayonnaise myself, said Toby.

—You know, you’re being a real jerk, Kenneth replied.

—What? I was only saying I don’t care for mayonnaise.

—You should be ashamed of yourself, insulting his dead mom’s cooking, said Jeremiah.

—Yeah, said Kenneth. My mother’s walking on hot coals in Purgatory so she can get into heaven! She doesn’t have to take that crap from you!

He leapt from his seat, knocking the chair over onto its back, and reached into the holster on the left side of his jacket. He yanked out his Magnum .357 and cocked the hammer, aiming the gun at Toby’s head.

—Let’s see you badmouth the tangy zip of my mother’s mayonnaise sandwiches when you’ve got an asshole where your face used to be!

Toby calmly sipped a spoonful of his New England clam chowder and rose from his seat. He reached into his left holster, pulled out a Colt .45 and pointed it at his assailant’s head.

—Tell me something, you sure that thing’s loaded?

—The safety’s on, you idiot, scoffed Kenneth. I can see it from over here.

Toby laughed and reached into his other holster, pulling out an identical .45.

—Well, that’s why I always keep a spare on me, with the safety off. Now who’s the idiot?

Melvin slowly rose from his seat.

—Guys, he said, why don’t you just calm down…

—Why don’t you calm down?!

With an anxious jerk of his shooting arm Kenneth pointed his Magnum at Melvin.

—Yeah, Toby similarly inquired, as he similarly aimed his non-safety-engaged Colt .45 at Melvin. Why don’t you calm down?

—Why don’t you calm down? Jill wondered out loud.

—SHUT UP!

Toby and Kenneth screamed at Jill in unison, aiming their weapons square at her head while Toby kept a spare .45 aimed at Melvin, just in case. For ten minutes the two assailants kept their weapons trained on their targets, clutching the cold steel of their firearms with a tense grip and moving nary a muscle in their bodies. For ten minutes the other friends anxiously sat on the edge of their seats, anticipating the very worst display of bloodshed to erupt at any minute, hoping for some way to diffuse the situation, hoping in vain. Finally, after about ten minutes, both assailants became cognizant of the absurdity in their drawn-out display of one-upmanship, pointed the guns away from their targets in unison and slowly took their seats. They both unloaded their weapons and set them on the tabletop. During the long stand-off, Thelonious ‘Sphere” Monk had ample time to conclude his rendition of ‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,’ and then begin a reprisal of said number; once again one could hear the leisurely lilt of Thelonious ‘Sphere’ Monk’s prodigiously nimble fingers as he pounded out its main melody. After a minute or so of silence, Kenneth slapped a hand on the tabletop.

—Anyways…

The others let out a weak chuckle, their spirits adequately lightened, and proceeded to engage in civil conversation, which Kenneth opened up by asking,

—Hey guys, remember back when we were in college, when Frank got that letter in the mail, and opened it up, and got infected by a horrible plague that made all of his internal organs decay into a putrefied, chunky black bile, and we all had to be quarantined and scoured by a virus-killing agent?

 

Unfortunately for them, they remembered.

—Gosh, I remember it like it was yesterday, he continued with a hearty chuckle. We all screamed in excruciating pain at the same time as we could feel the chemicals burn our skin and burn through our bloodstream while we simultaneously listened to Frank retch out his rotten pancreas as he begged for someone to help him, and all the government sanitation officials just shrugged helplessly because they couldn’t hear him through their hazmat suits.

Melvin cleared his throat in a loud, exaggerated manner, hoping to interrupt Kenneth’s lurid recollection. Alas, it was to no avail, as Kenneth continued.

—Finally, the poor guy just gave up. I remember he tried to scribble a note on a dollar bill he happened to have in his pocket. He got to ‘Tell my wife I,’ and then an L, O, and then stopped. I think he was choking on his lung or something. You guys remember his lung? It was all black and tumor-ridden, like he had smoked since he was three years old. Of course, he never did smoke, but that was just what his lung looked like anyway, you know, on account of that horrible plague. Hm, I wonder what he wanted to write on that note, since it wasn’t finished? It would have to begin with an L and an O, obviously. Tell my wife I, lost my car keys? I long to see the ocean? I guess we’ll never know for sure, will we? Oh man, college. Those were happier times, weren’t they? That was before my parents died, wasn’t it?

—Hey, I was thinking, Melvin interrupted. Remember what I was talking about before? What do you say that today, right now, we all promise to each other that, from now on, we’ll always do everything in a rational, sensible manner, free from this singing-and-dancing puppetry that has encompassed our entire lives up to this point?

—Yeah, said Jeremiah. We’ll comport ourselves so rationally and sensibly that we’ll be an inspiration to others.

—Yeah, said Toby. And those people will inspire even more people. Like that story where that guy went back in time and stepped on a butterfly.

—Did you know, Jeremiah wondered out loud, that people actually collect butterflies?

—It’s easy to see why, replied Toby. They’re delicate, fascinating creatures, each one different in some way. Like snowflakes.

—Yeah, and fingerprints.

—Or people!

—Right, people in general are all different from each other too.

—Hm, interesting. What are some other things that are all different from each other?

—Oh, I know. Zebras! I don’t know about you guys, but zebras really just fascinate me.

—Me too. My sister is actually writing her dissertation on zebras. Did you know that their stripes can actually be used as an effective method of camouflage?

—Really? But wouldn’t their chiaroscuro stripes stand out in a jungle environment full of predominantly green colors and earth tones?

—I could understand why you would think that at first. However, like humans and their fingerprints, each zebra has a distinct pattern of stripes.

 

—Oh, right, just like how humans have different fingerprints…

—Shut up, will you? As I was saying, when a predator is chasing a zebra, like a lion or bear or something, the predator usually tries to memorize their prey by their specific pattern. But zebras have a very clever method of exploiting this tendency.

—Really? Tell me more about how clever zebras are.

—I certainly will. The zebra, once its predator has memorized its stripe pattern, seeks out a black magic marker and deliberately alters its pattern, effectively disguising itself as a totally different zebra! Isn’t that amazing? The predators get very confused by this method. They think that their zebra has disappeared or escaped, but they never realize that it’s the exact same zebra standing right in front of them, just with a false stripe pattern, and then they have no choice but to try to look for their zebra or find a different one!

—Wow, that is really amazing!

—See, I told you guys so.

—So, said Melvin. Let’s all promise each other. Agreed?

—I promise, said Toby.

—I agree, said Kenneth.

—I promise too, said Melvin.

—I agree too, said Jeremiah.

—What? said Rufus.

—I’m not sure yet, said Jill. It seems like a significant thing to have to commit to…

—Good, said Melvin. So it’s decided then.

—Hey guys, said Jeremiah, remember back when we were all preparing to defend our doctoral dissertations, when Frank and Gordon and I found ourselves on the planet Gorlac Rassarian in the Ashura Prime cluster, and ran into some Morgul Firkalims who wanted to Groofalize us with their Smugal-laaks?

Smhoofglfalck Frzpckz cszarck, said Frank. Reefgffl froopfl shmooofdflck, replied Jeremiah. Gordon redopldoozed scradsclusiszs, grufally drupallmoozie sckleepazoodle, while Frank frozdasmiklled Jeremiah’s zvidoffiploorpizooli. Riplawziplizoot, asked Gordon, shmfleeckeweep? Sheeplzoop, said Frank. Drfooz Sheeplzoop, quipped Jeremiah.

 

—Doctoral dissertations, said Jeremiah with a hearty qafdzoople. Those were some good times.

The other friends stared at Jeremiah with a perplexed look. None of them could recall this event.

Becoming suddenly aware of his best friends’ confusion, he sank back in his chair, hoping that he had not just blown his cover as the hero Strotha Gwarlek of the Lordarek alien race, and swallowed a green gummi bear, which was considered a delicacy on his home planet Rugulen 5. After a minute or so of silence, Jeremiah slapped a hand on the tabletop.

—Anyways…

The others let out a weak chuckle, their spirits having been adequately lightened, and proceeded to engage in civil conversation, of which Jill opened up by asking,

—Oh, is it still too late to promise?

—SHUT IT, YOU DRUNKEN BITCH! screamed Jeremiah.

—YEAH, SHUT IT YOU DRUNKEN BITCH! screamed Kenneth.

He rose from his seat, pulled out his Magnum .357 and aimed it at Jill’s head.

—Hey, that isn’t any way to treat a lady, said Melvin, I don’t care what she’s done to you!

—Oh yeah, well what are you going to do about it, tough guy?

—Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll shoot you in your stupid face!

Melvin reached in his holster and pulled out his silver-plated revolver. He cocked the hammer and aimed his weapon at Kenneth’s stupid face, ready to make good on his promise to shoot it.

—You don’t have the balls, buddy, said Kenneth.

—Oh yeah? Try me. I’m not afraid to kill a man for my infant son. I’ve done hard time for him and I’ll do it again.

—You don’t even have an infant son, retorted Kenneth.

—Oh yeah? Well maybe I did once, and I just never told you about it!

—You know what, said Toby. Choke on your infant son, assclown!

He rose from his seat, drawing and aiming a .45 at Melvin’s head.

—What did you just say? asked Melvin.

—Choke, on, your, infant, son, assclown.

—You wouldn’t dare talk about my infant son, said Melvin. I’ve done hard time and I’ll…

—Oh yeah, well try me, hotshot, snapped Toby, as he pulled out his spare .45. I’ve got a spare gun with the safety off and it’s pointed right in the middle of your stupid face!

Jeremiah rose from his seat, reached for his zryxcstoodle frooflmoop and gzeefflzooped it straight at Toby’s head.

—You think you’re so tough, huh? You’ve ever been on a tour of duty in the Ashura Prime cluster? You should look so good, after getting thrown into a pit of ravenous, bloodthirsty Firkalim doozklooph hounds!

Jill slammed her hand on the table and rose from her seat.

—You know what, you guys, I’m sick of this! Every time I’m ever with you guys you insult me, or tell me to shut up whenever I say anything, and I’ve had it! From now on you’d better start showing me some respect or

—SHUT UP!

At this all the best friends who had firearms gave up their previous targets and aimed them square at Jill’s head. Jill gasped and instinctively held her hands up in defense. For ten minutes the four assailants kept their weapons trained on their target, clutching the cold steel of their firearms with a tense grip and moving nary a muscle in their bodies. For ten minutes Jill anxiously stood and faced her relentless assailants, each anxious to become her assassin, anticipating the very worst display of bloodshed to erupt at any minute, hoping for some way to diffuse the situation, hoping in vain. Finally, after about ten minutes, the four gunmen became cognizant of the absurdity in their drawn-out display of one-upmanship and pointed the guns away from their targets in unison. During the long stand-off, Thelonious ‘Sphere’ Monk had ample time to conclude his second rendition of ‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,’ and then begin yet another reprisal of said number; once again one could hear the leisurely lilt of Thelonious ‘Sphere’ Monk’s prodigiously nimble fingers steadily pick up the pace as he pounded out the main melody with a gently stomping ragtime bassline to aid him.

—Anyways…

They all let out a hearty chuckle at this, neither of them paying attention to Rufus, who, so stricken with terror by the traumatic standoff, sprang from his chair and brandished two AK-47 rifles he had until this moment concealed underneath the table.

—I’ll KILL YOU ALL, he screamed. I’LL KILL EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU! I’LL DRAG YOU ALL DOWN TO HELL WITH ME!

Deaf to his best friends’ desperate exhortations advising against this course of action, Rufus let out a torrent of gunfire from his twin machines of death. Hundreds of M67 rounds tore through the feeble flesh of his best friends, and as they fell from his relentless gunfire their .45s, revolvers, Magnums, and zryxcstoodle frooflmoops fired off their rounds and hit Rufus in kind. The room at Danny’s Diner was awash in a chaotic ballet-dance of blood splatters, pieces of skull bones and chunks of brain matter. After about ten minutes of gunfire and carnage, the room was still. Against all odds, however, Rufus pushed himself off the ground with as much effort as he could muster.

—Hey guys, he said, do you guys remember that one time when Frank was resurrected from the dead, by that mystic shaman who was at that powwow we all went to for that high school field trip?

—High school, replied Melvin. Those… were… some good times.

—Wait, grunted Toby, wasn’t it a talking dog that brought him back? Like that in that beloved animated family film…

—I just thought he was rushed to the hospital and went in recovery there…

—No, you idiots… it was… a… mystic, shaman…

 

With a guttural death rattle Rufus gave up his ghost, and the best friends followed suit until they had all reached an adequate level of deceasedness. As Thelonious ‘Sphere’ Monk began to pound out the vibrant introduction to ‘We See’ he soon after let his friend Charlie Rouse add a hard-bopping tenor saxophone line. At this point the hostess let Frank and Gordon into the diner and sat them down.

—Is this the only table you’ve got? asked Frank. It’s a little bloody in here still.

The hostess waved her hand and summoned a pair of busboys, who proceeded to drag the corpses off the premises and clean up excess blood, bone and brain matter. One of the busboys picked up an AK-47 and showed it to the hostess.

—You’ll have to call the ATF and have those impounded, she said.

Another one picked up the zryxcstoodle frooflmoop.

—What about this? he asked. This isn’t from our planet, so I don’t think the ATF has any jurisdiction over this.

—Well then, said the hostess, I guess you can keep it.

After about ten minutes the room was free of any evidence of the earlier altercation.

—Ah, much better, said Gordon. Don’t you agree, Frank?

—Yes, he replied. Thank you very much.

They sat at their booth and deliberated over what to have for their meal. Frank was torn between the cheeseburger deluxe or the Reuben special, while Gordon, having trouble deciding on a specific entrée, knew that he was in the mood for something with lamb. After a while a waitress appeared and asked if there was anything she could get them to drink.

—A vanilla milkshake, said Gordon.

—I’ll just have an ice water, said Frank.

The waitress nodded her head and jotted down the requested drinks on her notepad.

—Actually, I think we’re ready to order, said Frank. I think I’ll have the sampler platter. Could I have a side dish of dipping cheese as well?

—You sure can, said the waitress. And you sir?

—Well, I’m having trouble deciding on a specific entrée, but I know I’m in the mood for something with lamb.

—That’s alright, she said. I’ll give you time to decide, and I’ll put your order in too.

She took Frank’s menu and walked away.

—Oh! Wait! I know what I want now.

Gordon, alas, was too late, the waitress was en route to the kitchen, ready to serve their requested drinks and submit Frank’s order to the Danny’s Diner’s dedicated kitchen staff.

—Oh man, he said. I hate it when that happens.

—Don’t worry about it, said Frank. We’ve got plenty of time. Say, do you remember that one time when Kenneth, Melvin, Jeremiah, Rufus, Toby and Jill were hanging out together, and Rufus shot all of them with two AK-47s and they all shot him with other weapons multiple times until everyone died?

Thelonious_Monk,_Minton's_Playhouse,_New_York,_N.Y.,_ca._Sept._1947_(William_P._Gottlieb_06191).jpg

The easygoing sound of Thelonious “Sphere” Monk’s solo piano in ‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’ could be heard

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