DIALOGUE BETWEEN RUNYON AND BED
(A Little Style Larceny from Benjamin Franklin)
Runyon: Well, Bed, here I am again. Gosh, I feel tough.
Bed: What’s the matter now?
Runyon: I ache all over. I think I’ve got a fever. Gosh, I feel tough.
Bed: I’m not surprised. You can’t stand it any more, old boy.
Runyon: Stand what?
Bed: Staying out all night and eating what you please and when you please.
Runyon: Say, what has that got to do with the way I feel? I’ve picked up a germ of something somewhere.
Bed: Well, that’s because your physical resistance to germs is weakened from staying out all night and eating indiscriminately. You ought to know better.
Runyon: My physical resistance is all right. This is some kind of germ that has nothing to do with staying out and eating. Say, why don’t you have more covers? You haven’t got enough blankets on to make a boxing glove for a bumble bee.
Bed: I’ve got on as many as usual.
Runyon: Well, look how I’m shivering.
Bed: That’s because your resistance is low, I tell you.
Runyon: I guess I need a doctor.
Bed: It doesn’t make any difference whether you need one or not—you’ll have him. I wish you would get one that doesn’t dump himself down on me when he’s looking you over. I’m a little tired myself from the way you tossed around last night and hollered.
Runyon: What was I hollering about?
Bed: How do I know? You kept hollering “take that!”
Runyon: Oh, I remember. I was dreaming I was a prizefighter and was knocking Joe Louis out. I guess it was the knackwurst and sauerkraut I ate before I came home.
Bed: Knackwurst and sauerkraut, eh? And you wonder why you don’t feel good? Why, that’s enough to kill a donkey.
Runyon: See here, Bed. Knackwurst and sauerkraut don’t make your bones ache and give you a fever. My chest is sore, too. I may be getting pneumonia. Gosh, I feel tough. I’m afraid I’m in for a siege.
Bed: My goodness, I hope not.
Runyon: Why, don’t you like my company?
Bed: Oh, your company is all right, but I enjoy it more a little at a time. Then I’m not in so much danger.
Runyon: What do you mean―danger?
Bed: Well, I have to constantly be on guard against being destroyed by fire from those cigarettes you are always smoking. When I think of the narrow escapes I’ve had it makes my pillows shiver. You shouldn’t smoke cigarettes when you are sick, anyway.
Runyon: Say, a fellow has to do something. He can’t just lie still all day and night, can he?
Bed: You certainly don’t anyway. You keep me in constant torment by kicking around and getting my sheets all knotted up. Your constant groaning is most disturbing, too.
Runyon: Say, I seem to have a lot of faults, don’t I?
Bed: Oh, I won’t say anything about the soup stains you get on me when you are having your meals off a tray, but I wish you would be more careful about the bread crumbs. They are really most annoying. Another thing, your language is at times slightly offensive.
Runyon: Listen here, Bed. Maybe I’d better go to a hospital and be sick if you’re going to be so critical.
Bed: You wouldn’t like it. They would turn the lights out on you early and wouldn’t let you do so much reading. You couldn’t have the radio turned on all the time, either. By the way, why do you keep switching from station to station every few minutes instead of listening to one programme all the way through?
Runyon: That’s because I’m always trying to find torch music when I’m sick. It makes me feel better. I wish Ukelele Ike was always on the radio singing, “It Had to Be You” when I’m sick. Gosh, I feel tough. Say, Bed, how does typhoid fever start?
Bed: Oh, you haven’t got typhoid fever. If you’ve got anything it’s probably just a little cold. Is that another cigarette? And didn’t I hear you groan? Well, I can see that I’m in for it again. Oh, my goodness!
Runyon: Send for the doctor. Gosh, I feel tough!