No Life

Damon Runyon

You have been noticing an uneasy sensation in region of the Darby Kelly and the croaker says it looks to him like it might be—

Well, nothing serious, if you are careful about what you eat and take these here powders.

All right, Doc. Careful is the word from now on. Thanks.

Wait a minute. No orange juice.

What, no orange juice, Doc? Always have orange juice for breakfast.

No, no orange juice.

Okay, Doc. That’s gonna be tough, but grapefruit is just as good.

No grapefruit, either. No acids.

No grapefruit? Say, what does a guy do for breakfast, Doc?


Don’t like cereals, Doc.

No syrup.

You don’t mean a little sorghum on wheat cakes, do you Doc?

No sorghum. No wheat cakes. No sugar.

You don’t mean no sugar in the coffee, Doc? Just a couple of spoons a cup?

Yes, and no coffee.

Now look, Doc. You don’t mean no coffee at all?

No coffee.

Say, Doc, that’s all right about no sugar, but you must be kidding about no coffee at all.

No coffee.

Not even a coupla cups a meal, Doc? Why, that’s just a taste.

No coffee.

Doc, that ain’t human.

No candy.

Not even a little bitsy box of peppermints at the movies, Doc?

No, no peppermints. No ice.

You ain’t talking about a tiny dab of banana ice cream, are you, Doc? The kind that goes down so slick?

Yes, no sweets at all. No highly spiced stuff. No herring.

What kind, Doc?

Any kind. No herring.

But you don’t mean a little of that chef’s special, Doc? The kind with the white sauce on it?

No herring.

Not even matjes, Doc?

No herring.

Well, all right, Doc. No herring. Gefüllte fish will have to do.

No gefüllte fish. No goulash.

What kind of goulash, Doc? Hungarian?

Any kind. No salami. No highly seasoned Italian food.

I never eat that more than a coupla times a week, anyway; I’ll take a lobster Fra Diavolo now and then.

None of that.

Are you sure about the herring, Doc? There must be some kind that’re all right.

No herring.

It’s a conspiracy. Whoever heard of a little herring hurting anybody? Why, Doc, people have been eating herring for years and it never bothered them.

No herring.

Well, all right, no herring after tonight and tomorrow. What’s this list, Doc?

It’s your diet. Follow it closely.

But there ain’t anything on it a guy can eat, Doc. It’s terrible. You were just kidding about the coffee, weren’t you, Doc? No coffee! Can you imagine a guy trying to live without coffee—what? You can’t!

And no cigarettes.

Doc, a guy might as well be dead, hey?