Mrs. Pilplay

Damon Runyon

Mrs. Pilplay wasn’t so young, but she still looked good. She liked dancing.

After Mr. Pilplay died she said good-by to Our Town and went to New York. She said that a lonely widow could get along better in New York. Mr. Pilplay was a farsighted man and had a large insurance policy.

Mrs. Pilplay is going on forty years of age and keeps her hair the same color the year around.

She has a nice shape when she gets it all buckled in and a cheerful smile. She has a four-room apartment, a maid and an old Pomeranian dog. The dog’s name is Fluff. Everybody wishes to destroy Fluff on sight.

Mrs. Pilplay learned the rumba from a teacher at ten dollars per hour. She had all the motions down fine. There are a lot of motions to the rumba. First you go thisaway. Then you go thataway. Mrs. Pilplay used to go every night to a place where they had a rumba band and put it on good. She got a little hard of hearing from listening to rumba bands.

She knew a lot of jolly fellows who were always willing to go and do the rumba with her. She paid the tabs. That was only fair, because she is a widow and her competition was keen. She started running out of money not long ago and decided that it might be a smart idea to marry a provider.

She met a millionaire named Julius in the Stork Club one night and he fell in love with her. She looked good. Julius was sixty-six years old and an awful chromo but he was a millionaire. Mrs. Pilplay knew there was no sense in a widow being choosy about a millionaire’s looks.

Everybody up our street was rooting for Mrs. Pilplay. We thought if she got Julius she might move to a more aristocratic neighborhood and take Fluff with her.

Old Julius’s relatives were pretty sore. They had been waiting around with their tongues hanging out for years for him to die and leave them his dough. They hated to see Mrs. Pilplay cutting in on them. A granddaughter named Mrs. Vazzo was real nasty to Mrs. Pilplay one night in El Morocco. Mrs. V. called Mrs. P. a gold digger. Mrs. P. laughed and said bah.

Julius was a sedate old fellow. He did not dance the rumba. He did not dance anything. He just sat around. He said he was too old to dance. Mrs. Pilplay said nonsense, he was just the right age for dancing. She made him go to her teacher and take rumba lessons. The way Julius danced the rumba should be declared unconstitutional. He kept falling apart. The teacher raised his fee to $20 per hour but gave Mrs. Pilplay a finnif as commission.

She made Julius keep practicing the rumba until he got pretty good for a man sixty-six years old. That is not too good. He commenced looking younger. He began acting younger. He said he felt younger. That is what the rumba will do for a man. He said he would always be grateful to Mrs. Pilplay for taking him in hand and teaching him how to get some enjoyment out of life when everybody else thought he was a goner.

Mrs. Vazzo came around to see Mrs. Pilplay and apologized for her cracks in El Morocco. She said she was grateful to Mrs. Pilplay for rejuvenating Grandfather and that all the rest of his family were grateful, too.

She was right nice to Mrs. Pilplay. Afterwards Mrs. Pilplay found out that Julius’s family physician, Dr. Furor, had told the family that all they had to do was to hope Mrs. Pilplay kept that old fugitive from a graveyard doing the rumba long enough and his heart would give out sure pop.

Julius got to liking the rumba so well that he not only wanted to dance it all night but all day too. That is what the rumba will do for a man. Mrs. Pilplay commenced to look a little run-down. She got bags under her eyes. Her feet took to hurting her. She had to pull up on Julius occasionally and spend all her time in bed.

Up our street we kept rooting for Mrs. Pilplay but we could see that she was losing her old zip. We were sorry but not surprised when we heard in the papers that Julius had eloped with a young cigarette girl named Maria who could rumba all hours. She ought to. She is a Cuban. It was a big story in the papers. They did not mention one break Mrs. Pilplay got when she was going around with Julius. She did not have to pay those tabs.

Mrs. Pilplay still lives up our street. She goes with Julius’s family physician, Dr. Furor, now and may marry him. He is no great catch. A lot of his patients owe him money that he will never get. Mrs. Pilplay and Dr. Furor go out dancing once in a while but they never rumba. They stick to waltzes. She looks good again.

Mrs. Pilplay still has Fluff. She found Sully, the cop on the beat up our street, trying to teach Fluff to sit up the other night. She asked Sully to quit that. She said Fluff is an old dog and that it is silly to teach an old dog new tricks.

That is what the rumba will do for a man.