A Double Life

Damon Runyon

DEAR SIR I suppose you have been wondering what happened to me as I have not written to you but it all started with my wife Ethel not wanting me to tell you about her having the boy and girl twins. She made me cross my heart and hope to die that I would not breathe a word to you until she ses it was okay.

I asked her why she objected to me letting you know when the twins came and she ses it was because she somehow felt bashful about it. I ses well, that guy knew you was going to have a baby so what is there to be bashful about? Ethel ses yes, Joe, he knew I was going to have a baby but he didn’t know I was going to have babies.

I ses I don’t see what difference it makes and Ethel ses well, Joe, it seems almost immodest for someone like me to have two babies all at once the first time they have a baby, instead of one at a time a couple of years apart like most people. That is why I am bashful about letting that fellow know because he will put it in the paper. You wait until the novelty of having them wears off and then you can tell him.

I ses all right, Little Mother, if that’s the way you feel about it and she ses yes, and another way I feel about it is don’t call me Little Mother, if you please. You make me feel like an old lady. Joe, are you really glad about there being two of them? I ses Ethel, I wouldn’t have them any less for anything in this world and she ses I am glad to hear you say so, Joe, but it really seems to me that two is quite a lot.

Well, for a few days she seemed almost embarrassed about the twins but then everybody commenced sending her congratulations and flowers and presents to the hospital and when she was able to go to her mom’s house the street was practically blocked all day with neighbors calling on her and pretty soon Ethel became real proud and a little hard to get along with especially when she finally got to taking the twins out in the baby buggy and people stopped to admire them.

In fact, Ethel grew so proud that one day her Pops ses, daughter, you have done a fine thing bringing two nice healthy children into the world but there is no sense in getting so doggone chesty about it because other women have done the same thing lots of times and some even better. My grandmother had triplets twice. But Ethel only ses humph, and you could see that she felt that no one else’s triplets could be as important as her twins.

I was working hard on my job every day and helping around the house in the evening and I forgot all about writing to you or anyone else until the other night when Ethel ses Joe, what did that fellow put in the paper when you told him about the twins? I haven’t had a chance to read anything in weeks and weeks.

I ses why, Ethel, I never told him about them. I ses you distinctly told me not to mention them to him until the novelty of having them wore off on you and I am not sure that it has yet. She ses Joe, is that supposed to be a mean crack like the one Pops made about me being chesty? I ses no, no, no. I ses why, Ethel, I guess I am chestier than you are about the twins as some of the guys I know are squawking because I am always talking about them.

Ethel ses well, do you mean to tell me that my children are over two months old and there has been nothing in the paper about them? I ses not as far as I know, but please remember it is only because you told me not to tell that fellow anything, Ethel ses I do not recall telling you any such thing, Joe, and you better write to him immediately and tell him the good news.

So I am writing.

Yours truly