Ethel and the Blonde Thing

Damon Runyon


November 25.

DEAR SIR the other night after we had a big thanksgiving dinner I took my wife Ethel to the movies and a young fellow and a blonde went in the same time we did and took some seats on an aisle and we had to crawl past them to get to some empty seats on the other side of them and Ethel stepped on the blondes toe getting past and the blonde ses why dont you look where you are going you clumsy thing?

Ethel ses I beg your pardon but if your feet were not so big somebody could get past them without stepping on them and the blonde ses my feet are not as big as your mouth and Ethel ses O is that so? The blonde ses yes that is certainly so and the young fellow ses why dont you girls both pipe down and just forget it?

Ethel ses Joe did you hear what that fellow ses to me? I ses yes I heard it and she ses are you going to stand for something like that? I ses O I guess he did not mean anything Ethel. I ses he looks like a nice fellow and she ses I bet he is not a nice fellow or he would not be out with that blonde thing. I bet he is a gangster and I am ashamed of you for letting him insult me Joe Turp.

I ses well Ethel lets look at the picture awhile and maybe you will get over your sizzle and she ses I only wish I was a man and somebody told me to shut up especially if they was with a blonde thing like that who talked about the size of my mouth. I ses well you talked about the size of her feet Ethel and then people around us commenced going shush shush so we set there and nobody ses anything more.

When the picture was over the young fellow and the blonde started out the same time we did and Ethel and the blonde gave each other some mean looks going up the aisle. Then when we got outside the theatre Ethel ses well Joe I think the least thing you can do is to make that fellow apologize for telling me to shut up and the blonde heard her and ses yes and I have been telling my husband he ought to make you people apologize for insulting me in the theatre about my feet.

I ses wait a minute lady. I ses what do you mean you people? I ses you only had an argument with my wife here and the blonde ses is that your wife? I ses yes she is and the blonde ses hum. Ethel ses what is that hum for? The young fellow ses why dont you hire a hall? I ses see here Mack are you looking for trouble? He ses well I am not running from any and I ses suppose you and me step around into this parking lot here and see what happens.

He ses with pleasure so we went into the parking lot next door to the theatre and around in back of some cars leaving my Ethel and his wife in front of the theatre and when we got out of sight of them the young fellow ses now look Mack what is the sense of you and me fighting each other just because a couple of dames have an argument about nothing? I ses maybe you are right Mack. I ses to tell you the truth I do not feel so good because I ate too much thanksgiving dinner.

He ses thats funny Mack. I do not feel so good myself and beside I have on a new suit of clothes. What about you and me slipping over to that bar there and having a couple of beers? I ses all right Mack but dont let them see us go because they think we are back here murdering each other.

So we went over to the bar and had the beers and he turned out to be a right nice young fellow by the name of McCormick and he knew a couple of fellows I used to run with over around Clinton Street and he ses he had been married two years to the blonde and her name was Carrie and that she was all right but very touchy about the thing Ethel had accidentally happened to speak of which was the size of her feet.

Finally we went back through the parking lot to where we had left Ethel and his wife and they was standing there far apart waiting and McCormick and me was both looking fierce and trying to act like we had been in a terrible fight and one thing helped us we was breathing hard from having to hurry in downing our beers.

I ses come on Ethel I guess that guy will not insult anybody again soon and when we was on the way home she ses did you give him a good beating Joe? I ses I half killed him. She ses he did not look like he was half killed and I ses well Ethel he may not have looked it but you can bet he felt it and she ses thanks Joe for taking my part like a man. Did you knock him down? I ses I knocked him down four times and she ses that was swell Joe.

When we got home and put on the lights in the living room she ses turn around Joe I want to see your back. So I turned around and she ses thats funny. I ses whats funny? She ses thats the first time you was ever in a fight that you did not get the back of your clothes dirty. I ses look Ethel I know what you mean by that crack. I ses you mean I am always getting flattened. I ses well you should see that other guys back tonight.

She ses I did Joe. I saw it when he turned to go with that blonde thing. I ses you did? She ses yes I did. I ses well good night Ethel She ses good night Joe.