“Let Me Explain”

Damon Runyon


February 3.

DEAR SIR the other night when my wife Ethel and me got home from the movies she ses Joe do you know why people in the pictures are always in so much trouble? I ses no why? She ses it is because they never give each other a chance to explain things.

I ses Ethel what are you getting at and she ses well you take that picture tonight. The girl in the picture thought the fellow was somebody else and every time he ses to her let me explain she ses no get out. Do you remember that Joe?

I ses well I guess I remember something about it Ethel and she ses well it was early in the picture and that is what got them in all their trouble. If she had stood there and listened to him explain like a lady should they would have had no trouble at all and they could have gone ahead and got married without going through all the rest of the picture.

I ses look Ethel if they had done that there would not have been much of a picture left and Ethel said no and it would have been just as well. It would have saved a lot of people the bother of setting there until the finish. I knew how it was going to turn out as soon as she would not let him explain who he was and so did everybody else in the theatre.

I ses well Ethel in that case I do not see why you set there and made me set there too and she ses why Joe we had paid our money to see the picture and it would have been wasting eighty cents not to set through the whole picture. Anyway Joe I did not hear you suggesting that we get up and go before the finish.

I ses well Ethel to tell the truth I was not paying much attention to the picture after I heard the fellow say to the girl everything will be all right. I ses I saw right away it was just one of those pictures and I stopped paying attention there. I ses I never pay attention to those everything will be all right pictures. I ses I want my pictures to have everything all wrong.

Ethel says well Joe I think they waste a lot of time and money on pictures by not letting somebody explain to somebody at once. Sometimes it is the fellow who takes the girl to be somebody else and when she ses let me explain he never stops to listen to her until the picture is about over. Sometimes he takes her to be a servant when she is really a millionaire heiress and sometimes he takes her to be a thief when she is really honest but when she ses let me explain he pushes her aside.

I ses listen here Ethel I have seen all those pictures myself and you need not tell me about them again and she ses well Joe all I am trying to do is to show you what gets those people in trouble in the pictures. Sometimes the girl catches the fellow with his arms around another girl but all he is doing is fixing the other girl’s necklace or maybe she is really his sister that no one knows about and when he sees the first girl is mad he ses let me explain and she goes off with her nose in the air and that starts the trouble.

I ses what trouble and she ses Joe Turp you are not listening to me. I mean the trouble between the girl and the fellow that lasts all through the rest of the picture. I ses well I guess they have got to have something for the picture to go along on and Ethel ses yes but Joe you always claim the movies are life. Do you think it is life for people to keep saying let me explain and nobody giving them a word in edgeways?

I ses well Ethel it is life for a girl to be mad if she catches a fellow with his arms around another girl no matter what he has them around her for and most girls will not listen no matter how much a fellow ses let me explain. I ses if you caught me with my arms around another girl and I ses let me explain would you wait for me to explain?

Ethel ses O that is different. I might be mad for a minute but then I would say set down Joe and explain and if you could prove that you was only fixing her necklace or that she was your sister it would be all right with me. I would not carry on the rest of the evening like those people in the pictures. I could just scream the minute somebody in a picture ses I can explain and then they do not let them explain until an hour or so later when they have to do it to make the picture come out all right. Joe I am never going to see another I can explain picture as long as I live.

I ses well Ethel I am never going to see another everything will be all right picture either, so between us both it looks as if we might as well stay away from the movies for a while and Ethel ses that suits me but an hour later she ses listen Joe what other girl would you have your arms around if you had your arms around another girl? I ses Ethel baby let me explain that my arms do not fit any other girl but you and she ses well Joe everything is all right.