The Crawleys

Damon Runyon

DEAR SIR the other evening when I was on my way home from work I ran into an old neighbor by the name of Crawley who I have known ever since I was a kid and I ses hello Mister Crawley but he looked right at me and did not hello me back so I got in front of him and stopped him and ses hay Mister Crawley whats wrong with you? I ses don’t you know Joe Turp? He ses I know you all right but I don’t want to have anything to do with you or anybody related to you especially by marriage so please don’t ever speak to me again.

So when I got home I told my wife Ethel what had happened and asked her what she thought had got into the old codger and Ethel ses O I guess its about his wife Joe. A very strange thing happened to her and Mister Crawley is blaming my Moms because my Moms gave Missus Crawley a piece of good advice and he found out about it. I guess Missus Crawley told him Joe. My Moms ses she never could keep anything to herself. I ses well Ethel it must have been something serious for him to pass me up the way he did, I ses what was the advice anyway?

Ethel ses well Joe Missus Crawley has worked herself to a bone for her husband ever since they were married and that is 35 years. There never was a day in her life that she did not do the cooking for him and the cleaning up after him and she never had a vacation of as much as 24 hours in all that time although old Mister Crawley is as rich as mud. She was really worn down to nothing Joe.

I ses how do you know so much about her Ethel? She ses my Moms told me. My Moms and Missus Crawley went to school together when they were girls and my Moms ses Missus Crawley was really pretty once. So about a month ago Missus Crawley was telling my Moms about how tired she was and how she would give anything in this world for a little rest and that was when my Moms gave her the piece of advice. My Moms told her she should get something the matter with her back and go to bed and stay there until she got all rested up. My Moms told her that if you say there is something the matter with your back nobody can tell whether there is or not even a doctor.

I ses wait a minute Ethel. I ses do you mean to tell me your Moms told Missus Crawley to pretend there was something the matter with her back when there wasn’t? Ethel ses thats right Joe. So Missus Crawley took my Moms advice and got something the matter with her back and old Mister Crawley was terribly upset about it because there was nobody to get his breakfast for the first time in 35 years and he had to bring Doctor Satch in to look at Missus Crawley every day and it cost him money. You know Mister Crawley is very stingy Joe.

I ses well what happened then Ethel? She ses why Missus Crawley got such a fine rest that she really enjoyed staying in bed and she was there until a couple of days ago and got up feeling fine but I guess she could not keep the secret Joe because old Mister Crawley was around to my Moms house ranting and raving like a crazy fellow at her for putting him to all that expense with her advice and making him uncomfortable for nearly a month. Then when he went back home what do you suppose had happened Joe?

I ses I give it up Ethel. I ses I am thinking maybe he was right for being hot at your Moms. Ethel ses yes but don’t you want to know what happened? I ses yes I suppose so and she ses well when he got back home he found Missus Crawley had been so happy and excited about her nice rest and felt so good that she started to dance a little jig and slipped on the floor and sprained her right ankle very bad so she is now in bed again and there is really something the matter with her and that is why Mister Crawley is mad at all of us especially my Moms though I don’t see how he could blame her for his wifes sprained ankle Joe.

I ses Ethel I think he has got some right to be mad and she ses well he is certainly mad all right but he isn’t any madder than my Pops Joe. My Pops heard about the advice my Moms give Missus Crawley and now he isn’t speaking to my Moms because he ses he can figure out a couple of hundred times since they were married that she went to bed with something the matter with her back and he had to get his own breakfast.

Yours truly