Uncle Dan and the Fan Dancers

Damon Runyon


March 25.

DEAR SIR the other night my wife Ethel ses Joe the Worlds Fair is all right now. I ses I did not know it was not all right Ethel and she ses O yes everybody was worried about it because they were afraid they were not going to have any fan dancers. Now they are going to have plenty of fan dancers and some without fans too so the Fair is all right.

I ses well Ethel I am glad of it. She ses do you mean you are glad they are going to have some without fans? I ses certainly not. I ses I mean I am glad that the Fair is all right. She ses so am I Joe. I was worrying myself sick about all the people who are coming to New York from all over the world to see the Worlds Fair and how disappointed they would be if they did not see any fan dancers. It would not be any fun for them.

I ses see here Ethel you have got the wrong idea about the Worlds Fair. I ses it is supposed to be educational to people and to show them what is going on everywhere in the way of progress and Ethel ses O I know that Joe. I read the papers too but my Uncle Dan ses it would be un-American if they did not have fan dancers at the Fair. He ses the people who come here from foreign countries to see the Fair would go home knocking us if there were no fan dancers there.

I ses what does your Uncle Dan know about worlds fairs or fan dancers either Ethel? She ses why Joe he saw the Worlds Fair in Chicago and he knows all about fan dancers because he took me to see one once right here in Brooklyn and got in a lot of trouble about it. I ses you mean he got in trouble for taking you to see the fan dancer Ethel? She ses O no there was no trouble about that. It was something else.

I ses well I never heard of this before and Ethel ses no it was when I was just a little girl Joe. My Uncle Dan took me to a theatre over in Flatbush Avenue that had the movies and a vaudeville show along with it and one of the things on the bill was a lady who was a fan dancer. She was a fat lady Joe.

I ses that kind are no good for fan dancers and Ethel ses O you know about fan dancers too do you? I ses well I have seen some but what about the fat one you are telling me about? Ethel ses well Uncle Dan and I were setting in the front row at the theatre close to the stage and after she had done her fan dance awhile Uncle Dan ses do you like this fan dancer Ethel? I ses no Uncle Dan I think she is very immodest and Uncle Dan ses I think so too. Joe she really was immodest.

I ses well what happened Ethel? She ses you know how my Uncle Dan can shoot little lead shots out of his mouth Joe? I ses I should say I do know. I ses someday he is going to get killed doing that too and Ethel ses yes he almost did that time. He has one of his front teeth filed down and he puts a lot of the little shots in his mouth and he snips them out some way with his tongue one at a time and he can snip them a long ways and very accurate Joe and they feel like mosquitoes biting when they hit somebody. They are the same kind of shots you put in guns to kill things with Joe only of course Uncle Dan does not kill anything.

I ses Ethel I know all about it. I ses I have seen your Uncle Dan drive people half crazy with that business and Ethel ses thats right Joe he had that fan dancer half crazy with the third shot. I ses Ethel you mean he was setting there shooting those shots at the fan dancer? Ethel ses yes and he was hitting her too. Joe my Uncle Dan was wonderful because fan dancers keep swinging their fans around and he had to shoot those shots at just the right time or he would have only hit her fans and that would not have done any good.

I ses well that is a fine thing for you to be setting there watching Ethel and she ses O I was just a little girl Joe. I thought it was very funny. My Uncle Dan kept hitting that fan dancer where she was fat and you never saw anybody so mad in your life Joe. I guess she thought it was something biting her at first but it made her leave the stage before she got through with her fan dance and I was glad. She was really very immodest Joe.

I ses where did the trouble come in? Ethel ses O I laughed so I guess they suspected my Uncle Dan because four big fellows were waiting outside the theatre when we came out and they jumped on Uncle Dan and gave him a terrible beating and the fat fan dancer was with them egging them on only she was in a dress then and did not have her fans Joe. I guess they were friends of hers.

I ses well it served him right Ethel and she ses thats what the judge ses the next morning Joe. They arrested my Uncle Dan and he got fined five dollars on top of the beating but do you know what Joe? I ses no what? She ses my Uncle Dan is practicing with those little shots again and he ses he can hardly wait until the Worlds Fair opens with the fan dancers especially some without fans.

Yours truly