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Monday, February 6, 2012
I Yam What I Yam - An excerpt from "The Inevitable Downhill Slope"
Jerry lived on a boat with his wife and young daughter. Granted, it was a big fucking boat—Jerry often used a line he filched from Buster Keaton when describing his vessel—It took a lot of pratfalls, my friend, to buy this fucking canoe. It wasn’t a direct quote and Jerry never attributed it to the silent film comic, but who remembered that old son of a bitch, anyhow, he thought. I’m fat, he thought to himself, watching a small skiff tip precariously in the bay as it attempted to get back to shore in the storm. “Jerry Lewis should not be fat—Dean never got fat, the son of a bitch…” His dentures rattled around his gums and his mouth pitched and yawed as if it were also being tossed about the stormy waters. It often appeared as if Jerry were sucking a lozenge or chewing a phantom piece of bubblegum as he spoke and his hands constantly twitched and fidgeted as if manipulated by some unseen puppet master. Now that he was fat, these traits were even more disconcerting.
He fiddled with his pinky ring, trying in vain to twist it on his sausage finger, and realized he had not had feeling in the pinky since 1977. “Butter—I should have used some fucking butter. Before I got so fucking fat…” He hated his fucking wife. It had seemed like a good idea to marry her in 1978, but for Christ’s sake, it was two thousand and fucking four and she wasn’t aging all that well. “I’m Jerry Fucking Lewis, Goddamnit,” he muttered. The dentures clacked like a train on a wood bridge and again with the fucking glasses sliding. He raised a puffy hand, tore the glasses from his face and hurled them against the wall of the cabin, which—like everything else he owned—was emblazoned with the caricature Hirschfield had rendered of him in 1954. There was one of Dean as well, and way back then the two were used together. Jerry’s lower and to the right of Dean’s Dago mug. It wasn’t as if Jerry even vaguely resembled the pencil-thin drawing now, with the beak of a nose and the protruding Adam’s apple—but Jerry insisted pasting his face on everything from coffee mugs to bathrobes. And he didn’t care if his fucking wife liked
it or not. Fuck that old bitch, he thought. I’ll get rid of her, too—just
like Patti. He had been married to his first wife for thirty years and broomed her ass with five or six kids—whatever the fuck, this broad had better not think he wouldn’t do the same to her after twenty five and one snotty-nosed, spoiled little bitch of a demon-child. So what if she had stuck with him through the downside of his career, sat by his side through the pills and the whole heart thing. And now the fat thing. Fuck her—I’m Jerry Fucking Lewis.
Jerry had decided he would kill the gold-digger and her spawn. Kill them both and feed them to the fucking sharks. Chum, he chuckled, nearly losing his uppers. He just couldn’t decide on how to do it. Then he would be free to chase some younger puss. His doctors had warned him that sex could be dangerous in his condition. Fat, Jerry thought. Fat with steroids, with a bad ticker and two murders under my belt.
“Who gives a shit,” he said to the portal of the yacht, outside of which
he watched the spectacle of the skiff on its side, its occupants flailing
hopelessly at the water, one by one sinking for good below the choppy surface. If he had to go, he would rather go humping some young cooz than letting himself go to hell like Dean. He still resented Dean Martin, even more so now that he was fat. But no matter now.
He pulled a pistol out of his desk drawer and tried to twirl it like a gunslinger, only succeeding in twisting and pinching the flesh of his finger. “Fucker,” he yelped, dropping the gun and losing his lowers, both of which rattled on the deck of the office before disappeared under the heavy cherry wood desk. Jerry grunted and bent over to fetch his teeth just as a wave heaved his boat against the dock. Jerry fell to the deck and shit his pants, the offage sounding like a calf’s bleat. Jerry slid across the floor, helpless to stop the movement and smashed against the wall next to his glasses. “Shit!”
The yacht pitched against the storm and Jerry was tossed back and forth across the deck. His head smacked into the leg of the great immobile desk and Jerry saw stars. His last thought as he passed out and rolled across the deck once again was I fucked Gina Lollabrigida…