“Lady and gentleman of the literary press, it is my great pleasure to announce I’ve finally agreed to write my memoirs.”
(I beam while waiting for the opulent applause to die down).
“Heaven knows it wasn’t my idea to do this. No sir. Not by a very long shot. Truth is, I simply feel duty bound to placate my dozen of adoring fans—and the entire literati gang down at Dooley’s Suds and Laundorama—who have been hounding me to write my life story lo these many years. “Shut up with your endless stories, yutz,” they kid, “go someplace else and write ‘em down.” Yutz being the Algonquin word for big noble wind. Well, lady and gentleman, I’ve finally taken the hint and I’m . . .
“Hey, windy boy, don’t bother puttin’ me in your memo-ire—unless you’re plannin’ to put Edie in, too. A story without sweet Edie is sure to tank titanic, so I won’t want to be in it. It’s all right if you want to throw scruffy ol’ Yellow Man in, though. I don’t care if he tanks. I’m getting low on cat food anyhow.”
Excuse me for a moment, lady and gentle . . .hey, where’d the gentleman go? Never mind. It seems Sherwood, one of my fictional characters doesn’t quite understand the personal nature of a ‘memo-ire’.
“Sherwood, you go away this instant. I’m working here! A memoir is the author’s own personal story, you see? No characters required . . . nor tolerated.”
“You mean Mickey Mouse doesn’t appear in Walt Disney’s memo-ire?”
“Every rule has its one or two exceptions, Sher. I, on the other hand, have led a full and productive life completely devoid of character . . . uh, characters . . . I mean, apartfrom my meddlesome creations. My real life is ten times more interesting than my lies . . . fictions.”
“A book with no characters, huh? Does the United Union of Characters know about this?”
“There is no characters’ union, Sherwood. You must have made that up.”
“Yeah, but you made me up, ergo, you must of made it up, too. You gonna put in your memoir how you were the first to champion characters’ rights by founding our union?”
“I told you, figment, there is no union. But if I had founded such an organization, that’s precisely the kind of thing I would discuss in my book.”
“No union? Then how come Edie an’ me send you union dues every month?”
“Not now, Sherwood, I’m making a very important announcement.”
So sorry for the interruption, folk. Now then, as I was saying, the time has come for me to step out from behind my fictions and finally reveal the real life adventures that inspired me to create such beloved characters as, Private Detective W.W. Peel, legendary black bluesman Bumpus McCoy, and baseball All-Stars Ryan and the Sea Lion. I promise you gritty, gripping, backstage stories ripped right from the pages of journals I have so painstakingly unadulterated since . . .
“Hold on, Sam Spade.”
“Crap! Peel, what are you doing here?”
“Protecting my reputation. You were never a private dick, just a civilian. Without my help, cupcake, you couldn’t solve a twist-off cap.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, Peel. I’ve assisted law enforcement authorities on dozens of investigations.”
“Sure, by confessing.”
“Assistance is assistance, Peel!”
“An’ what you know ‘bout de black blues, whitebread? I ain’t whisper in y’all ear, you soun’ like Peter, Paul and Scary, chump.”
“Et tu, Bumpus?”
“No, I et t’ree. And dey was good, too.”
“And what’s hard cheese, writer man?”
“Aha! I know this one! Hard cheese is a nasty fastball paintin’ the corner, Ryan.”
“And how do you know that, All-Star?”
“Because you told me, Ryan.”
“Damn straight. Did you ever hit one?”
Lady and missing gentleman, rumors concerning my impending memoirs, have been greatly exaggerated. Just like everybody else’s.
This is what I get for giving my conscious names like Bumpus, and Peel, and Sea Lyon.
Author’s Note: Truth is, I’ve played the delta blues with delta bluesmen, I’ve hit Major-League hard cheese, and I’ve confessed to the authorities more than once. But I’ll take modified fiction over embellished memoir eight days a week. I’ve got a feisty conscience, you know? A bunch of them.
♦ Lee Allen Hill is just a leftover hippie with a penchant for word-slinging.
♦ This author's generous contributions help make P&S possible.