I don't think she's sending me the tickets. Why not, was it something I said? You be the judge.
I called a local theater for tickets for the little woman and me for an upcoming live play. This is the phone conversation of a few minutes ago, as best I can remember it:
"Royal Theater. Jennifer Dullock speaking. May I help you?"
"Yes, Miss Jennifer, I'd like two senior-citizens tickets for the 2:00 play of two Saturdays from today."
"Yes, sir, that's two for January 10 for 'Sex, Lies, and the I.R.S.'"
"'Sex, Lies, and the I.R.S.'? I thought the play is 'Sex, Lies, and Videotape.'"
"No, sir, you're thinking of the old movie by that name. Our play is a new comedy, 'Sex, Lies, and the I.R.S.' It's suitable for older teenagers and adults."
"I thought it was a misprint on your brochure. I liked 'Sex, Lies, and Videotape'---I didn't much understand it, but I liked it; the little woman did too; we saw it together. You know, it was filmed in Baton Rouge. I've been there. Have you ever been to Baton Rouge or New Orleans?"
"Er, no, sir. But this play is not that movie; it's a new comedy. So you'd like two tickets for January 10?"
"Yeah, two senior-citizens tickets. I'm an old goat---the little woman doesn't admit to being old. James Spader was in 'Sex, Lies, and Videotape.' I like James Spader; he's cool. He plays now in the television show, 'Boston Legal.' Do you watch 'Boston Legal'?"
"No, sir, I don't. Anyway, that's two senior tickets. Would you like to choose your seats for the play?"
"What? Oh, I don't hear well---I'm an old goat, you know. Maybe we'd better sit in the front where I can hear better."
"That's alright. Let me put you on the second row, seats four and five. How's that?"
"Okay, good ahead."
"There, you're in the computer for the second row. Now, may I have your name?"
"I'm Harvey Gargoyle. You can record the little woman as just Little Woman. Whoa, wait a minute. I have a sharp, new hearing aid. That second row would be too loud for me. How about the balcony instead?"
"Uh, well, I guess so. The balcony has several seats available."
"Yeah, switch us to the balcony, any lower seats."
"Yes, sir. . . . There, I've moved you in the computer to row two, seats seven and eight in the balcony."
"Good. That will be better for the bellowing, anyway."
"My bellowing. I recently contracted mad-cow disease---you know, like James Spader's partner, William Shatner, on 'Boston Legal.' You watch 'Boston Legal,' you said?"
"Er, no sir. What's this about a disease?"
"Mad-cow disease. But not to worry---odds are I won't make any noise at all. But there is a slight chance that I'll bellow out loud just a bit--- you know, like a mad cow. Do you think it would disturb the actors on stage? Maybe it's best that we are in the balcony, right?"
"Mr. Gargle, I, uh . . . Would your noise be very loud, you say?"
"Well, it might be. But maybe I could hold it, and even time it so that I bellow at the same time as the James Spader character shouts at Andie McDowell. You remember that scene in 'Sex, Lies, and Videotape'? That way, my noise would be covered by his---voila."
"No, sir, our play is NOT 'Sex, Lies, and Videotape.' Look, maybe we could put you and your wife on the highest row in the balcony. And we could have an usher nearby to help you if necessary. I don't know what else to do."
"I guess you're right. Okay, do that. I'll just have to remember to take my pills before we leave the house. Maybe the usher too could remind me."
"Right. Well, I've changed you in the computer again to the top row twelve in the balcony. Now how would you like to pay for this?"
"Pay? I don't know. I'm old, as I said, and I have mad-cow disease, and I haven't worked in four years. I don't have any income, and even my former students don't give a blast---they don't send me money or anything."
"Oh, Lord. Mr. Gargle, look, we've been at this for fifteen minutes. I can make the reservation for the balcony, but we would need payment for the tickets."
"But Miss Dullock, as I've said, the little woman and I have already seen 'Sex, Lies, and Videotape.' Why should we have to pay for tickets in the first place for something we've already seen? Can't we just quietly sit up there---crack and eat those New Orleans pecans I got for Christmas, and maybe bellow just once or twice, nothing more? Have you been to New Orleans?"
[Long pause . . . ] "Mr. Gargle, are you going to buy the tickets or not?"
"Say, if I tumble down the steps of the balcony with my cane---but without bellowing---would that too disturb the actors?"
[I'm sending Miss Dullock one of my few remaining "Take Care of the Old Gargoyle" t-shirts.]