J. Thorne Smith (1892-1934) was the author of “Topper / The Jovial Ghosts,” “Topper Takes a Trip,” “The Night Life of the Gods,” “The Stray Lamb,” “Turnabout,” “The Glorious Pool,” etc.
“The Glorious Pool” was published in 1934.
Public Domain in countries where copyright is Life+70.
Perhaps the best example of Thorne Smith's acutely sharp social humor played out against a backdrop of the Volstead Act (Prohibition). Two unrepentant old reprobates are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the seduction which made the stylish old man named Rex Pebble into an adulterer and his companion, Spray Summers, into his hard-boiled mistress. While their exasperating and highly alcoholic Japanese houseboy, Nokashima, plays ju-jitsu with the English language, the two slip into a swimming pool whose waters have been changed into a fountain of youth. Abandoning their clothes and modesty with their advanced years, the newfound youthfulness of their bodies puts into motion an evening of hijinks that only a seasoned and well-practiced old couple of sinners could manage to imagine.
Rowdy, ribald slapstick comedy, sometimes Politically Incorrect. More of Smith's wonderfully zany Abbott-and-Costello conversations. A fast, fun read.
[A brief interlude at the police station, while Rex Pebble and Spray Summers, with the connivance of a pair of firemen, are taking a hook-and-ladder (fire-truck) for a joy-ride.]
“Hey, Sergeant,” a voice said over the telephone about ten minutes after the Pebble party had taken leave of Charlie and Mr. Gibbs, “a hook and ladder has just driven through my dog house.”
“Eh?” muttered the somnolent policeman. “This isn’t a dog house. It’s worse. This is a police station.”
“I know,” came the patient reply. “This isn’t a dog talking. I’m an owner, and I’m talking for my dog. A hook and ladder has just driven through his house.”
“What’s the dog doing now?” asked the sergeant, realizing something was expected of him.
“Does it matter?” demanded the voice. “But if you must know, the damn fool is sitting on the boards, and they’re all full of nails.”
“Why don’t you whistle?” suggested the sergeant.
“Why should I whistle?” asked the voice. “I don’t feel like whistling.”
“I mean,” said the officer heavily, “why don’t you whistle to the dog?”
“Oh,” replied the voice, “I see. Wait a moment.” A shrill noise offended the sergeant’s ears. “He won’t come,” the voice resumed in tones of discouragement. “Not a budge out of him. He looks sore as hell.”
“He’ll budge all right,” said the officer, knowledgeably, “if he sits on one of those nails.”
“Say, officer,” continued the voice, “let’s waive the dog for a moment.”
“Don’t see what good that’s going to do,” grumbled the sergeant. “It certainly won’t help the dog any to go waving him about. He’d hate it more than sitting on a nail.”
“I don’t mean to wave the dog like a flag,” protested the voice. “I mean, let’s drop the dog.”
“If you want to drop your dog,” said the sergeant impatiently, “go right ahead and do it, but damn me if I’m going to help you.”
“I don’t want you to help me drop my dog,” said the voice wearily. “I don’t want you to do anything. Just hang up quietly and try to forget the whole unpleasant incident. Good-night!”
A vicious banging of the telephone on the other end of the line emphasized to the sergeant the speaker’s desire to have nothing more to do with him.
Formatted punctuation (curly quotes, emdashes). Chapter headings cross-linked to/from inline ToC. Drop-caps and Large-caps versions.
No scan of the original available for comparison, I hope you will report errors.
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