Thursday, February 07, 2008

You never know when you'll stumble into a gun show.

{Photo by santheo from the 2005 Polar Bear Swim at North Avenue Beach, Chicago. Used under a Creative Commons license.}

From Dawn Powell's The Wicked Pavilion (1954)
[H]e went on his way down the stairs to the men's room.
He was slightly bewildered to find there a tall bushy-browed beagle-nosed man, coatless in a fancy mauve shirt and scarlet suspenders, his pinstriped gray jacket dangling from the doorknob, solemnly flexing his right arm with a regular rhythm before the mirror.

"Feel those muscles," commanded this gentleman, without taking his eye from the mirror, apparently not at all perturbed by an audience.

"Like iron," said Dalzell obediently.

"Of course they're like iron, because I keep them that way. Golf. Tennis. Sixty years old. I just put my arm through the door. Take a look at the other side. Right through. Wanted to see if I could still do it."

"You must be a professional athlete," Dalzell said, properly awed by the jagged hole in the door.

"Think so?" beamed the man. "Believe it or not, I'm in the advertising business."


"I'm telling you. Here's my card. Hastings Hardy of Hardy, Long, and Love. I just don't let myself get soft, that's all."
Ah, but brains can be of value sometimes, too--or at least the appearance of brains:
"You look to me like a mighty intelligent fellow," he said. "I like a man who looks intelligent. What do you do?"

The beard again, Dalzell thought.
But that's all the time I can spend blogging tonight--being beardless, what choice do I have but to spend the hours between now and bedtime engaged in push-ups and shadow-boxing and a serious workout with the old medicine ball?


  1. Hardy, Long, and Love. I just don't let myself get soft, that's all.

    One of the best and subtlest double entendres I've read in a while. I am definitely due for some Dawn Powell rereading.