Sunday, June 23, 2019

You Bet Your Life by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Mysterious Press 1978)

Chico and Harpo were playing gin rummy, smacking the cardboard rectangles on the table. Chico beamed through the game, uttering uhs and delighted ahs while we waited for a phone call.

Groucho lay on the bed reading the newspaper. He looked at me and shook his head.

“We’re an anachronism, a relic of the past, a clown for people who’ve never been to the circus, a dialect comic for people who don’t remember vaudeville, a fast-talking, baggy-pants comic with a leer for those who were afraid to go to burlesque. We’re a trio of dinosaurs, an endangered species lying around a hotel in Chicago waiting for someone to come through the door and shoot us.”

“No one’s going to shoot you, Grouch,” Chico said, without looking up from his cards. “They’re going to shoot me.”

“That’s consoling. If I’m lucky, and they don’t miss, all I’ll lose is my brother instead of my life. I may be tired of playing that character in our movies, but I’m not tired of playing.” He raised his eyebrows suggestively.

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