Tarzan's Tripes Forever, and Other Feghoots

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The Bookmaker

Category: Rated PG, Shaggy Dogs, Shaggydog listserv

Stan Kegel posted this on the shaggy dog listserv.


There is a story about a certain bookmaker who was making a long trip by car when towards nightfall he happened upon an inn which had a most unusual name, The Even Steven.

Since it was located in the middle of a desolate stretch of country, and he didn’t know how much farther the next place would be, he decided to stop there for the night, He registered his occupation as a bookmaker, and decided to satisfy his curiosity about the name at the same time.

“It’s very simple, really,” the proprietor explained. “You see, my name is Steven Even. So I just decided to turn it around and call this The Even Steven. I thought if might get a few folks puzzled enough to stop and ask questions, and sometimes it does.”

“That’s a pretty smart way to use the luck of a name,” said the bookie, appreciatively. “I bet it brings you a lot of business.”

“It hasn’t brought me so much luck,” he said. “The folks who stop here don’t stay long. There’s not much gaiety around here, as you could see. In fact, there’s not another soul lives closer than thirty miles away, whichever way you go.”

“Makes it pretty lonely for me, a widower. And worse still for my daughters. Three of the loveliest girls you ever set eyes on, should have their pick of boy friends. But, they are getting so frustrated they’re about to do anything for a man.”

The bookie made sympathetic noises, and listened to more in the same vein until hunger obliged him to change the subject to that of food.

An excellent home-cooked dinner was served to him by a gorgeous blonde who introduced herself as Blanche Even, and when he was finished she still kept pressing him to ask for anything else he wanted. Finally, she said, “Would you like me to sit and talk to you for a while?”

“Thank you,” he said politely, “but I’ve had a long day and I feel like closing the book.”

He went to his room and had just started to undress when there was a knock at the door and an absolutely breath-taking brunette came in.

“I’m Carmen Even,” she said. “I just wanted to see if you’d got everything you want.”

“I think so, thank you,” he said pleasantly. “I do a lot of traveling, so I pack very systematically.”

When he had finally convinced her and gotten rid of her, he climbed in between the sheets and was preparing to read himself to sleep over the Racing Form when the door opened again to admit an utterly gorgeous redhead in a negligee to end all negligees.

“I’m Ginger Even,” she announced. “I wanted to be sure your bed was comfortable.”

“It is,” he assured her.

“I hope you’re not just being tactful,” she insisted. “May I try it, myself?”

“If you must,” said the bookie primly. “I will get out while you do it.”

When she had gone, he settled down with a sigh of relief and was about to put out the light at last when the door burst open once more and the proprietor himself stomped in, glowing with indignation. “What’s the matter with you,” he roared. “I’ve got to listen all night to my daughters moaning an’ wailing, the most luscious gals in this county, because they all try to show you hospitality an’ you won’t give one of ’em a tumble. Ain’t us Evens good enough for you?”

“I’m sorry,” said the transient. “But I told you when I registered that I’m a professional bookmaker. … I only lay Odds.”

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