Remember when there were stone-cold foxes in the front row?
“Uh, actually, the front row has always looked like this. Just, you know: younger.”
This looks like a fire hazard.
“It’s perfectly safe. Just as long as there’s no fire.”
Did you see Putin’s corpse?
His corpse. When he drowned, did you fish him out of the canal and make sure he was dead?
“No, it was time for the second set.”
“Elvis killed him. Don’t worry about it.”
“You should vorry. Putin alive.”
“Putin name them Kodo and Podo.”
Don’t name them that.
“Putin is Beastmaster now.”
You are not the Beastmaster! Marc Singer is the Beastmaster! I was on a plane with him once.
“How he look?”
Great. Real tall. No carry-on, just had a copy of Shakespeare’s sonnets in his hand.
I’ve been trying to figure it out for years.
“This is vild story. Now I vill get revenge on Elvis America.”
Aren’t you a little busy getting your revenge on the actual America?
“Putin kicking your ass.”
Y’know? In an entirely “don’t hate the player, hate the game” kind of way: I salute you, you murderous fuck. You are killing 2017.
“Putin having good year.”
Sure. But here’s the thing: can’t you have a good year without everyone else having a bad year?”
“Nyet. How could Putin be happy if vorld is not suffer?”
“Except for Kodo and Podo. They vill never suffer. Be avarded Order of Lenin. Give them pension, dacha by Black Sea.”
Great. Could you play with your dolphins for a second?
“They vork their blowholes to the bone for Mother Russia.”
Sure. Gimme a sec.
“Whaaaat? Jesus, you’re a pest.”
I just talked to him.
“At the bar showing people his award.”
Why does he have an award?
“AH WON TRIVIA NIGHT!”
Great. Elvis, listen–”
“DON’T YOU NEVER TELL TH’ KING T’ LISTEN! AH LISTEN T’ JESUS AN’ MAH HEART. THASS IT, MAN.”
“BOY, YOU GONNA LEMME TELL MAH STORY OF VICTORY AN’ MANLINESS NOW.”
“PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THIS ‘BOUT TH’ KING, BUT AH AM A TRIVIA BUFF. AH WAS GONNA BE ON JEOPARDY, BUT THEY WAS ONLY GONNA SHOOT ME FROM TH’ WAIST UP.”
Is that a joke?
“IT WAS, MAN. GOOD EYE. DAMN, ISS NICE HANGIN’ OUT WITH FOLKS WHAT AIN’T TH’ MEMPHIS MAFIA. DUMBER ‘N A COUCH IN A SWIMMIN’ POOL. LOOKIT MAH AWARD AGAIN!”
“MAN, TH’ STARS LINED UP F’R ME! ALL TH’ CATEGORIES WAS VERY FAMILIAR TO MAHSELF.”
“SPRITUALITY AN’ TH’ BROTHERHOOD O’ MAN.”
“TH’ FANCIEST O’ JEW’RY.”
That was the name of the category?
“DON’T QUESTION MAH MEMORY, BOY.”
Okay. Excuse me one second.
“YOU ARE EXCUSED.”
Did you rig Trivia Night so Elvis could win?
“Seemed like the nice thing to do.”
Is that one of your gold records?
“I don’t know whose it is. Might be mine. One of the busboys found it in the walk-in.”
That was nice of you, Phil. Elvis loves being presented with shiny things.
“Yeah, sure. Honestly, I just wanted to distract him for a couple minutes. Son of a bitch has gone through nine entrees already. Then he wanted a grilled cheese sandwich.”
I would imagine you could whip that up for him.
“Not his version. A deep-fried wheel of cheese with bagels stapled to it.”
“Can’t eat that way for long. No idea how he’s still alive.”
He’s not, Phil.
“You know what I mean.”
Sort of, but not really.
“Hey, is Putin still outsi–”
“The bocce courts!”
Putin! Goddammit, did you blow up the bocce courts?
I don’t believe you.
The pistol you’re holding, for one.
“Putin love Second Amendment.”
You don’t have any amendments.
“Putin have all the amendments.
Why won’t you leave Terrapin Crossroads alone, Putin?
“Hitting metaphor on head a little hard.”
“Putin invade playground next. Then take gazebo. No more storytime with Phil Grateful.”
“DAMN YOU F’R RUININ’ TRIVIA NIGHT, COMMIE!”
“Finally. Elvis America vill fight Putin man to man.”
“MAN T’ MAN? NAH. KING T’ FINK. YER A FINK, MAN.”
“Putin does not understand ‘fink.'”
“LOOK IN TH’ MIRROR, MAN. ALL SHALL BE REVEALED.”
“Is shame readers can nyet have our fight described to them.”
“I TOL’ HIM ALREADY, MAN. ISS AN INNERESTIN’ CONCEIT, BUT IT LIMITS YER STORYTELLIN’ POSSIBILITIES.”
“Da. But makes reader use imagination. Like radio play.”
“DON’T BE STANDIN’ UP F’R HIM! ISS JUS’ PURE LAZINESS!”
“Ve are too evenly matched. Perhaps ve should join forces and rule Americ–”
You blowdart him again?
“NAH, MAN. AH WAS PREPARED T’ DIE BY MAH KARATE.”
Did you blowdart Putin?
Okay. So, who did?
“You never saw me.”
Yes, sir. Where’d you learn how to use a blowdart?