Hood Throws a Party, pg.2
"Terribly sorry. Will you excuse me? I'll be right back." When
he does come back, he's grinning from ear to ear. He draws a hand over
his face to wipe off the grin, and tries, with meager success, to look
penitent. "That was Bud Ernst. He always has this effect on me. Peculiar
sense of humor. Can't expect you to appreciate the joke, being
kept waiting like this. But see here. Maybe I can make up by telling about the birthday party he gave me." He looks hopeful. "Maybe you could sort of stretch it out, and presto, there's your story!
"Well, I was here all alone. Lili was abroad.Bud called up one morning and said he was giving me a birthday party that night. Up to that moment I'd forgotten that it was my birthday, had been
|perfectly happy in my ignorance. After he called, I began waxing sentimental, lonely, neglected orphan and all that sort of thing, one true pal in the world, who remembered my birthday. By the time we went out to dinner, I was in a fine glow. Presently, as we sat there, six telegraph boys marched in, the glummest looking sourpusses you ever set eyes on. He must have hand-picked them for hyperacidity or something. They surrounded me,serenaded me with 'Happy Burthday to you' and marched out again, never having|
a muscle. I began to wonder. Then in came a magnificent birthday cake,
'Happy Birthday' across the top and all the rest of it. I was so touched
I could hardly talk.
"'D'you like it?' Bud asked.
"'I love it,' I told him, almost choking with emotion.
"'That's fine,' said Ernst, and called the waiter. 'Take it away. That's for Frank Morgan's birthday tomorrow. I just rented it.'" And Flynn throws back his head and roars with laughter.
Sheffield puts in a third appearance at the door. "The guests have arrived, Mr. Flynn," he announces.
You have only time to throw him a look of dismay.
"I thought we'd be through by now," he
apologizes. "Stick around. Maybe you can get the story between takes.
A short, thick-set man, with a genial face, stands beside Sheffield and makes a low comedy bow. Enter Flynn's Musclemen, otherwise known as the "Body Beautifuls." From the house into the garden, they emerge by twos and threes until there are twenty-five in all, groups of bearded men, fresh from the day's work, in high good humor at the prospect of entertainment. All day they've been wrestling, sparring, learning how to handle swords, cudgels, bows and arrows, in preparation for their jobs as Robin Hood's merry men.
worked with him in "Captain Blood," Flynn knows. Others he's
meeting for the first time.
Sailor, doing the honors for the boys, confides in you the origin of the party. "We was sittin' talkin' the other day. And Errol says, 'Sailor,' he says, 'I'd like to get acquainted with the boys. I don't know most of 'em. Bring 'em over to the house, and we'll start 'em off with a headache,' he says. So when we got through work today, we took a bath and here we are.
"Some stars throw you a party when the picture's over. Errol, he's the only one who throws it first. He doesn't want to be no star. And again, he don't do it to be a good fella, see what I mean? He don't go 'round slappin' people on the back, and then when they leave, call 'em bums. He does it because he likes to be friends with the boys and have fun. He likes to laugh. Damn if I ever see such a guy for laughin'."
"What's he blathering about?" inquires Flynn, coming up behind us. "Did he tell you he was champion boxer of the Navy? Did he tell you he's been fired more times than he's been on his back in the ring?"
"Errol," stage-whispers Sailor, "what about them carrots?" Errol wheels and disappears into the house. A few minutes later a procession issues forth. Sheffield and a Japanese boy bear laden trays. Behind them stalks Flynn, a lordly salver poised on the fingers of his right hand, on the salver are two carrots. Left hand at his hip, he changes his rhythm and swings, a la Salome, toward one of his guests. Dropping his head demurely, he presents the carrots.
"Thanks, slave," says the guest, picks up the carrots and starts crunching.
"Gentlemen," calls Flynn. "Three cheers for the company horse!"
"He ain't no horse," Sailor whispers kindly in the midst of the uproar. "Only a vegetarian." continue
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|| Article 3 "Madcap Love" ||
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