Here's an extended excerpt from "WEDDING BELLS FOR BRETT" in which our suave and sophisticated "unscrupulous bastard" steps out of character in order to make a good impression on the parents of his bride-to-be, when the four of them go out dining in a moderately classy restaurant:
One particularly precarious moment took place sometime between dinner and dessert, when Old Man Trank leaned forward a little bit in his seat, tucked in his paunch, and said to me,
“So, what is it that you do for a living, Brett?”
I idly extracted a toothpick from a little bowl in the center of the table and fiddled around with it while I thought of something that might impress the pants off him, but the pressure started building when the guy leaned in a little further and started looking worried, so I threw all caution to the winds and said,
“What I do – That is, what I am is – what you’d call a – an entre. . .entre. . .”
“Entrepreneur,” Pamela put in, trying to act as nonchalant as possible, and I gave her a broad smile for only an instant, then turned back to her parents and said in an apologetic manner,
“Yeah, that’s what I am. What Pam said. You see, I happen to be one hundred per cent American through and through, so I sometimes have trouble with them words of Swedish origin.”
Fortunately, before that particular topic of conversation got any further, our friendly waitress brought us our coffee and dessert, and later on, when that was all over, – and it nearly killed me to do it! – I shook my head when dear old daddy offered me an after-dinner cigarette from the pack of Marlboros he then extended in my direction.
“I gave it up ages ago,” I explained,” when my Aunt Tillie developed lung cancer and had a stroke and they had to eutha. . .eutha. . .”
“Euthanize her?” Pamela said weakly.
“That’s it exactly,” I agreed with another fake-smile, “although, in principle, I’m against that sort of thing. That is, I don’t believe that it’s up to mankind to decide when a human life should end – not under any circumstances at all.”
“So, you’d be against capital punishment then?” Mrs. Trank wanted to know.
“Yes, but only if the little tadpole’s behavior has been totally out-of-control,” I replied.
“I see,” the woman said, sounding extremely puzzled for no reason that I could fathom, and she looked over rather questioningly at her husband who, luckily for me, hadn’t been paying attention on account of he was too busy checking out the bum of one of the waitresses who’d just walked by.
“So, you don’t smoke,” the woman pursued after a moment or two,” which is commendable, I think. But do you occasionally have a glass of wine with your dinner perhaps, or do you abstain altogether?”
“Uh – that’s a tough one,” I said with a little half-smile.
“So, you consider yourself a teetotaler?”
“No, my dad was, but I happen to be a staunch Presbyterian, to be totally honest with you,” I told her brightly, which – for some odd reason – seemed to cause all three Tranks to suddenly fall silent. I mean, I thought it was pretty obvious that I was just yanking her chimes, especially when I went on to say that, in my own humble opinion, it wasn’t kosher for anyone to subscribe to any one religion in particular, seeing as the Unknown was – to put it bluntly – unknown, which is why it was called the Unknown, right? “ I don’t know, that’s just the way I am, I guess,” I ended up saying, coming really close, however, to finishing off my sentence by saying,” – and if anyone feels like taking issue with my religious convictions, then I’ll bust their heads wide open, O.K.?”
So! Were Mr. and Mrs. Trank fooled into thinking good old Brett was the genuine article?
A resounding YES ! ! ! --
But only, that is, in the bizarre world of BRETT CORNELL !!!
Thanks for reading this!