by Jake Barnes

I stomped up the steps clearing my shoes of snow. I was wearing my Rooskie fur hat with the ear flaps, and I kept it on when I went inside.


Frank and Mary were sitting before the fire playing cribbage on a marble table top. I could tell that Frank was losing; he was practically snarling. Mary had the tiniest of smiles on her face.


Doc Wild was leaning on the piano. Ray was playing. The good doctor was chatting up a young lady I didn't know. I noticed that he was still wearing a rope around his waist instead of a belt. He did so to protest his meager salary at the hospital.


Doctor Wild was an M.D. and inventor. He was working on a device to detect breast cancer in women. Lloyd who had worked for him as a lab assistant at one time said that it was no surprise that the ungainly machine had something to do with tits.


A priest was at the party. I didn't know him; I had never seen him before. I sat down and talked with him for awhile. I asked him if he really believed in God. He laughed and told me a story about a priest who died and went to Heaven. When he got there he opened his eyes and said, “My God, it really is true!”


Harpo and his wife were there. They were sitting on a couch drinking beer. I sat down next to Sally. The piano player's wife came up behind us, and I ran my hand up her leg. She leaned over and whispered in my ear. “Wasn't it nice of me not to wear panties?” she said.