Tippi Barstool

 
 
EVERBOLD Press
  • 1. Auflage
  • |
  • erschienen am 28. Juni 2018
  • |
  • 210 Seiten
 
E-Book | ePUB mit Adobe DRM | Systemvoraussetzungen
978-0-9851571-5-9 (ISBN)
 
Spunky Prohibition-era Broadway showgirl forms complex relationship with fellow code-savant/dancer in this sweet, quirky romantic adventure
  • Englisch
  • 0,43 MB
978-0-9851571-5-9 (9780985157159)
1 Things Get Goin' Let's get this straight, right off the bat. Even though I'm a flapper and it's 1926 when it's all the rage to guzzle giggle water in smoky hush-hush juice joints in the wee hours, and the tag my folks stuck me with is Tippi Barstool (not Tipsy, thank you very much), even so, like Einstein will say on the boat over in a few years when they ask him how he feels about Prohibition, "It doesn't matter to me-I don't drink." And it's a well-established fact that Einstein ain't no sap. For the record, my pop Wiggly Barstool, and my grandpa Wobbly Barstool don't drink either, as if it's anybody's business. I'll level with you; I live pretty clean. Ciggies? Late-night whoopee? Not so good. I'm a chorus girl on Broadway, see, and I gotta stay in shape. No meat, milk, cheese, or eggs neither. I don't eat nothin' with nerves, and I don't need nobody slavin' for me, squirtin' out stuff that's supposed to be for their babies. ECCH! Not to say I'm any Mrs. Grundy; I'm a live wire alright, but I got my standards. I better clue you in that I hail from Flatbush, which means, so I'm told, that my accent is sort of a nasally mixture combining in equal measure the musical whimsicality of Brooklyn with the rough-and-tumble realism of the Bronx. I wish I could get it across how I sound, 'cause I'm proud of it and fond of the folks 'round here. However, if I was to try to all out write like I talk, I mean phonetically speakin', it might go like this: Noospaypah in hend, 'e woawk'd aloawng da seasoid en' bree'd in da soawlty eh, 'is eehs t'rill'd boy da heppy cries uhda boids. But a person can only take so much of that Krazy Kat lingo. You would get annoyed pretty quick and say, "who needs this!" or even consider it rude, particularly if you're from around these parts yourself, and who could blame you? So I'm stickin' with a smattering suggestion of my dialect without hittin' ya over the head with it. Believe me, it'll save us both a lotta aggravation. Ma's alla time givin' me an earful about my vernacular. "Now, Tippi, dear, why on earth would you want to give people the impression that you lack education or even are of low intelligence?" she yammers. "Women have striven hard for respect-why, we've even wrested the right to vote from the oppressive forces that have pushed us down for so long and held us in such low regard. We should stand forth as beacons of intellectual equality, worthy of that which we have gained. We must give men no reason to question our competence as societal partners." "Aw, applesauce," I mumble and try to change the subject. The way I see it, we got the right to do as we please. It ain't fair that anybody should peg me as a Dumb Dora cuzza how I choose to express myself. Ma's right in that I can talk as hoity-toity as the next person if I wanna. Only I don' wanna. Oh, I put it on now and then for laughs, but it ain't me. Any high-hat who wants ta razz me for that can go take a hike. Now, don't get me wrong; Ma's okay. She ain't no snob, just a little touchy. She's a professor at Hunter College here in Brooklyn. Since it's a female college, they don't hand out the kale like they do at the men's schools. Course, she, bein' a lady professor, gets even less of it. She don' wanna beef about it too much, thinkin' they might pitch her out on her ear. Hunh. Fat chance. Ma's basically got a chip on her shoulder from feelin' like she can never let her guard down in case some fella lookin' for her job tries to claim she ain't good enough. It wouldn't wash if he tried, though, 'cause everybody knows she's the best prof in the whole joint. Pop bein' the way he is, he don't sit still at any one job too long. He had a pile a semolians in his younger days but blew most of it on a bad spec. That's how come we wound up in Flatbush. But Pop takes me in stride. Like when I said I wanted to be in show biz. Ma sighed and shook 'er head, but Pop just grinned and told me, "If that's your fancy, my darling Tipperary, then give it your all for as long as the spirit moves you." Which is only natural, that bein' the very way he operates-flittin' from thing to thing like a butterfly. He's stuck tight to Ma, though. Guess the spirit's still movin' him as far as she's concerned. Our digs is a little two-story attached brownstone in Lefferts Manor, east of Prospect Park. Nice, respectable middle-class place with trees on the street and everything. So it's a Saturday mornin' in early November, and we're sittin' at breakfast. Pop's in his pajamas flippin' through the want ads, while Ma's bent over a big buncha student essays, wielding a red correction pencil that matches her eyes. "Ah, here's something," calls out Pop. "Hmm?" answers Ma, circling something and suckin' a sippa strong joe. "Just the thing to make use of my energy and creative flair: Guide for walking tours of Manhattan!" "I fear you'd soon find it too pedestrian, dear," says Ma, grabbin' another one off the stack. "Ha! Doubtless, darling." Pop flings away the Times, jumps up, and starts pacing. "It's nothing more than coming up with the right idea," he says. "I've only to put my mind to it, and bingo!" In his enthusiasm he kicks his leg in the air, slippin' on the loose newspaper and sendin' his house slipper sailing. I skip up and catch it on the fly. "That's right, Pop," I say, handin' it back to him and helpin' him up off his keister. I can't stick around to hear Ma click her tongue, 'cause I got rehearsal. So I kiss 'em both and run out to hop the trolley to Prospect Station, then catch the Q train to Times Square, where I start anklin' over to West 45th. Like what usually happens, some blotto bimbo in a breezer slows down and starts givin' me the business. "Hey, doll, how's about you and me doing the town tonight?" he hollers. "Dry up," I tell him, scannin' ahead for a handy way to lose him. "Ooh, you're a smarty. Bet a tomato like you's a real bearcat!" he jeers in rejoinder. "So's yer ole man," I fire back and duck down a side alley too narrow for his wolf-mobile. I finally make it to the Imperial, where we're to do our final run-throughs before the show opens on Monday-a musical comedy called, "Oh, Kay!" based on a Guy Bolton / P.G. Wodehouse book about some high-society bootleggers. It's a little before time, and as I walk in I see this bird I never seen before tapping for all he's worth up there on stage while the producers and directors are all up front watching. I can't figure out what's goin' on, 'cause it looks for all the world like an audition, and the production's been frozen solid for two weeks. Slinging in a new factor at this point would be unheard of. But as I fasten my peepers onto this fella, my jaw drops. Not to say that he's Valentino or nothin', 'cause he ain't. Just a skinny guy about my age (twenty-two, in case you're wondering) with a kinda angular, beaky look about him and hair he can't quite slick down. But I mean he can hoof it! Unreal, this one is. He's the bee's knees, the elephant's eyebrows, the gnat's whiskers, the eel's hips, the butterfly's boots! A real Oliver Twist, hittin' it on all sixes with no misses. He taps up, down, and sideways, from here to the moon and back without breakin' a sweat-rappity-tap rhythms from these twinkling toes like I never seen or heard before. I edge closer to get a better gander, drawn like a penny nail to a horseshoe magnet. When the piano player quits poundin', the guy finishes with a flourish on one knee with his arms spread and his face radiant. If the big cheeses had'na been there I woulda bust out cheerin', whistlin', and clappin', but as it was, I just gawked and moved near the stage steps to get a better look at this wonder. "Ziegfeld was right-the kid's dynamite," I hear Mr. Lee, our choreographer, say outta the side of his mouth. "Yeah," the director, Mr. Harwood, concurs real low. "We have to use him. If he gets snapped up by another company, I've got egg on my face." The others nod knowingly. "Okay, kid. You'll do. Stick around and we'll work you in," Lee says, and he and his buddies head back to High'n'Mighty-land. "Thank you, sirs!" the dancer calls out, beaming, and he starts to trot backstage. "Attaboy!" escapes my lips, just before the guy makes the curtain. "Hunh?" he says, kinda dazed-like, and wanders over in my direction. Before I know it, he trips over an extinguished footlight and tumbles in a spectacular dive down the stairs, landin' in an awkward heap at the bottom, near where I woulda been if I had'na scooted outta the way pretty smart. "Poor little bunny," I think, and I go kneel down next to him. "Say, fella, you okay?" I ask, wonderin' how many men I'm gonna have to pick up off the floor today. I'm bendin' sorta close when his eyes snap inta focus and he gets this goofy grin. "Looks like I fell for you," he actually says. "But I'm fine an' dandy," he continues, after I give him a jeepers-how-corny-can-ya-get look. "Made of rubber, I guess." "Boy, the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to," I...

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