WHAT PRICE LEAVES?
The other evening, while waiting for a friend, the Vagabond picked up an issue of a "humorous" publication sometimes seen about the University. He opened the cover, turned over the page of advertisements, and stared at the first offering.
"THE OBSESSION OF MR. PINKLE"
"Mr. Pinkle did not know quite when it began, but it did begin. He thought it started the day before his mother swallowed one of his guppies. He was never sure that when it did begin he was conscious of it. All he knew was that it began.
"On the momentous day Mr. Pinkle was walking and meditating about his continuous failure to remember that his employer had a wife; thrice he had embarrassed his position and his employer by asking her for a date. So with a pathetic expression he picked a leaf off the berry-bearing bush whose branches intruded over the sidewalk. Something snapped in his brain. He liked pulling this leaf from this bush. He pulled another and another until he had a palmful. He resumed walking, putting one leaf in his month. The taste pleased him. He chewed on it for a while, ejected it, then drew another from his hand.
"Mr. Pinkle did not eat much lunch that day, and no sooner left his house than he commenced picking more leaves off more bushes. He grew tired of chewing on them or swallowing parts, so he merely picked the leaves and threw them on the ground. The act was somehow soul-satisfying, an opiate to his empty dull life.
"This attraction to leaves developed in intensity as the weeks passed and finally culminated the night his employer gave a costume ball to please his wife, who was always wanting parties. By this time Mr. Pinkle's diet was so bound up with leaves that he had to have a dozen elm trees planted in his yard.
"He entered his employer's house, both eyes clert for anything herbaceous. Everything happened in less than a jiffy. The hostess was receiving her guests near the door. Mr. Pinkle had barely shook hands when he dropped to his knees and tore ravenously at her skirt. She screamed, Mr. Pinkle is eating my grass skirt. Look at me. The guests were not slow to do this. 'Now,' she wailed, 'I can't be a Hawaian dancer.' The next day Mr. Pinkle got a raise. His employer explained, my wife doesn't want to give any more parties. Her grass skirt is ruined.' Mr. Pinkle smiled. 'I wonder,' he said, 'if I could get the rest of that skirt.'"
The Vagabond heard a noise, and his friend entered. He was very glad.