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A Tale Of Two Mitties

Cabbages and Kings

By Joel R. Kramer

ESTHER ESS took a seat at one end of the table, and he sat down at the other. There was a noticeable silence--both knew how weighty this confrontation would be. Each waited for the other to make the first movement.

With a thin smile on her freckled face. Esther finally blurted. "Why won't you debate us?"

He fingered his pin-stripes and replied, "But I am debating you, right now."

Esther shot back, "Well, why won't you?"

There was a long pause, while he sipped milk and she drank blood. They stared at each other, until he yawned. Suddenly, she whispered, "complicity," as she peeled off a stocking. His white hair bristled, but he pretended he hadn't heard.

"Complicity," she said louder. "Complicity, complicity." Now she was screaming. She howled the word five times, counting them off on one hand like so many points in a complicated chain of reasoning.

"What ever do you mean?" queried he. "Please get on with the questions. I've another engagement."

"Walter's mittens," simpered Esther. "What have you done with Walter's mittens?"

FIGHTING back goose flesh, he corrected her. "They are not mittens. They are gloves. And they are not Walter's. They are Harry's."

Esther was growing redder. "Cripes, what are you going to do about everything?"

He whined, "What can I do? What may I do?"

"Sit down," she cried.

"I'm not standing," he replied.

She wrapped her head in her arms on the table and wailed.

"I try," he said timidly. "I try to pull strings."

"You are a complicit non-debater," she mumbled between sobs, apparently not hearing him.

At which time, he started pulling some strings, and a flock of marionettes rose up from under the table and danced. Dozens danced, until a giant hand--20 feet in diameter and the same shade of white as his hair--stomped down on him and his marionettes and reduced them to so much apple-sauce.

Esther looked up, surprised. She rose and approached the blob with a mixture of fulfillment and fright. She donned Walter's mittens, rubbed the condiment into the crimson carpet, turned to the door, slipped on the wet spot, fell, and broke her nose.

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