“Montgomery?” I said groggily, staring at my decrepit butler through sleep-encrusted eyes. He was carrying one of my solid-gold house phones on a diamond-studded platinum tray. “What’s the meaning of this? Who sent you?”
“Telephone call, guv’nor,” he said. “From your old mate, Mister Bocephus. ‘E says it’s urgent.”
“Hank?” I said, glancing at the bedside clock. “It’s not even ten. What could he want at this hour?”
“Couldn’t say, m’lord,” he said, handing the telephone to me. I waited for him to exit before picking up the handset.
“Hank?” I said.
“Yeah. What’s going on?”
“Hey son, this is ol’ Randall Hank! What’s happening, man?”
“Hank, you know it’s always a pleasure to hear from you, but you’re interrupting my beauty rest. Could we cut to the chase?”
“Doggone, you always is a tetchy one in the morning, son! Must be why we ain’t been fishing yet!”
“Yes, I’m sure that’s it.” I picked up my Oxy bottle from the bedside table—only to find it empty. “Goddamn it.”
“Son! You know I don’t condone that kind of language!”
“Sorry. Anyhow, the point?”
“Oh, right! Hey, just wanted to let you know—”
“Hold that thought—I need a moment.”
“No problem, son!”
Clutching the receiver to my chest, I shouted for Montgomery. When that didn’t draw a fast-enough response, I screamed: “MONTY! Get your goldbricking ass up here! NOW!”
At last, I heard him approach. Throwing open the door, he walked into the bedroom and said, “Pip pip, guv’nor! What can I—”
With that, Monty’s foot caught in the shag leopard-skin carpeting and he fell forward, bringing his head into contact with the solid-gold trunk at the foot of my bed. I heard a sickening, wet crunch just as blood started to flow.
“Goddammit, Monty! I needed you to fetch my medicine, and instead you come in here and bleed all over the place! What in the name of Nixon is wrong with you?” Then, into the receiver: “Sorry about that, Hank. Where were we?”
“What in tarnation is going on over there, son? Everything OK?”
“What? Yes, of course. Just a small issue with the household staff. You were saying?”
“Oh, right. Anyhow son, just wanted to let you know that I ain’t gonna be able to make your Super Bowl party this Sunday.”
“What? Why not? What could be better than watching it on my yacht with a dozen or so of my closest business associates and twice that many call girls?”
“Don’t get me wrong son, it sounds like a great time! But I got to playing some back-alley dice with a couple of city slickers and wound up winning seats to the game! Up front and center on the 50-yard line. Don’t that beat all?”
I assured Hank there were no hard feelings on my end, and we continued speaking for close to an hour before bidding each other farewell. I then arose, got more medicine out from under the lose pavestone in the garden, showered, put on my most luxurious leisurewear, and began my preparations for what is sure to be an epic blowout on the Donkey Punch IV this Sunday.
The only fly in the ointment is that I can’t seem to find my butler anywhere. I vaguely recall something involving him, but can’t quite put my finger on it. Anyhow, he’d better show up soon or there will be hell to pay—New York isn’t a right-to-work state yet, but job-creators like me are certainly free to fire with cause. Count on it!