Combover

Jarble Jerble

By Brett Gelman

Oy vey, I forgot! Another meeting! 

Iain Morris: He’s the hot new Brit comedic auteur in town. You can’t go anywhere without hearing his name. He just finished coming off this hit British TV series, The Middlers, which he then made into a smashola movie. Soon as I saw both I bought him a one-way plane ticket from the rain to the sun. Now he’s writing a new comedy for me. My idea: Young Wolfman. It’s all about the grandson of the Wolfman. The premise is simple. Young Wolfman doesn’t want to be a Wolfman but realizes that his fate is to be a Wolfman, and if your destiny tells you to be a Wolfman, you better be a Wolfman. Even if it means being a Wolfman, and you don’t want to be a Wolfman. See?! You’re laughing already! It’s gonna be hysterical. But the schlemiel still hasn’t signed his contract. I don’t know how they do it in England, but in America contracts must be signed on the bottom line, bottom line.

I get to his house, and he greets me with a kiss to the cheek. I’m not one to shy away from a man-to-man cheek kiss. In fact, I’m all for it, but I didn’t think that was the British way. Plus there’s booze all over his breath. Drunks make me nervous. Especially British drunks. You know what they say about British drunks. “They’re as good as sober Frenchmen.” And we all know what the sober Frenchman did. He rolled out the red carpet for the man with the funny little moustache, and I’m not talking about Charlie Chaplin, whom, by the way, I love, and who ironically was also a Brit, but not a drunk one.

He gives me a tour of the house. I’ll admit, it’s gorgeous. Staircases leading to other staircases. Ten bathrooms! Then he takes me to the backyard, also gorgeous, but once we get there he seems to be all over my backyard. He’s right behind me putting his hands on my thighs like they’re a slab of corned beef. I feel all nervous. No one has been this aggressive with me for a long time. Usually, I’m the aggressive one.

We sit down by the pool, and the schmuck starts trying to unbutton my buttons. But it’s more like he’s pushing my buttons. And these buttons ain’t for pushing. They can be for unbuttoning, but not by him. I can’t say anything, though. I don’t want to make him mad. This contract’s gotta get signed. It’s terrible needing things from people. They always see how far they can push it. “It” being my buttons, in case you forgot. 

He starts talking to me about something, and I suddenly realize I can’t understand a goddamn word that’s coming out of his mouth. 

“Iain baby. I don’t mean to be rude. But I don’t really understand what you’re saying?”

He speaks a little slower, while his gray hands move a little faster up and down my half-fat body.

“Iain I’m sorry, but you might as well be speaking Swahilese.” (That’s Swahili mixed with Chinese.)

What is it with this guy? I get why he wants to shtup me. Most people do. But if that were the case you’d think he’d spend a little more time making sure he pronounced his words clearly. It’s all jarble jerble with an accent.

He starts to really fume. He goes inside and pulls out a copy of our contract. By now he’s screaming, but the volume only makes his mush mouth more mushy.

“Iain, I’m really sorry. I wish I could say this was all a joke, and mean it, but I can’t. Because it’s not a joke. And I know good jokes. Did you know that I learn a new joke every day? I got this book and it’s got every—”

WHAM!

The ganef has the chutzpah to belt me in the face. He lays me back in my stunned state and tries to shove the pool net up my tukhus. I tighten my hole like it’s holding onto a hundred-dollar bill. Now he’s dragging me to the edge of the pool, and the next words he says happen to come out very clearly:

“If you don’t fuck me then you will fuck water, Jew!”

He dunks my head in. I’m sucking water into my lungs like it’s a chocolate egg cream. Everything goes dark. Guess that means I’m kaput.

At least he better hope I am. Because if I ever come to I’m going to fucking kill him. I will roast him alive. I will rip off his skin and send it to my uncle (he’s a tailor) and have him make me a shirt. I’ll carve out his eyes. I’ll slice off his British man tits and send them to my other uncle (also a tailor) and make earmuffs out of them that I’ll never use because it never gets that cold here. I will fucking kill him!

But for now it’s dark. Very dark. 

This is the fifth chapter of Combover, Brett Gelman’s new novel about Hollywood, the beauty of the Jewish tradition, baldness, and murder. We will be serializing it throughout the rest of the year. 

Previously - Combover's Dream

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