Couple of Ghost Dances, I begin to look up and take notice | A cocktail from Donald Barthelme

Mrs. Vandermaster.
Yes.
Please be seated.
Thank you.
The red chair.
You’re most kind.
Can I get you something, some iced tea or a little hit of Sanka?
A Ghost Dance is what I wouldn’t mind if you can do it.
What’s a Ghost Dance?
That’s one part vodka to one part tequila with half an onion.  Half a regular onion.
Wow wow wow wow wow.
Well when you’re eighty-one, you know, there’s not so much.  Couple of Ghost Dances, I begin to take an interest.
I believe I can accommodate you.
Couple of Ghost Dances, I begin to look up and take notice.
Mrs. Vandermaster, you are aware are you not that your vile son has, with the aid of various parties, abducted my emerald?  My own true emerald?
I mighta heard about it.
Well have you or haven’t you?
‘Course I don’t pay much attention to that boy myself.  He’s bent.
Bent?
Him and his dog.  He goes off in a corner and talks to the dog.  Looking over his shoulder to see if I’m listening.  As if I’d care.
The dog doesn’t–
Just listens.  Intently.
That’s Tarbut.
Now I don’t mind somebody who just addresses an occasional remark to the dog, like “Attaboy, dog”, or something like that, or “Get the ball, dog”, or something like that, but he confides in the dog.  Bent.
You know what Vandermaster’s profession is.
Yes, he’s a mage.  Think that’s a little bent.
Is there anything you can do, or would do, to help me get my child back?  My sweet emerald?
Well I don’t have that much say-so.
You don’t.
I don’t know too much about what-all he’s up to.  He comes and goes.
I see.
The thing is, he’s bent.
You told me.
Wants to live twice.
I know.
I think it’s a sin and shame.
You do.
And your poor little child.
Yes.
A damned scandal.
Yes.
I’d witch his eyes out if I were you.
The thought’s appealing.
His eyes like onions…

From Donald Barthelme’s story “The Emerald.”

If any one is inclined to try a Ghost Dance, let me know how it goes.

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