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Rush's Slumber Party Enters by the Window - by Paul Rhymer

ANNOUNCER: Well sir, it's about eight-thirty o'clock in the evening as we join our friends at the small house half-way up in the next block now, and here they are in the living-room. Mr. and Mrs. Victor Gook are seated side by side on the davenport, while their son, Mr. Rush Gook - who has just this moment arrived home from somewhere - stands near the library table uncomfortably enduring a barrage of parental interrogation. Listen.

SADE: What wild crazy stunt is this now?

RUSH: Every time I do something, people call it a "wild crazy stunt." Gosh, Mom, you don't know anything about it yet. You're not familiar with any of the details.

SADE: If you've got a step-ladder propped up against the side of the house an' your bedroom window open so a gang of kids can climb in the...

RUSH: Let me tell, Mom. Let me tell my story an' when I get through you can tear it to pieces. Ain't that fair, Gov?

VIC: Sure.

RUSH: Otherwise, Mom, you'd be bawling me out in the dark.

SADE: I'll say. Is the step-ladder propped up against the side of the house now?

RUSH: It is.

SADE: An' your bedroom window's open?

RUSH: It is.

SADE: Are there any kids in the house yet?

RUSH: I don't know whether there are or not.

SADE: [To Vic, giggling acidly] That's fine, huh? Maybe we got company upstairs. Maybe we got company upstairs an' maybe we haven't got company upstairs. Anybody walkin' along the street that feels like it is welcome to climb the step-ladder an' come in our residence an' make theirselves at home.

RUSH: [Gently patient] Mom, if you'd give a guy a chance to explain.

SADE: [Airily] Explain away.

RUSH: I figured out this plan for you an' Gov's special benefit.

SADE: Glad to hear it.

RUSH: I didn't want you people to be disturbed.

SADE: Uh-huh.

RUSH: Instead of coming through the door an' tracking across the rug an' bothering you an' Gov, my friends will simply ascend the step-ladder, enter my room an' go to bed.

VIC: How delightfully informal.

RUSH: Yes. See, Mom, the point is this: my friends will be showing up at different times. Smelly Clark will arrive about a quarter to nine. Rooster Davis a little later. Willis Roreback is due now. So is Blue-tooth Johnson. If they all entered through the door you people'd be disturbed every couple minutes.

SADE: Hey, how many boys did you invite to spend the night here?

VIC: I was about to ask that question myself. You just named four.

SADE: Four kids can't all crowd in your bed.

RUSH: They don't expect to. Various individuals will sleep on the floor. I'll get blankets an' quilts out of the hall-way closet an' my friends can just curl up any old place in my room. As a matter of fact I intend to sleep on the floor myself.

SADE: [Sadly] Rush, it seems to me a great big enormous grown-up high school gentleman would be about old enough to... [Telephone]

VIC: [Mildly] Telephone is ringing, telephone is ringing.

RUSH: I'll get it. Prob'ly one of the fellas.

VIC: [To Sade] Any special reason why we're entertaining all this company, Doctor Sleetch?

SADE: [Briefly] Kids are going off on a hike in the morning.

VIC: Oh.

SADE: [Briefly] Saturday outing.

RUSH: [To phone] Hello? Yes. Oh, yes, Mis' Scott. Ah, Mis' Scott... [He's trying to interrupt Mis' Scott's swift flow of speech]... Ah, Mis' Scott... Wait a second, Mis' Scott. That's O.K., Mis' Scott. Ah, Mis' Scott... no, listen. They're friends of mine, Mis' Scott. Friends of mine. Yeah. We're going on a hike tomorrow morning an' I told 'em to climb to my room by usin' that step-ladder so my father an' mother wouldn't be disturbed. Yes. Uh-huh, Scared ya, huh? Well, it's perfectly O.K. All right, Mis' Scott. Good-by, Mis' Scott. [hangs up]

VIC: [Dryly] That telephone conversation wasn't hard to interpret.

SADE: [Sharply] She saw fellas skulking up that step-ladder an' thought it was burglars an' got half scared to death?

RUSH: Ah - she never said she got scared to death. She said she just happened to glance out her window an' seen a shadowy figure crawling in my room an' her heart jumped in her mouth an' she...

SADE: [Disgust] Oh, for mercy sakes.

RUSH: I explained it to her. She's completely at ease now.

VIC: [With curiosity] I wonder who's upstairs.

RUSH: Leland Richards an' Milton Welch prob'ly. They both said they wished to retire early.

VIC: You never named them two guys before.

RUSH: Didn't I?

VIC: No. You named Smelly Clark, Rooster Davis, Willis Roreback, an' Blue-tooth Johnson.

RUSH: Leland an' Milton are also going on the hike.

VIC: That makes six sharing your sleeping-chamber.

SADE: Seven altogether. [Disgust] Rush, what a mutton-head you are.

RUSH: [Indignant] Why? We wanta all start off on our hike in the morning together. Why shouldn't we all spend the night in the same place? You people aren't gonna be disturbed.

SADE: [Heatedly] No, an' we better not be either. If them chums of yours make any noise tonight or start runnin' around loose in the hall I'll bet I settle their hash in quick order.

RUSH: [Quietly] I give you my solemn word there won't be a sound. You people won't hear a pin drop. If there's... [Dull heavy thud from upstairs]

VIC: [Dryly] A pin just dropped.

SADE: [Alarmed] What was that?

VIC: Don't you recognize the vibration of a pin dropping? Why, I...

SADE: Sounded like a human body hittin' the floor.

RUSH: Nothin' to get excited about. Prob'ly LeRoy Snow an' Emmett Carlson havin' a friendly scuffle. They both love rassling.

SADE: [Wearily] Such stuff as goes on in this house. Sometimes I just don't know.

RUSH: They've already quieted down. In eight seconds they'll be in bed an' asleep.

SADE: [Wearily] Step-ladder propped up against our residence so anybody walkin' along the sidewalk can just climb right in an' hit the hay.

RUSH: I figured you'd like that idea, Mom.

SADE: [Airily] Oh, I do. Love it.

RUSH: Saves wear an' tear on the rugs. Keeps you an' Gov from bein' bothered.

SADE: I'll say.

VIC: Peanut-brittle, old Inner-sole.

RUSH: Yeah?

VIC: You just mentioned the names of LeRoy Snow an' Emmett Carlson.

RUSH: Uh-huh.

VIC: Brings the grand total of your guests up to eight.

RUSH: They'll all sleep O.K. on the floor.

VIC: Let us hope so.

RUSH: [Confidently] Sure.

VIC: After I've retired for the night I am apt to be gruff an' short-tempered if suddenly awakened. I might even be violent. It might be wise to tip your pals off to that fact.

RUSH: You people won't hear a sound.

VIC: Fine.

RUSH: Like I say, I'm gonna get quilts an' blankets an' comforters outa the closet an' put 'em around on the floor an'... [Telephone rings]

VIC: [Mildly] Telephone is ring...

RUSH: [Quickly] I'll get that.

SADE: [To Vic] More of our neighbors frightened outa their wits.

VIC: Very likely.

RUSH: [To phone] Hello? Oh, hello, Mis' Call: don't let that bother ya a bit. No: they're friends of mine. Yeah. Well, a bunch of us are gettin' up early in the morning to go on a hike. We just thought we'd all spend the night here together an' get an early start an' no foolin' around. Yes. I'm sorry if you got scared. Yes. All right, Mis' Call. Certainly. Good-by. [Hangs up]

SADE: [Meaning it] Rush, this is disgraceful.

RUSH: Well, heck, I thought it'd...

SADE: Out and out disgraceful.

RUSH: Review the facts, Mom. You give me permission to get up at six o'clock in the morning an' go on a hike. You also give me permission to invite a few of my friends to spend the night with me. I was grateful to ya for your kindness an' doped out this step-ladder scheme to save you an' Gov the annoyance of havin' a bunch of fellas trampin' across your rugs. Surely you appreciate the... [Dull heavy thud in the distance]

SADE: [Affrighted] Mercy me!

VIC: [Dryly] Another pin dropped.

SADE: What on earth they doin'?

RUSH: Prob'ly Art Armbruster an' Fat Vogel are...

SADE: Vic, go up an' see.

VIC: I'm a little scared to venture...

RUSH: No, Gov. Don't go up.

VIC: Why not?

RUSH: I got an idea it's Art Armbruster an' Fat Vogel. You're not acquainted with them. They'd be embarrassed if my father walked in an' looked tough at 'em.

VIC: Who are Art Armbruster an' Fat Vogel?

RUSH: Friends of mine from high school. Art Armbruster resides on North Park street an' Fat Vogel resides 718 West Mill street. They're both very high-class individuals.

VIC: Two new names for our roster. How many does that make?

RUSH: I don't know... but they'll be quiet.

VIC: Believe I'll count up. Smelly Clark - Blue-tooth Johnson - Rooster Davis - LeRoy Snow - Milton Welch - Leland Richards - Willis Roreback - Emmett Carlson - Art Armbruster - an' Fat Vogel. Ten. [To Sade] Kiddo, we're entertaining ten guests tonight.

SADE: [To Rush, tough] You think you're awful awful smart pullin' off a stunt like this. Don't ya?

RUSH: Mom, I never saw any reason why you'd care. Gosh, I bet you'll never realize anybody's in my room once the lights are turned off an' everybody's asleep an'... [Telephone rings]

VIC: Telephone is ringin'...

RUSH: [Quickly] I'll get it.

SADE: [Briefly] No, ya won't. Sit still. I'll get it myself.

RUSH: Very possibly it's one of my...

SADE: Very possibly it is; yes. Sit still. [To phone] Hello? Oh, yes, Mis' Elders. [Giggles] We know about that, Mis' Elders. Yes. They're friends of Rush's. Yes. Oh, just children's foolishness. Yes. No, that's all. I'm sorry if you were frightened. [Giggles] Well, thanks for calling anyway, Mis' Elders. All righty. Surely, Mis' Elders. Good-by. [Hangs up] [To Vic] Yes sir, - no mistake about it - we got a real grown-up educated high-school gentleman livin' in this house.

VIC: What's liable to happen is the neighbors notifyin' the police instead of calling us up.

SADE: Wouldn't that be lovely!

RUSH: I hardly think the police would...

SADE: Mis' Elders said she saw two fellas crawlin' in one of our bedroom windows. They both had pullover sweaters on.

RUSH: Leo Tuckett an' Walter Greetch.

VIC: Who?

RUSH: Leo Tuckett an' Walter Greetch. They wear pullover sweaters. I want you to meet Leo Tuckett an' Walter Greetch, Gov. They're just about as high-class individuals as you ever... [Loud clatter from upstairs]

SADE: [Distressed] Oh, my, my, my.

VIC: Sounded like somebody pushed the dresser over.

RUSH: [Uncomfortably] I... guess I better go up there.

VIC: Might be a very good idea.

RUSH: [Moving off] I'll see that you people aren't disturbed another time.

VIC: Mighty white of ya.

RUSH: [Moving off] I'll close my bedroom door an' tell all the guys to go right to sleep. You won't hear a single sound.

VIC: [Not loud] Um.

RUSH: [Moving off] Ah - good night.

VIC: Night.

RUSH: [Moving off] Good night, Mom.

SADE: [Not loud] I'll say.

VIC: [To Sade] Leo Tuckett an' Walter Greetch. Two more shining names for our roll of honor.

SADE: Um.

VIC: What'd I say the grand total was?

SADE: Don't know.

VIC: Well - Smelly Clark - LeRoy Snow - Blue-tooth Johnson - Leland Richards - Milton Welch - Willis Roreback - Emmett Carlson - Art Armbruster - Fat Vogel - Rooster Davis - Leo Tuckett an' Walter Greetch. Twelve, I make.

SADE: Twelve boys climbed up a step-ladder an' crawled in our bedroom window.

VIC: Twelve boys will sleep at our house tonight. Thirteen, counting our own little angel.

SADE: Wonderful thing, huh?

VIC: Yes, indeed. I am delighted to be able to... [Dull heavy thud in the distance]

SADE: [To Vic] Listen.

VIC: I heard it. [In the distance another thud followed by a clatter of heavy objects]

SADE: [To Vic, distressed] Oh, my, my, my.

RUSH: [In the distance, is heard screaming]

SADE: [To Vic] Oh, my, my, my!

VIC: [Mildly, chuckling] Hi-de-hi, ho-de-ho.

SADE: [Completely defeated] Golly!

VIC: Kiddo.

SADE: [Sighing] What?

VIC: Would ya like to stay at a hotel tonight?

ANNOUNCER: Which concludes another brief interlude at the small house half-way up in the next block.