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The Adventures of Fatty Lewis by Arthur Killick


By Arthur Killick

Copyright, 1915, by A. F. Killick and W. P. Harvey


     "There's nothing to it, Hurrah, this rising generation is too fast for us Old Folks," Fatty Lewis declared.  "I used to think I was running 'on high,' but I must be geared for 'low'."

     "You look good," Smith replied.

     "So does a Ben Davis apple," Lewis answered.  "I might look good in a rocking chair -- but on a dancing floor I'm a 24-carat mutt.  From now on the dancing in the Lewis family is in my wife's name.  I was a wall flower all last winter.  This year I'd made up my mind I was going to beat the barrier.  I was going to learn these new dances.  Last summer when it was 108 in the shade and everyone else was using their heads on ways and means to keep cool I was sparring with the Hesitation and the Castle Walk.  I wore out nine records, two rugs, three pair of shoes and one perfectly good disposition.  When I got through I'd about decided I was the last page in the latest book on the new dances.  All I needed was a show ring.  There never was a doubt in my mind.  The Blue Ribbon was cinched.  The other night 'Old Opportunity' in the form of Mrs. Lewis pounded on the front door.

     " 'We're invited to a swell dance tonight,' Mrs. Lewis declared in her best party voice.  'I've already accepted.'

     " 'Here's where my Hesitation stock pays dividends'," I thought to myself.  'I'll sure knock 'em off the seats.'  While Mrs. Lewis was dressing I went out in the kitchen and rehearsed a few steps.  Just wanted to be sure I was in good form.  'You're the goods, old boy,' I says to myself.  'Wait till they lamp you on a real floor with regular music.'

     "When we got out to the hall I went to the smoking room.  There was a lot of guys swapping dances.  'Trading across,' I believe they called it."

     "Sort of sight and unseen?" Hurrah asked.

     "That's it," Lewis admitted.  "Same as we used to with knives and agates.  It was all new to me.  But I wasn't going to tip my hand that I wasn't hep.  The first thing I knew I had swapped Mrs. Lewis for nine skirts that I'd never seen.  I didn't knew whether they was blondes, brunettes, short, tall, fat or lean.  I didn't care.  I knew I had the late dances and had more confidence than a town dog has fleas.  What bothered me was whether I'd traded Mrs. Lewis off for peaches or a collection of limes and quinces.  I danced Nos. 1 and 2 with Mrs. Lewis.  We stepped right along.  All I had to do was to find No. 3.  I did.  She was a regular picture book blonde with the appearance of an emotional actress in repose.  I walked over to where she was sitting and started dealing her the regular line.

     " 'I believe I have the pleasure of this one with you,' I remarked.  I threw in a smile and tried to act like I meant what I said.

     " 'I'm sure I don't know,' she replied, giving me the 'once over.'  'One never knows at these public dances with whom they have to dance---' "

     "Public dance?" Hurrah interrupted.  "Thought you said it was a swell affair."

     "Well, I guess it wasn't" Lewis retorted.  "None of them 'Admission fifty cents, ladies free,' affairs.  This one read, 'Subscription $1.00.'  I'd hardly say 'public dance' when they nick you an 'iron man' to get in.

     "If that bird thought she was going to 'up' me she had another guess coming.  I was out for a pleasant evening.  One blonde more or less with a snowy disposition wasn't going to annoy father.  I just ignored the remark.  By the time the dance was half over I believe I convinced her that I was or should have been her partner.

     " 'Presume you Hesitate,' I said sorta off-hand like, trying to can any swell-headedness over my great work in mastering the late dances.

     " 'Hesitate,' she remarked in a far-away manner.  'I believe I used to,' she continued in a bored tone.  'Really, it's been so long ago, I don't know whether I remember the steps or not.'  The frost I got would have knocked the leaves off'n a scrub oak.

     " 'The Hesitation is at least a 1913 model, isn't it?' I inquired.

     "I believe they did dance it some that year,' she continued.  'And I suppose it's still all right for old people who like the Lancers and the Polka.  Personally I prefer the Fox-Trot, Lulu-Fado or the Waltz-Canter.

     " 'Would you mind taking me where I can get a drink of water?' she added.  By the time we got the drink the dance was over.  I as sure glad.  Asking taht iceberg to Hesitate was just like trying to induce someone to get out in a 12-cylinder limousine to take a ride in a hack.  I shook her and looked up No. 4.  The dance was a schottische.  The girl was a brunette.  Nice big sociable looking doll.  Pretty teeth.  Chewed gum.  Regular girl.  I didn't have to swear to an affidavit or submit Bertillon measurements to convince her that I'd been wished on her.

     " 'This ain't no Fox Trotter or Lulu Fadoer,' I said to myself.

     " 'Do the Shiver?' she asks, making a quick switch on the gum.

     " 'Guess not,' I says.  'Never heard of it.'

     " ' Oh,'  she exclaimed, 'you Twinkle.  Good.  I prefer it to the Shivers.'

     " 'Plead not guilty to the second count,' I replied.  'I'm afraid to Twinkle.  I might go out.  Without wishing to brag I can schottische.  That's what my card calls for on this one.'

     " 'Well, I'll try to dance it,' she replied, 'but I may have forgotten the steps.  I haven't been to a country dance for a long time.  You'll pardon me if I make a mistake.'  We struggled through it, and I got about as much consideration as though I'd learned to dance from a magazine article.  I was all hot and excited, and my collar had begun to wilt.  These new dancers had me going.

"I may have forgotten the steps, she replied.  "I haven't been to a country dance for a long time."

     "No. 5 appeared to have spent her school days along about the same time I did mine.  She wore glasses.  Looked sedate, safe, sane and conservative.  'Here's an old time girl,' I thought.  'No foolishness here.'

     " 'Do you like the Macheese?' she fired at me for the opening salute.  I knew all about Camembert, Edam, Liedertafel, Fromage De Brie, Swiss and American creams, but Macheese was a new one.  I was afraid to tackle anything new in the cheese line.  I said I didn't choose it.

     " 'Perhaps you do the Lame Duck or the Fish Walk?' she suggested.  I broke down and confessed I didn't do either.  I made my get-away.  No. 5 was like the others.  She'd try to remember the Castle.

     "After that dance I hunted up Mrs. Lewis.  'Say,' I demanded, 'what kind of game am I up against?  Is there any milk on my boots or burrs on my trousers?'

     " 'Why?' she inquires.  'Why?' I repeated.  'Nothing.  I don't mind being panned because I don't know a lot of Brazilian and Spanish dances, but when they get fresh enough to get personal and ask me about what kind of cheese I like it's the time for me to blow.'

     " 'Who said anything about cheese?' Mrs. Lewis inquired.  'That last bird I just danced with asked me if I like the Macheese,' I replied.

     " 'Oh, you big simp, she meant the Maxixe.  That's a dance,' Mrs. Lewis declared.  'By the way,' she added, 'I haven't got from the fourteenth to the eighteenth.  Will you get--'

     "Oh, yes, you have,' I replied.  'You may not know it, but you've got 'em with the street railway company.' "

The Adventures of Fatty Lewis ~ A Serial ~ by Arthur F. Killick



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