a child, five or six years old, sells newspapers on a street corner in Los Angeles. He spends the rest of his life washing the ink from his hands.
As a man, the child Mickey dresses like the owner of a haberdashery, never wearing the same suit twice. He often finds his mug on the front page of the rags that litter the city.
He does not smoke or drink, and the stripper on his arm is mostly just for show. Her name is Candy Barr. She is very pretty, blonde and cheerful.
Germs, his public image, various entities, organizations and individuals out to get or kill him; these are his primary obsessions. Mickey craves adoration and a good desert.
Now this little sport knows all the comics.. Jerry Lewis, Redd Fox, Lenny Bruce, Jacob Rubenstein, Donald Duck and many others; famous, fading or just starting out. He loves to make them laugh. They laugh. Not just because they fear him. Moxey, hutzpah, a scary vocabulary and a fine sense of irony give Mickey the confidence to bust balls and break funny bones. His menacing charm is a source of credibility and anxiety.
So late one Sunday night, almost Monday in fact, two new black Cadillacs are parked curbside at Carousel Ice Cream Parlor in Brentwood. A little fog is rolling in. One of the cars is bullet proof. It has been in the papers.
Inside the parlor, men in suits are scattered about, watching the front door, reading the newspapers, eating ice cream. Candy is standing, waiting for Mickey as he comes out of the bathroom. All the decent swells left hours ago.
“Your ice cream joint and Jack’s club in Dallas got the same name, only he don’t sell ice cream,” Candy declares.
“A mutual fondness for fillies is the best explanation for that coincidence, my sweet,” says Mickey. Then adds “Do this for me. Go check on the eye shade and adding machine crowd. Make sure they are all awake and they know I am here.”
As Candy heads to the back room Donald Duck walks in the front door. Mickey is happy to see him.
Donald works in comics and film and is starting to get into television. He always wears a blue suit with a red bow tie and a blue cap. He talks in a unique voice, not always easy to understand. As a child, working for his rich uncle, he ate paint chips. Also, he looks like a duck.
Hands clasp, awkwardly, but sincerely.
“So Don, what do I owe this pleasure of your presence?”
“You don’t owe me anything, Mickey. I owe you for what you did for my oldest boy. But I would like an ice cream sundae.”
“Your money is no good here.”
Then, to a man nearby, “Hey, get him the works.”
Then back at Donald, “How’s the boy? Glad I could help. It’s what I do.”
“He’s getting into the show business, trouble with learning lines, and he talks funny. But I’m optimistic.”
“Sure, why not?”
“How are you?” Donald asks.
“Well, da IRS is trying to put me in prison again. But, I got a plan this time.”
“Yeah, I think you can help.”
“How can I help?”
“You cut me a check for say, $15,000. I probably don’t cash it, just use it as
proof that I have means supporting this lavish lifestyle, since I am distancing myself from my most obvious enterprises. See, loans from friends. Look it, don’t worry if you aren’t comfortable with this small favor.”
“Sounds like a good plan!” Says Donald.
A large platter of ice cream and extras is placed in front of Donald.
“I don’t have any checks on me or that much in the checking account. Also, I feel bad eating in front of you.”
“Don’t worry, I have a spoon. Just bring that check into my suit shop in the morning. And grab a few suits. You need a change out of that sailor suit sometime.”
“Can’t,” says Donald.
“Why?” Asks Mickey, getting a little testy.
“Contract, I has ta wear the blue suit.”
“I can fix the contract. What about da check?”
“Oh sure, I’ll bring it. This is the best ice cream.”
Mickey picks up his spoon. Donald is eating fast.
“There’s one other item you might be helpful with.”
“I’ve gotta change my public image.”
“Yeah? A little bit of the old bunk and coneroo?”
“You move in certain circles that may have some effect on public opinion.”
“The carriage trade?”
“You know, I catch it from all fronts. My house gets bombed, the neighbors give me the fish eye. My lawyer gets blasted away in his driveway, his wife screams at me like I had something to do with it. You know how hard it is to replace a good lawyer? Not as hard as replacing a childhood friend, a pal, from the old neighborhood.”
“I’m sorry, missed that last part — brain freeze.”
“I said it’s more risky to be my associate than be my enemy.”
“That’s because you demand loyalty.”
“I like the way you talk – ever thought about running for mayor?”
“The Donald is too busy, but gosh, I could run this burg.”
“No, I run Angel City. But I could make you mayor.”
“Hmmm, mayor…” Don muses.
“Let’s start by saying nice things about me, you know, when my name comes up.”
For a minute the two quietly eat high end ice cream.
“Don, your boys do all that big game hunting. I read about it.”
“Yeah, trophy hunters.”
“Say, what if I shut down the zoo some night? A little private safari.”
“You are too kind. You would do that for me?”
“What are you meshugah? I just told you my image needs improving. That kind of thing could be misunderstood, I can assure you. But the mayor idea, that’s something.”
Mickey went to prison again for tax evasion.
Donald, it turns out, wasn’t qualified to be mayor.