BY FRANCIS CROT
Mumps, Chinwag had feared, and before that, AIDS. “Tell me it ain’t the AIDS!” he’d more or less said. When the doc’s laughter had more or less petered out, Chinwag had added peevishly, “tell me at least it’s the mumps.” The doctor didn’t reinforce a positive body image.
The doctor didn’t do anybody any favours.
What did Chinwag do? Sat at home and watched Chinwag. He owned every episode. Chinwag couldn’t always tell whether he’d been playing the donkey. All the scripts were the same ‘talking donkey’ shtick, and one of the other two actors operated indistinguishably from Chinwag. Did I say that, wondered Chinwag, did I – feel that?
For Chinwag had been to The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and had a fussy, hifalutin devotion to his work. He spent each evening with the next day’s script, putting in and rubbing out petite pencil marks. He felt what the donkey felt.
“Who am I?”
But Chinwag always knew when the third man played the donkey. Cuz the third man had a different interpretation of the character. Just slightly off, like smoking four packs a day of Silk Cut. Like quiche at a rodeo. Like a tall unfamiliar man saying to you, “A kiss without a salt is like a egg without a moustache – no – uh –”.
It fucking enraged Chinwag.
A wyrm of hazard squirmed on his brow, the puff-pastry of his shut throat disgorged and grated.
He was glad he didn’t have mumps.