A TWAIN & EINSTEIN ADVENTURE
The police inspector was yelling at Twain and Einstein again. "You two are the worst nightclub owners in all of Soho! I'll find something to plant on you if it's the last thing I ever do!"
"I've got some potting soil in my underwear," offered Einstein, but Twain wasn't so obliging. "Look, Inspector, either charge us or book us! Our farm club is really fantastic, we want to go back there right now and disco with the animals."
It had been only two weeks since the celebrated pair had come to London and opened Surprisers, the first nightclub to feature a petting zoo on the disco floor, as well as a working farm in the men's room. The place was mobbed every night, and now supplied milk to all the local stores. As a result both Organized Crime and Organizing Farming had been up in arms. On this latest raid, the police had found some LSD planted behind a cow's ear, and Twain and Einstein had both been pulled in. "I'll get you for white slaving or something," said the inspector, but finally he was forced to release them for lack of evidence.
"Where are the waitresses we just hired? I want to strike out with them," said Einstein, who was newly single again. "I only hope one is mentally ill!" But as they entered their office, they found a guest. He was a little timid-looking fellow in a rumpled tweed jacket, and his bulging glasses emphasized his disorderly greying red hair.
"Woodney Allenby, the famous comedian of self-embarrassment!" exclaimed Einstein. "What are you doing here? We didn't order any pratfalls!" Mark Twain joined in on the ribbing. "Maybe he's come to invite us to the Ployboy Mansion, Al!" he exclaimed. "Woodley's there every night, I hear it's a real swinging scene!"
Allenby winced. "Perhaps you gentlemen haven't heard, but I have dropped the Nebbish business and am concentrating on my new singing career." He jumped up and began singing:
Doin' it in the overhead luggage rack
Mile high action, in a highly confined space
Coats and handbags pressin' on my back
Hear the click as it opens, see the stewardess's surprised face
Twain and Einstein were unimpressed. Woodney put down the tennis racket he'd been using as a pretend microphone and faced them. "The truth is, fellas, I'm here on tour and things have gotten weird. I need two bodyguards, and I hear you guys are just the ticket."
"Does it pay money?" asked Al, but Mark had more reservations. "Mr. Allenby, we're nightclub owners now! Why, just this evening a police inspector told us we were the worst in Soho! We couldn't possibly take your case..." His voice trailed off as Woodney took out a satchel full of diamonds and began to place them on the desk. "I guess we could find the time," he concluded lamely.
"I always pay off my flunkies and human accessories in diamonds," sighed the famed comedy shnook. "That ensures their craven loyalty." Twain and Einstein didn't hear him, they were too busy drooling over the sparklers. "Gentlemen, I must ask you to escort me to the Escortmeé Theater. There I shall apprise you of the shenanigans which have necessitated the enlistment of your brawnishment."
"Boys, this is my dressing room. It sure has been the site of a marathon of epic seductions," said Allenby, acting out his amorous adventures before falling to the ground with his arms wrapped around himself, smooching an imaginary opponent. Coming to his senses three minutes later, he leapt to his feet. "Gentlemen, I am on a Royal Command Bill here with several other acts. Her Majesty commands us to entertain her, we do so with relish and dispatch. The leftover relish I put on a genuine New York hot dog. They're the only things I'm physically capable of eating."
"Get to the point, Woodney!" drawled Twain. "You just wasted a fraction of a diamond. What are we doing here?"
Suddenly Allenby wasn't joking anymore. He looked scared to death as he stared straight into Twain's eyes and said quietly "I need you to protect me from myself."
"YOURSELF?" asked Einstein skeptically. "Are we expected to believe that you've become a werewolf or something?"
"I don't know what's going on." Allenby admitted. "But I've seen myself sitting in the audience for three days running. And this morning I saw myself hanging around backstage. Same clothes, same hair, same face. I'd know me anywhere- it was me alright! The thing that scares me is…" here he gulped, and sweat ran down his pasty forehead, "I think someone is trying to replace me. I don't know who- my agent? My manager? Someone who doesn't like my comedy…? Or perhaps a fpreign power, like the russians or the
Red Chinese. I need you fellas to protect me, and maybe, just maybe, get to the bottom of this." Here he stopped and looked at them imploringly.
"Okay, Woodney, we're get you through this," Twain offered. "Why don't you start by introducing us to everybody in the theater."
"Start with the chorus girls," suggested Einstein. But as they exited the dressing room the first person they encountered was the very opposite of a chorus girl- instead, he was an enormous, angry man in a bowler hat and plaid suit. His huge mustache wiggled as he confronted them. "Allenby! You're the first member of the cast I've been able to locate. I want to know when I'm going to be paid, Allenby! I could be renting out this theater to an actual, paying musical instead of you royal hopefuls."
"You know the deal, Mister Snavely," replied Allenby suavely. "We get paid when the Queen comes by and sees our show, and not a minute before. She has a cold, but sent word she's hopes to stop by sometime this week." "You'd better hope she does!" bellowed Snavely, but before he knew what had happened he was accosted by Twain & Einstein. "Why are you trying to copy this man?" bluffed Twain, but Einstein was even more aggressive. "Let's tie this man to a chair and torture him till he tells us the plot!"
"P-police! Help!" shouted Snavely as he ran away. "Well, that's one suspect we can cross off the list. Now, where are these chorus girls?" asked Einstein.
Several hours later the celebrated duo had been introduced to the entire personnel of the theater. They were the usual assortment of showbiz types who would be involved in a stage production designed to appeal to the Monarchical set. None of them, though, seemed guilty or even intelligent enough to produce a copy of Allenby. The low point of the afternoon was when Snavely returned with two policemen to serve a writ of eviction. "Either you pay me by tomorrow or I'm kicking you all out!" he asserted. The producer, a timid man named Dwilbert McWimpy, shrugged helplessly. "If her Majesty doesn't show up tonight, we're all homeless," he sighed. "I've tried to phone her, to beg her to come, but the line's always busy."
Einstein and Twain kept up their surveillance of Allenby, but saw nothing, until he excused himself to go to the bathroom. "You can wait outside, fellas," he suggested, "but come in if you hear anything unusual." The erudite twosome positioned themselves one either side of the door and waited. Suddenly there was a grinding noise, a deafening scraping of rock against steel. "Probably his belt buckle" offered Einstein. This was followed by a wrenching, tearing noise and a number of piercing screams from Allenby. "Guy sure makes a lot of noise using the can," editorialized Twain. There was a choking noise, and then the sound of something being dragged across broken steel and glass. This was followed by the tinkle of running water, and then Allenby stepped out from the Men's room, straightening his tie. "Excuse the noise, gentlemen, that's simply how I do my business."
"I understand, sometimes it's good to be noisy," said Einstein, who had lived in Germany.
"Give me a moment, I believe I'll vacate in these premises," quipped Twain, and he stepped into the men's room before Allenby could stop him. What he saw was a total shock. The toilet stalls had been flattened as if by a giant paw, and the sinks had been smashed to the ground and stomped into powder. Twain was forced to urinate on the debris of the urinals as he surveyed the back wall. A giant hole had appeared, the entrance to a tunnel that led gently down… towards the center of the Earth.
"I tied up Allenby and knocked him out," offered Einstein as he entered and saw the hole. It took him a moment to understand. "Wait a minute- he wasn't the real Allenby? So that's probably why I did it. Let's go down that hole and earn those gems." Lighting a match, he stepped into the darkness, which blazed into colorful light. "The things we do for twinklestones" sighed Twain, before following his partner down the sloping tunnel.
For hours they trudged. Suddenly they came to an underground grotto where a friendly but sad-looking bunch of little colorful elfin people lived. Einstein asked why they were so sad. "We're oppressed!" said one of the elves. To cheer them up, Einstein did a funny little dance, and that led to a whole big musical number that was very amusing. Then it ended and the twosome made their farewells and moved on, heading onwards into the depths of the Earth.