45 Enter dork thug!

It was nearly inconceivable that Uncle Joe could have anything as legitimate as a sister-in-law, but he did, so he said hello.
“Hi, Sis.”
“Joe.” Kar had never liked the way he looked her up and down.
“Hi, Drew.”
“‘g bb gn u’c’ J’.”
“You little s___,” Joe silently completed his greeting. Once again, he thought, “I wish my name was Drew.” And the What-might-have-beens recirculated. “Joe,” and the only club he’d ever been invited to join since Cub Scouts was the Safeway Club, which he declined out of embarrassment for not having a phone number. “Drew,” and he saw himself waved into the Lagunitas Club, the tip of the top, the tennis among redwoods and live oaks elite. His prom date might have been a Branson School girl in pink instead of his continuation school classmate who’d passed out from drug abuse toxicity while he was pinning on her corsage (because she’d never had to stand in one place for so long). Joe was thirty-three. He could have been making headway in the Republican or Democratic Party by now, with all the contacts he’d have had, if his name were Drew.
“Andrew Guss.” It was slick. “Senator Andrew Guss.” “Governor Guss.” That one had a Power To The People ring. Do-able, if his name was Drew, not Joe. “President Andrew Guss.” The shiny black limos, Air Force One, free trips to Europe . . .
“Enter dork thug!” Alain de Tochigi, the Frisco Ninja, whispered urgently into the cell phone. “Twirpy headband, t-shirt no sleeves, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ tattoo. Talking to Auntie Kar! Brief nod to baby Drew!”
“That’s little Andrew’s worthless do-nothing uncle, Joe. An attitude problem, probably born with it, according to my intelligence,” Ross replied.
“Looks like! However! Makes bicyclists look like lint, compared!”
“The lint in the earthworm’s belly button . . .” Ross elaborated on the Frisco Ninja’s prompt.
“Hah hah hah! You funny!”
_____ _____ whispered as she listened. “It is funny, Ross. It’s also a line from an Italian short subject film.”
“Alain, _____ insists on attribution.” Ross looked at _____ _____ quizzically, “Even just yimmin’ and yammin’?”
“Yes, always. A lot of effort goes into making films. Even short ones. An incredible amount of effort, time . . .”
“Frisco, I’m getting a lecture. Over and out, but don’t cut the line.”
“Okay boss!”
Was that a film starring Rossano Brazzi? The lint in the earthworm’s belly button. The Frisco Ninja laughed again.


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