There is a game called Irish Roulette that you play with a potato gun. I was explaining this to my brother Chico one afternoon while he was visiting me in my lavish penthouse apartment 20 floors above Los Angeles. Then he left, whistling. I knew he’d be back.
Chico visited weekly. Usually he came alone. One day he told me that he would be bringing a guest. I expected a certain starlet who I had spotted on the lot. She had a tattoo of a scorpion on her ankle. I only knew that because once I saw a picture of her with her clothes on. In her natural state you would never have noticed.
When Chico showed up, though, he was holding a baby. “A man visited me from the future,” he said. “He gave me this baby. It was engineered from our cells, which they scraped from costumes. The baby is half you, half me, and half Harpo. Isn’t that something? I would never have believed it if I did not look in his eyes. See for yourself.” I did. Chico was absolutely right. The resemblance was staggering. “I wish Frenchie and Minnie had lived to see this,” I said.
“In the future they will bring them back to life from hairs found on the insides of their hats,” he said. Chico was an idiot but he had a point.
The two of us passed the child back and forth and were overtaken by a sense of serenity and ownership. We sang the baby a selection of popular songs from our childhood, like “Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday on Saturday Night?,” “Who Takes Care of the Caretaker’s Daughter?,” and “Nifter-shmifter, a Leben Macht Er?” Good questions, all. Then we talked for the better part of an hour. Where Chico is concerned, the very end is the better part.
The next time he came to see me he said he’d be bringing a guest again and I anticipated the baby. This time, however, it was the starlet. She kept disappearing with Chico into the back room and, upon their return, dosing herself with a potion of jackass bitters, citrus oil, and cocaine. “Fancy a little snort?” she asked me.
I declined. We all do. In 1977 I died.