"I wish my agent Morty was here," Jimmy muttered. "He knows how to negotiate." Then he had a thought.
"Wait a minute. John and Jimmy and Gilda and Madeline - you're talking all these new kids... "
Jimmy stood up laboriously, ignoring the pain in his chest. "You bitch about your job, and you took Ernie Kovacs from us so soon? Man, come on. You couldn't have, like, taken Chevy Chase?"
Jimmy began to get that feeling, the feeling you get right when you're about to get control of the house, right when you know you're about to hold the audience in the palm of your hand. He had the room. He had it.
"What the hell was the problem? You take every-damn-body else and leave us with Chevy Chase? What, there was no more room in the van?"
The Stranger's eyes glowed with an angry glint that Jimmy somehow knew was a reflection of the Big Bang.
Then the Stranger cracked up. Laughter shook the walls of the dressing room. For one amazing moment, all the fatigue left the Stranger's face. Then he looked slightly startled.
"We might be able to sort something out, at that," he said at last. "Do you know how long it's been since anyone made me laugh?"
Jimmy grinned. "I'll bite. 'HOW-LONG- HAS-IT---' "
The Stranger cut him off. "Never."
From "Off the Hook" by Ed Morris and Lou Antonelli.
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