Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
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First published in The Saturday Evening Post, 1 January 1944

This e-book edition: Roy Glashan's Library, 2024
Version Date: 2024-01-08

Produced by Matthias Kaether and Roy Glashan
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The Saturday Evening Post, 1 January 1944,
with "Get Out and Get Under"

Mr. Bishop will never forget the day he (a) had ashes thrown in his face; (b) found a man under his wife's bed; (c) was himself accused of seduction.

BURGOYNE BISHOP was one of these solid citizens who look as though they had grown up holding an anvil under each arm. He walked with a slight list to starboard, even when sober, due to the efforts of some other sturdy young men to tear his legs off while he was carrying a football past them.

He came into the kitchen of his apartment now and yelled, "Oh, for crying out loud!" at the top of his voice. He waited, listening. There was no noticeable reply. He was wearing a red composition helmet on his head and carrying a cupola-style tin lunch-box. Putting them down on the drainboard, he went through the swing door into the living room.

"Oh, for crying out loud!" he yelled.

"Hush, pet," said Tessie Bishop, "or Mrs. Parsadik will accuse us of pasturing a cow in the parlor."

She was sitting on the chesterfield reading a magazine. She was small and trig and blond, and she was wearing a loose-fitting slack suit and a tight-fitting snood. She had her legs stretched out straight across the coffee table, and her feet, suspended in mid-air, were bare. She was wiggling her toes luxuriously.

Bishop watched the toes for a moment and then picked up the fly-swatter from the top of the bookcase.

"I wouldn't," said Tessie, still reading.

"Wouldn't what?" Bishop asked.

"Clown around in your customarily oafish manner. What were you bellowing about?"

"I'm happy," said Bishop. "I love you."

"You should have told me that before you married me. It's too late to do anything about it now. Run in and take a shower, honey pot. You smell, and I speak both literally and figuratively. I want to finish this continued story. It's the last installment."

"Okay," said Bishop. He went in through the hall that led to the bedroom and came out again a moment later trailing his bedraggled blue shirt by one limp sleeve. "Why didn't you take them off before instead of after?"

"Certainly," said Tessie.

"I have to sleep in it, too, remember."

"No, love," said Tessie, reading.

"And incidentally, it was your turn to make it this morning."

"In a minute," said Tessie. She looked up suddenly. "What are we talking about?"

"The bed."

"It's a fascinating subject," Tessie told him. "Proceed."

Bishop took a deep breath. "Why didn't you take your shoes off before you took a nap in it instead of after you got up?"

"Bed," Tessie said thoughtfully. "Shoes. Nap. You're even more incoherent than usual tonight, sweetsy. Try again. 'Pit it out in mamma's hand."

Bishop waved the shirt at her. "You took a nap in the bed with your shoes on!"

"You lie in your teeth," said Tessie. "I nursed the dear little drill press overtime today. I got home just five minutes before you did, and I haven't even been in the bedroom, and, incidentally, right back at you, I did make the bed this morning, and a very classy piece of work I put out too."

"Somebody has been sleeping in it with their shoes on," Bishop maintained flatly. "I guess I've slept in enough beds with my shoes on to be able to tell."

Tessie put the magazine down reluctantly.

"If this is one of your cute gags, pearly pie, you won't laugh for very long."

She got up and padded through the hall into the bedroom with Bishop breathing indignantly down the back of her neck.

"There!" he said dramatically. "See?"

There was no chance for an argument on the facts. The bed was not made. The covers drooled messily over the side and the end, and there were brown smears and heel-marks on the exposed sheets.

Tessie frowned. "Are any of those raucous college pals of yours in town?"

"Now that's a fine thing to say!" Bishop yelled. "A loving husband comes home from a hard day in the shipyards, tired and toilworn, and finds his apartment a regular den of filth, and then his wife has the nerve—"

"Tush, honey pot. You'll make mamma cry. Well, if it wasn't goons, it must have been grem—"

"Now don't try to avoid the issue."

There was a low, sibilant buzz from the back doorbell in the kitchen.

"That's your cue," Tessie said. "Run and answer it. Don't speak to any strange men."

From the kitchen Bishop said "Hey!" in a startled voice. There was a sudden clash and clatter and jingle, and then the emphatic bump of the back door closing hard.

Tessie went into the kitchen. Bishop was standing in the middle of the floor absently dusting ashes out of the tightly curled mat of hair on his chest.

"What's the plot?" Tessie asked.

"It was Mrs. Parsadik," Bishop explained. "She threw ashes on me."

He indicated the drift of stubbed-out cigarette butts, burned matches and ashes that covered the floor in front of the door. Tessie pursed her lips. Silently, she got the broom and the dustpan and used the one to sweep the débris into the other. Bishop watched her warily.

"Now look," said Tessie. "I want this cleared up. Mrs. Parsadik rang the back doorbell, and when you went to the door, she threw ashes on you. Is that a reasonably accurate statement of the facts?"

"Yes," Bishop admitted. "Why?"

"You're my husband, sugar lump. The emphasis is on the pronoun there."

"What are you going to do?" Bishop asked.

"I'm going to demonstrate to Mrs. Parsadik that if she wants to throw ashes on a husband, she'd better get one of her own," Tessie said, going out the door and down the outside back stairs.

Bishop stood there for a moment, still dusting ashes off his chest, and then shrugged resignedly. He went into the bedroom, pausing to stare disapprovingly at the bed, and got a pair of clean shorts from the bureau. Carrying them, he went into the bathroom.

In about ten minutes he came out again, wearing the shorts now, and looking antiseptic and shining and slightly damp. He wandered into the kitchen and found a bottle of beer in the refrigerator. Popping the top off, he carried the bottle into the living room.

Tessie was sitting on the chesterfield, reading.

"What happened?" Bishop inquired.

"I don't know. I haven't got to the end yet."

"I don't mean the story. I mean about Mrs. Parsadik."

"I threw her ashes back at her and dotted her one in the eye for good measure."

"Oh," said Bishop. He sat down and drank his beer in thoughtful sips.

The front doorbell rang.

"If that's Mrs. Parsadik," Tessie said, without looking up, "I'll handle her."

"Hey!" Bishop called. "Are you Mrs. Parsadik?"

"No," a muffled but unmistakably masculine voice answered.

Bishop got up and opened the door. The man standing in the hall was small and thin, and his clothes were too large for him. He had a sadly lined face and drooping eyes and an apologetic manner.

"I'm Detective Jenkins," he murmured. "I'm from the police."

"Tell me more," Bishop said.

"It's funny," said Jenkins, "you mentioning Mrs. Parsadik. That is, if your name is Bishop it is—is it?"

"It's Bishop," said Bishop.

"Well, this is about Mrs. Parsadik's niece."

"The bowlegged one?" Bishop asked.

Jenkins looked blank. "I don't know. Is she? Anyway, Mrs. Parsadik says you've been trying to—well, seduce her, or maybe even have already, for all she knows. Mrs. Parsadik knows, I mean. I mean, knows about you and her niece."

Tessie started to laugh uproariously.

Bishop turned around to watch her. "I don't believe it's that funny," he said at last.

Tessie doubled over, gurgling.

"Now look here," said Bishop. "You don't know me when I get rolling. I'm a pretty smooth character."

"The sheik from the shipyards," said Tessie. "The rollicking riveter."

"I suppose you want to give me an inferiority complex?" Bishop asked politely. "I suppose that's the way you think you should treat a husband?"

"Well, look," Jenkins said. "It's not a question of whether you could or not."

Bishop was still staring at Tessie. "I suppose you think I'm repulsive or something? I suppose you think I can't get another wife when I divorce you?"

"Now, tush, pet," Tessie said. "Mamma's very sorry.... You, Jenkins, give us some more of the patter. It's not good, but we're bored tonight."

"Excuse me, ma'am," said Jenkins, "but Mrs. Parsadik says your husband has been seeing her niece on the sly."

"On the sly," Tessie repeated. "That's cute. I'll bet she used those very words too."

"She did. And she doesn't like it. I mean your husband seeing her niece. I mean Mrs. Parsadik doesn't like it. I don't know about the niece."

"Listen, you dilapidated drip," Tessie said slowly. "I don't like your face any better than I do your insinuations. Remove them."

"She means, scram," said Bishop.

"Well, sure, but—"

"Now," said Bishop.

"Well, sure," said Jenkins, backing down the hall.

Bishop shut the door and sat down in his chair.

"I think you're beautiful, lambkin," said Tessie soothingly. "I truly, truly do."

Bishop examined his empty beer bottle.

"I wasn't laughing at you," Tessie told him. "Honest and cross my heart and hope to die. It was just so silly. She's really a very evil-minded old woman, and I'm glad I dotted her one."

"All right," said Bishop. He brooded over his beer bottle in silence for some time.

"Now what?" Tessie asked, watching him.

"I'm hungry."

"Don't worry, dear. It's not fatal—or even contagious."

"Well, how's for getting me some dinner?"

"Not tonight, sweetay. We're going to eat out."

"Oh," said Bishop.

"Now stop sulking, butter-ball. Mamma wants to finish this story. You run in and get dressed. You know it takes you longer than it does me."

"Okay." said Bishop

He went into the bedroom and began to open and shut drawers in a dispirited way. He had got pretty well organized and was standing trouserless, knotting the tie in his shirt, when a voice said cautiously, "Is it safe to come out now?"

"Sure," Bishop said absently. "Any time you—" He whirled around tensely. "What? Who said—"

There was a man looking cautiously out at him from under the bed.

"Stay right there," said Bishop dangerously, "if you value your life!... Tessie!"

"Now don't nag, baby. I'm almost through."

"Tessie!" Bishop yelled. "Come here!"

Tessie appeared in the door. "What?"

Bishop pointed. "Is that yours?"

"Glug," said Tessie, gaping. She drew a deep breath. "Thanks for your flattery, precious, but no.... What are you doing under there, you?"

"Just hiding," said the man.

"That's all right," Tessie told him. "Think nothing of it. We like people to hide under our bed. But what we don't like is to have them lie on top of it with their shoes on."

"Say, I'm sorry about that. I was afraid to take them off because I might have had to leave suddenly. I'm a soldier."

"These modern military maneuvers are certainly fascinating," Tessie observed. "Come out from under that bed right about now."

The soldier slid out into the middle of the floor and got cautiously to his feet. He didn't have far to go. He was a small and fragile soldier. He wore rimless glasses and had a slight stoop.

"Private," he said shyly, pointing to the single stripe on his sleeve. "First class. My name is Carlson."

"As if we cared," said Tessie. "Let's go on about the bed. Do you know how long it takes to get sheets back from the laundry now?"

"Gee, I'm sorry," said Carlson, and he looked it. "I tried to be careful. I wasn't going to go to sleep, but I was so tired. Then I heard someone yell, and it scared me so that I kicked around a little getting off the bed and under it."

"But why?" Tessie asked. "Not that it matters. But just for the record, why were you on our bed in the first place?

"Henrietta said it would be all right to come up here and hide for a while. Henrietta said you were both defense workers. She said you worked at the aircraft factory and he worked at the shipyards. She said you never locked the back door."

"Henrietta?" Tessie repeated. "Something new has been added. Who is she?"

"She lives downstairs."

"Mrs. Parsadik's niece!" Bishop blurted. "That's the bowlegged little dim-wit who—"

"Ahem," Tessie said.

"What?" said Bishop. "Oh. You mean Henrietta. Yes. Yes, yes. Henrietta. I know who you mean."

"She's not very bowlegged," said Carlson.

"What?" said Bishop. "Henrietta? Oh, no, no. I was thinking of someone else entirely. I mean, Henrietta is—is—"

"I'll take it from there," Tessie told him. "Henrietta has a wonderful personality."

"Not so very wonderful," Carlson denied.

"What?" said Tessie.

"Not so very wonderful. I wouldn't want her to have. I wouldn't want to marry a woman who was always dominating you and overbearing and all."

"You didn't take it far," said Bishop to Tessie. "Listen, Carlson: you've really got something there. Never marry a woman with a personality. I could tell you things that would make your blood run cold and—"

"Relax," said Tessie. "It seems to me I heard the word marriage mentioned. I take it, then, that you have honorable intentions toward Henrietta?"

"Yes," said Carlson seriously. "We're going to elope."


"Just as soon as Henrietta can get away tonight. Her aunt locks her in the bedroom in back, and I'm going to help her get out the window."

"Mrs. Parsadik objects to you?" Tessie asked.

Carlson nodded. "I don't think she likes anyone very well. She has to take care of Henrietta because Henrietta's parents are dead, but she doesn't like to. She's mean to Henrietta. She won't let her go out with young people at all—not especially a soldier. I met her in the library—in the etymology section—just before I enlisted. As soon as I got leave, I came back. I just got in today. I rode three days and two nights on the bus."

Tessie watched him for a moment. "Do you smoke, Carlson?"


"Did you smoke downstairs today?"

Carlson nodded. "Yes. In the kitchen while I was talking to Henrietta. Mrs. Parsadik was shopping."

Tessie looked at Bishop. "Get it?"

"What?" he asked.

"You've been substituting for Carlson. Mrs. Parsadik keeps the eagle eye on Henrietta. When she came home she found cigarette butts and ashes and Henrietta blushing and listening and watching our apartment up here. Mrs. Parsadik added two and two and got you."

"Oh," said Bishop.

"Carlson," said Tessie, "it's as dark now as it will ever be, and Henrietta is probably shut up for the night. Why don't you go on and arrange your affairs?

"Sure," said Carbon. "I guess I'd better. Thanks for everything. And I'm awfully sorry about the bed.

"That's all right."

"Well, good-by," said Carbon.

He went on out of the bedroom, and they heard him close the back door quietly.

Bishop went out into the kitchen and counted the bottles of beer in the refrigerator. He opened the back door and looked out and down into the darkened back area way. There was a muffled scrape and a bump from somewhere below.

"Pssst," said Bishop. "Carlson?"

The shadows moved and pooled in front of the garage doors, and the light glinted from Carlson's glasses.

"What's the matter?" Bishop asked him.

"The window's too high for Henrietta to jump. She said there was a stepladder in the garage, but I can't find it in the dark."

"I know where it is," Bishop said, going down the stairs.

They groped their way into the garage and pulled the stepladder down from the rafters.

"It's tricky," Bishop said. "I'll show you how to set it up."

They carried it around the corner of the house.

"This window," Carlson whispered.

They unfolded the stepladder, and Carlson climbed up it and tapped on the window-pane. The sash squeaked up an inch at a time.

"Sh-h-h." said Carlson. "Hand out your suitcase."

Henrietta was blubbering in excited little gasps.

"I—I can't lift it. I packed all my text hooks."

"Now it's books," Bishop muttered. "Go in and get it, Carlson. Hand it out to me."

Carlson crawled through the window. Bishop climbed up the ladder and sat down on the top step. He waited.

"There!" said a voice that had all the intimate appeal of a fire-siren.

Bishop barely saved himself from going off the stepladder backward.

"There!" said Mrs. Parsadik, looming tall and gaunt and terrible in the darkness. "You see?"

"Sure do," said Jenkins, small and shadowy beside her. "Now you got him. Breaking and entering. Burglary, maybe. That's a felony."

"Tessie!" Bishop yelled.

The light on the side of the garage snapped on suddenly and brilliantly, and Tessie strolled around the corner. She was wearing a white dress now and white open-toed pumps and a white turban. She looked as carefully restrained as a movie actress—not the one with the teeth, the other one—about to play a tensely dramatic scene.

"Now!" said Mrs. Parsadik. "Now I guess you'll sing a different tune! I guess you can believe your own eyes, can't you?

"Yes," said Tessie, "but I had no idea you'd try to brazen it out when I caught you red-handed."

"What?" said Mrs. Parsadik blankly.

Tessie narrowed her eyes and sighted at her. "Did you think that your childish attempts at camouflage would deceive me? I've known for some time that you and my husband were conducting an affair of the most sordid sort. Well, I warned you. You'll find a woman scorned is not to be trifled with. I shall unmask you as the loathsome love-thief you are."

Mrs. Parsadik's mouth opened and shut like an old-fashioned pocketbook.

"Hey, ma'am," said Jenkins. "You got it all—"

"You, Jenkins." Tessie said, "are the accomplice and accessory of these two in their scandalous and illegal pursuits. I shall report your actions to the proper authorities. In addition, I shall sue you for one million dollars for aiding and abetting this—this person in alienating my husband's affections."

"Mrs. Bishop!" Mrs. Parsadik screamed. "No, no, no! I'm not—I didn't— It's your husband and my niece!"

Tessie sneered. "That's a likely story. Especially in view of the fact that I just saw your niece going out the front door carrying her suitcase and wearing a soldier on her arm."

"Yeeeah!" said Mrs. Parsadik. She went around the corner so fast the echoes couldn't catch her.

Jenkins looked carefully in all directions, picked a good one, and went that way with speed and determination.

Tessie crooked her finger. "Come, Bishop."

Bishop got down from the stepladder and followed her around the corner and up the stairs. Carlson and Henrietta were in the kitchen, looking into each other's eyes. They were standing very close together to do this, probably because they were both nearsighted.

"I went downstairs and unlocked the bedroom door and let them out the front way while you were playing Commando in back," Tessie said.

"Thanks," said Carlson absently.

"Huh," said Bishop, opening the refrigerator and counting the beer bottles suspiciously.

"They have a license," said Tessie. "And I've arranged for their wedding. They're going to stay here tonight. We're going to a hotel."

Bishop slammed the refrigerator door.

"We are not going—"

"Yes, love flake," said Tessie. "Do go on."

"—to be able to find a hotel room this late," Bishop finished mildly.

Carlson tore himself away from Henrietta. "Oh, that won't be necessary, thanks. We'll drop in on the old man. He's got lots of room."

"Old man," Bishop repeated. "Old man? Carlson?"

"Carlson!" Tessie said. "Would that be the Carlson, of the Carlson Consolidated Ship Construction Company and the Carlson Clipper-Wing Aircraft Corporation?"

"I suppose so," said Carlson. "The old man is always buying and selling things. He's mad at me right now because I enlisted in the Army instead of going to West Point or Annapolis or something, but he'll probably get over it."

Tessie nudged Bishop.

"Get in there and fight. The old man will make you a vice-president for this."

"You get in and fight," Bishop said. "You get to be vice-president. I'd rather have dinner."


Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
Go to Home Page
This work is out of copyright in countries with a copyright
period of 70 years or less, after the year of the author's death.
If it is under copyright in your country of residence,
do not download or redistribute this file.
Original content added by RGL (e.g., introductions, notes,
RGL covers) is proprietary and protected by copyright.