Episode one link
Jimmy's left half sat awkwardly in the passenger seat of Bob Larkin's green 1971 Dodge Dart. The bleeding had stopped, mostly, but a towel was placed on the seat to catch the odd dripping and/or leakage.
"This is the part of the job I hate, Left Jimmy," Larkin said, mopping his brow with a crocheted doily. "It doesn't seem right to separate you from your right side like that, especially when profits are up. Sure, we'll help place you somewhere else, but you were probably pretty attached to your right side, pardon the pun."
"Who cares?" Jimmy's left half said (though to the untrained ear his speech sounded like "sssaaa ungh ungh goo sa fmmp ungh ungh," Larkin had become accustomed to the particularities of half-mouth speech). "I'm glad to be free. Guy's a pussy. Right Jimmy 's been a thorn in my left side for years now."
"Oh, really?" Larkin said. "If what you say is true, and I have no reason to doubt you, why did you let Right Jimmy dominate Whole Jimmy's personality?"
"Because I'm fuckin' lazy, that's why," Left Jimmy said. "I chipped in on the typing and the eating lunch, but I let super-douche take care of the rest. I didn't even know we were in a frat until the third year of school. I was laying low. Think I'd join up with a bunch of salad tossers in backwards baseball caps and beaded necklaces? Think again, fuckface."
Larkin stroked his chin and smiled.
"I think I know a guy who can set you up with a job," he said. "His name's Tony. He used to run a job service for people in your predicament. It's called Half a Chance. He sold it to Martha Stewart last year. And he still likes to give guys like you half a chance, but in a slightly different market."
"Tony?" Left Jimmy said. "Sounds like some pasta-making queer. I don't think so. No more shit jobs for me. I'm probably just going to buy an RV and sell crank to junior high kids."
"That is a solid option, but hear me out," Larkin said. "You get in good with Tony, and not only will you get your RV, but also enough extra to pick up a few Quonset huts and a Carl's Jr. franchise. And you won't be selling crank to junior high kids. You'll be selling crack to rich housewives of aluminum siding executives."
"I'm listening," Left Jimmy said. "You're lucky you mentioned Quonset huts. Does Crustnet Enterprises know you consort with crack dealers?"
"I consort on my own time," Larkin said. "It's not like I'm e-mailing him from my work computer."
Nobody said anything for a while.
"Well?" Larkin said grumpily. "Do you want me to call Tony or don't you?"
"Fine," Left Jimmy said. "Set it up."
Thirty minutes later, Larkin and Left Jimmy were parked in front of the gates to Tony's sumptuous estate, a sprawling 54-acre compound that was the end result of the only known collaboration between Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry. Larkin pushed the buzzer and waited for the gates to open.
"Why are you doing this for me?" Left Jimmy asked.
A single tear trickled down Larkin's left cheek.
"Because you remind me of my son," he said.
Larkin and Left Jimmy were sitting in the Jacuzzi in Tony's living room. Tony sat in an Aeron chair on the other side of the room, in a Speedo and a t-shirt embossed with the phrase "I got Lewinsky-ed on Padre Island Spring Break 2002," with a sleeping tiger cub in his lap. The cub was named Ronnie Van Zant. A blonde woman in a bikini combed his hair while he talked.
"I've got a feeling about you, Left Jimmy," he said. "You're a born salesman. But we need to do something about your downsizing. We need to upsize you. These are upscale women, our customers. They don't want to buy anything from half a man. Left Jimmy, how would you feel about a full half-body robotic prosthesis?"
"I'd love it!" Left Jimmy shouted.
"Your enthusiasm warms my heart, Jimmy," Tony said, smiling and stroking the cub. "For what you've given me today in enthusiasm, I repay in robotics. I'm going to pony up the dough for the prosthetic attachment, complete with extra-strength robotic claw. Your right hand is going to be a claw, Jimmy! Think of it. You can crack nuts with it! A robotic claw! It's every boy's dream!
"I'm living the dream," Left Jimmy said. "This is really happening."
"Do you play keyboards, Jimmy?" Tony said. "Our keyboard player just quit to go to law school right after I wrote some new material that really cooks."
"You have a band?" Left Jimmy said. "What are you guys called?"
"Ass Disagreement," Tony said. "We play heavy blues with a slight trip-hop inflection and a couple of Glenn Frey covers. 'Smuggler's Blues,' 'The Heat is On.' The bitches go nuts when we play. I mean they go apeshit."
"Sounds great, but I don't really play anything. A little acoustic guitar, but that's about it."
"Don't worry," Tony said. "We'll program the claw to play keyboards. We can attach the prosthetic this Thursday. Get used to it over the weekend, then be here on Monday at noon to start working. Sound good?"
"Sounds real good," Left Jimmy said.
After his visitors were gone, Tony grabbed his cell phone and dialed Frank's number.
"Frank," Tony said. "Guess what? We have a new keyboard player."