At the Ellsworth house, Sophia is playing Slap the Drunk. Hee! No, no. She and Jane are playing that slap-hands game that I am sure has a name but I don't know it and this time Wikipedia probably won't help me. ["I got you, Al. One for the road." -- Joe R] A knock at the door reveals Joanie, who just came by in her latest stunning ensemble and signature grey hat to say hello to Jane and Sophia and ask if they need anything. Jane jokes to Sophia that Joanie could read her mind that she needed unguent to deal with the violent slaps the girl was administering. "That's my purpose [going to] the center [of town]," Joanie plays along. "Stopped to ask if you needed aught else." Jane is being downright flirtatious and says if she did need something, she believes Joanie would already know about it -- wink, wink. Hey, hey, now. None of that in front of the kid. Joanie nods a little and looks at Sophia. "Hit her a good one for me," she tells the girl, and Sophia says she will. She will, too -- the child slaps harder than Naomi Campbell in an airplane full of maids.
Hearst is back on the floor when he is disturbed again by E.B. at his door. E.B. is a mess, y'all. I mean, more than usual. He squeaks that he's looking for Mr. Hearst. "Well," Hearst rudely calls out from the floor, "who do you think you're talkin' to?" E.B. admits that "of late, I'm at pains to be certain which voices are within me and which without." Hearst doesn't have time for this nonsense and tells him to come in. Rest assured, however, that E.B.'s nonsense has only just begun. "I've sensed for some while we owed each other a talk," he tells Hearst. "Let the outcome be grim or worse, I'll at least be relieved that it's past." Saying nothing, Hearst holds up a letter. E.B. squints and creeps close, shielding his face from any spitbomb sneak attacks Hearst may be planning. "May I look at the addressee?" he asks, playing the sycophant like only he can play it and enraging Hearst in the process. "How will you know to whom it is to be delivered if you do not?" the butthole asks and, seeing the letter's intended recipient, E.B. goes pale beneath the grease on his face and goes on his way.
The Original Shit Stirrer is playing a rather one-sided game of checkers with the unresponsive Steve down at Nuttall's. As a matter of fact, he's flipped a checker at Steve's mouth where it is stuck to his lip. Score one for the OSS. From the bar, Tom looks on with actual fondness as Harry sweeps in the doorway. He is proud of Harry for his campaigning job and has a surprise for him. He calls him over and uncovers a large crate in the corner. It's the fire wagon! Harry stops breaking wind for five minutes to break into an awed smile. "The Finster Model 60 steam pumper fire wagon," Tom declares proudly. They go over the hardware. It has a 120-gallon boiler, three brass nozzles and a nickel-finished firebox. Tom could not be more proud. Suddenly, something occurs to Harry. "Did the hats come?" he reverently asks, and this love story is interrupted by the entrance of the NG who has come to collect Steve to cast a vote for Bullock. An interesting strategy. Forgive me for saying so, but I think President Bush got a lot of votes in his last election from the League of Horse-Kicked Voters, too.