It was early afternoon when the door chime sounded and a tall, dark-haired man walked into the showroom of Bradford’s Menswear. Behind a counter displaying a colorful assortment of bowties and cummerbunds was a young woman with purple streaked hair. She sat on a stool reading the latest Hollywood news magazine. Thankfully prom season was over and things had calmed down, so she was able to catch up on all the gossip again. Not wanting to hear the store manager complain, she closed the magazine and walked toward the dumbstruck man standing just inside the door.
“Hello and welcome to Bradford’s Menswear. I’m Jessica, how may I help youse today?” She sounded bored and over rehearsed. Her thick Brooklyn accent was made all the more obvious by the vowels of the practiced speech.
“Hello, umm, I’m getting married next month and well, friends of mine recommended I come here. They said that, ahh…” he looked at the note in his hand, “Raoul could help me.” He finished hopefully, looking up, praying that the purple streaked girl was not Raoul.
“I’m sorry. Raoul ran to the bank. He should be back in a few minutes. Would you like to wait?”
“You’re welcome to look around or youse can have a seat and wait,” Jessica said, snapping her gum.
“I’ll wait over here.” He pointed to the two chairs flanking the front window. He picked up a copy of ‘Groom’s World, the first men’s wedding magazine’. Who knew there was even such a thing as a men’s wedding magazine, he thought to himself.
Within five minutes the front door burst open and a man wearing a yellow seersucker suit, paisley tie and bright blue crocodile shoes came flying in. “I yam back, Yessica. Deed de chipment of labeder assesseries I was eggspecting come in?”
“Nah,” she said with a deep sigh. “Nuttin’ exciting happened while youse was gone. Except Brad Pitt called and can’t make it to dinnah tonight.” Jessica teased with their long running gag.
“Damn, turd time he has cancelled on me. I tink I let hem stay wit dat Angelina, ugh.” He burst into a deep laugh. Seeing the man in a leather jacket sitting quietly in the chair he walked over and stuck out his hand. “Hello, I yam Raoul, can I help chew?”
The dark-haired man stood up, stuck his hand out. “Nice to meet you, I’m Spider Webster. My friends recommended I stop by. I’m getting married next month and I need a tuxedo.”
“Next month?” Raoul asked in disbelief. “Dat ees not enough time. I need seex weeks minimum.”
“Damn. Jim, Dan and the guys were sure you’d be able to help me out.”
“Chim and Dan, de Boob-Whites Chim and Dan?” Raoul stopped and looked at the man in the leather jacket.
“Umm, Boob-Whites?” Spider asked in confusion and then it dawned on him. “Ah, Bob-Whites, YES! Jim, Dan, Mart, and Brian … they all said I had to come here.”
“De Boob-Whites and I are berry, berry close. Chew come wit me.” He grabbed Spider by the wrist and starting pulling him towards the back room. “Yessica, ve are going to go take care of a queek feeting. Eff Brad calls poot hem chrew. Boot eef eet ees anyone else, dunt deesturb me, pour favor.”
“Got it,” Jessica said, clearly happy to left alone with her magazine.
In the back room, Raoul took his jacket off and hung it on a wooden clothes valet. He carefully placed wire framed glasses on his aquiline nose. “Dey are new. De doctor said my eeys qwere gouing bad. Pah! But dees frames are so gorjuice. Chess?”
“Chess, umm, yes, they’re nice.” Spider was beginning to think the guys were pulling his leg. He began to look around the back room for a hidden camera or someplace they might be hiding. This guy couldn’t be for real, could he?
“Araña, chew take off cheur coat and ve vill geet started.” Raoul picked up a clip board and tape measure. “I need to take cheur measchurments.”
Taking his jacket off, Spider placed it on the back of a near-by chair. He had barely turned around before he found his neck encircled by a tape measure and as quickly as it was there, it was whisked away. His arms were pushed up and the assault continued.
As he was working, Raoul made notes on the clipboard. “So tell me, how long do chew know de Boob-Whites?”
Spider stood still and answered carefully, “Wow, I’ve known them since they were teenagers. In fact, one of my first arrests when I was new to the force was the Belden kids’ kidnapping.” This snippet of information shocked Raoul as he was measuring Spider’s inseam.
Inadvertently goosing the officer, the tailor apologized profusely. “I yam so sorry. I dunt mean to do dat. Eet’s jes chew saying dey qwere keednapped. Chew are pulling on my leg.”
“Nope, they were in the back of a trailer that was being driven out of town. Next thing I know, there are all these pots and pans flying at me while I was at my regular post,” Spider recalled the story from so long ago.
“Chew are poor real? Vitch Belden? I canna eemagine eet.” Raoul sat back on his heels looking up in absolute amazement. “Espikey? El Grande? Not mi dulce Treexie?”
“Huh? Spikey?? Umm, it was Mart and Trixie in the trailer, in their pajamas. Arrested a wanted felon that night; made a great addition to my jacket. Of course, I had to clean up the pots and pans before Molinson would let me finish booking Tilney Britten.”
“I yam jes amazed. Dees Boob-Whites are teeching me to be on my toes. Chew say dey qwere teenagers? Mi Dios, a sus padres pobres.
Spider, not really wanting to be groped again, but knowing he needed to get a tuxedo ordered said, “So, Raoul, do you think you’ll be able to get me a tux in time?”
“Chew keep telling me dees stories, I hab a tuxedo poor chew mañana.” The handsome Latino reached into a small fridge. “Cervesa?”
We promised Raoul a while ago that he was going to get to come back and visit, but in our crazy ‘Double Dog Dare You Universe’, that hasn’t happened. He poked at us and said that picture #25 was borrowed from his website and he deserved to tell a little tale. This snippet comes in at 1,025.
We do not own Spider Webster or any of the other original characters. They belong to Random House. The events Spider talks about come from book #4: The Mysterious Visitor.
However, we do own Raoul, Jessica and Bradford’s Menswear and we lub them! Hopefully we’ll see them again soon.
Raoul asked us to mention that ‘mi dulce’ means my sweet and ‘Mi Dios, a sus padres pobres’ means My Lord, their poor parents. (We had to ask, too.)
Edits provided by the lovely Joycey but any errors belong to us.
Background is from Shutterstock. Manipulated and made black & white by Jo.