Once upon a Time two Mavericks lived together in a Cubby-Hole in a European Hotel in a surging Metropolis.
They worked for a grinding Corporation, each pulling down a Stipend that enabled him to indulge in Musical Comedies, Rotation Pool, Turkish Cigarettes, Link Buttons and other Necessities of Life.
Often they would put their Feet on the Window Sill and talk about the Future.
They said that every Man should have a Home of his Own. To the Beanery thrice a Day and then back to the Box Stall was no Life for a refined Caucasian.
Number One had a Theory that Two could get along as cheaply as One, if Wife would practise Rigid Economy. Rents were lower in the Suburbs. He looked up into the Pipe-Smoke and caught a Vision of a Bungalow with Hollyhocks in front and a Hammock swinging in the Breeze. Somehow he felt that he never would save any Money until he took the High Jump and became a Family Man.
Number Two had a vague Yearning to experiment with Matrimony, but he said he would wait until he was Fixed. When he could open up the little Bank-Book and see in plain sight the Ice-Box and the Talking Machine and the Dining-Room Chairs, then, and not until then, would he ask a Nice Girl to leave a Comfortable Home and take a Gamble.
Number One picked out a Stenographer who was ready to retire, on account of her Spelling, and then he called on the License Clerk, a Presbyterian Minister and the Weekly Payment shark.
He packed up his Banjo and the Military Brushes and left Number Two marooned in the Rat Pit with the Oak Dresser and the Pictures of Anna Held on the Wall.
Number Two said he would swim the River and join him in the Promised Land as soon as he was Two Thousand to the Good.
Soon after the break-up of the Damon and Pythias Combination, one of them was transferred to the Detroit Branch.
They did not meet again until ten years later.
One day the Benedict had little Marjorie and the Baby out at the Public Zoo, so they could hear the Sea Lions bark, when Number Two came along in a Sight-Seeing Automobile with other Delegates to the National Conclave of the Knights of Neurasthenia.
It was a Happy Meeting between the two Old Friends.
Number One reported that his Little Girl could recite long Poems by Heart and was about to take Music Lessons. He was living in a Flat, but was about to move.
Number Two said he was Finer than Silk except that Hotel Cooking had got to him at last and he had to stop in and see an Osteopath every Morning.
“You are still Unmarried?” asked Number One.
“Yes,” was the Reply. “I am still $2,230 Shy of what a Guy needs before tackling such a risky Game. How are you making it?”
“I am Broke, thank you,” replied Number One.
With the utmost Good Feeling re-established between them, they took Marjorie and the Baby over to see the Sacred Cow and the other Dumb Animals.
Moral: Opportunity knocks once at Every Man’s Door and then keeps on Knocking.
The Undecided Bachelors – Knocking the Neighbors