“Well, Mr. Fitzgerald, what can I do for you today?” It was in a high office with a view of that gold building.
“I want a raise, Mr. Cakebook,” I said.
“I’m about to get married. You’re only paying me Ninety-Five Dollars a month and, of course, with a family to support I’ve got to think of money.”
Into his grey eyes came a faraway look.
“Ninety-Five Dollars is a pretty good salary. By the way, let me see that laundry slogan as it stands now.”
“Here it is," I said, with eager pride. “Listen: ‘We keep you clean in Muskateen.’ How’s that? Good, isn’t it. ‘We keep—’”
“Wait a minute,” he interrupted. “Look here, Mr. Fitzgerald. You’re too temperamental. Your ideas are too fancy, too imaginative. You ought to keep your feet on the ground. Now let me see that layout.”
He worked over it for a moment, his large brain bulging a little from time to time, his lips moving as to melody.
“Now listen to this,” he said, “I’ve got something good: ‘Muskateen Laundry—we clean and press.’ Listen Miss Schwartz, take that down right away. ‘Muskateen Laundry—we clean and press.’”
Obsequiously I congratulated him—when he began to beam I returned to my thesis.
“Well, how about money?”
. . . “I don’t know,” he mused. “Of course we try to be fair. How much do you want?”
I thought for a moment.
“Suppose you name an amount.”
“I’ll tell you, Mr. Fitzgerald,” he said, “we don’t like to argue about money with anybody. You let us use your picture and your name as one of the judges in this contest and we’ll call it a thousand dollars.”
“But it’ll take a couple of hours,” I objected, “and, of course, with a family to support I’ve got to think of money.”
“I realize that. We’ll call it fifteen hundred.”
“And it’s understood that I’m in no sense to endorse this product.”
“Perfectly. You merely pick the prettiest girl.”
We stood up and I looked out the window at that gold building.
“Did I understand you to say you’re about to get married?” he asked.
“Oh, no, I’ve been married ten years. That was back before those little dots.”
“It must have been some other couple.”
“It was,” I assured him. “Only the names were the same. The tissues change every decade. Good-by, Mr. Cakebook.”
“Good-by Mr. Fitzgerald.”
Published in The Princeton Alumni Weekly newspaper (22 February 1929).