Of the ingredients that go into our
fruitcakes, whiskey is the most expensive, as
well as the hardest to obtain: State laws
forbid its sale. But everybody knows you
can buy a bottle from Mr. Haha Jones. ...
... but in previous years our dealings have been with Haha's wife, ...
Actually, we've never laid eyes on her husband,
though we've heard that he's an Indian too.
A giant with razor scars across his cheeks.
They call him Haha because he's so gloomy, a man
who never laughs. As we approach his café
... our steps slow down. Even Queenie stops
prancing and sticks close by. People have
been murdered in Haha's café. Cut to
pieces. Hit on the head. ... I
knock at the door, Queenie barks, my friend
calls: "Mrs. Haha, ma'am? Anyone to
Footsteps. The door opens. Our
hearts overturn. It's Mr. Haha Jones
himself! And he is a giant; he
have scars; he doesn't smile. No,
he glowers at us through Satan-tilted eyes and
demands to know: "What you want with Haha?"
For a moment we are too paralyzed to tell.
Presently my friend half-finds her voice, a
whispery voice at best: "If you please, Mr. Haha,
we'd like a quart of your finest whiskey."
His eyes tilt more. Would you believe
it? Haha is smiling! Laughing too.
"Which one of you is a drinkin' man?"
"It's for making fruitcakes, Mr. Haha.
This sobers him. He frowns.
"That's no way to waste good whiskey."
Nevertheless, he retreats into the shadowed café
and seconds later appears carrying a bottle of
daisy yellow unlabeled liquor. He
demonstrates its sparkle in the sunlight and
says: "Two dollars."
We pay him with nickels and dimes and
pennies. Suddenly, jangling the coins in
his hand like a fistful of dice, his face
softens. "Tell you what," he proposes,
pouring the money back into our bead purse,
"just send me one of them fruitcakes instead."
"Well," my friend remarks on our way
home, "there's a lovely man. We'll put an
extra cup of raisins in his cake.