Chapter 4

The first nine chapters of The Regular Guys are free. Enjoy. 

Lenny’s Hotel Room
Indianapolis, Indiana

After their first professional gig, The Regular Guys spent the next year on the road, plying their trade. Gradually they moved up from sharing a bill with the Precision Broom Brigade to working clubs in big cities in the Midwest and every now and then someone even paid them the compliment of taping one of their shows and bootlegging it on the Internet.

One night after a show they were in Lenny’s hotel room. Lenny was certainly pleased with the work The Regular Guys were doing on stage, but he was not pleased with the fact The Regular Guys were not big stars yet. In an age where people were becoming celebrities after having done nothing more worth celebrating than winning a talent contest, he was becoming impatient.

“Look, something has to start happening soon,” he said.


Lenny shook his head. “Because it does. I proclaim it so! We’ve been on the road for a year now.”

“Lenny, be patient,” Larry said. “We knew this could take a while. And anyway, there are no guarantees.” Larry’s tone was similar to the one his mother, who had taught grade school, used to counsel a student.

“It shouldn’t take this long.”

“We’ve been at it just over a year, Lenny. Besides, we don’t even know what should or should not be taking this long.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means we’re not entirely sure where we’re going. We’re getting better gigs than we were a year ago, though. As long as we’re moving up, let’s see what happens.”

“We should be hitting it big soon. We’re too funny not to.”

“Lenny, excellence is its own reward,” Larry said.

“Will you stop sounding like Confucius?!”

Larry laughed, but then didn’t say anything for a while; silence was one of Larry’s favorite, and best, conversation techniques. Lenny knew this.

“Oh, stop it!”

Larry threw up his palms and laughed.

“What did I do?” he asked innocently.

“I hate it when you do that.”

“Do what?” Larry asked innocently.

“Sit there and say nothing. I know what you’re doing.”

Larry chuckled.

“Look, we’re doing good stuff. I mean every night we are knocking them dead.”

Which was certainly true. The Regular Guys were working regularly and well. They hadn’t gotten the proverbial big break yet, but in any endeavor, you tended to make your own luck and Larry felt good about the track they were on. They were working comedy clubs throughout the Midwest, and, while that wasn’t Las Vegas or a cable special, The Regular Guys were making people laugh and making money, which, after all, were the goals of professional comedians.

“Patience is one of those virtues I’ve never had in any great quantity,” Lenny said shaking his head.

“Left to themselves, things tend to work themselves out, Lenny. If we keep plugging away and doing a good show every night, we’ll be OK.”


“I dunno,” Larry said shaking his head. “My resume reads like a litany of failure. I just said that to make you feel better.”

Out of the blue, The Regular Guys debuted Bad Magic at that night’s show. Lenny was out working the crowd while Larry moderated on stage, and, while on patrol, he found a deck of cards lying on a table and picked them up. He then picked an audience member and asked her to stand up, took the cards out of the box, fanned them out so the faces were facing down and gave a command:

“Pick a card, any card!” he said in a very good W.C. Fields impression.

The woman, mid-30’s, blonde, chubby, who had probably been pretty foxy before she gained weight, giggled slightly before picking a card near the end on her left. She looked at it but didn’t show Lenny which card it was.

While the lady held her card, Lenny then expertly shuffled his deck several times. This caused some general laughter. He fanned the deck again.

“Place your card anywhere in the deck!”

“Hold on!” Larry commanded. He jumped off stage, ran to Lenny and covered his eyes with a hand.

“There,” he said. “Now he can’t see.”

“Brilliant!” Lenny yelled. “Give it up for Larry, my lovely assistant!”

The crowd laughed and gave it up for Larry, the lovely assistant.

The lady put the card back in the deck and Larry removed his hand from Lenny’s eyes. Lenny really had no idea what he was going to do next. When he and Larry first started working together, this bothered, and sometimes scared him. Now, it still scared him somewhat, but now he was able to turn the situation over 180 degrees and put that to work for him. Now, instead of being stuck on stage with nothing to say, he was on stage with all of his and Larry’s considerable talents and wits standing by, ready to go in whichever direction they saw fit.

In the nick of time, he recalled a line from the old Bob Newhart Show, where Howard Borden once found himself in Bob’s living room with a deck of cards in his hand. He appropriated that line for official Regular Guy use and added a few rhetorical flourishes for effect:

“Now! Behold! Metamorphosis! At no time do my fingers leave my hand!”

Lenny then threw the cards into the audience, scattering them everywhere. He then wiggled the fingers on his right hand while smiling at them approvingly and showing them to the audience.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE AMAZING LENNY!” Larry barked. The crowd, appreciative of a genius magician when it saw one, laughed and applauded loudly.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Lenny said graciously. “But amazing as it may seem, the trick is NOT over.” Larry, and some in the audience, gasped, feigning incredulity.

“You mean there’s more?!” Larry cried, pointing at Lenny with an arm stuck straight out. “You’re a maniac!”

“That’s right, there’s more! I now ask this gentleman – yes, you sir! – to stand up.”

A gentleman about 50 or so stood up. He seemed comfortable standing up, though not altogether pleased. Lenny pointed to several cards lying on the ground nearby.

“Pick a card, any card,” Lenny invited.

“Really?” the gentleman said.

Lenny sighed resignedly. “No, I’m joking,” he said to much laughter. “Of course really. You may, in fact, pick up any card that is lying on the floor. I will then astound you with another unparalleled feat of magic!

“Sir,” Larry piped in seriously. “This is The Amazing Lenny we’re talking about here. It’s best just to do as he says. And for Pete’s sake, we implore you, do not try this at home!”

The man then bent over and picked up a card. He hid the front of it so The Amazing Lenny couldn’t see which card it was. The ace of spades, the queen of hearts, the seven of clubs, Lenny had no idea.

Lenny snatched it from him, looked at it, and triumphantly turned the face towards the crowd.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the two of spades!” he shouted triumphantly before stuffing the card in his suit pocket.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE AMAZING LENNY!!!” Larry barked again, to a surprisingly large number of applause.

“I thought Bad Magic went over pretty well,” Lenny said cautiously after the show. He had worries about Bad Magic, worries that were a microcosm for concerns he had for the whole show, mainly that he, Lenny, was getting most of the attention and lines.

Larry though, was enthusiastic. “Absolutely, my friend. It was inspired. What brought it on?”

“The cards lying on the table. It went from there, though I really had no idea what would happen after I said ‘pick a card’ for the first time. I’d never really thought of anything like that before.”

“Well, it went over great. If the inspiration hits, we should knock it out again.


“Sure. Why wouldn’t we?”

“Well, it’s kinda Lenny intensive, don’t you think? I thought you might not like it. We could work on it and split it up if you’d like.”

Larry laughed and shook his head.

“No, my friend, we’ll do what works. All that matters is doing a good show.”


“Sure. I mean, we’re not paid by the word; I get the same check you do, so as long as we’re making people laugh, what the hell.”

“That’s a good philosophy, what the hell; we’ve implemented it before.”

“Well, it’s not like I’ve copyrighted it or anything.”

“As long as you’re comfortable with what we’re doing. I don’t want this to become The Lenny Show.”

“Nobody does. Trust me. You’ve already established The Lenny Show sucks.”

Chapter 3
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