“Go ahead, Jerry, get up there and do your imitations,” Wilbur said.
“No, Wilbur,” Jerry said. “I don’t do it in front of crowds.”
“You, did them in front of me and my friends,” Wilbur said.
“I had a few drinks,” Jerry said.
“But you were good,” Wilbur said.
“Everybody else was drinking too,” Jerry said.
“Everybody here has a drink or two,” Wilbur said. “Go on get out there.”
“This is corporate function,” Jerry said. “A slip up here could end my career.”
“We’re friends,” Wilbur said. “Just give it a shot.”
“I can’t, Wilbur,” Jerry said. “If just can’t do it.”
“Sure you can,” Wilbur said and dragged Jerry by the arm to the center of the room. Jerry slipped away back to his chair. “Hey everybody, Jerry does imitations of famous people. You had to listen to Myra Henderson from the front desk do bird calls, Jimmy Douglas from accounts receivable play the spoons, Beulah Ratliff from IT turn her eyelids inside out and cross ‘em, and Bertie Walker from maintenance tap-dance to his singing of Yankee Doodle Dandy, and now my pal, Jerry Goodwin, will do imitations.”
Jerry remained seated. Everyone urged him to go to the center of the room. Finally two men pulled him to the center.
He stood there and looked around. It was frightening.
“Judy, Judy, Judy,” Jerry said.
There was silence.
“That was Carey Grant,” Jerry said.
“Okay,” Jerry said. “How bout this one, Ya better get up there pilgrim.”
There was the lone sound of a fork hitting a plate.
“That was John Wayne,” Jerry said. “Everyone will know this one.“ His upper lip was starting to perspire. “Here’s lookin’ at ya kid.”
There was a lone cough.
“Hey, Jerry,” Wilbur said. “Do Brando from The Godfather.”
Jerry looked at the crowd around him. They looked to him like trees in forest, stoic and immoveable. There was no emotion, not even pity for his pathetic attempt to entertain. A pained look came over his face and he staggered from the center of the room and groped through the audience as if about to stumble and fall. At last he made it to the hallway and sat on a bench.
Wilbur followed him.
“You have completely embarrassed me,” Wilbur said. “Not only did you not deliver on one of your imitations, you weren’t even close. Then I ask you to do your best one of Don Corleone, you stagger from the crowd like a mad man.”
“That was Don Corleone,” Jerry said. “His death scene.”