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By P. G. Wodehouse

A Gentleman of relaxation is a comic book novel devoted to Douglas Fairbanks—who starred within the movie version—and matters a tender guy, his love existence, and a housebreaking.

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Russell didn’t make much of an impression on me at first. I remember him as tall, round faced, and balding by thirty—a silly putty version of Grampy, but younger and with real teeth. What won me over was a nifty feat of kitchen magic on the Saturday night of his visit. Because we were living on Grandparent Time, we had already eaten supper at four o’clock and had long been settled in for our ritualized family viewing of Wide World of Sports, The Lawrence Welk Show, and Hee Haw. As a grown-up living on real time, Russell was not interested in eating on the geriatric schedule, and several hours after we’d eaten, he announced that he was making pizza.

Two stories is a long way to fall, especially if you are upside-down, and I screamed the whole way. I must have made quite a picture: a fat red bullet plummeting toward the snowbank as my friends scattered to avoid being crushed. Ignacio ran over and stood above me, his breath frozen into long plumes as he asked if I was all right. “Of course, I’m not,” I said, furious, and painfully rolled myself down the snowbank to run home. I registered in the back of my mind that no one was pursuing me, that despite my obvious near-death experience, those damn fools were heading back inside to jump some more.

It was loud. The material was so stiff that it would not be enough to say that it crinkled when I walked. It was more like the sound you’d make when vigorously sanding old paint off metal. It gave me the shivers, so I pulled the hood up over my ears to mute the noise. That helped, and my happiness with my new purchase was restored. The rich red color also distracted from my miserable winter boots; while the other kids had cool snowmobile boots with jazzy stripes of color, Ignacio and I wore the same felt-lined rubber boots that Grampy and ancient Eldon Lee from church wore.

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