Friday Excerpt | A Confederacy of Dunces
Ignatius J. Reilly is a combination of Don Quixote and Peter Griffin. But more so Peter Griffin. He’s a bumbling fool who had 10 years of college and still lives with his mom. He’s also quite obese, has a permanently wet mustache, and also some awful flatulence. Now I’m starting to think that Seth McFarlane actually based Peter Griffin off of Mr. Reilly… Anywho, the passage below is from an episode that Ignatius has while employed as a hot dog vendor in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Enjoy.
He began to push slowly down the street, calling again, “Hot dogs!”
George, who was wandering up Carondelet with an armload of packages wrapped in plain brown paper, heard the cry and went up to the gargantuan vendor.
“Hey, stop. Gimme one of these.”
Ignatius looked sternly at the young boy who placed himself in the wagon’s path. His valve protested against the boy’s pimples, the surly face that seemed to hang from the long well-lubricated hair, the cigarette behind the ear, the aquamarine jacket, the delicate boots, the tight trousers that bulged offensively in the crotch in violation of all rules of theology and geometry.
“I am sorry,” Ignatius snorted. “I have only a few frankfurters left, and I must save them. Please get out of my way.”
“Save them? For who?”
“That is none of your business, you waif. Why aren’t you in school? Kindly stop molesting me. Anyway, I have no change.”
“I got a quarter,” the thin white lips sneered.
“I cannot sell you a frank, sir. Is that clear?”
“Whatsa matter with you, friend?”
“What’s the matter with me? What’s the matter with you? Are you unnatural enough to want a hot dog this early in the afternoon? My conscience will not let me sell you one. Just look at your loathsome complexion. You are a growing boy whose system needs to be surfeited with vegetables and orange juice and whole wheat bread and spinach and such. I, for one, will not contribute to the debauchery of a minor.”
“Whadda you talking about? Sell me one of them hot dogs. I’m hungry. I ain’t had no lunch.”
“No!” Ignatius screamed so furiously that the passersby stared. “Now get away from me before I run over you with this cart.”
George pulled open the lid of the bun compartment and said, “Hey, you got plenty of stuff in here. Fix me a weenie.”
“Help!” Ignatius screamed, suddenly remembering [his boss's] warnings about robberies. “Someone is stealing my buns! Police!”
Ignatius backed up the cart and rammed it into George’s crotch.
“Ouch! Watch out there, you nut.”
“Shut up, for Christ’s sake,” George said and slammed the door. “You oughta be locked up, you big fruit. You know that?”
“What?” Ignatius screamed. “What impertinence was that?”
“You big crazy fruit,” George snarled more loudly and slouched away, the taps of his heels scarping the sidewalk. “Who wants to eat anything your fruity hands touched?”
“How dare you scream obscenities at me. Someone grab that boy,” Ignatius said wildly as George disappeared into the crowds of pedestrians farther own the street. “Someone with some decency grab that juvenile delinquent. That filthy little minor. Where is his respect? That little guttersnipe must be lashed until he collapses!”
~A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O’Toole. Pulitzer Prize winner, 1981.