The matched black leather outfits of Edgar Frick and Marilyn Frack came creaking through the door of Domus Logogustationis. Marilyn paused to flip her feet up in turn and examine the soles of her shoes.
“Step in something?” Daryl asked.
“The neighbours’ pipes burst or backed up or something,” Edgar said.
“And we had to avoid raw sewage,” Marilyn added.
“Well,” Maury said, nodding towards Ross Ewage, “I’m sorry to say you’ve just walked right into him.”
“I was wondering what smelled like ass,” Ross said genially.
“Yes, well,” Edgar said, “it tuches a while to get here.” (Tuches is pronounced rather like “took us”, dear reader.)
“Bummer,” Ross replied.
“So sorry to butt in,” Marilyn said, walking past Ross and bumping him with her behind, which resembled nothing so much as a throw cushion from a leather sofa.
Daryl had begin thumbing away on his iPhone. “Shit,” he observed.
“Thanks,” said Marilyn, “but I stepped in some already.”
Daryl looked up at me, Maury, Ross, and the dynamic duo in turn. “How do you spell tuches?”
“Now there’s a question for the ages,” Maury said.
“It’s just that I can’t find it in the dictionary.”
“Ass,” said Marilyn.
“It’s not my fault!” Daryl protested.
“No, sweet cheeks,” Marilyn said, “that’s what it means.”
“I know what it means,” Daryl said, “I just want to know where it comes from.”
“Many a man has wondered where good ass comes from,” Ross observed.
“Yiddish,” said Maury. “Originally from a Hebrew word for ‘bottom’, tahath.”
“So how do you spell it, anyway?”
“Well,” said Ross, “you can spell it like touch us, minus the o.”
“What good is it,” Marilyn said, “to touch us if we don’t get an o?”
I looked around. “Am I suddenly on Hollywood Squares?”
“Would that make the plural tuchi?” Daryl said.
“It’s not Latin,” said Maury. “Anyway, better with an e before the s. Like touches – again, alas, no o.”
“Well, you can o me one,” said Marilyn.
“That’s an anagram of chutes,” Ross said. “Plural tucheses is an anagram of she’s cute.”
“Some also render the first vowel as an o,” offered Maury. “T-O-K-H-E-S or T-O-C-H-E-S.” He nodded at Marilyn gallantly. “There’s your o.”
“But that’s an o with a chest,” Ross said. “Wrong end.”
Edgar stepped up to his consort. “You can also spell it like tuck us.”
Ross smirked a little. “Or as an anagram of suck it.”
“Ross!” I said. “Can we keep this just the teeniest bit polite? I want to put this on my blog.”
“You want to put my tuches on your blog?” Marilyn purred, settling onto the arm of my armchair with a leather squeak.
“Well,” I said, “that would be one way to end it. But –” I looked at my watch. Marilyn nudged her butt a little closer in response. I continued: “– I think I have enough to round it out now, with just a few finishing touches.”
“Well,” said Marilyn, nudging even a bit closer, “there’s no rush. It’s no crime to get a little behind.”
I stood up and Marilyn – by accident or not – slid abruptly into the chair I had vacated. She sighed and threw up her arms. “Edgar!” she said, patting the small remaining bit of cushion next to her bottom. “Come tuck us in.”
“And with that,” I said, donning my jacket and bracing myself for the cold, “goodnight.”