Thought ya might like to meet me, a character who’s a whole lot more interestin’ than that Zeke Siegel fella ya met some days back. My name’s Russ Phillips, and I pretty much run the show ’round here. Zeke mighta told ya he built this place, but that don’t make him boss, no sirree. See, she might not admit it, but I’m Jenna’s fav’rit character of all. Just for the record, I usually call her Jen…just Jen. It’s easier than that long, drawn-out Jen-n-n-n-n-a. I don’t got all day to stand ’round, saying some gal’s name. Now, where was I? Oh, yeah, I’m Jen’s fav’rit character, She likes to spend the most time with me, ’cause, well, what can I say? I’m fascinatin’. Why, I don’t got much money, but I manage to get along alright. I don’t have a fancy horse…I have a donkey, an extra smelly donkey at that. And it seems bent on kickin’ me every day. I don’t got a six-shooter or a shotgun or a rifle, just an old kitchen knife with a bend in the blade and rust on the handle.
I’ve been on my own since I was a kid. I don’t need nobody. I get by just fine with me, myself, and I. My plan is to leave a legacy in life, to make somethin’ of myself. Yep, I’m gonna be somebody, just you wait. Why, already, I…I…
…Well…I ain’t quite started on that legacy stuff quite yet, but someday, it’ll happen, just you wait.
It’s Zeke’s fault I’m not some sorta legend by now, ya know. Blame him for my lazy habits. If he hadn’t built this hotel, I wouldn’ta gotten so comfortable and relaxed. I coulda moved on and started an adventure or somethin’, but, well…see this chair I’m sittin’ in? It’s cow leather. The softest, nicest thing ya ever dreamed of settlin’ your rear end down in. It’s stuffed full of the fluffiest stuff ya could dream of, and I intend to wear it out before movin’ outta the Cozy Red. See this view I got of the stage down there? Best seat in the house, right here. And it’s all mine.
This place has the best food ya can imagine, too. Steaks, fish, bacon, ham, beef, pork, steaks, lamb, steaks….shrimp….steaks….did I mention steaks? I like steaks. ‘Course, ya can get mushy vegetables and stuff like that, too, but who wants that junk when there’s meat to get eaten? Me, I’m built up like a work horse. Big and strong. I got that way from meat, not green leaves and junk. Only thing that confuses me is…how can a work horse get built up so strong if it only eats that green junk? …Huh.
Jen keeps a nice, steady supply of sweet things for us to eat, too. There’s a nice plate a cookies on all the tables, warm pies in the window sills (picturesque, ain’t it?), and always a nice, tall cake to be cut up and enjoyed at suppertime. Sometimes, I fear Jen’s tryin’ to fatten us up or somethin’. Lucky for us, we’re just imaginary (that’s right, folks. I’m…*sniffle…not a real fella), so if Jen comes in and sees a double chin or a round belly on a character that don’t belong, she can just wish it away. How convenient is that? It’s so easy here at the Cozy Red. See why I love it so much? And speakin’ of sweets, you may have heard about the unlimited soft serve ice cream cones? Yeah, good luck gettin’ at that. There’s an almost steady line of folks waitin’ their turn. Especially the women! All the female characters cluster ’round the ice cream like they’re starved, and if ya reach for a cone without bein’ careful, you’re likely to get swatted or scratched. It’s a dangerous place, that ice cream machine. Jen oughtta get another ice cream machine if ya ask me. That way, there’s one for the women, and one for the fellas. It’d be a whole lot safer.
The music here ain’t half bad, either. I sure like music. There’s a mighty impressive orchestra pit down there by the stage, and it’s full of all the instruments ya can ‘magine. Nobody’s playin’ this evenin’, but if ya listen real carefully, ya can still hear music. There’s always music somewhere in this place. Listen. Can ya hear it? I’m hearin’ Ragtime somewhere. That’s my kinda music.
So, all in all, this place is all right. Sure ‘nough, soon, I’ll have to get back to writin’ my story with Jen, but ’til she’s ready to write, I’m gonna kick back and relax here in the Cozy Red. Life is sweet as cherry pie here.