He burst into Mac’s Corner Place just as Jim Gilligan had concluded the recital of an anecdote about a pet goat that belonged to his rich aunt in Syracuse. Mike, the waiter, had just taken the order for a fresh round.”Mike, make mine the stuff that killed father,” exclaimed the stranger with a magnificent wave of the hand as he seated himself at our table. We stared in silent amazement. He was a tall, sallow, hard- looking chap of thirty-five or thereabout.
“He’s crazy,” whispered Jim Gilligan to me. “Better humor him,” he added. He spoke again in his peculiar saxaphone-like voice. “Highly intelligent animals–goats. Knew one once that could drink whiskey like a Christian. But if any of you gents is looking for a nice quiet domestic pet that you can leave at home with the children and that your wife won’t object to having around, let me recommend the common or garden clam.”
He paused impressively, while we glanced at each other. “I told you so,” whispered Gilligan sadly. “It is a fact, I assure you,” continued the stranger. “I speak from experience. The way I got my clam was this. Like to hear about it? I was swimming at Rockaway one day when I felt something pinch my toe. I reached down and found that it was a clam. At the same moment I realized that I was on the brink of destruction. In front of me was a whirling whirlpool. In another moment I should have been involved in it. The clam had saved my life. If I was not to prove myself the blackest hearted of mankind it was up to me to do something for my benefactor. In a flash it came to me. I would give that ignorant creature a course in the higher education. I took him home with me, gentlemen. I made him one of domestic circle. He soon because the life of our home. The children found in him a friend. Myself, a constant means of solace in my hours of depression. As his artistic sense developed he displayed a striking taste for music. On Sunday morning I would put him on the table while I whistled The Star-Spangled Banner. You may believe me or not, as you see fit, but I assure you that as I concluded the immortal anthem of liberty that appreciative beast would open and shut rapidly in token of applause. “It was this musical taste that led him to his death. One day while I was out he clambered up on the windowsill to listen to the strains of Nancy Brown as discoursed by a street organ. The window was open. In some way he missed his footing and–how shall I say it!–my pet clam fell to his death."