And that was all right, of course; Jim Goober was only a name to Peter, and of less importance than a single one of Peter’s meals. Peter understood what Guffey had done, and his only grudge was because Guffey had not had the sense to tell him his story at the beginning, instead of first nearly twisting his arm off. However, Peter reflected, no doubt Guffey had meant to teach him a lesson, to make sure of him. Peter had learned the lesson, and his purpose now was to make this clear to Guffey and to Doobman.
“Hold your mouth,” Guffey had said, and Peter never once said a word about the Goober case. But, of course, he talked about other matters. A fellow could not go around like a mummy all day long, and it was Peter’s weakness that he liked to tell about his exploits, the clever devices by which he had outwitted his last “Old Man.” So to Gerald Leslie, the “coke” fiend, he told the story of Pericles Priam, and how many thousands of dollars he had helped to wheedle out of the public, and how twice he and Pericles bad been arrested for swindling. Also he told about the Temple of Jimjambo, and all the strange and incredible things that had gone on there. Pashtian el Kalandra, who called himself the Chief Magistrian of Eleutherinian Exoticism, gave himself out to his followers to be eighty years of age, but as a matter of fact he was less than forty. He was supposed to be a Persian prince, but had been born in a small town in Indiana, and had begun life as a grocer-boy. He was supposed to live upon a handful of fruit, but every day it had been Peter’s job to assist in the preparation of a large beef-steak or a roast chicken. These were “for sacrificial purposes,” so the prophet explained to his attendants; and Peter would get the remains of the sacrificial beef-steaks and chickens, and would sacrificially devour them behind the pantry door. That had been one of his private grafts, which he got in return for keeping secret from the prophet some of the stealings of Tushbar Akrogas, the major-domo.
A wonderful place had been this Temple of Jimjambo. There were mystic altars with seven veils before them, and thru these the Chief Magistrian would appear, clad in a long cream-colored robe with gold and purple borders, and with pink embroidered slippers and symbolic head-dress. His lectures and religious rites had been attended by hundreds—many of them rich society women, who came rolling up to the temple in their limousines. Also there had been a school, where children had been initiated into the mystic rites of the cult. The prophet would take these children into his private apartments, and there were awful rumors—which had ended in the raiding of the temple by the police, and the flight of the prophet, and likewise of the majordomo, and of Peter Gudge, his scullion and confederate.