Niven's Revenge

Ida Lupino and Howard Duff had been happily married for several years, and so had David and Hjordis Niven. But for some reason both couples were subjected to a spate of rumors, and they decided to have a little fun with gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons. They chose Ciro's for the scene of action. After making reservations for two in a dark corner of the place, Niven and Lupino arrived there around midnight and the headwaiter's eyebrows soared. Vibrating with excitement he led the two into a dark corner in the far end of the room and stood with eyes wide as Ida started nibbling Niven's ear. Somebody got to the phone quickly; by the time Niven and Lupino had finished their second drink a battery of photographers was massing in the bar. About this time Howard Duff arrived with Hjordis, and the entire restaurant watched spellbound as a jittery headwaiter led them to a table as far away as possible from Niven and Lupino. Out of the corner of his eye Niven could see Howard draping himself over Hjordis like a tent. After a few minutes, Duff, who had quite a reputation as a brawler, suddenly pushed the table over with a crash, rose to his feet, and pointed his finger accusingly at Niven across the room. Hjordis tried to restrain him, as did Ida when Niven got to his feet. 'No, no! Darling!' cried Ida. 'You must flee... He'll kill you!' Shrugging off their partners, Niven and Duff advanced on each other, while the place went deathly quiet and the photographers moved expectantly in for a scoop. Niven and Duff removed their jackets and rolled up their sleeves and began circling each other. By this time people were standing on their chairs. Suddenly, the two men sprang, grabbed each other around the waist, kissed each other, and began waltzing slowly around the floor. A disappointed headwaiter set up a new table for four and the ensuing revelry was recorded by the moresporting among the photographers. But Hopper and Parsons were not amused. The next day both called to tell Niven they would not tolerate being awakened in the middle of the night for a false alarm.
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