Pimp. By Robert Beck aka Iceberg Slim. Adnotated without permission. Chapter 14 -- The mistake.

Monday, 19 October, Year 12 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

By the end of the year I had copped a new thirty-nine Hog. I had blown Jo Ann ninety days after I got her. She was too possessive and she didn't really have the guts for a long stretch in the street.

I didn't cry when she left. While I had her, Chris kept her humping. I was thousands ahead of her when she slipped away from Chris in the street.i

A week later I copped a young whore that was a whiz in the street and was hip to boosting. She went ape over Chris. She'd go downtown and come home with shopping bags loaded with fine dresses and underclothes for herself and her sisters.

Later she hipped Chris to boosting. I let them go down together with a stud who drove for them. They filled my closet with beautiful vines.ii

Top got five years on a narcotics rap. The federaliii heat tricked him into a four-piece sale to an undercover agent.iv I sure missed him.v I hung out at Sweet's more than ever.

My name was ringing. The moniker Top hung on me stuck. Everybody was calling me Iceberg, even Sweet. Only I and the several peddlers I copped from knew that my icy front was really backed by the freezing cocaine I snorted and banged every day.vi

I pimped strictly by the book for the next three years. I traded in a Hog each year. I never had less than five girls in the family.vii

I moved out of Top's building and let the family stay there.viii I took a suite in a swank midtown hotel. I had the privacyix, the jewelry, and all the flash and glamour of a successful pimp.x

I had managed to solve the fast track. I was fast becoming one of its legends.

Top had gotten out.xi He was in Seattle with relatives serving out his short parole paper. Only one of his women stuck with him. The rest got in the wind when he fell.

The runt was still bottom woman. Ophelia was still hung up on her. Chris was proving every day she had the qualities for a bottom woman.xii

I noticed the runt was acting like she might be wearing thin fast. The other two whores I had had been stable mates. I copped them when their pimp shot an overdose of H.

I was at Sweet's when Pearl Harbor was bombed. I had stayed all night. I was still in bed.

The friendly brown snake had brought my breakfast. I was just finishing when Sweet walked into the bedroom. He sat down on the side of the bed.

He said, "'Berg, Uncle Sam just got his throat cut. The Slant Eyes just put the torch to Pearl Harbor. Whores gonna make more scratch now than ever before. 'Berg I got a feeling this Second World War is gonna hurt the pimp game in the long run."

I said, "Sweet, how do you figure that?"

He said, "You know a whore ain't nothing but an ex-square. A good pimp wears out a lot of whores in his lifetime. If there ain't no big pool of squares for the pimps to turn out, then stables gotta get smaller.xiii The defense plants are gonna claim thousands of young potential whores. Those square bitches are gonna get those pay checks. They'll get shitty independent. A pimp can't turn them out. The older square broads are going into the plants too. Thousands of them got teenage daughters. They'll have the scratch to fill the bellies of those young bitches. They'll put nice clothes on their backs. Why the hell should they whore for a pimp. They can pimp on Mama.xiv The worse thing is, those plants are inviting whores with strict pimps to split and square up. If the war lasts a long time, pimps will have to turn pussy to hold a whore.xv

"'Berg, ain't but one real Heaven for a pimp. He's in it when there's a big pool of raggedy, hungry young bitches."

The war was raging. The defense plants were grinding out war goods around the clock. Thousands of young and old broads were slaving in them.

As far as I was concerned, the pool was still full of fine fish. I had three original girls and three new cops.

It was December, nineteen-forty-four. Sweet was still pimping good for an old man. He was down to seven women, but this was great pimping for a stud his age. Top had settled out West.

I had held Chris, Ophelia, and the runt a long time. Since thirty-eight I had copped and blown sixty to seventyxvi whores and turnouts.xvii

The turn-over in turnouts was big. Some of them would hump for a month and split. Some a week. Others a couple hours before they cut out.xviii Sweet had been so right years ago. The pimp game was sure "cop and blow."

I spent Christmas day with Mama. She was really happy to see me. She hadn't seen me since thirty-eight. She cried as always when I left her.xix

The runt was getting tired and evil.xx Several of those turnouts she had run away from me.xxi All new turn-outs I was giving to Chrisxxii to polish in the street.

I started sending the runt to small towns near army camps. Some of them were out of state. Sometimes Ophelia went with her. A week before I met Carmen, the runt and Ophelia had come back from a weekend in Wisconsin.

The runt and the other five girls were with me when I copped the seventh girl.

She was almost a perfect copy of the runt at eighteen. She had a prettier face than the runt had at eighteen. Her features were more regular. Time and street had bulldogged the once cute Peke face of the runt.

We were at a cabaret. Carmen was behind a twenty-six game table in the barroom. I left my table and went to the john. I passed Carmen on the way. She gave me a strong lick.xxiii

On the way back I stopped and tossed a quarter on her table and rolled the dice trying for a score of twenty-six. I hit twenty-six, so I bought us a drink with the score. I stood beside the table and quizzed her. She was from Peoria. She'd been in town a week.

We had old Party Time in common. She had met him up in Peoria where he was still living. He had a whore in a house up there. She had worked in the same house. She had run off from her pimp and she was wide open for a fast cop.

We rapped for fifteen or twenty minutes. I could tell she went for me. She looked at the clock. It was almost closing time. I invited her to have breakfast at the family's pad.

We'd had breakfast.xxiv I was leaving with Carmen. I was going to my place to put her under contract.xxv The runt followed me outside to the hallway. She called me.

I gave Carmen the key to the Hog.xxvi She went toward the elevator. I didn't move toward the runt. I said, "Bitch, you wanna rap to me, come to me."xxvii She had a tight evil look on her face. She walked slowly up to me. Top was right. These bottom broads, when they started to rot, really funked up a stud's skull.

She said, "You ain't thinking about bringing that bullshit bitch into this family are you? That phony bitch ain't shit."xxviii

I said, "What the hell. You mean you're gonna turn down a chance to larceny a new bitch away. You stinking bitch, nobody tells me what bitch to have. You got the nerve to crack some bitch is phony. I had to almost croak you to make you real."

I noticed two of the latest cops were in the open door. They were eyeballing down the hall at our show.

She shouted, "Nigger, you were a raggity nowhere scarecrow until you got me. You didn't have no wheels. You muscled me for mine. Nigger, I'm the bitch that made you great. Without me, right now you'd go to the bottom fast as shit through a greasy funnel."

I made a bad mistake. I shoulda maybe used Top's jellied skull technique to get rid of her.xxix Instead I left-hooked her hard as I could against the jaw. There was a pop like a firecracker going off. She fell to the carpet in a quiet heap. I kicked her big rear end a dozen times. I walked to the elevator. I looked down the hall. I saw Ophelia and Chris dragging her toward the apartment.

The runt got her broken jaw wired up. She split with Ophelia.xxx Chris said she tried to take two of the newer girls with her too. I had made a pimp's classic blunder. I had blown a tired bottom bitch in the rough.

Carmen was an easy cop. A pimp wants everybody who can hump his pockets fat. He's in real clover when he cops a fine young whore who wants him. Carmen really wanted me. She was starting with Chris.

Six months later Sweet called me early in the morning. His voice was laced with excitement. I jerked erect in bed.

He said, "'Berg, I got a wire the F.B.I is nosing around some of the broad lock-ups.xxxi They're quizzing whores. Your name has been cracked more than once. It looks like they already got a solid beef to go on. It's my guess they're trying to build a five or six count rap against you."

I said, "Sweet, I bet it's that stinking runt. Christ! Sweet, I've sent her and Ophelia across state lines a dozen times since the war started.xxxii They're trying to ram a white-slave rap into me, Sweet. What would you do?"

He said, "I would give one of those nice sweet jokers on the West Side expense scratch and a ball-peen hammer. I'd tell him as soon as I read they was found in an alley with their skulls caved in he could get a cinch two grand. It would be easy to trap 'em. They're whores. He'd be just another freakish trick wanting to party with two whores. Tell you what, 'Berg get them whores outta that crib over there fast. Move outta your pad today. Go groundhog. Switch your whores to new stomping grounds. Stay outta the street after you move. Call me when you get outta there."

He hung up. I thought, "I'm a sucker. I shoulda destroyed the runt Top's way."

I had moved the stable and myself to new pads by seven that night. Chris, my new bottom woman, was the only one in the family who knew the reason for the move.

I took the Hog and put it in a garage I rented from an old widower. The garage was behind his house in a respectable neighborhood.

I got a cab to one of my stuff connections. I was going underground. I had to have at least a piece of stuff. I had copped and was walking down the street looking for a cab.

I passed a barber shop. I got a glimpse of the white-spatted dogs of a joker in the barber's chair, next to the window.

I thought, "Geez, that square joker is pitiful. He ain't hip spats went out with high-button shoes."

I was walking fast. I had the sizzle on me. I needed a cab in the worse way. I was almost a half block from the barber shop. I thought I heard some joker yelling, "Run! Run!"

I looked back over my shoulder. A tall skinny stud in a barber's apron was on the sidewalk. His white spats flashed on his feet. He was screaming and flailing his arms like a minstrel clown singing "Mammy."

He was loping down the sidewalk. The out-of-fashion bastard was yelping," Son! Son!" He galloped by the neon lights toward me. His wrinkled brown-skin face changed colors like a chameleon.

He ran into me and clutched me like I was a winning sweepstakes ticket. He was panting and sweating like a whore on soldier's payday. I could smell witch hazel and the stink of emotion sweat. I saw white specks of barber's talc on the bald crown of his head. I couldn't see his face. He had it buried in my chest.

He was blubbering, "Oh son, precious son. Sweet Jesus answered an old man's prayer. He's let me see and hold my one and only son before I got to my heavenly rest."

I had the damnedest thought while he made love to me. I wondered if my skull had chipped any paint off that wall he threw me against when I was six-months old.

I stiff-armed him away. I stared coldly into his face. I saw a weak blaze of anger light his dull brown eyes.

He said, "God don't like ugly, son. You saw your father back there. You ignored me, didn't you?"

I said, "Shit no I didn't see you. I thought you had croaked. Look Jack, I'm happy to see you, but I'm in an awful hurry. See you around."

He said, "I did my part to bring you into this world. You ain't gonna treat me like a dog. Where do you live? You look prosperous. What's your line? Are you with some big company? Are you married to some nice girl? Do I have any grandchildren, son?"

I said, "You haven't heard about Iceberg Slim? He's famous."

He said, "You don't associate with black filth like that I hope."

I said, "Look Jack, I am Iceberg. Ain't you proud of me? I'm the greatest nigger that ever came outta our family. I got five whores humping sparks outta their asses."

I thought he was going to have a heart attack. The apron was quivering over his ticker. He was supporting himself against a lamp post. His face was gray in shock under the streetlight. I jerked my shirt and coat sleeves up past spike hollow.xxxiii I stuck the needle-scarred arm under his nose. He drew back from it.

I said, "Goddamnit Jack, what's the matter? Shit, I shoot more scratch into that arm a day than you make in a week. I've come a long way since you bounced my skull off that wall. Stick your chest out in pride, Jack. I been in two prisons already. Shit, Jack, I'm on my way to the third any day now. You ain't hip I'm important? Maybe one of these days I'll really make you a proud father. I'll croak a whore and make the chair."

I walked away from him. I caught a cab at the corner. The cabbie u-turned. I looked at my old man. He was sitting on the curb beside the lamp post. His white spats gleamed starkly in the gutter. He had his head on his knees. I saw his back jerking up and down. The poor joker was bawling his ass off.

I got home. I called Sweet. I banged a load of cocaine. It was the best I'd copped since Glass Top went to the joint.

Continued >>

  1. Thousands over ninety days only averages to 30-40 a night, which is so far below his 100 standard he shouldn't have kept her for a whole month. The correct statement is therefore not his preferred "I had blown Jo Ann ninety days after I got her" but rather "Jo Ann was never worth working, yet I was too lazy (or inept) to pressure her until she either stood up or disintegrated, so she just wandered off on her own power a few months later."

    During those spurious ten weeks she still took up a bed, and the bed she took up isn't "a bed like any other", three bucks a night, nor is it "a bed in a posh pad", seven bucks a night or whatever they go for on the market. The bed she took up is a bed in this guy's stable, the land values are such that if she's not making the hundred she's got no business soiling those sheets every night, she needs a slower, cheaper outfit to more self-adequately wallow in.

    During those spurious ten weeks she still took up Chris' time, and Chris' time isn't free either. She's ten-twenty an hour to her tricks, she's ten-twenty an hour throughout. If Chris gets a pet then that pet'd better be cool enough, hip enough, top-of-its-class enough to justify the ten-to-twenty an hour attention its mistress is bestowing upon it, because she ain't got any other kind. People don't come with an off button, people aren't themselves for some limited interval a day only, to fall back into indistinct socialist morass upon the touch of the magic cutoff ; nor was Chimichurri a duck like any other. It was (truly and really, from experience speaking having myself been there and seen it) a duck in a million, by its personality an' demeanor, by its birthright and unmistakable substance, such as to justify its duck-in-a-milion situation among duckhood. Animals are hip to this whole scene, by the way, Nicole once got a fish that killed itself out of regret it wasn't cool enough to hang with her. That fish did the right thing.

    Note incidentally and if you will this pimp-that's-really-a-whore's whorish propensity for making excuses. Are you willing to pass in silence over his failure, made all the more serious by his decided, stubborn ownership, if he offers in token exchange that "he had blown her" ? He's "harsh" on himself, he "takes responsibility", so why shouldn't you cut him some slack ? No ? That doesn't wash ? Well in that case, and just to show you he's got his mind on his money and money on his mind, he was thousands ahead of her!!! Which is just another way of saying bitch scammed him for whatever's left once you substract those "thousands" whatever $1`850 they actually were from the 12-13k he was supposed to have made off her. "Oh, she fucked me out of ten thousand dollars" ain't got the exact same ring to it, huh!

    A chump's a chump ; they're born that way, and they die that way. []

  2. Wait, wait, what the fuck. Didn't he see Glass Top dealing on the side ? If he dun wanna sell 'em then... why not gift 'em. Give every pimp he meets free suits, all the time. Keep a stash in the LaSalle, and after every introduction "Say, what size are you ? Alright, hang on." Become Iceberg Vines, why the hell not. Slim's too trite and worthless a cognomen anyways. They're fucking free, he gets them incoming at no great cost to him ; and they're the most expensive thing in the known world outgoing : they're a gift. Has this dumb bitch not read the structuralists, is he as unaware of Levy Strauss as any other two bit hooker ? Has the history of the world -- not of the damnably inconsequential colony over there, but of the world -- passed him without a ripple ? Nothing costs more than a gift, for it pays up in information, which is the superlative crystallization of money. Sweet wants to keep "a farm system" for bottom bitches all the while waiting passively for his son to come to him, by himself, on his own power ? What's more important than his own son, cuz money for sure fucking isn't nor could ever be, and he's insanely decided to hate the bitches hip enough, and hot enough, and smart enough and cool enough to live in his barracks and eat his gruel. Here's a ready, wide open farm system for sons, and Slim's too dumb to see it when presented on a silver platter -- well, guess what ? Nothing's more expensive than a gift, for it pays up in information, and Chris is on the other end of the line.

    No ? None of that, no room for splendour and glory in his woodworm line of a destiny ? Fine, in that case why not fucking sell 'em, get a stable of small shop vineyards ? Neither ? In that fucking case do not let Chris get a driver for this purpose. Let her find something else, that's actually useful, there's nothing sadder than wasted potential. Chris' time ain't free -- and, if you're curious, the way Chris the beautiful young yellow broad turns into Chris the bitter hateful old whore is precisely through her giving her youth to her man to do as he will with and he not doing much. Just like with squares exactly. My bitches don't look back over three years and see the same shit, let alone fucking thirty! It burns their ass and bothers them immensely, this, because it's human nature to want to think "you're you" and "always the same" and all the rest of the bullshit ; but it burns and bothers the right way, just like anal. The alternative's unthinkably miserable, to say nothing of how it's nothing I'd ever permit. No, I don't turn them out, because you're too poor for anything like that ; but such circumstantial detail changes exactly nothing. Do you know what the number one thing they're crying about is, when they do cry ? This house being too fast. That's it, and it's precisely as it should be. I ain't slowing down for no-one. []

  3. The story of the decay of our northern colonies flows from local law enforcement, the era of "the fix is in", to federal law enforcement, the era of scar tissue. Ever wonder why those 20s had jazz and these 20s have bitches that are cows ? Yes, that's very much why. []
  4. And what do we learn from here ?

    Nothing ? Nothing at all ? Our own life's just a series of disconnected events, things just happen and that's that ? Bitch. []

  5. You're supposed to offer solace to the widow(s) of a fellow soldier fallen in the line of duty. What happened to Top's five girls ?

    I'm not even fucking kidding, "Listen, Top, here's ten grand, in cash, take it yourself or tell me what you want done with it. Top, you've got five broads, they're good earners, they don't belong with some two bit joker wasting their time. Give them to me, I'll run them. In five years they might not want to come back, when you're out you might not want them back ; but over those years they're good for a bale of cash. You can have as much as you want, for as long as you're in the can, week in, week out ; and when you're back I swear I'll do nothing else until you've built yourself a stable you're happy with again. Top, I'm here half because of you, I want you back half because of me. Shake it."

    Asta inseamna demnitate da om, da smecher, da mafiot, da ceva. []

  6. Bullshit. []
  7. Isn't five two teams and a half ? []
  8. I was of the same school of thought for many, many years (roughly his age) ; but I now much prefer to live in, and for many years have. On occasion they get insufferable enough I send them off, but it's indeed rare, and mayhaps becoming rarer. []
  9. The great advantage of slaves over whores is that the very meaning of privacy changes, substantially, and the need for it shrivels, if not completely, then very close to it. []
  10. I can't help but feel this "flash" rather empty and this "glamour" rather dry. I can pit my "bitches" in mock gladitorial combat against each other for no reason besides amusement (intellectual, or otherwise -- the combat, as the amusement). I can have an argument over insanely elaborate minutia of literary or any other manner of stacked, layered abstractions, any time, for as long as I care to (and precisely no longer). I waterboard for the fun of the challenge and the challenge of the fun. It's just...

    To put it plainly, I wouldn't be a pimp if he paid me (what the fuck could he pay me in?!) while he couldn't be me if he wanted to. []

  11. Top was never in to begin with, just serving the time some waffly white chick sentenced him to. []
  12. Or at least she was proving every day Slim wanted her to. You ever seen The Roaring Twenties, by the way ? Because this joker's "he used to be a bigshot" level dumb. []
  13. This ain't how pressure works. If he's right then stables will get bigger -- at the top ; and evaporate otherwise entirely. The world will go from a hundred pimps with an average stable of three to a dozen pimps with an average stable of twelve, for a net loss of over half the whores. That's how pressure works, though squares prefer calling it "consolidation". []
  14. This horror's still ongoing, for the record, which is why none of you studs are pimps, and half of you "studs" are turning whore right and proper, drag &all. []
  15. What's more : the plants will turn "nice clothes" into something quite unlike what it was before : accessible instead of inaccessible. They won't be the same nice, or for that matter nice at all ; they won't even be remotely the same clothes -- but a whore's a whore. Sweet's wrong, by the way, it's not the whore that's an ex-square. It's the square that's an ex-whore, and not even that ex at all : the square's a whore that's internalized a [dumb, ineffectual and necessarily misplaced] version of a generic pimp. She's conning herself, which is why she's poor and unhappy. As a factual matter even the dumbest, blindest pimp's still a better choice than the whore's own, secreted in her own head, for the simple reason that an outside observer, even if drunk and not paying attention, is still better navigation than plain ole dead reckoning. So, the whore's a whore, and she'll con herself : that the ugly clothes she's wearing are "nice" because "everyone else has the same ugly, might as well call it nice" and so following.

    The "defense plants" aka federal power grab will "put on the market" (in the sense of force-flooding the market with) its own, watered down, ineffectual version of mass pimping ; that it won't be worth anything at all will pale in comparison to its costing almost nothing to produce, making the assholes "in charge" quite ready and willing to force it down everyone's craw. Thus the con game moves from a girl believing in a guy of her choice and his castles in the sky to all the girls believing the mandatorily-"chosen" central aircastle repository. Buy war bonds, pay your "tax" bonds, take "college" bonds, are you a first time home buyer bonds... there's gonna be bonds, and plenty of 'em, because bondage is bondage. Yes, the dumb daughters' bellies will be kept full, with ever shittier hoofpaste, for as long as you keep "believing in the future" and thereby conning yourself that #metoo and happy meals are a better deal than rides in the hog and coathanger whippings. They aren't, of course they aren't, they couldn't possibly ever be -- but a whore's a whore, she can sell herself on anything.

    The problem with eating a square meal today out of a sold out dream of the future is that future never comes. Eventually the fake dries out, making their misery, their historical, substantial, omnipresent misery obvious to all. But before it became obvious to all it was still there ; before you knew you're missing a pimp you still were missing a pimp ; and so following. []

  16. So basically he's copping a girl a month on average. []
  17. Civillians that weren't yet awhoreaware. Awarewhore. How the fuck do you make this stand. []
  18. There's this naive idea -- from Hayek maybe, I forget -- that romantic notions and conceits can't ever be dropped back out once they infect the whores' hivemind (meaning, not individual women's heads, but the "culture" or whatever you call it, their social milieu, whatever place their wail behaviour inhabits).

    This is of course false, there's no such thing as linear processes in nature ; but it does come in cycles, and yes there was a massive move towards romanticism raging for two or three centuries now, slowly starting in the late 1700s and accelerating by degrees up to a peak about the turn of the 20th century. That's about the period, and yes it's dieing out ; but woe to the pimp of a hundred years ago, because he may well think "it's the plants doing it" -- the problem, fundamentally, was that the great flywheel of kink high was turning such as to make the broads -- dumb and smart alike, they're broads before they're anything else -- tend toward idealising "settling down" and raising some beta's regrettable, spurious offspring, and such nonsense.

    It's self-obvious these days that the young runts are much more interested in what the next trick's cock will look & feel like than in what Husband Steve has to say on the 5`459th return home from work, who knows how his day had been. It wasn't anything even remotely like obvious in 1945. To put it plainly, the time of "those great pimps of the slave days" is churning back at hand, the "skull book" ready to be "written" anew and so on. []

  19. But does she want to make some motherfuckin' money ? []
  20. "She just had really high standards". []
  21. "Why would he permit this ?"
    "Because she's learned how to defend herself."
    "Why would she use that knowledge to fuck things up ?"
    "Because she's dumb."
    "Why doesn't he get rid of her ?"
    "Look, 'she knows how to defend herself' means something specific. She knows how to make each instance look dubious in such a way as to also look not worth establishing for a fact."
    "Why doesn't he get rid of her on principle ?"
    "He's not principled."
    "So he's stuck with her then ?"
    "Like all life's stuck with parasites, the flowers with the little sucking midges and the fish with the worms dangling from their branchia."
    "There's really nothing he can do ?"
    "He'll probably mothball her by degrees, form scar tissue around her, ear wax and lung calculi."
    "Life is monstruous."
    "So it is." []
  22. The question of whether the runt turned evil because he poisoned her with Chris is never getting answered, is it. Too bad. []
  23. Notice how he's absolutely never initiating. []
  24. Aren't you curious what they had ? I'm curious what they had.

    I've had chocolate American pancakes (as opposed to crepes) with pineapple, banana, raisins, confited figs, dried apricots, a drizzle of ginger molasses and I forgot what else. Hannah's managed to make them to my liking again, after managing once randomly off the cuff and then trying on a different day for hours to get them right again and not managing for the life of her. It's still a mystery exactly what in the complex ballet turns these superb chocolate pancakes into inedible clumps in my eyes ; maybe one day we figure it out. []

  25. If this is what he uses all that "privacy" for he's dumber than he was at 19. []
  26. "Is he insane, giving his car keys to some chick that just ran off from her pimp ?" Con men are some of the most trusting souls, at least by civvy standards. []
  27. And what is wrong with "crawl here, bitch" ? []
  28. "High standards", right ? []
  29. Doesn't this bring to mind all the filthy misery of classical Euro families, the jockeying for inheritances, Eugenie Grandet-ing the old folks, isn't it Morometii through and through ?

    People are what they are. "Novel" or "damned" or "antisocial" or "different", whatever else they may con themselves they're being... they'll stay as sad as they can ever be. There's no fixing this by books, "skull" or otherwise. []

  30. Poor girl.

    Hopefully they love each other. []

  31. This guy's on top of the game, check him out. Spitzer didn't have a Sweet, putting this guy above at least some historical governors of New York. []
  32. There's more than a dozen weekends in four years. More than two hundred, too. []
  33. Inner elbow. []
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