What if Fitzgerald had written a total of 10 chapters instead of 9? What if he’d originally shown his editor an alternative chapter 6 with more scenes of Gatsby and Daisy as a couple, but set to a groan-inducing sub-plot–like a visit from Nick’s adorable tow-headed cousin Lil’ Oliver, and you would not believe the fun trouble he gets up to while spouting pun-filled catch phrases! Maybe Jordan babysits for an afternoon to show Nick her maternal instinct, and she loses Lil’ Oliver at the zoo when he slides through the bars of the lion cage, and after a rescue scene full of slapstick farce, the lion roars, and Lil’ Oliver says, “I guess that’s why they call it the roaring 20s!”
If a chapter 6 first draft had been cut, couldn’t it have explained Klipspringer’s missing shoes? Why does Nick Carraway hang up the phone in chapter 8 when Klipspringer asks if his tennis shoes can be sent over? Was it because Klipspringer offended Nick by refusing to commit to the funeral? Or did Nick hang up because he had something to hide regarding the tennis shoes’ disappearance as documented in the original chapter 6? To support this theory, my favorite alternative chapter 6 is a combination P.G. Wodehouse country house comedy and a Dashiell Hammett Sam Spade hard-boiled detective story: A group of mis-matched, eccentric guests spends the weekend at Gatsby’s and Daisy discovers a knack for detective work when Klipspringer’s shoes go missing.
The Case of Klipspringer’s Shoes
What happened to Klipspringer’s tennis shoes? Daisy Buchanan’s on the case!
Gatsby serves as sidekick and narrates from a first person perspective as the detective duo hunt for clues, question guests, and exchange one-liners in an ongoing playful argument over whether Daisy will continue her detective work after they marry. Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker pop in and out of chapter 6, and Nick even finds himself a suspect following an instance of mistaken identity when he dresses as Jordan’s aunt, so he can keep an eye on her during a golf tournament after she appears quite chummy with his gentleman’s club foe, the fat-headed Scrabble Littleton. All is set right when Jordan explains Scrabble loaned her the tournament entry fee, and she then loaned him the winnings so he could produce a play and marry a right rummy bird whose father was a famous Broadway producer who had sniffed upon Scrabble’s prospects as a suitor.
I can’t include the actual chapter 6 for copyright reasons, but it’s a humdinger!
If Daisy as detective seems a stretch, may I remind you that 50% of detective work is the ability to make witty remarks with cool detachment, a skill Daisy possesses in spades. Try matching the cool commentary with its cool customer and you’ll realize Daisy deserves her own fedora on the detective hat rack:
- “If they hang you I’ll always remember you.”
- “Your secret is safe with me. I’m not telling anybody but the people I know.”
- “We’ll meet you on some corner. I’ll be the man smoking two cigarettes.”
- “I get a good feeling when I see a police officer on a horse.”
- A. Sam Spade
- B. Daisy Buchanan
- C. Philip Marlowe
- D. Larry King
The remaining half of a good detective is 25% the ability to spot and make sense of clues, and 25% alcoholism. Daisy doesn’t drink, so she could only hope to be 75% of a Sam Spade, but she’s only trying to find Klipspringer’s shoes, not the Maltese Falcon, so maybe 75% is enough to tip the scales.
And finally, here’s the most important symbolic clue that Fitzgerald intended Daisy to have a detective sub-plot: Remember when Nick comes to dinner the first time he visits the Buchanans and Tom gets a phone call? And Daisy sneaks off to eavesdrop because she suspects it’s Tom’s mistress?
Is there a more important skill for a detective than the ability to sneak?
And what is the item Daisy is sneaking around to find in chapter 6?
Klipspringer’s tennis shoes.
And what’s another word for tennis shoes?
- What other books or movies sound like a wonderfully bad idea for a video game? Add your suggestions to the comments below.