9 Thursdays with Abie

During a trip to a water park with the family, Abe meets a journalist named Marshall Goldman. Abe is thrilled that Marshall is interested in hearing his rambling anecdotes, and tells of the time he sat on and Animal trained a real shark during World War II, after the warship he served on was sunk by a torpedo in Pacific Ocean. Marshall publishes Abe's story in the Springfield Shopper. When Homer reads Marshall's article, he is shocked that other people find Abe's stories interesting. In his next anecdote, Abe tells of giving a not-yet-famous Clark Gable a shoe shine at the Springfield railway station and lending him a copy of Gone with the Wind, but still remembers his anger at not being paid. A rapt Marshall writes up this story as well and Abe's fame grows. Homer decides to visit his father, but Abe tells him off, suggesting that Homer only wants to spend time with him now that he is famous. Later, Marge suggests that, in actuality, Homer is angry with himself for not having spent more time with his dad. Insulted at the not-so-false suggestion, Homer listens to Mr. Burns' anecdotes, writes his own column and takes it to the Springfield Shopper (where it is quickly shredded). While at the newspaper office, Homer sneaks into Marshall's office and discovers a manuscript that Marshall intends to submit for a Pulitzer Prize. The manuscript states that Abe is dead and Homer realizes that Marshall intends to kill Abe. He rushes to the railway station, but Abe and Marshall have already departed on a vintage train known as the Tinseltown Starliner (Clark Gable went to the same train after Abe does his shoe polishing). After knocking out Abe, Marshall attempts to suffocate him with a pillow. With the help of Lenny and Carl, Homer breaks through a window just as Marshall pulls out a gun. The two struggle, and then Abe pulls the emergency brake and Marshall is knocked out by a vast load of hat boxes. Homer and his father reconcile, with Abe telling Homer that he is ready for his first ramble.

Meanwhile, Bart has possession of Larry the Lamb, a stuffed sheep toy that each child in Mrs. Krabappel's room takes a turn caring for over a weekend, much to the dismay of Nelson, who says that Larry was "all that kept me sane" in song. Bart resents the stuffed toy, so Lisa offers to take care of him. However, she accidentally loses Larry down a storm drain. Bart goes in to retrieve him, and is chased by sewer rats and sewer cats before finding Larry atop a pipe. Bart uses Larry to slide to safety but the toy rips and Bart unceremoniously crashes through a grate to a beach, where Agnes Skinner (who all this time has heard the children calling out for "Larry") tells Bart to "Give him my number. I'll teach him things. Things he can use."

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