Page 5

Algren - A Ticket on Skoronski

THE NEW TASTE IN SMOKING iThe all-male taste, yet so mild and flavorful you'll have trouble keeping it from "her". Spartan Rich, dark finish. $2.95. Airograte Changeable bowl. Metal grate suspends tobacco. $3.95. Thorn Rugged, sandblasted finish. $4.95. Duo•Lined Double lining of real honey. $5.95. Yello-Bole is made for men who like their smoking rich and full flavored. To create this unique taste the bowl is pre-caked with a new-formula honey lining. This gentles the smoke. Smooths the taste. Enriches the flavor. So effective—the imported briar bowl is guaranteed against burn-out. Available in a variety of shapes, $2.50 to $7.50. Free Booklet shows how to smoke a pipe; styles; shapes. YELLO-BOLE PIPES, INC., N.Y. 10022, DEPT. P82 by the makers of KAYWOODIE THE SATURDAY EVENING POST TICKET ON SKORONSKI I went over to Haircut Man and whispered in his ear. " You got a royal flush, old man !" He didn't so much as stir. The old man was dead for sure. I heard the Pulmotor Patrol sirening down Western, and a minute later two firemen came in, one carrying an inhalator strapped to his back. The other one unstrapped it and put the mask over Haircut Man's face. "Stand back. Back everybody," he began giving orders. "If you're going to lean over, put out your cigarette," he told me. " We're trying to give the man air." " Why should I give up smoking for you?" I asked him. "You don't even come from this neighborhood." "Everybody back," Fielder said, and put everybody back with one hand. "If I can't get up close to an accident," I told Fielder," I won't look at all." I hung around, but not to look at the old man. Somebody had to watch those firemen because the old man had a gold ring on his right ring finger. Lottie came over to help me watch, and I decided to watch Lottie. I looked around and caught Owner watching me. There wasn't anybody else left to watch the firemen except Fielder, and he was having a hard time because they were both watching him. I never saw so many suspicious people in one group in my life. When everybody got tired of watching each other, we all went over to the bar. I stood between the firemen. They must have liked what they were drinking because they didn't ask me to try it out for them. And every time they drank they'd touch glasses. It made me wonder what they would do about congratulating "You can't win. As soon as they decide poverty is not a crime, they want to treat it as a disease." each other if they ever brought anybody to. "That old man passed out in here seven times since Christmas," I let them know, "and he came around by himself every time. Why would he stop at eight? If you fellows had kept your hands off him he'd be standing up here having a drink with us now. He was the best friend I ever had. He was like a father to me. I used to follow him to see he got home all right." "It's a good thing he didn't go down an alley," one fireman told the other. "Cops! We didn't report this!" Owner suddenly thought. "You want me to go for them?" I asked him. "I know where to find them." "Then what are you waiting for? Get them." " It's raining," I told Owner. " I need something to warm me up so's I don't catch my death." Owner made up his mind. " We got one stiff on our hands, we might as well have two." A Holy Father came in. One with a beard. " I phoned for him," Lottie said. " You got the wrong kind," I told her. The Holy Father made some signs over Haircut Man. I went over, but it was hard to make out what he was saying. I slipped a dime into the pinball machine, and just as the Father crossed himself, the machine lit up. I scored 850 before Owner came over and shut it off. " You said you were going for the cops," he reminded me. " What do I have to do to get a drink?" I asked. "Put a sheet over him," the Holy Father told Owner. "How can I find cops with a sheet over me, Father?" I asked him. "He doesn't mean you," Fielder told me. "He's talking about our dead pal." "Put a sheet over our pal," Owner told Lottie. "You don't have to do everything the man tells you, Mother," Fielder told Lottie. "She don't have to do anything she don't want to," Owner told Fielder. Lottie touched Fielder with one finger, to shut him up, and went into the back room. She came out with a wrinkled sheet. "You forgot your pillow, Mother," Fielder told her. " If you need a package of Juicy Fruit, Father," Lottie told the priest, "look for my son in Cubs' Park." " In the bleachers," Owner put in. "They don't let him sell in the grandstand." "If you'd stop telling people I sell gum, Mother," Fielder told Lottie, " I'd stop telling them you're my mother." " I don't hold it against her," Owner said. " We all make mistakes." Fielder put up his fist, as big as Owner's whole face, right under Owner's nose. Owner didn't even blink. He just put his hand on the bar towel and waited until Fielder's knuckles touched his nose. Then swish— smack across Fielder's face with the towel. Fielder grabbed the towel. Owner let go of it. And there was Fielder wiping his face with the very towel that had just smacked him. Lottie kept tucking the sheet around Haircut Man so she wouldn't have to take notice of the events across the bar. One corner of the sheet said HOTEL MARK TWAIN in green letters. "Know who that is?" I asked the Holy Father, pointing at the signed photograph of Jim Vaughn above the bar. "That's Hippo Vaughn from the Chicago Cubs. Nobody had to say to Hippo, 'Buy me a drink, Hippo.' Hippo didn't wait for that. He poured it for you, and put a fiver in your pocket whether you asked for it or not. Anything Hippo had you could have." The Holy Father wasn't listening. Lottie put my cap on my head. "Take a run for the cops," she told me, and the way she said it, I decided I would. Look for cops on a rainy night the same way you'd look for a cat— somewhere out of the wet and cold, next to a wall or under a shed. I went down the alley behind the Krakow Bakery, because that's where it's always warmest. They were parked with a cardboard box over the flash, listening to Pat Suzuki singing her heart belonged to an older man. Outside of that and beingparkedwrong, they were keeping crime at bay by smelling rye bread. I rapped the window, and one cop rolled it down. He looked scared, like I was going to pinch him. He was Firebox, a fellow I went to school with. He'd gotten his start by running for the truant officer to break up crap games after 54


Algren - A Ticket on Skoronski
To see the actual publication please follow the link above