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Algren - A Ticket on Skoronski

Before you take the first plunge ... CALL ROTO- ROOTER so p.V4 AV GO TROUESt-e9 SEWER SERVICE 471, P' %/4 DOWN H E DR Alt4 4/4 *Reg. Trademarks me," Lopez let the Department know. A dozen people followed the stretcherbearers THE SATURDAY EVENING POST TICKET ON SKORONSKI knows his real name. Then nobody has to look in his wallet." Cops are careful about reaching for a wallet on a drunk or a stiff. If the wallet is empty, they get the blame. The kid, Lopez, was still there, with one newspaper left. Firebox lifted him up level with the old man. All he had to do was reach. " I can't," Lopez yelled, kicking with both feet." If I reach I'll drop my paper." I took hold of his paper, but Lopez locked it under his arm. "If you want the paper, buy it," he hollered. Firebox put a dime in his little paw, and Lopez let go of the paper and reached and got the wallet. He hung on to it while Firebox carried him to the bar. The wallet didn't bulge, and when Lopez held it upside down six trading stamps fell out. He shook it. That was all. "Look inside," Owner told him. Lopez opened the wallet wide, stuck his nose into it, sniffed into the corners, then took his nose out. "Gone on the arfy-darfy," he announced, and Firebox set him down. I started my soft-shoe bit. What do you want for the little you got For the little you got you don't got a lot You kept your money in your big dirty shoes From the graveyard who collects? Nobody was paying me any attention. Nobody ever does. " Who would have thought the old man would die broke?" Lottie asked Owner, looking him right in the eye. " My own opinion," Owner answered, "is that he didn't." And looked me right in the eye. "Ambulance!" Lopez hollered, before any of the rest of us heard a siren. Firebox looked down at him. " Where's my change?" "What change?" Lopez asked, looking up. " I give you a dime for your dirty yesterday's paper. I got three cents coming, Shorty." Lopez don't like being called Shorty. " I don't have change," he told Firebox. "People pay you in seven-cent pieces?" Firebox asked him. " Why don't you search him, Firebox?" I suggested. "He can frisk me, but he can't search in. Owner put two bottles on the bar and got ready to pour. It looked like a good night for Owner. But no one came near the bar. They all wanted to help the stretcher guys carry the stiff to the dead-wagon. The stretcher guys wouldn't let them. All they could do was follow the stretcher out. I stood by the bar, next to the Holy Father. I was trying to remember whether Haircut Man was still wearing a ring the last time I looked. If he was, one stretcher-bearer was in a good position to get married. All he needed was a blind whore. " Were you a friend of the deceased's?" Firebox asked Lottie. "Hardly knew the old man," Lottie said fast. " I thought you knew him well, Mother," Fielder put in. " I thought he said he always helped you out when you weren't working." " Why should I take money from strangers when my son works steady?" Lottie asked him straight. "All right," Fielder said. "All right, Mother. I know you worked for me all my life. Now why don't you go out and get a job for yourself?" "My son sells gum," she told the cops, and put her face down on her arms on the bar. I don't think she was crying, because I didn't hear a sound. She just moved her shoulders a little. Owner touched her shoulder, and she looked up. " Wenceslaus," she said to Fielder. "How God is going to punish !" Then she put her head down again. Fielder got up from the table where our poker game had been. He began walking toward the calendar that hangs on the washroom door. When he got there, he just stood and looked at it. Then he took the mitt out of his hip pocket, put it on, and swung at the calendar. The calendar bounced and the door shook. Then he swung again. " I am Skoronski!" I heard him say to himself. Then the calendar fell, and Fielder just stood there, with his back toward us, pounding his fist into his mitt. " What do we do now?" I asked the Holy Father. "Let's try it three-handed," the Father suggested. He picked up the cards and began shuffling slowly. And as the cards began to fall, I knew, without looking at the juke, that there was nobody behind it anymore. q Your formal wear is out of place on this job, so are the tools you're using! You want drains that run like new again—fast and trouble free. You want to get rid of the cause of your trouble, along with the water. You want the "Roto-Rooter" man. He charges no more and he does the job right. He Razor- Kleens* the inside of your drains quickly, without fuss and muss. Any drain, kitchen, laundry, basement, or bath. He leaves them all like new. You'll find your local Roto-Rooter Company listed in the phone book. Millions of people all over America call "Roto-Rooter"* for prompt, efficient service, day or night. Why don't you? ROTO-ROOTER CORPORATION • 301 University Ave., Des Moines, Iowa "It's hard to categorize them; they're Republicans, but she has pierced ears." 56


Algren - A Ticket on Skoronski
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