Thursday, December 31, 2020

“New Year’s Eve at the Sanitarium”

It was cold up here in the mountains, and when Philip came here this most recent time he had only brought his old Brooks topcoat. In his wanderings through the environs of the sanitarium he had noticed a general store in the village down the hill, and the store had coats in its window display, and so today, December 31, he decided to walk down and buy a winter coat after lunch.

Philip was heading through the reading lounge towards the front door when Edna got up from a chair and intercepted him.

“Are you going for a walk?”

“Yes. I was just going to walk down to the village and buy a winter coat.”

“Oh, my God, I need a winter coat! I came up here only with my light fall coat, and I absolutely freeze every time I go outside.”

“Me too,” said Philip.

“Is that topcoat all you brought up here?”

“Yes. I’m afraid I didn’t plan very well.”

“I didn’t plan at all. All I did was cry while my husband threw some clothes in a bag and drove me up here.”

Philip had heard it all before, but, let’s face it, everyone here repeated themselves a lot, including Philip. Edna was staring at him in that way she had. She never invited herself to go on a walk with him, but she always assented readily when he did invite her.

“Would you like to walk down to the village with me?” he said. “I did see some ladies’ coats in the window of the –”

“You wouldn’t mind?”

“No, of course not. It’ll be nice to have some company, and maybe you can help me choose a coat.”

“Please wait for me. I just need to get my coat. My fall coat, ha ha. Please wait for me. You’re not in a hurry, are you?”


“You’re sure you don’t mind?”


“I’ll just be a jiff.”

Philip knew what that meant, but what else did he have scheduled for his day, except for the afternoon group session, and that should be a ball, a bunch of drunks whining on New Year’s Eve. He sat down in the same easy chair Edna had vacated and picked up a magazine.

A half hour later Edna was there, with her fall coat on. Philip didn’t ordinarily notice much in the physical world, but even he could tell that she had fixed her hair and her makeup.

“Sorry I took so long. What are you reading in the New Yorker?”

“It’s a story about a man who’s considering suicide.”

“Does he commit suicide?”

“I don’t think so, because it’s written in the first person.”

“Maybe he wrote the story after he committed suicide.”

“Maybe so, but I think it’s going to end with him deciding not to.”

“Do you want to finish it, because I can wait if you want to.”

“No, I’ll finish it later.”

“Good, let’s go. I’m so excited!”

Outside the world was white, but the path to the road had been shoveled, and the road had been plowed, tall smooth rounded ridges of snow on either side of the road. They walked together down the middle of the road in the cold air. The snow was a flat thick white, and the sky up above the black branches of the trees was almost the same color as the snow, or the same lack of color.

Edna was young and pretty, but Philip didn’t want to get involved, that was the last thing he needed. Sometimes they would walk without speaking for a quarter of an hour, and then Edna would start talking, and talking. Philip didn’t mind. Listening to her troubles kept him from thinking of his own.

They had walked in silence for about five minutes when suddenly Edna put her gloved hand on Philip’s arm.

“Philip, stop.”

Philip stopped.

“What are we going to do tonight?”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s New Year’s Eve! The whole world will be drunk and celebrating, and we’re going to be stuck in this dreary sanitarium!”

“It could be worse.”

“How could it be worse?”

“Oh, lots of ways.”

Philip took out his cigarettes, offered her one, which she took. Edna always took a cigarette, even though she smoked a different brand and usually had her own. He lighted the cigarettes with his lighter. The smoke rose up slowly in the cold air. She looked away, into the woods, and then looked back at him.

“You’re right,” she said. “It could be lots worse. Do you know what I did last New Year’s Eve?”


“Oh, right, I talked about it in group.”

“We’ve all done bad things on New Year’s Eve.”

“But my husband’s brother!”

“Well,” Philip said, after a brief pause, “I guess that’s why we’re here.”

Now Edna paused before speaking.

“You mean in the sanitarium,” she said.

“Yes,” said Philip, smiling.

“Not here on this road in the freezing cold.”

“Well,” said Philip, after yet another pause, “yes, we’re here on this road because we’ve misbehaved on New Year’s Eves in the past.”

“But this is a new New Year’s Eve.”


“And we don’t have to get stupid drunk just because the rest of the world is doing so.”


“Okay, let’s go into the village and buy those coats.”

“That’s the plan,” said Philip.

And they started walking again. They managed to walk right by the town tavern without going in, and at the general store they both bought matching Mackinaw hunting coats and sturdy rubber boots.

{Please go here to read the “adult comix” version in A Flophouse Is Not a Home, illustrated by the one-and-only Rhoda Penmarq…}

Thursday, December 24, 2020

"Christmas Eve on the Bowery"

It was Christmas Eve on the Bowery
and all the drunks was drinking,
just another night on the Bowery,
another night to get stinking.

But what about all them little brats
lying in their dirty cots?
Where was the mummies and the daddies,
of these poor underprivileged tots?

I’ll tell you where they was, my friend,
they was down at the corner dive
drinking tokay and basement brewed bock,
and just slightly less dead than alive.

And for them tykes a cold Christmas morn,
with no tree, no presents – sad, innit?
And for breakfast a bowl of cornflakes
with not a drop of milk to put in it.

Is there any hope for these poor childers,
brought up in such poor circumstances?
Yes, my friend, there is aways hope,
maybe not a lot, but them’s the chances.

And as for the few who survive to adulthood,
despite the filth, the rickets and T.B.,
the few who finish school and escape skid row,
they can always say, “Hey, look at me.

Me da was a drunk and me ma was a whore,
but I fought my way out of that slum
because I wanted to be something more
than just another pathetic Bowery Bum.”

Seamas McSeamas the Irish poet put down his pencil. Writing these lines had not only pushed him to the verge of depression, but given him a powerful thirst. Fortunately, he still had six bucks from his last welfare check, way more than enough to get his load on down at Bob’s Bowery Bar.

Seamas was already wearing his old overcoat and his tweed cap and muffler, his attic room was devilish cold, but what the hell, it was still a pretty good deal for only a sawbuck a month. What did any real poet need more than a roof over his head and his monthly dole check? Not a damn thing, that’s what. Seamas had no regrets. He had chosen his path in life.

Down the six flights of stairs of his tenement to Bleecker Street, and the snow was falling thick and heavy out of the black of the night. Across the street Seamas saw the glowing red neon sign

Ma’s Diner

and it occurred to him that in the fire of creation he had forgotten all about his supper. He hesitated. It was true that Bob served good cheap food, but there was always the very likely possibility that once Seamas got in the bar he would forget to eat, which would mean he would wake up on Christmas day not only as hungover as a dog, but quite probably without even a dime for a cup of coffee and a doughnut. Better to stop at Ma’s now and get something in his belly.

He crossed the street, and there by the entranceway of Ma’s, what had at first seemed to be a pile of snow now revealed itself to be a human being sitting against the wall.

“Hey, brother, what you doing sitting there?” said Seamas.

“What’s it look like I’m doing,” said the little snow-covered old man which was what the human being was. “I’m sitting here minding my own fucking beeswax.”

“Ah, shite,” said Seamas. This was all he needed, and him with only a fin and a single in his poke.

“All right, old-timer, up you go.”

“Fuck off.”

“That ain’t no way to talk now. Come on, gimme your hand and I’ll take you into Ma’s and get you a nice hot cup of joe and summat to eat.”

“Fuck you, Mick, I don’t need your charity.”

“But if you sit out here in this freezing cold and snow you’re sure to croak from the hyperthermia.”

“That’s my lookout. I ain’t looking for charity from no bog trotter.”

“Hey, watch it with the ethnic aspersions, pal.”

“What’re you gonna do about it, Paddy?”

“Jaysus, man, you got to be the most unpleasant bum in the whole neighborhood, and that’s saying something in this neighborhood.”

“What I do, I do the best,” said the little old man. “Hey, what’re ya doin’, harp?”

“I’m picking you up, you nasty little fuckwad,” said Seamas, doing exactly what he said.

“Off the cloth, moth,” said the little old man as Seamas pulled him up to his feet.

Seamas brushed some snow off the little man’s raggedy coat.

“Watch the threads, Ted,” said the obnoxious little bum.

“Look at ya, you’re damn near froze up like a popsicle already,” said Seamas.

“Fuck you and fuck your pity,” said the little man.

“Come on,” said Seamas, and he grabbed the little man’s little arm.

“Leggo my arm, ya big bully,” said the little man. “Stop manhandling me!”

Seamas was actually a pretty strong fellow for a drunk and a poet; when his welfare checks ran out he picked up day-work digging ditches on the road crews, and he dug ditches like a champion, it was in his blood he always said, digging ditches and writing poems and drinking, he wasn’t good at much, but he was good at them things. Anyway, it was no problem at all for Seamas to drag the little bum bodily into the cozy warmth of Ma’s Diner. Soon enough they were sat side by side at the crowded counter, and despite the little man’s protestations they each had a big order of Ma’s Christmas Eve plat du jour: fried Virginia ham with red eye gravy, collard greens, and mashed sweet potatoes slathered with plenty of butter, and then thick warm slices of Ma’s pumpkin pie topped with fresh whipped cream, and all of it washed down with lashings of her bottomless cups of fresh-ground chicory coffee.

“Well, that was good, weren’t it?” said Seamas, lighting up his Bull Durham.

“I’ve had worse,” said the little old man, taking a good draw on the Durham that Seamas had rolled for him. “But.”

“But?” said Seamas.

“Yeah, you heard me,” said the bum. “But.”

“But what?”

“But I’ve had better.”

Seamas held his peace. This had been the closest this little fucker had come to saying something not totally disagreeable yet. Best not to push him.

“Well, I’m gonna be taking off now,” said Seamas, after a minute of silence, except for the chatter of the other poor people in this joint and the sound of Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” on the radio.

The little bum finished blowing the series of perfect smoke rings he was blowing, and then replied, “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.”

Seamas paid the check, and gave Ma a fifty cent tip, making sure to hand it to her, because he didn’t trust the little guy not to steal it.

“Merry Christmas to ya, buddy,” he said to the bum.

The bum said nothing.

Seamas went out into the thick falling snow. Well, it was time to get that load on, although now he’d be getting a buck’s worth less loaded thanks to buying that obnoxious little bum a meal.

Inside Ma’s the little man continued to enjoy his cigarette, and asked Ma politely for a refill of his coffee. Little did Seamas know, but this little old man was none other than the archangel called Bowery Bert, the guardian angel of this impoverished neighborhood. Seamas had passed his test with flying colors, and thus had earned another ten years added to his pre-allotted span of life on this earthly plane. Of course, what Seamas chose to do with those extra ten years was entirely up to Seamas, and not up to any angel or even God in Heaven, no, it was entirely up to Seamas.

{Kindly go here to read the “adult comix” version in A Flophouse Is Not a Home, illustrated by the one and only Rhoda Penmarq, and from me and Rhoda and all the staff at Flophouse Enterpises™: Happy Holidays!}

Thursday, December 17, 2020

“Spread the Good Will”

 Tommy pulled the Studebaker into a parking lot in back of the Knickerbocker Building. 

“We can walk from here,” he said. “A couple blocks walk in the cold air, do us good.”

“Tommy, can I ask you something?” said Addison.

“Sure, Anderson.”

“About this gun.”

The big gun was heavy in his coat pocket.

“What about it?” said Tommy.

“Well, should I keep it in my pocket, or –”

“Yeah, keep it in your pocket.”

Tommy got out of the car, so Addison got out also. The air was cold.

“Whatta ya hear, whatta ya say, Tommy?” said the parking lot attendant.

Tommy tossed the fellow his car keys.

“I say if there’s a scratch on this car when I come back for it I’m sticking you in the trunk and dumping you in the Hudson River.”

“Ha ha, you want me to polish it up for ya, Tommy?”

“Sure, kid. Make it shine, like your nose.”

“Ha ha, you’re all reet, Tommy.”

Tommy took a bill out of his pocket, folded lengthwise.

“Here ya go, Curly.”

“Gee, a fin! Thanks, Tommy.”

“Merry Christmas, kid.”

“I don’t care what they say about you, Tommy.”

“Long as it ain’t the truth, right?”

“That’s right, Tommy. I’ll shine this baby up so good it’ll blind ya.”

“Yeah, you do that, Curly.”

Tommy and Addison walked together out of the lot and up Broadway through the throngs of people getting out of their jobs.

Addison was beginning to have second thoughts. He had never held a gun before in his life. He had been 4-F for the draft – flat feet and knock knees, and had spent the war years working in a plant in North Carolina that made parachutes. The pistol in his coat pocket seemed to drag his whole torso out of balance. Why had Tommy asked him to hold it? What had Tommy done in that Sailor Sid’s bar? Addison had heard a distinct popping sound. Had Tommy really not killed anyone? Maybe he had just wounded someone. “Just” wounded someone? And here was Addison – an intellectual, a Swarthmore man – walking along carrying this pistol! What had he gotten himself into? And all because he wanted to impress everyone by seeming friendly with the famous Tommy McCarthy, the big river boss. What a fool he was!

At the corner of Broadway and 42nd they came upon a sidewalk Santa Claus tinkling his bell.

“Hey, Tommy, what’s up?” said the Santa. His eyes were bloodshot, his nose was blotchy and red, and, even from several feet away, Addison could smell the alcohol on the man’s breath.

“Merry Christmas, Saul,” said Tommy. He took a roll of bills out of his pocket, peeled off a five and dropped it into the slot in the man’s kettle. Then he peeled off another five and handed it to the Santa, in that folded lengthwise way. “Buy yourself a little Christmas cheer with this.”

“Gee, thanks, Tommy,” said the Santa. “Merry Christmas to ya!”

“And a happy Hannukah to you, Saul,” said Tommy.

They walked on along 42nd Street toward Times Square.

“See, Anderson,” said Tommy, “this is why I can’t walk around too much. At this rate I ain’t gonna have the price of a ticket by the time we get to the movie.”

“Heh heh,” said Addison. “By the way, my name is actually –”

“But ya gotta spread the good will, y’know? In my line of work ya gotta spread the good will. Ya never know, someday I might need a favor from that parking lot kid, or from Saul the Jewish Santa. You know what I mean?”

“Sure, Tommy.”

“It’s the season of good will, anyways.”


“Ya gotta have good will, Anderson.”

“Certainly,” said Addison. “By the way, Tommy, do you mind if I ask you something again?”

“Nah, as long as it ain’t for a handout.”

“No, not at all!”

“Just kidding. What is it.”

“Well, how long do you want me to carry the gun?”

“What, the gun I gave you?”

“Um, yes.”

“Keep it.”

“Keep it?”

“Yeah, keep it till I ask for it back.”

“Keep it until –”

“I’ll let you know when I want it back. Why, you worried?”

“Well, just a little, I guess. I mean, don’t you need a license to carry a gun?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Well, you see, I don’t have a license, so –”

“Neither do I.”


“Don’t worry about it, Anderson. I’ll make it worth your while.”

“Oh. Uh –”

“You got a job?”

“A job?”

“A job. Something you do so that somebody gives you money for it.”

“Well, not really, you see, I’m working on a book –”

“What kind of book?”

“Well, it’s a study of literary trends in the –”

“You want a job?”

That parachute factory job was the only job Addison had ever had, and after more than three years of that hell he had never wanted another one, not as long as his grandmother kept the checks coming – “Well, gee, Tommy, I’m pretty busy with my book, you see, and, uh –”

“How about just like a part-time job. Like, on call.”

“On call?”

“Yeah, like when I need ya. Sometimes I’ll need ya, most of the time I won’t.”

“Gee, uh –”

“I’ll give ya a C-note a week, irregardless whether I need ya.”

“A C-note?”

“A yard.”

“A yard?”

“A hundred bucks.”

“A hundred dollars?”

“Yeah, starting today.”



Tommy stepped into the entranceway of Nedick’s. He took out that roll of bills again. He licked his thumb and started counting off bills. He peeled off a wad, and then stuck it into Addison’s coat pocket, the same one that the gun was in.

“Gee, Tommy,” said Addison.

“I need a guy like you,” said Tommy. “Well spoken like. You go to college?”

“Well, yes, as a matter of fact I did. I went to –”

“Let’s go see that movie now.”

They went out onto the sidewalk again. It was starting to snow. They walked along and Addison put his hand into the pocket, with the gun, and the hundred dollars. He’d only made forty-nine a week at the parachute factory. How could he say no?

The snow came down harder, and by the time they reached the Vauxhall Theatre it was coming down really hard.

(Please click here to read the “adult comix” version in A Flophouse Is Not a Home, profusely illustrated by the illustrious rhoda penmarq.}

Thursday, December 10, 2020

“Cold Beer Crabs”

Every morning Addison checked the movie listings in the Federal-Democrat, and finally, after three weeks, he hit pay dirt: the Vauxhall up on 42nd Street was showing The Preacher Wore a Sixgun! He could barely contain himself, but he waited until a little before four o’clock before going around the corner to Bob’s.

He deliberately grabbed a stool next to where Tommy McCarthy usually sat, down near the rest rooms, and, sure enough, shortly after four, Tommy came in.

“Hi, Tommy, how’s it going?”


Tommy took out a cigar and removed the cellophane, and Addison fought the urge to give him a light. He knew by now that Tommy didn’t like people lighting his cigar for him. Bob came over and put a bock in front of Tommy.

“You believe that fight last night?” said Bob.

“Un fucking believable,” said Tommy, and he put a kitchen match to his cigar.

“Half a minute into the second round,” said Bob. “Them people at the Garden should’ve asked for their money back.”

“Un fucking believable,” said Tommy again, and he tossed the match into an ashtray.

Addison had no idea what they were talking about, and so he discreetly kept quiet. He was trying to learn how to keep his mouth shut when he had nothing to say, but it was hard. It was very hard. He waited until Bob had brought Tommy his change. He had considered trying to buy Tommy’s bock, but he didn’t want to press his luck.

“Hey, Tommy, guess what?”


Tommy didn’t say this in a way that meant he wanted to know what Addison had to say, it was more as if he had been so absorbed by his thoughts that he hadn’t even heard what Addison had said.

“I said guess what,” said Addison.

“All right, what is it?”

“I checked the movie listings today, and, guess what, the Vauxhall up on 42nd is showing that Audie Murphy movie, The Preacher Wore a Sixgun.”


“Yes! Remember you asked me to tell you if I noticed that The Preacher Wore a Sixgun is showing again anywhere?”

“Yeah, that’s a good movie.”

“Look, I’ll show you the listing.” Addison had the Federal-Democrat all ready on the bar, open to the movie page and folded over, with the Vauxhall listing circled in purple ink. “Look, Tommy, see? It’s on a triple bill with The Lady Was No Lady with Beverly Michaels and Backstreets of Bangkok with Dan Duryea.”

“I ain’t seen them other two,” said Tommy.

“Would you like to go see the The Preacher Wore a Sixgun?”

“What, like now?”

“Well, I think the Vauxhall changes their bills twice a week, so if you wanted to catch The Preacher Wore a Sixgun you’d have to go sometime in the next few days.”

Tommy took a drink of his bock.

“Y’know, Tommy,” said Addison, casting caution to the winds, “if you wanted to try for a matinée tomorrow, maybe we could go see it together.”

Tommy turned and gave Addison one of those impenetrable looks of his.

Would this finally be the time when Tommy would send Addison flying backwards off his stool with one swipe of that enormous scarred-knuckled hand? But no, because after taking a deep drag of his cigar, Tommy spoke:

“I’m pretty busy this week. We got three freighters we gotta unload in the next three days, and if I ain’t on the docks them bums don’t do no work and they hijack half the cargo, especially when it’s Scotch whisky like what’s on one of these ships.”

“Gee, that’s a shame.”

“It’s a damn shame.”

Oh, well, Addison had tried. But what he could do, he could go see the movie himself, and then later he could talk to Tommy about it. That would really give them something in common.

But then Tommy spoke again.

“What’s the next show?”

“You mean of The Preacher Wore a Sixgun?”

“Yeah, when they showing it again?”

“Well, let’s see, let’s see, well, here we go, voilà, it looks like there’s a show at 5:15 actually –”

“Great,” said Tommy. “We got time then.”

“You mean you want to go now?”

“Yeah. You want to come? It’s a good movie, Anderson.”

“Well, Addison, actually –”

“Addison, right. You want to go?”

“Gee, I’d love to, Tommy –”

“I gotta make one little stop first, but if we leave now we got plenty of time.”

“Sure, whatever you say, Tommy.”

Ten minutes later Addison was sitting in Tommy’s big Studebaker, and Tommy parked the car on some dingy cobblestone street down by the East River.

“I’m gonna leave the engine running,” said Tommy. “I’ll be right back, then we’ll go see the movie.”

“Sure, Tommy.”

Tommy got out of the car and went into a bar. The bar had a faded grey and red sign:

Sailor Sid’s
Cold Beer Crabs

It was a chilly day in early December, and down the street Addison could see the river. It was that hour the French call "l’heure bleue", but here everything was the color of dirty concrete and soot-stained brick. There was a popping sound from somewhere outside. Addison waited, and Tommy came out of the bar, opened the car door, and got back in behind the wheel.

He took a gun out of his coat pocket.

“Here, take this, Anderson.”

“Take it?”

“Take it. Just stick it in your coat.”

Addison took the gun.

“I said stick it in your pocket,” said Tommy.

Addison stuck the gun in his coat pocket.

“Don’t worry,” said Tommy. “I didn’t kill nobody.”

Addison heaved a great sigh of relief.

“Not this time,” said Tommy, and he shifted the gear stick and pulled the big car out into the street.

(Kindly go here to read the “adult comix” version illustrated by the illustrious rhoda penmarq…}

Thursday, December 3, 2020

"The Preacher Wore a Sixgun"

 The very next day after seeing the western triple feature at the Vauxhall, Addison dropped into Bob’s Bowery Bar for happy hour, and sure enough, there was Tommy McCarthy, the big river boss, sitting on his usual stool down near the rest rooms – and the stool to his left was unoccupied! Quickly Addison went over and claimed the seat before some other chancer could grab it.

Tommy was smoking a big cigar and staring into his bock, perhaps deep in thought.

“Hello, Tommy.”


“I said hello, Tommy.”

“Oh. Hi.”

Tommy went back to staring into his bock, and then he took a good drink of it, finishing it, and shoved the glass forward.

Bob came down and picked up Tommy’s glass.

“I say, Bob,” said Addison, “let me get Tommy’s next one, and I’ll have one of the same, too, if I may.”

Bob stared at Addison. In the two or three years this bore ass had been coming in here, he had never bought anybody a drink, and it was hard enough to get him to pay for his own drinks.

But Addison brought out a crumpled dollar bill and tentatively raised it chest height, so Bob went down to the bock tap.

Tommy said nothing, just sat there smoking his cigar.

When Bob brought the two bocks over Addison held out his dollar bill.

“Out of this, Bob.”

Bob took the bill and went to the register, but before he rang it in he held it up to the light of the electric Rheingold sign just to make sure it was kosher. It looked all right, so he rang it in and brought the eighty cents change back to Addison.

“Thanks, Bob,” said Addison, and he raised his glass. “Here’s to you, Tommy,” he said.

Tommy had already drunk a quarter of his bock, and now he put the glass down and turned to Addison.


“I said here’s to you, Tommy.”

“If you’re looking for a job, forget it. I got experienced men with families who ain’t gettin’ enough work.”

“Um, no, not at all, Tommy, I was just trying to be friendly, you know, ha ha.”

Tommy stared at Addison with those steely blue eyes, and then he turned back to his bock.

“By the way, Tommy,” said Addison, “on your recommendation I went to see an Audie Murphy film yesterday.”

Tommy turned and stared at Addison again.

“It was a film called Ride a Dead Horse,” said Addison. “And you know what? I thought it was simply marvelous.”

Tommy continued to stare at Addison. Was he going to send Addison flying off his stool with one back-handed swipe of that enormous left hand? Addison braced himself for the blow, but finally Tommy said, “That was a good movie.”

“I’m so glad you agree,” said Addison. “I thought the metaphor of the dead horse was really quite striking, and –”

“It was a good one,” said Tommy. “But ya know what was a really good Audie Murphy?”

“What’s that, Tommy?”

The Preacher Wore a Sixgun.”

The Preacher Wore a –”

Sixgun. You might think it was Audie who was the preacher who wore the sixgun, but it wasn’t. That was Dan Duryea. But Audie played the guy who thought the preacher killed his brother. But it wasn’t the preacher. It was Broderick Crawford, the big deal rancher.”

“Well, that sounds really good.”

“It might come around again. Every once in a while they bring these movies back and you can catch ‘em on a double or triple bill.”

“I’ll look out for it. The Preacher Wore a Sixgun.”

“If you hear it’s playing anywheres, let me know.”

“I’ll do just that, Tommy. Scour the movie listings every day.”

“You don’t got to scour the listings, but if you notice it’s coming around, you let me know.”

“Maybe we could go see it together?”

Tommy stared at Addison again. Had Addison gone too far? He always went too far. Either that or he didn’t go far enough. Once again he braced himself for a blow from that enormous fist.

At last Tommy spoke.

“I hope you ain’t one of these guys talks through a whole movie.”

“Oh, not at all!” said Addison. “When I’m watching a film I am quiet as a mouse.”

“Good,” said Tommy.

He raised his glass and emptied it, shoved the glass forward.

Bob came over and picked the glass up.

Tommy turned to Addison.

“What was your name again?”

“Well, they all call me Addison here, ha ha, but my real name is –”

“Give Addison another bock too, Bob,” said Tommy, and he turned to Addison. “You want a shot?”

“A shot?”

“Yeah. I’m gonna have a shot of Schenley’s with my bock. You want a shot, too?”

“Well, yes, a Schenley’s sounds delightful, Tommy.”

“Two bocks, two Schenley’s,” said Tommy to Bob, and Addison quickly polished off his own glass of bock.

This would show everybody.

This would show them.

Tommy McCarthy was buying him not only a bock, but a shot of Schenley’s!

This would show them all.

{Kindly click here to read the “adult comix” version illustrated by the one-and-only rhoda penmarq…}