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Authors: Steve Kluger

Tags: #Humour, #Adult, #Historical, #Young Adult

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BOOK: Last Days of Summer
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Mr. Charles Banks, NY Giant

615 Riverside Drive

New York, NY

Dear Mr. Banks,

I am a 12 year old boy and I have just enlisted as a drummer in the marine corpse. The reason for this is because I read the newspapers all the time, and you don't even have to have an education to see that this Hitler is no laughing matter. No sir. So even if it means that I have to die at a very young age, I have made up my mind that I will go down fighting for God and my country just to keep the world safe for democracy.

I am writing because me and the other boys are shoving out for Montazuma and Tripoli and other places where fighting is already fearce, and we are not expected to come back alive. Anyway last night we were in our bunks wondering how many more sunsets we would get to see, when all of a sudden the Sarge said “Gee, wouldn't it be great if Charlie Banks could hit but one more before we go off to lay down our life?” Everybody shook their head yes including the general, and being the youngest I got to write the letter, the same way I always have to do KP from being only 4 ft. tall and everybody can beat you up if you don't.

Mr. Banks, I read in this magazene once where Tris Speaker visited an army barracks and promised all the boys there that he would hit one out for them before they got shot up. So I would appreciate it if you would come to the plate sometime during Saturday's game with Saint Louis and point to
one of the outfields and say “This is for my friend Joey Margolis” (please do this on the radio). Then all you have to do is hit one over the wall.

Thank you so very much.

God Bless America.

Your friend,

Joey Margolis

Mr. Joseph Margolis

236 Montgomery Street

Brooklyn, NY

 

Now look you little pisser. You write one more letter like that last one and your going to
wish
you were dying from an incurable disease. Because if there's a war—and there better not be as long as that dime store New Dealer keeps his damn nose where it belongs—there's going to be a lot of guys scared to death who figure that if they're lucky, maybe they get to come back with all their parts. That's if they come back at all. So you just think about that before you pick up another pencil, you understand?

If I was your old man I would take a hair brush to your butt and fix it so you would not be able to sit down again until you were old enough to vote.

Charles Banks

3d base

P.S. And how did you get my home address anyway?

Mr. Charles Banks

615 Riverside Drive

New York, NY

Dear Mr. Banks,

You can go to Hell. My old man is a submarine commander who could knock your block off.

Do you know what would have happened if a Brooklyn policeman or somebody got ahold of my mail and found out I was writing to a Giant? The pokey probably, that's what. So don't give me any of your lip. Juvenile Hall was bad enough.

Anyway, nobody asked for your damned autograph. I never even heard of you before. And even if I did, you can bet that I've got more important things to do with my life than waste my time with a bully who just because he gets caught trying to steal home would pop a pitcher in the mouth. And you're supposed to be the new Roger Bresnahan? I guess that shows you can't believe everything you read in the papers. Even Roosevelt.

You're just about the cheapest kind of sport I ever heard of. And I hope you break both your legs the next time you slide into second base.

Your arch foe,

Joseph Margolis

P.S. Who are you calling a dime store New Dealer? Did you ever end a Depression?

Dear Kid,

Whoa.

In the first place, nobody held a gun to your head to fib about being blind and etc., which means if you get caught you shut up and take your medicine like a man.

And in the second place, I never slugged Derringer on account of getting picked off, as that is the nature of the game. I slugged him on account of calling me a cocksucker which is a whole different matter. You better learn how to get your facts straight before you go shooting off your mouth.

Charles Banks

3rd base

P.S. What were you in Juvenile Hall for? I signed baseballs there once. Some little shit swiped a rubber from my wallet but left the fin and the picture of Lucille Ball. Was that you?

Dear Mr. Banks,

This is from
The Brooklyn Eagle
on April 24.

Banks Starts Another One

New York Giants third baseman Charlie Banks incited yet another brawl over what appeared to be a routine call during a doubleheader with Cincinnati yesterday afternoon at the Polo Grounds. The showdown began in the sixth inning of game one, when Redlegs hurler Paul Derringer attempted a pickoff at third base and caught Banks, long noted for his short fuse, in a rundown between the bag and home plate. Upon being called out by plate umpire Lucchesi, Banks promptly charged the mound and left Derringer with a split lip that later required four stitches. There appears to have been no provocation for the rookie's latest display of on-the-field fisticuffs.

Don't tell
me
to get my facts straight.

Joseph Charles Margolis

(but the Charles gets

changed because of you)

P.S. They locked me up in the Joint for assault with a deadly weapon but had to let me go because the bullets were made of bubblegum. I am a fugitive from a chain gang. So you'd better not get in my way.

Dear Fujitive,

Nice way to finish the damn sentance. “,although an unnamed Cincinnati outfielder admitted that Derringer may have uttered an obscenity that was misinterpreted by Banks.” Misinterpreted my ass. He called me a cocksucker. How many different ways are there to interpret
that
?

I'm inclosing one last picture. Don't write to me again.

Charles Joseph Banks

(looks like we
both
got burned)

Dear Mr. Banks,

Your middle name isn't Joseph, it's Lindon because of your mother's father. You were born in Racine, Wisconsin, on August 7, 1917, and you're 5' 11½” and 181 lbs., and your father was the Vice President of Racine Produce Incorporated and your mother wrote for a newspaper and you bat right and throw right. Except when you were a Springfield Bluejacket and you batted left in three games. So don't try to pull any more fast ones. And stop sending me your damned picture. Didn't Harlan teach you any manners?

Joey Margolis

Dear Arch-Foe,

  1. I batted left in
    four
    games at Springfield. The reason why people think it is only three is because the fourth one hit the Waterloo pitcher in the nuts and they do not like to write about such things in the newspaper, but pretend it didn't happen instead. Even though you could hear him screaming “shit-fuckpiss” all over Illinoise.
  2. “Lindon” doesn't have an “o” in it but an “e”. Linden.
  3. It is six feet even now. Practically. 5'11
    15
    /
    16
    ” with a haircut.
  4. Who in Hell is Harlan?

Now go find yourself a new idle. I don't want to hear from you anymore.

Charlie Banks

3d base

Time Magazine

Roper Poll Results:
The Five Most Admired Men and Women of 1940

  1. Franklin D. Roosevelt,
    Chief Executive
  2. Jesus Christ,
    Savior
  3. Ginger Rogers,
    Actress
  4. Eleanor Roosevelt,
    First Lady
  5. Charlie Banks,
    Third Baseman

Dear Mr. Banks,

Nobody ever said you were my idol. You couldn't even get in front of Ginger Rogers, and all she ever did was have big bosoms.

Know what really browns me off? At school we had to write this English assignment called “An American Hero” and mine was going to be about my father—except his secretary Molly said, “I'm sorry honey but he's all booked up.” Then Nana Bert said “He's sleeping, dear. Call him in October, dear. We're going to Monte Carlo, dear.” So I went and wrote it about you instead. I even clipped one of your baseball cards from the five and dime so I wouldn't have to get paste on the ones I already have. No wonder I got an F.

And you can forget about the home run. I only needed one because I'm a short Jew and Lenny Bierman isn't. Somehow he thinks you're my best friend, and I ran out of ways to stall him. Thanks for nothing.

Joseph Margolis

P.S. Harlan was your brother from 1914. What kind of a dope do you think I am?

Racine Rocket Shatters Own
Record With Solo Shot

T
HE
P
OLO
G
ROUNDS
. Third baseman Charlie Banks today ripped the longest home run ever hit out of Coogan's Bluff, measuring 519 feet and breaking the same record he set last month by a full three yards. Asked why he bothered, considering the Giants' 9–0 lead over the Cubs going into the inning, the Wisconsin-born righthander replied, “I was bored.”

Dear Kid,

Let's see Ginger Rogers do
that
.

I'll tell you what gets under
my
hair. All over the world right now is guys who would give their right arm to get a letter back from me, some of them even grown people who think I am their God. A previous example: “Dear Mr. Banks, We would like you to come to our town for Charlie Banks Day and accept the key to our city” (from some place in Iowa I never heard of and wouldn't know what to do with their damn key anyway), or this one: “Dear Mr. Banks, Although I had never been a baseball fan until you began to play, I would like to thank you for making me feel young again” (from Tenesee which is that long skinny thing next to West Vagina). Then there's you: “Dear Charlie, Piss off.”

You got no kick coming. Go bug DiMaggio.

Chas. Banks

3d Base

P.S. You take the Charles Banks 3d Base card back to the 5 & Dime and tell them your sorry.

P.S.2. “Somehow” he thinks I am your best friend? Where did he hear that from? A Nazi spy? J. Herbert Hoover? Hetta Hopper? You could not tell the truth unless you thought you were prevaricating. And didn't I tell you not to write to me anymore?

P.S.3. Who said I had a brother named Harlan?

T
HE
W
HITE
H
OUSE

Dear Joey:

Thank you for your most recent letter. Addressing your points in order:

(a) While I agree that Neville Chamberlain has not been especially effective in containing the Nazi aggressor, I hardly think there is any evidence to suggest that he is collaborating with them.

(b) The President is fully aware of the Reich's air base in Bolivia. How did you find out about it?

(c) We are not particularly concerned about running against Wendell Willkie in November, either. But thank you for your encouragement.

(d) Joey, Holland is of no practical use to the Germans, and is therefore all but impervious to attack. There would be no advantage to Hitler's crossing its borders unless it were to antagonize the entire Western Hemisphere. Furthermore, even in such an implausible scenario, Belgium would be the far more viable target; however, that is not likely to happen either.

I hope this puts your mind to rest. At least for the remainder of the week.

Cordially as always,

Stephen T. Early

Press Secretary

Germans Launch “Lightning War” on Low Countries

Holland and Belgium Under Siege

A
NTWERP
, Friday—The Wehrmacht today dispatched 500 bombers on a series of strafing raids over Belgium and Holland, eliminating the last few pockets of peace in Europe.

Calling the assault “shameful,” President Roosevelt denounced Hitler's aggression as “wanton and unprovoked,” but denied—at least for the moment—that a mandatory draft would be enacted in order to put the U.S. on a tentative war footing.

Brooklyn, however, rebuffed the newest Nazi threat sensibly and without panic. Several local restaurant owners have removed hamburger and sauerkraut from their respective menus and have replaced the items with liberty steak and pickled cabbage. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia has not yet responded to a petition that would require other Borough eateries to follow suit.

I
NTERVIEWER:
Donald M. Weston, Ph.D.

S
UBJECT:
Joseph Charles Margolis

Q:
What's the matter?

A:
Cheesed off.

Q:
At your father?

A:
No. At Steve Early.

Q:
President Roosevelt's Steve Early?!?

A:
Yeah.

Q:
What position does
he
play?

A:
You're humoring me again.

Q:
I'm sorry. Why are you cheesed off at Steve Early?

A:
He wouldn't listen to me about Czechoslovakia or Austria. Now he says Holland is nothing to worry about either.

Q:
How do you know that? From the newspaper?

A:
No. He told me so.

Q:
Of course.

A:
You think I'm slap-happy, don't you?

Q:
I didn't—

A:
You want to read the letter?

Q:
If you'd like—

A:
Here.

Subject hands interviewer an envelope and a sheet of paper
.

Q:
Oh, my God.

A:
See?

Q:
How long has this been going on?

A:
Since 1937. He apologized when the
Panay
got sunk, 'cause I told him that was gunna happen too. See, right after Nanking—

Q:
He calls you Joey….

A:
Right after Nanking—

Q:
He calls you Joey
twice—

A:
Charlie Banks calls me “Kid.” I hate it when he does that.

Q:
Then why don't you tell him so?

A:
Because.

Q:
Because why?

A:
Just because.

Q:
What do you see?

A:
C-Crosley Field in Cincinnati. The game where Charlie hit two grand slams in a row. W-we all waited for him at the plate after the second one and then jumped on him when he got there. But—but I was the only one he hugged back. M-my Dad calls him a loser. How come I don't believe him anymore?

Q:
We can stop now, Joey. Do you have a handkerchief?

A:
N-no.

Q:
Here. Use mine.

A:
Thanks.

Q:
Know what
I
see?

A:
What?

Q:
A Rorschach blot.

A:
You mean I was
right
?

Q:
I'm beginning to wonder….

BOOK: Last Days of Summer
4.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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