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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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Man About Town

by Winchell

Merman Kayos MacKay

The latest shot in the Ethel Merman-Hazel MacKay feud was fired yesterday when the Merm snapped up the title role in Cole Porter's new tuner
Panama Hattie
, checking in at the 46th Street in October. According to the rumor mill, the part was scripted with MacKay in mind when Broadway wags predicted that Merman's current wow,
DuBarry Was a Lady
, might run into next season.

Battle lines were first drawn four years ago when MacKay landed a small role in Merm's
Red, Hot and Blue!
, held a high C for sixteen bars, and the walls came a-tumblin' down. By the next a.m., the boys on the aisle had dubbed her “the new Ethel Merman.” The old one didn't agree.

“I've got nothing against her,” said Eth at the Stork Club shortly after MacKay was fired. “She's a talented dame.”

Meanwhile MacKay—who's not a fiery-tempered redhead for nuttin'—continues her engagement with the Benny Goodman Orchestra at the posh Manhattan bistro Tuxedo Junction. Her on-again/off-again romance with New York Giants rookie sensashe Charlie Banks appears to be back on track—at least for now. Can we blame her? Sech muscles!

Miss Hazel MacKay

c/o Tuxedo Junction

5 West 49th Street

New York, New York

Dear Miss MacKay,

I am a 12-year-old boy and I have gangreen in both of my legs. I used to play third base like my hero Charlie Banks, but if they have to amputate I will only be 2½ feet tall and nobody will ever let me near an infield again.

The reason I am writing to you is really two reasons.

  1. I wrote to Charlie Banks at his house on Riverside Drive (Mayor LaGuardia got me the address when he visited me in the hospital) and I asked him if he could hit a home run for me the way Babe Ruth used to do. Well I guess he thought I was a fibber or something because when he wrote me back he called me a “little pisser” and told me never to write to him again.
  2. The other reason is because when my fever came down to 105°, the first thing I heard was you singing “Give Him The Ooh-La-La” on the radio. So you are good luck to me.

Miss MacKay, I do not want to lose my legs. Since Charlie Banks doesn't like me very much, could you instead sing a song for me the next time you are on the Chase and Sanborn Hour? It would make me so happy.

Your friend,

Joey Margolis

Dear Chiseler,

Look up in your dictionary the word cheat. Next to it you will probably find a picture of your face. Also swindler and phony and double-crosser and blackmaler and fake.

One thing you better wise up to PDQ (pretty fuckin quick) is that you don't ever get something you don't earn just on account of asking. And earning it takes alot more than making up some load of crap about dying or getting snot in your eyes or whatever the Hell. Ask that Noodlemouth in the White House. He wanted something for nothing too. Just because everybody felt sorry for him from polio and his brother or somebody was Theodore. Know where he was headed for? Nowhere. And he would of gotten there safe and sound too, if it wasn't for his wife. On account of she was the one who nearly killed herself making people want to vote for him. She was the one who climbed into the coal mines from worrying that the guys down there might someday not come back up alive. She was the one who went into the slums and talked to the Negroes in person and tried to get them a better deal even though you would of thought that her husband heard of Lincoln and all, what with both of them being Presidents. FDR is a waste of my time. Eleanor is okay I guess.

Read the newspaper kid. And not the
Brooklyn Eagle
either which it is clear to me is only good for a laugh. Poland's gone. So is Denmark. France is halfway there. And the Brits were damn lucky to get off of Dunkirk Beach last week with their
butt in one piece. So you can bet that if Mr. Franklin Delano Biscuithead isn't careful, there is a good chance we will be eating sour kraut in November instead of turkies and etc. Up in Cooperstown NY there is a place they call the Hall of Fame. Maybe you heard of it. In it you will find C. Mathewson from Factoryville PA who so what if he had a fade-away? He went to fight in The World War though he did not have to, and breathed some gas that somehow turned into TB and he died. When he was still practically young. And you think people will call you special just on account of getting a home run hit for you? You kick that around for a while and if you start feeling a little lousy, good.

Now look. I know your full of shit and you know I know your full of shit but my girl doesn't know how full of shit you are yet and in the meantime she just had dinner with Tyrone Power who she hates but told the Herald Tribune about it anyway just to burn my ass. So one way or another we're going to figure out a way for you to get me out of this mess. If it works I don't put the slug on you. If it doesn't you better hit the dirt running because you don't get much of a head start. You owe me one, Bucko.

Chas. Banks

3d Base

P.S. And what the Hell do you know about Roger Bresnahan anyway? You weren't even alive yet.

Dear Mr. Banks,

Big deal. You weren't alive yet either. They got him for a couple thousand dollars from the Baltimore Orioles and people called him the Duke of Tralee. He was the only one who knew how to catch Matty the right way and if you turn out to be even half the man he was, you'll be lucky. But I doubt it.

Another thing. If you ever call Roosevelt a Noodlemouth or a Biscuithead again, you'll wish that you never left Springfield, Illinois, which by the way doesn't have an “e” on the end of it. I mean it, Charlie. How do you know I'm not really 8 feet tall? How do you know I don't have fists of iron? You don't scare me. Did you ever get an inauguration? Did you ever tell Hoover he was an “ass hole”? Do you have an Oval Office? You bet you don't. You're just some dumb ball player. Who won't hit a home run for me.

Know what I wish? I wish that I played third base for the New York Giants and your last name was Margolis and that you lived in Flatbush next door to the Hitler Youth. Then we'd see how fast you'd be writing to
me
. Only I'd have my secretary send you a greeting card or some such that said “Many Happy Returns” even if yours said “Help”. Maybe you think I'm just some knucklehead, but I don't have enough time in my life to worry about Bierman
and
Delvecchi
and
The Third Reich and neither would you. Okay, I guess I shouldn't have said those things about the Marine Corps and KP and all, and it was probably
a dumb thing to do and if it was I guess I'm sorry. But smokes, Charlie. How many times can I tell my Mom I fell off my bike?

Joey Margolis

P.S. When are we going to Tuxedo Junction to see Hazel?

Dear Iron Fists,

How does a week from never sound?

Maybe you didn't get me. We aren't going
any
where. Your going to sit your ass down and pick up a pencil and tell her you made it all up. Then your going to put it in an envelope and mail it. Loud and clear?

So don't get the wrong idea and think we are friends. Or anything like it. The only reason I am even writing back is on account of it being 2:00 in the a.m. in Philly and they just traded my roommate Gridley Tarbell to the White Sox, a fate I would not wish on a dog. (That is the same team that gave us the 1919 World's Series and people like Eddie Cicotte and Swede Risberg and Chick Gandil and Al Capone.) I asked Mr. Terry if I could room with Jordy Stuker who is even worse at 5 card stud than Gridley was, and Mr. Terry said yes. So instead he gave me Carl Hubbell by saying
“He will be a good influence on you Charles.” The Good Influence never says “shit” and he only plays bridge and he eats hot dogs with a
fork
and he right now is fast asleep in the next bed in this damn hotel room but he is still talking anyway. I think he is giving an interview—he just said “Couldn't of done it without the team.” Oh, yeah? Let's see how fast he wins another 200 games with a towel in his mouth. Stuke would of been a much better deal all the way around. He can fart the first part of “God Bless America” good enough to sing along with it, and he also thinks Lucille Ball is going to marry him. Even though she won't answer any of his letters, including the one with the malt balls in it.

You don't know everything Kid. Maybe you think you do, but batting averages and etc. are only the gravy on the tip of the iceberg. There are other things that count for alot more: like Church-hill and Anshluss and Kristal Nacht and people who are always on your side no matter what. The trouble with you is thinking because your a Jew you have got the World Market cornered on hard knocks which really hands me a laugh from not noticing you doing anything about it. If you ever once found the guts to stand up for yourself, you would realize that it doesn't matter if your a Cathlic or a Gentle or one of those people from India with holes in their farhead. I don't take
any
of that crap serious which is how come I know your full of it. But I'll tell you something. Third base belongs to
me
—nobody else—and anyone who tries to take it away better be ready for a good fight. You included. So maybe it's time you found
a place of your own in the infield. You need alot of work. And it's a cinch your old man isn't minding the store.

Charles Banks

3B

P.S. And by the way. Your not suppose to put quotion marks around asshole. And there's no space in the middle. Two can play at this one, Kid.

P.S.2. How do you know about Harlan?

P.S.3. Don't waste your time writing back. I found another place to move to and only 3 people in the world get the address. Your not one of them.

Miss Elsie McKeever

Bureau of Vital Statistics

964 Marquette Street

Racine, Wisconsin

Dear Miss McKeever,

I do not know if you remember me, but I wrote to you in April and you helped me find my family.

I have some sad news. My Cousin Ivy got hit by a train and died. She was very close to our
Cousin Charlie and we sent him a telegram on Riverside Drive, but Western Union says he doesn't live there anymore. Do you know where he moved to?

Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Joseph Margolis Banks

BOOK: Last Days of Summer
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