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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. Joseph Margolis Banks

236 Montgomery Street

Brooklyn, New York

Dear Joseph:

Of course I remember you! And I am so sorry to hear about your cousin. We have, of course, changed our records to reflect her unfortunate passing.

I have checked with the post office and am happy to report that Charles is now living at 227 West 94th Street, Apt. 14-A, New York, New York.

My deepest sympathies to both of you and the rest of your family. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do.

Sincerely,

Elsie McKeever

Archivist

Dear Kid,

Do you hire people such as Flash Gordon and The Batman to follow me? I would report you to the FBI for knowing such things as West 94th Street and thinking I have a brother named Harlan and etc., except for the part of me that thinks maybe you are working for them. Maybe your not really short and 12. Maybe your really 38 and look like Rock Nuteny or somebody. I dropped two pop-ups today due to wondering.

Now look Iron Fists. She changed her telephone number again so when I called and said I Love You, I was really talking to a pissed off
Negro with a dick. And when I stood under where she lives and played “In the Mood” on my sax, instead of her opening the window to listen like she always does, all I got was hit in the face by a shoe.

Okay. Maybe I said some things in my previous letters that I shouldn't of. But the Mirror says that Clark Grable saw her show twice last night so I am running out of time. I will give you one more chance to tell her the truth. Otherwise I will have to break your neck.

Charlie Banks

P.S. Your old man must punch one Hell of a time clock on account of being a sub commander
and
a senator, huh? Gotcha you little goop.

P.S.2. But at least he took you to the Worlds Fair, right?

P.S.3. The way I figured it on the train to Philly, you are still not telling me why they put you in the Juvenile Pokey for three reasons: (a) you are punishing me (which if you are good luck and fuck you), (b) they are going to send you to the chair for it (but your still a miner so I doubt it), or (c) you think that whatever they put you there for was the worst thing in the world and your ashamed (which is the way
every
body in there feels). Since it couldn't be (b) and it better not be (a), chances are it is probably (c), so I am inclosing something from my own scrap book, which if you show it to anybody I will pull your arms off.

This is me when I was 15 yrs. old before I had stats. In the back ground is the mess hall at Father Flanagans. They sent me there for armed robbery after I stuck up a candy store with a pop gun, even though all I got out of it was two sticks of spearamint gum and some Hershey Kisses.

Your not the first one to get in trouble, you know? And it's nothing to feel bad about.

Dear Charlie,

You never held up anybody in your life. That's a picture of Mickey Rooney in
Boys' Town
just after Spencer Tracy yelled at him for the first time and he was going to run away, except there was lunch. You must be pretty stupid even for a ball player if you think I would fall for that one. I saw it nine times, not counting once when it was playing with
The Roaring Twenties
only they threw me and Craig out of the theater before Bogey even croaked. And all we did was accidentally sneak in through the fire door without paying. Brooklyn stinks.

Nana Bert didn't want to wait in line for the Perisphere because of her high heels and also because they were having dinner with the Shiffmans at Twenty One and had to leave. So instead they put me on a ferris wheel but I got stuck at the top when it broke. The only thing I could see
when they got into their limousine was Nana Bert's fingernails. But my Dad gave the ferris wheel guy $20 for me to take a cab home in case I ever got down again. Instead I bought some dirty postcards and took the subway.

My Mom said I could go to Tuxedo Junction with you to see Hazel as long as you're the real Charlie Banks and not just some imposter who wants to kidnap me because of my father's money. Aunt Carrie says we don't know if you have any diseases and besides you're goyim.

So how come you won't let me go?

Joey Margolis

P.S. My Dad makes parachutes for the Army and stockings for girls. If you tell anybody that, I'll say you're making it up.

P.S.2. They sent me up the river for peeing in the reservoir. So what?

Dear Joey,

Come to think of it, that's the most disgusting thing I ever heard in my life. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Don't they have crappers on Montgomery Street?

The reason you can't go with me is because (1) your not suppose to get a prize for being a liar and
(2) I don't even
like
you yet. But me being your hero and all, it's only fair if I give you one piece of advice. But this is the only one:

We were in Boston when the Hitler Boys took France, and in the meantime it was raining in Bean Town. Next to our hotel was this library and since there wasn't anything to do except count the damn raindrops or slug your roommate (or in my case watch Carl Hubbell stand in front of a mirror like he was posing for a statue which come to think of it he probably was), I went in there looking for an encyclapedia because they always have pictures of naked girls from Argentena or wherever the Hell it is they keep jungles nowadays. Only thing is, in Boston they lock up their encyclapedias like they were a fuckin treasure or something, and so instead I found a copy of maybe the only real book I ever read in my life, which is by the writer named Chas. Dickens and the name of the book is
David Copperfield
. Since I don't have a Mass. library card, I checked it out the other way (meaning under the old sweater) which is always safe since the lady at the desk was old and skinny with white hair and if you are wearing a raincoat, half the time they think you are going to open it and wave your dick in their face or pull down your pants and make a bowl movement on the floor. So they leave you alone.

This Dickens is really something, you know? The reason is because if you ever tried reading the truckload of crap that they like to pass off as books (meaning
Jane Air
and
Ivenhoe
and so forth) you can stop wondering why the world is getting so fucked up and how come there is no
more Austria and etc.—because the
real
problem is that nobody knows how to say what is on their mind anymore. It is like trying to get a turnip out of a stone. That's how come when I was your age David Copperfield was my idle. “Chapter One—I am born.” A man can relate to that kind of thing.

The second reason I rooted for Copperfield was because of what kind of ringer he had to go through before he got what he got. It looked like every time you turned around he was always getting thrown out of somewheres or having the shit knocked out of him again or taking crap from losers like Miss Murdstone who he really should of pulled her tongue out to get her off his back. But you know what he did? Nothing. He kept his mouth shut, all the time knowing that what he was really doing was keeping score so that when the time was right he could turn around and boot them all into next week. He had them fooled too. Like:

Miss Murdstone looked at me and said “Generally speaking I don't like boys. How d'ye do, boy?” Under these encouraging circumstances I replied that I was very well
.

Now doesn't that make you wonder how he could of held it in like that without sticking a fork in her eye? Me, I don't think I could of pulled it off, which is how come some nights when I couldn't sleep for thinking I'd never make the squad cut or get to Springfield or even just get the Hell out of Wisconsin, I'd make myself David Copperfield just to see what I would of done different. Like:

Miss Murdstone looked at me and said “Generally speaking I don't like boys. How d'ye do, boy?” Under these encouraging circumstances I replied “Kiss my ass”
.

So think about that the next time Nana Bert makes monkey-eyes at you.

Charlie

P.S. How did you wind up in that kind of soup anyway?

Dear Charlie,

Nana Bert is 43. My father met her at a party when she had on a skinny black dress with leopard spots on it. The kind that if she was wearing it on the beach at Coney Island instead, they would have arrested her for being naked. After that a process server came to our house at 11:00 at night and made my mother sign some papers. Then my Dad married Nana Bert and told us to leave and my Mom threw his shirts down the incinerator. All we had left of him was this little statue of his head that he gave my mother for an anniversary present once. Aunt Carrie took it outside and put it against the garbage cans to keep them from falling over in the wind.

The only good part about moving was that when you stick your head out of my window you can see the right field part of Ebbets Field and people like Cookie Lavagetto and Pee Wee Rock
head Reese and other Dodgers who I used to throw up from even looking at until I swapped nine Chick Hafeys for a slingshot. Now I can draw blood whenever I want to. One time I plugged Dixie Walker, Tuck Stainback and Jimmy Ripple all in two innings, and they almost had to call the game off because they couldn't figure out where the marbles were coming from. So watch your step. I could probably reach third base if I wanted to the next time you play here.

Can I go to Tuxedo Junction now?

Joey

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

S
UBJECT:
Joseph Charles Margolis

Q:
Let me see your nose. How did
that
happen?

A:
Bierman slugged me. Then Delvecchi kicked me in the stomach.

Q:
You mean you're not going to tell me you fell off the Woolworth Building?

A:
I don't have to. They're not allowed to beat me up anymore.

Q:
Says who?

A:
Charlie Banks. I told you so.

Q:
Joey—

A:
They had me and Craig on the ground—

Q:
Craig?

A:
Nakamura. The Green Hornet. His father owns the fruit store downstairs. He's 12 too.

Q:
What was Charlie Banks doing in Brooklyn?

A:
Hazel went dancing with Joel McCrea on Tues
day night. It was in all the papers. I guess Charlie couldn't take it anymore. Craig was right.

Q:
So he broke up the fight?

A:
Better. He lifted Bierman up into the sky with one hand and told him to scram. Then he said to me in front of everybody, “When I come over for dinner, you'll tell me if this gentleman needs to be reminded.”

Q:
That ought to do it.

A:
You bet it did. Now I scare the heck out of them. This is
fun
.

Q:
Don't be a sore winner. Then you went to see Hazel?

A:
Not yet. First we went to the store to get a steak for my eye, but all they had were pork chops and they aren't kosher. Aunt Carrie locked herself in the bedroom when we brought it into the house, even though my Mom told her it doesn't count as long as no one's eating it.

Q:
If you're making all of this up, you're doing a very good job.

A:
I'm not making it up.
Then
we went to see Hazel. At Tuxedo Junction. I got to wear my serge suit and my smoked glasses. She was singing the funny valentine song in a shiny blue dress. Boy, is she snakey. Her bosoms are bigger than Ginger Rogers'. No wonder he likes her.

Q:
Did you tell her the truth?

A:
Charlie wouldn't let me order a scotch on the rocks and say “Leave the bottle” the way Bogey does. But he bought me a Coca-Cola and let me say “Put it on my tab” and—

Q:
Joey? Did you tell her the truth?

A:
Uh. Well, I started to. Does that count?

BOOK: Last Days of Summer
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