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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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Dear Miss MacKay,

Thank you so much for inviting me and Charlie to watch your show. And especially for singing the ooh-la-la song to me. I feel so much better and it's all because of you.

Your friend,

Joey Margolis

P.S. I'm sorry I had to wear the smoked glasses. Bright light still hurts my eyes.

Dear Joey,

Knock it off.

By the way, the smallpox routine needs work. Your delivery was okay, but you could use a good director—the fainting bit went out with two-reelers. And if you ever do an encore, it'd be a smart idea to remember which leg is supposed to be the one with palsy.

I'll make a deal with you. We'll tell Charlie that you 'fessed up, and I won't spill the beans as long as you keep him in line. Okay?

Fondly,

Hazel

Man About Town

by Winchell

Extra Innings for MacKay and Banks

If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, slinky songbird Hazel MacKay's next big number might just be “O, Promise Me”. Table-hopping across Gotham this week, MacKay the Giant killer and smokin' third-sacker Charlie Banks were spotted looping linguine at Delmonico's, spooning spumoni at the Rainbow Room, and chewing cheesecake at Lindy's. According to sources, the often star-crossed pair had eyes only for each other, even when our Romeo dropped a $20 bottle of Cordon Lafitte on Juliet's foot. Watch those grounders, kid!

Dear Winchell,

You forgot the Stork Club. That's where I saw you squeezing the titties on that cash register girl while your wife was out peeing.

Mind your own fuckin business.

Chas. Banks

3d Base

Teacher's Comments:

I had hoped that Joseph would return from summer vacation ready to apply himself in a more cooperative fashion. Instead, one week after a history lesson in which I properly assessed President Roosevelt's National Recovery Act as an utter failure, I received a letter from press secretary Stephen Early suggesting that I might wish to reevaluate my position. It was not necessary to wonder which of my students had “turned me in,” so to speak.

Mrs. Margolis, I am not accustomed to criticism from the White House. Especially when I fully intend to vote for Mr. Willkie in November. Furthermore, my authority as a teacher has begun to deteriorate. I suggest we schedule a conference as soon as possible.

Joseph's attachment to Rachel Panitz seems to have matured beyond the point of physical assault. Unfortunately, he has now taken to leaving love letters in her lunch bag, most of which run along the lines of “You don't smell half as bad as you used to” and similar heartfelt sentiments. Although Rachel continues to remain unmoved, this only seems to be encouraging him.

Janet Hicks

Parents' Comments:

The boy got seven A's. What more do you want—blood?

Carrie Gettinger
Joey's Aunt

BOOK REPORT

BY
J
OSEPH
M
ARGOLIS

HELD FOR RANSOM

A N
EW
S
KIPPY
D
ARE
M
YSTERY
S
TORY
BY
H
UGH
L
LOYD

Kidnapped, and in the hands of a ruthless gang of crooks, ten-year-old detective Skippy and the son of a millionaire almost give up. A thrilling story with tense drama in every chapter
.

I did not like
Held for Ransom
by Hugh Lloyd for three reasons:

  1. It is the same Skippy Dare story as in
    Prisoners in Devil's Bog
    and
    Among the River Pirates
    , except that the bad guys have different names. Also, in this one Skippy gets thrown out of an airplane, which he did not do in the other ones.
  2. Only a grownup who is screwy would let a kid get in trouble with crooks, no matter
    how
    much he just wanted to help. But Inspector Conne lets Skippy get caught by spies all the time, like they are dumb enough to think that a 10-year-old boy with a shortwave radio just showed up by accident.
  3. How come Skippy Dare doesn't know any Jews? In
    Footprints Under the Window
    by Franklin W. Dixon, there's the Hardy Boys (Christian), Phil Cohen (Jewish), Tom Wat (Chinese), Tony Prito (Italian), and Chet Morton (fat). Aren't all men supposed to be created equal? Not to Skippy Dare.

In
Mein Kampf
, Hitler says the exact same thing, only out loud. He thinks there are three kinds of people in the world. The ones who own everything, the ones who sweep the floors and do the laundry for the ones who own everything, and the ones who get shot. If you don't believe me, ask London. How would you like to wake up at 2:00 in the morning to go to the bathroom, but just when you flush the toilet your house blows up? They call it the Blitz. And it happens every night. “This is Murrow. America, can you hear me?”

I think we need to have a classroom discussion about Fascists who write books like this for kids. Hugh Lloyd isn't the only one. Mark Twain stinks too. Remember what he said about Negroes and Indians?

I did not like
Held for Ransom
by Hugh Lloyd.

Alexander Hamilton Junior High School

To:
All Students

From:
Herbert Demarest, Principal

Re:
Mrs. Hicks

I know you all join me in wishing Mrs. Hicks a pleasant trip to the Caribbean. Although her leave of absence was a sudden one, we can expect to see her cheerful smile again in time for Hallowe'en.

In the meantime, Mrs. Adeline Diehl will be taking over her classes. Let's all do our best to make Mrs. Diehl feel welcome.

Dear Charlie,

I need to write a hundred word essay on Huey Long for our substitute teacher Mrs. Diehl, and I want to do a good job because this one cries. But I was only eight when Huey Long died so I wasn't paying attention, except for the part about calling him “Swordfish”. What should I say?

Joey

P.S. Are you still sore at me?

P.S.2. When are you coming over for dinner? You promised.

Dear Joey,

There are two chances I am coming over for dinner. Fat and slim. The only reason I said I was going to was to scare the piss out of that fartmouth who had his hands around your neck and the other one who was standing on your buddy's head. And it worked, didn't it? Your damn lucky I batted you home from third—now don't jinx the dirt.
Your
the one who said you were going to tell Hazel the truth. Instead she was almost ready to call the New York Times and get them to invent a new charity for you. You bet your ass I am still sore. Check with me again in 1978.

And stop sending me your damn Re-Elect FDR handouts. All I use them for is toilet paper. Two
terms was bad enough—your not
suppose
to get 3. Yeah, he's not going to dope us into the Big Smoke over there, is he? Not much he isn't. That's why he just started drafting us. No wonder you like him. He's a bigger double crosser than you are.

We will be leaving tomorrow for our last road trip of the season. We will be in Cincy for 5 days and Saint Louis for another 5 and then Chic. for 4. You can write to me at Crosley Field and Sportsmans Park and Wrigley in those places.

Charlie

P.S. It wasn't “Swordfish”, but “Kingfish”. And start with “Huey Long was a sack of shit.” How many words does that leave left?

P.S.2. What kind of a Jew are you anyway? I thought you were suppose to have long pieces of hair all the way down your face.

P.S.3. I guess you saw in the papers that Hazel wants to be my girl again. This time she says it's because of you. I don't know what you said to her but I guess this makes us even.

Dear Chucky,

I told her to put up or shut up. Then I pushed a grapefruit in her face like Cagney did to Mae Clark. Girls like that.

I saw a picture in the
Tribune
of the fuckin Reds game. You probably know which one it was. You had your knuckles in Ernie Fuckin Lombardi's teeth and it was just before the front one fell out. Charlie, I'm not saying I'm on Lombardi's side or anything, but I don't think he did it on purpose. His fuckin butt just got in the way of the fuckin ball is all. I mean, they didn't give you a fuckin error or anything so I don't get it.

Joey

P.S. There are three kinds of Jews. The ones with sidelocks are Orthodoxes. They wear long black coats and sing scary songs and they aren't allowed to ride roller coasters. Second is Conservative like Aunt Carrie and third is Reformed like me and my Mom. After that comes Lutheran I think, but I'm not sure.

Dear Iron Fists,

I don't know what they teach you in that school of yours or whether you are too busy pissing into our drinking water to listen, but I would bet that the old 10 commandments show up sooner or later, and you will notice that nowhere in it does it
say anything about some Red son-of-a-bitch sticking his ass into the middle of a routine throw to first just on account of blowing all of their previous chances and merely wishing to stay alive. So go gripe to E. Lombardi. Maybe if he learned how to run.

Cincy is the shit hole of the world and if you ever get on a tour or something and Cincy is a part of it, if I was you I would ask them to change my plans and send me somewhere else. Even Hell. The thing they call downtown is on this river, the Cincinattie I think, and if you want to get a good education in smell, just wait until it is the summer and 95 degrees and 2:00 in the a.m. while you are trying to sleep, and the Noodlehead up there who is in charge of the weather decides it is time to send a breaze into your hotel room. Jordy Stuker, my new roommate after I started bowing to Carl Hubbell and calling him “Pius The First”, is also a rookie but he grew up in Kansas and Cleavland so he has been to this area before and brought nose plugs. Only that means you have to breathe that shit in through your mouth and no thank you ma'am. You probably need a picture post card of this place like a third foot, but I'm sticking one in anyway. Smell it and see what I mean about Cincy. I drew an arrow on the front pointing to where our hotel is, only you really can't see it on account of the Court House being in the way. Tomorrow we play one more in this arm pit before we can lam out of here to Saint Louis which come to think of it is not a whole Hell of alot better.

One other thing. Mr. Terry has this saying he
says all the time, especially in Spring Training. That's when all of these pitchers show up from California or Oragon or wherever the Hell pitchers go over the winter and spend the first two weeks of March throwing crap. It's always the same story—they try to get fancy and wind up pitching ten times as many balls as they normally got to, saying it's because they are trying to find their form. Well all they are really trying to do is hide the fact that they are a lot fatter than they were in September. Anyway that's when Mr. Terry steps in and says “Boys, remember one thing. Less is more.”

Bucko you only need one “fuckin” per letter unless it's a long one and then you can use 2.

Charlie

P.S. I am inclosing a button that says NO THIRD TERM-ITES. Wear it in good health. They are giving them away all over town. Also ones with your buddy's face on them and a big X through it. Maybe Cincy isn't so bad after all, even with the stink.

P.S.2. And by the way Big Shot. I dare you to tell me what Christy Mathewson's real knickname was on account of not being The Big Six like everybody thought. And don't waste your time cheating because it's not in any books.

P.S.3. Ever wonder how fast you can run? Call me Chucky again and find out.

Dear Charlie,

Matty's real nickname was Gunboots. They gave it to him at Bucknell when he was still playing football in college.

And I don't care
why
you said you were coming over for dinner. You still said it. And a promise is a promise. Didn't Harlan tell you that you're always supposed to keep your word?

Joey

BOOK: Last Days of Summer
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