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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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Bad Day at Black Rock for Banks

. L
, Wednesday—The Cardinals' 13–2 rout over Bill Terry's “unstoppable” Giants here today was stamped by an historic three errors on the part of New York's self-proclaimed Messiah, third baseman Charlie Banks. A two-out shot by the Redbirds' Johnny Mize in the second went right through the rookie's legs, a soft liner off the bat of Country Slaughter in the fourth hit the kid on the instep and bounced out to short left, and backstop Mickey Owen's routine pop-up in the seventh landed on his head.

Somebody's been staying up past his bedtime, Mr. Terry.

Dear Toots,

I checked with Stuke who once went out with a Jewish girl and the only thing he could tell me about what they eat was kreplak and kugel and kishka and kanushes. Is he putting me on or is this really food? Because it sounds like stuff I built a barn with when I was 14.

I do not think this is a very good idea. The only thing I know about Moses is him coming down from the mountain with the commandments and saying “The good news is I got him down to 10. The bad news is adultery is still in.” Also, when I took the kid home with the pork chop, the Aunt kept looking at me like she wanted me to fall out a window. What the Hell is a shagits?

I miss you.


P.S. And what are those round yellow things that float in soup? Stuke forgot.

Dear Goodlookin',

Three hints: (1) the round yellow things are called matzoh balls, (2) never ask for milk if there's meat on the table, and (3)
talk about Moses. I'll walk you through it when you come home.

Call me the minute you get in, even if it's 3:00 in the morning. I'm tired of looking at your picture in the newspapers and pretending you're here.
I'll be in rehearsal until Friday—they asked me to replace Ethel Merman in
Panama Hattie
for two weeks over Christmas. (The bitch is going on vacation.) Otherwise, I'm all yours.

I love you.

I miss you.


P.S. I checked with Rabbi Weiss at Temple Beth-El. A shagitz is a non-Jewish male. It also means “abomination.” Thanks, Rabbi.

Donald M. Weston. Ph.D.

Joseph Charles Margolis

What happened next?

He asked my Mom for more soup and another yellow meatball. She got a big kick out of that. Then she taught him how to say the blessing over the candles. He looked kind of funny in a yarmulke.

Your buddy's a good sport.

Aunt Carrie didn't think so. She kept getting
him mixed up with Cookie Lavagetto. On purpose. So when she was giving him brisket, he asked her for a bacon cheeseburger instead. She had it coming.

Did you tell him about Harlan?

After dinner he took me to the soda shop for an ice cream cone and when I dropped it he got me another one.

Did you tell him about Harlan?

Uh. I sort of didn't. And he forgot to ask. We were blowing paper wrappers from straws at an old lady's ass.


Well, smokes. If I told you that I had to knock off your Cousin Ivy just to get your address, what would you do?

I'd probably kick your butt halfway to the Bronx.


But maybe I wouldn't.


Not if I'd just bought you two ice cream cones when I didn't have to. Who hit her ass first?

I did. Can I go now?

Dear Joey,

Thanks for the phone call buddy. And also for coming clean about Harlan. It's too bad your Archive Lady doesn't work for the Germans. With a mouth that big we would know what they were planning before

If I was you, I would not worry too much about getting shortchanged in the old man department
because you got a terrific 2-for-1 deal with your mother. It's like not being able to field for shit but hitting 65 over the wall—some guys can't have everything but what they got is Hall of Fame. Besides I never met anybody before who could make chocolate cake without any crums. Only level with me. Did your Aunt Carrie think I had flies or something? And how come she kept calling me Oy?

Harlan was my big brother. He was the best friend I ever had and the only one I ever loved until Hazel. When he got hit in the head from a pitch he hung on for 4 days before he died. That's what kind of a kid he was.

You don't play games with things like that, Joey. Especially when it hurts peoples feelings. So from now on your going to have to be a Tough Guy on your own. Because I think this is the end of the line.

Charles Banks

3d Base

Dear Charlie,

Like you've got room to talk Banks. What about Derringer and Medwick and that guy from St. Louis who you even left fingerprints on? Paul Derringer only called you a cocksucker. Bierman cut my face with a Coke bottle while Delvecchi held me on the ground and it took three weeks to heal and I had to tell my mother I fell off my roller
skates even though I don't have any. And all because you wouldn't hit a home run for me. Who else was I supposed to call, my father? “Nana Bert, this is Joey. Can you ask my Dad to come over and slug Lenny Bierman?” “Joey Who, dear?” Maybe if I had a big brother like Harlan, but why do you think I've been writing to you?

You know what I think you should do? What I think you should do is go to that place in Iowa and take the key to their city only instead of coming home you should lock yourself in and then lose it. And the how come is because you're no ball player. You're just some guy who got to dress up like a New York Giant and play in the same place as Mathewson. And Turkey Mike Donlin. And Doyle and Bridwell and McGinnity and McGraw. Almost like you deserved to be there. Well you want to know a secret, Charlie? You're better than all of them. Only they were guys. You're an “ass hole”. IT WAS ONLY A FUCKIN HOME RUN. YOU HIT THEM ALL THE TIME.

Maybe I do need a lot of work. But guess what. You need a lot more. So go to Hell.

Joey Margolis

P.S. Don't ever say you're my hero. Save that for the phonies who got fooled.

Dear Joey,

If your wondering how come this is over 2-½ weeks late it is because I started to write it six times and wound up crumbling it up and tossing it across the room instead from wanting to drive to Brooklyn again, this time for purposes of seperating your head from your shoulders and then throwing it into Buttermilk Channel. The only reason you are getting the dignity of a reply at all is from being on a smoker to Michigan due to a hunting trip with some of the boys, and at 75 miles an hour I figure you are pretty safe from whatever I might decide to do to you if I start getting sore all over again. Anyway, with Jordy Stuker setting up a farting contest at the other end of the car (in front of nuns), there's already a couple of people on my list ahead of you.

You are beginning to make a mess out of my life. I don't know if it is an accident or if you are really one of Durocher's boys after all, but I am going to have to ask you to knock it off. Maybe you heard our last game of the season on the radio. The four strikeouts? I have never had four strikeouts in my life. Especially off of a marshmellow like Higbe, who no matter what they say could not find bullshit in a meadow, never mind about finding the plate. Only instead of sending things out into the Harlem River which is what I usually do, I four times landed on my ass. Because of Mathewson. Who in case you haven't guessed by now was
hero. And until you shot off your mouth I never thought about him and me working out of the same park before. And was he still keeping an
eye on things from Up There? Because if he was, was he saying “Boy that Banks is something isn't he?” or was it more like “What is that potatoe head doing on 155th Street?” Your a pretty cheap kind of sport yourself on account of making me think about such things. I even have a note stuck to my mirror that says “Charlie, do not send this Kid anymore letters.” Except all that reminds me to do is go out and buy stamps.

Joey, either you and me are going to have to call it quits right here, or else we're going to have to get a couple of things straight between us. And since it's probably too late for the first one and it is pretty clear at least to me that neither of us wants that anyway, we better talk business on the second, on account of the way it looks now, I think we are stuck with each other. So here goes. And remember—you started it.

  1. We are always square with one another. If I ever find out you lied to me again, you can start hanging around Pee Wee Rockhead Reese or whoever else because for my money I never even heard of you. Don't jinx the dirt.
  2. You will start listening to what I have to say and not give me lip when I tell you something that is for your own good. This is not because I am Charlie Banks and not because I play 3b for the NY Giants, which I do, but because I am older than you.
  3. Don't ever call me “Banks” again. Or “Mister”. You call me Charlie or whatever other
    knicknames we come up with. As long as none of them are Chucky. And if you ever tell me to “Go to Hell” again, you will be alot shorter than you are now.
  4. I will try to remember that you are only 12 and therefore there are things you have not learned yet and do not deserve to get chewed out for from not knowing. I already have made this mistake a couple of times and I will try not to do it again. But I'm not promising anything.
  5. If you ever catch me doing something I shouldn't of, like socking some guy who maybe it wasn't their fault or saying somebody is a Noodlehead who happens to be one of your idles like that Meatball in the White House, you get equal time. This means you can sound off and tell me where to put it if you think I've got it coming. Only if I was you I wouldn't make this part a habit. Because I'm not just older than you, I'm bigger too.
  6. You will stop putting quotion marks around asshole with a space in the middle. It really pisses me off when you do this.
  7. We each get to say whatever we want that bugs us about the other one. This is not for purposes of being a wise-guy but for fixing it before other people notice. I get to start: you talk too much Bucko. Give somebody else a chance once in a while, for crying out loud.
  8. If anybody ever really hurts you, you tell me
    and I will take care of it. Your still going to have to fight most of your own battles by yourself. But not all of them.
  9. You will always remember that you are probably somebody very special. I do not know this for a fact yet, but nobody ever made me strike out 4 times before. Especially Higbe.
  10. This will be signed and waiting for me when I get back from Michigan.

Can I get a hit now?


P.S. And I will still be thinking of you on Tuesday when I vote for Willkie.

BOOK: Last Days of Summer
10.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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