Saturday, May 04, 2013

***The Corner Boy

From The Pen Of Frank Jackman
He hardly recognized the old place, the old hometown neighborhood place, the Atlantic section of North Adamsville (why they called it Atlantic other than its proximity to the bay that would lead to the great Atlantic is anybody guess. The only thing he knew was that Grandma Riley of blessed memory always called it “one-horse” Atlantic and she was right, very right) the place where he grew up and came of age, for good or evil. The place where he, Frankie Murphy, had done his time as a stand-up corner boy back in the 1960s, a stand-up corner boy in front of the very Harry’s Variety Store site that he was standing directly in front at that moment. Except that it was no longer Harry’s but Kim’s Variety Store reflecting to his amazement the switch from heavily Irish Catholic with a few Italians thrown in to every variety of Asian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and he did not know what else. He did not expect after such a long time to see things exactly as they were and as he had dreamed but this contrast was startling.
Frankie had not been around the old neighborhood for about forty years mainly due to a little habit of his called armed robbery that he had picked up the knack for with those same corner boys who he hung around with when Kim’s was Harry’s. And so Frankie in due course had done his time, several times including the last stretch at Cedar Junction for two dimes (really eighteen years with a deuce taken off for good behavior) and he had done it hard that last time since he knew when he got out that there would be no more place for him in his chosen profession. And so he, after a few days spent at a flop rooming house and a couple of hard nights of drinking his favorite whiskey, decided to head back to the old homestead and see where it had all gone off the wheels and maybe too flash back to the glory days, the days when he stood tall as a corner boy.
Of course even if any of the old gang were still around, or maybe just old time neighbors they would not have recognized Frankie, now a little plump from sitting around prisons unlike the old days when he was tall, thin and agile enough to work his magic when the guys needed some ready dough and he stealthily got into many a back window and made a quick heist for pocket change. Moreover he had that telltale prison pallor that no sunshine can bring back, that pallor etched into the skin through a few thousand days and nights. And that telltale prison release garb, that too tight suit, those silly out of fashion childhood- like brown shoes, and that equally silly tie that was popular back in the day. So, no, nobody would recognize Frankie and that was just as well as he headed across the street to sit in the bleachers of the ball field that he remembered from childhood (although the old wooden planks that would give you splinters had been replaced by aluminum) and reflect back to the old corner boy days.
Harry’s even before he was a corner boy, maybe back to his very earliest remembrances was always a corner boy hang-out. Some say the tradition had gone back to the 1920s when Harry’s father, working out of that same locale, supplied the neighborhood, including thirsty cops, and maybe especially thirsty cops, with booze, real booze from Canada during Prohibition. Harry, Harry the son, continued that illegal tradition when his time came but supplying the neighborhood, including win hungry cops, and maybe especially win hungry cop, with a place to place their bets. Yah, Harry was the local bookie and so connected that cops in their shiny cruisers would park right in front of the store, ignore the corner boys, and go in to place their bets. And if anybody looked at the place, the inside anyway, one would know right off that whatever else was going on this did not have the look of a prosperous convenience store. Harry didn’t put up much of a front and didn’t need to, a few newspapers, mainly the Daily Racing Form , a couple of cans on the shelves, a couple of quarts of milk in the refrigerator, a chest stocked with all kinds of soda, max daddy pin ball machine in almost constant use, and his “book” on the corner for all the world to see. That’s what Frankie remembered anyway and he had been inside enough times to play that pin ball machine (Madame LaRue, a busty siren, calling you to play and, what, win her). What was more important was that Harry had no problem letting corner boys hang on the outside, and that was how Frankie came of age by hanging around Harry’s just like his older brothers, just like his uncles and maybe just like his grand-uncles.
Then Frankie, noticing that most of the old houses in the neighborhood still were standing (although many had been renovated, including his own growing up home, a triple-decker that had been converted into condos), started putting names to the houses, corner boy names, and what happened to them, as far as he knew. And any memory dance had to begin with “Red”Riley, the acknowledged king hell king of the corner boy night for many years (from his older brothers’ time and his own before he moved on to a Boston gang that specialized in armed robberies). Frankie had seen many tough men in his time, in and out of prison, but Red was among the toughest. He would never forget when he was fourteen or so, well before he caught the corner boy bug, or could even hang there except as a mascot of sorts when his older brothers were around, what Red did to one guy from another corner who for whatever reason passed Harry’s corner. This guy was big, tough, and looked like he could handle himself. Red just chain-whipped the hell out of him right on the street, right out on the street with people watching, walked away, and left the guy in a pool of blood for the ambulance to pick him up. Jesus. When the cops came later to question Red he stonewalled them, stonewalled them good, saying the guy must have been hit by a car, and everybody, every witness anyway, agreed with Red. Since the other guy wasn’t going to press charges, not if he wanted to live anyway, the cops never even took him to the station. Of course Red, from what Frankie had heard after he moved on, had run into some tough luck later on when he got too old to be a corner boy and he too had to move on. Seems he ran into some hot number, some blonde, some Lola, who twisted him around a little, or maybe a lot, it is hard to tell on dame stuff and he needed plenty of dough to keep her happy. So he went on something like a rampart down South where Frankie had heard she was from sticking up places as they moved around. One night Red hit a 7-11 store and there were cops nearby. A shootout ensued and Red went down in a hail of bullets, although not before to uniforms uttered their last as well. Frankie hoped she was worth it. Old Red Riley, RIP though.
Then there was Red’s lieutenant, his main corner boy pal whom he trusted to keep things in order when he was not around, when he was maybe getting a little something from one of his million honeys down at old Adamsville Beach. “Clips”McGee was his name, a good guy, a good guy to have handy when you needed brains to figure out a heist, or something. He got the name Clips from when he was a kid just starting out, maybe twelve, and he would clip stuff, you know, steal stuff from stores. Stuff like rings, records, small time stuff compared to later when he master-minded a really big deal, a huge heist , artwork, jewels the works when Red needed plenty of dough for some honey of his, or maybe it was for his sister, who needed to beat the rap on some solicitation charge and needed dough to doing the beating. He used to do a clip or too even later sometimes just to keep in practice. He said if he ever got caught which he didn’ he would just say “hey, it just stuck to me” and let it go at that. He never got caught though. Not for that kid’s stuff. What did Clips in was dope, when dope became the thing to do, to make money on, to get kicks from too if you could control it. That stuff never interested Frankie, he thought it was too risky, had to be handled too many times to make it worthwhile. But Clips had big dreams, dreams of forming his own operation not knowing that the thing had been fixed since, well, maybe eternity and so he found himself face down in some dusty Mexican town, Sonora maybe, with two slugs in his head, un-mourned. Clips RIP too.
Then there were the soldiers, although the corner, except for who was, or wasn’t, king was not organized along any particular lines. Those guys, including in his time Frankie, were what gave Red his status, his visible status as well as the guys he needed when he needed some heavy work done. “Crazy” Donahue was a drinker, from way back, had been in jail a number of times, nothing big but plenty of pick-ups on the streets. Red liked him, tolerated him, though because when he wasn’t drunk, which was on a job, he could crack open any door, safe, anything locked like clockwork. It was beautiful to watch. Poor Crazy though when over the edge one time though, wound up in Bridgewater for a while and then one day he went over to the Mystic River Bridge and crashed his car off it. Another guy, “Be-Bop” McNamara, Frankie’s closest friend at the time since he dated Be-Bop’s sister, Chrissie, until Frankie dropped out of high school and she gave him the air, was a great driver, could maneuver (and work on) any car around. So when they needed a car Be-Bop would work his magic. The last Frankie had heard was that Be-Bop was up in Shawshank, up in Maine, doing a nickel for some stolen car thing. Be-Bop made everybody laugh one time when he said, maybe knowing like the rest of them that the edges of the law were dicey places to live, that if he did time he would just grab the warden’s car and take off. That warden up in Shawshank better keep both eyes on his car at all times.
Then there were his older brothers, Peter and Kevin, who kind of overlapped his time as a corner boy (and also eased his way in as well). No question the three brothers (and two sisters) had had a tough upbringing , not so much that they were beaten, as they were beaten down, beaten down by the utter poverty of their existence in a crowded triple-decker, three to one room (and he got the short end), no room to breathe, the rent always a precarious thing when their father was out of work (not from not trying though), a car was usually an iffy thing, and some nights, some nights early on before they got “wise” to the world they went to bed hungry. Yes, they were hungry boy, hungry to get out from under, and not wind up like their father grabbing somebody else’s dregs. So when Peter (the oldest) approached Red it was like catnip. He brought Kevin along, and Frankie in his turn followed a couple of years after. The world owed them a living and they were going to get theirs. Well, they got theirs alright, Peter eventually “graduated” from the corner and went on like many others to try the drug trade. He too did not understand that the deal was fixed and so he fell, not dead, not right away, dead, although he had the ghost of death on him. He ODed on heroin, horse, H, after about twenty bouts in front of the police line-up. The cops would ask him if he was high and how he got that way. He answered that he was “walking with the king” and if they had a better offer they had better present it quick. They never did and so he fell off the rim of the world. Kevin, none too stable any way, always a little behind the eight ball wound up in Bridgewater too, wound up there and institutionalized most of his life, and he just kind of wilted away, wilted away slowly.
Oh sure there were woman around, woman who wanted to get their kicks from danger boys, who liked the idea that guys were ready to rumble over them, guys ready too to make sure they had some dough to keep them around. Mainly it was around Red that they came, the ones really seeking danger and Red would give the others his cast-offs. Once in a while Red would put the girls to work, pimp them off, when dough was tight but that was the exception because to a man there was that Irish Catholic Madonna thing hovering over them. What Red would do, and did plenty is use his girls (and the other corner boys including Frankie followed suit) was for the old rape dodge. Set some poor dope up with a lovely (and some of them were, one that he had the hots for, an Italian girl, Lena, was as much as he could handle then when he was just starting out) and then when they were in the clinches she would holler rape and that would bring one of the corner boys to her rescue. Then the dope had to stand a shake-down. There were variations on that one but that was the drift.
What of Frankie track record? Well he did time and plenty of it, since he usually got the short end of the stick when the deal went down, was the fall guy when things went bust. And being a stand-up guy he took the time, got taken care of and that was that. He had some good times, had been married three times (one time while he was in jail), had some serious dough from a few scores and did better than the others that he knew of since he wasn’t going to be found face down in some ditch. But what else was he to do. He was too hungry, not food hungry but you know hungry, to do otherwise.
And as he sat on that bleacher seat still thinking about the old days he thought well that was the way the cards were dealt and if he had to do it over he might have been smarter about a couple of things but that was the way the cards were dealt.

***Out In The 1950s Crime Noir Night- Hey Guys, Crime Doesn’t Pay- John Huston’s “The Asphalt Jungle” - A Film Review

DVD Review

The Asphalt Jungle, starring Sam Jaffe, Sterling Hayden, James Whitimore, (and a small, but striking, role by a very young Marilyn Monroe) directed by John Huston, M-G-M Pictures, 1950

No question I am a film noir, especially a crime film noir, aficionado. Recently I have been on a tear reviewing various crime noir efforts and drawing comparisons between the ones that “speak” to me and those that, perhaps, should have been left on the cutting room floor. The classics are easy: films like Out Of the Past, Gilda, The Lady From Shang-hai, and The Big Sleep need no additional comment from me as their plot lines stand on their own merits. Others, because they have a fetching, or wicked, for that matter, femme fatale to muddy the waters also get a pass, or as in Gilda a double nod for the plot and for the femme fatale. (Be still my heart, at the thought of Rita Hayworth, ah, dancing and singing, okay lip synching, and looking, well, fetching while doing those difficult tasks.) I have even tried to salvage some noirefforts by touting their plot lines and others by their use of shadowy black and white cinematography to overcome plot problems. Like The Third Man(and, in that case, the edgy musical score, with more zither than you probably ever thought possible, as well). That brings us this film under review, 1950's The Asphalt Jungle, starring Sam Jaffe as the wizened, harden old con trying for one last chance at “easy street” with a big caper, and Sterling Hayden as, well, the “hooligan,” the “muscle”, the guy who has to clean up after, but also is looking for his own version of that easy street.

From the headline to this review you can tell that I have kind of telegraphed the problem here; crime doesn’t pay, okay. But that “wisdom” has not stopped a million "from hunger" guys (and not a few dames) from taking the quick plunge to easy street since way back, way back in pharaoh’s times probably. And it has not stopped Hollywood directors and producers from using that theme as the plot line for their cinematic efforts, some good, some bad, here very good. But in this film the beauty of the thing, despite the familiarity of the plot line and the predictable ending, is that the acting carries the day, especially by Jaffe and Hayden.

Doc (the role played by Sam Jaffe), old time con that he is, just released from stir for some previous big plan crime, had plenty of time on his hands up at the pen to work through his latest plan for easy street. A big plan involving knocking over a big jewelry store, having the merchandise “fenced,” and then off he goes to sun and senoritas, young senoritas by the way, the dirty old man, down in Mexico. Mexico before the drug cartels.

Such an effort need upfront cash, and some major backing, to procure the master safe cracker, the expert wheelman and, just in case things get rough, the hooligan,(here Bix, played by Sterling Hayden), the guy who takes all the pot-shots for short money and also to secure a conduit to fence this high roller stuff after the heist. And that is where things start to go awry.

See, one of reasons that crime doesn’t pay, pay in the long or short haul, is that not everybody is on the level. Sure the safe cracker, the wheel man, and the hooligan, the “proles” are on the level. Especially farm boy Bix turned loose in the ugly, asphalt jungle city just looking for a stake to get back home to Kentucky and out of the city soils. Problem is the up-front dough guys, one way or the other, are not on the level. One has no dough (although it was easy to see why that was so since he was, well let’s just call it “keeping time” with a young honey, played by Marilyn Monroe, and even I could see where keeping her "happy”, and gladly, would eat up a guy’s wallet), and the other will wilt under the slightest pressure, police pressure. A few slap arounds and he will sing like a bird, the rat. But who had time to check with the Better Business Bureau when you are in the rackets to check the “fence’s” references (and bank book). Needless to say that while the jewel heist is pulled off, although not without complications, deadly complications in the end, the rest of the story is one where everyone in the theater gets the very painful message already telegraphed above.

Director Huston, however, is aiming at more, as he mentions in the introduction to the film, he wants to investigate that thin line between the bad guys and the good guys, and the good guys are not always the cops and respectable folks. Doc, for instance, is cool customer, and although he makes a few serious mistakes of judgment in whom to, and who not to, trust he is a likeable crook. Bix, ditto, because he is a stand-up guy, gives one hundred per cent, for what he is paid to do, and does not leave his buddies in the lurch.

There is no real femme fatale here driving the male action forward to their oblivions but there is Doll, and Doll, Doll has got it bad for Bix, yah, real bad, and so the tensions between them help round out this film. Doll though never figured out the ABCs-that hanging around wrong gees, even stand-up wrong gees, was anything but heartbreak hotel. But sometimes that is the way dames are, thankfully.

Note: I have on previous occasions needed to act the scold in regard to certain actions of the characters in crime noir films. Here I have to take Brother Hayden to task for not learning that crime does not pay. Hayden played Johnny in the 1953 crime noir The Killing, also a caper involving big dough, big dough from a racetrack handle and another perfect plan gone awry. The Asphalt Jungle precedes The Killing, so Brother Hayden shouldn’t you have learned by 1953 that these perfect plans, cinematically at least, are bound to go awry. Smarten up.

***Out In The Corner Boy Night- Rock 'Em Daddy, Be My Be-Bop Daddy-But Watch Out-Belatedly For Elvis Presley

From The Pen Of Frank Jackman
This is the way Betsy McGee, an old time, very old time Clintondale Elementary School flame (locally known as the Acre school, and everybody knew what you were talking about, everybody around Clintondale anyway), and now (1961, in case anybody reads this later) a fellow sophomore classmate at North Clintondale High, wanted the story told, the story of her ill-fated brother, twenty-two year old John “Black Jack” McGee so this is the way it will be told. Why she wanted me to tell the story is beyond me, except that she knows, knows even in her sorrows, that I hang around with corner boys, Harry’s Variety Store corner boys, although I am more like a“pet,” or a “gofer,” than a real corner boy. But that story has already been told, told seven ways to Sunday, so let’s get to Black Jack’s story.

John “Black Jack” McGee like a million guys who came out of the post-World War II Cold war night and came out of the no prospect projects, in his case the Clintondale Housing Project (the Acre, okay, and hell’s little acre at that to save a lot of fancy sociological talk stuff), looking for kicks. Kicks anyway he could get them to take the pain away, the pain of edge city living if he was asked, by the way, politely asked or you might get your head handed to you on a platter asked. Needless to say Black Jack was rough stuff, rough stuff even when he was nothing but another Acre teenage kid, with a chip, no, about seven chips, on his wide shoulders. Needless to say, as well, there was nothing that school could teach him and he dropped out the very day that he turned sixteen. As a sign of respect for what little North Clintondale High taught him he threw a rock through the headmaster’s window and then just stood there. The headmaster did not made peep one about it (he was probably hiding under his desk, he is that kind of guy) and Black Jack just walked away laughing. Yes, Black Jack was rough stuff, rough stuff all the way around. That story made him a legend all the way down to the Acre school, and so much so that every boy, every red-blooded boy, in her class made his pitch to get along with Betsy.

The problem with legends though is unless you keep pace other legends crowd you out, or somebody does some crazy prank and your legend gets lost in the shuffle. That’s the way the rules are, make of them what you will. And Black Jack, wide shouldered, tall, pretty muscular, long brown hair, and a couple of upper shoulder tattoos with two different girls’ names on them was very meticulous about his legend. So every once in a while you would hear a rumor about how Black Jack had “hit” this liquor store or that mom and pop variety store, small stuff when you think about it but enough to stir any red-blooded Acre elementary schoolboy’s already hungry imagination.

And then all of sudden, just after a nighttime armed gas station robbery that was never solved, Black Jack stepped up in society, well, corner boy society anyway. This part everyone who hung around Harry’s Variety knew about, or knew parts of the story. Black Jack had picked up a bike (motorcycle, for the squares), and not some suburban special Harley-Davidson chrome glitter thing either but a real bike, an Indian. The only better bike, the Vincent Black Lightning, nobody had ever seen around, only in motorcycle magazines. And as a result of having possession of the“boss” bike (or maybe reflecting who they thought committed that armed robbery) he was “asked” (if that is the proper word, rather than commissioned, elected, or ordained) to join the Acre Low-Riders.

And the Acre Low-Riders didn’t care if you were young or old, innocent or guilty, smart or dumb, or had about a million other qualities, good or bad, just stay out of their way when they came busting through town on their way to some hell-raising. The cops, the cops who loved to tell kids, young kids, to move along when it started to get dark or got surly when some old lady jaywalked caught the headmaster’s 'no peep' when the Low Riders showed their colors. Even “Red” Doyle who was the max daddy king corner boy at Harry’s Variety made a very big point that his boys, and he himself, wanted no part of the Low-Riders, good or bad. And Red was a guy who though nothing, nothing at all, of chain-whipping a guy mercilessly half to death just because he was from another corner. Yes, Black Jack had certainly stepped it up.

Here’s where the legend, or believing in the legend, or better working on the legend full-time part comes in. You can only notch up so many robberies, armed or otherwise, assaults, and other forms of hell-raising before your act turns stale, nobody, nobody except hungry imagination twelve-year old schoolboys, is paying attention. The magic is gone. And that is what happened with Black Jack. Of course, the Low-Riders were not the only outlaw motorcycle “club” around. And when there is more than one of anything, or maybe on some things just one, there is bound to be a "rumble" (a fight, for the squares) about it. Especially among guys, guys too smart for school, guys who have either graduated from, or are working on, their degrees from the school of hard knocks, the state pen. But enough of that blather because the real story was that the Groversville High-Riders were looking for one Black Jack McGee. And, of course, the Acre Low-Riders had Black Jack’s back.

Apparently, and Betsy was a little confused about this part because she did not know the “etiquette” of biker-dom, brother John had stepped into High-Rider territory, a definite no-no in the biker etiquette department without some kind of truce, or peace offering, or whatever. But see Black Jack was “trespassing” for a reason. He had seen this doll, this fox of a doll, this Lola heart-breaker, all blonde hair, soft curves, turned-up nose, and tight, short-sleeved cashmere sweater down at the Adamsville Beach one afternoon a while back and he made his bid for her. Now Black Jack was pretty good looking, okay, although nothing special from what anybody would tell you but this doll took to him, for some reason. What she did not tell him, and there is a big question still being asked around Harry’s about why not except that she was some hell-cat looking for her own strange kicks, was that she had a boyfriend, a Groversville guy doing time up the state pen. And what she also didn’t tell him was that the reason her boyfriend,“Sonny” Russo, was in stir was for attempted manslaughter and about to get out in August. And what she also did not tell him was that Sonny was a charter member of the High-Riders.

Forget dramatic tension, forget suspense, this situation, once Sonny found out, and he would, sooner or later, turned into “rumble city," all banners waving, all colors showing. And so it came to pass that on August 23, 1961, at eight o’clock in the evening the massed armies of Acre Low-Riders and Groverville High-Riders gathered for battle. And the rules of engagement for such transgressions, if there is such a thing, rules of engagement that is rather than just made up, was that Sonny and Black Jack were to fight it out in a circle, switchblades flashing, until one guy was cut too badly to continue, or gave up, or… So they went back and forth for a while Black Jack getting the worst of it with several cuts across his skin-tight white tee-shirt, a couple of rips in his blue jeans, bleeding but not enough to give up.

Meanwhile true-blue Lola is egging Sonny on, egging him on something fierce, like some devil-woman, to cut the love-bug John every which way. But then Black Jack drew a break. Sonny slipped and John cut him, cuts him bad near the neck. Sonny was nothing but bleeding, bleeding bad, real bad. Sonny called it quits. Everybody quickly got the hell out of the field of honor, double-quick, Sonny’s comrades helping him along. That is not the end of the story, by no means. Sonny didn't make it, and in the cop dust-up Lola, sweet Lola, told them that none other than lover-boy Black Jack did the deed. And now Black Jack is earning his hard knock credits up in stir, state stir, for manslaughter (reduced from murder two).

After thinking about this story again I can also see where, if I played my cards right, I could be sitting right beside maybe not-so-old-flame Betsy, helping her through her brother hard times, down at the old Adamsville beach some night talking about the pitfalls of corner boy life while we are listening to One Night of Sin by Elvis Presley on the old car radio. What do you think?

***Frankie’s North Adamsville Fourth of July-1950s Style
From The Pen Of Peter Paul Markin
Frankie, Frankie Riley, couldn’t quite remember exactly when he heard his first Fourth of July fire-cracker, or seen and heard his first fireworks for that matter. He got it all mixed and confused together with his recollections of two-bit carnival times, which also included, at least sometimes, setting off fire-crackers or fireworks displays. But it must have been early, very early, in his life at a time when he, and his mother and father and two brothers, two brothers just then, would visit his grandparents’ house on the Fourth. And the beauty of where those grandparents lived was that it was a bee-line directly across the street from Welcome Young Field on Sagamore Street. Sagamore Street of now blessed memory.
One thing Frankie was sure of though as he thought about Sagamore Street days was that he was going to need help in relating the details of what happened because, frankly, he was confused and mixed up about more than just when he first saw and heard fire-crackers and fireworks displays. But for just this moment he was going to fly on his own. And while depending on his own memories, such as they were, he also knew, knew, flat-out what he wasn’t going to be talking about. Nix, to the tattoo of marching drums, some yankee doodle threesome all bed-sheet patched up from wounds suffered at the hands of the bloody British but still carrying, carrying proudly, the brand new American flag all aflutter, and tattooing that beat up drum and playing the fife to kingdom come. That was standard fare at these Fourth celebrations but that battered patriot thing was not his Fourth, although he had to admit it might have been somebody’s.
No also to an overblown description of some Hatch Shell Fourth, streams of humanity stretched out as far as the eye could see along the Charles River, sweating in the July suns, searching for cool, for water, for shade against the madness and waiting, patiently or impatiently as the case may have been, for the night cools, and the big boom symphony Overture of 1812 finale. Again, frankly, that was not his thing, although he knew just by the numbers that it was certainly somebody else’s. And while he was at it he would not go on and on about the too quickly over fireworks displays the directly succeeded that big boom overture. All of that, collectively, was too much noise, sweat, heat, swelter, and just plain crowdedness for what he wanted to remember about the Fourth. Instead he wanted to lower the temperature a little, lower the noise more, and lessen the logistics, the picnic basket, cooler, blankets, umbrellas, child’s toys logistics, and return to those Sagamore streets of his 1950s youth when Welcome Young Field in North Adamsville’s Atlantic section (why it was called that particular name he never really did get except Sagamore Street Grandma Riley always called it one-horse Atlantic so it had to mean something) was the center of the universe, and if not, it should have been.
Frankie knew that, probably like in many neighborhoods in the old days, every year in late June the local older guys, mainly guys from the Dublin Grille and some scattered fathers, including Joseph Riley, Senior, Frankie's father and denizen of the Dublin Grille, would put together a kitty, collecting contributions and seeking donations from local merchants to put together a little “time” for the kids on the 4th of July. Now this Dublin Grille was the favored watering hole (and maybe the only one close enough to be able to “drop in for glass” and also be able to walk home afterwards when that glass turned into glasses) for all the working class fathers in the neighborhood. And nothing but a regular hang-out for all the legions of single Irish guys who were still living at home with dear, sweet mother. Said mother who fed (and fed on time), clothed, darned socks, holy socks worn out from hard living on the Welcome Young softball field, and whatnot for her son (or, more rarely, sons) who was too afraid of woman, or a woman’s scorn at late night Dublin Grille antics, to move out into the great big world. But come late June they, the fathers and occasional older brothers, were kings among men as they strong-armed neighbors and merchants alike for dough and goods.
What Frankie was not clear on (and he is looking for help here) was the details of the organization of this extravaganza, how the money was gathered, what merchant provided what goods, where did the lads get the various Fourth fixings. However he could surely speak to the results. As these things go it was pretty straight forward, you know; foot races of varying lengths for various age groups, baby contests, beauty contests, some sort of parade, pony rides and so forth. But that is only the frame. Here is the real story of the day. Here is what any self-respecting kid lived and died for that day.
Tonic (you know, soda, pop) and ice cream. And not just one tonic or one ice cream but as much as you could hoard. Twice during the day (Frankie thought maybe about 10:00AM and 1:00PM) there would be what one can only describe as a free-for-all as everybody scrambled to get as many bottles of tonic (you know, soda) and cups of ice cream as they could handle. Here is the secret to the success that Frankie’s older brothers, Timmy and Tommy, and he had in grabbing much more than their fair share of the bounty. Go back to that part about where Grandma and Grandpa lived. Yah, right on the corner of Welcome Young Field on Sagamore Street. So, the trio would sprint with one load of goods over to their house and then go back for more until they had filled up the back-door refrigerator.
Just thinking about it now Frankie thought, “Boy that was work, as we panted away, bottles clanking in our pockets, ice cream cups clutched in every hand.” But then, work completed, they could savor their one tonic (read: soda) and one ice cream cup that they showed for public consumption just like the nice boys and girls. There were other sounds of the day like the cheering for your friends in the foot races, or other contests, the panting and the hee-haws of the ponies. As the sun went down it went down to the strains of some local pick-up band of the era in the tennis court as the dancing started. But that was adult time. Our time was to think about our day's work, our hoard and the next day's tonic and ice cream. Ah....
Frankie’s call for remembrance help was heeded. Below is the traffic, mostly unedited, giving other information about those Atlantic Fourth of July celebrations.
Richard Mackey:
Frankie it was, like you said, organized by the guys at the Dublin Grille, guys like my father and yours, and my older brother, Jimmy, in his thirties at the time, who, as you also said, was afraid to go out in the world and lived at home forever with dear, sweet mother (and she was sweet, too sweet). He never married, never missed a softball game, never had a dirty, un-sewed sock, or missed a free glass of beer (Pabst Blue Ribbon, if you remember that brand). Jimmy and his buddies, his softball buddies, did a lot of the leg work when he was younger and then they kind of took over the show as the older guys, like my father and yours, had too much to do or something and handed it over to them.
They had a truck, maybe rented or maybe from one of the grocery stores, with a loud speaker that would go up and down the streets and had some of the older kid (15 or 16 years old ) going door to door for donations. I don’t know about the strong-arming part, but maybe. Probably not the neighborhood families so much as the merchants. Remember those were hard-nosed corner boys days and Jimmy was a serious corner boy when things got tight. I know Jimmy used to “set up” his buddies a lot during that collecting time and he never worked all that much.
The day [Fourth of July] started at around 8:00 am and ended with the talent show in the tennis court. I think Mr. Burke won every year that I can remember for his "crazy legs dancing.” Joe Gill, who worked at Estrella’s Market on Newbury Ave, was part of the group that set the whole celebration up. He was a friend of Jimmy’s as well so maybe that is where they got the tonic and ice cream from. The last one I remember was around 1975, because I had my oldest son there.
Frankie Riley:
That Joe Gill Richard Mackey mentioned lived, with his dear sweet Irish-brogued mother, forever, never married, never missed a softball game, never had a dirty, un-sewed sock, and never missed a free beer (Knickerbocker, if you remember that brand) directly across the street from my grandparents, Daniel and Anna Riley, on Sagamore Street. That house is the place where we stashed our loot (the tonic and ice cream). Joe, when he worked for Estrella's, would also take my grandfather, disabled from a stroke and a retired North Adamsville fireman, riding around with him when he delivered orders. My grandfather was a, to be kind, difficult man to deal with so Joe must have had some charm.
Sticky Fingers McGee:
The earliest recollection I have of the July 4th festivities at Young Field was when I returned to Atlantic in July 1945, when I was six, after being away for a couple years. I seem to remember that they had foot races and other activities. I remember running one of the races which was close between me and another kid, Spider Jones. They declared Spider the winner, but I threw a fit. Nothing big, just a little shoving, no fists or anything like that. It was just a race, okay. I still think that I won that race and if they had had proper equipment like a camera for photo finishes at the finish line I could have proved that I won. After writing that last thing I guess I still haven’t yet learned to take a loss gracefully but like I said the camera would not have lied.
Later, in the 50's maybe, I remember hearing a girl who sang like Theresa "Tessie" Brewer at the Young Field tennis courts. I think somebody said she was the sister of one Joseph “Babe” Baldwin (Class of 1958) who later became one of North's best all-round athletes. That's all I remember of the Atlantic 4th celebrations, and I'm not totally sure of the accuracy of those memories. The years continue to cloud some memories.
Frank Riley:
Sticky, glad to see you haven’t mellowed with age, at least according to fellow class-mate Jimmy Callahan. Jimmy says hello and to tell you that Spider Jones had you by a mile in that race. He was right at the finish line when you exploded. (He says you did punch Spider, by the way). As for the forget memories part we all know that well-traveled path. Although your memory for some flea-bitten thirty-yard dash for some crumb-bum dollar prize gives me pause on that one.
Irene Devlin:
Back in the 50's the first 9 1/2 years of my life was on the top floor of a three-decker on Sagamore St., and Welcome Young was where we spent every day. We all waited for the Fourth. Richard [Mackey]is right about the truck. My grandfather, George Kelley, and my uncles would ride on the back of the flatbed truck going up and down the streets playing their musical instruments while others collected donations. We would throw change to the people collecting. On the big day we would line up early in the morning with our costumes on. Buddy Dunne and Elliot Thompson had a lot to do with getting everything together along with a lot of the guys from the Dublin Grille. On our way down Sagamore Street from Newbury Ave heading to Welcome Young everyone would get a shiny quarter for marching. I do remember going to Harry’s Variety Store (later owned by my Uncle Harry Kelley) for free ice cream and "tonic."
The rest of the day would be filled with games and shows, and yes the tennis court would be converted to a stage for the day and night activities. Richard, didn't you live on the second floor of the Parker's Sagamore Street house?
A Woman’s Confession

From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

She, Sheila Pratt she, thought thinking back on it after having been through the mill that she had always been any man’s whore. It was not though, at least she didn’t think so, like with some women that she was born to it, maybe had a mother who was a pro as well, or had a father, long gone or who beat her up, or took what he wanted from her early on, took her sex from her, and got her started as trade in revenge on men or something, none of that. Nor was it that she had started sex young, although growing up in Texas where everything was done earlier she had kind of by accident started  with a boy down the street in Brownsville where she grew up when they were didn’t know anything exploring and  he gave her money to keep quiet about it. She took it and bought dress, a nice dress. Beside she liked sex after she got use to it and it didn’t hurt, liked it a lot, and once she caught on to what was possible when she gave men sex liked the idea of making dough to get stuff her poor boy father couldn’t provide for the family.
But she didn’t feel like a whore then, or at least the question never entered her mind , although she did do a few off the wall street tricks in high school when once in a while some guy in town, usually a married guy, would proposition her, give her a line, and she being sassy would ask for money to do what he wanted done, usually something his wife was not giving him and he craved like head, you know oral sex, that she found guys liked a lot and she preferred doing then to avoid any accidents when things got hot and she got worked up, got all moist down there and might not think about taking precautions in time.  Or one time when she did it with a couple of high school classmates, a couple of football players who had somehow heard of her after- school activities with married guys and who dared her, and were willing to pay, to go down a deserted back hall in school and do them both which she shouldn’t have done since they spread it all over school and every guy with money in his pocket hit on her for a “date.” Jesus, she thought she would die every time she went into the girls’ “lav” and the other girls kind of backed off from her probably worrying that she would do for their boyfriends what they wouldn’t do for them. Or, more likely, who was kidding who because she had heard more than enough Monday morning “lav” talk, in addition to what they did for them. And did it better once she thought about it. Those two football players sure didn’t complain since they had called her still looking for a little something. And they had girlfriends too. Still damn them for being indiscrete like that, although she was more worried that her mother and father might find out than some silly girls might say she was easy to her girlfriends, or worried that she might have to give her boyfriend head once Sheila got through with him, gave him the taste for it.  

And moreover it wasn’t like she had some habit, drink, coke, H, although nobody had to twist her arm when they wanted to do a couple of lines of coke to get in the mood. That would get her going, get her moist.  She too was good-looking enough to have guys smacking their lips although probably not good enough to model, not real model rather than just some porn stuff like taking her in some sex position, or to catch a real dough guy. Dirty blonde hair (natural), nice legs, blue eyes, okay breasts, and a womanly shape, a very womanly shape. Then she started to believe she was any man’s whore, anybody who would give her a line of patter, looked okay, and would spent some dough on her. Until Billy.
Oh sure after high school she had worked, worked nights shifts at the auto plant in Houston for a couple of years, had a steady boyfriend who talked of marriage  but when the operation left town for foreign ports and he left to pursue his career she was sunk. She hadn’t been a particularly good student so her prospects were limited. She had been more interested in partying and had wound walking on the wild side like with those two classmates whom when she needed money she would call up and they would head out on some side road together. No more in school stuff though. That was strictly for amateurs. She figured what the hell her reputation was shot anyway, she avoided the girls’ lav as much as possible and, well, she had needed money for a prom dress and stuff. What she didn’t like was that first time when they spread the news about their adventure with her down that back hall and all the boys, and a few older guys, fathers even, kept pestering her. She wanted to set her own rules, although she did weaken a few times when the guy was cute, or flashed some serious dough, and even did one of the fathers.  She made them pay though, those classmates, pay extra for their indiscretion. And they paid without a murmur. That told her a lot about boys, men, and about what a resourceful woman could do with them. Unfortunately she didn’t always act on that wisdom.      

She, after the auto plant job folded, had tried working as a cocktail waitress at Jimmy’s in Waco and that had been okay, okay until Jimmy started pressuring her to “be nice, be very nice” to the customers, the customers with a little dough, a nagging wife, and an itch. Whore’s work pure and simple with Jimmy taking a slice for offering his protection with his connections, for keeping her out of jail and for taking care of any rough stuff. She did it for a while but some of the guys got too weird, wanted to do some rough stuff, or kinky, and she was spending more time on her back than serving drinks. Jimmy, well, Jimmy wanted a little something too, a regular piece of her for his efforts, an extended warranty he called it. So she left that scene and headed out of town to shake the dust off of Waco.         
Then she landed in El Paso, El Paso on the border, El Paso with a million Mex guys hanging around, hanging around eyeing her. Hoping the gringa would throw some action their way. Then she got a job at a diner, one of those old time places where the grease has been on the stove since Hector was a pup. That wasn’t bad except the dough was lousy and so the first guy, hell she forget his name, who asked her to party with him she went, went with him until his money ran out, and then went with his friend until his money ran out and that was that. That is how she would up at Miss Rosa’s whorehouse outside of Abilene. No that is wrong. Left high and dry by that last guy, oh yah, Rod, she tried to pick a few street tricks in prickly Abilene, got pinched by a wayward local cop, who told her the streets of Abilene were not for dreaming, and not for cheap whore tricks. He made a deal with her, a deal that was strictly to his advantage but what was a girl to do in some strange town, no man, no dough, and no hunger to do thirty days on the women’s farm getting her complexion all messed up out in the hot cotton sun. So he turned her over to Miss Rosa after getting a few samples of her wares in the bargain. (She found out later that the cop had a long time arrangement with Miss Rosa and so the town of Abilene had very few wayward women walking their streets.)

Of course if it hadn’t have been for Miss Rosa’s she would not have met Billy, Billy the rodeo cowboy who came into Abilene one night to do a rodeo as part of the circuit. And after a hard night riding broncos and bulls he wanted to ride something else and she was the ride. But that was after, after they had talked about this and that for a while. That this and that started out with Billy, like a lot of johns she had known, talking up a storm about his  tough live, his scramble, ramble to make ends meet, about lonesomeness and about breaking out. Then he asked her about her story and while that was not usually part of the act she found that she was spilling out stuff she hadn’t told anybody about before. About how she got to feel that she was any man’s whore, that she was just trade when it came right down to it.        
Say what you will about cowboys but Billy that night proved to be her savior. Sure they made love, had sex, hell that is what he paid for, and she always gave what she bargained for, made hard love, him really riding her like some unbroken bronco (she kind of liked it, kind of liked his wildfire energy and rode with him all the way to depletion although she was sore, sore as hell, the next day). But after their exertions he kind of held her close, held her like she was his woman, his real woman, and not some whore for the night. And so it started. Every time Billy was in town he would come see her and they would ride, ride like wild horses. She was beginning to come to see him as her man. And he likewise. Then one night he came into Miss Rosa’s drunk, drunker than she had seen him before because he had lost a tough one. He told her to put on her dress, coat and whatever, because they were going to get married. And they did that very night down toward Jessup by a justice of the peace.     

And things went well for a while, Billy seeming to gain more energy from being married and having a woman to call his own. Then he broke his collar bone riding some wild stallion that bucked him to perdition. And so Billy was finished for a while, a long while. Now rodeo riding like a lot of other jobs is strictly an independent contractor situation and so no work, no dough. They quickly went through his savings, and hers and were living in a cheap rooming house in Waco (where she at least had some connections). Billy was sore a lot, not at her but at his situation. He would get angry at her and then they would make love to make up. But she knew, knew deep down that she would have to work, work the streets, or work in some whorehouse.
One day she was walking down the street and a guy kind of leered at her, smacking his lips, from in front of a cigar store. She turned to him almost automatically and asked him if he was looking for something, looking for a good time, and how about her. He smacked his lips again and gave his answer. Three days later he left her off directly in front of that cigar store with a few hundred dollars in her purse. Billy said it was okay they needed dough and so that was that. But she could tell he was steaming inside, his manly steaming inside thinking what man would let his wife become simple trade.  They couldn’t go on like that.  All she could think though as she packed her bags to head back to Miss Rosa’s was the die was cast, had been cast maybe before she was born. Yes, she was any man’s whore and she would have to play out her hand out that way.      
***Out In The Be-Bop Doo Wop Night- When Lady Bop Doo Wopped

Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of The Charts performing Deserie.
CD Review

25 Vocal Groups Sing About “The Great Ladies Of Doo Wop”, various artists, Collectibles Records Corp., 2002

Jack Fitzgerald thought about it for a while, a long while, before he approached the other guys, the other corner boy guys, junior varsity division, but not in that division when it came to singing, singing harmonic rock stuff, yes, doo wop stuff. They were ready to turn big time, well, local big time anyway. And here is where Jack’s thinking was headed, but wait a minute, maybe some things should be mentioned first. Well, first when the word corner boy comes on the horizon most people think about young male teenage boys, white or black, hell, Hispanic too if you lived in the cities, the big melting-pot cities not cities like Clintondale, a strictly white-bread city, mainly Irish like Jack, with a mix of Italians, or as Lenny, Lenny Smith, one of Jack’s corner boys liked to say Eye-talians. All very much Catholic, very high-roller Roman Catholic, not those off-shoot Orthodox guys who split early on from the real church and got crazy with their ritual stuff. Maybe a few protestant white-breads too left over from the days when Clintondale produced presidents, ran revolutions, and caused holy hell for old mother, England.

But whatever the ethnic identity code, teenage boys clad in white tee-shirts (no vee-necks need apply those are for old grandpa guys, old grandpa railroad guys maybe), blue jeans, work boots, but they better be black engineer boots, with buckles, at least they had better be if you want to be a corner boy in Clintondale, and yes, hanging watch fob chain (no, not to tell the time, what is time to a corner boy, but just in case, just in case something comes up and a chain could come in very handy) and yes, for those who could afford such things (or had the guts to “clip” them), a tight waist-sized leather jack, black, against the New England colds, and the offshore winds that blew up, blew up out of nowhere. And Jack, Lenny and Jack’s other corner boys, Benny, Bobby, Billly, Sean, and Larry were, like Jack thought, junior varsity division copies, minus the singing, of that Clintondale corner boy world.

Oh ya, except they, Jack’s they, didn’t have a corner. See, there was no mom and pop variety store, no bowl-a-whirl bowling alley, no Bop’s pool hall, no Bijou movie house, no Doc’s drugstore; you name it no, in all of the Acre section of Clintondale. So boys, corner boys or not, being inventive, or trying to be, “squatted’, squatted out in the back section, the section down by the old-time sailors’ graveyard, of the old Clintondale North Elementary School where they had all just graduated from the sixth grade(called locally, in the neighborhood, the Acre school and everybody knew what school you were talking about). And nobody, no Jimmy’s Smith’s corner boys (Lenny’s older brother), no Acre Low-Riders, the motorcycle-riding corner boys, better come near, or else. Yes, or else, although Jack sometimes worked up a sweat thinking what kind of hell would occur if those older guys decided they wanted to stake a claim to that back section. And definitely no girls, no stick girls, no stick twelve-year old girls unless of course, Jack and The Guys (the name of their budding doo wop group, junior division looking to go big time if you didn’t know) were harmonizing and the girls, the shy and bossy alike, started coming around like lemmings from the sea when the boys started their thing. And that was where the problem was.

No, not what you’d think, as Jack continued thinking about his dilemma. Girls were starting to be okay, very okay, mostly, even when the boys were not doo wopping, if you could believe that, because in fifth grade, just a year ago, generic girls were barred, barred no questions asked, from hell’s little back acre. No, what was on Jack’s mind was break-out. Breaking out of the Acre. And even twelve-year old Jack, twelve-year old corner boy Jack, knew that the only way he, and Lenny and the others, were going to break out was by riding the doo wop wave. And the only way that he could see to ride that wave, was one, by getting a girl singer to give a better balance to the now getting too harsh voice-changing age harmonics. But a girl, one girl, meant trouble and Jack knew deep in his young bones that there would be trouble because the only one who qualified, voice-qualified, looks-qualified, and well, just wanted-her-around qualified, was Lonnie Callahan, Sean’s year older sister. But a bunch of boys, corner boys and one looker- girl spelled trouble, watch-fob chain trouble.

And two, maybe worst trouble, the guys needed an original song, and just then an original song with a girl’s name in it like that longing for Deserie stuff by the Charts, My Juanita by the Crests, Aurelia by the Pelicans, Marlena by the Concords, Linda by the Empires, and Barbara by the The Temptations or some other good girl name song that girls couldn’t get enough of and were buying doo wop 45s of like crazy. See all the names The Guys thought of were girls who they were, individually, looking to make points with and so some girls were going to get the short end of the stick. And the short end of the stick meant they would not be coming like lemmings to the sea to listen to Jack and The Guys do doo wop in the Acre be-bop night. So you can see Jack’s problem. Right?

Friday, May 03, 2013

Billy Bradley’s Sad Song
From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

Once a while back, maybe three months ago, Peter Paul Markin was reading a short story by Nelson Algren, a bottle of milk for mother, about the hard case demise of a young 1950s  Chicago jack-roller named Disek, Cisek, or Bisek, some Polish name,  who stepped over the line, his professional jack-roller line, and  murdered his mark who after he faced the police grilling and was alone in his cell he thought, given his tough life’s circumstances, “well I didn’t expect to make twenty-one anyway,” or words to that effect as he faced the big step off . That got Peter Paul to thinking about a guy, a corner boy guy he knew back in the day, back in the old Adamsville projects days of his stormy youth, Billy Bradley, William James Bradley when the teacher called his name, and about how one night in the summer between the sixth and seventh grade, just before junior high school, when they had committed some petty larceny (they called it “clipping” then, grabbing stuff, jewelry, rings mainly,  from stores and walking out with it) that he didn’t expect to make it to twenty-one either. And as it turned out he just barely made twenty-two when they found him that time face down in Sonora down Mexico way when a big drug deal Billy was trying to put together went wrong, went very wrong and he wound up with two slugs in his head.

The substance of Billy point and Peter Paul really couldn’t argue with him on it was that the deck was stacked against guys like him and Peter Paul. Guys coming from poor families up against it from day one whether it was struggling for the rent money and usually being late on that, or some broken down old car that either didn’t work or was in desperate need of repairs, or having to decide whether this week the family would have chicken or peanut butter. Stuff like that day in and day out wore on a person. He said he was through with that it was not for him. He was either going uptown or he was going busted, No in between. Nada. And if things didn’t work out he said he would at least have lived the righteous life not like his people who were clueless about how to get ahead in this wicked old world. He said more stuff too, stuff like how he wouldn’t let the cops take him alive if it came to that but Peter Paul took that as so much hot air then because things at that moment didn’t look as hopeless as they would become.

Peter Paul, having moved on from Billy’s world a few years after that conversation once he finally decided that crime, doing and paying for crime, was just too much effort against reading books and stuff, had nevertheless followed Billy’s doings for a while and then as they got older, maybe out of high school older he lost all contact until he heard the news, heard it from his mother who heard it through an old projects friend. So, no, he did not know the details of Billy’s demise but when he heard the news he immediately thought back to that summer night and how Billy, all twelve- years old of him, had a pretty good sense that his time was not long. And that got Peter Paul to thinking further that maybe there were some tell-tale signs along the way that would have pointed directly to Billy’s fate.            

So Peter Paul spent the better part of a couple of hours thinking about how the fates had dealt Billy a tough hand. He thought back, way back to the early grades in school since they had lived in the same tenement block, were in the same grade, and had the same teachers, but nothing stood out until he thought about Billy’s reaction to the time that he lost the local talent show to a trio of doo wop sisters (literally) who went on to some regional fame during those heady late 1950s days when girl doo wop groups were sweeping all before them in the roll and rock night. Billy did not take it well, not at all, he thought the fix was in, thought the sisters probably gave the promoter a little something on the side, or the promise of it and he was out, out of his career as the next Elvis. As he thought about the details of that contest, since he was in the audience for the performances, Peter Paul could see where that event was a turning point for Billy.   

Billy really was a good singing, really had some what would later be called  charisma, could do some nice covers of the latest guy hits, Elvis, Roy Orbison, Chuck Berry, at  the various church and school sock hops that drove the teen and pre-teen  social calendar. And he was a good- looking guy too and the local pre-teen girls would get all moony over him while he was singing. So Billy figured, and Peter Paul figured right along with him, that he was a shoo-in to win that local talent contest sponsored by a radio station in Boston, WMEX, which was giving a record audition as the prize. Yah, Billy wanted that bad to get under from under the low-rent projects, get out from under his ever nagging mother, and out from under his mostly absent father who when around decided that Billy was his punching bag, until Billy got big enough to fend for himself. And Peter Paul thought he did a great job on Elvis’ One Night With You, had all the pre-teen girls, and few older ones too, high school girls, all moony as usual. But that time that late 1958 time was the time of doo wop and not of solo performers singing their hearts out.

Billy said it was all right, said he would get out from under somehow, said he would get the gold the next time but in that twelve-year old night something snapped, snapped hard in Billy’s estimation of the world. Peter Paul, at that point Billy’s best friend, saw it, and saw that he kind of drifted away from his musical interests and started getting into clipping stuff. With Peter Pau right there with him, for a while, until they got caught at a jewelry store one day and that led Peter Paul the other way. After a while their paths met only occasionally when Peter Paul would amble back to the old neighborhood and they would cut up old torches. Then Billy dropped out of school and Peter Paul kept hearing about gas station robberies and maybe a variety store once in a while that had Billy’s signature all over it.    

 The last serious talk that Peter Paul had with Billy was just before he graduated from high school when Billy called up his mother’s house to offer congratulations and Peter Paul happened to be there. They talked for about an hour, talked about this and that, about Peter Paul going to college and about Billy moving up to Boston to move a little more into the big time, big time dope dealing as it turned out. Billy said not more low- rent stick- ups for him drugs were where the money, the easy money, was and he was going for the gold. He said it in such a way, or Peter Paul took it that way, that this was an either up or out situation. Then he didn’t heard from Billy much after that and then not at all as he got deeper into the trade. And then the other show dropped down in Mexico. Peter Paul finished up his thinking this way-some guys do all their living in the front end and that is the way the deal went down with Billy. Still he thought, thought long and hard, Billy had a lot more than twenty-two in him.          
May Day Funeral March Lays Capitalism to Rest
02 May 2013
For the second May Day in a row anarchist organizers in Boston held a mock funeral march for capitalism downtown. Featuring puppets of various sizes, "mourners", a coffin, and a marching band, the march was meant to point out the moral and financial bankruptcy of the capitalist system.

Video at
The pictures are from the beginning of the march on Boston Common. The march wound through Downtown Crossing, ending at Faneuil Hall with a brief ceremony.

Unlike last year, this year's march was favored with good weather.