Monday, January 20, 2020

"You Think I'd Go Out for Business with a Pearl-Handled Thirty-Two, a Lady's Gun?"

SOMETIMES AUTHORS decide to tell their stories using a character as a narrative mouth-piece, which Damon Runyon did very successfully for years; so here we have a regular guy giving us . . .

"The Low-Down."
By Edward L. McKenna (1893-1953).

Illustrations by Raymond Sisley (1892-1963; HERE).
First appearance: Blue Book, March 1950.

Short short story (5 pages; 3 illos).
Online at (HERE).
     "A dramatic scene on that road to Hell that is paved with good intentions."

A tale of irony and woe . . .

Major characters:
~ Spike:

  "That's why I am in this jam."
~ Whitey:

  "He don't think anybody can run a lawnmower in Central Park without he gets some 
advice from Whitey and gives him a cut."
~ Daisy Varden:
  "Still and all, she's always Daisy Varden, and Daisy Varden was tops in the night-club business for my money."
~ Clara Purcelle:
  "This dizzy tramp gets an awful crying jag."

Cultural References:
~ "since Prohibition" (Wikipedia HERE); "long past repeal". (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "Sweet [actually Miss] Annabelle Lee". (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "the Big Apple". (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "out in Joliet". (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "a gat" (Wikipedia HERE); "I don't pack no rod" (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "she tops for night-clubs". (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "on Pullmans". (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "a hot rhumba". (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "they're yeggs". (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "a booster": a shoplifter (Merriam-Webster HERE) , "or a dip": a pickpocket (Merriam-Webster HERE), "or a pineapple" (from the context it could be a criminal of some sort).

~ "two yards and a half": One yard = $100. (Merriam-Webster HERE).

~ "the ice": diamonds, jewelry. (Merriam-Webster HERE).
~ "Equity". (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "A Sullivan Act violation!" (Wikipedia HERE).
~ Well-known chanteuses and one songwriter: "Sophie Tucker" (Wikipedia HERE), "Fay Templeton" (Wikipedia HERE), "Nora Bayes" (Wikipedia HERE), "Marie Lloyd" (Wikipedia HERE), and "Walter Donaldson" (Wikipedia HERE).
- The FictionMags Index thumbnail about Edward Lawrence McKenna: "Author, columnist, assistant professor of insurance at the University of Pennsylvania. Born in Brooklyn, New York; died in Baltimore, Pennsylvania."


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