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January 18, 1947 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1947-01-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page Eight

PERSPECTIVES

BIRDCAGDIn TOLEDO
..Don Thornbury

H E PAUSED for a moment in the
entranceway of the front cocktail
lounge of the Fox & Hounds Club, lit
up a cigarette and peering over the
cupped hand that held the match,
took in the room through narrowed
eyes. He looked over his shoulder once
and then walked over to the bar, let-
ting his right hand slip into his well
fitting but unpressed double breasted,
blue, pinstripe coat. He ordered a rye
and water. He downed the shot, took
a drag on his cigarette and surveyed
the room without moving his head,
by looking into the blue tinted mirror
that lined the wall in back of the bar.
Straightening up from the bar, he drop-
ped the cigarette into the water chaser,
turned, and walked out of the room in
the same slow manner in which he had
entered, looking neither right nor left.
He followed the music down the
thickly carpeted stairs to a small, dark,
smoke-filled room where an eight
piece band loudly pushed couples
around a postage stamp dance ring
surrounded by tables supporting many.
drinks and many elbows.
"Dance."
"Well. .. yes, I'd love to." she stood
up, looked half questioningly, half tri-
umphantly at the two girls remaining
at her table who did not have blond hair.
They threaded their way through
the tables and into the people trying
to dance.
"My name is Jackie. Jacq Walsh.
What's your's?"
"Sam."
"Sam, Sam , . . that's nice. Sam
what?",
"Just Sam."
"You live in Boston?"
"Nope."
"Well where are you from?"
"Oh, around."

"Around?"
"Yeah-Chicago, Detroit, New York.
Came up from New York yesterday."
"What are you doing in Boston?"
"Working."
"Doing what?"
"For the organization."
"The organization?"
"Yeah, you know, the corporation."
"Oh. But what do you do?"
"Looking for a guy."
"Looking for someone?"
"That's right."
"Is he here?"
"No, I thought he might be though."
"Do you know him?"
"Nope."
"But how will you know when you've
found him?"
"I know what he looks like."
Oh. But what do you want him for?"
"Just want to talk to him."
"What about?"
"A marker."
"A marker?"
"Yeah, he ran out on a market: in a
bird cage in Toledo."
"A bird cage!"
"Yeah, a bird cage. You know, a
gin mill with tables. A crib."
"But how are you ever going to find
him?"
"He'll show up. Don't worry, any
guy that makes the mistake of running
out on a forty grand marker, is bound
to make more mistakes. In fact that's
what brought us to Boston, he tried to
place a bet."
"Us?"
"Yeah, I got a partner stashed with
his girl friend. He'll show up some-
place.
"But suppose he hasn't got the mon-
ey. Suppose he got in trouble. May-
be that's why he ran away."
"Maybe. But believe me sister, he

don't know what trouble is when we
find him."
"Oh. What'll you do when you find
him?'
"Nothin'. We just wanta talk to him,
that's all."
"Are you carrying a gun?"
"No, no. I'm no rod man. I'm telling
you, I only gamble. I wouldn't even be
doing this except, well, the boys asked
me to, that's all."
"How long do you think it will take
to find him?"
"Coupla days. coupla weeks. But look
Kid, let's can the chatter about me.
What about you, you live here?"
"Cambridge."
"Yeah, how is it out there?"
"Nice."
"You work?"
"Uh huh."
"Where?"
"MIT."
"That's a school?"
"Uh huh.'
"You in school?"
"No. I work in the library there."
"Nice. Very nice. Sounds good."
"Oh, it's all right."
"It oughta be pretty good with all
them nice college boys around. You
should do fine."
"They're ok, but most of them are
so, you know, boyish."
"Oh."
"Yes. Say! if you're going to be in
town for a few days, why don't you
come out to Cambridge and visit me at
the library? Anybody can tell you how
to find it. I'm on the second floor, at
the main desk."
"You'd be workin', and then, books
and I don't get along so good."
"That's ok, one of the girls could
cover for me, and we could slip out for
coffee and a cigarette and a chat, It
would be fun. Oh, please do!"

"I might. Yeah I might just do that."
"Oh, the set is over. Well I have
to get back to the girls. You see we
agreed we'd stick together tonight.
Thanks a lot though."
"That's ok, I know how it is."
"But you will remember, and come
visit me before you leave Boston?"
"Sure, sure, I'll drop in."
"Good! and thanks again for the
dance."
"That's ok. S'long."
"Bye.'
He walked back up the carpeted
stairway, across the lobby, past the en-
trance to the cocktail lounge, and got
a grey Stetson hat and a grey top coat
from the check room. He slipped on the
coat, left a dime for the girl, and left,
adjusting the angle of his hat by his re-
flection in the plate glass doors as he
approached them.
He got on a street car. Twenty min-
utes later he got off. As he walked up
the steps of a two story, wood frame
house, he took a key from his right hip
pocket, and fumbling at the door for a
moment, let himself in. He slipped off
his top coat, and turning away from
the closet noticed his darkened reflec-
tion in the full length mirror on the
back of the open closet door. He put his
hand into the right pocket of the coat.
narrowed his eyes and grinned. Then
he saluted himself, took off his hat and
went out to the kitchen and poured
himself a glass of milk.
"Is that you Sam?"
"Yeah Mom."
"Did you have a good time tonight?"
"Uh huh."
"Well don't forget to close the re-
frigerator door and turn off the kitchen
light when you come up."
"Ok."
"Goodnight darling."

SALE
... Russell La Due

GR O was mad when it happened. He
had just -finished reading the ac-
count in the paper and they were quiet-
ly sitting in the little office behind the
store. George knew what was coming,
it had happened before and he wanted
to get it over with as quickly as pos-
sible. Grimo would begin very calmly,
asking him how it happened that it
was always their. slot-machines that
got raided; he would start to answer;
and then Grimo would cut him short
and begin the tirade. But for once it
didn't happen that way, because just
then they heard the outer door click
open.
They turned to watch the frosted
glass window in the office door with
the woman's figure appearing against
the reversed letters; "Grime Novelty
Co."-a silhouette growing larger as she
approached and then the sharper vision
of her fist as 'he knocked determined-
ly. Grimo nodded and George bright-
ened at this interlude and walked eag-
erly to let her in. It was a small strange-
ly brisk old lady in what seemed to be
i raincoat. She nodded briefly at George
and walked quickly across the shabby
office to Grimo's desk where she sat
down. She seemed to be inhumanly
sure of herself, but neither of them
had ever seen her before.
Now there was nothing unusual about
Grimo. He was a dark, sharp-faced,
sleek, well-hilt ex-marine corporal, an
East-side version of the 'Cisco Kid, He.

had a slight scar across the bridge of
his nose and etirk staring eyes, both
from the war. Now he was fairly well
set up, not what you could call flush
(and not exactly legal) but still he was
making out. George helped him with
the store and then there were two high-
school guys who serviced his machines.
He had, or rather he used to have be-
fore the raids, twenty slot machines
and the. store with this, his office, in
the rear. And he liked a star. He'd
never mentioned this to anyone, but
he wouldn't hasve denied it, and it
meant a lot to him. He had no "for-
mal" knowledge about it; he didn't even
know its name; and it wasn't a big
star nor for any reason outstanding.
But he had first seen it the night they
returned from overseas and he had
adopted it. That was all. But you can
imagine his surprise.
"I want to buy your star," said the
lady.
"What," said Grimo.
"I want to buy your star" said the
lady again.
"What star. I got no star," said
Grimo.
"Don't tell me, young man," she said
patiently, "You know what I mean."
Grimo frowned, puzzled and in a way
annoyed.
"Shall I get her out of. here?" George
said, steppinfg 0orward fr me the door
for the first tiec since she'd entered.

Grimo shook his head. "My star,"
he repeated.
"Yes."
"You mean the star I-" Grimo tried
to think what it was he did with the
star.
"The star you look at," she told him.
"A real star--in the sky?" George
canted to know. Nobody answered him.
George was a good guy but he wasn't
much help to Grimo in a thing like
this.
"What do you ren" said Grimo.
"What's your deal?"
"I want to buy your star," the lady
repeated. "We live out beyond the
power lines and T need it for lighting.
How much do y)u want for it?"
Grimo scratched his head and
thought for a long time about it. It
was hard to unerstand. "I don't see
how you can buy a star," he said fin-
ally. He looked like he was going to
say more, but he didn't.
"I think she's bats," George said.
But the lady spoke to Grimo. "Mr.
Grimo," she was still patient, "I don't
expect you to see. You're only human.
All I ask you to do is say that you will
sell me the star. For that I will give
you five hundred dollars."
Grimo studied her. "I just say I'll
sell you the star, and you'll give me
five hundred dollars?"
" ash." She smiled brightly. "I've
got it rig ;ert." Ohe reached under
her raincoat into the back pocket of

her slacks, brought out a. billfold, and
drawing out five crisp new bills, she
laid them on the desk. Grimo looked
closely at them; they looked good to
him. George watched carefully from
thecenter of the room. He didn't get
all this but when he saw the money he
didn't move or even speak.
"Now wait a minute," said Grimo.
"Let's get this straight. How do you
know it's my star? I don't even know
tie name of it."
"I know all about it." The lady's
patience was wearing a bit thin. She
talked like an indulgent but now slight-
l' exasparated- mother to a child who
should have known better than to ask
so many questions. "You think of it
like this: You see two triangles in the
north sky. Then off to the left and
above is your star."
"That's right," Grimo admitted, "that
is it."
"For God's sake sell her the star,"
George said.
"Shut up," Grimo told him. He turn-
ed to the lady. "You want me to say
I'll sell you the star, and you'll give
me five hundred dollars."
The lady gestured towards the five
bills still lying on the desk. Ordinarily
Grimo would have seen through her
contempt of the money, and would
have angled for a better price; but this
whole business was so strange that the
thought never cccurred to him. He was
(Continued on age 11)

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