Once in the dim dead Days beyond Recall, there lived a blue-eyed Gazook named Steve.
We refer to the Period preceding the Uplift, when the Candidate wearing the largest collar was the People’s Choice for Alderman.
A Good Citizen wishing to open a Murder Parlor needed a couple of Black Bottles, a Barrel of Sawdust and a Pull at the City Hall.
When he opened up, he threw the Key in the River and arranged to have the Bodies taken out through the Alley so as not to impede Traffic in the Main Thoroughfares.
Twelve months every Year marked the Open Season for every Game from Pitch-and-Toss to Manslaughter.
Any one in search of Diversion could roll Kelly Pool at 10 Cents a Cue in the Morning, go to the Track in the Afternoon, take in a 20-round Scrap in the Evening and then Shoot at the Wheel a few times before backing into the Flax.
The Police were instructed to make sure that all Push-Cart Peddlers were properly Licensed.
Steve roamed the Wide-Open Town and spread his Bets both ways from the Jack.
When he cut the String and began to back his Judgment he knew no Limit except the Milky Way. Any time he rolled them, you could hear considerable Rumble.
All the Bookies, Barkeeps, Bruisers, and the Boys sitting on the Moonlight Rattlers knew him by his First Name and had him tagged as a Producer and a Helva Nice Fellow.
Steve heard vague Rumors that certain Stiffs who hurried home before Midnight and wore White Mufflers, were trying to put the Town on the Fritz and Can all the Live Ones, but he did not dream that a Mug who went around in Goloshes and drank Root Beer could put anything across with the Main Swivel over at the Hall.
O, the Rude Awakening!
One day he was in a Pool Room working on the Form Sheet with about 150 other Students and getting ready to back Sazerack off the Boards in the Third at Guttenberg, when some Blue Wagons backed up and Steve told the Desk Sergeant, a few Minutes later, that his Name was Andrew Jackson.
Next Day he had a Wire from a Trainer but when he went to the old familiar Joint, the Plain Clothes Men gave him the Sign to Beat it and he turned away, throbbing with Indignation.
The down-town Books were being raided but the Angoras kept on galloping at the Track, so he rode out on the Train every day in order to preserve his Rights as a free-born American.
One Day just as he was Peeling from his Roll in front of the Kentucky Club, in order to grab Gertie Glue at 8 to 5, Lightning struck the Paddock and laid out the entire Works.
When the Touts and the Sheet-Writers and the Sure-Thingers came to and began to ask Questions, it was discovered that the Yap Legislature had killed the Racing Game and ordered all the Regulars to go to Work.
Steve went back to Town in a dazed Condition to hunt up the Gang and find out what could be done to put out the Fire.
When he arrived at the Hang-Out there was a Flag at Half-Mast. The Roost had been nailed up for keeping open after Eleven o’Clock!
A few Evenings after that he sauntered up to a large Frame Building to look at a couple of Boys who had promised to make 135 Ringside.
A Cannon was planted at the Main Chute and the Street was filled with Department Store Employees disguised as Soldiers.
The Governor had called out the Militia in order to prevent a Blot being put upon the Fair Name of the Commonwealth.
With the Selling-Platers turned out to Pasture, the Brace-Box and the Pinch Wheel lying in the Basement at Central Station, the Pugs going back to the Foundry and all the Street Lamps being taken in at Midnight, no wonder Steve was hard pushed to find Innocent Amusement.