« PreviousContinue »
'So long,' Jack said. We had supper. Jack did n't say anything all during the meal except
"To hell with that stuff,' Hogan said. 'When you want to see me I'm down in the office.' We heard the door unlock. Steinfelt 'Will you pass me this?' or 'Will you pass me that?' The two health-farm
'Come on in, Hogan,' he says. 'We're patients ate at the same table with us. all going to have a drink.'
'Well,' says Hogan, 'that's something.'
We went in. Jack was sitting on the bed. John and Morgan were sitting on a couple of chairs. Steinfelt was
They were pretty nice fellas. After we finished eating we went out on the porch. It was dark early.
'Like to take a walk, Jerry?' Jack
'Sure,' I said.
We put on our coats and started out.
'You're a pretty mysterious lot of It was quite a way down to the main boys,' Hogan said.
'Hello, Danny,' John says.
'Hello, Danny,' Morgan says and shakes hands.
Jack does n't say anything. He He just sits there on the bed. He ain't with the others. He's all by himself. He was wearing an old blue jersey and an old pair of pants and had on boxing shoes. He needed a shave. Steinfelt and Morgan were dressers. John was quite a dresser, too. Jack sat there looking Irish and tough.
Steinfelt brought out a bottle and Hogan brought in some glasses and everybody had a drink. Jack and I took one and the rest of them went on and had two or three each.
road, and then we walked along the main road about a mile and a half. Cars kept going by and we would pull out to the side until they were past. Jack did n't say anything. After we had stepped out into the bushes to let a big car go by, Jack said, "To hell with this walking. Come on back to Hogan's.'
We went along a side road that cut up over the hill and cut across the fields back to Hogan's. We could see the lights of the house up on the hill. We came around to the front of the house and there, standing in the doorway, was Hogan.
'Have a good walk?' Hogan asked. 'Oh, fine,' Jack said. 'Listen, Hogan.
'Better save some for your ride Have you got any liquor?' back,' Hogan said.
'Sure,' says Hogan. 'What's the
'Don't you worry. We got plenty,' idea?' Morgan said.
Jack had n't drunk anything since the one drink. He was standing up and looking at them. Morgan was sitting on the bed where Jack had sat.
'Have a drink, Jack,' John said and handed him the glass and the bottle. 'No,' Jack said, 'I never liked to go to these wakes.'
They all laughed. Jack did n't laugh. They were all feeling pretty good when they left. Jack stood on the porch when they got into the car. They waved to him.
'Send it up to the room,' Jack says. 'I'm going to sleep to-night.'
'You're the doctor,' Hogan says. 'Come on up to the room, Jerry,' Jack says.
Upstairs Jack sat on the bed with his head in his hands.
'Ain't it a life?' Jack says.
Hogan brought in a quart of liquor and two glasses.
'Want some ginger ale?'
'What do you think I want to do get sick?'
'I just asked you,' said Hogan.
'Have a drink?' said Jack.
'No, thanks,' said Hogan. He went
'How about you, Jerry?'
'I'll have one with you,' I said.
Jack poured out a couple of drinks. 'Now,' he said, 'I want to take it slow and easy.'
'Put some water in it,' I said.
'Yes,' Jack said. 'I guess that's better.'
We had a couple of drinks without saying anything. Jack started to pour me another.
'No,' I said, 'that's all I want.'
'All right,' Jack said. He poured himself out another big shot and put water in it. He was lighting up a little. 'That was a fine bunch out here this afternoon,' he said. "They don't take any chances, those two.'
Then a little later, 'Well,' he says, 'they're right. What the hell's the good in taking chances?'
'Don't you want another, Jerry?' he said. 'Come on, drink along with me.'
'I don't need it, Jack,' I said. 'I feel
Jack Brennan." That don't do them
'Hell,' I said. 'All that makes a difference is if they got dough.'
'Well,' says Jack, 'I got the dough for them all right.'
He poured out another drink. The bottle was about empty.
'Put some water in it,' I said. Jack poured in some water.
'You know,' he says, 'you ain't got any idea how I miss the wife.' 'Sure.'
'You ain't got any idea. You can't have an idea what it's like.'
'It ought to be better out in the country than in town.'
'With me now,' Jack said, 'it don't make any difference where I am. You can't have an idea what it's like.'
'Have another drink.'
'Am I getting soused? Do I talk funny?'
'You're coming on all right.' 'You can't have an idea what it's like. They ain't anybody can have an idea what it's like.'
'Except the wife,' I said.
'She knows,' Jack said. 'She knows,
'Just have one more,' Jack said. It all right. She knows. You bet she
bucks. Get some money on him, Jerry.'
'It sounds good,' I said.
'How can I beat him?' Jack says. 'It ain't crooked. How can I beat him? Why not make money on it?'
'Put some water in that,' I said. 'I'm through after this fight,' Jack says. 'I'm through with it. I got to take a beating. Why should n't I make money on it?' 'Sure.'
'I ain't slept for a week,' Jack says. 'All night I lay awake and worry my can off. I can't sleep, Jerry. You ain't got an idea what it's like when you can't sleep.'
'I can't sleep. That's all. I just can't sleep. What's the use of taking care of yourself all these years when you can't sleep?'
'You ain't got an idea what it's like, Jerry, when you can't sleep.'
'Put some water in that,' I said. Well, about eleven o'clock Jack passes out and I put him to bed. Finally he's so he can't keep from sleeping. I helped him get his clothes off and got him into bed.
'You'll sleep, all right, Jack,' I said. 'Sure,' Jack says, 'I'll sleep now.' 'Good night, Jack,' I said.
'You'd have a hell of a time explaining that to these sport writers, though,' Hogan said.
'Well, I'm going to bed myself,' I said.
'Good night,' said Hogan.
In the morning I came downstairs about eight o'clock and got some breakfast. Hogan had his two customers out in the barn doing exercises. I went out and watched them.
'One! Two! Three! Four!' Hogan was counting for them. 'Hello, Jerry,' he said. 'Is Jack up yet?'
'No. He's still sleeping.'
I went back to my room and packed up to go in to town. About nine-thirty I heard Jack getting up in the next room. When I heard him go downstairs I went down after him. Jack was sitting at the breakfast table. Hogan had come in and was standing beside the table.
'How do you feel, Jack?' I asked
'Not so bad.'
'Sleep well?' Hogan asked.
'I slept, all right,' Jack said. 'I got a thick tongue, but I ain't got a head.' 'Good,' said Hogan. "That was good
'Good night, Jerry,' Jack says. liquor.' 'You're the only friend I got.'
'Oh, hell,' I said.
'You're the only friend I got,' Jack says. "The only friend I got.' 'Go to sleep,' I said.
'I'll sleep,' Jack says.
Downstairs Hogan was sitting at the desk in the office reading the papers. He looked up.
'Well, you get your boy friend to
sleep?' he asks.
Put it on the bill,' Jack says. 'What time you want to go in to town?' Hogan asked.
'Before lunch,' Jack says. "The eleven o'clock train.' Hogan went out.
'Sit down, Jerry,' Jack said.
I sat down at the table. Jack was eating a grapefruit. When he'd find a seed he'd spit it out in the spoon and dump it on the plate.
'I guess I was pretty stewed last
'It's better for him than not sleep- night,' he started. ing,' Hogan said.
'You drank some liquor.'
'I guess I said a lot of fool things.'
'You were n't bad.'
'Where's Hogan?' he asked. He was through with the grapefruit.
'He's out in front in the office.' 'What did I say about betting on the fight?' Jack asked. He was holding the spoon and sort of poking at the grapefruit with it.
The girl came in with some ham and eggs and took away the grapefruit.
'Bring me another glass of milk,' Jack said to her. She went out.
'You said you had fifty grand on Walcott,' I said.
"That's right,' Jack said.
"That's a lot of money.'
'Good-bye, Mr. Brennan,' Bruce said at the train. 'I sure hope you knock his can off.'
'So long,' Jack said. He gave Bruce two dollars. Bruce had worked on him a lot. He looked kind of disappointed. Jack saw me looking at Bruce holding the two dollars.
'It's all in the bill,' he said. 'Hogan charged me for the rubbing.'
On the train going into town Jack did n't talk. He sat in the corner of the seat with his ticket in his hatband and looked out of the window. Once he turned and spoke to me.
'I told the wife I'd take a room at
'I don't feel too good about it,' Jack the Shelby to-night,' he said. 'It's just said.
'Something might happen.'
'No,' Jack said. 'He wants the title bad. They'll be shooting with him, all right.'
'You can't ever tell.'
around the corner from the Garden. I can go up to the house to-morrow morning.'
"That's a good idea,' I said. "Your wife ever see you fight, Jack?' 'No,' Jack says. 'She never seen me
'No. He wants the title. It's worth fight.' a lot of money to him.'
'Fifty grand is a lot of money,' I said. 'It's business,' said Jack. 'I can't win. You know I can't win anyway.' 'As long as you're in there you got a chance.'
'No,' Jack says. 'I'm all through.
It's just business.'
'How do you feel?'
I thought, he must be figuring on taking an awful beating if he does n't want to go home afterward. In town we took a taxi up to the Shelby. A boy came out and took our bags and we went in to the desk.
'How much are the rooms?' Jack asked.
'We only have double rooms,' the
'Pretty good,' Jack said. "The sleep clerk says. 'I can give you a nice
was what I needed.'
'You might go good.'
'I'll give them a good show,' Jack said.
After breakfast Jack called up his wife on the long distance. He was inside the booth telephoning.
"That's the first time he's called her up since he's out here,' Hogan said. 'He writes her every day.' 'Sure,' Hogan says. 'A letter only costs two cents.'
Hogan said good-bye to us, and Bruce, the nigger rubber, drove us down to the train in the cart.
double room for ten dollars.' "That's too steep.'
'I can give you a double room for seven dollars.'
'With a bath?' 'Certainly.'
'You might as well bunk with me, Jerry,' Jack says.
'Oh,' I said, 'I'll sleep down at my brother-in-law's.'
'I don't mean for you to pay it,' Jack says. I just want to get my money's worth.'
'Will you register, please?' the clerk
He looked at the names. 'Number 238, Mr. Brennan.'
We went up in the elevator. It was a nice big room with two beds and a door opening into a bathroom.
"This is pretty good,' Jack says.
The boy who brought us up pulled up the curtains and brought in our bags. Jack did n't make any move, so I gave the boy a quarter. We washed up and Jack said we better go out and get something to eat.
We ate a lunch at Jimmy Handley's place. Quite a lot of the boys were there. When we were about half through eating, John came in and sat down with us. Jack did n't talk much.
'How are you on the weight, Jack?' John asked him. Jack was putting away a pretty good lunch.
'I could make it with my clothes on,' Jack said. He never had to worry about taking off weight. He was a natural welterweight and he'd never gotten fat. He'd lost weight out at Hogan's.
'Well, that's one thing you never had to worry about,' John said.
"That's one thing,' Jack says.
We went around to the Garden to weigh in after lunch. The match was made at a hundred forty-seven pounds at three o'clock. Jack stepped on the scales with a towel around him. The bar did n't move. Walcott had just weighed and was standing with a lot of people around him.
'Let's see what you weigh, Jack,' Freedman, Walcott's manager, said.
'All right, weigh him then,' Jack jerked his head toward Walcott.
'Drop the towel,' Freedman said. 'What do you make it?' Jack asked the fellows who were weighing.
'Hundred and forty-three pounds,' the fat man who was weighing said. 'You're down fine, Jack,' Freedman
'Weigh him,' Jack says.
Walcott came over. He was a blonde with wide shoulders and arms like a heavyweight. He did n't have much legs. Jack stood about half a head taller than he did.
'Hello, Jack,' he said. His face was plenty marked up.
'Hello,' said Jack. 'How you feel?' "Good,' Walcott says. He dropped the towel from around his waist and stood on the scales. He had the widest shoulders and back you ever saw.
'One hundred and forty-six pounds and twelve ounces.'
Walcott stepped off and grinned at Jack.
'Well,' John says to him, Jack's spotting you about four pounds.'
'More than that when I come in, Kid,' Walcott says. "I'm going to go and eat now.'
We went back and Jack got dressed. 'He's a pretty tough-looking boy,' Jack says to me.
'He looks as though he'd been hit plenty of times.'
'Oh yes,' Jack says. 'He ain't hard to hit.'
'Where are you going?' John asked when Jack was dressed.
'Back to the hotel,' Jack says. 'You looked after everything?'
'Yes,' John says. 'It's all looked after.'
'I'm going to lie down a while,' Jack says.
'I'll come around for you about a quarter to seven and we'll go and eat.' 'All right.'
Up at the hotel Jack took off his shoes and his coat and lay down for a while. I wrote a letter. I looked over a couple of times and Jack was n't sleeping. He was lying perfectly still, but every once in a while his eyes would open. Finally he sits up.
'Want to play some cribbage, Jerry?' he says.
'Sure,' I said.