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robert.snell1@ntlworld.com

An extract

From “The Brighter Side” by Damon Runyon, December 14,1939.

 

An editor who says his publication is going to run a word sketch of use asks of us to relate our favorite humorous anecdotes For instance, there is the story of the confirmed horse Player who was standing in front of a restaurant window Looking at a huge glass tank full of live fish ( Stop us if you have heard it). A stranger to the horse player came along and stood beside him also interested in the fish and the horse player remarked: '

"Lively guys, ent they? I wonder what kind of fish them is." "Why, them's trouts," said the stranger promptly. The horse player thought this over a minute and then he said: "Would you like to make a little bet that them fish is trouts. Would you like to bet about a finnif?" "Certainly," said the stranger. "It's like finding money."

So they made the wager, agreeing to leave the decision to the owner of the restaurant and then they entered the place together and placed their problem before their referee.

"You win," he said to the stranger "Them's trouts, all right." afterwards somebody remarked to the horse player that he had made a sucker bet and he said: "Yeah? Well, my kid who goesto college once told me that there must be a million kinds of fish in the world, so look at all the fish I had running for me."

Then there is another betting story about a chap named George something, who hung out around Jack Doyle's billiard premises on Broadway, and who was noted for his rapacity for liquor. He could drink quite a lot. In fact it got to he a standard subject for debate among, the Doyle regulars as to just how much this George might be able to drink if put to pressure.

One night Hype Igoe, the sportswriter, was standing at the bar with a visitor from Scranton and the visitor was doing a little bragging about his own drinking ability . He indicated a bottle of Rye that the bartender had placed before them and said many’s  the day he drank up a whole  bottle like that in a single afternoon. Hype gathered the impression that there was some belittlement in the visitors attitude of the drinking prowess of New Yorkers and he said he drinking a bottle of whiskey Like that in the afternoon was nothing at all.

Hype Egoe said he knew a fellow right here in the room who could drink a whole bottle inside of five minutes .Without taking more than two breathes. The visitor from Scranton said he was a gentleman and  would not think of calling Hype Egoe a falsifier but he had heard of sports writers who were. He said the feat described by Hype Egoe was impossible. He said he would bet ten dollars that Hype could not produce a man capable of such a thing.  Hype Egoe did not have ten dollars but he bet the visitor anyway.

But then Hype Egoe called this George up to the bar and explained the bet and asked George to kindly do his stuff and George stood there stroking his chin with his hand and looking at the bottle and he said give him a few minutes to decide whether or not he wanted to go against the proposition. Finally he asked the bartender to lend him a full bottle like that one for a few minutes and when the bartender obliged George retired to the washroom and was gone a few minutes .when he returned he nodded to Hype Egoe and said “All right lets go “

The bartender set out a new bottle of whiskey and this George tilted into his mouth and let the liquor gurgle down his throat in a continuous stream. He stopped just once for breath and  Drained the bottle in four minutes flat so Hype Egoe won the ten Dollars.It was not until the visitor had departed that Hype Egoe asked George Why he had gone through the preliminary of taking a bottle into The washroom before standing up to the test and this George said “Why , I wasn’t sure I could do it until I tried one”