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26 August 2008
Speed Week!
The Lead-Pipe Cinch
by E.O. Costello

Wherein, a resourceful gentleman visitor of sporting inclinations
comes to speculate on that Miss Adventure racing aircraft

"The Lead-Pipe Cinch"
by E.O. Costello
(with acknowledgements to Mitch Marmel and Walt Reimer)

    So there I was, seated with what can be said to be a certain amount of discomfort at Luchow's, on account of a most unfortunate togetherness of a surplus of consumed lunch, to wit, a pastrami and rye with java, and a certain deficit of spending mazuma. This discomfort was in no small way connected with the fact that the doll what owned Luchow's was fleet of foot and possessed of a fine and complete set of claws, with which to visit displeasure on furs what try to duck out of their obligations.

    I could already sense the glad eye was not being given me by the aforesaid head doll, or the doll what rendered me the aforesaid pastrami and rye, so it was with tidings indeed that I beheld that the horns of Blue Sky Bos were with conversing distance, as Blue Sky seemed as intent on investigating the quality of pastrami and rye as I had been myself, the difference being that Blue Sky was obviously in funds.

    In light of the fact that he had one doll at each elbow, and was enjoying a cigar that could have doubled in certain parts of Montana as a weapon, and that he was dressed in a particularly sharp yellow shirt, with lime green suit and matching hat and shirt, I felt that he would not look negatively upon a touch, and in that I was not disappointed, Blue Sky being a bull what knows the feeling of the need of a touch.

    The pastrami and java being paid for, another bill being put behind my pawkerchief, and a third bill being used to relight the cigar, Blue Sky was in the mood convivial. It is always the best time to make conversation when guys are like this, if you wish to learn something, and speaking for myself I always have a thirst for practical knowledge.

    "Sky," I says, "you are flushed with success, if I may say so, and are looking as sharp as a bull what is walking out of Lindy's." This was not flattery, for it was the truth in and itself, and both Sky and myself knew from what this meant, even if the two dolls on his elbows did not.

    "Ribs," he says, calling me by the name my friends call me, and any fur that allows you to put the touch on them is by definition a friend, "you being the fur of the world know of the Schneider Cup, what is being held here in the coming days."

    “Being short of fins, I have not had the coin to spare for the newspaper, and I was not aware there was a racetrack in these islands. Illuminate me, Sky."

    Sky put me wise that the Schneider Cup was not for the Sport of Kings, but was what some furs equally in funds did, namely race airplanes, which if you ask me does not have the certain snap and ginger as a racetrack, but who am I to make such comments, what has been sneaking out the fire escape of his hotel room for two days running?

    Furthermore, he put me wise, there were as many opportunities to place wagers upon airplanes as there were upon our four-hooved dumb chums, and he himself knew of something that could be classified as a bluechip investment, being based on certain kinds of indiscreet information being casually whispered about.

    Now, it does not do for one guy to immediately ask another guy for this kind of information what is connected with the lead-pipe cinch, because if there are many guys what know of this lead-pipe cinch, it is no longer a lead-pipe cinch because the world in general has been put on the key veev. Therefore, it behooved me to act as what a wolf what knows to keep his muzzle shut and ears open. The fact that Sky leaned in to me showed me that he recognized that I was a fur what knew of the rules of a lead-pipe cinch.

    "Putting your mazuma on Miss Adventure," says him to me, "would be safer that what is a round lot of AT&T."

    In this I was confused, because I knew of only two dolls by this name, and I was certain that both of them were still in the general vicinity of a certain drinking establishment on 53rd Street that I have not visited in some time on account of a disagreement involving financial matters with the management and certain employees what have muscles connected with fists.

    I was put wise that Miss Adventure was not a doll in the form what has fur and clothes, at least most of the time, but a doll in the mechanical form what has wings. There are furs, says Sky what have pencils and other instruments of the mathematical persuasion that would make eyes at this machine in the same ways guys make eyes at dolls on Broadway, though for myself I express doubts on this matter, in that I do not think even a mathematical fur would try to wink at a plane, and if he did, I would say that it is more than likely he would be put in a very soft room for a long time for doing so.

    Sky then tucks another bit of mazuma behind my pawkerchief, before having at a very large plate of wheatcakes, on account of bulls not being the eaters of meat. I extend my thanks to Sky, and leave him to the dolls and the wheatcakes, more or less in that order of what I expect to be importance in the near future.

    My heart is indeed gladdened when after a discreet bit of walking away I take a closer look at the mazuma that Sky had given me, and find that it is the correct color and in denominations that would assure that I could for once make an exit from a hotel in the form that is approved by furs what deal in manners and not fire regulations.

    But then I consider that this would be unsporting. I would have to die from shame if it became known at Lindy's that Ribs Volpe had mazuma in his paw, and a lead-pipe cinch, and chose not to act in a manner befitting a Broadway fur, but a fur that was looking to spend the rest of his life going to and from Nutley, New Jersey, which is no life for any fur, even one's worst enemies.

    I have found that these Islands are very convenient for a fur what likes to investigate financial matters what are not exactly like the round lot of AT&T that Sky referred to. And so it was that I placed myself not far behind the tail-feathers of a duck that by an interesting coincidence was putting sums of the folding green stuff both ways on Miss Adventure. I appreciated that this was being very broad-minded of my avian friend, but it seemed to me that if things were as it was said, what it was a lead-pipe cinch, you would not see things being covered in such a manner, and I said as much to the fur in the green eye shade and cuff protectors what was behind the counter when I was in front of it.

    You can imagine that there was significant consternation in my throat and other portions of my person when it was made clear to me that the fur what I saw placing bets both ways was one and the same fur what was expected to fly the Miss Adventure.

    There is the thing about the matter what is called the lead-pipe cinch, that you do not know whether the lead-pipe is in your paw, or it happens to be in the paw of another fur and will shortly be coming down upon yourself, which is not a good position to be in. There was a suspicion in my mind the Sky may indeed have had the lead-pipe cinch in mind, and was perhaps looking for a ripe melon what to thump it with, the melon in question being my own personal head.

    I do have experience in making the quick decisions that if it were different might lead me into another worthy profession, perhaps like making the decisions in the kitchen of Lindy's, but have chosen to be applied at the $5 window many an afternoon. Here, I thought, was the need to make a quick decision based upon information received, as my friend Captain Flanagan of the Mid-town Squad would say. I placed the whole of my mazuma, including mazuma raised from hocking a watch and my pinky ring, upon Miss Adventure going DNF.

    It was more than I could bear to watch the race, on account of not wishing to be seen naked without my pinky ring, and more important not wishing to leave my hotel room, on further account of my luggage likely being taken. So it was not until I had had a word with the bellhop that I was given the glad tidings that I, Ribs, had been of the mind-speed that is normally associated with furs what are like me with brushes and ears what listen to things. A bulkier bellhop escorted me to the bookie's, where I collected my winnings, which made a pleasing and large stack, slightly diminished by the necessity to visit the pawnshop, the hotel manager, and then a convenient tailor shop in the hotel.

    A fur what is dressed in a manner that would be welcome at Lindy's is a fur what will get the eye or two of the dolls, and it was a particularly engaging specimen of doll what I had on my elbow as I went into Luchow's, and told the head doll there to give me a table and a large pastrami, in that order, and the doll was to be given the freedom of the menu, and could she break a one hundred in the bargain? The head doll was not impressed, but that is the nature of head dolls everywhere, which as anyone can tell you are a hard-headed type as what is their style.

    I was enjoying a convivial discussion with the doll, which was starting to move into a discussion of further social activities, when I beheld that there was a fur what was looking through the window of Luchow's, without the mazuma to be inside looking out. This was clear from the lack of sharpness in his attire, and the shameful nakedness of his pinky, without pinky ring. It was, as I easily beheld, Blue Sky Bos, who seemed not to have been aware that in the nature of the lead-pipe, it is better to give than receive, and he had received sufficient on the head.

    I summoned a doll with apron, and had an order of wheatcakes and syrup delivered outside with my compliments. To do otherwise would have caused furs at Lindy's to shake their heads at the ingratitude.

                Speed Week!