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The Tall Story Hour
(The prompt was a middle aged man in a motorman’s cap being held in an erect
position by two small boys.)
On any Friday evening you will see Casey, the tram driver walking unsteadily
between his two strapping sons, Douglas and Bryan, as they walk him home from
Monahan’s Bar. Were it not for Douglas and Bryan, Casey would never find his
way home, and there are some who say he spends more time at Monahan’s than he
does at the throttle of his tram.
The tram drivers are paid in cash on Friday evenings, and without fail, a
casual visitor to Monahan’s will find them outdoing each other with tall tales
their adventures on the surface rapid transit system of the City of New York.
Their stories vary from how much and how often they scam the fare box to wild
tales of trolley lines that lead to forgotten sections of the city, and never
On one particular Friday evening, Casey became red-faced and apoplectic when
he sensed his story had been outdone by a driver with far less time on the
rails than he. He brushed his mustache back in a threatening gesture and stared
into his ale, waiting for a pause for breath in the man’s story. He then jumped
in with, “Why that’s nothin’ me boy. Nothin’ at all. Why when I was on the
McKibben Street line, worse things happened avery day.” Tempers flared, and
the urge to outdo each other in the telling of tall tales became physical.
So Casey was not on his feet at eleven p.m. on this particular Friday
evening. His two sons arrived to lead him home, and instead they found him on
seat of his pants by the corner of the bar where he had been forgotten after
having failed to back up a tall tale that was impossible to verify. Therefore
had to carry him home - Douglas at the head end and Bryan at the foot.
Mrs. Brigit Casey was standing at the door of their modest apartment with her
arms folded and a withering expression clouding her normally pleasant Irish
face. Although Casey made a feeble attempt to preserve a sober demeanor, his
rubbery legs and his inability to stand erect without the assistance of his two
sons, Douglas and Bryan declared his lack of sobriety.
“Yer a sad spectacle of a man John Casey,” she said. “A fine example you set
for your two sons, to have to carry their father home from the bar like a
sack of potatoes.”
“Would you have me givin’ in to these young whappersnippers ... er,
snipperwhappers ... er, whatever, Brigit? No man who calls himself an Irishman
ignore such indignities.” Casey said as he passed over the threshold.
As the boys carried him in, Mrs. Casey deftly thrust her practiced hand in
Casey’s rear pants pocket and withdrew his brown leather wallet. “... and
where’s yer pay, John Casey? Tell me that if y’please.”
Casey thought it best not to respond.
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