When you’re an only child but still not Number One Son you’ve got to wonder if you shouldn’t have been Adonis or Hercules Robin the Boy Wonder or a dashing sultan from the Barbary Coast. You can’t run away from home the J. C. Higgins has two flats no foxtail and somebody stole the rear view mirror, you could hide out among the Japanese but you don’t like rice and fishheads or harakiri, if you had relatives in Cheyenne you could go there if you had bus fare but you don’t even have a pot to pee in. But if you had a smaller slower stepbrother or live-in cousin from Canada you’d be King of the Hill Prince Charming on an Arab stallion Head Man among half pints and shrimps.
Ma’s quit moaning, she’s quiet for now. The minister’s at the kitchen table having homemade wine with Pa. He came in his sport coat and Lincoln, said the Lord’s prayer and a few good things about Ma’s life in five minutes flat, has been in the kitchen for twenty drinking homemade wine with Pa, tells about last Sunday’s birdie, new construction at the church and radial tires that go forever.
From Burnside To Goldblatt
You’re only really safe in Burnside, Right here in Hungarian Village, Uncle Oscar Lets you know before your first streetcar solo From 94th and Cottage Grove to 63rd and Halstead To see Ma during break at Goldblatt Department Store: keep an eye out for Jews who’ll snatch your underwear; Poles who’ll take your Tom Mix whistling ring, finger and all, and your Captain Midnight secret decoder; the Italian neighborhood is so hot it can blow any second like a Chicago pineapple; those Germans brained two nurses and a nun just last Sunday; the Japanese carve kids with swords all the way from head to toe, toss pieces on front doorsteps with the milk and morning paper; the chocolate drops from Africa blow poison darts with rusty barbs, steal your change, streetcar transfers and baseball cards, dance around as you lay dying forever; when — and if — you get to Halstead Street watch for Mongolian perverts under manhole covers, Armenians in the awning with deadly piano wire, avoid basements and Ukranians with beards and damp knives And you wonder just how much you want a chocolate soda At the soda fountain with Ma During break at Goldblatt.