The Laugh on Chelsea McBride

Damon Runyon

Funny things can certainly happen to a guy in the large city, and every time I think of what happens to this Chelsea McBride the other day I have to bust right out laughing.

I get to thinking about it at breakfast only yesterday morning, and I laugh so much my old lady wishes to know if I am going daffy. So I explain to her what I am laughing at, but naturally she does not see anything so funny in it, because dolls have very little sense of humor.

Of course she thinks it serves Chelsea McBride just right, as she is against Chelsea McBride on general principles, because he is a friend of mine, and a guy’s old lady is always bound to be against a guy’s friends, but she says she cannot laugh at anybody’s misfortune, even if it is nobody but Chelsea McBride.

Well, this is a nice way of looking at it, indeed, but the way I figure a laugh is a laugh, and if what happens to Chelsea is not a laugh I will eat my hat. And what happens to Chelsea is like this:

It seems that Chelsea has an old grudge against a guy by the name of Andy Moore, because Andy does something or other to Chelsea many years ago. It is so far back that Chelsea does not even remember just what it is that Andy does to him, except that it is a dirty trick. In fact, Chelsea does not even think of the matter for years, let alone speak of it.

Furthermore, it is years since Chelsea lays eyes on Andy Moore, because they do not hang out in the same part of town, and never happen to run across each other much since the grudge springs up, so the whole proposition is forgotten by one and all until the other day.

Well, what happens then but Chelsea meets up with a friend of his by the name of Bob O’Donnell, and this Bob knows a place where you can get real ale with a first-rate kick in it, which is made in Syracuse, or some such place. So Chelsea McBride goes with this Bob, and they get in a back room and start drinking this ale.

Chelsea says it is not bad ale at that, although it is a little new, but nowadays guys cannot afford to be squiffy about their ale. So he sits there with this Bob O’Donnell drinking this ale for maybe four or five hours, talking of this and that, and one thing and another.

Well, by and by, Chelsea gets to thinking over different propositions, and pretty soon he thinks of his grudge against Andy Moore. Naturally the more he thinks of this grudge, and the more ale he drinks, the sorer he gets at Andy, and finally he asks Bob O’Donnell if he knows anybody who has a sap, which is a way of saying a slungshot, a slungshot being a proposition with which you sap guys over the head with when necessary.

Well, O’Donnell does not own a sap himself, but he is an obliging guy, and goes out and asks the guy who is selling the ale for the loan of one, because guys who sell ale and whatnot nowadays are pretty apt to carry saps.

It seems the ale guy has one all right, so he loans it to Bob, and Bob gives it to Chelsea, and then Chelsea is all set, and he says to Bob like this:

“You see this sap?” Chelsea says. “Well,” he says, “I am now going out to find Andy Moore and give him a fine sapping with this sap.”

Well, of course this seems fair enough to Bob O’Donnell, because he has plenty of ale in him himself, so he says all right, and out goes Chelsea McBride with the sap in his duke.

The first guy Chelsea meets is a friend of his by the name of Horner, and Chelsea pulls him into a doorway and shows him the sap, and says to him like this:

“You see this sap?” Chelsea says. “Well,” be say, “I am looking of Andy Moore to give him a swell sapping for what he does to me many years ago.”

Well, Horner says all right, and Chelsea goes along, and every guy he sees that he knows he shows him the sap and tells him what he is going to do with it. Furthermore, Chelsea keeps bobbing in and out of places here and there where he knows he can get a little ale, or Scotch, or anything else he thinks of, and everywhere he goes he shows the sap to the bartender or whoever is around, and says to them like this:

“You see this sap?” Chelsea says. “Well, I am looking for Andy Moore to give him a good sapping with it.”

Finally he runs into a guy in the street he does not know from Adam’s off ox, but by this time Chelsea is willing to tell the World Fair what he is going to do, so he pulls the guy to one side and gives him a spiel about Andy Moore.

Well, the guy looks at Chelsea, and then he looks at the sap, and then he says to Chelsea like this:

“Is that so?” he says. “Let me see the sap.”

So Chelsea hands him the sap to look at it, and the guy turns it over and over in his dukes, and sort of swishes it around, and then he says to Chelsea like this:

“It is a fine sap,” he says. “Yes, it is certainly a fine sap, and,” he says, “so are you, because if you take another good look at me you will see who I am.”

So Chelsea looks again, and who is it but this same Andy Moore, quite some fatter than when Chelsea sees him last, but the same old Andy Moore, just the same.

Well, I am telling you, every time I think of it I have to bust right out laughing. In fact, I have a hard time to keep from laughing right in Chelsea McBride’s face when I see him in the hospital the next day, because this Andy Moore certainly plays a tune on him with that sap.

But the tough part of it is that Andy carries the sap off with him after sapping Chelsea, and now the ale guy is very sore at Chelsea and Bob O’Donnell for losing his sap and says he will not sell them any more ale.