Tiger Marrowfat

Damon Runyon

When I was a young squirt going to school, I remember reading something or other about how the evil that men do lives after them, while the good they do, if any, is buried with their bones.

Of course this proposition is very true and fair enough, and the reason I come to be thinking about it now is because of what happens to my friend, this Chelsea McBride, the other day.

Something is always happening to this Chelsea McBride. If it is not one thing it is another. He can run into trouble where there is no trouble whatever. If there is only a little dough in trouble, Chelsea McBride will be as rich as mud.

Well, this thing that happens to him the other day bobs up out of a clear sky when he is taking a walk along Broadway, thinking of not much, except maybe of where he may be able to transact a little business. Furthermore, Chelsea does not care what kind of business it is, either.

He is in front of the old Knickerbocker when all of a sudden up steps a guy with squeaky shoes, which sound most promising for Chelsea. You take a guy with squeaky shoes, and very often you can do things to him in case he has any spare cash on him. The guy also had a short gray beard and baggy pants, and Chelsea thinks that maybe he is going to ask the way to the Aquarium, but instead the guy says to Chelsea like this:

“Good day,” he says to Chelsea. “Are you not Professor Bogash, the discoverer of Tiger Marrowfat, made,” the guy says, “from the backbone of the Bengal tiger, and guaranteed to cure rheumatism, corns, bunions and eczema?”

Well, naturally Chelsea is not Professor Bogash, and in fact it is several years since he is Professor Bogash. In fact, he is not Professor Bogash since he tours western Kansas as such in a horse and buggy, because Chelsea advances quite a ways the last few years and has no use whatever for propositions of this nature.

But of course he is somewhat interested to think a guy remembers him from his Professor Bogash days, and furthermore, the shoes on the guy squeak so promisingly that he wants to hear what more is to be said. So he smiles and looks at the guy without saying whether he is Professor Bogash, and the guy goes on talking.

“My name is Andrew Peabody,” the guy says, “and I come from Syracuse, Kansas. Maybe,” he says, “you remember Syracuse and the time you come through there in a horse and buggy selling Tiger Marrowfat, made from the backbone of the Bengal tiger, and guaranteed to cure rheumatism, corns, bunions and eczema. It is a nice town,” he says.

“Maybe I do,” Chelsea says, listening to the squeaky shoes, “and maybe,” he says, “I do not.”

“Well,” the guy says, “maybe you remember selling my old lady, Mrs. Peabody, a box of Tiger Marrowfat for her rheumatism, and also her corns and bunions, which are very painful. Maybe you remember,” he says, “that Mrs. Peabody is about half dead with same, especially the rheumatism, and it does not look as if she will live until the next rain.

“If you do remember,” the guy goes on, “what I wish to say is that your Tiger Marrowfat completely cures her of all her ailments except her disposition. Yes, sir,” he says, “it is a wonderful cure. Mrs. Peabody never had an ache or pain since.”

Well, of course, this is most surprising news to Chelsea McBride, for Tiger Marrowfat is nothing much but some cooking lard perfumed up a little, and about all it will cure is squeaky shoes such as the guy has on. But, naturally, Chelsea is much pleasured up to hear of the good he has done to somebody, especially as it looks as if the guy is apt to hand him something or other out of gratitude.

So Chelsea says to the guy like this: “Indeed,” he says, “I am Professor Bogash, and” he says, “I am greatly pleased to hear of Mrs. Peabody’s recovery. Tiger Marrowfat is certainly a wonderful remedy.”

“Yes,” the guy says, “we figure she cannot live long, and then you happen by and cure her up complete. All for fifty cents,” he says. “I look for you a long time, Professor Bogash,” the guy says, “and now,” he says, “here is something for you.”

And with this he hauls off and busts Chelsea right smack in the eye, and the next thing Chelsea knows a cop is shaking him and telling him he will have to quit lying down in the street, so the traffic can get past.

But what makes Chelsea feel pretty mad over the proposition is that the guy never does say what he is sore about.