This Scallywag, Pete Pinto

Damon Runyon

There is many an old scallywag back in my old home town out West, but the worst old scallywag there, and maybe the worst old scallywag this world ever sees, is a guy by the name of Pete Pinto.

Even my Grandpap Mugg admits Pete is pretty rough, and when my Grandpap Mugg admits a guy is rough, you can go and bet all the tea in China that the guy is rougher than a washboard.

Wait until I tell you about Pete Pinto.

This Pete Pinto is one of our old pioneers, like my Grandpap Mugg, and comes to my old home town when Pike’s Peak is nothing but a pimple. He finds himself a maverick calf one day, which is a calf without no home, and the first thing anybody knows he has a large herd of cattle.

By and by he has plenty of money, and so he retires from business, and sits around the rest of his life chewing tobacco, and saying that things are not like they used to be, and my Grandmaw Mugg says they are not, at that, thank God!

Well, this Pete Pinto is a cynical old guy, and he hates people who are trying to make the world better, such as reformers. He especially hates people who are trying to make my old home town better, as if this is not a tough enough job as it is, without him sitting around backbiting and trying to hinder.

He will never join the Law and Order League of my old home town, which is made up of many prominent citizens who are trying to improve the moral tone and one thing and another in our city, and he gives my Grandpap Mugg the big laugh for joining same. But, of course, if my Grandpap Mugg does not join, my Grandmaw Mugg is apt to make things pretty hot for him, although between you and me my Grandpap Mugg does not care a cuss about the moral tone of anything.

Well, what happens one night but there is a meeting of the Law and Order League out on the lawn at our house, and all the best citizens of my old home town are there to discuss how to make things better in every respect. Furthermore, my Grandmaw Mugg has refreshments on hand, such as lemonade and cake, and a good time is being had by one and all, what with the men talking over important subjects.

Well, sir, what does this old scallywag of a Pete Pinto do but drift in during the evening as if he wishes to see my Grandpap Mugg and the first thing anybody knows he secretly spikes the lemonade, which is a way of saying he pours a lot of liquor into it.

Furthermore, it is not very good liquor, but some he makes down in his own cellar, because, of course, we are very strong for prohibition back in my old home town, and it is well known that nobody in the whole world can drink much of Pete Pinto’s home-made liquor and stay the same way he was born.

Well, the guests naturally take to hitting the lemonade up some, what with it being a hot night, and as none of them know it is spiked, they hit it more than somewhat. In fact the lemonade gets a very strong play indeed after the first few drinks, and pretty soon everybody is talking most freely.

Then the next thing anybody knows, someone says something to someone else, and someone takes a swing at someone, and before you can say Jack Robinson some of the most prominent Citizens of my old home town are whacking away at each other.

Well, naturally, this is very scandalous going on, and my Grandmaw Mugg comes out and finds out what is doing, so she runs everybody off the place, including my Grandpap Mugg. Of course my Grandpap Mugg has no more to do with it than you do, but the last seen of him he is going down the street arm-in-arm with Pete Pinto, and they are singing something terrible, so my Grandpap Mugg comes in for plenty of blame.

As for the rest of the members of the Law and Order League, it is several days before they all get home, and none of them know where they have been all this time, and the upshot of the whole business is that there is much indignation against Pete Pinto among the best families of my old home town.