Damon Runyon

My old man has a lot of ideas. He was talking about gameness the other night.

“Gameness is a great thing,” he said, “but there ain’t much money in it. The gamest man in Pueblo was a feller named Big George Christmas. He was as game as a pebble, and maybe gamer.

The Boo gang was laying for George, and one night he walked single-handed into the Star saloon, where he knew there was ten of them. He walked right in shooting. Everybody said it was the gamest thing they ever did see.

“I was in there at the time, but I run out the back door when the shooting started. People said I had cold feet, and maybe I did. I know I felt nervous.

“I always admired George for his gameness, and I was one of his pall-bearers. Some folks said he was crazy for taking such a chance, but everybody agreed he was game.

“Another game feller in Pueblo was Henry Peavy, the gambler. Henry would bet you higher than a cat’s back. One night he bet everything he had in the world on a poker hand and lost it. Everybody in town said at the time that Henry’s bet was the gamest thing they ever did see.

“I was in the game, but Henry bluffed me out without any trouble. I never was very game with my money.

“Henry’s been broke ever since, and people point him out as the feller who made that bet. They say he must have been crazy to do such a thing.

“There was a wonderful prize fighter in Pueblo by the name of Battling Smith. He didn’t know much about fighting, but he was game. He never knew when to quit. He would keep on tearing in no matter how much the other fellow was beating him up.

“I’ve seen thousands of people standing on their chairs cheering for Battling Smith, and telling each other how game he was, and I used to read a lot in the papers about his gameness, too.

“He hasn’t been fighting for several years, and the last I heard of him he was still around Pueblo, and people were saying he was crazy to take all those beatings.”