Bet Ragle

Damon Runyon

Bet Ragle was very eccentric.

His full name was Bettinger Ragle. He was called Bet for short.

He was an upholsterer.

He wore round, detachable cuffs, and never had much to say.

They were the last round, detachable cuffs in our section of the country.

One day Bet Ragle killed Slogan Carstairs by hitting him on the head with a coupling pin. Bet Ragle used the coupling pin to prop up a window in his upholstering shop.

Slogan Carstairs was walking past the shop, and Bet Ragle took the coupling pin from under the window and said. Hello, Slogan, and then biffed Slogan Carstairs on the conk with the pin.

Slogan Carstairs passed away immediately.

The window dropped down without the coupling pin under it, and it cost Bet Ragle $1.25 to repair the broken panes afterwards.

Slogan Carstairs was one of the worst men in Our Town. He would have been the worst but for J. A. T. Huber, and three men on the South Side.

Slogan Carstairs lied and cheated all his life. He was always drunk. He beat his wife. He starved his children. He was a draft dodger during the war. He was a bootlegger during Prohibition. He was a scab in the steelworkers’ strike. He was once convicted of arson. He was suspected of criminal assault.

Slogan Carstairs was really an undesirable citizen.

Bet Ragle was arrested for killing Slogan Carstairs, and caused great surprise in Our Town by stating that he barely knew the deceased, and that he had no grudge against the deceased on any account whatever.

Bet Ragle said he had merely heard everybody in Our Town saying for twenty years that Slogan Carstairs ought to be killed, and that when a chance to kill Slogan Carstairs came his way, he decided that he might as well do what everybody agreed ought to be done. He said it was no bother to him at all.

This statement caused great confusion.

The authorities in Our Town scarcely knew what to do about it.

They agreed that Bet Ragle was quite right, but they did not feel that they could dismiss the matter without some action.

So Bet Ragle was declared temporarily insane, and was locked up in the State asylum for three months. Bet Ragle did not mind so much, but they made him upholster all the worn-out furniture in the asylum and didn’t pay him a dime for the job.

Bet Ragle has been talking of moving to some more grateful community ever since, and most people in Our Town agree that he is absolutely right.