Samuel Graze

Damon Runyon

Samuel Graze was six-feet-three.

He weighed 250 pounds.

He was muscle-bound from the neck up.

Samuel Graze worked at the steel mill in the general offices. He made good money.

He had blue eyes, and blond hair, and a lump on the right side of his face.

He married a girl by the name of Magda Yust.

She was a nice girl, and had a good job in a department store when Samuel Graze married her. She weighed about ninety-two pounds with her hat on.

They were a strange-looking couple when they walked along the street, because of the difference in their size, but big men always like little bitsy women, and little men always go for women the size of a first baseman.

This is the way it is in life.

Samuel Graze got in the habit of beating his wife when he did not feel well.

He was nearly always ailing.

He would beat her with his fists, or with a broomstick, or anything else that was handy around the house. He wore her down to sixty pounds, with her hat off.

Everybody in Our Town said it wasn’t very nice of Samuel Graze to beat a woman no bigger than Magda. They said he ought to pick on a woman his size.

But everybody agreed that Samuel Graze was a pretty good matchmaker.

After they had been married fifteen years, Magda Graze got tired of being beat up. By this time there wasn’t much of her left to beat.

One night, after a good beating, she said to Samuel Graze, Samuel, you have beaten me for the last time. If ever you raise a hand to me again I will kill you.

This made Samuel laugh heartily. He thought she was kidding.

The next night he came home a little tight after drinking whisky all day in a barroom, and he gave her a very fine beating and went to bed.

The Coroner looked at Samuel in the bed the next morning, and he said he had never in all his professional career seen a deceased as black and blue as Samuel. The Coroner said Samuel Graze looked as if somebody had been painting him.

But all that happened was that after Samuel Graze went to sleep, Magda tied him in the bed, so he could not wiggle loose, and then beat him to death with a big club.

Everybody in Our Town said it was a wonderful feat for a woman no bigger than Magda Graze to swing a club that big long enough to kill a man the size of Samuel.

They let Magda Graze off with a reprimand, although some thought it was setting a bad example to the other women in Our Town whose husbands like to give them a beating now and then.