The Scab

Damon Runyon

DEAR SIR I have been very busy lately helping my wife Ethel with the twins. I have been coming home early from work so I can push them around awhile in their buggy and in the evening I stay with them and let Ethel and her Moms go to a movie.

Ethel’s Pops will not keep me company but goes down to Schultze’s bar instead and drinks beers because he ses even the drunks around Schultze’s are better company than babies although of course he is probably only joking. Personally, I do not mind staying in with the twins at all as they sleep most of the time.

Well, the other evening right after dinner the door-bell rang and I went to see who it was and there stood five guys from the neighborhood who are all friends of mine and in fact three of them grew up with me in the same block. They are all about the same age and all not long out of the Army or the Navy except one guy by the name of Crowley who was in the Coast Guard.

I ses why hello guys. I ses it is sure a pleasure to see you all together and I would ask you in for a drink only I don’t want to wake up the twins. I ses if you have come to see them you will have to make it another time because they are sound asleep.

Crowley ses Joe can we talk to you a few minutes? I ses why sure, but let’s walk down the street a little ways so the twins won’t hear our voices and make it snappy as Ethel and her Moms are going to the movies and I am going to stay with the kids. A guy by the name of Meyers who was in the same outfit with me in the Army ses Joe can’t you go down to Schultze’s with us so we can discuss our business over some beers?

I ses no, I won’t have time for that. I ses let’s discuss it right here and Crowley ses Joe you know we are all nice fellows and good pals of yours, don’t you? I ses why certainly I know it. He ses you know we are all married and have babies the same as you and all our wives are good friends, too.

I ses well, none of you have got twins and he ses no, you are in front on us there, all right, but Joe you have always been a regular guy and we know you wouldn’t scab on us for a million dollars if you knew you were doing it. I ses look, Crowley, don’t be hinting I would scab on anybody if you know what’s good for you.

Then a guy by the name of Fishy Martin ses well Joe, that is what you are doing when you are spending so much time taking care of those twins. You are being a non-union husband because all our wives are saying to us, why don’t you stay home and mind the babies like that nice Joe Turp and let us go to the movies? Joe, those dames are making it tough on us and you are responsible even if you don’t know it.

A guy by the name of Tiff Griffin ses yes Joe you are setting a very bad example around here and we have come as a committee representing the union husbands to ask you to lay off that stuff except maybe once a month and I ses well gentlemen I like to stay with those twins but I can see your point. I ses I will quit making it a bad habit right away and thank you for calling my attention to the matter.

So I went home and I ses to my wife Ethel and her Moms, girls, I am afraid I can’t stay with the twins tonight as I have got some business to attend to. I ses you will have to stay in yourself and Ethel ses why that’s fine, Joe. Moms and I have been wondering when you was going to quit being so helpful and Moms ses you have already lasted two weeks longer than she expected.

Yours truly