Two Short Stories


On July 8, 1933, publication of "Never a Dull Moment." The New Yorker. The Doctor's Son. A young woman named Toddie recalls living in New York in "a foul little hole of an apartment on Twelfth Street." One incident involved her roommate Glad, who one night after having been escorted home from a party by some young man she apparently didn't like, called a policeman, who came and threw the poor fellow out. "Then the policeman brought Glad to the door, and darn my eyes if she didn't bring him in, all the way in" (for a nice session).

On July 8, 1961, publication of "The Weakness." The New Yorker. Assembly. A character study of a retired prize fighter. Note the opening paragraph, in which the author takes command and grabs the reader's attention:

Bob Buzzell had about seventy-five thousand dollars left out of the money he had made in the ring; seventy-five thousand dollars and his senses, he was fond of saying; seventy-five thousand dollars and a lot of memories, recognition, respect, and a clear conscience by the standards of the racket. He had thrown two fights in the beginning of his career, and he had carried one fighter whom he could have knocked out after becoming champion. At thirty-three he had all his marbles, and enough money to open a cigar store poolroom, with the half promise of backing for a bowling alley if the cigar-store poolroom caught on. He was thirty-three years old, had a wife and two children, a house on the edge of town, fourteen suits of clothes, a four-year old Cadillac, and all those memories of luxury travel, association with the famous in show business and politics, two nights in bed with one of the all-time greats of the movies, and a roomful of statuettes and scrolls and belts and photographs. He would never again have to dry out to make the weight, like a goddam jockey; or stay away from women, like a goddam priest; or go through that dreary routine of bag-punching and road work and leg exercises, like a goddam college football player. And he would never again have to listen to Marty Carroll, who the boxing writers said had managed, or piloted him into the championship but didn't have a mark on his face and did have a lot more than seventy-five thousand dollars to show for their nine years together. He would never again have to listen to Mary Carroll referring to him as "my guy" or how "we" had won twenty-two straight without a knockdown.

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