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"Ullamully!" from Argosy

by Ellis Parker Butler
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  • Argosy (January 16, 1932)   "Ullamully!"   A story. "What Orion Clancy meant by his drunken battle-cry when he hit the town banker puzzled all Riverbank -- and especially Orion Clancy." p 107-116.  [ARGOSY, PULP]

from Argosy
by Ellis Parker Butler

In Riverbank we had one "drunk and disorderly" who could be depended upon. His name was Orion Clancy. He ran the only secondhand shop in town, a dirty hole of a place up toward the end of Main Street, and just about every so often he seemed to decide that he had been sober long enough and began drinking.

He never stopped until all his money was gone. Usually he landed in jail, slept three or four days, then went back to his shop. When he was sober he was a good husband and decent man, but his sprees happened too often.

When Orion was on one of these big jags of his he was a Main Street pest. With the first or second drink his eyes lost all signs of intelligence and glared stupidly, he staggered and sang, stopped to talk to any one he passed, laughed at nothing, and mumbled a lot of words no one could understand. Sometimes he shouted them.

Every one in town knew Orion. He had been born in Riverbank and had played around with me and with Elmer Pallas, with Oliver O'Malley and Tom Dermat -- six or eight of us -- from the time we were boys until we were pretty well all married.

I remember the first time Orion got drunk. It was winter and we went up the river road on a hayride, with oyster stew at Joe Benniger's farm. He took Ellen Carney, the girl he afterward married, and they had some sort of quarrel -- the young roughneck Oliver kissed her, and she let him -- and Orion was furious. He started to walk home the whole six miles, but he stopped at Henry Schlosser's and began drinking. Schlosser made and sold a grape wine that was as strong and raw as brandy.

The next day Orion had not shown up and Elmer Pallas and I drove out to find him. We found him at Schlosser's, stupid drunk, sleeping it off.

What Orion Clancy meant by his drunken battle-cry when he hit the town banker puzzled all Riverbank -- and especially Orion Clancy.

When we wakened him Orion was still maudlin and he mumbled and cursed and shouted that he was going to knock Oliver's head off, but we got him home and put him to bed. When next we saw him he did not remember anything about being drunk. He remembered walking as far as Schlosser's and being cold and stopping for a drink, but that was all.

That was the beginning. Orion had tasted alcohol and he could not resist it. When he was twenty-five he married Ellen Carney, the same girl he had had the quarrel about, a fine talkative Irish girl whose father had been quite a drinker himself. Old Carney used to go home noisy and quarrelsome each payday, but Ellen and her mother could handle him -- they locked him in the shed and let him shout himself sober. Before locking him in the shed they took all his money. Orion Clancy was already a drinker when Ellen married him, but she loved him and thought she could manage him. When Orion was sober he bought and sold shrewdly and made good money, but when he began to drink he drew his money out of the bank, fifty dollars at a time, and kept on until he fell down and could not get up again.

Before long Ellen saw that they might end in poverty if she did not do something about it. She had me talk to Orion and he shed real tears.

"George," he said, "I'd stop if I could, but I just can't stop. I've tried, George, but some day I get a feeling -- a sort of blue feeling -- that there's something I ought to do, and that I haven't done, and the first thing I know I'm drunk. It just grabs me and I can't do anything."

"But what is it?" I asked him. "Don't you know what it is you think you ought to have done?"

"No. I don't, I tell you. It's just a feeling I ought to do it. I don't know what it is."

So Ellen began saving what money she could. She nagged Orion for money and, as he liked peace, he gave her money. Unknown to Orion, who never had a very clear idea how much he was giving her, Ellen accumulated money in the savings bank. By the time her third child was born she had three thousand dollars, and as this was all the savings bank would take from one depositor, she opened an account in the Riverbank National and began accumulating money there. The president of the Riverbank National was Elmer Pallas, who used to be my chum and Orion's. I was Elmer's cashier.

By the time Ellen's oldest boy was fifteen Orion was forty-two and Elmer Pallas and I were about the same age. Pallas lived in the house where he was born and across the alley behind it Orion lived in the house where he was born. Even after Elmer became president of the bank and Orion a periodical nuisance Elmer kept a certain fondness for Orion, nuisance though Orion was; and several times he talked seriously with Orion, asking if he could not reform. Orion took it good-naturedly. He always said he would try. He never succeeded.

Orion banked with the Riverbank National. His account was never large -- it seldom reached two hundred dollars -- and when he went on a spree he did not stop until he had drawn out his last dollar. Always Orion began by presenting a fifty-dollar check, asking for cash. When that was spent he would stagger into the bank, scrawl another fifty-dollar check, get the money, and keep this up until his account was exhausted. About then Tim Murphy, the policeman, would take Orion to the calaboose, report him as "drunk and disorderly," and let him sober up for two or three days in a cell.

The bank teller and I had orders from Elmer Pallas to telephone Ellen, Orion's wife, as soon as he cashed a fifty-dollar check. This was because Orion was apt to stand on a corner and hand out dollar bills to all comers. Ellen, as soon as we telephoned her, would put a hat or a shawl on her head and hurry downtown, find Orion -- which was not difficult because he made Main Street his staggering-ground -- scold him for spending money on drink when the children needed clothes, and Orion would stare at her stupidly and give her all the money he had left. When he cashed the next check Ellen was on hand and Orion would save out five or ten dollars and give her the rest. The progress of his spree could be told by the legibility of his check signatures. On any corner Orion would stand orating in mumbled words no one could understand. Then he would turn and sway down Main Street, stopping to look at every face, tipping back and forward, mumble and stagger on. He was of average height and well built. How he ever got so much dust and dirt on his clothes when he seldom fell down is hard to guess.

Elmer Pallas -- and he is important in Orion's story -- looked more like a banker than any man I have ever known. He was taller than Orion, and heavier, and inclined to be a little pompous. Very neat and pleasant, he had a round face and good chin, and a mouth like a contented baby's. His least pleasing feature was his nose. It was not an extra big nose, nor a red one, but it was fleshy and in warm weather particularly it was oily and apt to be glossy. It was what might be called a meaty nose. When reading or writing, Elmer Pallas wore gold-rimmed nose-glasses; when not reading or writing he let them hang by a slender black cord or twirled the cord around his forefinger.

On June 18, just before bank closing time, Orion Clancy came staggering down Main Street, stopping here and there to stare at a face and shout at it, or to sing, or to make a harmless rush at boys who were teasing him. A dozen yards behind him strolled Tim Murphy, swinging his club and keeping an eye on Orion. Orion was as apt to stop woman as man, and when he did stop a woman Tim would intervene.

Across the street from the bank Orion stopped to orate at Bill Tufts, Ed Searing's grocery clerk. He was at this when the high-school clock boomed three times. At that same minute Elmer Pallas came out of the bank, bareheaded and twirling his nose-glasses. With him were Noble Granger, the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce; and Henry Haverford, chairman of the Chamber's Fourth of July Committee. Elmer Pallas was president of the Chamber of Commerce and the two men had been consulting him.

"There's that man Clancy," said Mr. Haverford. "Something ought to be done about him. He's a nuisance."

"But harmless, Henry," said Elmer Pallas, "Noisy, but harmless."

Orion, when the high-school bell struck three, cut short his oration and started across the street toward the bank. A passing automobile stopped short with a screeching of brakes and for a moment Orion stood swaying in the middle of the street. Then he made a zigzag way to where Mr. Pallas, Mr. Haverford and Mr. Granger were standing.

"Too late, Orion," Mr. Pallas said pleasantly enough. "The bank is closed; come tomorrow."

To this Orion said nothing. He stopped in front of Elmer Pallas and looked at his nose. He bent forward and looked more intently at Elmer's nose.

"Ullamully," Orion said turgidly. "Ullamully."

"What did you say?" asked Elmer.

"Ullamully!" said Orion with some anger.

"I don't know what you are talking" about." said Mr. Pallas.

"Ullamully!" said Orion again, and without further warning he drew back his fist and shot it forward and hit Elmer Pallas, president of the Riverbank National, plump on the end of the nose.

Instinctively Mr. Pallas had drawn back his head and thus did not receive the full weight of Orion's fist. In fact, Orion lost his balance and fell forward against Elmer, grasping him around the waist, and the two went down in a most undignified heap on the bank's doorstep.

Instantly Mr. Haverford and Mr. Granger grasped Orion's arms and pulled him off Mr. Pallas, and Tim Murphy came running across the street and took charge of Orion, and Haverford and Granger helped Elmer to his feet. His eyes were tear-filled because of the pain his nose gave him. He dabbed at his nose with his handkerchief and found it was not bleeding, and wiped his eyes.

"Damn it!" he exclaimed angrily, although he almost never swore. "What did you do that for?"

"Ullamully!" said Orion and laughed.

A crowd was gathering and Mr. Granger told Tim Murphy to get Orion away from there, and Murphy told Bill Tufts to bring the grocery truck across the street, and in a minute or two Orion was on his way to the lockup. Mr. Granger and Mr. Haverford went inside the bank with Elmer Pallas and examined his nose solicitously, but saw no visible wounds, and after Mr. Pallas had touched various parts of his nose tenderly and found no bones broken, Granger and Haverford went on about their business.

"H'm! 'Ullamully,'" said Mr. Pallas to himself. "What did he mean by that, I wonder? 'Ullamully.'"

The word Orion had tried to say, Mr. Pallas decided, was "ultimately." That meant, of course, "at last," and as Mr. Pallas sat in his private office tenderly stroking his sore nose he tried to think what Orion had meant when he said "ullamully" and meant "ultimately." What had Orion been holding against him? He could think of nothing except the order he had given the teller and me that Ellen Clancy should be notified whenever Orion cashed a fifty-dollar check. He decided to explain this to Orion as soon as Orion was sober. He was sure that Orion, when sober, would understand the good motive back of the order.

The next day Orion had sobered a little and Tim Murphy took him before justice of the peace Fellman. Judge Fellman had heard of the assault and he called up Mr. Pallas.

"Elmer," he said, "I've got Orion Clancy here and Tim Murphy tells me he mashed your nose. I'm going to give Orion ten days for 'drunk and disorderly,' Elmer, but if you'll make the complaint I'll give him ninety days for assault. You won't have to come up here -- Tim says he saw Orion hit you."

"No! I make no complaint, Fellman," said Mr. Pallas instantly. "Give him ten days if you want to, but let my nose drop. I mean, forget my nose. He was drunk. He didn't know what he was doing."

Elmer's instinct was always to avoid unnecessary publicity. He could imagine the papers saying, "Drunkard gets ninety days for battering banker's nose," for already some of his downtown friends had said to him, "I hear Orry Clancy socked you on the nose, Elmer," and their grins seemed to add, "And a fine fat nose to sock!" His nose was becoming a sensitive matter with Mr. Pallas.

Orion served his ten days in the lockup. The day after the assault Ellen Clancy went to the bank to deposit the money she had taken from Orion and she asked to see Mr. Pallas, She apologized for what Orion had done. He would never have done it if he had not been drunk, she said, and assured him that it had nothing to do with the fifty-dollar check warnings. Orion knew nothing about them, she was positive. Orion, very contrite, went to the bank as soon as he got out of jail.

"Elmer," he said, "I'm all broke up, Tim Murphy and Judge Fellman and Ellen, and I don't know who else, tell me I socked you on the nose. Did I?"

"You did," said Mr. Pallas, "but you were drunk and we'll forget all about it. But why did you do it, Orion?"

"Elmer, honest Injun, if I socked you on the nose I don't know it except by hearsay. I don't remember a thing about it. I'm sorry and I apologize and I'm ashamed and disgusted. It's cured me, Elmer. Not another drop of booze passes my lips as long as I live. No, sir! I'm through with it if that is what it does to me. Elmer, will you forgive me?"

"Certainly," Elmer said, "but there's one thing I'd like you to explain. When you came up to me you said 'Ullamully.' Something like that -- 'Ullamully.' I said 'What?' and you said it again, more than once -- 'Ullamully.' Then you hit me. Ullamully what, Orion?"

"'Ullamully'?" asked Orion unbelievingly. "Did I say that, Elmer? That don't mean anything."

"It means 'ultimately,' I suppose," said Mr. Pallas. "Ultimately what? What have you been holding against me, Orion, all these years?"

"Not a thing," declared Orion. "Why, I love you like a brother, Elmer -- you know that. What would I hold against you?"

"I certainly don't know," said Mr. Pallas, shaking his head. "But, look here, Orion -- I don't know much about this subconscious mind they talk about, and about things getting into it and coming out in dreams and so on. Have you got anything in your subconscious mind against me? Did anything happen between us when we were boys that is coming out now when you're drunk?"

"I don't know of anything," said Orion. "It wasn't anything I ever knew about if it was anything."

"My nose?" asked Mr. Pallas, coloring a little in spite of his self-control. "It's -- well, did you ever have an impulse to hit it, Orion? I mean my nose is rather -- ah -- it's meaty. And I was bigger than you were when we were boys. Did you ever have a desire, or a feeling, that you would like to hit me on the nose?"

"Why, no," said Orion. "I never wanted to hit you at all, Elmer. We had our tussles, of course, but I never thought anything about your nose back then."

"And have you," asked Mr. Pallas rather more acridly, "thought anything about my nose since then?"

"No, sir!" said Orion positively. "Why should I? What's the matter with it? It's a good nose, ain't it? Your hose never meant anything to me -- why should it?" He laughed heartily. "That's a good one! Me holding your nose against you all these years! And saying ul -- what is it? Ultimultly? Ulmatully?"

"'Ullamully,'" said Mr. Pallas.

"Just drunk," said Orion. "That's all I was just drunk. Why, Elmer, if you ask me, I like your nose, rather. I like your whole face, dog-gone you. And that word -- what was it?"

"'Ullamully,'" said Mr. Pallas patiently.

"It don't mean a thing to me," declared Orion. "Not that I do know what I say when I'm that way, you understand. Because I don't. Was there a fly on your nose, Elmer?"

"A fly? No, not that I remember."

"If there was a fly on your nose I might have been hitting at it. Or a mosquito."

"What would 'ullamully' have to do with that?"

"That's it! There you are again!" said Orion helplessly. "What would it? It's got me, Elmer. I give it up. And, Elmer, I'm a little short of funds right now; if my note is good for two or three hundred dollars I could pick up some cheap stuff at Bellinger's auction --"

Orion's note was always good for that much -- with Ellen's endorsement -- and Orion got the money. For a month or so nothing new happened, and Elmer Pallas had almost forgotten his nose, when, early in August, I had to telephone Ellen again -- Orion had cashed a fifty-dollar check. By the end of the day he had cashed the third check, and he was noisy and swore at the pen the bank furnished.

He was talking loud, and Elmer Pallas stepped out of his private office. He walked up to Orion, meaning to coax him to go out, but Orion turned and stared at Elmer's nose just as he had before. It seemed to fascinate him in some way.

"Ullamully!" said Orion thickly, and hit Mr. Pallas on the nose.

This time the blow was a good one, and Mr. Pallas went down. He wasted no time, but twisted over onto his hands and knees and scrambled to his office, much like a bear cub retreating from danger. Once inside his office, he leaped up and slammed the door.

Who grabbed Orion he never knew, but Officer Murphy was just outside the bank waiting for Orion to come out, and in a few minutes Orion was in the lockup again. This time Justice Sam Fellman came personally to see Mr. Pallas. Elmer was bathing his nose in some soothing liquid, using a wad of cotton.

"Well, what do you want?" Mr. Pallas asked irritably.

"Elmer," said Judge Fellman, "as friend to friend, I want you to make a complaint against Orion Clancy and have him bound over to keep the peace and stop hitting that nose of yours. Now, wait a minute! Don't get mad! I wouldn't come bothering you if there wasn't a reason -- folks are talking, Elmer. They've been talking ever since Orion hit you the first time, and now they'll talk more than ever. They're asking why you let him hit you that way and didn't take any action. They think it's queer, Elmer."

"Queer? Why, he's just a poor drunken lout, Sam. He don't know what he is doing."

"Maybe not, Elmer, but there's funny talk going around, and you ought to stop it. Some folks are saying you don't dare do anything about it, Elmer. That thing he said -- what was it?"

"'Ullamully,'" said Mr. Pallas.

"And he said it this second time, they tell me," said justice Fellman seriously. "There's a lot of guessing at what it means, Elmer, and they're guessing -- I'm just telling you, you understand -- it is something you don't want stirred up any more than you can help. They're saying that's why you won't make any complaint against Orion."

He paused to let the full meaning of this sink in, and Mr. Pallas, holding the wet cotton on his nose, looked over it into Justice Fellman's eyes and saw what he meant.

"Sam," he said, "that's nonsense. You think Orion's got something on me, something I'm afraid to have aired. That's ridiculous! What could there be?"

"Well, he's got a wife," said Fellman. "A good-looking wife. And I don't see myself how she can stand him. You know her pretty well, Elmer."

"Utter nonsense!" declared Mr. Pallas. "My only interest in Ellen Clancy is to try to reform her husband. He was a decent fellow once -- one of my chums. If that is all --"

"Well, not all," said Fellman uneasily. "I'm just telling you the talk that is going around, remember. Some folks are wondering if there was anything funny when you got started in the money-making way, Elmer. Some deal Orion knew about, or in which you trimmed him a little close. Something 'ullamully,' whatever that means."

"Sam, that's an insult!" exclaimed Pallas. "That's an infernal insult! In my whole life I've never done man, woman or child out of a cent, and you know it. I've been straight as a string and clean as a hound's tooth."

"That's what I tell them," said Fellman, "but what did Orion hit you for? Twice, Elmer."

"He was drunk."

"Then why don't you let me give him what he deserves?"

"We were boys together, Sam. He was my chum. Now he's only a poor drink-ridden creature who don't know what he does. I feel sorry for him. I can't take revenge on him when he don't know what he is doing."

"The people in this town seem to think he does know what he was doing," said Justice Fellman. "They think he put up with something as long as he could and then 'ullamully' -- 'ultimately,' Elmer -- took a whack at you when he was drunk enough. And that's some of the talk, Elmer -- that you're too scared of him to move hand or foot for fear something will come out. I'm just telling you, understand. You know how they talk in this town. So, if I was you, I'd let me give him the whole works."

Mr. Pallas looked at his wad of cotton and turned it over and pressed a cooler side against his sore nose. He was thinking. He saw the sense of what Justice Fellman had said. He was a banker and the wealthiest and most important man in town, and he had been assaulted by the town's most disgraceful reprobate, and he had done nothing about it. No doubt that did have a queer look. He was on the point of saying, "All right, Sam, go ahead!" but he did not. He remembered the fine fight Ellen Clancy was making for Orion's children, and he could not say "Put him in jail for assault."

He was still sure that Orion had not known what he was doing.

"Sam," he said instead, "they will have to keep on talking. I thank you for telling me about this, but I won't press any charge. I talked to Orion, and I'll talk to him again."

Fellman gave Orion ten days for "drunk and disorderly," and late in September Orion went on another spree and ran into Mr. Pallas in the post office lobby. It was a corner out of which Mr. Pallas could not escape, and when Orion staggered up to him Mr. Pallas put his hands over his nose.

He looked over his hands at Orion, and Orion looked at him in his blankly drunken way, swayed uncertainly and then turned and staggered out of the post office. He had not hit him.

Mr. Pallas waited until he thought Orion must be well out of the way, and then he went to the bank. As soon as he stepped inside he saw Orion, and Orion saw Mr. Pallas. Orion put his left hand on Elmer's shoulder and looked at his nose.

"Ullamully!" Orion shouted triumphantly, and hit out with his right fist.

The blow was a success. It caught Mr. Pallas on the nose, and the banker fell to the floor. His head struck the hard marble floor with a thump and he lay there unconscious. Orion looked down at him.

The teller and I and three of the bank's customers ran to Mr. Pallas, and Tim Murphy, who had been standing across the lobby, took Orion and hustled him away as usual.

When Mr. Pallas recovered consciousness he found himself on the long table in the directors' room where we had laid him, and Doc Winston was giving him first aid. All the overcoats of the bank's staff were heaped on Mr. Pallas, and the teller and I were chafing his hands.

Elmer sat up and felt his nose. "He hit me again," he said, still dazed.

"And a dandy this time," said Doc Winston. "You'll have a lovely nose for a couple of days, Elmer. That nose is going to look like a rum-blossom, but we'll bring it around all right. But you don't want to let Orion punch it many more times, or you'll have a peach. A plum, more likely -- a regular purple plum of a nose."

"Get me Sam Fellman," said Mr. Pallas. "Now! Quick! Right away!"

"You rest a while," Doc Winston said. "Plenty of time."

"You get Sam Fellman now," Elmer ordered. "I'm going to teach Orion Clancy something, for once in his life. He can't give me a rum-blossom nose. Chum or no chum, he can't come around hitting me on the nose. I'm sick and tired of it."

The result was that Orion got ten days for "drunk and disorderly" and sixty days on top of that for assault, and he went to the county jail to break rocks for seventy days, As he cracked rocks he scratched his head and tried to think why he had hit Elmer Pallas on the nose and what he had meant when he said "Ullamully!" He could not remember having hit Elmer on the nose or having said "Ullamully!" and none of it made sense.

He was more worried than he had ever been in his life. The next time -- and that might be as soon as he was out of jail -- they might give him a year in jail for hitting Elmer Pallas on the nose.

He swore he'd never drink another drop of alcohol, but he had no faith in his oath.

Elmer Pallas was as worried as Orion. Ellen had come to him begging him to do something to cure Orion of this nose-hitting habit, and Elmer himself wanted to do just that. There was no pleasure in having his nose pounded, and any time Orion got drunk he might do it again.

The first Sunday afternoon after Orion went to jail Elmer went to see Orion. The sheriff's wife let them have her parlor.

"Elmer," Orion said, "I was going to send for you. I want to ask you a question. Don't you, honest Injun, know why I hit you?"

"No," the banker said, "I don't. Do you?"

"No," Orion said. "And don't you know what that 'ullamully' word means? Honestly, Elmer, don't you?"

"No, I don't, I've thought and thought, but I can't figure out what it means. Don't it mean anything to you, Orion?"

"Elmer, I hope to die if it does! It don't mean a thing to me. I'm just all broken up about this business. I'm broken-hearted, Elmer. You're the best friend I've got in the world, Elmer. Why should I sock you on the nose, drunk or sober?"

"Maybe you don't like the looks of my nose," said Elmer.

Orion shook his head.

"I don't know," he said sadly. "I never thought of it one way or the other, Elmer. Suppose you sit in that other chair, in the light there, and let me have a good look at it."

"It's not just normal yet," said Mr. Pallas, and he sat on the other chair. Orion pulled his chair close and studied Elmer's nose.

"No," he said when he had looked at it quite a while, "I can't make anything out of it. It's just nose. It don't arouse angry passions in me, Elmer. And it don't hook onto any 'ullamully,' either. It don't mean a thing to me."

"What I thought," said Mr. Pallas, "was that perhaps when we were boys you took a dislike to my nose for some reason, and that when you were drunk it came back to you and made you want to hit it."

"No," said Orion. "I thought of that, too, Elmer, but I don't think that is it. When I feel one of my sprees coming on it begins with a sort of restless feeling. I want to find something or somebody and do something to him, and I don't know what. So I get more and more restless until I take one drink to steady me -- and I can't stop."

"Maybe it's what I said," Elmer insisted. "Maybe it's a dislike for my nose."

"No," said Orion again, "because I don't hunt you out, Elmer. I just happened onto you each time, didn't I? And, anyway --"

He studied Mr. Pallas's nose again, more carefully this time.

"Anyway," he said, "your nose wasn't like this when we were boys, Elmer. Your nose wasn't so fa -- it wasn't so fleshy then, Elmer. It's got -- no disrespect to it -- fatter, as you might say, since we were boys. It's more like the nose Oliver O'Malley had -- you remember him, Elmer?"

"Yes. The fellow who went to Chicago. Is my nose like his now?"

"Well, some," said Orion. "A good deal like it, Elmer. Of course, Oll O'Malley --"

"Wait a minute!" Mr. Pallas cried. "What did you call him?"

"For one thing I called him a miserable, fat-nosed --"

"No -- just now? Oll O'Malley! That's it, Orion!" exclaimed Mr. Pallas excitedly. "Oll O'Malley -- that's your 'ullamully.'"

"Well, I'll be durned!" declared Orion, staring at Mr. Pallas. "That's what it is, Elmer! Yes, sir -- wait a minute."

He jumped up and found a sheet of the Sunday paper and tore a small hole in it, and held it against Elmer's face so that only Elmer's nose stuck through the hole.

"Oll O'Malley's nose!" he ejaculated. "Why, I want to hit it right now!"

"Don't you do it!" cried Mr. Pallas, pushing the paper away and covering his nose, and then for a minute or so the two men sat and grinned at each other.

"That cussed O'Malley!" said Orion. "He tried to steal my girl away from me once. Why, Elmer, that was the first time I got drunk! Elmer, I believe that all this while I've just been wanting to give Oll O'Malley a punch on the nose!"

"I'll bet that's it!" Elmer agreed and he and Orion threw back their heads and laughed. "When you saw my nose you thought it was Oliver O'Malley's."

"Yes, sir!" Orion exclaimed. "That's what's been the matter with me, Elmer. One of these complexes or fixations or what-you-call-'ems, and I can get rid of it, I bet. If my note is good for a hundred dollars, Elmer, the minute I get out of this jail I'm going over to Chicago and hunt up Oll O'Malley and give him the darnedest smash on the nose that --"

"You can't," Elmer Pallas said. "He's dead."

For a minute Orion looked blank. Then he sighed one long sigh.

"Oh, then that settles it, anyway!" he said. "I wouldn't hold hard feelings against a dead man, Elmer."

And evidently he did not. It took Orion some time to get out of the spree habit entirely, but he never said "ullamully!" again, and he never again punched Elmer Pallas on the nose. As a matter of fact, all he ever did when he saw Elmer's nose after that, drunk or sober, was to laugh. Just a hearty good-natured laugh.



Saturday, October 07 at 1:21:31am USA Central
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