Got a question about Johnny Pugh and the man he sold Cole to. Improbable. Impossible! Agent X can explain if anybody.
Slowing down. Could be. I’m waving my hand.
Cad screeches, bounces like a stubborn horse across the rails, snorts to a stop. Spots me. Down comes the window. That’s him in there, I think ...
Okay, kid, what was it? Hurry up!
I have to shout: Hey, Pugh and the man he sold Cole to? Doesn’t make sense!
You mean Johnny Pugh’s new Garden? He grinned like a barker.
That Garden? Dick Garden?
That’s the one! Dickie!
I take my stand: I don’t believe it!
Oh, hell, kid! Where were you born? How about Pugh and Frisco? Pugh and Davenport?
I make a face, wanting to irk more out of Agent X. You gotta make faces and act gosh-oh stupid. So I blurted out, But doesn't Garden burn up towns?
He fell for the irking, and laughed: You mean those toothpick bleachers? Long as Johnny keeps his own seats. What do you know about circus biz, kid?”
I know Pugh puts out a better show than Garden, I positioned.
Agent X pushed back: But Garden puts up a better crowd. Storms of free tickets.
Know anything about the acts? I asked
Agent X grinned. Mexicana-o-rama! The Family plan, ours to yours. He was warming up.
I warned back: You don’t think Pugh is stooping low?
He thought a bit, barked: The show you mean? No, should be better. He’s getting better rides — kiddie merry go round, fresh ponies, bigger bungee bounce. Maybe a small coaster. Intermission’s now the big show.
Playing dumb, I said, what did you mean about Pugh keeping his seats?
He looked at me skeptically. Are you kidding? Ever heard Toby Tyler? In a Garden layout. the seating capacity is unlimited.
Unlimited? How can that be?
Agent X grinned: Garden knows he can always make more room in the blues, if necessary.
And with that, he lighted up, laughing at his own joke, waved me off. Up went the glass, and the Cadillac made an abrupt U-turn and then suddenly stopped short. Down came the glass again. Agent X shouted:
Take a lawn chair and stay safe in the Johnny’s new garden!
The Cadillac bolted off in a blaze, vanishing into the dirty mist from whence it came.
Okay, just you and me now. And, yeah, I know, you’re gonna leave. So am I – after lingering around the ice house, a boyhood favorite.
They don’t sell ice here anymore.
And the circus no longer rails into town.
That would be Clyde Beatty. Oh, what a show that was!
And they didn’t even have an intermissions back then.