Tony at the Red Line Tap.


“Jeez, it’s cold,” I said to nobody in particular.

Marty looked over from the cash register.

“Know what, honey,” I said. “Give me some of your Paulaner Brauhaus Hefeweizen from Shanghai.”

“No problem,” said Marty. “If you say ‘please’ and don’t call me ‘honey.'”

“Yes m’am,” I said and winked.

“Don’t wink,” she said.

“Okay,” I mumbled.

Tony turned halfway from his stool. “Where you been hiding?”

“Let’s skip the small talk, Tony. I’m pissed. They’re getting rid of the rat.”

“Who’s they. And what rat?”

“Scabby. That big inflatable rat you see on picket lines? The labor big shots think it presents too intimidating an image and they want to get rid of it.”

“How ’bout that,” said Tony.

“And I just saw yesterday that union membership is the lowest it has been since the depression. Do they think maybe the union leaders’ go-along tactics have something to do with that?”

“My cousin Tony has a joke about that.”

“Tony? You have a cousin Tony?”

“Sure. You think I’m the only Tony in the world?”

“How does the family know which cousin Tony they’re talking about?”

“Easy. He’s the Tony that works for a living. Construction. One of those broken nose, don’t mess with me guys. Bleeds union blood. Kind of like you. If Tony’s on a picket line, you don’t want to be no scab, if you know what I’m saying.”

I say, “Well, the union suits want a more business friendly relationship with management and Scabby represents too confrontational an image. What would cousin Tony say to that?”

“Tony would ask, ‘What’s the difference between a boss and a bag of shit?'”

“Okay. What’s the difference between a boss and a bag of shit?”

“The bag.”

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