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The Adventures of Fatty Lewis by Arthur Killick


By Arthur Killick

Copyright, 1915, by A. F. Killick and W. P. Harvey


     "Well, they needn't move the public library into larger quarters," Fatty Lewis declared, as he ordered a short one.  "At least not on my account."

    "I thought you were on the wagon," Hurrah Smith remarked.

     "Same thing," Lewis replied; "I'm just drinking a little beer occasionally."

     "You're the guy that was going to read everything in the library, get a lot of sleep and save money," said Hurrah  "Made a lot of speeches knocking booze, said everybody that drank was feeble minded and all that sort of thing.  Did you get tired of reading?"

     "I got tired of living like the Man in the Iron Mask," Lewis replied.  "Books may be fine company if you've been raised with 'em and know 'em.  But meeting the as a stranger, it takes a long time to get acquainted.  I enjoyed reading, but it made me sleepy.  The prohibitionists ain't provided many ways for a guy that's taken the veil to amuse himself.  It's a cinch the Dutch Lunch Brigade can't use you.  What's a guy going to do?"

     "How did you happen to slip?" Hurrah inquired.

     "Oh, that old stiff they call Satan grabbed me one night when I wasn't looking," Lewis admitted.

     " 'What's the matter?' Satan inquires.  'Why ain't you down with the bunch?'

     " 'I'm on the wagon,' I replied proudly.  'I've cut out the boys for awhile.  I am getting too old to be dubbing 'round nights with a lot of owls with cast-iron stomachs.  There's nothing to it.  A guy just ruins his health.  He don't have time to do anything else and besides it costs too much.  If I'm ever going to get any place it's time I was starting.'

     " 'You're absolutely right,' Satan admitted.  'Cut it out for awhile.  Give your insides a rest.  You've been hitting it up too strong.' "

     "Must be a friendly old stiff," Hurrah remarked.  "I always thought Satan was a bad actor."

     "He is a bad actor," Lewis replied.  "He was just framing up on me, but I didn't find it out until later.  If he ever comes monkeying around you bounce a brick off his noodle and run him away.

     "Well, I drifted along for a few days and was all swelled up on myself," Lewis continued.  "I could tell to a minute, any time of the day or night, just how long it had been since I took a drink.  I won't say I didn't kind of have a hankering for one.  But it was up to me to demonstrate that old Demon Rum didn't have me in his grasp.  I had some will power.  Temptation sure was thrown all around me.  I was invited to go cabereting.  Guys that hadn't offered to buy a drink since Fourth Street was the southern city limits wanted to pop.  Several Annette Kellermans came to the surface and insisted on buying me something in the way of a present.  If I'd been drinking they wouldn't have even shook dice for the beer if I'd spotted them the first horse.  But nothing doing.  I was the Grand Worth President of the Never Again Club.

     "All the time old Satan was standing around patting me on the back.

     " 'That's the time,' he says; 'show them weak-kneed brothers that you've got a will power.'

     "Pretty soon I realized I was losing my thirst and accumulating lonesomeness.  I hadn't been invited to a poker game for three weeks.  Guys I used to see every day never came near me.  Everything was turning green.

     "Why don't you drop into the Dutchman's?' Satan  suggested one day, when the sun was shining bright, and I couldn't see it.  'Show them dubs that you've really conquered your thirst.

     " 'Go ahead,' he says, giving me a shove toward the Dutchman's.  'You can take something soft like buttermilk or white soda.  It'll do you good to see the old bunch.'

     "I tried it," Lewis admitted, "but buttermilk and soda sure are a couple of sad beverages.  While everybody else was getting happier I grew sadder.  Soft drinks were filling, but not satisfying.  Still I was on the old sprinkler.

     " 'You've got that old booze game beaten to a pulp,' Satan says as I came out.  'You needn't be afraid of it.  You convinced me that you are right.'

     "The the old stiff opened a window and let me catch cold.

     " 'Take a little shot of rock and rye,' Satan suggested.  'It'll help you.'

     " 'Nothing doing,' I replied.  ''I'm on the wagon for keeps.'

     " 'I know it,' he admitted.  'Still a little jolt for medicinal purposes wouldn't hurt anything.'

     " 'Not for the good Lewis,' I told him.  'I'll take some quinine.'

     "The old fellow let me alone for about a week.  Then he sends along one of those carbolic acid days.  Cold, drizzling rain, raw wind, sloppy under foot.  One of them days when you feel like you could cheerfully murder somebody.  If I'd been temperamental, I'd probably longed for an open fireplace, a pair of slippers, a plate of apples and some copies of Poe and Balzac.  Being Boozemental, all I could see was a nice quiet thirst parlor, congenial companions playing pinochle or whist and a dark-skinned attendant bringing hops in tall, thin glasses, interspersed now and then with cheese sandwiches on rye bread  I tried to nerve myself up to going to a matinee and forgetting that thirst parlor scene, but nothing doing.

     " 'I'd sure like to meet you again,' old Swiss Cheese remarked, when I tried to concentrate my mind on theaters.

     " 'Why don't you do what you want to?' Satan suggests.  'Other guys can drink and get away with it.  Ain't you as good as anybody?  Use a little judgment.  Don't try to drink it all up.  A little beer ain't going to hurt you.  Your system's been used to it.  Giver her another trial.  If you can't get along with it you can stop again.'

     "I had the rottenest luck that afternoon," Lewis added.  "Held all the 9-spots in the deck and never even melded forty jacks.  But I never lost temper.  I heard a lot of bugs come in and tell the bartender that it was a 'rotten day.'

     "But they were crazy.  It was one of the grandest days I ever saw in my life.  The bluebirds and robins were singing, the orchard was in bloom, and the sunshine was almost blinding over where I was sitting.  Why, I even laughed at Mrs. Lewis that night when she told me that there was a double assessment in the fraternal insurance3 society that month."

     "I guess there ain't much for a guy to do that's not drinking," Hurrah admitted.

     "Oh, I'd hardly say that," Lewis replied.  "He could go out in the hills and be a hermit."

The Adventures of Fatty Lewis ~ A Serial ~ by Arthur F. Killick



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