St. Nick's Outlaws
By Jim Colombo
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Copyright 2001 Jim Colombo
It was Friday, June 6, and the baseball team gathered at the park on Gough Street.
The players had put their socks and stirrups in a large brown paper bag and Duke led the
procession to the garbage can. Two winos sat across the way and watched with curiosity.
Duke put the bag in the green trash can and Brocker soaked the bag with lighter fluid. Jim
lit a book of matches and threw it in. The bag ignited and red-orange flames with black
smoke curled up. The lads sang the school song while the socks burned and the winos
joined and sang “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.” The winos continued singing until they
realized the lads had finished. The crusty looking wino pulled out a bottle of wine from his
old wool coat, and took a healthy swig to celebrate the occasion. He offered the bottle to
the other gent who wore a collection of clothing that didn’t match and he also took a large
swig from the bottle and offered it to Brocker, who declined and reminded the gent that he
was under twenty-one. “I won’t tell,” said the bum.
“I took an oath when I was an altar boy,” replied Brocker.
“I understand. I was an altar boy once,” said the gent.
Brocker smiled and gave the bum the altar boy handshake and the bum
reciprocated. The fire gradually dissipated and the lads chipped in and gave the bums five
dollars to buy a warm dinner. The team walked to Doggie Diner and ate double chili
cheese dogs to celebrate. The bums went to Tommy’s Joint to have a warm bowl of
buffalo stew or turkey chili. Maybe some refreshment.
The awards dinner was held that night in the cafeteria. The varsity baseball team,
the players who had earned forty points for a varsity sweater, and each athlete’s father
gathered to celebrate their achievement. The guest speaker was Willie McCovey from the
San Francisco Giants and the master of ceremonies was Herb Caen from the local
newspaper. Brother Justin made a last minute decision to join. The players were
surprised. Brother Raymond attended all of the functions, and was curious why Brother
Justin had come. Ten athletes and ten dads sat at each table. Five rows of tables faced
the master of ceremonies table. Herb sat in the middle flanked by Brother Raymond and
Mr. Tilson from the Alumni Association on one side, and Brother Justin and Willie
McCovey on the other side. Brother Raymond said a prayer. The meal began with a
salad and French bread. Then ladies served plates with a steak, a baked potato, and
green beans. The men drank coffee or wine andthe guys drank coke. At the end of the
meal an empty bread basket was passed and everyone put in a dollar in for the ladies.
Herb gave a speech about the friendships created by sports, being a player, and the
memories the guys will have. Willie was uncomfortable speaking in public. Herb saw his
difficulty and asked Willie to talk about the 1962 World Series. Willie relaxed and gave
his insight and when Willie finished, Herb asked Brother Justin if he wanted to speak. He
declined and said that he came to meet Willie and Herb.
Each varsity baseball player was given a trophy and a block emblem for his
sweater. Brother Raymond called Suarez first and the players applauded. He was
surprised the coach had invited him and his mother. Gill's dad had passed on two years
ago. Gil had played his best last year as a junior and had dedicated the season to
his dad. He thanked the team and Coach Meyer for the award, the season, and the
memories. He returned to the table and gave the trophy to his mother. She smiled and
thanked Coach Meyer.
Those who had earned forty points were given block sweaters. Pictures were taken
and songs were sung. Stories were told and each baseball player recalled a moment
during the magical season that had bonded twenty-four guys for life. Each year on May
30th at five forty-five in the afternoon, twenty-four men would recall the day when they
walked with the gods. It was a great time for all and completed a season to remember.
The players met at noon on Saturday at Remo’s and reminisced while they ate
Remo’s specials, a twenty inch diameter pizza covered with Italian sausage, pepperoni,
salami, olives, mushrooms, and lots of mozzarella cheese. Brocker ate one special and
took a couple of pieces left by Bobby and Woody. Brocker referred to his belly as growing
table muscle. Coach Meyer wasn’t there and it was the last pizza chug at Remo’s.
Macell challenge Brocker’s rein as pizza king. He and Brocker continued eating
slice after slice while the guys chanted, “King, king, king,” as the mighty Brocker
vanquished another pizza, and demanded, “More, more pizza for the king.” Macell kept
pace with the king until he hit the wall after the third pizza. He had to remove his belt and
unfasten the button on his pants. It was a chore keeping the pace eating pizza with the
king. Twenty-eight slices later Macell lay face down in a pile of pizza crust. Long live the
king. Macell got up slowly and walked away. His stomach roared and woke up the volcano
god in his colon. It sounded like an electrical storm in his belly.
The guys chipped in and paid for the pizzas. Cain went home with Macell and he
brought a large plastic bag in case Macell got sick on the bus. Last year Macell had tried
to become the king and failed. He got sick on the bus and an unfortunate man who sat in
front of Macell went home wearing a half eaten, half digested Remo’s special on the
back of his coat. The lads made bets to see if Macell would go to the last dance that
night. His girl friend had bought a new dress for the occasion.
The guys arrived early at the last dance with their dates and Macell was the topic of
conversation. The dance started at eight and the guys wore black tuxedos with black ties
and the ladies wore evening dresses. Some were back less, and others had low-neck
lines. Each lady quickly knew how she ranked with regards to the design, the cost, and
how well the dress looked on her. Lupe had borrowed a powder blue empire cut dress
imported from Paris from City of Paris. All the girls admired her with jealousy. Brocker
somehow squeezed into his tux after defending his crown.
Thirty minutes later Macell walked in and he looked like his legs were glued
together when he walked. His date was upset. He had consumed a box of Exlax to purge
the folly he had participated in and it created a large eruption that had aftershocks. He had
to appease the volcano god several times. A couple of times he wasn’t in proper position
to evacuate his colon and left skid marks on his shorts. Each time when he thought that
he was in control, an aftershock struck, confirming what a great product Exlax was. He
spent the night making numerous pit stops and answering false alarms. Then nature
played a cruel trick. Macell thought that it was a friendly fart. Unfortunately, it had lumps.
After twenty minutes in the bathroom a search party was sent to rescue him. He had
washed his short and was waving them in a circle over his head to accelerate the drying
process. The guys informed him that it would wise to put on wet shorts and try to pacify
the beast in the pink dress, so he wrapped his crotch with toilet paper and put on the damp
shorts. He gracefully walked back to his date and she had two words for him: “I’m
leaving.” He followed. She reiterated, “I’m leaving by myself. You smell like a sewer.”
Her father came and drove her home. Macell hung around for a while because he feared
another tremor, so he waited twenty minutes and thought it was safe to leave.
The evening settled down and the couples concentrated on the dance. Jim and
Lupe danced to songs by the Beatles: “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “She Loves You,” and “I Want
To Hold Your Hand.” Bobby Vinton sang “Blue Velvet.” Lupe’s favorite song was “My
Guy” by Mary Wells. There was a booth for each senior couple to have their picture
taken and each lady was given a rose that pinned to her dress. There was a twist contest
that Augie and his date won. They received an album of Chubby Checker’s hits. Hawaiian
punch and trays of sandwiches cut in quarters with the crust removed were served.
Bautista wondered why they cut the sandwiches so small. Augie explained that ladies eat
dainty food. Bautista looked at Augie for a while, then said, ”Let them eat this stuff. I want
a sandwich with something in it.”
“You should have eaten before you came,” said Augie. Bautista thought that he
could save money and brought his date to the dance to eat. She was about as wide as
Bautista, and was built close to the ground like him. If there was one sandwich left in the
world, Bautista, and any one challenging him, bet on Bautista.
Eleven o’clock came too quickly. The seniors danced to songs popular in 1960 like
“Teen Angel,” “The Theme From a Summer Place,” ”Cathy’s Clown,” “I’m Sorry,” and
“Save the Last Dance for Me.” The last dance of the evening was for the seniors and
Brother Malkey sang Elvis’ “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and “It’s Now Or Never.” The
sophomores watched and applauded the seniors as they danced their last dance at St.
Nick’s. Moonface was out of sight.
Later Jim and Lupe meet Augie, Duke, Rensom, Ristoni and their dates at the Top
of the Mark at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, a rotating bar that makes a full turn every hour,
and gives a panoramic view of the city. They drank glasses of coke filled with ice and
danced until two o’clock when the Top of the Mark closed. The couples walked to Bunny’s
House of Pancakes. Lupe had waffles with walnuts and Jim had blueberry pancakes.
When they finished they said good morning to the other couples and walked along
Market Street. Newspaper trucks were beginning their deliveries, street sweepers began
their day, and milk trucks were starting their deliveries. It was five in the morning when Jim
and Lupe got on the J trolley. They arrived at Lupe’s apartment at five-thirty. Jim called
home and said that he was at Lupe’s home and that he was going to rest for a while before
going home. He had changed into his tux at her apartment and now changed into his
casual clothes and hung the tux in the hall closet. They weren’t tired, so Lupe made hot
chocolate while the sun was rising. She remained gorgeous in her powder blue empire
dress imported from Paris and she was the talk of the dance. It gathered at the bust line
accentuating her breast. Jim would have the three hundred dollar dress dry-cleaned and
returned on Monday. Jim kissed Lupe all over as she undressed, and changed into her
comfortable loose dress. She enjoyed being loved, and reminded him that her mom was
asleep in the next room. “I love watching you undress,” said Jim
Lupe allowed Jim to gently kiss and lick her love zones. “Oh! Right there. Don’t
stop. Oh, I love it.” Her voice faded into a silent moan of pleasure and she hugged Jim in
thanks. He had sent her high onto the mountain. When she returned from Valhalla she
said, “When we’re married I’m going to keep you busy.”
“Yeah. And we’ll take a lot of showers. You’re going t o have the cleanest back in
The carriage had returned to a pumpkin and the horses were now mice. Cinderella
was cooking breakfast for her Prince Charming Jim, and Scraps was scratching on the
porch door. Bibbidy, Bobbidy, Boo.
More next week...