Dames Is Dangerous
Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty didn't go in for bopping referees but what she did to the Pirates was startling enough
HAVE YOU see that lady bop that referee?” asked my friend, Onésime Cleophas Doucet. 'I have seen it.” I told him moodily, massaging my left foot. "Have you seen Johnny Beeston any place around this dump?” "No. Him I do not see for two, maybe free weeks,” said Onésime Cleophas; "but when I see that lady bop that referee, she remind me of that time when I was playing defense and captain also for those Cosmos Creek Indians. She make me think of Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty, that one.” We were sitting in a smoking room off an alleyway in the Forum, during an intermission in a wrestling match. Do not misunderstand. I do not go to wrestling matches. But there was this Johnny Beeston. He owed me ten dollars, and he had promised faithfully to meet me at the wrestling match and pay me my ten dollars. I will go to a wrestling match on a fret* ducket if 1 can collect ten dollars for doing so. Not otherwise.
At this wrestling match, one of those things had happened. While I was standing up with my back to the ring, peering anxiously hither and yon in search of the fat face of Johnny Beeston, a 200-pound female with stovepiix* ankles and a red umbrella suddenly let out a screech, leaped from a front seat, took off from my left instep, and did a hop-stepjump across the press tables to clutch the top rojx* of the ring with her left hand. Hanging on like Ai. the two-toed sloth, she swung her rainstick at one of the grunters, who was busily kicking his adversary in the stomach, and cried aloud for all to hear:
“You dirty bum!”
She missed her objective, and the umbrella handle came down blonk! with a shattering impact across the top of the unhappy referee's skull. I le went out for a Chicago count The amazon dropjx-d the wreckage of her gamp on tht canvas and, shrieking. “Oh. my gosh! 1 didn’t mean that,’ tumbled back among the typewriters. The newspaper troys, who get hardened to such doings, heaved her casually into the aisles. The wrestlers carried the unconscious referee to the dressing rooms, and an intermission of fifteen minutes was announced.
npiIAT was how I came to meet up with M. Onésime A Cleophas Doucet. me pacing the corridors in search of my ten bucks, and M. Doucet just pacing. Now we sat on this wooden bench with our backs against a whitewashed wall. I lit a cigarette while Onésime Cleophas packed a tar-black briar pijx* with tabac Canadien cut from a twisted roll and crumbled expertly between his corneous palms. Onésime Cleophas used to be a hockey player. For years now he has been a trainer of hockey teams, known far and wide for his skill as a masseur and his deft handling of bandages, straps, adhesive tape and liniments. He always smells definitely but not unpleasantly of witch hazel, rubbing alcohol and tabac Canadien. A sterling character is M. Doucet, and a philosopher of parts as are most trainers of hockey teams, who get that way from listening sympathetically to alibis for days on end. month after month, and winter after winter. The boys call him "I )ucky.”
I said: “What is this about Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty, Ducky? Did she rush around bopping referees, or what?”
"No, no!” Onésime Cleophas shook his head vigorously. “She was not a one for those things. Not that one. Only she was dangerous. All dames is dangerous. Nobody would think now that dame out there she go jump in that ring and bop that referee. But she done that. What dames does is always how you say that?—the unexpect, yes? Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty she does that unexpect. At first she (kx's just what Mr. Marty Wayne, he figures she will do. Then she turn right around and does some things that Mr. Marty Wayne does not figure she will do at all. So we lose that championship by one little goal in overtime, and Mr. Marty Wayne he loses five hundred dollars, and I lose me fifty dollars, and Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty she gets for her a new fur coat out of the five hundred dollars Mr. Cornelius Rafferty wins from Mr. Marty Wayne. You cannot tell at all about what dames will do, and it is for that reason I say they is most dangerous.”
By this time practically every male customer and most of the female customers had been in and out of that smoking room, and no sign at all of Johnny Beeston and my ten dollars. I said:
"That sounds like a sad stony Ducky. It fits my mood. Continue.”
"You want I should tell you about Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty and Mr. Marty Wayne and Miss Teresa Connor?” he said, not reluctantly.
“Everything. Tell all. Spare no single detail, however trifling.”
OKAY (said Onésime Cleophas Doucet). All this has happen a long time ago. Before the War. I am captain and play defense also those times for those Indians from Cosmos Creek, which is my home town, you know. Those Indians they are backed by Mr. Marty Wayne that owns the hotel and has a poolroom and a bowling alley also. For Cosmos Creek he is a rich man, that Mr. Marty Wayne, and he is what you call a hot s¡x>rt too. Clever like the fox and always up to some things.
I do not get paid anything, me, for being captain and playing on defense for those Indians, except that I have a gcxxl job what you call clerking in Mr. Marty Wayne’s hotel, and sometimes when we win a tough game and Mr. Marty Wayne he wins a bet. I find five, maybe ten, dollars in the toe of my shoe after that game, so I do pretty go(xi. me. I have my amateur card of course, so everything she is okay, you understand.
Only that year we have a hard time in that Mont Laurier League, because there is at Port Pacome a team that is so good as us, almost. That team is those Port Pacome Pirates, and they are backed by Mr. Cornelius Rafferty, who is a hot sport also, and he is married with Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty. Mr. Marty Wayne, he does not have a wife but he is engage to make marriage with Miss Teresa Connor, who is a very pretty girl and a hot sport and smart also.
In Port Pacome, Mr. Cornelius Rafferty he does not keep a hotel like Mr. Marty Wayne does in Cosmos Creek, but he has a nice general store. And Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty, she is—how you say that?—postmistress, and runs the post office that is in Mr. Cornelius Rafferty’s store. She is not a large woman like that one that bops that referee tonight, but she is a very busy lady about a lot of things, and she is talking all the time about those things.
Everybody says it is most funny about Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty and Mr. Cornelius Rafferty, her husband, because Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty does not approve of so many things, and Mr. Cornelius Rafferty, he is one hot sport, like Mr. Marty Wayne. One of the things Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty does not approve of is hockey, and she will never go to a hockey game because she says hockey is a brutal and degrading sport. She says she would as soon go into a saloon as into a hockey rink; and she does not approve of Mr. Marty Wayne also, because he keeps that hotel and has a bowling alley and a poolroom, which is not respectable, she says. Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty has used to teach in the school before she make her marriage and she knows a lot of words, and by gosh ! she use those words plenty on Mr. Cornelius Rafferty, I tell you.
Mr. Cornelius Rafferty he does not have much to say at any time, and he tries most hard to please his wife, but he will not give up his Port Pacome hockey team for no one. Mr. Cornelius Rafferty is a old hockey player himself that was with those old Wanderers in Montreal, and he cannot be happy unless he is in hockey some place. So the only argument Mr. Gxnelius Rafferty ever wins with his wife is about that hockey team, and he wins that one because every time Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty she’s start to talk about hockey not being respectable, he will say you mind your own business and I will mind mine, and then Mr. Cornelius Rafferty he will get up and walk away and go
fishing if it is in the summer time, or if it is winter he will go down to that rink and watch his team practice, and he will not go back to that house until he is quite sure Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty has thought up some other thing else to talk about.
But, I tell you, it does not matter how much Mr. Cornelius Rafferty does not have to say in his house, he is not at all one quiet man with those hockey players. Not that one. lie is one big man, like this Lionel Conacher, and he has played with those Wanderers in those days when fellows like Alf Smith and Cyclone Taylor and Art Ross and that Sprague Cleghorn was in that game, and he can be most tough about hockey, even though he is quiet like the mouse in his home.
He makes those fellows jump over that hoop, I tell you. He is clever also, and knows as much about hockey as Mr. Marty Wayne, and this year he has got a good how you say that? bunch of boys together, and he has got them all good jobs, and they will lx fired from those jobs if they do not behave themselves and stay in training and go to bed nights and all those things. Also, if they do not show him some things on that ice, he knows a lot of words that Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty, his wife, has not heard of, and he will tell those fellows a lot of things they do not like to hear, and he will not lx polite about it. at all.
“A martinet,” I put in.
Onésime Cleophas considered that for a moment.
“Sure thing,” he said. “Mr. Cornelius Rafferty, he cuss those boys out plenty.”
“That’s what I meant.” I assured him. “Continue, Ducky. Proceed. I am all agog.”
“Get on with the story.”
OI I, SURE. (M. Doucet recovered the thread of his tale neatly.) Now, I tell you, those Port Pacome Pirates, they make plenty trouble for us that season. There was four clubs in that league, and only one of them that could
make trouble for our Cosmos Creek Indians, and that was those Port Pacome Pirates. So it comes out that after we finish the regular season we txat every other team except those Pirates, and those Pirates they lxiat every other team but us Indians, and we cannot win one game at Port Pacome and those Pirates, they cannot beat us at Cosmos Creek, so we are all the same at the ending of the season as when we start.
So we are tied up, and there is to be a five-game series for the championship, and we play home and home for twice, and then we make a tossup for where we shall play that last game unless it should hapjxm that somebody win three games out of the first four, which is not likely to happen that way. because if we should win at Port Pacome, by gosh, we get killed for sure, and if those Pirates should win in our rink, by gosh, the same thing happen only it is those Pirates that will get killed instead.
Mr. Marty Wayne is worrit'd about this, because he has already got $250 bet with Mr. Cornelius Rafferty that us Cosmos Creek Indians win that championship, and he is worried a lot more when it comes out just that way and we win two games at Cosmos Creek and those Pirates win two at Port Pacome; and then, by gosh what hajipens but Mr. Marty Wayne loses the toss and we have got to play the final game at Port Pacome, so that Mr. Marty Wayne has got plenty to worry about, including the $250 he has bet Mr. Cornelius Rafferty that we will win that championsliip. ,
But, like I tell you before, that Mr. Marty Wayne is clever like the fox and always thinking up some things, so I am not very much surprise when he calls me into his office on the Saturday morning when we must play those Pirates in that final game that Saturday night, and tells me that he has thought up some thing to make sure we win that game. I do not aim to lose no $250 to an old goat like that G>mey Rafferty, Mr. Marty Wayne says to me, and if you are a smart fellow, Onésime, you will make a bet for yourself, because I have a plan for to win that game, and you are going to help me also by driving Miss Teresa Connor up to Port Pacome this morning right away quick, instead of waiting to go uj) with the lx>vs this afternoon. Well, I ask Mr. Marty Wayne to tell me what is his scheme for to win that game, but he will not, except to say that Miss Teresa Connor is going to help him and we will know by half time how that scheme is work out.
This Port Pacome is only eight-ten mile from Cosmos Creek, and I am very pleased to be driving a pretty girl like Miss Teresa Connor up there instead of going up in the hotel sleigh with the boys, and we arrive there at Port Pacome about noon and Miss Teresa Connor tells me I should drive her at once to the store of Mr. Cornelius Rafferty.
SO, WHEN we arrive at that store. Mr. Cornelius Rafferty is not there because he is down at the rink and very busy, but Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty is there, looking not happy about some thing, and I think right away she is not happy because everylxxly is talking about this final hockey game, and she does not think hockey is resjx'ctable. T hen Miss Teresa Connor she buys one or two things, and then she says to Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty. I sujrjrose you are going to the hockey game, and Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty says indeed she is not and that it is a shame and a disgrace the way this town has gone crazy wild over a low brutal sjxrrt, and many more things of that kind.
But I am very much surjirise indeed when Miss Teresa Connor next tells Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty that she agrees with her altogether, and that hockey is degrading and teaches the young men to use bad language, and that she wishes Mr. Marty Wayne was not mixed up in this brutal sport at all. I am surprised because Miss Teresa Connor is how you say that? a red-hot fan, and she has been known to drive miles through a blizzard with Mr. Marty Wayne rather than miss a game that our Cosmos Creek Indians was [Maying, even though it was how you say?— in that bag for us.
But Miss Teresa Connor gtxs on talking in this so strange manner about hockey, and then she brings in Mr. Cornelius Rafferty, saying that it is most surjirising that a man who is so nice and quiet in his home should be so brutal with his hockey players. Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty gets most angry and says what is that you say. and Miss Teresa Connor says that surely Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty knew that her husband abused his players shamefully when they did not do what he wanted them to do, even using bad language. Then Mrs. Gimelius Rafferty gets more angry even than before and she says she does not believe this.
Then Miss Teresa Connor turns to me, and she gives me how you say that? the wink, and says, well, Mrs. Rafferty, you do not have to believe me, but if you do not know that your husband abuses those nice dean young fellows shamefully, you are the only one in this county that does not know it. And Miss Teresa Connor says to me is it not true. Onésime, that Mr. Rafferty is well known to use bad language to his players when things do not go to suit him? So I say, why, sure thing he cuss them fellows out plenty, and I am going on to say that all those good manager will cuss out those players when they do dumb things, but Miss Teresa Connor she shut me up quick and start to talk again to Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty.
They are talking for a long time, but I do not hear what they are saving, because they move away from me and talk low, SÍ) 1 do not try tí) listen, because 1 figure that one smart girl like Miss Teresa Connor, she know what she’s doing, and if she don’t want me to hear, by gosh ! that is okay by me. Only I can see that Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty is getting madder every minute of that time, because her eyes artshining bright like diamonds and her mouth is shut tight like one thin line, and she shake her head all the time so that, by gosh! 1 think maybe she shake that head right off her neck.
SÍ), at last those women finish talking anil they shake hands, and Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty says, I will do that very thing, anil thank you, my dear, for coming to me, anil really I did not expect such a attitude from you 1 must have misunderstood you. Then Miss Teresa Connor says we are both women, Mrs. Rafferty, and who knows what is in a woman's heart, but no woman likes her man to be nothing but a brute beast, and I have influenced my Marty to lxkind to his players or I would not think of marrying with him, and you can do the same. So then we go away, and Miss Teresa Connor is laughing very much, and she says to me, Onésime, from now on it is one lead pipe cinch, and you can lx-t your shirt we win this championship.
WHEN we get to that Port Pacome hotel, there is Mr. Marty Wayne and all the boys with a lot of other ix-opltfrom Cosmos Creek, and I do not see either Mr. Marty Wayne or Miss Teresa Connor again until it is time to get down to that rink, almost.
SÍ) I ask Mr. Marty Wayne if it is all okay for me to bet and he says, well, I tell you, Onésime, 1 have just doubled my bet with that big ape, Corney Rafferty, and you know whether or not I would lay $500 even we win this game if it was not in the bag. Then right away quick I go and bet $50 with that Joe Pabonte who works in that hotel, and has been telling me all season that those Pirates was too good for us Indians.
"1 begin to get this,” 1 remarked, as Ducky Doucet paused to pack his pijx-. “Psychological stuff.”
"Pardon?” he asked.
"Skip it.” 1 said. ”1 was just thinking aloud.”
Si> (Onésime Cleophas went on), tinnext thing that happen is that we are in tindressing room at the rink and Mr. Marty Wayne is talking to us fellows about winning that game, when Miss Teresa Connor knocks on that door and Mr. Marty Wayne grabs hold of my arm. and says, come on, Onésime. you deserve to lx* in on this. I have my uniform on but not my hix>ts, which is always the last thing a hockey player puts on and the first tiling he takes off, so 1 go with Mr Marty Wayne and Miss Teresa Connor out along that corridor and round a corner to a place where there is a cupboard that they keep brooms and scrajx-rs and things like those in, and we go in there and Miss Teresa Connor puts her finger on her mouth for a sign not to make any noise, and by gosh ! what has hapjx-n but that we are squeezed very tight in that cupboard next door to those Port Pacome fellows’ dressing room, and I am very much surprise to hear through them thin txxirds that it is not Mr. Cornelius Rafferty that is talking to his players, but Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty that is talking to her husband, and she is talking a very great deal, and very loud and angry.
Mr. Cornelius Rafferty is not saying anything at all. and il he should want to say some things he would not have one chance, because Mrs Cornelius Rafferty is -how you say that? bawling him out very much. She says this is the lirst time she has step her foot in a hockey rink and she would not do that at all for anything, except that it is a stem duty. She says also that she has heard tales of how he
abuses his fine young fellows and now she has caught him in that act. Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty says she has known all the time that hockey is a brutal and degrading s¡X)rt, and now that she has heard Mr. Cornelius Rafferty carrying on with his nice young fellows she will not put up with that thing no more. She says also that Mr. Cornelius Rafferty is one big disgrace to her name, and that she is going to sit right on that bench with those Pirates and see to it that Mr. Cornelius Rafferty does not use no bad and profane language toward his players, and she says also that those fellows must act like gentlemen on that ice and not lxbrutal or un—how you say that?—uncouth.
Right then I think Mr. Cornelius Rafferty is going to say some things and maybe explode like a boiler all over that place, but the bell, she ring in that dressing room for the teams to go on the ice, and I got to hurry back fast in my stockings feet to put those boots on and get out there. I do not understand at all what this is all about, but I know me, that those Port Pacome fellows will not understand either, and Miss Teresa Connor and Mr. Marty Wayne are both laughing very much, so I feel pretty good, although I do not know quite why I feel pretty good, only I do.
TN THOSE days then, you remember we
play seven-men hockey and only two periods, not like now. Well, I tell you, that first period we had it all over those Port Pacome Pirates like—how you say thatp’-í^ one big tent. Those fellows they do rj£t know what to do at all, and everything they do turns out not good, and all the time Mr. Cornelius Rafferty is sitting thereon the bench, and Mrs. Rafferty is sitting there with him, and every time one of those Port Pacome fellows give one of us Cosmos Creek Indians that body and he goes down, Mrsi Cornelius Rafferty calls that fellow over and talks to* him very fast. Mr. Cornelius Rafferty does not say one word, but just sits there with his head on those hands like he could not bear to look at the ice, which by gosh ! I guess he could not, and before it is half time the score is four goals for us Cosmos Creek Indians, and those Port Pacome Pirates have not scored one little goal, by gosh!
I tell you in that dressing room at half time, we are all very gay indeed, us fellows, and Mr. Marty Wayne is laughing a great deal, and says to me, what did I tell you, Onésime, did I not tell you this was in that bag, and with a four-goal lead we can coast the rest of the way, why this is the first time in two seasons we have had better than a two-goal lead on that bunch of bums at any time, Mr. Marty Wayne says, it is brains that count in the long run.
But, by gosh ! when we get out on that ice for that second period, it is—how you say that?—one horse of some other color, I tell you. Because some things has happened to those Port Pacome fellows, and they go after us like one big blizzard coming down the side of a mountain and we cannot stop them at all. First thing you know it is one, two. then three goal for those Pirates, and our fellows do not know what to do. On that bench there is Mr. Cornelius Rafferty and his wife, Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty, and he is not quiet any more, but shouting and yelling at those fellows all the time, and Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty is shouting and yelling too, so that it is twice as bad as when there was only Mr. Cornelius Rafferty by himself. So, first thing that happen that score she is tie at four all, and then those Pirates make it five to four and we are beat, only that in the last thirty seconds, me, I hoist one up into those rafters, and that puck, she’s drop down right in front of those Pirates’ net and roll in for one lucky goal that ties up that score again, and we got to play overtime, by gosh !
I tell you, in that dressing room when we go off for that rest, it was something most different again. Mr. Marty Wayne he is crazy, and he bawls us out plenty. but I tell him there is no good talking because there is not one thing we can do against that sort of play, and I bet. playing like that, those Pirates could beat those Wanderers, or even Canadiens, that night. Mr. Marty Wayne says yes, they are playing away how you say that?—on the top of their heads and he cannot understand at. all what has happened, but anyway we got to win that game for his $500, and I say. yes, by gosh!, and for my $50 also.
But it is no grxxd, all that talk, because when we get out on that ice for those overtime, she’s same thing all over again, and in less than two minutes those Port Pacome fellows have scored, and that game she is finish, and we lost that championship, and me I lose mv $50. by gosh !
Onésime Cleophas ceased talking, ending on a mournful note and shaking his head over a sad, sad memory. I said:
“I think I get it, but—”
THAT Joe Labonte (M. Doucet interrupted me) he tell me all about how that thing comes to happen when he comes to Cosmos Creek that next Monday to collect my $50 that I lose. He says those Port Pacome fellows are very much—how you say that? upset, because they do not understand when Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty gives Mr. Cornelius Rafferty that bawling out in those dressing room before the game. Also, they do not know what to do because Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty she’s telling them all the time to act like gentlemen and not play rough, and every time some fellow, lie’s hand out one stiff body check. Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty calls him over and tells him he is not acting like a gentleman.
But, that Joe Labonte says, when us fellows get those one. two. three, four goals in that first period. Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty is change her mind somewhat. She is one girl from Port Pacome. and she rloes not like Mr. Marty Wayne, and here is Mr. Marty Wayne’s team from Cosmos Creek licking the how you say that?— stuffings out of her husband’s Port Pacome team, and she does not like that at all.
So. when it comes half time, it is Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty that bawls out those Port Pacome fellows. She does not use any bad words because she is a lady, but she does not stop talking from the time those fellows go into that dressing room until
they come out again, and she says a lot of long words that those fellows have never heard before, because she has been a teacher in the school and she knows a lot of words. She says they aré not loyal’for Port Pacome, and they have the hearts of the chickens, and she tells them she will see to it that they all lose their jobs also if they do not win that game. There is one thing that Joe Labonte says she calls them that sounds worse than all the swear words they ever heard Mr. Cornelius Rafferty use. It is two words in English that I do not know, but it is without a spine nin— nin—how you say that?
“Spineless nincompoops?” I suggested. Yes (Onésime agreed). That is the word. That sound pretty bad, that one. Those fellows do not like it. Then, when they go off for that rest before those overtime. Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty starts in all over again once more at the beginning because they let us fellows tie the score, and they get so mad they just got to win that game so that Mrs. Cornelius Rafferty will know they are not those things--how you say that, again?
Sure thing (Onésime Cleophas concluded). So you see what I mean about dames being dangerous, even the little polite ones that would not at all do things like bopping a referee on the head? It is that you cannot tell what they are going to do next except that it will be something you do not expect that they will do at all. but something quite different, no?
Jimmy, the head usher, stuck his head around the door and said to me:
“Oh, thereyouare. I been looking foryou all over the place. Say, were you expecting to meet Johnny Beeston here tonight?” “I was,” I said. “Where is that, fat heel?”
“He called up an hour ago,” Jimmy said. “Asked me to tell you he couldn’t make it. His wife wouldn’t let him. She needed him for a fourth at bridge.”
“Dames is dangerous,’’ Onésime Cleophas Doucet murmured to himself, still musing on his $50 lost so many years ago.
“And Johnny Beeston is a spineless nincompoop." I told him harshly. Then I shook him by the hand and passed on into the night.