May 6, 1958

I lost Paulie Suggs—or at least the sight of him. The cops brought me under the stands with the muscle-shirted moron after the second game, and I had to help straighten things out. Lt. Malarkey was more full of some than usual.

“What d’you mean you’ve never seen him?”
“Hey, I know they don’t pay you much, Malarkey, but you can’t afford a new set of ears? I told you. He’s a Spokane Indians fan who’s on vacation down here, okay? Let him go already!”

The moron fan may have been an idiot, but hardly deserved the Public Enemy No. 1 treatment they were giving him. He was relieved to get unhandcuffed and slapped with a peace-disturber warning. Malarkey didn’t want to hear one word about Suggs, though.

“Sure, Drake. Send us aon another goose chase. We already got one near-lawsuit on our hands today.”

In a way I didn’t blame him. It had been a long afternoon. But I couldn’t get Suggs’ staring eyes out of my mind.

Liz was even less sympathetic later. She had bad blisters on both feet from the tight usherette shoes, and soaked them in a hot tub of water all night while she drank cabernet. There was hardly any furniture in her/our place now, so she gave me one half of the mattress and serenaded us to sleep with her boozy snoring.

I was up at dawn’s crack, threw some cold water in my face and carefully slipped outside. Two cops were in a sedan across the street staking the apartment, no doubt on Malarkey’s orders. They were also dozing, so I climbed over the staircase rail. Dropped behind some bushes and used a back alley to escape.

Went by foot, bus, and cable car down to Fisherman’s Wharf. I knew Suggs unloaded shrimp and crab boats six mornings a week. It was a decent job considering his brain size, and kept him active at the track and poker rooms. The wharf was fogged in as usual, packed with fishermen and boats. I was having a tough time finding him.

Then I heard a ghostly singing voice, coming from somewhere out on the water. It was a male falsetto, crooning the opening bars of Domenico Modugno’s Italian hit “Nel bu dipinto di blu”. In ancient Wharf days, it was the way fishermen signaled each other in the fog, and some of them liked to carry on that tradition. Sure enough, seconds later I recognized Paulie Suggs’ gruff baritone answering his colleague, clear as a foghorn:

“VOLLL-ARRRE!”

A crab boat materialized, loaded with fresh Dungeness, and docked at the wharf. Suggs boarded and started hauling off the beauties with five other guys. He was uglier than I remember, and I saw him less than 24 hours ago.

I watched them work from the other side of a nearby pylon. Waited until the catch was clear and Paulie was the last man on the boat. Slipped on board, snatched a free grappling hook. Snuck up behind him and shoved him through a galley door. Pressed the hook to his neck. He was much bigger than me, but I had the hook.

“Drake! What the hell—”
“Hell is right, Paulie. And it’s where you’re headed if you don’t come clean.”
“Come clean about what?”
“I saw you watching me yesterday from the bleachers. I wouldn’t call it a friendly look, either.”
“Whaddaya, nuts? The Giants just got their clocks cleaned twice! I lost fifty bucks! I was staring at the field!”

I felt a little stupid right then. It passed.

“Don’t give me that. You’re still sore about losing that dough to me last year, aren’t you? I told you Sacramento didn’t have enough good starting pitchers and you were too cocky to listen. If you haven’t been doing these murders you’ve been trying to pin ’em on me!”
“What murders?? I’ve been away in Vegas for a week! And why would I do anything to you?”
“You didn’t follow me and my lady friend the other night? Stick a note on my door?”

His nervous face suddenly relaxed. Twisted into a smirk. Big hands grabbed me from behind, spun me around. Four crew members were leaning over me, and the nastiest one held a very sharp crab-splitting knife to my face.

“You better know the words to the second verse of ‘Volare’, you son-of-a-bitch.”

I’m not much of a singer and I’m certainly not Italian, but tried to fake them anyway. Thirty seconds later I was swimming to shore.

TWO DAYS OF SKINNIES!

5/5

PIT 000 000 000 – 0 4 0
SFG 000 100 00x – 1 8 0
W-Miller L-Raydon GWRBI-Davenport
Stu throws a a gem, Jimmy singles in the only run, and we save some a bit of face after Sunday’s double-drubbing.

PHL 101 000 300 – 5 16 1
L.A. 001 000 000 – 1 4 0
W-Cardwell L-Williams HRS: Anderson, Jones GWRBI-Jones
The Dodgers get crushed by the Brotherly Lovers for the third game in a row. L.A. has either looked unbeatable or like the worst team on earth.

MIL 002 010 110 000 – 5 11 1
STL 100 002 002 001 – 6 12 1
W-Martin L-Robinson HRS: Rauch, Katt, GWRBI-Flood
Thriller of the day. A Flood double and ANOTHER Katt homer tie it in the 6th. Braves go back up by two but two singles, a walk and huge Mathews error tie it again in the 9th. Morrie Martin throws three scoreless relief innings until Boyer doubles and Flood singles to win it in twelve.

CLE 000 000 000 – 0 7 0
BOS 000 100 10x – 2 7 1
W-Bowsfield L-Narleski SV-Wall HR: Williams GWRBI-Williams
Like the Giants, the Red Sox recover nicely from Sunday. The Tribe have many scoring chances but can’t produce, and oh yeah, Teddy Ballgame gets a single and game-winning homer.

DET 000 000 010 – 1 8 2
BAL 000 010 001 – 2 10 0
W-Brown L-Aguirre GWRBI-Boyd
More of the same in Birdland. A Coot Veal triple and Kuenn double tie it in th 8th, but a Miranda double and Bob Boyrd single (his fouth hit), win it in the 9th off Aguirre.

K.C. 000 301 500 – 9 9 1
WAS 000 000 000 – 0 4 1
W-Urban L-Kemmerer HRS: Simpson, Martyn GWRBI-Simpson
New first baseman against righties Harry Simpson makes his presence known with a big 3-run smash in the 4th, and it’s all the A’s need.

5/6

PIT 101 000 100 – 3 7 1
SFG 012 001 01x – 5 9 1
W-Worthington L-Witt SV-Grissom HR: Kluszewski GWRBI-Worthington
We eek out another one, thanks to great Grissom relief and the usual wildness from George Witt, who walks six Giants in six innings.

PHL 100 030 302 – 9 16 1
L.A. 000 302 000 – 5 8 1
W-Simmons L-Roebuck HRS: Jones, Cimoli, Hodges GWRBI-Jones
Okay, Philly bettter stop beating up Liz’s Dodgers because I don’t wanna have to hear about it the rest of the week. L.A. has one more chance to stop this tomorrow with Podres going.

CIN 000 000 200 000 0 – 2 7 0
CHI 000 101 000 000 1 – 3 14 1
W-Henry L-Purkey HRS: Bailey, Banks-2 GWRBI-Banks
Ernie B. goes 4-for-6 with a solo shot in the 4th and another to trot it off in the 13th. The Amazing Bill Henry shines again for the Cubbies, with six and a third innings of perfect relief after Drabowsky falls apart.

MIL 000 922 202 – 17 16 0
STL 021 000 010 – 4 6 1
W-Jay L-Brosnan HRS: Aaron, Bruton, Covington, Mathews, Katt, B.G. Smith GWRBI-Crandall
So Brosnan now has four awful starts and one no-hitter. Up 3-0 in the 4th, Mathews singles and the blistering-hot Aaron homers. Torre gets plunked. Bruton singles. Logan sac fly. Schoendienst walks. Jay whiffs but Brosnan then walks Covington and Crandall. A ground ball to Blasingame for the third out gets booted, and a single and double later, nine runs and the ballgame are across the plate.

CHX 000 010 010 – 2 6 2
BOS 000 000 000 – 0 2 2
W-Moore L-Delock GWRBI-Phillips
Think Boston’s in a hitting slump? Ray Moore walks eight guys and they still can’t score a run.

CLE 100 010 000 – 2 8 1
NYY 002 001 10x – 4 7 1
W-Ditmar L-McLish HRS: Wertz, Siebern GWRBI-Slaughter
Yanks pull out a tough battle on back-to-back doubles from Lumpe and Slaughter in the 6th. Yogi is finally back tomorrow, but Howard’s filled in nicely behind the dish.

K.C. 000 000 203 – 5 9 0
BAL 000 000 000 – 0 4 0
W-Herbert L-Johnson HRS: Cerv, Simpson GWRBI-Cerv
Two straight shutouts by the reborn A’s, as Bob and Harry go back-to-back in the 7th and the Orioles actually lose a game.

DET 303 000 000 – 6 12 0
WAS 000 301 000 – 4 8 0
W-Moford L-Griggs SV-Morgan HRS: Bolling, Sievers, Lemon GWRBI-Kaline
And the Tigers are overjoyed to get out of Baltimore, beating up Hal Griggs with six runs on six hits in two and a third innings.

National League through Tuesday, May 6

Milwaukee 12 8 .600
Philadelphia 10 9 .526 1.5
Chicago 10 9 .526 1.5
San Francisco 11 10 .524 1.5
Pittsburgh 11 11 .500 2
St. Louis 8 10 .444 3
Cincinnati 8 10 .444 3
Los Angeles 9 12 .429 3.5

American League through Tuesday, May 6

Baltimore 15 7 .682
New York 14 7 .650 0.5
Chicago 12 9 .571 2.5
Boston 12 10 .545 3
Cleveland 11 12 .478 4.5
Detroit 10 12 .455 5
Kansas City 8 14 .364 7
Washington 5 16 .238 9.5
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