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From our New York Correspondent: The Wig Comes Home


What I am doing standing outside a courthouse in Manhattan keeping watch at 4 in the morning is something even I am not readily able to explain, but it all begins when The Wig comes home to New York.


The Wig is a very famous operator in various lines of business, such as real estate, TV, and politics. Naturally he has lots of potatoes, thanks to all his lines of business, and also the squillions of potatoes he gets from his daddy. Furthermore, despite all these potatoes, he knows his way around the bankruptcy laws in this country better than I know my way around the speakeasies.


Of course his real name is not The Wig, but Dump or Chump or some such, but he is called The Wig by one and all in this town - although rarely to his face, on account of all his potatoes. He is quite vain and insists he does not wear a wig, but all I know is if his hair is not a wig, then it will do until a wig comes along.


Although he is brought up in New York, lately The Wig spends more time in Florida, perhaps because he prefers the company of the alligators down there to that of most New Yorkers. You might think that the citizens of this town would be offended that the The Wig plays the chill for them in this way, but if they are offended, they do a good job of hiding it.


But he is currently spending all his time in New York, holed up with judges and lawyers and other sordid characters of that sort. This is not because he has a change of heart about this town, but because he is on trial here.


The trial concerns The Wig carrying on with a blonde who is by no means his wife, and in this way it is like many other trials. But it seems that the facts of this carrying on are not what either party is objecting to, which is most unusual. Instead, the trial is all about if The Wig paid the doll a big sack of potatoes to keep quiet because he was running for election.


Personally I wonder that he does not sue her for breach of contract, as she does not only tell the court about their carrying on, in more detail than anyone wants to hear, but also writes a book about it. In fact, I hear she stops random strangers on the street to tell them about it. But I guess to sue her for breach of contract would be tantamount to pleading guilty, and The Wig is not one to plead guilty to anything whatsoever. And maybe The Wig is such a guy as thinks the whole affair makes him look manly, and does a better job of making him look youthful than the wig that he says he doesn't wear.


As the case goes on, many citizens show a great deal of interest in what the jury will decide, and furthermore many bets are placed as to what the outcome will be. In fact by the time the jury retires to consider their verdict, citizens are betting on practically nothing else, and the bookmakers at the horse tracks are feeling very sad and lonely, and also poor, and are very angry with The Wig. But of course if they want to express their anger to The Wig in person, they will have to join a very long line.


So I am sitting in Mindy's restaurant on Broadway just before 3am the night before the verdict is due, when Benny South Street comes over to my table and asks if I would like to earn some easy money. Naturally I am interested in easy money, although the earning part doesn't sound so attractive, so I invite him to provide more information.


'You know that The Wig case is about to conclude' says Benny, 'and myself and some of the guys have placed

a few bets on it. In fact, it seems that we are invested in The Wig's guilt to the tune of 25 Gs, and now the day of judgement looms we are becoming somewhat uneasy about our money.'


'I can see your point,' I say, 'although surely there is no doubt that The Wig is guilty of what he is charged, and a great deal more besides.'


'That is certainly true,' replies Benny, 'but I am not interested in the truth, but what the jury says is the truth.'


'That's a different matter indeed,' I say, "but what has it got to do with me?'


'Well,' says Benny, "some of us are planning on going down to the courthouse where the jurors are staying, and paying a visit to the jurors tonight, to help them arrive at the correct verdict. But while we are convincing the jurors, we need someone steady to keep watch outside, just in case any officers of the law come along and question our court procedures. Naturally, you will get a percentage of our winnings the next day.'


Well, I am beginning to see that any money I get will not be so easy, if it ever appears at all. But by now my soup is cold, and I have nothing else to do, and as it happens I am also 3 Gs out on a guilty verdict, so I agree to meet Benny in an hour's time around the corner from the court.


When I get there I see Benny, and also Harry the Horse and Dave the Dude, and several other characters. All of these parties will usually spend a deal of effort getting out of courthouses rather than breaking in to them, but when The Wig is involved normal logic is often turned on it's head.


Harry says they should just shoot the doorman at the front, as it seems there is history between them, and walk straight in. But this is considered a bad idea by everyone else, and luckily Dave seems to know how to open a certain window at the back of the building. So he levers it open with a blackjack, and the other investors follow him in. Meanwhile, there I am left standing outside the courthouse in the early hours, wondering what I will say if any officer does come along.


Suddenly, I hear a commotion from the other side of the window, and Benny South Street pops out and onto the sidewalk, looking somewhat less dapper than usual. In fact, he looks quite shook up. Before I can ask him what happens, or where Dave and Harry are, he simply states as follows:


'Run!'


and disappears down the street. Naturally I take his advice, and do some disappearing myself, in the other direction.


I next see Benny back in Mindy's a couple of days later, and I take a moment to congratulate him on the success of his idea, as The Wig is found guilty on all counts, and also I am somewhat better off as a result.


'I do not know what enterprise you are talking about,' says Benny. 'If you are referring to the arrest of Dave the Dude and Harry the Horse for sneaking into the courthouse at night and attempting to pervert the course of justice, I have no idea about it. Personally, I would never seek to interfere with the sacrosanct workings of the law, even if several citizens on Broadway are saying it is the first time a jury has made the correct decision in this town for many years. But of course these same citizens may well have been on the wrong end of jury decisions personally in the past, and I do not wish to comment further, for the sake of my health.'


'I see,' I say, 'well I hope that Dave and Harry will be able to enjoy their winnings after this unpleasant business of being arrested is over. It seems the only real loser here is The Wig himself.'


'I hope Dave and Harry will enjoy their winnings too,' says Benny, 'although they may not be in a great mood when they get out on bail, at that. Coincidentally, I will be leaving town for a few months as I just take a job in Florida.'


'This is most surprising to me,' I state, 'I thought you always said the best thing about Florida was the mosquitos.'


'I may have made such foolish statements in the past,' admits Benny, "but my views have changed since The Wig's legal appeal team make me an offer to work for them, for good money, and this seems like a good time to take up the offer. You see, we have all won a little money, but the real winner is in fact The Wig, who has already received more publicity in connection with this case, and more squillions of potatoes in donations from his ever-loyal suckers, I am sorry I mean to say supporters, than either of us will see in our lifetimes. And where the potatoes go, there go the smart operators too.'


'There is much in what you say, in American politics and in life generally, and especially in American politics,' I say. 'So long, Benny, and mind the alligators don't bite.'


Image by Mollyroselee from Pixabay

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