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Shorty and his Marmon
By Fred Boland, Machinist 1928-1980
Occasionally one of the shopmen that lived in Oakland would bring his car to work. We would all get a ride home on the 1 AM auto ferry with him. One night George "Shorty" Mastrangelo brought his Marmon, as much as anything because it was payday. I had only a few pennies and small change and planned to cash my check the following day.
We started out for home that night, but we had a load of boilermakers in addition to only three Oaklanders this time. We stopped at the Old Clam House at Oakdale and Bayshore and had a few beers, cashing our paychecks. I was getting concerned because I didn't want to cash my paycheck there and I had no money to spare. And, also it was just about time to head for the East Bay.
We bet boilermaker Robinson, who'se first name I have forgotten, who was approaching retirement, that he couldn't drink three beers in a row. He showed us, his adam's apple bobbing up and down, that he could.
The boys decided to go to a whorehouse in North Beach. Big John Kusiman, a helper, said "Ve go down and Ve lap him up." Still don't know what exactly that meant, but he was drunk.
We started downtown. At around Folsom, the boys could hold their beer no longer, so Shorty stopped the car. Of course, it was around 1:30 AM, dark, and little traffic, but it still must have been odd to see eight or ten men all using the street with no shame. So much for the whorehouse.
We got back in and Shorty drove down to Market St. and not bothering to stop, turned up into the street, nearly running an auto onto the sidewalk. By this time no one cared much, and I was starting to get concerned. So, I saw my chance and dived around a corner while the rest went to an all night resturant. I felt badly for Shorty would miss me and start searching, which I learned afterward that they did.
I headed west on a streetcar and stayed away from downtown and the ferry for the rest of the night. At 5:15 AM I got back to the ferry to wait for the 6 AM boat. What did I see but Shorty and his Marmon running along the other side of the wide Embarcadero.
He didn't see me, but as if it were only five feet away, the street being deathly still at that time of the morning, Shorty shouted "Want anotha beeah"?' From deep inside the back seat I heard Robinson's high pitched voice, answering "Huuh?"