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Padre OMO and Trixie

I worked for many years writing and editing editorials at the (Tucson) Arizona Daily Star with Tom Turner. His work brought the Star as close as we could get to the Pulitzer Prize: One year his editorials on water conservation made the judges’ short list.

We wrote this parody after realizing that some columnists kept scratching for a certain tone and feeling in their columns. We wrote this for our own amusement. It has never been published. Tom is retired and lives in San Diego. He is the author of “Soldier Boys,” a novel, available through Amazon.

 

ON THE STREETS

An editorial column

By PETE BRESLIN EARTHY

 

THE DOCKS — The last time I saw him he was throwing chairs and smashing a bloodied fist into the faces of all comers with an explosiveness that split their lips, popped their teeth and pulverized their noses. He was depressed.

But Sunday mass was like that. It was the only way to get his message of love through to this parish of leather-faced dockworkers.

That was 30 years ago, when rotgut and I were friends and we all wore the look of the slums. We were poor. But we knew how to survive. With guts.

And Father Timothy O’Shaughnessy McGuire O’Rourk had more guts  than any of us. He was known on the docks as “Padre OMO,” and when Padre OMO said, “Kneel!”, you asked only, “For how long, Padre OMO?” He had a way with words. And an even more persuasive left hook.

But even Padre OMO, who wore the face of the docks, could miss the boat. And he did. He missed women’s lib — and he was not ready for Trixie Malloy. When it was finished, Trixie Malloy, with her look of scarlet, did him in.

Trixie was the first of the long-shore broads. She was a descendant of Tugboat Annie, born on a dark and stormy night in the bowels of a barge on Murky Bay. She had red hair that flowed down over smooth, muscular shoulders, green eyes that cut fog, a narrow waist and long, slim legs — and a chest that bulged the bib of her overalls. Lead anchors hung from her long, pierced earlobes. Any man who got too close rank the risk of getting his throat cut with a quick jerk of Trixie’s head.

Padre OMO grabbed the neck of the whiskey bottle and stood it on end. His Adam’s apple bobbed as the rotgut reddened his face stilled the volcano is in his belly.

“Salud a todo el mundo!”, he exclaimed as he hurled the bottle against the wall. “It was the overalls,” he reflected, “I had to see what was inside.

“At first it was good,” he said. “I left the church and she left the docks.” But it wasn’t good for long. Trixie had been to Boston. She was beat up and burned out from a hard-hearted and bloodied effort to unionize professional anchovy filleters there. She had failed, and Trixie was tired and ready to leave the East for the golden West.

When she left Padre OMO, he thought of her dressed in a pinafore jumpsuit, standing at the kitchen stove, basting eggs. She made her way slowly cross-country with a group of over-the-hill roustabouts, shoring up their tents and their spirits with her strength.

She had charm. She could sing. She could dance. But most of all, Trixie could play chess. She moved in with Bobby Fischer, then Viktor Korchnoi. Fischer was too erratic, always a sucker for the Vienna Gambit — first used by U.S. Grant in a drunken stupor while fighting the Battle of Lower Chicamaugua and Upper Chancellorsville.

Korchnoi was her complaint. It infuriated her that he always led with queen’s pawn-2. It was maddening, but Korchnoi, complaints notwithstanding, held her attention. Each time, she tried to leave, he would show her the Russian End-Around Gambit, named after one of Nijinky’s moves.

It lasted until Korchnoi’s complaint got out of hand, and he beat her with a queen’s rook. Checkmate. It was then she discovered rodeo and Chico Hernandez Alfonso Smith. She moved in with a rodeo bull rider.

That was when Padre OMO made his move. The rodeo was playing Madison Square Garden. Padre OMO made his way to the dressing room when the bull riding was over. But Chico, who wore the look of the bull, pounded Padre OMO’s face. Padre OMO wore the look of hamburger.

“I guess,” said Padre OMO, taking a slug from a fresh bottle, “that’s why I’m telling you all this. You’re the greatest bull-slinger in all New York.”

I roam the Big Apple for stories like Padre OMO’s and Trixie’s. But I do not wear the look of the docks. I prefer corduroy.

 

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