By Edward Lynd Kendall
Leonard Small, a newly minted young attorney, struggled up the long stairway to their modest walk up in Queens. He looked a fright, his face was bruised and there was an ugly red scrape across his cheek. He was a tall and good looking man with a full head of brown hair. Ordinarily, he was well turned out in a conservative blue suit, but presently his clothes were rumpled and dirty. His pretty young wife, Mary Jo, met him at the front door. She was appalled. This was unbelievable.
“For God’s sake, what happened? Wait a minute, I’ll get a Band Aid.” She rushed to the bathroom. When she returned with a large adhesive bandage and antiseptic he was slumped in his easy chair. He slowly sat up and looked her in the eye. This would be hard to explain.
“You won’t believe this. Well, I stopped for a short one on my way home from the office. The ugliest bastard I ever saw came staggering into Arney’s. Looked like he was drunk. Started cursing, the dirtiest talk you ever heard. Walked right up and got in my face. I was just standing there at the bar minding my own business. I gathered it was all about politics. He was right of right, didn’t know what he was talking about. I tried to ignore him. Arney told him to cool down.”
“He obviously hated the president cause he was black. One thing led to another. Lost my cool. Let him have it–right in the chops. Knocked him out cold. Went down like a sack of potatoes. It’s the honest-to-God truth. You can see I had to do it. Somebody called the cops. When this big Irish cop came in, it was all my fault. There he was on the floor and I was standing. I was the provocateur. Legally, presumptive evidence of guilt. You know I don’t get into fights. He took me down to the station and booked me.”
Mary Jo looked at her husband somewhat puzzled. “To tell the truth, I am shaking my head here. You never get into fights.”
“Got a rotten headache,” Leonard grasped his brow.
“Poor dear, I’ll get you an ice pack. That might help.”
“I could use a drink. How about a scotch on the rocks?”
She hurried to the kitchen to fix the drink.
He marveled at his wonderful wife’s caring attention, while thinking she sometimes didn’t understand a man’s point of view.
Massaging his temples, feeling the pulsing pain in his cheek, it suddenly occurred to him. If he were convicted of assault and battery in the state of New York his career at the bar would be over.
He yelled, “Honey, make that a double.”