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The pat hobby stories, p.13

The Pat Hobby Stories, page 13

 

The Pat Hobby Stories
 


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He'll introduce you to the Athaletic Superintendent. Look, Pat, I

  got to make a collection now. Just remember, Pat, that Doolan owes

  me three grand.'

  III

  It didn't seem hopeful to Pat but it was better than nothing.

  Returning for his coat to his room in the Writers' Building he was

  in time to pick up a plainting telephone.

  'This is Evylyn,' said a fluttering voice. 'I can't get rid of it

  this afternoon. There's cars on every road--'

  'I can't talk about it here,' said Pat quickly, 'I got to go over

  to U.W.C. on a notion.'

  'I've tried,' she wailed, '--and TRIED! And every time, some car

  comes along--'

  'Aw, please!' He hung up--he had enough on his mind.

  For years Pat had followed the deeds of 'the Trojums' of U.S.C. and

  the almost as fabulous doings of 'the Roller Coasters', who

  represented the Univ. of the Western Coast. His interest was not

  so much physiological, tactical or intellectual as it was

  mathematical--but the Rollers had cost him plenty in their day--and

  thus it was with a sense of vague proprietorship that he stepped

  upon the half De Mille, half Aztec campus.

  He located Kresge who conducted him to Superintendent Kit Doolan.

  Mr Doolan, a famous ex-tackle, was in excellent humour. With five

  coloured giants in this year's line, none of them quite old enough

  for pensions, but all men of experience, his team was in a fair way

  to conquer his section.

  'Glad to be of help to your studio,' he said. 'Glad to help Mr

  Berners--or Louie. What can I do for you? You want to make a

  picture? . . . Well, we can always use publicity. Mr Hobby, I got

  a meeting of the Faculty Committee in just five minutes and perhaps

  you'd like to tell them your notion.'

  'I don't know,' said Pat doubtfully. 'What I thought was maybe I

  could have a spiel with you. We could go somewhere and hoist one.'

  'Afraid not,' said Doolan jovially. 'If those smarties smelt

  liquor on me--Boy! Come on over to the meeting--somebody's been

  getting away with watches and jewellery on the campus and we're

  sure it's a student.'

  Mr Kresge, having played his role, got up to leave.

  'Like something good for the fifth tomorrow?'

  'Not me,' said Mr Doolan.

  'You, Mr Hobby?'

  'Not me,' said Pat.

  IV

  Ending their alliance with the underworld, Pat Hobby and

  Superintendent Doolan walked down the corridor of the Administration

  Building. Outside the Dean's office Doolan said: 'As soon as

  I can, I'll bring you in and introduce you.' As an accredited

  representative neither of Jack Berners' nor of the studio, Pat

  waited with a certain malaise. He did not look forward to

  confronting a group of highbrows but he remembered that he bore

  an humble but warming piece of merchandise in his threadbare

  overcoat. The Dean's assistant had left her desk to take notes at

  the conference so he repleated his calories with a long, gagging

  draught.

  In a moment, there was a responsive glow and he settled down in his

  chair, his eye fixed on the door marked:

  SAMUEL K. WISKETH

  DEAN OF THE STUDENT BODY

  It might be a somewhat formidable encounter.

  . . . but why? There were stuffed shirts--everybody knew that.

  They had college degrees but they could be bought. If they'd play

  ball with the studio they'd get a lot of good publicity for U.W.C.

  And that meant bigger salaries for them, didn't it, and more jack?

  The door to the conference room opened and closed tentatively. No

  one came out but Pat sat up and readied himself. Representing the

  fourth biggest industry in America, or ALMOST representing it, he

  must not let a bunch of highbrows stare him down. He was not

  without an inside view of higher education--in his early youth he

  had once been the 'Buttons' in the DKE House at the University of

  Pennsylvania. And with encouraging chauvinism he assured himself

  that Pennsylvania had it over this pioneer enterprise like a tent.

  The door opened--a flustered young man with beads of sweat on his

  forehead came tearing out, tore through--and disappeared. Mr

  Doolan stood calmly in the doorway.

  'All right, Mr Hobby,' he said.

  Nothing to be scared of. Memories of old college days continued to

  flood over Pat as he walked in. And instantaneously, as the juice

  of confidence flowed through his system, he had his idea . . .

  '. . . it's more of a realistic idea,' he was saying five minutes

  later. 'Understand?'

  Dean Wiskith, a tall, pale man with an earphone, seemed to

  understand--if not exactly to approve. Pat hammered in his point

  again.

  'It's up-to-the-minute,' he said patiently, 'what we call "a

  topical". You admit that young squirt who went out of here was

  stealing watches, don't you?'

  The faculty committee, all except Doolan, exchanged glances, but no

  one interrupted.

  'There you are,' went on Pat triumphantly. 'You turn him in to the

  newspapers. But here's the twist. In the Picture we make it turns

  out he steals the watches to support his young BRO-ther--and his

  young brother is the mainstay of the football team! He's the

  climax runner. We probably try to borrow Tyrone Power but we use

  one of YOUR players as a double.'

  Pat paused, trying to think of everything.

  '--of course, we've got to release it in the southern states, so

  it's got to be one of your players that's white.'

  There was an unquiet pause. Mr Doolan came to his rescue.

  'Not a bad idea,' he suggested.

  'It's an appalling idea,' broke out Dean Wiskith. 'It's--'

  Doolan's face tightened slowly.

  'Wait a minute,' he said. 'Who's telling WHO around here? You

  listen to him!'

  The Dean's assistant, who had recently vanished from the room at

  the call of a buzzer, had reappeared and was whispering in the

  Dean's ear. The latter started.

  'Just a minute, Mr Doolan,' he said. He turned to the other

  members of the committee.

  'The proctor has a disciplinary case outside and he can't legally

  hold the offender. Can we settle it first? And then get back to

  this--' He glared at Mr Doolan,'--to this preposterous idea?'

  At his nod the assistant opened the door.

  This proctor, thought Pat, ranging back to his days on the

  vineclad, leafy campus, looked like all proctors, an intimidated

  cop, a scarcely civilized beast of prey.

  'Gentlemen,' the proctor said, with delicately modulated respect,

  'I've got something that can't be explained away.' He shook his

  head, puzzled, and then continued: 'I know it's all wrong--but I

  can't seem to get to the point of it. I'd like to turn it over to

  YOU--I'll just show you the evidence and the offender . . . Come

  in, you.'

  As Evylyn Lascalles entered, followed shortly by a big clinking

  pillow cover which the proctor deposited beside her, Pat thought

  once more of the elm-covered campus of
the University of

  Pennsylvania. He wished passionately that he were there. He

  wished it more than anything in the world. Next to that he wished

  that Doolan's back, behind which he tried to hide by a shifting of

  his chair, were broader still.

  'There you are!' she cried gratefully. 'Oh, Mr Hobby--Thank God!

  I couldn't get rid of them--and I couldn't take them home--my

  mother would kill me. So I came here to find you--and this man

  packed into the back seat of my car.'

  'What's in that sack?' demanded Dean Wiskith. 'Bombs? What?'

  Seconds before the proctor had picked up the sack and bounced it on

  the floor, so that it gave out a clear unmistakable sound, Pat

  could have told them. There were dead soldiers--pints, half-pints,

  quarts--the evidence of four strained weeks at two-fifty--empty

  bottles collected from his office drawers. Since his contract was

  up tomorrow he had thought it best not to leave such witnesses

  behind.

  Seeking for escape his mind reached back for the last time to those

  careless days of fetch and carry at the University of Pennsylvania.

  'I'll take it,' he said rising.

  Slinging the sack over his shoulder, he faced the faculty committee

  and said surprisingly:

  'Think it over.'

  V

  'We did,' Mr Doolan told his wife that night. 'But we never made

  head nor tail of it.'

  'It's kind of spooky,' said Mrs Doolan. 'I hope I don't dream

  tonight. The poor man with that sack! I keep thinking he'll be

  down in purgatory--and they'll make him carve a ship in EVERY ONE

  of those bottles--before he can go to heaven.'

  'Don't!' said Doolan quickly. 'You'll have ME dreaming. There

  were plenty bottles.'

  End of this Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

  The Complete Pat Hobby Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)

 


 

  F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Pat Hobby Stories

  (Series: # )

 

 


 

 
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