After the Game

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After the Game (1926)
by Robert Ervin Howard
624279After the Game1926Robert Ervin Howard

Act I.


Scene I.


City streets. A crowd of students standing on a corner. It is raining.

Bertie: Believe me, this is the last time I’ll ever come to this town.

Tommy: Applesauce. That’s what you said last year. Wasn’t the game worth it?

Bertie: Yeah, but lookit the rain and me with no slicker!

Spike: I’ll say. It’s rained tom cats and chicken’s teeth very time I’ve come to Snako. Say, how about takin’ a slicker offa some of these bozos?

(An old man passes, wearing a slicker.)

Johnny: There’s your chance, Spike.

Spike: Nix, I respect age. Here comes somebody.

(A Jalor student passes. He is six feet three inches and weighs 217 pounds.)

Tommy: I respect age, all right, but I respect size a lot more.

Another Student: Say, you snake eaters, on your toes, there goes the gong.

Johnny: Hold on, that’s a green light.

Jerry: Aw, come on. That means go. (He starts across the street.)

Traffic cop: Hey! What you trying to pull *!*!*!xx* (Censored)

Spike: There’s the right signal.

(They walk down the street.)

Bertie: Anyhow, we showed more pep than the Jalor student body. Eh! Johnny?

Johnny: What? Yeah—I—uh—gottaSNEEZE! KA-CHOO! (A girl screams and runs in a store, a traffic cop jumps eight feet and reaches for his hip, and the clerks all look out of the stores.)

Jerry: Say, save them red-blooded, he-man sneezes for the wide open spaces of West Texas. These Easterners ain’t rugged like we are.

Spike, Tommy and Bertie turn off from the rest and enter a cafe.

Tommy: Me eye, I ain’t ate nothin’ since supper yesterday, except a hamburger or two, a couple of ham sandwiches, three buns, an apricot tart, two ice-cream sodas, a chocolate malted milk, a couple of chocolate bars, and a sack of peanuts. Come on, I’m broke.

Both: So are we.

Tommy: This is a fine crowd.

Bertie: Hey, we’ve just got time to catch the train.

Tommy: Migosh! I’ve lost my ticket!


Scene II.


The train. Tommy is arguing with the conductor.

Tommy: But I tell you, I had it. I came over with the crowd from our college to watch the team play Jalor Mares at the Hay Palace. I had my ticket and…

Conductor: Aw, tell it to the Marines. I know it already. Somebody picked your pocket or the naughty ticket got away from you and when last seen was headed east at a high rate of speed. Outside!

Students: But we know this fellow.

Conductor: Tell it to Sweeny! (Throws Tommy off the train.)

Tommy: Thanks for the buggy ride. May your children all have ingrown toenails. (Grabs the rods.)

Brakeman: Hey, come outa that. (He kicks him off.)

Tommy: Say, lay offa me. I’ll have you know I’m a free-born American citizen with rights nobody can trample. Here’s one now!

(Tommy hits brakeman. Brakeman hits Tommy. Tommy hits the ground.)


Scene III.


The next night. Bertie seated in his room, before a warm fire. He appears very comfortable and satisfied. Enter Tommy. His clothes are muddy and wrinkled, and his toes are showing through his worn shoes. He wobbles on his feet and otherwise appears somewhat fatigued.

Bertie: Come in an shut the door. Want to freeze me? Ain’t you got no consideration. Nobody’s seen you in that garb I hope. You look like a tramp.

Tommy gives a ferocious look.

Tommy: If I wasn’t so tired I’d poke you in the beezer.

(He flops into a chair.)

Bertie, idly: How’d you get in?

Tommy: I walked!

Bertie: All the way?

Tommy: Naw. It was this way. I’d grab every train that came along, then when the conductor would come for my ticket, I’d tell him I’d lost it. They’d kick me off, but I’d be that much further down the line. I did that seven times and made four miles that way. But finally one of ‘em stopped the train, ‘stead of throwin’ me off while it was runnin’ like the rest had done.

Bertie: That was kind of him.

Tommy, bloodthirsty: Yeah, I’ll say so! They stopped in a yap town and had me pinched. They put me in the hoosegow and I’d be there yet only the cop was a Prohibition officer and was so drunk he did not lock the door. Then I walked about twelve miles till I caught a ride on a wagon.

Bertie: That shows that there’s always people kind and ready to assist even a hobo. Why didn’t you ride on it?

Tommy: Because the bird driving the wagon saw me and kicked me off. Then I walked and walked and walked, and then I walked some more. I got blisters on my feet till it felt like I was walking on watermelons.

Bertie: Did it rain all the time?

Tommy: Naw, sometimes it sleeted or snowed. The roads were so rotten that I waded three miles down a creek thinking it was a road. I didn’t find my mistake till a farmer came and beat me up for trespassing on private property. Once I got lost and walked seventeen miles in the opposite direction before I found out different. (He waxes eloquent) Gaze on me; a living example of the injustice of the American railroad corporations. I wore out my shoes and swiped these off a sleeping hobo; I lived on standpipe julep and garbage. My clothes are worn out and I lost the ring for which I paid Woolworth a week’s salary. And they call this a free country!

Bertie laughs. He laughs with much gusto.

Bertie: Ha! Ha! Haw! Haw! He! He! Say, that’s the best joke I’ve heard of in a long time. Ha! Ha!

Tommy: What joke?

Bertie: Why, just after the conductor threw you off. I found your ticket in my coat.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1929.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1936, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 87 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

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