We continue our voyage from the wild northland to the subtler predations of the Lower 48 in our latest Tale for Our Time: Jack London's Burning Daylight. In tonight's episode, Daylight could use a little bit of arms control:
And now, known as the King of the Klondike, carrying several other royal titles, such as Eldorado King, Bonanza King, the Lumber Baron, and the Prince of the Stampeders, not to omit the proudest appellation of all, namely, the Father of the Sourdoughs, he was more afraid of women than ever. As never before they held out their arms to him, and more women were flocking into the country day by day. It mattered not whether he sat at dinner in the gold commissioner's house, called for the drinks in a dancehall, or submitted to an interview from the woman representative of The New York Sun, one and all of them held out their arms.
There was one exception, and that was Freda, the girl that danced, and to whom he had given the flour. She was the only woman in whose company he felt at ease, for she alone never reached out her arms. And yet it was from her that he was destined to receive next to his severest fright. It came about in the fall of 1897...
If you're a member of The Mark Steyn Club you can hear my reading of Part Fourteen of our serialization of Burning Daylight simply by clicking here and logging-in. All previous episodes can be found here - so you can choose whether to listen each night twenty minutes before you lower your lamp, or save them up for a weekend binge-listen now that Netflix et al have exhausted all their pre-lockdown stock of watchable telly.
After last night's warnings of Daylight getting buncoed in the moose pasture, Wanda Sherratt, a First Week Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club from Ottawa, writes:
I naturally thought of 'bunco squad' when I heard that, and was astonished to discover when I looked it up that the term is no longer used! I recall Detective Columbo using it in an episode during the '70s, but apparently the term was most popular from the 40s to the 60s. I'm glad I never said it to a police officer; that really would have dated me!
Indeed, Wanda. "Bunco squads" started in the Prohibition era, as cops started raiding bunco gambling dens on the assumption that they would also be doubling as speakeasies. But possibly bunco and the like have joined the ever lengthening list of things the municipal police no longer bother investigating...
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