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Melvin Has Landed a Job

By Paul Rhymer's



Announcer: Well sir, it’s late afternoon as we enter the small house half-way up in the next block now, and here in the living room we discover Mrs. Victor Gook and young Mr. Rush Gook. Young Mr. Rush Gook – who arrived home from school just a moment ago – still wears his hat and overcoat, and he regards his mother, who is sparkling with excitement. Listen: 

RUSH: What is this news?

SADE: Wait till your father comes back, I want him to hear it too. [calls] Vic.

VIC: [off] Yeah?

SADE: Hurry up.

VIC: I’m hangin’ my coat on a hanger.

RUSH: What’s the news about?

SADE: Melvin Stembottom.

RUSH: He’s got a job?

SADE: Yeah.

RUSH: Where?

SADE: Workin’ for the city. [calls] Vic.

VIC: [closer] I’m comin’.

RUSH: What’s he do for the city?

SADE: Wait till Gov gets here. Then I won’t  halfta repeat everything twice. [giggles]

RUSH: You’re glad because Melvin got a job, huh, Mom?

SADE: Oh, yes. Makes it so much nicer for everybody over at the Stembottoms'. I talked to Ruthie a long time over the phone a while ago an she…[raises voice] Melvin went to work an’ got himself a situation, Vic.

VIC: [coming up] That right?

SADE: For the city.

VIC: Good for Melvin. What kind of situation is it?

SADE: Street Department. Got the job just last night. He heard they needed a fella an’ he went to the man who was hirin’ an’ was took on right then an’ there.

VIC: Fine.

SADE: Don’t that show Melvin’s got gumption? See, last night was Sunday night. But Sunday or no Sunday he heard they needed a fella an’ went right over to this foreman’s house an’ asked for the position. First thing this morning his name was wrote down in the payroll in letters three feet high.

VIC AND RUSH: [chuckling] Oh, come on now. Letters three feet high are…

SADE: Go take off your hat an’ coat, Rush. What’s the idea sittin’ in the house all bundled up in outdoor clothes? Wanta die?

RUSH: I wanta hear all the dope about Melvin.

SADE: Go take off that overcoat.

RUSH: Shucks, I asked you the news about Melvin an’ you tell me we gotta wait for Gov. Then when Gov comes in an’ ya start to whip out the news you make me go out in the hall an’ hang up my. . .

SADE: Scoot. [to Vic] Ruthie’s pleased as punch.

VIC: Is she?

SADE: Oh my yes. See, Melvin hasn’t earned a nickel since he was Santy Claus there at Yamilton’s at Christmastime. An’ that only lasted a week or so. An’ no big enormous salary to write home about either. But this job with the city oughta be permanent. An’ very nice pay too, Ruthie says.

RUSH: Mom, will ya hold up the story till I get back from hangin’ up my coat?

SADE: [briefly] Yeah. Don’t wrinkle that coat now.

RUSH: [moving off] No. Just hold up the story till I return. Naturally I’m interested in all the carious details.

SADE: Uh-huh.

VIC: You say Melvin’s employed by the street department?

SADE: Big as life.

VIC: What kind of work does he do?

SADE: He tears up the street.

VIC: What street does he tear up?

SADE: Any street that needs tearin’ up. You’ve seen that crowd of fellas around town with picks an’ shovels.

VIC: Yeah. Well . . . a . . . is it a steady job?

SADE: Sure, it’s a steady job.

VIC: I was just thinkin’ dull times might come along when no streets need tearin’ up.

SADE: They’re busy all the year round, Ruthie says. An’ ya know when you work for the city your pay goes right along like . . .

RUSH: [off] You’re not holdin’ up that story, Mom.

SADE: [to Vic] What?

VIC: [To Sade] “You’re not holdin’ up that story, Mom.”

RUSH: [approaching] You said you’d wait till I got back before you went on with the story about Melvin an’ as soon as I turn my back you go ahead an’ tell Gov . . .

SADE: [raises voice] Come in here if you wanta talk to me. I’m not gonna yell all over creation. [to Vic] Oh, yes, they’re busy all the year round.

VIC: Is there always a street that needs to be torn up?

SADE: I guess so – sure. Why, they tore up the street today. Melvin helped. Had his nice pick an’ shovel an’ dug away like a house afire.

RUSH: [coming up a trifle tough] All right, where are we?

SADE: [giggles] Just more’n dug away with his pick an’ shovel.

RUSH: I say all right, mom, where are we?

SADE: Huh?

RUSH: Where are we in the story?

SADE: Whatcha talkin’ about?

RUSH: You promised you’d hold up the story about Melvin till I got back from hangin’ up my coat, but that promise rolled off a duck’s back because I return to find out you’ve already told Gov several details an’ . . .

SADE: Will you save your talky-talk till later, son? I’m tryin’ to tell Gov something.

RUSH: Yeah, tryin’ to tell Gov something. I don’t count. I’m just the little end of nothin’ around here an’ everybody takes advantage of . . .

SADE: [elaborate sigh] Oh, my.

VIC: [little chuckle] Pipe down, Sam. [to Sade] You say Melvin tore up the street today?

SADE: Sure he did. This time yesterday he didn’t have any more job than a rabbit. First thing this morning he was out tearing up the street.

VIC: What street did he tear up?

SADE: The seven hundred block on West Monroe. Ruthie was there to watch him.

VIC: Was she?

SADE: You bet. Drove her car over. Parked it in Mr. Hettle’s driveway. She sat an’ watched Melvin work for several hours. He tore up the street just as nice as you please. ‘Course he was puttin’ on extra steam because it was his first day an’ all. He was anxious to make an impression on the foreman, catch on?

VIC: Uh-huh . . . . Well . . .a . . . what was Ruthie there for?

SADE: To give him encouragement. See, she had the car parked in Mr. Hettle’s driveway an’ she sat in the front seat an’ waved an’ winked at Melvin every time he looked up from his shovelin’. Couple times she honked the horn . . . when he got in an especially good lick with his pick.

VIC: [chuckles]

SADE: An’ then again she wanted to keep Melvin from feelin’ lonesome on his first day. Familiar faces around help a person that’s startin’ a new job.

RUSH: Smelly Clark tells me he was darn lonesome when he started in on his new . . .

SADE: But I haven’t told you the best, Vic.

VIC: What’s the best?

SADE: Doreen was there.

VIC: Mis’ Appelrot’s sister?

SADE: Yeah, Doreen Otto.

VIC: Is she Melvin’s girl?

SADE: [giggles] Looks like it. There she was big as life in the seven hundred block in West Monroe Street watchin’ him tear up the street. Ruthie didn’t even know she was in town. The way it was she saw this automobile pull up in Mr. Carlock’s driveway. She thought she knew the lady at the wheel but wasn’t sure. Pretty soon the lady stuck her head out the car window an’ here it was Doreen Otto.

VIC: Come to watch her beloved tear up the street, huh?

SADE: Yeah. She honked her horn a couple times too when Melvin done something especially clever with hi spick an’ shovel.

VIC: I think If Melvin wishes to hold on to this fine situation he better tell his sweetheart an’ sister-in-law to stay home. No city gang foreman is gonna stand for a bunch of women parked around in automobiles applauding  the efforts of his men. After all, Melvin is a laborer, not a soprano soloist.

RUSH: I was gonna say the same thing myself, Gov. Them gang foremen are tough guys an’ they don’t like . . .

SADE: The boss did come over an' speak to Ruthie, Vic.

VIC: Yeah?

SADE: [giggles] Uh-huh.

VIC: What’d he say?

SADE: He asked her what she wanted.

VIC: What’d she say?

SADE: She gave him a very cool reception. She said her car was parked in her friend Mr. Hettle’s driveway an’ wasn’t in anybody’s road. Looked at him like, “Who are you to ask me what I want?”

VIC: She’ll lose Melvin’s job for him.

RUSH: I’ll say.  Shucks, you can’t …

SADE: Oh, she knew she was in the wrong an’ left shortly after that. The boss was kinda upset about all that horn honkin’, I guess. See, both Ruthie an’ Doreen tooted their horns an’ it finally made Melvin feel like showin’ off a little so he started balancin’ his shovel on his face an’ pretendin’ to swallow his pick an’ comical business like that.

VIC: For gosh sakes.

SADE: But both Ruthie an' Doreen drove away right after that because they could see the foreman  wasn’t at all pleased.

VIC: You’d of thought he’d of shot one of ‘em.

SADE: Oh, they meant well enough.

RUSH: [chuckling] A guy must be a star shoveler that can bring out the ladies to him perform.

SADE: Melvin had quite an audience all right. Oh an’ I didn’t tell you who else was there.

VIC: Who else was there?

SADE: A bunch of men from downtown Melvin’s been hangin’ around with. They drove over to the seven hundred block on West Monroe. Parked their car in Miss Glimpse’s  driveway an’ sat on the running board.

VIC: How many guys were in that cheering section?

SADE: Six, Ruthie said.

VIC: Made eight people altogether that come to watch Melvin tear up the street, huh?

SADE: Yeah, eight.

RUSH: Did the men honk their horn when Melvin done fancy stunts with his pick an’ shovel?

SADE: Ruthie never said. Oh, but Vic, I haven’t told you the best.

VIC: What’s the best?

SADE: At noon Melvin ate his lunch.

VIC: Yeah??

SADE: Sat down on the curbing with the other fellas an opened his little dinner-bucket an’ spread his napkin on his knee an’ just more’n ate his lunch. Ruthie said it was the grandest sight she ever saw.

RUSH: What’s so grand about it?

SADE: Well, here is poor Melvin . . . been out of work for ages . . . sitting on the curbing eatin’ his lunch he’d ought with his own money. She said you could see the pride stickin’ out all over him every time he took a bite of sandwich.

VIC AND RUSH: [laugh]

SADE: [giggling] No, but really. I got a thrill myself when Ruthie described it.

VIC: Did any of that big crowd of old pals sittin’ around in parked cars invite Melvin over?

SADE: They all honked an’ hollered, but Melvin just smiled an’ waved ‘em away. He did step over to see Ruthie a minute. She told him to hop in the back seat an’ eat his lunch, but he thought his right place was on the curbing with the other men.

RUSH: [quoting] “My place is with my buddies. I love the Foreign Legion. I’ll die for my dear comrades. An’ never quit this . . .”

SADE: Oh an’ the didoes he pulled off after he got back on the curbing again.

VIC: What’d he do?

SADE: Just silly little things to make Ruthie an’ Doreen an’ his men friends laugh. He soaked his sandwich in his thermos-thing full of coffee an’ then held it ‘way up high ‘an let the coffee drip in his mouth.

VIC AND RUSH: I bet he got a big hand on that.

SADE: How ya mean?

VIC: I bet Doreen an’ Ruthie laughed at that funny stunt.

SADE: Oh, they did. An’ the foreman himself had to smile.

VIC: I’d like to meet that foreman.

SADE: Another comical thing he done was pretend to put an olive in one ear an’ then pull it out the other.

VIC AND RUSH: [laugh]

SADE: An’ after that he threw it way up in the air an’ caught it in his mouth.

RUSH: He was pullin’ off all this funny business while he was sittin’ on the curbing, huh?

SADE: Yeah, it pleased Ruthie to death to see him so happy an’ gay. See, he’s been pretty much down in the mouth since Christmas. No job or spending money or anything. An’ Fred’s been kinda short with him. Now he don’t hafta take any smartness from Fred. He’s earning his own lovely salary.

VIC: Uh-huh.

SADE: An’ he can entertain Doreen a little. Buy her ice-cream once in a while.

VIC: Sure.

SADE: Wish I’d been there today to see Melvin tear up the street an’ eat his lunch.

VIC: Me too.

RUSH: Ya s’pose they’ll still be tearin’ up the seven hundred block on West Monroe tomorrow?

SADE: I imagine.

RUSH: Whatcha say we go?

VIC: Let’s do, Sade. We’re generally through dinner by twelve-thirty. We could stroll over to West Monroe Street an’ see Melvin eat the tail end of his lunch an’ also watch him tear out a few hunks of concrete.

SADE: All right. An’ we can . . . [thinks of something] Hey.


SADE: You fellas don’t wanta do that just to laugh at Melvin, do ya?


Announcer: Which concludes another brief interlude at the small house half-way up in the next block.


First broadcast 1937

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