(STOCK PHOTO) THEIR MOM, HORTENSE "HORTY" GULIFOYLE WAS REPUDIATED TO BE A "HOSTESS" AT THE INFAMOUS VICE MAGNET BAR, "THE BOOM-BOOM ROOM." IN ADDITION TO HER CARNAL TALENTS, HER BROGUE CONSISTENTLY INCLUDED MULTIPLES OF HARSH PROFANITY, IN EVERY UTTERANCE.
Redheaded and freckled, Ducky the younger son, resembled his mother. An enormous, expressionless, sociopath with a short temper, he finished eighth grade and was a Brainiac compared to his brother.
ADAPTED FROM JEAN SHEPHERD'S, "IN GOD WE TRUST, EVERYONE ELSE PAYS CASH," SCUT FARKUS (left) AND HIS TOADY, GROVER DILL WERE THE BULLIES FROM, "A CHRISTMAS STORY." THEY BORE A GREAT SIMILARITY TO HORTENSE GULIFOYLE'S SONS.
Light-hearted Alf's constant toothless smile, reminded me of a court jester. But he led a tougher, almost feral life dating back before he was six. Encouraged by small-time hoodlums, he took advantage of his tiny stature to squeeze through tight spots like; coal chutes, warped wooden basement doors and half open windows, to rob homes and businesses.
On the other hand, thirteen-year old Ducky was a head taller than most kids his age. He had a naturally strong physique which was especially imposing because the students in his grade (he was left back twice) were generally two years younger. Ducky took unfair advantage of his size to subsidize his mom's habits, by regularly threatening dozens of sheep for their lunch money.
THE 1988 MOVIE, "TWINS," FEATURED VASTLY DIFFERENT SIZED TWINS. EXCEPT THE DANNY DEVITO CHARACTER WAS BAD AND ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER'S WAS GOOD.
These petty criminals were not urban legends...they were real. In a sick way, their brutality and violence made them Bonnie and Clyde-like celebrities. Their heroic image with the locals didn't even change when, on a drunken binge, they broke into a parochial school, trashed the administration office and threw two typewriters through a third floor window...without being apprehended.
My only direct contact with Ducky was when he forced his way into a softball game. While my team was batting, he grabbed my glove and said, "If I make any errors with this piece of shit, Dimsdale, you're dead." Smartly, I didn't tell him my real name. After he came to bat once, he lost interest and walked away.
The one terrible thing he did that I witnessed, happened when my friends and I were playing football. Mallard and Anguille were walking along the sideline and set fire to my friend's coat. Ducky called out as the fur lining ignited, "What are you gonna do about it?" My friend did nothing. So Alf yelled, "Yeah, what the f--- are goin' to f---ing do about it?"
No one thought my friend was chicken...just practical. He knew it's only a Hollywood fantasy when, (Ralphie Parker), the kid in, "A CHRISTMAS STORY," got his revenge. In reality, you just have to stay out of a bully's way...and hope. Luckily for my friend, when Ducky threw it over the fence, the fire went out and the singed coat was still usable.
On the verge of adulthood, Ducky was a grizzled, veteran blackjack dealer, upstairs at the Boom-Boom Room. That bar was so notorious that my mother used to make me swear when I walked to the barber shop, (yeah I was still going to a barber), that I stayed on the other side of the street.
STOCK PHOTO OF A DIFFERENT BOOM-BOOM ROOM. THE ONE WHERE I LIVED HAD SUCH A FOUL REPUTATION THAT MY MOM USED TO JOKE THAT PEOPLE LEAVING HAD TO WIPE THEIR FEET INSIDE SO THEY WOULDN'T GET THE STREET DIRTY.
When I started college, Alf was running "numbers" and making small collections. The genius was so stupid that he stole a military surplus half track from a used car lot. He then pulled up to a pool hall in it and threatened a deadbeat.
An anonymous bystander pieced together Alf's blithering. I often wonder if there's a category for this statement in the, "GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS?" Because my source felt strongly that Alf Anguille's exact quote was, "You mother f---ing slippery eel, if you don't f---ing pay f---ing up, I'm going to chain you to back of this f---ing tank and take you for a f---ing scrape over to see my f---ing boss. Then you'll f---ing wish you just f---ing coughed-up the money me!"
The squirt had managed to talk his way out of other brushes with the law but even the Keystone Kops couldn't screw-up capturing someone driving a stolen German half track up Flatbush Avenue.
EPITOMIZING POLICE INEPTITUDE, THE KEYSTONE KOPS (1912-1917) WERE PIONEERS IN SILENT, SLAPSTICK MOVIES.
Before Alf was handcuffed, he didn't help his cause when he threatened to detonate the non-existent nuclear bomb under his torn, "wife-beater" tee-shirt. He went to prison and was never seen again.
Ducky was already a psychopath but without his half-pint henchmen, he started losing the scant decency he had. Mallard began dealing drugs in order to keep up with his spiraling list of addictions. His last self-inflicted dagger of vice was blowing his money on prostitutes at the Boom-Boom Room. His house of cards began their ultimate tumble in one of the private rooms adjacent to the faux-casino upstairs. That's when he was caught in a raid while a newbie trollop serviced him on their knees.
Ducky was questioned and released but not before the cop, (who knew him) said, "That's what I like about you Mallard. You know how to treat a female impersonator." The officer then spitefully forced the whore to reveal that she was a man before arresting the tramp.
Once that news spread, Ducky went crazy. He left the area. Nobody saw or heard from him for two years. That's when many of us I saw an item on the, "Six O'Clock News."
The TV news reporter was the woman who Gilda Radna spoofed on, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE." She was on location, surrounded by countless seagulls, in the landfill area of Queens. The details were sketchy but she said that a man's dismembered body was found in several trash bags, in the dump along Jamaica Bay.
RADNA'S, ROSEANNE ROSEANNADANNA WAS BASED ON AN ACTUAL, UNSEASONED ON-AIR NEWS PERSONALITY.
A few days later on the, "Eleven O'Clock News," a film clip from earlier that day had the same reporter standing by the waterfront, along side a shanty that looked like it was ready to cave in. She reviewed the story of the corpse found in pieces and called it, "A drug deal gone wrong." Then she said that the body was identified as Wallace Mallard.
The camera zoomed-out to a wider shot. A six-foot, Phyllis Diller-like woman was identified as the victim's mother. Then she made the classic rookie reporter's blunder, "Mrs. Gulifoyle, your son has just been found murdered in garbage dump...how do you feel?"
A skewed expression on Horty's face suggested that her grief was getting overcome by the excitement of being on TV. She glanced off-camera, had a moment of recognition, puffed-up her bird's nest hairdo and spit out her gum. Then she said, "It's Miss Gulifoyle."
The reporter was nodding as she continued, "My Ducky...I mean Wallace...was a good #$%&!# boy. Maybe once a month he'd bum a #$%&!# cigarette." The reporter didn't realize that the vulgarities could be edited out of the tape and tried unsuccessfully to interrupt.
Ducky's mom plowed on, "I loved scoping-out the #$%&!#, "RACING FORM," with him very, very much. My Ducky...I mean Wallace was a winner! He never made a #$%&!# two-dollar bet in his life and always put his money on the #$%&!# nose."
The reporter wanted to wrap things up but Horty added, "I'd invite you in and show you all the #$%&!# baseball trophies he won and all the model airplanes that he never got around to gluing together but the #$%&!# house is a mess." Suddenly, the camera cut back to the live anchorman in the studio.
THE LANDFILL (in the background) HAS BEEN A LONG-TIME BODY DUMPING GROUND. IN THE 1930's, A GROUP KNOWN AS, "MURDER INCORPORATED," STARTED THE TREND. THIS HANDY WORK BY OTHERS, CRESTED IN THE 70's. EVEN AS RECENT AS 2006, MORE HUMAN REMAINS WERE UNEARTHED THERE.
My cousin was on the scene when Ducky's mom was interviewed. He said that they completely cut out other parts like when she said, "When my other son gets out of stir, I'll get my justice." Then the camera crew started snickering when she strayed off-topic and said with a straight face something about Ducky's recent return. "I didn't know if he was #$&#!# full o' blarney or what but he was complaining about a one-eyed midget named Kierkegaard following him. And even more #$%&!# nutty, a twelve-foot thunderbird that he nicknamed Mothman telling him to come home to me."
We'll never know if Alf got out and granted his mom's wish. But I do know that many of my friends...and me, are still haunted by their memories of Ducky...even from his grave.
Many years later while visiting my parents, my wife and I went for a neighborhood bike ride. Two blocks from Ducky's house, I told her this story. At his corner, I was still so spooked that I diverted her the other way. When we passed another hovel that looked like it should be condemned I said, "That's where they lived."