But the writer whose stories of Prohibition-era Broadway inspired Guys and Dolls was more than just colorful nicknames and eccentric grammar, and even that grammar may have had a point.
I'm giving Runyon another try on account of a blonde doll who is putting her hands on her hips and giving me the eye and saying: "Big Pete! I am reading Damon Runyon's stories, and I am liking them, and I am very much wanting to know what you intend to do about this."
The story she suggested begins like this:
"One night I am standing in front of Mindy's restaurant on Broadway, thinking of practically nothing whatever, when all of a sudden I feel a very terrible pain in my left foot."and ends— well, the ending, has the same off-beat grammar and syntax and rough good humor, but it's a whole lot darker. And that's why Runyon, at least some of him, still makes it as a crime writer today. But why take my word for it? You can read the story, "Sense of Humor," yourself.
And then you can take a look at a contemporary Irish crime writer's homage to Runyon.
© Peter Rozovsky 2011