Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tales of the South Side: Bubs Murtaugh Goes to Mission

Bubs Murtaugh had issues, as do we all, I know. Murtaugh's issues were legion. Bubs came from what was known back in the day as Scottsdale Area, after the Shopping Center with the Goldblatt's at 79th between Pulaski and Cicero.

As my legion of reader will recall, Bubs Murtaugh lived near Durkin Park in St. Bede the Venerable Parish, played football for Tom Cavanagh at St. Laurence High School in Burbank, got a full ride for football to St. Procopius College ( now Illinois Benedictine University) in Lisle, IL, guzzled Schlitz Tall Boys and reefer-ed his way out of that, got a job with Streets and San and lived with his Mom and Dad. N.B. - click my post title for more earnest and poignant yarns of this sort.

Bubs Mutaugh survived his parents and a savage lust affair with a babe - a busty graduate of Emeryk Zajack's Bartender Academy on Archer in Garfield Ridge and who worked intermittently at the Swap-a-Rama in Alsip. He had title to raised ranch of his parents in St. Bede's and kept up with the growing property taxes and the devaluation of the home and property. He was laid off his work on the trucks by the City and pensioned up. He had nothing but time and some cash to kill.

Taxes were not anywhere near the Centurion's in Murtaugh's Problematic Legion. His boozing and frequent brawls earned him a universal invitation to take his business to establishments east of Cicero, and then Pulaski, and nowhere between 111th & 63rd Streets. Bubs Murtaugh's welcome was as worn as the foreskin on an uncircumcised dry-humper locked in a porn shop. He was losing his teeth due to poor dental hygiene and pops in the choppers and was now at age 59 a poster child for dental implants.

When he and his paramour parted company for keeps, Bubs took stock. He still liked his cocktails, but he wanted a change in his life, but, like St. Augustine, not quite yet.

Bubs Murtaugh went on a toot in Blue Island, Il that became the stuff of legend. Bubs boozed , befriended, borrowed from, betrayed, beat up, and was beat down, by nearly every carbon footprint on New Western Ave. and Old Western Ave. between 119th Street to the north to across the tracks on Western to the trailer park on the other side of Our Lady of Sorrows.

When not closing or awaiting the opening of a joint, Bubs Murtaugh caught a few dreamless winks in bars at closing time, or on the CTA. It was an Odyssey fueled and sailed upon the amber waters provided by the good folks of the Miller Brewing Company.

One night,incidit in scyllam cupiens vitare charybdim*, or between Vincennces and Vermont Street, the sea-monsters and whirlpool of pilsner got the best of the booze blind Bubs. His sense of awareness returned in the lock up of the Blue Island police station at 13031 Greenwood Avenue. He was taken to Markham Courthouse and charged with robbery.

Bubs was in a genuine jackpot. Blacked out he had robbed a young couple of $ 45 and a take-out meal from Restaurante Tenochtitlan (Desayuno Tenochtitlan... $9.50: Steak topped with 2 eggs and a Choice of Salsa(red,green or chipotle),Served with Rice,de la Olla Beans,One Grilled Jalapeno Pepper and Tortillas)and was transported to Cook County Jail.

His cousin from his Mom's side received the plaintive phone-coded message and bonded Bubs out three days later. His court date was thirty-days in his immediate future.

The man dried out. He paced his basement, watched his Boxed Set DVD Collector's edition of the great Matt Helm Series because the cable was shut off, slept fitfully and prayed. On floor of his living room under the front door's mail slot were piles of bills, ComEd and People's Gas red cards notifying him of impending utilities terminations and gorgeously painted presented cardboard notice of a mission given by a Capuchin who had the power of healing. Father Payton Hester ,O.F.M. Cap., at St. Bede's. Bubs could stand a miracle. Bubs stepped in and was prepared to step-up!

Th young and muscular Capuchin said, "Anyone with 'special needs" who wants to be prayed over, please come forward to the front by the altar."

With that, Bubs got in line, and when it was his turn, the smiling scion of Fra Matteo Bassi 1495-1552 - founder of the Capuchins wlecomed Bubs. The smiling Preacher asked, "My son, what do you want me to pray to Our Lord and the Virgin Mary about for you?"

Bubs replied, "Father, I need you to pray for help with my hearing."

The brown cowled friar put one finger of one hand in Bubs's ear, placed his other hand on top of Murtaugh's head, and then prayed and prayed and prayed. He prayed a "blue streak" for Bubs Murtaugh, and the packed pews of St. Bede's joined in with great enthusiasm.

After a few minutes of enchanting and uplifting quiet, Father Payton Hester, OFM, Cap. removed his hands, stood back and loudly and angelically asked, " Bub's Murtaugh, how is your hearing now?"

Bubs answered, " I don't know. It ain't 'til next Thursday."

Ita fit verum et fertur

Hat tip to Max Weismann of the Center for Great Ideas

*Scylla and Charybdis
Ulysses had been warned by Circe of the two monsters Scylla and Charybdis. Also can be meant as 'between a rock and hard-ass.'

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