Valhalla Garage

San Francisco, California, 1947!

Mecca of the Market Street Commandos, Benares of the Booze Fighters..

Francis Guadalcanal’s Journal, March 17, 1947

So we’re over at the Richelieu after a long day at the shop, blowin’ some foam and washin’ it down with that Kentucky ambrosia, and this pug-ugly longshoreman who looks like a fat Max Schmeling is givin’ X. Johnny a load of bull. X. Johnny looks straight at him and says, "The next thing you say will be a lie."

The pug takes his shot but X. Johnny ducks so I clip him the way Kage-san, the old man who did my laundry in Okinawa showed me, nailed him with a straight right to the upper lip and nose. The guy’s just standin’ there, out, so X. Johnny pastes him one on the kisser with the tapper he calls his coup stick he always carries - it’s like a knot of wood with a handle.

Mother Moses over at the pool table shoots to his feet, Giz Lish spilling his drink, and he yells, "Man, you boys is booze fighters!"

X. Johnny takes a pose, his boot on the pug’s head, "That’s what we be, Mother. Booze Fighters!"

(c)1997 Pete Ahrens