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"The Terrible-Tempered Mickey Finn"



Vol. 2, No. 3,  1956

    ONCE UPON A TIME, back in the 1880's of the last century, there was a saloon-owner in Chicago whose name was Michael Finn.
    No, Mr. Michael Finn did not invent the Mickey Finn. The guy who ran the saloon right across the street from Mr. Finn's did that. This fellow's name has been lost in the mists of time, but, let us call him Casey.
    Casey admired and envied Mr. Finn. Mr. Finn, see, had a terrible temper. Also, he was very sensitive. He had a positive distaste for loud, abusive language, naughty words and gestures. Also, he did not like staggering drunks.
    Whenever any practitioners of these or the latter or any combination of same started stinking up Mr. Finn's clean, well-lighted joint, Mr. Finn would lose his temper and go to work. Being as how he was as strong as a bull elephant, Mr. Finn would pick up the roisterer and heave him elegantly to the sidewalk outside, right over the swinging doors. And If there happened to be two or three hell-raisers all raising hail at the same time. Mr. Finn paid no mind; he would pick up two or even three and bounce them all together.
    Casey, across the street, much plagued by drunks and hell-raisers, watched Finn's superb performance and wistfully envied it. "By the sweet Mother of Jesus," he whispered to himself one lovely afternoon when five disgusting drunks had come sailing out of Finn's is rapid succession, "I wish to God I had me a Mickey Finn all of me own, by gorry, that I do."
    Now Casey, on top of his other troubles, was constipated, and it was his habit to keep a bottle of castor oil on the bar along with the other bottles.
    One day a loud, sloppy drunk, mistaking this bottle for booze, seized it and poured a goodly portion of It down his throat. What happened then was remarkable. An expression of deep, poignant emotion appeared on the drunks battered face: internal rumblings and gushings were heard; and clutching his throat In a terrible grip, he reeled through the swinging doors and was last seen heading for Alaska, spouting as he ran.
    Mr. Casey peered after the departed drunk and a frown of thought furrowed his brow. A great moment of history was about to come to pass; and like Samuel Morse or Edison, or maybe it was someone else, Casey was properly reverent. "What hath God wrought!" he murmured in simple, pious wonder, and betook himself to the druggist's shop down the street.
    "Mister," said Casey, "would you be having some thing more powerful than castor oil--and maybe tasteless, too?"
    "Croton oil would be what you're wanting, Mr. Casey," said the man.
    "And is it extremely powerful, now?" said Casey.
    "My God, man," said the druggist, "one sip of this elixir would cause a whale to bust its bowels in two."
    "That would be exactly the stuff I'm after," said Casey, and departed with fair supply of the fluid.
    Casey was bothered no more by obstreperous drunks. One tiny drop of the oil dropped into their booze under the bar, and--presto. It was simply wonderful. The drunk would look thoughtful, then definitely alarmed, then seriously alarmed, and, like the first, historic drunk, would depart, only faster, and would be seen no more.
    "There now, do you see," Casey would say proudly, explaining this phenomenon to interested patrons, "I have gone and got me a Mickey Finn of me own!"
    And so sensitive, terrible-tempered Mr. Michael Finn lives on today, and presumably will forever, as long as no-goods cut up and raise hell in bars and must be speedily quieted. Others have made improvements and refinements--some Mickey Finns are composed of ipecac powder, others ofchioral hydrate--but the great original principle remains the same: Attack a man through his stomach and he will leave you in peace.

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