"The Terrible-Tempered Mickey Finn"
Vol. 2, No. 3, 1956
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,
"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
"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