Richard Bostwick Reminiscences

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Welfare Office Stories
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Cab Driving Stories
The Way It Was - 1930
The Gambler And His Gal 1927
The Last One To Know 1926
Just A Couple Of Hustlers 1925
Cash On Delivery 1923
One Born Every Minute 1923
Fun Is Where You Find It 1923
An Ace In The Hole 1922
And A Little Child Shall…
Gold Tooth Murphy
Aiding And Abetting 1929
Buried Treasure 1927
The Good Samaritan
Just A Country Trip
The Prodigal Son
Occupational Hazard
Four Bags Full
Overtime Pay
Above And Beyond The Call
Fourth Down And Ten
Let There Be Light
Take It Or Leave It
Double Or Nothing
The Champ
Three Of A Kind
My Silent Big Spender
N.P.R.R. (Northern Pacific Railroad) Mr. Moody


Prohibition Stories
A Little Competition
Some Did Burn
Last Words


Just A Couple Of Hustlers

It was a nice warm summer evening. The time was about 9:30 p.m. and I had not had a run for some time, due to the weather. The dispatcher finally sent me to the Webster Hotel, which was a second rate hotel on the corner of N.P. avenue and 5th street. As I pulled up in front of the hotel, there were three fellows standing on the curb waiting for me. Two of them were quite a bit younger that the third man whom they were steadying between them. This older man appeared to be a farmer who had taken one drink too many. I swung open the door of my cab. As the three of them got in, one of the younger men directed me to take them across the river to the Lally block. The Lally block was a run down, third rate rooming house inhabited by wine-o's and the like. I figured the two younger fellows were just a couple of hustlers who had found themselves a ‘live guy.' Now, a ‘live guy' is any country boy, harvest hand, or some uninitiated fellow who has come to town looking for a good time and having the money to pay for it. The word ‘hustler' can apply to anyone, either male or female, who is looking to obtain an easy buck by the use of either their guile or their body.

N.P. Avenue, Fargo, Webster Hotel on the right, ca. 1930 (2006.19.10)

I closed the cab door and headed for the bridge. I had seen the likes of these two hustlers operate before. They would pick up some sucker, befriend him by supplying him with drinks, and as soon as he became drunk enough, they would roll him for his money. This guy these two hustlers had was not quite drunk enough yet to be taken.

Well, I could not play guardian angel to them all. It was not any of my business, so long as no one got hurt. I was surprised that they had not tried to roll him in the cab on the way to the Lally block, but the old fellow evidently could hold his liquor. When I arrived at our destination, the two hustlers urged the old man to come upstairs with them. The old man turned to me and asked if I would please take him back to his hotel. One of the fellows promised the old man that if he would come upstairs with them, his wife would fix them all supper. The old fellow was just sober enough to know better than to go upstairs. At this point they started to get rather nasty with him and threatened him if he did not do as they wished.

Up until now I had been somewhat ignored, but when they started to use force in order to get him out of the cab, I spoke up and told them to “Knock it off.” They seemed surprised that I should interfere and asked me, “What the hell is this any of your business?” I told them I had a license to protect and besides, I was not going to stand by and see this old guy abused. Well, that ended it as far as they were concerned. After they told me what they thought of me as a cab driver, they slammed the cab door and went upstairs without their prey. I proceeded back to the Webster Hotel. When I got there, I opened the cab door to find that the old man had passed out. So I went into the hotel and asked the clerk if the guy in my cab had a room in his hotel. He came outside, looked at my passenger, and said that he did. With the help of the clerk we managed to get him up to his room. The last I saw of the old man he was lying across his bed sound asleep. The clerk paid me my fare of $2.75, and said he would add it on to the old man's bill. He said the old fellow always stopped at the Webster when he came to town.



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Updated: 7/30/2007