A David Goodis story

By Charlotte Halpern

My late husband, Eli Halpern and David were first cousins; Eli's father and David's mother (Molly Goodis) were siblings. This was Eli's favorite David story:

During the summer of 1952, Eli was in New York City taking post-graduate courses. To earn money, he got a job on the Hudson River Day Line, and worked evenings as a bartender on ferries that drew their passengers from Harlem.

These were not genteel gatherings; brawls and stabbings were not uncommon. The young bartenders were instructed to stay (in relative safety) behind the bar.

One evening, a swarthy man, came out of the sea of black faces, and ordered a whisky. The conversation went like this:

Eli (puzzled): David?

David (recognizing Eli): I'm gathering material. Don't tell Aunt Molly.

And he disappeared into the crowd. And Eli didn't tell David's mother.`

This essay appeared in the GoodisCON program book

Louis Boxer photographed this item from the collection of David Goodis pulp materials. The collection was compiled by Dennis McMillan http://www.dennismcmillan.com