Jim sold ads from $2.50 up to $15, which was his super ad and used the old "disabled veteran" as a selling point. He was nice to me as long as I agreed with him, and kept his glass almost full. One day he was going to teach me the business and how to sell an ad to someone who didn't want one.
After a few shots of whisky he began his pitch and it went something like this: "I am a disabled veteran and I own a small newspaper called the G.I. Sports News, and would like to know if you would be interested in taking out an ad in my newspaper? The ads start at $2.50 up to $15 dollars," and he would tell them how many times he was wounded and about his bad leg and arm, and soon most would buy a $2.50 ad (just enough to buy him a bottle of booze). As I wiped the tears from my eyes, Jim would have another shot of whiskey.
Some weeks he spent his money on booze and told me that I could wait until next week if I wanted to get paid. For the fun of it, when that happened, I would drop his lousy papers in the nearest garbage can on my way home.
Later Jim got himself a lady partner and they became the best known drunks on the block. She was his office clerk and drinking partner, which caused them to have differences of opinions, getting them familiar with the local law enforcement. I saw the handwriting on the wall, and when the crystal ball reflected an eviction notice for them, I went on down the block and went to work for Gabe Garrett as an apprentice printer with a steady salary and a future until Gabe closed his business due to bad health.
I still remember the many things Gabe had the patience to teach me, and the many times he helped me through my lean years as a growing boy; simple things, like a few kind words and free rides when it was raining or bad weather, but most of all, he was a good friend never to be forgotten.
The last I heard of Jim and his google-eyed girlfriend was that they moved to Dallas, but his sales pitch still rings in my ears.