By Steven G. Farrell
An homage to the Bowery Boys movies of the 1930s! This is a wild, humorous and slightly chilling yarn that takes us through the alleys of New York’s Bowery as a group of young hooligans known as the Bowery Irish Clowns tries to stop a killer who seems a lot like a certain Jack the Ripper.
The Ripper on the Bowery
Clarence Darrow Shaw, aka ‘Shem,’ member of the Bowery’s Irish Clown social club and an infamous loafer of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, disembarked the 3rd Avenue Elevated Train at Canal Street. He had spent another fruitless day seeking an executive position on Wall Street; now it was time to get back to his real occupation: goofing off with the other Bowery’s Irish Clowns. The job-hunting façade was just a scam to keep his old man at bay in the Shaw family’s tenement apartment. He would do anything to keep his parents from yelling at him. It usually worked. After coughing-up the fare to and from the city Shem had just enough of the money he had bummed off his Ma for a coffee and piece of pie at “Hughie’s Bohemian Café,” the official hang-out for Bugs and the other Clowns. Hughie Kressin the ancient Yiddish-spewing innkeeper of the Bohemian Café, was an easy touch in spite of all of his ranting at the Irish corner boys who cluttered his place. Shem knew he wouldn’t feel secure until he was with the gang. The Ripper wouldn’t dare step into the holy grounds of the café. Hughie was particular about the quality of the people who stepped into his establishment.
“Gee, Bugs will understand why I can’t get my career off of the ground,” Shem said out loud as he descended the stairways of the station. His moronically bug-eyed looks and mumblings always drew stares. He just knew his folks would start harping on him about going back to his old gig at the Fulton Fish Market. “They’re both nothing but Irish harpies.”
Shem drew a bead on Hughie’s just down the block but his vision was blocked when his Dodgers baseball cap fell over his eyes upon his collision with Squirt Sheridan, the tough newsboy who worked the corner and who was a sworn enemy of the Bowery Irish Clowns. Squirt was known for carrying a switchblade knife.