“That’s a good idea,” I said. “Your wife ever see you fight, Jack?”
“No,” Jack says. “She never seen me fight.”
I thought he must be figuring on taking an awful beating if he doesn’t want to go home afterwards. In town we took a taxi up to the Shelby. A boy came out and took our bags and we went to the desk.
“How much are the rooms?” Jack asked.
“We only have double rooms,” the clerk says. “I can give you a nice double room for ten dollars.”
“That’s too steep.”
“I can give you a double room for seven dollars.”
“With a bath?”
“You might as well bunk with me, Jerry,” Jack says.
“Oh,” I said. “I’ll sleep down at my brother-in-law’s.”
“I don’t mean for you to pay it,” Jack says. “I just want to get my money’s worth.”
“Will you register, please?” the clerk says. He looked at the names. “Number 238, Mister Brennan.”
We went up in the elevator. It was a nice big room with two beds and a door opening into a bathroom.
“This is pretty good,” Jack says.
The boy who brought us up pulled up the curtains and brought in our bags. Jack didn’t make any move, so I gave the boy a quarter. We washed up and Jack said we better go out and get something to eat.
We ate a lunch at Jimmy Handley’s place. Quite a lot of the boys were there. When we were about half through eating, John came in and sat down with us. Jack didn’t talk much.
“How are you on the weight, Jack?” John asked him. Jack was putting away a pretty good lunch.
“I could make it with my clothes on,” Jack said. He never had to worry about taking off weight. He was a natural welter-weight and he’d never gotten fat. He’d lost weight out at Hogan’s.
“Well, that’s one thing you never had to worry about.” John said.
“That’s one thing,” Jack says.
We went around to the Garden to weigh-in after lunch. The match was made at a hundred forty-seven pounds at three o’clock. Jack stepped on the scales with a towel around him. The bar didn’t move. Walcott had just weighed and was standing with a lot of people around him.
“Let’s see what you weigh, Jack,” Freedman, Walcott’s manager, said.
“All right, weigh him then,” Jack jerked his head towards Walcott.
“Drop the towel,” Freedman said.
“What do you make it?” Jack asked the fellows who were weighing.
“One hundred and forty-three pounds,” the fat man who was weighing said.
“You’re down fine, Jack,” Freedman says.
“Weigh him,” Jack says.
Walcott came over. He was blond with wide shoulders and arms like a heavyweight. He didn’t have much legs. Jack stood about half-a-head taller than he did.
“Hello, Jack,” he said. His face was plenty marked up.
“Hello,” said Jack. “How do you feel?”
“Good,” Walcott says. He dropped the towel from around his waist and stood on the scales. He had the widest shoulders and back you ever saw.
“One hundred and forty-six pounds and twelve ounces.”
Walcott stepped off and grinned at Jack.
“Well,” John says to him, “Jack’s spotting you about four pounds.”
“More than that when I come in, kid,” Walcott says. “I’m going to go and eat now.”
We went back and Jack got dressed. “He’s a pretty tough-looking boy,” Jack says to me.
“He looks as though he’d been hit plenty of times.”
“Oh, yes,” Jack says. “He ain’t hard to hit.”
“Where are you going?” John asked when Jack was dressed.
“Back to the hotel,” Jack says. “You looked after everything?”
“Yes,” John says. “It’s all looked after.”
“I’m going to lie down for a while,” Jack says.
“I’ll come around for you about a quarter to seven and we’ll go and eat.”
Up at the hotel Jack took off his shoes and his coat and lay down for a while. I wrote a letter. I looked over a couple of times and Jack wasn’t sleeping. He was lying perfectly still but every once in a while his eyes would open. Finally he sits up.
“Want to play some cribbage, Jerry?” he says.