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The brass-blonde sitting at the table looked up as the muscular young man entered Gavagan's. "Hello, Mr. Jeffers," she said.

The muscular young man said: "Hello, Mrs. Jonas. A brew please, Mr. Cohan." He turned his head and spoke over his shoulder from his place at the bar: "Waiting for the Professor?"

"That's right. He's probably forgotten that he made a date with me and is back in the book stacks at the college library, with half a dozen books spread on the floor around him, chasing references. The way that man behaves!"

Mr. Cohan combed the excess head off the top of Jeffers' beer with a celluloid stick and slid the glass across the counter. The door of the ladies' room opened behind him. From it emerged a massive female of approximately forty-five, both as to age and waistline, with a floppy hat and a gold pince-nez perched in the center of a somewhat belligerent countenance. In one hand she held a suitcase; in the other a lower, fatter bag, with a tarpaulin cover. The woman sat down at the table next to Mrs. Jonas and spoke: "Some Tokay, please. I will see the bottle."

Mr. Cohan came around the bar and set a glass in front of her, and exhibited the bottle, at which she peered after adjusting her pince-nez. "Six puttonos; that is good. You shall pour."

As Mr. Cohan extracted the cork with a pop, the Amazon turned to Mrs. Jonas. "Troubles with a man you may have," she said, "but anybody that says mine are not worse is a ignoramus."

"Sssh " said Mrs. Jonas. "You'll frighten Mr. Jeffers off women for life, and he's one of the few eligible bachelors around. I'm keeping him for my second string."

"Oh, I don't know—" began Mr. Jeffers. The large woman swung toward Mr. Cohan with the ponderousness of a drawbridge. "You shall tell her how much trouble I have with my man, my Putzi," she said, firmly.

Mr. Cohan's face took on a firmness equal to her own. "Now look here, Mrs. Vacarescu," he said, "this is a free country, and if you want to talk about your own troubles, I cannot prevent you. But I will not talk about such things in Gavagan's, by God, because in the first place it's bad for business; and in the second, Father McConaghy will be making me do penance. And I'm warning you that your man can come in here and drink his beer like anyone else, but dogs we will not have in Gavagan's."

Mrs. Vacarescu did not appear to be daunted. "I will pay for a bottle of Tokay for him also," she said, drinking heartily. "But it is most strongly important that he does not go out from here while it is still dark. And I know it is here he will come, like always on nights when the Sängerbund is not meeting."

Mr. Jeffers said: "I don't understand all this, but why shouldn't your husband go out of Gavagan's while it's dark? He can't very well stay all night, can he?"

Mrs. Vacarescu favored him with a glance of soul-searing scorn, "Because he is mine Putzi, and this time he is not to spoil my vacation, like always. By night he goes out of here, he is running around with some bitch—"

Mrs. Jonas gave a little gasp; Mr. Jeffers cleared his throat.

"—And next morning I got trouble with him again." Mrs. Vacarescu took another drink of Tokay and looked at her hearers. Mr. Cohan came round the end of the bar with the second bottle of Tokay and set it down beside her. "That will be four dollars and twenty cents," he said.

Mrs. Vacarescu snapped open her purse. "You will also give something to this so-beautiful lady," she said.

"I don't think—" began Mrs. Jonas, in a rather chilly voice.

"Ach, you are thinking I am not a lady," said Mrs. Vacarescu, "because of what I say, not so? But mine friend Mr. Cohan, he will tell you, it is true, and I am not making just bad words."

"We got a good class of trade in Gavagan's," said Mr. Cohan.

Mrs. Jonas said: "I don't believe I quite understand."

Mrs. Vacarescu produced a handkerchief smelling powerfully of patchouli, with which she dabbed at one eye, then the other.

It is mine Putzi [she said]. I will tell you so you understand. Never was such a man as Putzi when I knew him the first time in Budapest; strong and handsome and tall like a tree. We have picnics together on the island by Budapest on Sunday in summer, and we are eating radishes and drinking lager beer, and he is telling me stories and we are picking flowers. He would promise me everything, even a castle in Transylvania, where he comes from, and my mother says he is a good young man and I should marry him. But he will not be married by a priest; he has to have the Amtmann for it, like the peace justice here. My mother does not like that, she says a wedding by the Amtmann is a no-good, and if Putzi will not marry me by the priest, I should not marry him at all.

But it is love. [Mrs. Vacarescu sighed, pressed one hand to an ample bosom, and drank again.] So one day I run away with Putzi and we get married by the Amtmann, like he says. At first everything is fine, only we are not having picnics no more, because he says he has to concentrate on Sunday afternoons. But all he does is drink beer and look out of the window. And at night he is so funny, always walking back and forth in the room, and I cannot get him to go over to my mother's house for a piece of strudel and a cup of coffee.

And that is only the beginning. You know how it is, lady [she gestured to Mrs. Jonas]; those men will promise you everything till they get what they want, and then where are you? It gets to be like that with Putzi. When I ask where is my castle in Transylvania, he takes me by the arm and shoves me into the kitchen and says that is my castle. You got no idea of the things that man does. He don't like the sausages we have for dinner, bang on the floor goes the sausages. He don't like some of my friends that come in for a piece of strudel at night, he says, "Get those dopes out of here before they eat up all the money I make!" Right in front of them, too. When I tell him they are my friends and it is none of his business, he puts on his hat and goes right out the door and that is the last I see of him all night.

In the morning he comes in as sweet like Christmas cake, and he can't do enough for me, so I know something is wrong, like it always is when your man tries to make up to you more than he has to. So I think maybe he is chasing some woman, and the next time some of my friends are there and he walks out like that and stays all night, I start asking people, have they seen what Putzi is up to. The most I can find out is that he goes to Kettler's Bierstube and drinks beer there half the night and then he goes away again. And every time in the morning he is still half drunk but trying to make up to me like anything.

He does this once a week for a couple of months till I cannot stand it. So one night I think I will lock the door on him and let the loafer, the bum, stay outside when he gets back.

I went out to lock the door, but when I get by the hall out, here is a dachshund. It is fat and a good dog. Also, even if I have not seen this dachshund before, I can see it likes me, because it climbs up on its hind legs, so, and tries to lick my hand, and when I try to put it out again, it only comes back.

So I said, what can I do if it wants to be my dachshund, maybe it will be better company than Putzi. I found me an old piece of rug for it to sleep on, and gave it some water to drink and a piece of the pig's knuckles that was left over from dinner, and then I went back and locked the door.

But when I wake up in the morning, there is that drunken ninnyhammer of a husband of mine right in the bed, snoring like he was running a steam-engine. This I could not understand because the door is not the kind that just locks, but it has a bolt, and the windows we always close, because the night air is so unhealthy. My mother knew a woman that died of it once, in Szeged.

And when I get out in the kitchen, there is no dachshund. The only thing I can think of is that when my man came home, he kicked it out, so I asked the big lummox about it when he got up. I should have known better, maybe, because Putzi is like that in the morning, he could bite the head off a horse unless he wants to start talking himself. Anyway, all he said to me was I should shut my big mouth.

I don't care who it is, they can't talk to me like that. [Mrs. Vacarescu emitted an audible hiccup and drowned it in more Tokay.] So I told him to shut his goddam trap himself because I'm a lady. Then we had an argument that lasted all day, and Putzi slams the door and says he won't come back till he pleases. Not till he had his supper, though—hah! You can bet he gets his belly full first.

So I sat down with my sewing, and I said to myself, I'll fix him this time, and when it got real late, I went around to lock all the windows real good and bolt the door, only when I got out in front, here was this dachshund again. Only this time it had another dachshund with it and anyone can see the other dachshund is a bitch. My dachshund tried to bring the other one in with it, but the other one wouldn't come, so I took it in like before and gave it something to eat, and would you believe it? In the morning there was Putzi again and the dachshund was gone.

Then I began to think what must have happened. Like I told you, my man comes from Transylvania. You know, in that part of the old country they got people that turn themselves into wolves at night and run all around. Well, Putzi is one of them, that's why he wouldn't be married by no priest, only he don't turn into no wolf, he turns into a dachshund. And when Putzi is a man, he has lousy bad manners, but when he is a dog, ach, he has manners like an archduke!

It wasn't no use asking him how he done it, because he'd only get mad and start yelling at me. But how he turns from a dog into a man, I do know because of an accident. It is a week after the last time and I was drinking a little schnapps in the evening and I woke up early in the morning, just before sunlight, and here was Putzi the dog scratching at the door to get out. I let him out just as it got light—and right away here was Putzi, my man, red in the eyes and mad enough to chew the paper off the wall. And that other dachshund, the bitch, was just across the street.

So then I know that if sunlight hits him when he is Putzi the dog, he turns back into a man, but also I find out something not so good, that Putzi the dog is chasing around with this bitch. I will not have my man doing that, even if she is not human, but what can you do? I cannot make him stay in every night, he wouldn't do that. So I think maybe if we can get away from Budapest, the change don't work any more. I went to my father, he owns some Schleppdampfern—what do you call them?—pugs, on the river, and a little piece of money, and I tell him we have to come to America.

But when we got here, things were the same, only worse. The trouble I have with that man! All he does is eat, eat, eat, and kick when the food doesn't come fast enough, and in the evening he goes out to the Deutscher Sängerbund and drinks beer and sings songs with a lot of Schwobs half the night. He doesn't turn into no dachshund no more, and I am wishing he did until one night somebody from the Sängerbund brings them all over here to Gavagan's after the Sängerfest. Then it is just like he used to go to Ketder's Bierstube. The first thing I know it is after midnight and I am sitting waiting for my man to come home when something scratches at the door, and it is Putzi the dog, so good, so gentle.

So now I am going on my vacation and I don't want him to spoil it by being like Putzi the man. And always he comes here when the Sängerbund is not meeting and changes into a dog again and goes chasing bitches. But this time, no. I will take him with me in this bag, so the sun does not get at him.

Mrs. Vacarescu poured the last drops from her bottle of Tokay. It tipped over as she set it back on the table and it rolled to the floor with a bump, for at that moment the door swung open as though under the touch of a heavy hand. There appeared to be nobody there, but before Mr. Cohan could come round the bar to close it, a small and very fat dachshund bounded in, wagging his tail so vigorously that his whole rear end was agitated, and hurled himself on Mrs. Vacarescu.

"Here, Putzi!" she called, and stripped back the tarpaulin on the smaller bag. The little dog jumped in and seated himself contentedly. Mrs. Vacarescu replaced the tarpaulin and strode heavily out of Gavagan's.

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