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Winner Take Bindle Ball: Live Coverage of the Hobo Ivy League’s Premier Annual Championship Game

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HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Well, howdy folks and welome! To the two hundred and twenty-sixth annual match-up between the Hobo Harvard Boston Bums and the Hobo Yale Cannon Balls. We’re about a half hour away from the beginnin’ of t'match. I’m joined by five-time champion and former captain of the California Blankets -- Hobohemia’s singular professional sports team -- Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III. As longtime viewers well know, this quadrennial athletic event is the premier sport of the wanderin’ life, as well as the most popular event in a hobo’s social calendar, with the Annual Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa coming in a distant second place. Now, this here game we are to bear witness to today is bound to be a doozy, wouldn’t you say, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III? And, by the way, may I call you Carl?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Right’cha are, Honey Bunches of Donna, right’cha are. And you can call me Carl if I can call you Honey.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Hahahaha, no. Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III it is. And joinin’ us around this here broadcast fire is none other than Queen Myra Nelson. May I say, Your Magest of Majesties, it’ain’t nothin short of a plum honor to have you with us today, and that’s a fact.”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “Well, aren’t you a bindle full’a sweetness. Now, I’ma told I’m to provide some’a the color commentary, and, in extreme cases, translation for those listeners who might of the, ahem, stationary disposition.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “‘At’s right, Your Majesty. You are in a tremendous position to help us out here as a color commentator and rube translator, on account’a you’ve gotta rube admirer, and thus can speak in a manner and tone deserving to the ears of the beyolk’ed folk.”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “And by that you mean the non-hobos among us; the rubes. The folk who take to work like ducks do to water and don’t get feet that itch like the dickens. Is that right, Donna?”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “That’s right, Queen. Ya’see, this game showcasin’ the rivalry betwixt these two institutions of Hobohemian knowhow brings even those with moss a’growin’ on their shoes to give a looksee. So, folks, if you ain’t acquainted with the Hobo Way, we gotcha covered.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Well said, Honey Bunches of Donna. Now, we come to you in livin’ radioscopic color, straight from the field of battle where, mere tickity tocks from now, the two team captains will meet to begin our competition. Now, Donna, why don’t you set to regalin’ us with what we’re in fer this evenin’?”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Shore’nuff will. Here’s an interest’in fact, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III: did you know that Hobo Harvard was actually founded sixty three years before reg’lar Harvard was?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Why, every hobo worth their bindle stick knows that Hobo Harvard is the oldest knowledge box in the nation by a long shot!”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Yes, but did you also know that Hobo Yale was founded alongside reg’lar Yale in 1700. They weren’t split to two until the Saybrook Platform in 1708, wherein the Congregational church in Connecticut was distressin’ over the lack of church discipline and a decline in general piousness. The colonial legislature took action by calling 12 ministers and four laymen to meet in Saybrook Connecticut; eight were Yale trustees: four from reg'lar Yale and four from what we now know as Hobo Yale. Now, at first, ev’ryone thought they could come to an agreement. The platform took issue with extreme localism that had been inherited from England, which, as you might imagine, delighted the dignitaries from as-yet-unfounded Hobo Yale. But then, when it came clear that they were settin’ to just replace it with a centralized system -- similar to what the Presbyterians had -- rather than eschewing localism by giving up the stationary life entirely and blowing wherever the wind takes ye, well. Schism!”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “And good riddance to good garbage, I always say, Honey Bunches of Donna.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Right you be, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III, right you be. And never more righter than in this, very, moment! Now, Queen Myra. Care to give our less wandersome listeners a little know-how on the spectacle we’re about to be spectatin’?”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “'Twould be my pleasure, Honey Bunches of Donna. Now, if I’m not mistaken, they’ve already been innerduced to the knowledge boxes from which these teams both hail. The Hobo Harvard Boston Bums and the Hobo Yale Cannon Balls are rivals from way way back. I’point’a’fact, they’ve been rivals since the very inception of the Hobo Ivy League -- which is, a’course, so-called because of the fact that ivy is the horticultural embodiment of the Hobo Way.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “'Tis true, Queen Myra, ‘tis true.”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “It’s a species that is generally invasive to the rubes of these here United States of America, muddling up their gardens and the like, but a plant type that grows with such ferocity and tenacity that nobody nohow can quash it!”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Amen to that, Queen Myra. It’s the Hobo Way to grow up wherever the wind blows’ye, and to not set your roots too deep.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “If ya set any roots a’tall, Honey Bunches of Donna!”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “True that, my good man, true. That. Now, if I’m not mistaken, each team is fielding five players into the jungle, is that right?”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “If I may, Honey Bunches of Donna-”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Go right on ahead, Queen.”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “For those of ya rubes among us, a jungle is what you folks might call a hobo encampment, usually in a train yard and especially during the summer months. It’s usually got a fire in the middle, for warmin’ your hands by and for the tellin’ of stories. The playin’ field today has been set up just so in the depot yard just east of the eastern-most terminus for the Union Pacific line and just west of the western-most section of New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. It’s just south of Union Station, and just north of Buenavista. Today, the playing field is just large enough, while not being too large, you understand, but also small enough so’s we can see all the action.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Thanks, Queen. Now Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III, can ya find it in your heart to tell us any more 'bout the team rosters?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Why I’d be delighted to, Honey Bunches of Donna. First up, we have the Boston Bums, hailin’ from that most venerable of institutions, Hobo Harvard. They’ve got themselves a mighty fast team this year, what with their expert runners. Joe Junkpan, top’a his accounting class, is faster’n greased pig’s trotters fleein’ Sunday supper. Betsy Fitz-Fancy’s got flyin’ fingers, as well as ten flyin’ toesies, and Lois ‘Charles’ Ladyfinger came in second outta all the runners in last year’s hobo decathlon. Team captain, is, a’course, King Joey Stink-Eye Smiles. Queen Myra Nelson, is he any relation a’yours?”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “Why Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III, surely you know better. After all, as the old saying goes, ‘Hobo Queens are Crowned, but Hobo Kings are Found.’ I’m’a enterin’ my third term as sovereign elected leader’a hobo kind, and I couldn’t be prouder. For those among us less familiar with the ways of hobo political structures, let me give a brief primer.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “By all means.”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “Thank you. Now, I have been crowned Queen Myra Nelson, the Lady Strange, at the past three Annual Hobo Conventions, carried out in Britt, Iowa. The process for electing a queen is democratic, whereby each hobo writes their choice on a secret ballot, or, for them as can’t write, whispers it into the ear of Johnny Chad, the Votin’ Booth Hanger-On. A king, on the other hand, is chosen by way of reincarnation and discovery, and, as such, Joey Stink-Eye Smiles has been King of all Hobo Kind since before he could walk.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “And he’s student body president, if I’m not mistaken. What's more, he's majorin' in the Science Political!”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “Right you are, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III. There are those that say he is destined for great things. I say we wait and see, and vote for Queen Myra Nelson, the Lady Strange, until such time as his plans become more apparent at least.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Hahahaha, well, you’ve got my vote from now until Kingdom Come, Queen, whenever that may be. ‘Less, a’course, good ol’ Illinois Obama throws his hat into the ring.”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “I guess I’d best thank you for that slightly less than ringin’ endorsement, Honey Bunches of Donna. Now, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III, what can’ye tell us about the team the Bums are up against?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Well, Queen Myra, I’d be delighted. The Hobo Yale Cannon Balls are often called the underdogs in this matchup, but this year they are fielding a team that, in my humble opinion, will be a force to be reckoned with. Not unlike their namesakes!”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “If I may, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III, for those’a’yas rubes out there, we are speaking of course of the hobo terminology for a fast train: a cannon ball. F’r instance, the Wabash Cannon Ball may very well be a train that runs straight from Moonshine Holler to the Big Rock Candy Mountain, with stops along the way at every which way your heart desires.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Too true, Queen Myra, too true. Would that all cannon balls were the Wabash Cannon Ball. This year’s Hobo Yale Cannon Balls may just come close! We’ve got a roster chock full of talent: there’s team captain Celestial Stubbs, who has a real eye for strategy. There’s her constant companion ‘X,’ the Anonymous, Genderless, Hobo, who never leaves her side unless it is to attend to matters of linguistic acrobatics.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Oh?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Oh yes, X is majoring in foreign language and is fluent in both the standard and hobo variants of more’n twenty language families. Ain’t that somethin’?”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Now, is their linguistic prowess likely to come in handy in today’s game?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Hard to say, Honey Bunches of Donna, hard to say. As we are now in the pre-game stages, anything is possible. And I do mean that lit’rally. Now, the Cannon Balls’s roster is filled out with some notable folk: Maria Nix, who is extremely nimble, as well as Frannie Dangle and hobo poet Mindbender Steve. He’s still a student a’the verse, but he’s beginnin’ to make a real impact in hobo litr’ary circles.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Now, is that likely to come in handy in today’s game?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Like I said before, anythin’ is possible. Oh, it looks like they’re gettin’ ready to rise for the singin’ of the hobo national anthem. Care to tell us about the singer what’s walkin’ out to the fire pit in the center of the jungle as we speak, Honey Bunches of Donna?”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Ah, yes. This precocious young angelina is named Kneepants Erasmus, the Humanist. Rumor has it he can belt it out like nobody’s business.”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “And by Angelina, Honey Bunches of Donna, you mean a punk or road kid who acts as a hobo’s companion. Interesting fact: Kneepants Erasmus, the Humanist is actually angelina to Hubbel ‘I Predicted Lindy Hop’ Deerblind.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Thank you, Queen. I’m sure wanderin’ with good ol’ Hubbel is a musical education in and of itself, what with all the swingtime jazz bands he follows, triple steppin’ from town to town.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “It’ll be hard to be last year’s performance by Rex Spangler, the Bedazzler.”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “Too true, too true. Now, if all y’all listenin’-types could doff your hats and other such noggin-butters, it’s time now for the hobo national anthem, ‘Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit,’ as sung by Kneepants Erasmus with the acompan’ment of Ol’ Two-Stache Twain on the mouth harp.”


HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “And they’re off! Play begins with Lois ‘Charles’ Ladyfinger and Mindbender Steve having a reg’lar old footrace over to the train cars. They’re hoppin’ in an’ out, scoring the first points of the game.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Interestingly enough, Honey Bunches of Donna, all the train cars are stationary at this time, so both Mindbender Steve and Lois ‘Charles’ Ladyfinger are having to run and hop in slow motion to collect all of the appropriate points.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Right you are, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III. Lois ‘Charles’ Ladyfinger is showing exceptional form, rolling through hir landings after jumping out of the boxcars, even though the train cars ain’t moving. That is a very technically difficult move.”

“SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: Too true, Honey Bunches of Donna. Although I would also like to point out that Mindbender Steve is also demonstrating some a exceptional grasp of the Hobo Way by checkin’ to see whether the boxcar is already occupied, and first requestin’ permission and offerin’ food to share. See, there he goes now and, yes, yes, it seems as though this one is, in fact, occupied. And, yes, there it is, he’s put a hand into his pocket.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “That’s right, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III. Call it luck or call it skill, but Mindbender Steve’s pockets are full of beans and bananas.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “A feast fit for a queen, wouldn’t you say Queen Myra?”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “I do enjoy a good beans’n’banana sandwich from time to time, though I o’course am partial to the bacon bits ol’ Crispy Morten puts in her beans.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “In mid-field, Betsy Fitz-Fancy is using her fashion degree and aforementioned flyin’ fingers to good use by knitting one of the highest-quality lint scarves I’ve ever seen. At its completion the Boston Bums will be sure to pull ahead by at least fifteen points. Look’it her needles go clickity-clack!”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Well, now this is interestin’. It seems Celestial Stubbs, Cannon Balls team captain and student of hobo astrophysics, has also picked up on her clickety-clack beat. Stubbs is pullin’ out a harmonica and, yes, she’s beginnin’ to play some soul renderin’ country improvisations. She’s got the music for sure. How much is that likely worth, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “That remains t’ be seen, Honey Bunches of Donna. On the one hand, play-actin’ a train with a harmonica with a knitting needle backbeat is a move we ha’int seen since, oh, the aught-eight and Kid Silverhair, the Man of Indeterminate Age’s unforgetable solo. He singlehandedly won the game for Hobo Yale. He was, in the parlance of that fine institution, one so woolly woolly baa baa sheepsome.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “That's not an expression.”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “It is at Hobo Yale. And you know? I ran inta good ol’ Kid Silverhair in Britt, Iowa last year.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “That right, Queen Myra?”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “I tell it true. He innerduced me for my stump speech. A’course he didn’t look a day over whatever he was back then.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “I would assume not! A harmonica solo like that lives on through the ages, as does Kid Silverhair. But if this improvisational moment can turn into a full-on hobo jam band, a move we call threading the banjo, it can mean big points for both sides. And, look, I guessed right. 'X,’ the Anonymous, Genderless Hobo has pulled out a cigarbox ukulele and joined in. Joinin’ them on the hambones is Ol’ Barb Stab-You-Quick.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Oh, and isn’t this somethin’? It seems Mindbender Steve has made a tactical decision to leave the boxcar hoppin’ to Lois ‘Charles’ Ladyfinger and begin composin’ some off-the-cuff lyrics.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Well isn’t that surprising! This is a real gamble, but it could pay off in a big way!”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Right you are, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III. Over on the western edge of the field, we have Joe Junkpan working together with King Joey ‘Stink-Eye’ Smiles pickin’ out the perfect soup stone. And, yes, it looks as though they’ve found one. Wow, that looks perfect.”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “The size and shape of a potato, Honey Bunches of Donna, but with all the flavors of a stone from a train depot. Toss that in a pot with some wild onions, a few dandelion leaves, and some salt pork, and you’ve got another meal fit for a queen.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Technically anything you eat is a meal fit for a queen, Queen Myra! But I take your meanin’. Truly an essential part of any hobo holiday meal, the soup stone.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Oh, well this is an exciting play! Frannie Dangle has been workin’ on startin’ up a fire in front of the hobo jam band, and it’s just caught!”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “If she can keep the fire fed long enough to boil some water, we may just have witnessed the game-changin’ play!”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “And… that’s time. We just closed out the first half of the game, and, I must say, that was some very exciting play with a variety of strategies. What can we expect in the second half of the game, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Well, Honey Bunches of Donna, it’s possible the Boston Bums’s star players, Joe Junkpan and King Joey ‘Stink-Eye’ Smiles will continue to ally with Frannie Dangle to actually cook a pot of soup. We may see more hobo jam band action, or the players may decide to use some different tactics.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “And does either team seem to have the upper hand here?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “After some careful calculation, it seems as though the teams are neck’n’neck, with the Boston Bums in the lead. But it’s still anyone’s bindle.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Wonderful. We can look forward to an exciting second half. Thank you, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III. Now, Queen Myra, we have a very special halftime presentation, isn’t that right?”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “That’s right, Honey Bunches of Donna. King Joey ‘Stink-Eye’ Smiles is your king and mine, but what do we really know about him? Stick with us through the break, and we’ll come back with a player profile of the boy who would be, and is, the Hobo King.”


HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Now, Queen, why don’t you tell us the story of King Joey ‘Stink-Eye’ Smiles? We’ve strung up a sheet a’fronta the fire, and Honey Bunches of Donna and I will act out scenes from his life, shadow style. Also joining us for this segment is Mermaid Betty Scales, who will be plunkin’ at a banjo and stompin’ an ankle tambourine.”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “Wonderful. Let us begin:

“Unlike rube monarchies, the hobo monarchical system is based in reincarnation, and, as such, King Joey ‘Stink-Eye’ Smiles was born a rube, and was named Gordon P. Wister, Junior. His father, the original Gordon P. Wister, was a man of many talents, among them the new sports of peach basket ball retrieval and modified stick ball. The boy’s mother, Molly Wister, had been a crack shot in her days, travelin’ the countryside with a local circus and sharpshooter act. She actually met Gordon Senior at one such event, where he had shown up to try to sell a new type of patent medicine. The patent medicine was a bust, but their love was not. The two got married and settled down, like a coupl’a rubes, in Iowa City, Iowa.

“Although Molly still heard the call t’wander (with which any hobo is all so familiar) from time to time, she and Gordon had a nice quiet life and birthed a nice quiet Gordon Junior. Rumor has it he came out dancin’ a bit of a tin pan alley ragtime jig, speaking early on to his hobo destiny. That’s naught but a rumor though, and truth is, he was a nothin’ more’n whip smart rube child from the get-go.

“When the child was three years of age, the former Hobo King, King Shanty Queen Elizabeth Regina, died of old age and took the Wabash Cannon Ball straight to heaven. Immediately, the current Hobo Queen sent out Nightblind and Colorblind, the blind twins, as well as Most Agree: It’s Kilpatrick, with their blind dog Punch, the kingsniffer.

“Truth be told, the three of them lost track of Punch on the way to the home of the future Hobo King, but it was no matter. With the portents fulfilled and the signs given, it was clear this child would the next and future Hobo King. Despite his father’s objections, Molly and the newly christened Joey ‘Stink-Eye’ Smiles left to pursue the noble life of the wandering traveller.

“The coronation was a sight to behold, with more than three hundred hobos in attendance in the Britt, Iowa jungle to see the boy king. He proved to have a sharp wit and a smart tongue, and the hobo media was immediately taken by the young king. They printed hobo pamphlets about the event to be distributed far and wide, and for years you could find the hobo sign for “Long Live the King!” all over Hobohemia signposts.

“The boy and his mother were mentored by that legendary hobo, Bleeding Toe, the Barefoot ‘Bo. Bleeding Toe taught them the Hobo Way, from hopping trains to sticking your head outside a window to figure out what's going on. When little King Joey turned seven, he began to train in Bindle Ball, the sport you see him playing today, with Triplecrown American Pharoh, Winner of the Hobo Horserace.

“His young life was not without trouble, however. A bindle-shoulder injury at age ten left young Stink-Eye and his family devastated. Then, just has his recovery was moving into its final stages and he got the go-ahead to resume Bindle Ball training, Triplecrown American Pharoh broke a leg, and, as is the tradition, was shot.

“This proved to be quite a blow to the young king. But he has found his solace in political science scholarship, and assures everyone that he has Big Plans. He has already been elected Student Body President, and, rumor has it, he has considered running for Queen once he is of-age. Such a consolidation of power would be unprecedented, but a win for the Boston Bums today, under his leadership, could go a long way in winning the hearts and minds of hoboes near and far. Join us as we move into the second half of this incredibly exciting and possibly defining game.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Well, that sounded just great, Queen Myra, thank you. And Mermaid Betty Scales, that was some mighty fine inspirational flourishin’s you put on that story. Honey Bunches of Donna, I partic’larly liked when you came from around back’a the sheet and began wavin’ the flag closer an’ closer to our faces.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Well, shoot, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III, it was just what felt right at that moment, what with all the musical swellin’. And after all, it’s the Hobo Way to improvise.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Right you are, Honey Bunches of Donna. And over on the pitch, it looks like the players are linin’ back up for a continuation of this contest pittin’ hobo brother against hobo brother.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Well, hobo sibling against hobo sibling, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Right you are, Honey Bunches of Donna, right you are. Did you know, folks, that Ol’ Barb Stab-You-Quick and Frannie Dangle are sisters? Ol’ Barb Stab-You-Quick is studying hobo-pre-med at Hobo Harvard, and Frannie Dangle is studying biology at Hobo Yale.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Hobo biology?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “No, just the reg’lar type.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Right. Well folks, we’re to take a quick bean break. But we’ll be back right quick with the second half of the two hundred and twenty-sixth annual Hobo Ivy League Bindle Ball match-up featurin’ the Hobo Harvard Boston Bums versus the Hobo Yale Cannon Balls.”


HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “And with that tin trumpet blast, we begin the second half of this competition. We’re getting off to a kinda a slow start as folks seem predominantly focused on stoking the fire and warming their fingers or backsides.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Right you are, Honey Bunches of Donna. What we are seeing here is possibly the best example of a strategy I like to call ‘no trash, no flash.’ It’s the calmest way to play Bindle Ball, a sort of a meditative, restful and slow gathering of points.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Ain’t that what it’s all about, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Sometimes it is, Honey Bunches of Donna. Sometimes it is. What we do now is just-”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “Are you folks seein’ what I’ma peepin to?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Why, whatever do you mean, Queen- Why! Hobo Duchess’s behind, is that what I think it is?”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “Shut your bazoo, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III. ’Tain't polite to swear, but I daresay that appears t’ be exactly what you think it is.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “This is unprecedented! What a remarkable turn’a events! They’ll be spinnin’ the yarn of this Bindle Ball match for years to come! ‘Were you there?’ they’ll ask, warmin’ their fingers by the jungle fire. ‘Were you there the day the rube wandered inta the pitch?’ This is certainly somethin’ special.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Pay attention now, folks. You’ll wanta tell your grandbabbies about this day. The rube has entered the pitch and appears ta be… she appears ta be approachin’ the fire!”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Right you are, Honey Bunches of Donna. What she does next could seriously impact this game, nay, the entirety of Bindle Ball for years and years to come!”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “It appears, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III, that she is in need’a some assistance. Her begloved hands are twiddlin’ that handkerchief ever so anxiously, even with one arm, burdened as it is with a bag full of… somethin’. Can you hear what anyone’s sayin’?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “They may as well all be Silent Cal--the hobo, a’course, not the president of the same description--for all I can hear of them.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “It looks… yes, it looks as though Joe Junkpan and King Joey Stink-Eye Smiles are trying to sell the rube something. Is it… is it a stone? A cloud?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “If they are successful, Honey Bunches of Donna, this could be the biggest coup the world of Bindle Ball has ever seen. I don’t know if we even have a scoreboard that goes up that high!”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “You are referring, of course, to Scoreboard Dan the Scorekeepin’ Man, who marks the points with a hobo sign system of his own design.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Indeed I am, Honey Bunches of Donna. It appears that the rube’s attention has turned from the salesmen to Celestial Stubbs and Frannie Dangle, who… yes, yes, they appear to be givin’ the rube a song and a dance, literally!”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “If I’m not mistaken, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III, they are doing the shim sham shimmy and attemptin’ to… well, I’m not entirely sure what the endgame might be here. Any thoughts, Queen Myra?”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “Plenty, Honey Bunches of Donna, I got plenty. But all’s I’m gonna say right now is how lively those two look down there. Boy! Sure are nimble, our Celestial Stubbs and our Frannie Dangle. And look, they’re doin’ a splendid Shorty George.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Would that be a hobo Shorty George, Queen Myra?”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “No, just the reg’lar type, but a bit shorter than's average, I'd wager. Oh, and ‘X,’ the Anonymous, Genderless Hobo has joined in for the final chorus! It must be noted that this song in particular is an excellent choice.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “How d'ya figure?"

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “‘Tain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it,’ is a lyric that Melvin ‘Sy’ Oliver and James ‘Trummy’ Young adapted from that precept of the Hobo Way: Tain’t what you put in your bindle, it's how it affixes to your stick.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Right you be, Queen. Right you be. Song and dance havin’ just ended, the rube appears to be workin’ her way off the field, toward the home of one Mr. Block, the station manager. Well. That wasn’t quite as excitin’ as I thought it might be.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Now Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III, we’ll have to check in with Scoreboard Dan to be sure, but I believe that was a very high-scoring round. After all, several of the players demonstrated an acute knowledge of at least three different precepts’a the Hobo Way. Namely: going to talk to someone if you're not sure who they are, letting someone ask a question they wish to ask, and most likely lying to rubes, which, as you know, is encouraged.”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Right you are, Honey Bunches of Donna! And, as we all know, none of them lied to each other. Lying to other hobos, you get the inev’table shiv, quick as ya like.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Yes, that’s- wait. Wait a tick. Wait a tock. Wait just a tickity-tock longer. Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III, are you perceivin’ what I am perceivin’?”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Why, it looks… it looks like Mariah Nix, runnin’ through the jungle with a twohandsfull’a freshly baked and still a’set to steamin’ apple pie!”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Apple pie!”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Mariah Nix, the student of hobo arts from Hobo Yale and best runner we’ve seen in the game’a Bindle Ball since Gummy Corkwise five years hence--”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “Oh, nope, it’s just Gummy now. Helen of Troy of Sheboygan told me he lost the Corkwise to her in a poker game just last week.”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Well, as Gummy just Gummy enjoys sayin’, apple pie! And we do have one right now brought to us by the swift trotters of Mariah Nix, the student of hobo arts from the Hobo Yale Cannon Balls! Amazing!”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “You know, Honey Bunches of Donna, this is one’a the perks they don’t tell ya about when it comes to commentatin’! First bite of scrumptious, game-winnin’ pie. Thank you, Mariah!”

SHERLOCK-HOLMES-HAT CARL III: “Well, that’ll just about do it for us, folks, as we’re about to dig ourselves into this pie. Queen Myra, do you have any closin’ thoughts to share with the audience?”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “Why, yes I do, Sherlock-Holmes-Hat Carl III. What we just witnessed today was a rousin’ interplay of two giants of hobo academia, but it was so much more. What is a game of Bindle Ball but a metaphor for the greater Hobo Way of Livin’?”

HONEY BUNCHES OF DONNA: “Wuzza?”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “I mean, Honey Bunches of Donna, that our reenactin’ of this, the most ancient of hobo sportin’ customs, is a tradition passed down from generation to generation of hobos. We begin’ as little hobo tykes, gettin’ a bindle and stuffin’ it full’a berries, or racin’ from boxcar to boxcar to see who can greet the other folks correctly first. Unlike rube sports some’a ya may know, Bindle Ball don’t prepare you for war or business. If anythin’, it prepares ya for the opposite.

“In the rube world, rivalries between two teams often lead directly to distress and violence. But in Bindle Ball, it is we who learn not to shiv, rather than how to a shivver be.

“Life as a hobo requires the understandin’, born in this tradition, that we are all in this together, that we, as hobos, must stick together even in the most tryin’ of times. After all, we hobos hold these truths to be self-evident, that all hobos are created equal, that t’ain’t what you put in your bindle, it’s how it affixes to your stick, that a hobo thinks with first the brain and then the heart, and that the only home a hobo has is the ones on his feet.

“There’s a reason they call the bottoms of your feet the sole, you know. It’s only there, balanced upon your soul, that a person can truly find freedom. And that, my friends? That’s the Hobo Way.”

MAIAH NIX: “Upon my word, Queen Myra, if you was on our team we’d’a won on rousin’ speech points alone!”

QUEEN MYRA NELSON: “Why thank you, Mariah. Now, if ya don’t mind too terribly much, will you serve me up a piece of that… what kind did it end up?”

ALL: “Apple pie!

THE END