Monday, September 26, 2011
Ody Abbott: In the still of the night...or something
"Looks like we're carrying the burden for those teatotalers," he grunted to his partner. The cask they carried clacked against the others as they set it down.
"At least prohibition profits some of us," his partner said. The partner wiped the sweat from his brow, despite the cool autumn air. As they moved toward the next cask, he glimpsed the moon through the cracks in the shed walls. His partner continued, "As long as those dopes outlaw boo-"
"What is it?" his partner whispered.
They paused for what seemed like hours.
"I thought I heard something...must have imagined it," he said. "Come on, we're almost done."
As he spoke the last word, the door exploded inward. The moonlight silhouetted an imposing figure in the doorway, his foot outstretched as though finishing a mighty kick. The figure strode into the tiny shed and clasped his hands together with fingers interlaced.
"Well, boys, it looks like business isn't as great as you though," the figure said. "Better put your hands up to the rafters. And don't even think of trying to make me a paperweight; there are enough guns pointed at you that you'd never get a single piece of lead in me.""
The figure lifted the fedora off his brow, dimly revealing his face in the pale glow of the moon. The bootleggers gasped, shouted in unison.
...OK, maybe it wasn't that dramatic. But Ody Cleon Abbott lived an interesting life after his cup of coffee with the 1910 St. Louis Cardinals. After playing semi-professional baseball out West and in Canada, Ody enlisted in the army. He served as a sergeant in a training unit during World War I.
Abbott later worked as a deputy sheriff in Washington County (Pa.), his home county. He eventually became the sheriff during prohibition, when he undoubtedly busted thousands of bootleggers. At least, that's what I imagine all police officers did from 1920-1933. Or they took their dirty money.
Either way, if Hollywood has taught me anything, it's that the above scenario ends in a shootout, accounting for Ody Abbott's early demise in 19331.
1 His cause of death was listed as "a heart ailment," which is clearly a euphemism for "shredded by Tommy gun while busting a still."