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JEAN SHEPHERD Kids–more Scragging

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We all meet.  Boy, what fantastic excitement!  We’ve each contributed two bits to buy some gas because that’s the ammunition for scragging.  Flick is driving, I’m sitting in the passenger seat, Schwartz is directly behind me, Bruner is off to one side, and between them is Bolis, and out we go in the darkness.  We go roaring down the street.  The guy who roars up and down the street with the ’54 Chevy with the high-risers—that’s not scragging.  No, this is something else, man!  This is on the prowl!

We ride up and down the half-dark streets, and you can see the twilight drifting down over the steel mills and once in a while you can smell just the edge of spring flowers beginning to be spring flowers but now they’re still just crawling through the mud.  When this car gets anywhere from twenty-six miles-per-hour to fifty miles-per-hour, it vibrates at such a frequency that it blots out all human speech inside.  We’re passing around two cans of Pepsi Cola, we have a bag of White Castle hamburgers, we’re stoking up, man, we are hungry, we are on the prowl!

And we roll down along the street, because, you see, what is happening with man’s eternal, romantic nature—on the quest, on the prowl, searching—always searching for that meaningful relationship!  Yes, it is springtime, and that great, vast, flood of romanticism is pounding from our veins to our arteries.  It is scragging time!

I’m going to describe to you this strictly male sport.  We’re rolling along that dark street and then we see the flash!  Somebody on the sidewalk.  Two or three girls walking along, going somewhere.  Flick slows up unperceptively and Schwartz leans over, he’s getting his head in the window, ready for the opening blast.  Then Flick on the horn, WAKWAKWAKWAK! We’re all leaning, like hunters watching a flight of geese come in over the reeds.  These three girls walking along, pretending they don’t hear this car coming up behind them.  They’re walking along under the trees, it’s springtime, and then Schwartz lets out the first—the opening—blast of spring!  It’s like the ump looking out over Shea Stadium hollering, Play Ball!  Schwartz leans forward and hollers, “Hey, baby, woweee!  Holy smokes!  Wow! Hey, baby!”  Scragging season has begun.

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