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I Run to Win

“Wagner? Forget Wagner. He’s an old man. He won’t win a primary.”

“Shut up,” my wife said.

I held the phone away. “Hey, what are you telling me to shut up for?”

“I said shut up,” she said.

I went back to the phone. “Lindsay? Gabe, you know better than I do that Lindsay came into this city like a commuter. He doesn’t...”

“Shut up,” she said again.

“What do you mean, shut up?” I said.

“Because he’s going to put down what you say and make you sound like a sour dope.”

“What do you mean? Gabe and I are good friends.”

“You’re not supposed to give long answers to a reporter,” she said. “You’re going to make yourself look like a jerk and the whole family is going to suffer because of it.”

I’m holding the phone against the pillow so Gabe Pressman won’t hear.

“Hey, this is a friend of mine calling up. It isn’t like an interview. This is personal.”

“No it isn’t. He’ll put down everything you say. He’s unethical.”

“What do you mean he’s unethical? Gabe Pressman is not. He’s a friend.”

“Hey,” she said, “all reporters are unethical. Who knows better than you? You wrote the book.”

I made a date to meet Pressman and a camera crew at noon. When I hung up, the phone rang immediately. It was Alice Krakauer, who is handling the scheduling for our college appearances. She told me to write down a date for City College. While I was doing this, my wife got up, got dressed and went out of the bedroom. She called up to me from the front door. “I’m going with my sister to look at houses. We’ll be back tomorrow. When I come back, if the phone rings once with this business, I’ll have to ask you to leave.”

She left. I got up and started for the subway. At the newsstand, the woman said, “Don’t I see your picture some place? Are you running for something?”

I stood there and thought for a moment. Thought very deeply. Newsstand Dealer for Mailer and Breslin! My right hand shot out so fast the woman nearly fell over backwards.

“Hi, I’m Jimmy Breslin,” I said to her.


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