Do-It-Yourself Justice

My WWII friend, Armand, told me about his older brother, Curly, who was a tough Bronx kid. Nobody wanted to tangle with him. The director of a debt-collection agency saw this right away, and hired Curly as a collector to go see people who weren’t paying up.

One day Curly knocked on a door with a malfunctioning doorbell. The door opened, and there stood a young mother with a newborn in her arms and two older children behind her. “Are you Mrs. Alvarez?” Curly asked.

“Yes,” came the hesitant reply.

“You haven’t paid your rent for five months,” Curly stated in a tough voice, and the woman shrank back.

“I have three children; my husband left me, and I can’t even buy food.”

Curly looked at her, astounded, and then reached for his left pocket and took out his wallet.

When he reported back to his boss, the boss asked, “How did it go with Alvarez this morning?”

Curly was silent. Then he said, “I went to the grocer’s, and bought her and the children some food.”

“What? You must be stupid! That woman has a husband who makes more than you do.”

“You call me stupid?” Curly was in his element. He cocked his fist and the next moment the boss was stretched out on the floor.

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