Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Underworld Slang: "Strictly Homelike"

On March 24, 1928, the New Yorker has begun publishing a series of articles written in "underworld slang," supposedly written by a convict named "J.P. Grover." To make things more entertaining, they publish the "slang" version alongside a straight-forward translation. Here's an excerpt:
I get a drive out of casing the mob posing around the lobby. There are a few marks and square-shooters there but not many. Most everyone is a hustler of some kind. On my left chalk are two twists cutting up their daddies. I tin-ear on them and get hip. They are boosters doing it solo. Their daddies are cannons and are working the shorts and this spot is the meet. They rap to a geezer and he flops near them. In his dukes he has some rats and mice and he is practicing a switch. He is a dice hustler waiting for a play. His fiddle and flute speaks for itself. It is that kind. His bottles of booze are keeno. The lean and fat is the real McCoy, and he has a Spanish guitar between the uppers and beneath. He looks Annie Oakley and soon cops a sneak out the grocery store.
Got that, Mr. Lem Kegg? Pop off about it over a little gay and frisky.

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