At a party last night, occupying my usual position in a comfortable chair near the beer, and, in this case, next to my old buddy's bookshelves. Picked up a collection of Damon Runyon stories. Haven't read any in years.

Somehow Runyon usually gets left off the lists of great short-story writers. Chekov, O. Henry, Poe, Kafka, Singer all make the rosters. More broad-minded souls include two of my favorites, Thurber and O'Hara. But poor Damon? Rarely.

So this is a plug for the Bard of Broadway: his stories are laugh-out-loud funny, tight as halyards in a squall and written in a voice you couldn't confuse with anyone else's. Here's a wonderful example.

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I agreed wholeheartedly. The man had a voice like nobody else. Superb.

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