Friday, February 10, 2006

Fully Automatic Saint Louis Sun

So I receive this communique from one of my guys in DC about a package:
Will you be around Thursday afternoon? I'm sending a guy over. Feed him lunch and a beer and he'll have something for you.

I inquired more. He followed up:

The delivery arrives Thursday between noon and 2 pm. Can you be there? If not, how about some kid? Someone with a little strength? Buy the deliverer lunch and a pint. It will be worth it. advise asap so i can confirm shipment.

So a kind looking older man in a sharp suit arrives Thursday afternoon. I go with this overqualified bagman out to his truck to help bring in this delivery.

This is a newspaper box for the Saint Louis Sun. The Sun was a newspaper that came out to compete with the Post back in 1989 or 90. I remember when it came out, for I was working for the Post at the time. I started off selling three stars and five star Posts on street corners. I had started with the Globe and Post and that quickly turned into just the Post. I then started working on the trucks delivering the Sunday bulldog to stores in the middle of the night. I loved working that job for it was all cash and I was supposed to carry a knife. I would get butterfly knives and switchblades. I would jump off the truck before it stopped and they would throw the bundles at me. Early on Saturday morning we would assemble the papers by putting the comics together with the auto section and then at night we would put these pieces in the news section before we went on runs. It was always a rush. My coworkers were a shifty bunch of characters. It was quite the education. Big Matt the speed metal old guy who dealt comic books. Crazy Brad who had a half dozen DUIs who was drunk all the time. Larry, he was about six foot nine. Dave, the guy who was a nearly religious fan of Megadeth and even had vanity plates that read MEGDETH.

We would be covered in newsprint and smell like diesel exhaust by the end of the shift. We looked like chimney sweeps. We would blow our noses and it would come out black. We would cuss and listen to a lot of KSHE. We always were flush with cash. We had money like all the rich kids. We would have to be careful of the slick stuff (ads inside the comics) and be careful about how we stacked papers or we would have an avalanche inside the shack (the building we would assemble the papers in). There was a lot of yelling and cussing. I loved that job.
I asked my boss if we were going to carry the Sun. He said "Fuck that!" Simple enough. I was very curious. The Sun stole a bunch of writers from the Post and came out to huge fanfare. But they had distribution problems. A lot of problems. And you can see that in the condition of this box.

My boss Mike at the Post carrier used to carry a revolver. Now we didn't really carry much cash on us, except for pickups from the occasional newspaper stand. But Mike was pretty country that way. He was hardcore. He used to shoot Kiyotes(coyotes) on his farm. He would go bow hunting up in the yukon. He would hunt goats or sheep or something. I never really understood that. I remember when I started early on how he would show me the bullets and explain to me what hollow points were.

So the story of this particular box is sordid, but from what I have figured it was found/stolen from the side of the road riddled with bullets. A message was probably being sent to the Sun carrier. I am not sure. I chatted with the sharp dressed bagman during his lunch. He only wanted a water with his lunch. A cool, calm and collected man.

The box is on loan from my guy in DC. I am just holding it. The bagman was in town monitoring some business about the governor. He knows a lot about things here in town. He has the inside information on the Brewery. He said he is going to make the Royale his headquarters whenever he is in the STL.


Blogger Joe said...

For those seven months of my childhood, my parents subscribed to both the Post-Dispatch and the Sun. So, I got the glossy, full-color TV book from the Sun as *my* TV book. I was a big TV watcher back then.

At the time, I though the Sun was cool. It was a tabloid format with lots of color, and the articles were easy-to-read. Keep in mind I was 11 years old. I was disappointed when they gave it up. I tried to hang onto a copy of the very last St. Louis Sun, but I'm not sure what ever happened to it.


4:51 PM  

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