The Honeymooners

Bensonhurst Bandit

By Jerry Schuller

Chapter 1

The year is 1959. It's summer on Chauncey Street. Ralph Kramden walks home from a hard day's work while reading the evening paper. Kids were out playing on the sidewalks. Some were playing stickball, others were cooling off in the water of an open fire hydrant while some sit and enjoy the nice cool shade. Suddenly, Ralph saw a blur come flying around from behind him and stop in front of him. Startled, he looked up from his newspaper and saw Norton standing on a strange looking board with wheels.

"Whatcha wanna do, give me a heart attack or something?" asked Ralph.

"Hey there, Ralphy boy!" said Norton.

"Norton, what in the world are you doing?"

"I'm sidewalk surfing, Ralph"

"Surfing?" asked a confused Ralph, "Don't you have to go out by the ocean to do that?"

"Well this is sidewalk surfing, Ralph. See this board I'm ridding on? It's called a skateboard."

"Skateboard?"

"Yeah, surfers invented these so in case the waves aren't very good, they can surf on the sidewalks instead" explained Norton.

Giving Norton a weird look said, "Norton, YOU are a mental case!"

"Ralph, don't you remember those scooters we used to make out of roller skates and milk crates when we were kids? Well, they're the same thing only without the milk crate."

Ralph rolled his eyes. "Norton, at least we had a milk crate to hold onto. Here you're just riding on a board, 4 wheels and a prayer!"

Chapter 2

That night, Ralph sat on the small couch reading the rest of his newspaper and listening to the radio when a news bulletin came on. "Another burglary has occurred in Bensonhurst last night. Evidence shows that it's the same bandit that struck the last three nights. Residents of Bensonhurst are advised to keep on the look out and take whatever precautions necessary."

At that moment, Alice came out of the bedroom. "Oh, Ralph! How am I gonna sleep tonight knowing that burglar is on the loose?"

Ralph looked up from his newspaper. "Alice, don't worry, I'll protect ya."

Alice placed her hands on her hips. "What're ya gonna do, Ralph? Sit on him?"

Throwing down his paper, Ralph stood and said with a shaking fist, "One of these days! One of these days! POW! Right in the kisser! Alice, I've stopped burglars before."

"Oh sure, Ralph. I remember. The cops were hiding in the bedroom waiting for you to say 'Bullets, it's you' and you couldn't even get a word out until Norton walked in and saved you. Oh and the time those gangsters came in here and tied us up, you happened to get lucky and wrestle a gun away from one of them"

"Alice, why must you always find a way to criticize me?"

"Alright, Ralph, I'm sorry, but we still need to be careful. It just gives me the creeps that our apartment could be hit next."

Ralph put his hands on his wife's shoulders and kissed her forehead. "Alice, I'm in love with ya! I wouldn't let anything happen to ya!"

Alice smiled. "Alright, Ralph. What say we go to bed?"

Chapter 3

Next morning was Saturday. Kids were out playing. The sound of the bells of the Good Humor man's cart could be heard. Norton came riding up to Ralph on his skateboard with a bunch of kids behind him, also on skateboards.

"Well, Norton, I see you got the whole neighborhood going nuts!"

"Ralphy boy, we got a little surprise for ya!"

The kids presented Ralph with a larger version of the sidewalk surfboards they were riding. "We started building this for you last night. We just finished it this morning."

Ralph studied the board. It was a 40 inch plank of wood with 4 wheels from a metal roller skate attached to the bottom. "And why do I need such a large board?" he asked.

"Because you're too fat to ride a regular size board, Mr. Kramden" one of the boys innocently replied.

Ralph rolled his eyes. "Norton, you nearly got me killed on roller skates a couple years ago, now you gotta finish the job with this contraption?"

Norton and the kids stood silent as Ralph stood looking from them to the new board they had spent hours building for him. "Well… show me how to ride this thing," he said as his heart finally gave in.

"Okay there, Ralphy boy, just stand on the board, bend your knees and push with your back foot, then just ride it like you're surfing."

Ralph did as instructed. The street came to a slight incline and the board started moving faster. "Norton! How do I stop this thing?" The board continued to pick up speed. Ralph screamed out gibberish as he clumsily evaded obstacles. Finally, he crashed into a bunch of garbage cans. The clatter was so loud, it could be heard for blocks.

Chapter 4

That evening, through the door came a highly bruised and aching Ralph followed by Norton carrying both their boards. Alice came into the kitchen from the bedroom. "Ralph! You've been gone all day! Where've you been?" she asked as Norton closed the door.

"Alice", Norton said as he put down the boards, "your husband is now the newest and fattest surfer in New York!"

"A surfer? You mean like those people I saw in that Gidget movie? That's crazy! There isn't a surfboard in the world that wouldn't sink under his weight!"

"Oh you're a riot, Alice! A regular riot!" said Ralph shaking his fist.

"No, y'see, Alice, we were sidewalk surfing," Norton explained as he picked up and showed Alice his board.

"You mean skateboarding?" Alice laughed. "Ralph can hardly stand on his own two feet let alone on one of those skateboards!"

"Oh, you should've seen him, Alice. He was rolling down that hill faster than any of us could imagine!"

"On that thing?" asked Alice pointing to Ralph's board.

"Oh, no. He'd fallen off the board at the top. He was tumbling down that hill so fast he looked like Paul Bunyan's bowling ball!" Norton replied.

"GET OUT!" shouted Ralph. Norton turned and ran out the door. Ralph then turned to Alice. "Help me get undressed so I can get to bed! Be careful will ya? I'm hurting all over!"

Chapter 5

Out on the fire escape outside the Nortons' apartment window, a man carefully chipped away the glass to make a hole just large enough to slip his hand through and unlock the window. Stealthily he raised it and crawled inside. He carefully opened drawers and began to fill a bag with whatever small things he could find.

In the bedroom, Norton was laying fast asleep while Trixie tossed and turned unable to get to sleep. She grabbed her cup off the nightstand and headed to the kitchen to get herself a drink of water. She opened the door and a dark shadow loomed in front of her. She screamed and the prowler retreated out the window just as Norton entered the room. Trixie ran down to the Kramdens apartment. She tried to open the door but it was locked. She began to pound on the door shouting "Alice! Alice!"

Alice came running out of the room followed by Ralph. She opened the door and Trixie exclaimed, "The Bensonhurst Bandit was just in our apartment!"

Just then, Norton entered the apartment carrying his skateboard. "Ralphy boy! He's heading down the fire escape! Come with me!" he said as he grabbed Ralph's board and shoved it into his hands. Norton opened the window and saw the bandit running down the street. He climbed out the window and down the fire escape followed by Ralph.

"Let's get him, Ralph" said Norton as he placed his skateboard on the pavement.

"Are you nuts or something?" asked Ralph as he watched Norton ride off after the burglar. Reluctantly, he put the board down and began to ride after him. The robber tried to shake them off his tail as he ran up and down the alleyways. Norton weaved gracefully around the corners while Ralph followed behind him screaming.

Norton stopped as he saw the burglar climb down an open sewer manhole. "NORTON!" cried Ralph as he came whizzing past and ran into a 'Men Working' sign and wooden sawhorses.

"Come on, Ralph!" Norton said as he began to climb down the manhole. Ralph picked up his board and followed him. He got stuck for a moment but Norton grabbed his legs and pulled him through. "Don't worry, Ralph. I know this sewer like the back of my hand."

"But how well do you know the back of your hand?" Ralph asked sarcastically.

"This part's a storm drain. It's usually dry this time o' year. Follow me." Once again, Norton mounted his board and took off after the burglar. Ralph followed. Small work lights mounted on the walls every 50 feet dimly lighted the tube. Ralph and Ed kept tight on the thief's trail as the tunnel twisted and turned.

The burglar came to a grating and couldn't get any further. He found that it was loose and began to shake it in attempt to loosen it. The bolts were highly rusted and the first 2 broke very easily. He turned around as Norton rode up to him and stopped 20 feet away.

"NOOOOORTON!" Ralph shouted as he came behind him rolling uncontrollably. Norton grabbed his board and jumped aside as his friend went shooting past him. He collided with the burglar and they both hit the grating knocking it from the rest of its mounting.

Norton ran up to them and saw the robber pinned beneath an unconscious Ralph. "Ralphy boy, you did it! You captured the Bensonhurst Burglar!"

Chapter 6

Alice opened the door as she and the Nortons helped Ralph into the apartment. Ralph now had his head bandaged, his arm in a sling and various other bandages all over his body. They brought him into the bedroom and laid him down on the bed.

"Ooooooh! Bang, Zoom!" said Ralph angrily. "I could've been killed!"

"But Ralph" said Norton, "You're a hero!"

"Well next time you want me to be a hero, include me out of it!"

"Ed, come on, let's get back upstairs. Ralph needs to get some rest!" said Trixie.

After the Nortons left, Ralph said, "Well, this is what I get for listening to that nut!"

Alice replied, "Ralph, ever since you got your promotion, you've been thinking about nothing but work. You hardly do anything recreational anymore."

"I'm sure this is not what you had in mind!"

"Well, no. Not exactly" Alice said with a lopsided smile.

"From now on, the only thing I'm gonna ride with 4 wheels will be an automobile or a bus! But y'know there was something really thrilling about that new sport. And it gave me a fresh reminder that you can never be too old to enjoy life."

"Well Ralph, I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't even mind growing old as long as we grow old together."

Ralph smiled and said to his wife, "Baby! You're the greatest!"

The End