Oct. 31, 1912: A dinkey man’s sad story

  • Blog Post by: Ben Welter
  • November 1, 2012 - 3:10 PM
Alas, the Minneapolis Tribune did not provide readers with a translation of  the century-old slang in this piece. Perhaps you'd like to take a shot.

He Lost His “Buddy Boy”
But the Police Found Him

Something New in the Line of Slang is Uncorked at Headquarters.
Dinkey Man Tells Sad Story and Interpreter is Necessary.
He swaggered into police headquarters last night and edged up to the desk sergeant.
“I have lost me buddy,” he said. “Me buddy has been kidnaped. He’s been doped, I say. They just shot the hypo into him. Maybe he’s been croaked by now,” and he shed a silent tear.
“Who’s Buddy?” was the gruff inquiry.
“Buddy’s me pal, cul; him and me’re both dinkey men. We worked to’gether for weeks. Say, tell me, can you find him for me?”
“What’s ‘dinkey men’?” asked the desk sergeant, now thoroughly interested.
Been Running Dinkeys
“Aw, we’ve been running dinkey cars out to Hopkins,” was the impatient answer. “I know dey got him. Dey sifted him, that’s what dey done,” and he shook his head ominously.
“Sifted him?” There was a rising inflection in the sergeant’s voice.
“Yep, sifted him, strained him, cleaned him, don’t you know; put him through the cleaner and ribbed him for his cush. He had a rock on him, too, and dey maybe copped it. It was a swell piece of glass, I’m telling you.”
“Where’d all this happen?” snapped the desk sergeant.
“Aw, I dunno. I ain’t wise to the stems here yet. We meets a elegant piece of lace and she kind of cottons to me buddy and he falls for it, see, and dey goes away together. One of the hobbles lamps me, too, but I sidesteps and claps me hand over me roll, knowing it meant only highway robbery; but when I had made me getaway and has a look round, me buddy has vamoosed with the bundle of langsherie.” He dwelt lovingly on the last word, giving the “a” the full, broad sound.
His Buddy’s Picture.
“Now, I ain’t no piker,” he continued. “Here’s me buddy’s picture. Find him for me. I’m willin’ to spend a hunderd bones on de job,” and he flashed a respectable roll under the sergeant’s fascinated gaze, who silently motioned him into the office of Louis Hansen, captain of detectives.
Captain Hansen hurriedly requisitioned a newsboy to act as interpreter and then sent out two of his men to find “Buddy.” The recreant one was soon discovered and taken to headquarters.
The pair walked out of city hall arm in arm.
No dinkey men here: Minneapolis police and jail guards showed off their new riot shotguns in about 1910. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society)


© 2018 Star Tribune