Archive for the ‘Warren Brusstar’ Category


Harrelson, Brusstar, Luzinski

March 28, 2017

Bud Harrelson

Three cards fell to the floor the other day. My younger son was tearing open some protective plastic sheeting around them, and they’d fallen together into a group. The cards hadn’t been mine as a kid. I’d never owned any Hostess cards, for one thing, let alone the card featuring the player most likely to have enjoyed several Hostess products after a day of blasting homers and mangling fly balls, and I’d never put my cards into protective plastic sheets. My mother-in-law had found the sheets of cards at a second-hand store and gotten them for me. I looked at them in the sheets a bit, but they had to be freed from the sheets for me to really see them. The first thing I noticed was Bud Harrelson’s eyes. Really all of Bud Harrelson, his thin lips, slight frame, sparse mustache, choked-up grip, everything about him radiating the feeling that he’s just hanging on. But especially the eyes. And just beside him, Brusstar, a hardened character. And then Luzinski, young blank-eyed Hostess strongman incarnate. A scenario began to unfold in my mind, a late 1970s film about amoral desperation, one last gasp from the decade of movies about losing before the candy-colored John Hughes years began.

Excerpts from Run Down (1979)

Scene 1 (interior, motel room)

One more score and I’m out.

Baby, I don’t want you to get hurt, not now that I’ve finally got you back.

I’m telling you, this one can’t miss.

[Walks to window, stares out at traffic on the highway]

This one . . . there’s no way I can lose.

Scene 5 (exterior, downtown)

Warren walks along a sidewalk in a mostly deserted downtown. He picks up a brick and throws it through a window. He takes some records out of the window. One of them is Saturday Night Fever, which he tosses into the gutter and then spits on top of it. The rest he takes with him. A cat crosses his path and he tries to kick it but misses and stumbles, falling into a puddle, spilling the rest of the records. A sound comes out of him like that of an animal pinned in a bear trap.]

Warren Brusstar

Scene 12 (interior, Extra Innings Bar)

I suggest you shut the fuck up and get the fuck away from me, Bud.

This is a. Is that any way to? Look, I’m doing you a favor here.

You still owe me for the last fucking favor you did me.

[Both men drink, smoke. The rock song on the jukebox ends and a disco song begins.]

Who put on this shit?!?

Female bar patron
[reacting to music]
Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Yeah!

[Warren stares murderously into his drink as the disco plays. Bud stares at Warren for a long time, until Warren finally looks up.]

How do you do that?


Not fucking blink.

[smiling now, but only with his mouth]
Life is short, Warren. I don’t want to miss anything.

[after a long beat]
Fuck it. The fuck I care.

You won’t be sorry, Warren.

I’m always sorry.

We’re gonna win this time, Warren.

We’re still a man short.

Opportunities will arise, Warren. Opportunities will arise.

Greg Luzinski

Scene 15 (exterior, motel)

As Bud watches, smoking, from the railing outside his second story motel room, a large man on the ground level, Greg, dressed only in a small white motel towel, holds the small towel around him with one hand while pushing the buttons on a vending machine with his other hand. He waits. The vending machine does not produce any product. Greg pushes the buttons again. Scratches his head. Taps on the glass. Pounds on the glass. He moves methodically—he is not getting angry but wants what he is not getting. Finally he brings his other hand free and the towel falls to the pavement. He grabs the large machine with both hands and begins to rock it. The rocking increases until it looks as if the machine will rock forward and crush the large naked man, but instead he hefts the machine onto his back, swivels, and hurls it to the ground, where the machine bursts with a clattering of glass and crumpling metal. Coins and candy and bags of chips spill out. Greg ignores the money and picks through the broken glass and other packages for one package of Hostess Chocolate Cup Cakes, which he removes from the packaging and shoves into his mouth, one after the other as he crosses the parking lot back to his room, still naked. Camera closes in on Bud, who is smoking and watching Greg without blinking.


Warren Brusstar

November 12, 2007


“Uh, Warren, that chick from last night,” a teammate said a few moments prior to the snapping of this photograph. The teammate was standing just behind the photographer. The photographer was fiddling with the settings on his camera.

“Which one?” Warren Brusstar said.

He was already in a somewhat brusque, irritable mood. Here he was, the member of a championship team, the 1980 Phillies, maybe the greatest championship team of all time, considering the Phillies’ 97-year title-virginity preceding 1980, and he still had to have his baseball card picture taken in such a remote, inglorious location that the photo would stand as quite likely the only baseball card in history to include so much as a single automobile. In all the many years of baseball cards even the most mundane images had been kept at something of a remove from the everyday existence that most of us slog through. Was not baseball a world away from the world, a bucolic paradise, a sanctuary of growing green? And yet here was Warren Brusstar, World Series champion, standing within sight of not one but two rattling rustbuckets. Where was his verdant baseball card eden? It was unprecedented. It was bullshit. 

“You know, heh,” the teammate finally stammered. “The t-tall blonde you, uh, that you took out to the parking lot for a . . . for a few.”

“Oh, yeah,” Warren Brusstar said. His expression began to soften. “I told her I wanted to show her my fine Corinthian leather.”

He started to smile at the memory of what had happened in the backseat of his Chrysler. Unfortunately, the photographer wasn’t quite ready to snap the picture.

“Well, I don’t know how to tell you this,” the teammate said.

“Tell me what?” Warren Brusstar said.

The teammate coughed into his fist. He muttered something inaudible. 

“What the hell did you just say?” Warren Brusstar said.

The teammate looked past Warren Brusstar to the station wagon in the distance. He took a deep breath.

“Say cheese,” the photographer said.

“Warren,” the teammate said. “She’s a dude.”