The Duluth News Tribune, November 21, 1918. The global flu pandemic of 1918 was a doozy–somewhere between 30 to 50 million people died from it, disproportionately young and hitherto healthy adults. In the U.S., the death toll was around 675,000–about as many as in the Civil War. Oddly, the plague didn’t produce much in the way of cultural ripples. Blind Willie Johnson sings about the “influenzy” in a couple of his songs, but by and large the whole thing was a dead letter. Anyway, life goes on even when the world is ending, and here’s this Runyonesque jeu d’esprit making light of the fact that Duluth public health officials had ordered citizens to carry a 200-square-foot buffer zone around with them in public.
By “cash carrier” is maybe meant one of those little belt-mounted change dispensers that transit train conductors used to have?
“Shootin’ snuff into his wrist with a hatpin”–more Burroughs than Runyon, that bit.