About eight months ago one of our more youthful senior editors announced to the astonishment of almost everyone that he had turned 65 and was heading for partial retirement in Key West, Fla. As a charter member of the SI staff, Martin Kane had covered every sport from archery to yachting, and his stories on boxing were some of the best the magazine has run. Understandably, he left behind a sizable editorial gap.
For this week at least, the gap has been closed with the reappearance of the Martin Kane byline over his story on the Foster-Rondon fight in Miami Beach (page 26). Fortunately, the match was staged close to Key West; anxious as Kane was to exercise his new function as an SI special contributor and much as he loves a good fight, it is strictly no contest when it comes to choosing between his adopted home and anyplace else.
Kane first met up with Key West during a 1961 assignment on permit fishing. "I fell in love with the place," Kane says, "and came back whenever I could." A born-and-bred New Englander, he found the Key Wester "a congenial soul, given to courtesy, kindness and tolerance."
Our operatives in the Keys report that Kane has hewn himself a truly paradisiacal niche. Clad in pink-and-white-striped seersucker flares, oxford-cloth shirt with colorful cravat and a selection of headgear that includes a yellow planter's hat and a double-beaked Sherlock Holmes creation, Kane cuts a wide and iridescent swath. He lives atop Key West's only high-rise (six stories), and his favorite hangout is a bar known as the Pier House Motel's Chart Room. He is often transported downtown by one of the island's Cadillac limousine-taxis.
Among his parting gifts from his colleagues last year was a selection of fishing tackle, which he dutifully breaks out whenever an SI staff member appears and suggests a go at the permit or bonefish or some offshore monster. He does not rate himself a superlative fisherman—"I all but gave it up while living in Manhattan"—but neither does he care. "Some people around here say the fishing has been less glorious this year, but it has been glorious enough for me."
Marty Kane's familiar presence in this issue precedes by 60 pages a brand-new one, that of author Don DeLillo. His story, Pop, Pop, Hit Those People, is taken from End Zone, his highly praised Houghton-Mifflin novel, and is one of SI's infrequent excursions into the fiction field.
A veteran of the playing "fields" of New York's city streets, DeLillo has put a lot of sport into his two novels (his first: Americana), but does not feel the books are about sport. He says End Zone, for example, is really about the limits of language. SI's excerpt, which includes most of the first eight chapters, serves mainly to introduce our readers to DeLillo's distinctive style. To find out what happens to narrator Gary Harkness, you'll just have to get hold of End Zone.