Joe Malonecki, an out-of-work South Sider, has gone back on his promise to shear off his beloved mullet if the Sox failed to make the postseason. His friends were perplexed by his unwillingness to part with the hairstyle nearly a month after his team was eliminated from postseason contention.

“Joe’s made good on plenty of drunken bets before,” said buddy Dave Deliso from his regular stool at Junior’s Sports Bar. “Hell, he let me smash his hand with a hammer right on this very bar after he lost a bet on whether Ozzie could make it through one press conference without dropping an f-bomb.”

Even with his honor among a bunch of dead-end, blue-collar lushes at stake, Malonecki insists he can’t give up his “pride and joy.”

“I just … I can’t do it, man,” he said, tears welling up in his eyes. “What’s gonna keep my neck warm in winter? What’s gonna whip behind my head when I’m driving in my T-top Turbo Trans Am? How am I gonna pick up skanks at .38 Special concerts? If I give this up, I might as well give up breathing too.”

From the October 2009 issue by Brian Summerfield