Green’s Dictionary of Slang

fast one n.

1. (US) a streetwise individual.

[US]Life in Boston & N.Y. (Boston, MA) 18 May n.p.: Jim B. [...] is accounted a fast one among the b’hoys of our city.

2. any scheme seen as amoral, corrupt, underhand.

implied in slip a fast one (over)
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 64: That was a fast one.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 10: I give a man a square shake till he tries a fast one.
[US]J. Thompson Getaway in Four Novels (1983) 23: He was afraid Doc had a fast one up his sleeve.
[US]J. Thompson Texas by the Tail (1994) 55: Watch yourself, Mitch, Make that the last fast one of the evening.
[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 52: You’re a smooth number, Des, that’s exactly what I told Chet. No fast ones on Des Spellacy.

3. a lie, a spurious story.

[Aus]J.J. DeCeglie Drawing Dead [ebook] I threw him a fast one about thinking that [...] in my drunked up state that I may have heaved my phone over his fence. I did it roundabout and awkward.

4. see quick one n. (2)

In phrases

pull a fast one (v.) [orig. milit. use, to malinger]

1. (also spring a fast one, pull a fastie, work..., pull a fast switch/shuffle) to get away with something, usu. a slightly nefarious scheme.

[US]Dayton Herald (OH) 10 June 23/2: Once in a while you pull a fast one which is really refreshing.
[US]M. West Pleasure Man (1997) Act I: Hey, lay off o’ dat stuff. Where the hell is your card? Tryin’ to pull a fast one around here?
[US]R. Whitfield Green Ice (1988) 107: Cherilli had been a little guy, and he’d tried to work a fast one.
[US](con. 1900s) C.W. Willemse Behind The Green Lights 91: May worked a fast one on me.
[US]‘Goat’ Laven Rough Stuff 88: I had to stay under cover in the yards, because I knew the coppers would know I’d pulled a fast one on them.
[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 73: Pulling a fast one on a comrade is not a breach of etiquette.
[US]C. Brackett & B. Wilder Ball of Fire [film script] Once they let you go, we’ll pull a fastie.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Raw, Medium, and Well Done’ in Blue Ribbon Western June 🌐 He’ll spring a fast one, and then blow.
[US]W. Burroughs letter 28 Jan. in Harris (1993) 80: How did Jack get out of the nut-house? He certainly pulled a fast shuffle there.
[US]Kramer & Karr Teen-Age Gangs 154: Sure, Paro got in too deep and then tried to pull a fast switch.
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 132: This sneaky bastard is trying to pull a fast one.
[UK]T. Taylor Baron’s Court All Change (2011) 146: Never once had he ever tried to pull any fast ones as far as the Charge was concerned.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 134: That wise punk Wilson tried to pull a fast one and I had to straightenim out.
[US]R.D. Pharr S.R.O. (1998) 187: Jinny had pulled so many fast ones on so many different people.
[UK]F. Norman Dead Butler Caper 120: It was only by pulling a fast one that I succeeded in escaping from her clutches.
[UK]P. Theroux London Embassy 154: That was how Cary seemed to me – as if he was trying to pull a fast one on me.
[US]A. Rodriguez Spidertown (1994) 70: Be sharp. Can’t have ’um think we pullin’ a fast one.
[US]D. Hecht Skull Session 174: I thought I saw you pull a little fast one.
[UK]Guardian 16 Oct. 1: They should think twice before trying to pull a fast one.
J. Best More Damned Lies and Statistics 36: People who present information in this way are probably either themselves confused or trying to pull a fast one.
[US]T. Robinson ‘The Long Count’ in Dirty Words [ebook] Whenever he tried to pull a fast one or short-change, he would break out in a sweat.

2. to stage a crime, e.g. a hold-up.

[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 109: He reckoned to get over the border one day an’ pull a fast one on the Arizona mail cart.

3. to make an escape, to run away.

[US]R. Fisher Conjure-Man Dies 167: Block that door—he’s pullin’ a fast one!
slip a fast one (over) (v.) (also put over a fast one) [orig. used in cricket/baseball ]

to take advantage of someone by trickery, to hoodwink.

[[UK]Yorks. Post 6 Sept. 8/6: Bligh [...] slipped a fast one to the boundary for four].
[[US]Brooklyn Dly Eagle (NY) 26 Mar. 8/6: Then ‘Ducky’ [...] tried to slip a fast one straight over, thinking Bergen wasn’t looking, but Billy was wide awake].
Lincoln Star (NE) 10 Oct. 27/1: [cartoon headline] Skinny Slips a Fast One Over on Shrimp Flynn.
[US]H.C. Witwer in Cosmopolitan Nov. 98/1: He’s trying to put over a fast one!
[US]J. Lait Gangster Girl 102: We put over a fast one t’night.
Scotsman 15 Nov. 4/6: The railway companies [...] apparently ‘slipped a fast one across’ the Chamber’s predecessors.
[Aus]R. Park Poor Man’s Orange 125: I won’t put a fast one over you.
[UK]S. Murphy Stone Mad (1966) 137: The wife slipped him a fast wan a few times and he was taking no chances.
[US]N. Algren Chicago: City On the Make 67: The swifter-type thief approach their work with the same lofty hope of slipping a fast one over on everyody.
[Aus]D. Niland Big Smoke 15: I respect his opinion, but I want to see if he’s slipping over a fast one.
[UK]G. Lambert Inside Daisy Clover (1966) 196: She looked at me as if I was trying to put over a fast one.