So ya want da lowdown at what went down at IWOC’s foist annual Spring Suppa Club, eh? Yeah, well lean close and I’ll tell ya. Just keep it between you, me, and dat poor sap holdin’ up da lamppost.
I remember it like it was yestaday. Was 5:30 on the night of April 12th. “Da shank of da evening,” as my foddah used to say. Or was it my muddah? Or bruddah? Nah. Pretty sure it was my foddah. (HEY! Who you tellin to get on wid it? I’m tryin’ to get you da facts here, so shaddup, will ya?) Ok, so where was I?
Oh yeah. So it was da shank of da evening. Limo drops me off right in front of da Exchequer – a joint dat foist opened in da ‘20’s. No, you idiot! Not 2020. I’m talkin’ 1920’s. You shoulda seen dis joint! Plastered all over da walls was shots of me -- newspaper shots, dat is. Yeah, me, wid my big mug lookin’ all cocky an’ stuff. Dere were lotsa uddah pictures, too, of famous types: Marilyn. (Marone, what a woman. May she rest in peace.) Sinatra’s mug shot from dat time he was arrested for who knows what. It’s like, dis place was a history museum!
So I walk in, and who do I see sittin at da bar? Tom “Pretty Boy” Lanning. I tell him to come wid me to da back room, cause dat’s where da whole IWOC gang’s meetin’ up. He follows me like a lapdog. Waiter leads us into dis private room, see? All set up with a long table, fireplace, bar. Da works. Pretty soon, da rest of da gang comes sashayin’ in. Dey all dutifully take dere seats round da table: Jeff “Baby Face” Steele. Anne “The Hatchet” Hagerty. Jorge “Spats” Rennella. Kelsey “The Knife” Hoff. Julie “Ice Pick” Polanco. Jay “The Terminator” Schwartz, Diana “The Siren” Schneidman. Brent “Bugsy” Brotine. Grace “Gumshoe” Budrys. Zulma “Muscles” Ocampo. Cindy “Bruiser” Bertram. Thomas “Rat-a-Tat” Thorson. Pam “Boom-Boom” McKuen. And yours truly, “The Prez.”
Before ya know it, da hooch is flowin, everyone’s talkin up a storm -- I mean, dese writers, always cooped up in some lousy room. Just dem and da typewriter. It’s enough to make a body wanna bust out and shoot da breeze, know what I’m sayin here?
In no time, food comes out: Greek chicken. Italian beef sanwiches. Rigatoni marinara – meatballs on da side. Greek salad. Greek roasted potatoes. Mediterranean vegetables. We ate like we was kings. (Or presidents, ha ha!)
And den...now get dis: Da chocolate cake comes out. No, no one jumped out of it. No, no, no. Nothin like that. But I swear, if anything was to die for, it was dat cake.
Leftovers? You wanna talk leftovers? Waiters brought out boxes and bags, and everyone stuffed ‘em with everything they can get their meaty little hands on. We all lived to eat like kings another day.
After two hours, da gang started movin on, back into da streets, back to dere typewriters. Back to dere lousy rooms wid da 40-watt light bulb hangin over dere heads. But for one night at least, we were top of da world, Ma. Top of da world.
-- Laura Stigler
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