The Waldorf Astoria charged $18 for a burger and fries in 1983.
Butch and I ordered one extravaganza each. The voice on the other end of the phone said it would take approximately 45 minutes. OK. This would surely be a feast.
Butch headed straight for the courtesy fridge with the ridiculously expensive treats. Items that I was not about to pop for, regardless of how much pot we had smoked.
An hour later, no food. I called room service and was assured that it was on its way.
I had to pry Butch off of the fridge. I had a brilliant idea. A little toot of cocaine would assuage our appetites until the Waldorf could manage to deliver the sumptuous feast to the peasants. I went over to my suitcase where the drugs were stored for the trip. I removed a small brown colored gram bottle containing the white death.
The dilemma: Where do we find a smooth surface to lay the drug out.. in lines? Butch looked at the wall over the dresser. He got up, walked over to the wall, and removed an enormous mirror. I mean enormous! This piece of art was at least 36” x 48” with an ornate frame. Slipping and sliding, he waddled over to the bed and lay it down. It nearly took up the entire bed.
I placed the bottle on the mirror and got up to get my wallet. Within the wallet would be our means to snort the white powder: a $20 bill to be rolled into the shape of a tube. When I came back to the bed, Butch had already dumped the entire amount of the bottle on the surface of the mirror.
A gram, back then, was worth about $100. It was also too much for a little appetite suppressant. This was essentially a heart attack dose.
I went first, doing a very small amount….maybe a quarter of an inch. Instant wake up and “what hunger?” As Butch leaned over the mirror, there was a knock at the door. Both of our heads jerked up and stared at the portal and then back at each other. The food!
Obviously, we could not allow the waiter to see the mirror on the bed and the illegal substance atop. I yelled to Butch, “Get rid of it!”
Butch grabbed the mirror, and just like a scene from the Three Stooges ran towards the open door to the adjacent suite and slammed into it.
The mirror held sideways in his hands overlapped the door by at least a foot on either side. Rebounding from the jolt, he turned the mirror the other way. But the oversized frame would not allow him through.
The knock at the door was louder and sounded impatient. I yelled that I’d be right there. “Hang on!”
Butch threw the mirror back on the bed. Yes! That’s right. Scoop it up and shove it back in the bottle. Not Butch.
He grabbed the rolled up bill and proceeded to inhale the entire gram of coke up his nose.
My jaw dropped.
The paramedics would be called. Survival was not an option.
As I waited for him to drop in a heap, the door knock came, for what seemed, one last time. I pulled the comforter over the mirror and opened the door. The food was wheeled in by a disgruntled employee.
Word was out that a pair of Hollywood types wearing T-Shirts was in the prestigious hotel.
I signed for the food and he left.
Butch’s eyes had no irises left, only pupil. He couldn’t blink. “Still hungry, Butch?”, I asked.
There was no reply. He had lock jaw.
I was hungry and he did not seem near death.
They forgot to deliver one of the burger and fries orders. I shook my head. We waited an hour and a quarter and they fucked up the order.
I called downstairs and bitched at them. Profuse apologies spewed forth. Yeah, sure. The Californians didn’t get their complete meal. I’m sure the kitchen was in an uproar.
I was assured that the balance of our meal was on its way.
I cut the burger in half with a butter knife, nearly destroying it.
Expecting a beautiful piece of meat piled high on condiments and veggies, I was extremely disappointed at the fare.
It felt like we were at some greasy diner in Arkansas. The plate was pitiful. But food was food.
Amazingly, Butch wanted to eat. The natural appetite suppressant of the drug did not seem to cause Butch’s desire to feed his face wane. So we shared a crappy burger.
An hour later, the second burger and fries arrived. A big smile on the waiter’s face as he proclaimed that feeling badly, the kitchen threw in some extra fries!
Life at the Waldorf was not cherries and cream.