Right now, the easiest way to find our place is to drive round the north side til you find the guy who’s standing on the front stoop wondering what the happened to the normal Wednesday lunch crowd. Seriously. We typically do sixty to seventy at lunch. Today, we’re stuck at twenty-eight. I’m perplexed as shit about it.
Once I figured out lunch was gonna be … barren, I loitered on the front step. The lady who runs the letterpress across the street thinks I’m checking her out. I’m not. I’m checking out the utter lack of business. And it’s not like the streets are empty. The streets are full with passersby who keep … passing by. Soon’s I’m done typing, I’m going right back upstairs and out front til I can come to terms with why it was dead.
But there’s other ways of finding us. I’m not gonna tell you where we are, cause … where’s the fun in that. Nowhere, that’s where. So ...
Another big fat honking clue is look for the place with windows that’re practically smudged opaque. The window guys were sposed to swing by this morning, but … alas, it seems their priorities lie elsewhere. Our hands’re kinda sorta tied if we wanted to find window guys whose priorities were more in line with ours, though, cause the window guys are related to our cleaners. Who we love to little itsy-bits. The cleaners are great. A clue would be a place with immaculate, well-vacuumed carpet and squeaky-clean tiles. There’s another clue.
If you drive past us in the next … oh … half hour, I’m guessing, you’ll see a guy standing just a few feet to my left, like ten feet, wearing an ill-fitting Mexican futbol jersey, texting on his phone, pretending to not see me glaring at him. You see that, then hey. Slam on the brakes. Come on in. Cause that’s Herman lingering when he should be in the basement, breaking down the Sysco delivery. I need someone with whom to commiserate.
Round the corner, some city guys are taking down a tree. Knowing them, it’s gonna take ‘em the rest of the week, and it’s not even a big tree. It’s a small tree. So … you’re in Chicago, you see a crew either working on cutting down a tree or standing round talking, smoking, sipping coffee or napping when it should be cutting down a tree, you could very well be close to us. (Though maybe not, cause … most tree crews in Chicago work too slow.)
Earlier, this place smelled like twice-baked foot. Around eleven-thirty. Take it from me, that smell will return later this afternoon. Keep your windows rolled down, just in case you’re ‘fortunate’ enough to have your nostrils clocked by the wafting aromas of twice-baked foot. Soon’s the gag reflex goes away, I’ll treat you to a cup of soup. The one Jason calls Beef Barfly.
Here’s another clue. We are six doors down from a shop owned by a guy who looks exactly like Rue McClanahan. God’s my witness, the guy’s a spitting image. I’ve been looking at the guy once or twice a day since he opened (last fall), and never once did it occur to me that he’s Rue McClanahan’s identical twin brother. I swear, stack of bibles high as your ass, I thought I’d crossed paths with an honest to goodness Golden Girl. I almost asked for his autograph.
So if you see Rue McClanahan where, logically, no Rue McClanahan would be, go six doors in whichever direction until you find us. I might not be here, cause I got something to do tonight, but just in case. Tell Reggie ‘Golden Girls.’ She’ll know to give you half off a wine or a beer.
If it is tonight, and you see free samples of fried things being handed out but you’re not at Costco, make yourself at home. I won’t be here, like I said, but Reggie will, and would you like to try some new appetizers? We were given a bunch of each, five different kinds in all. Zucchini, ravioli, mushrooms, cauliflowers and tiny shrimp. I gotta be honest with you, though. They’re all ghastly. Way over-battered and seasoned. If they weren’t, Jim and I woulda just eaten them all, then dilly-dallied bout should we put ‘em on the menu. But they’re ghastly, all right. Even Rudy wouldn’t eat ‘em, and that guy’s a short, squat, Mexican garbage disposal.
Here’s a clue for every Sunday night. After nine o’clock, a purple van pulls up. The driver deals bootleg DVD’s. But he’s only here for fifteen, twenty minutes, tops. Just long enough for our kitchen to browse and windup getting … I dunno … David walked away with District 9, which has only been out for a couple weeks. That kinda illegal bootleg movies. The ones that’re still in theaters.
Another clue would be, if the time is in the vicinity of 5:45, and you see an idiot waiter hustling in somewhere with a look of harried ‘playing the martyr,’ and that idiot waiter seems to be mumbling to himself, hustle in right after that idiot waiter, cause that idiot waiter belongs to us and is none other than Steve, hustling in because his shift begins at 5:30 and he is fifteen minutes late. The martyr thing is part of his act and him mumbling is him practicing his excuse. Rehearsing it. Your prize shall be you get to hear Steve lay whatever lame excuse on me and get to watch me cut him off halfway through to tell him I don’t give a shit, just get to work. Cause I don’t.
If you go to Google maps, Jim and I are on the roof in the satellite view photo of our place. It would take a helluva long time, on your part. You seriously must not have shit to do for the rest of today and much of tomorrow, but if you were so inclined, you could scour every inch of the entirety of the north side, til you found two idiots on the roof of a restaurant. We’re both just … standing on the roof, for some reason. You find us from the roof picture, then far be it from me to deny it. I’m taller than Jim by a few inches, but our height difference won’t show up on Google satellite view. Which is top down.
Tomorrow night, the NFL season kicks off. Which means we’re gonna be chockablock, wall-to-wall with dick-ish fans watching the game. In this, we are in no way unique. This is the north side, after all. Lotta football being watched by a lotta dicks in a lotta public watering hole type places.
But we are the place that won’t do loud music or have the televisions turned up too high. We got a lotta customers who’re old and don’t wanna hear all kindsa hoopla from people watching the game. Watching a game here is kinda not that far away from watching it at the library. Or the hospital. Or anyplace else that is unsettling in its quietude. That’s how we’re different.
(Also, we don’t sell wings for like a penny each like the others do. We’re not whores. We don’t stoop to such levels. However, we push cheaper bottles of beer that’s cheap to begin with (MGD, Lite, Bud, the like). We may not be whores but we ain’t babes in the woods and we ain’t above making a quick buck when there’s a quick buck to be made.)