I screeched to a stop at Stumptown Field and set the brake. I hopped out, handed Dolly-girl's valise to the baggage man, and pulled her close. I kissed her, hard. It had to last to the other coast and back. It would. I could hear the gate agent on the loudspeaker: "Last call for Mrs. D'Mestiere, Fi-or-a D'Mestiere..." "I told you we'd make it in time, Jack." Dolly-girl doesn't care for anything about air travel and always waits until the last minute. "Have a good time with Fin! Tell him I'd be here except I got people who need talkin' with back on the coast." She gave me a look through the wave, smiled, turned on her heel and walked past the agent, waving her ticket, through the gate, and onto the Constellation. The door closed, engines 2, 3, 1, and then 4 coughed and fired, it taxied out and roared down Runway 10, non-stop to Gotham. I waved.
I got home, fed the cats, picked up the blower and dialed 3-7-3-2. Kitty. She's in the same exchange so I only have to dial the last four. Technology, it's great. "Yeah-low, Kitty." "It's me. Last Thursday. Fin's in town. Wanta?" "I'm game." Fin is a pal-o-mine from way back when I did investigations down the valley. He was going to help me talk with some people who needed talking with the next day. Kitty knows Fin and since he doesn't get to Stumptown that often, I figured she might like to say how-do-you-do. She did.
I call Fin Fin because, time was, he was a pretty fair swimmer. I coulda given him some tips, but mostly I just keep my mouth shut, got it? Fin and his chiquita, Sparky--she's a swimmer too, fact is he can't keep up with her--still live down the valley. He deals in environmental services, if you know what I mean, and Sparky runs the feed-bag at a retirement home. They like to dive for sunken treasure in their spare time. Helps keep beans on the table and skidrow in the glass.
Last Thursday on Alberta is an unwinder that draws 'em in from all over Stumptown. All types, all kinds. Dolly-girl, Kitty, and me have been there before and you got the rundown on a joint we like not long ago. Maybe last Last Thursday, or it mighta been the Last Thursday before the last one--every month has got one. Anyway, you get my drift, right? Lots of jakes and jills, lots of art, lots of food, and more than just a little bit of drink. With me?
We took it on shank's mare from where Dolly-girl and me set the brake. The three of us slipped into a place me and Dolly-girl like to go from time to time, a joint called Mash Tun not far from where our Tappan is in the kitchen. They brew their own there, but they got some from other people too if you don't like what they've drained out of the barrel lately. They got food, too, and it's worth the shoe leather to get it. When Dolly-girl has bar food on the Zenith, Mash Tun's playing her tune, with me? But that was another time.
Tonight it was packed. I wasn't happy about it, but I could hear Dolly-girl in my ear, "Relax Jack, a crowd's the best place to be." She was right. I reached for a Lucky. Damn, forgot them. Make a note: Get Luckies before the Feds take them away. There's a new broom in town and he's sweeping up the vice business. Missy stopped by. "What's it?" We ordered brew, three of them. Missy was back double-quick, we clinked, and started catching up.
Seemed like a snack might be good--no one was much in the mood for a sit-in-one-place night. Missy was by again. "Feed-bag?" "Just some grazing--an order of Irish lads and make it quick." "Gotcha, TTs. Hey, ever try our Tatchos? Nachos made with tater-tots?" Make another note: Tatchos. Have to be when Dolly-girl is out of town...
The lads arrived, Missy brought us a do-it-again, and we dived in. One of those things nobody will say they like, and nobody ever eats them, but when it's all said and done, it's all done and never said.
We settled up for a likable price and headed out to see what the street might hold. Turns out, it held a lot of music and dance and people and art and dogs and this and that.
We perambulated down Alberta and first up was capoeira.
Just watching all that jumping around raised us a little appetite, so we stopped in al Forno Ferruzza pizzeria and got us a bite. It's maybe the best pizza in Stumptown. Try it out.
A marching steel drum band passed us by...
And drummers were drumming on the corner...
We kept on going and came across a group of Indian singers...
Dark was falling and all that perambulating had worked up a thirst in this trio, so we stopped by the ale house, you know, the one me and Dolly-girl go to for a couple to hit the spot. We headed out, ready to call the night by its name--a night--but the lights of Fats Pub, a new eatery in Gourmet Gulch, drew us in. Us and no one else. Tables were set, bar was stocked, door was open, but not a person in sight. I yoo-hooed. No response. So, I looked at the whadda-ya-want, the whadda-ya-drinkin', and took a couple snaps with the Kodak. Make one last note: go back there soon.