was Loving Cup. Oh, hyuh, Loving Cup, said Al. Two over? Bacon well done? Coffee? said Loving Cup. No, said Al. Gimme the bill of fare.
What for? said Loving Cup. You can read the paper.
God damn it! Get me the bill of fare before I cut your heart out.
All right, all right, said Loving Cup, running away. He came back with a menu and laid it beside Al s right arm. There.
What are you, a Jew or something? Didn t they tell you it s Christmas, or don t they have Christmas where you come from? Say, where did you come from, anyway, sweetheart?
That s my business, said Loving Cup. The turkey is all right. You want some of that? I thought you was having breakfast.
It s Christmas, you lug, said Al. Yeah, I know, said Loving Cup. What are you gonna have, or do I have to wait here all day while you spell out the words?
Crack wise, Bertha, said Al. I ll have that a dollar and a half dinner.
What kind of soup you want?
I don t want any soup, said Al. It goes with the dinner, so you don t have to pay extra. I ll bring you the cream of tomato. I just seen the chef spit in it. He jumped away as Al reached out for him. He went laughing to the kitchen. Al read his paper. There was always some stumble bum from Fargo fighting in Indianapolis. Every time you picked up the paper and looked under Fight Results there was somebody from Fargo doing a waltz somewhere. Either they were all would-be fighters in that town, or else they just used the name of the town and didn t come from there at all, like the Gibbsville Miners, the pro football team. Practically every man on the team was an All American, but they never heard of Gibbsville before they came there to play football. They all talked like Snake Eyes O Neill, who came from Jersey City and was one of the mob. Snake Eyes never said r. Dollah. Fawd. Hoit. Boint. Thoid. Likka. Never said r. Al wondered where Fargo was. It was past Chicago. He knew that. They had one good boy from that town. Petrolle. Billy Petrolle, the Fargo Express. But the rest of them! God, what a gang of tankers they were. He wondered just what was the angle on there being so many fighters from Fargo. Maybe Ed would know. Ed could usually tell him when something puzzled him. Ed had said he wouldn t be down till around four o clock. He had to spend Christmas with the wife and kid, God knows why. Al did not like to think of Annie Charney. The kid was swell; six years old and fat and healthy-looking. He wasn t like Ed, but for the present more like Annie. She was fat and healthy-looking and blonde, like most Polacks. Ed didn t care for her any more. Al knew that. Ed cared for Helene Holman, who was a torch singer like Libby Holman and sang at the Stage Coach. Ed really cared for Helene. He played around a little, but Al knew Helene was the only one he really cared for, and Helene really cared for him. With her it was slightly different, because nobody else would even look cockeyed at Helene as long as Ed cared for her, but even taking that into consideration Al knew Helene really cared for Ed. And she was good for him. You could tell when Ed and Helene were getting along. Ed was easier to get along with then. Tonight, or this after , when Ed showed up at the Apollo, he probably would be in a bad humor. That was the way Annie affected him. Whereas if he had spent the day with Helene he would have been in a good humor. But Al knew that Ed wouldn t think of spending Christmas with Helene. Ed was a family man, first and last, and that was the one day in the year he would spend with the kid, at home. Here, said Loving Cup. Al looked at the blue plate. For a buck fifty I don t call that much turkey, he said. What s the matter, Mr. Grecco? Is it too small? said Loving Cup. Small? For Christ s sakes. And wuddia say, how about giving me some white meat? If I m gonna pay a buck fifty for turkey I wanna get some white meat, not this God damn dark meat.
Shall I take it back?
Sure, take it back, said Al. No, wait a minute. The hell