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24.08.2015
Chapter 1 takes place between February and September 1933, and introduces young Woody Hazelbaker as a junior member of a Wall Street law firm in trouble thanks to the Depression.
When Woody Hazelbaker got there at the end of the 1920s, he thought it grand, even after the breadlines that followed the Stock Market Crash in October a€?29: New York was Americaa€™s greatest and most bustling city, its port the gateway to the world. Owney Madden was no scientific genius like Professor Moriarty, but he handled things the same way.
In Chapter 2, during the autumn of 1933, Woodya€™s deepening involvement with Owney Madden jars his cultural preconceptions loose when he visits the flagship of Maddena€™s nightclubs, the Cotton Club in Harlem. Club DeLuxe opened in 1920 at 142nd and Lenox Avenue, but Owney Madden bought it three years later and turned it into the Cotton Club, offering not only booze but the best jazz to be had, launching meteoric careers for Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and others. Bleecka€™s had opened as a speakeasy in the mid a€™20s, and though ruled with an iron hand by its irascible owner Jack Bleeck, it was instantly and permanently adopted by the newspapera€™s editors and reporters. Bleecka€™s saloon was a few paces from the Herald Tribunea€™s back door, a stonea€™s throw from Seventh Avenue. Nevertheless Walker and Beebe become important resources about New York social life for Woody, their perspectives stretching from the 1920s into the a€™40s. Prohibition ends December 5th, 1933, just about when Harvard Club librarian Earle Walbridge a€” later a€?The Sussex Vampire,a€? BSI, and at his death in 1962 the only man whoa€™d attended every BSI dinner back to its a€?first formal meetinga€? in June a€™34 a€” takes Woody to Christ Cellaa€™s speakeasy on East 45th Street, where he meets Christopher Morley and some of his friends just as the nascent Baker Street Irregulars are about to burst out into the open.
In Chapter 3, over the winter, Woody is incurably bitten by the Sherlock Holmes bug, but his work for Owney Madden is not done.
New York Police Commissioner Grover Whalen estimated in 1929 that there were 32,000 illegal speakeasies in the city. It will take all of $5.00 to pay for a dinner for two at Christ Cellaa€™s little hideaway restaurant in the basement of a brownstone front at 144 East Forty-fifth Street, just a block from Grand Central Palace.
Cella, sleek, brown-eyed and chunky, is a born innkeeper, though he gives mural painting as his profession. But in the early 1930s it was a speakeasy, where around a table in the kitchen Chris Morley and his Three-Hour Lunch Club friends met to drink, laugh and talk, gestating The Baker Street Irregulars.
He sat back and sipped the drink that Chris brought him, watching the room through half-closed eyes.
The crew Woody met that day were about to bring the BSI out into the open, once Repeal took effect. In Chapter 4, stretching from spring to autumn, 1934, a chance meeting with Lucius Beebe at Bleecka€™s propels Woody into a more cosmopolitan circle at the Plaza Hotela€™s Mena€™s Bar.
It still exists a€” known now as the Oak Room: a€?by far the hotela€™s most significantly historic space, virtually unchanged since the day the Plaza opened for business, Oct.
It was then known as the Mena€™s Bar, an all-male enclave said to be the favorite room of the hotela€™s architect, Henry J.
For the next 70 years, it was patronized by some of the most celebrated folk of the 20th century. Alsop was younger than me, short and pudgy with a pale face and dark-rimmed glasses beneath thin brown hair. When the National Organization for Women decided to challenge the men-only policies at restaurants and clubs, it chose the Oak Room, which refused to serve women at lunch on weekdays, as a test case, knowing the kind of upscale publicity it would lend to the cause. The Mena€™s Bar Oak Room is sadly the only venue this chapter that still exists (with a close escape a few years ago when the Plazaa€™s barbarian redeveloper intended to gut it). If Ia€™d seen the place empty I might have wondered what the fuss was about, but it was busy when we arrived. Shake well with ice cubes and dash of orange bitters, twist of lemon peel and just a touch of sugar.
Owner John Perona and maA®tre da€™ Frank Carino made El Morocco, once a speakeasy, the place to go and be seen for all manner of celebrities, including Broadway and Hollywood stars. People kept stopping by to speak to Beebe, hoping to find themselves in his column the next day.
I must have snickered, because he went on reprovingly: a€?Believe it or not, fortunes and careers are made by sitting at the right table.
Beebe basked, and started to reply, when suddenly behind me a silvery voice spoke out of the blue. In Chapter 5, December 1934 through the next several months, Woody attends the first Baker Street Irregulars dinner at Christ Cellaa€™s and solidifies his position in Chris Morleya€™s BSI. Suddenly, with an explosive burst so nobody would miss his entrance, Alexander Woollcott arrived. Chapter 6 stretches from the spring of 1935 to New Yeara€™s Eve in 1936, more than a year and a half of political turbulence in America, and in Woodya€™s life as well. Woody attends the a€™36 annual dinner at Christ Cellaa€™s a€” neither he nor anyone else there realizing that it will be the last for four years. In the early 1930s the New Schoola€™s snazzy new Greenwich Village building, with an informal left-wing faculty and ties to outfits like the John Reed Clubs, was just the place for a Wall Street lawyer to validate his anti-Wall Street feelings, as long as he could duck. Chris Morley looked down the table at me, elbows propped up on it and chin resting on tented hands. After taking Diana to see After the Thin Man on New Yeara€™s Eve, he finds himself finally, truly, completely alone with Diana a€” and this time all escape cut off. And Diana snatched the paper from me, dropped it on top of the others, and pushed the entire stack off onto the floor.
The consolation of BSI seems to be denied: there is no Annual Dinner in 1937 (nor will be in 1938 either). Pratt stood only 5'3", had thin receding red hair, and wore round-rimmed eyeglasses with tinted lenses.
In 1937 even Irregulars have foreign dangers on their minds, and not just those convening at the Mena€™s Bar Sundays for martinis and chicken soup. The British Empire may no longer be able to regard itself, as it reasonably could until 1914, as the leading power of the world; since we let opportunity slip through our fingers in the early twenties, it may be doubted if the world has had any leading power, which may be one of the things that is the matter with it.
When the crisis that ended with the abdication of Edward VIII had been quickly and smoothly settled the English indulged in a good deal of excusable self-congratulation. Americans are not particularly proud of their countrya€™s isolation from world politics, but do not see what else can be done about it at the moment. People who try to describe the Czechoslovak Republic in its nineteenth year seem driven to metaphor. Diana has her own response: use her family money to fund groups opposed to Nazi aggression.
Everyone did after Benny Goodman took the Paramount Theater by storm, people clamoring for tickets nearly rioting in Sixth Avenue. The first time I heard them do a€?Moonglowa€? it was three in the morning, Diana and me listening to the sweet haunting music through a dreamlike haze of smoke and alcohol.
Bleecka€™s had opened as a speakeasy in the mid a€™20s, and thoughA  ruled with an iron hand by its irascible owner Jack Bleeck, it was instantly and permanently adopted by the newspapera€™s editors and reporters.
A A A  Cella, sleek, brown-eyed and chunky, is a born innkeeper, though he gives mural painting as his profession. A A A  He sat back and sipped the drink that Chris brought him, watching the room through half-closed eyes. Dave Hackett had always felt safe in Equinox - a town so tiny it didn't even show up as a pinprick on most Michigan maps.
Dave loved wandering the woods when the snow began to melt and Mother Nature was ready to take off Her winter coat. Dave Hackett had hunted and fished the wildest places in the Upper Peninsula for thirty years, but he could not shake the feeling that the woods and marshes around his home no longer considered him a friend. Dave stood there, fingers numb against the worn stock of his Winchester two-forty-three autoloader - a rifle he had once used to drop an eight-point buck at a hundred yards.
Skunk-Jake Skinner slammed his bottle down on the table, sloshing beer all over a hunting jacket that looked and smelled like three-day roadkill. A gust of North wind made Dave shiver, filled his nostrils with the smell of frozen rot just begun to thaw.
The thought of fishing made Dave's blood run as icy as Spring snow-melt, but he had promised Kevin. Joe pulled a pouch of some moth-eaten animal skin from the medicine bag belted around his waist, unstrung it, spilled a heap of white powder into his hand. Dave shoved Kevin into the driver's side of the pickup, jumped in after him, slammed the door so hard the whole truck shook.
When they reached the cabin, Ellen seemed more shaken by their sorry state than Dave had ever seen her. Joe burst through the cabin door, the lines of his face writing a message Dave did not want to read. Ellen herded Kevin and Carrie down the stairs, gave Dave one last look before she clattered after them.
He found Joe in the kitchen, staring out the window above the sink, and forced himself to look as well.
Lightning crackled everywhere, shattering the trees, starting countless fires in the surrounding woods.
Dave could hear it now, between claps of thunder - a growling, snarling fury just outside the walls, the frantic scratch of claws on wood. Glass shattered explosively somewhere above their heads, followed by a thump, the creak of something lumbering across the cabin floor. Joe pulled another pouch from his medicine bag, reached inside it, withdrew fingers smeared with something black and greasy.
Joe moved from face to face, painting dark pictographs on pale flesh while an unseen monstrosity battered the cellar door.
Dave raised his Winchester, saw ropes of muscle tense beneath the bear's shaggy hide, saw the wolves crouch as if to leap.
Gichi-mukwa moved faster than any creature that size could possibly move, slamming Joe backwards and pinning him to the ground.
He tried to howl his rage and grief and misery, but a furry missile struck him in the chest, knocking him against the wall. Dave Hackett fell, fell into a starless void filled with a thousand voices chanting words he could not grasp.
Dave awoke on the dirt floor of the cellar, stiff and cold as morning sunlight spilled through the splintered doorway. He wandered outside, sniffing the fragrance of pine and spruce and cedar, sharper than he had ever noticed.
The thought of fishing made Dave's blood run as icy as Spring snow-melt, but he had promised Kevin.  Unlike his own father, Dave meant to keep his promises. According to experts, single women looking for a happy, secure boyfriend should look for a man with a sister or sisters.
Pro Tip: When surprising your son or daughter at college, make sure you know their correct dorm room number.
After waking up from an operation, and still hopped up on anesthesia, this kid tells his mom that he and "his boy, Rocco" killed people in Dubai. He gets a chance (and despite trepidations, takes it) to hang on by undertaking work for a clandestine client, the kind his firm would never accept in good times: bootlegger Owney Madden, and his No. What I knew about them came from Walter Winchell in the Mirror and movies like Little Caesar.
Owney Madden was in the bootlegging business and everything else that went with it, including his chief aide and enforcer Big Frenchy DeMange.
Black entertainers performing for strictly white audiences reflects the eraa€™s racial segregation, but the Cluba€™s showcasing of brilliant talent helps make jazz a national treasure. Beside the entrance was a tarnished brass plaque saying a€?Artists and Writersa€? a€” the admission policy? It finally comes to an end a year after it started, with Madden retiring from the rackets in New York and departing for a new life elsewhere.
Lexington Avenue could still be followed south to 45th Street; and on 45th Street Chris Cellini should still be entertaining his friends unless a tidal wave had removed him catastrophically from the trade he loved .
The kitchen was the supplement to the one small dining room that the place boasteda€”it was the sanctum sanctorum, a rendezvous that was more like a club than anything else, where those who were privileged to enter found a boisterous hospitality undreamed of in the starched expensive restaurants, where the diners are merely so many intruders, to be fed at a price and bowed stiffly out again. The flash of jest and repartee, the crescendo of discussion and the ring of laughter, came to his ears like the echo of an unforgettable song. On the far side, back to the wall, was a burly man with a broad hearty face, thick brown hair, and lively eyes full of mischief.
1, 1907,a€? wrote the Times five years ago (a€?What Would Eloise Say?a€? by Curtis Gathje, Jan. One day in February 1969, Betty Friedan and several other women swept past the Oak Rooma€™s maA®tre da€™ and sat down at a table. The Biltmore Hotel is gone, turned into office space despite protected-landmark status at the time. I froze, then scuttled out sideways like a crab, and turned to face the most stunning girl Ia€™d ever seen.
At Decembera€™s BSI dinner, he observes a Worlda€™s Champ and a Fabulous Monster, both of whom he will meet again, but more importantly he makes a new friend for life in Basil Davenport. Everybody knew his face from magazines and high piping voice from the radio a€” and some people hated both. Woollcott and Morley might be rival bookmen, but Chris didna€™t look half as annoyed as Bob.


One of his dislikes was Alexander Woollcott, whose presence at the December 7, 1934, annual dinner Leavitt always insisted was uninvited, unwanted, and obnoxious.
Woody can use one: his regained professional calm is jolted the self-possessed young heiress he met at El Morocco has daddy switch his legal work to Woody. The still young phenomenon of radio carries not only FDRa€™s reassuring Fireside Chats into American homes, but also the demagoguery of former Louisiana Governor, now Senator, Huey a€?Kingfisha€? Long, and the maverick priest Father Charles Coughlin. Not only cana€™t he get started with Diana, he doesna€™t even seem to have her attention when theya€™re together a€” and is silly enough to look for answers in the movies, as if life were one big screwball comedy.
For some it was Shirley Temple, for others Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, for more than you could count Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Diana is beautiful and wealthy, but comes with a father-in-law whose politics Woody can barely abide. But Woody and some others, instead of shrugging, organize occasional Irregular three-hour lunches of their own. But into those sessions now is injected an isolationist note even Anglophiles like Elmer and Woody cana€™t ignore, from Chris Morleya€™s brother Felix, a€?the Second Garrideb,a€? editor of the Washington Post sharply critical of FDR and his policies. Elmer Davis gives up fiction to write serious foreign policy articles for Harpera€™s Magazine, about the dangers in store for an indifferent and unprepared America. Not only had they disposed of a troublesome situation with less fuss than almost any other nation would have made over ita€”the reaction abroad, they told one another, had demonstrated that all men of good will realized that the stability of England was vitally essential to the stability of a somewhat unsteady world. You still meet Europeans who ask you why America does not come into the League and help to do something about world peace; but most of them, after recent collapses of the system of collective security, know why, and only wish that they could do as we do. President BenA?s, in his radio broadcast last Christmas Eve, said that a€?Czechoslovakia stands like a lighthouse high on a cliff with the waves crashing around ita€”a democracy that has the mission to keep the flag of peace, freedom, and toleration flying in Central Europe.a€? The propaganda German radio stations and newspapers have been pouring out for months sees the country as a a€?sally port of Bolshevism,a€? And K. First thaw unlocked the forest smells: faint spice of pine needles mingled with the dank, relentless odor of moldering leaves.
But this… this was an army of critters too small and quick and numerous for any one man to stop. Dead light bulbs and a swirling cloud of tobacco smoke made it hard to see, but he could see enough. When he finished, the silence stretched into a tension as thick as the tobacco smoke, and easier to choke on. Joe did not move - he just held on to that knife-edge grin, but no trace of humor touched his eyes. Joe's boots crunched across the gravel as he angled toward the woods in the direction of his cozy shack out along Bear Slough.
He saw something perched near the top - gray-white and indistinct against the swollen clouds - felt immense relief that one creature, at least, had not been infected with whatever black contagion plagued these woods.
The thing in his net had the telltale spots of a brown trout on its back and sides… but the thing in his net was not brown. He grabbed the handle of the net with his good hand, held the fly rod gingerly in his other, and splashed toward shore. Half a dozen grubs wriggled from its steaming entrails like groping fingers, filling the air with the stench of putrefaction. He sprinted into the woods, following his son's wail until he spotted Kevin rolling on the ground. The apparition wore deerskin leggings and moccasins with the puckered seam that had always been a trademark of the Ojibwa.
Joe swung in on the other side, banging the door shut just as a pair of squirrels thudded against the window. Tending Kevin's wounds calmed her a bit: applying antiseptic and bandages gave her something to occupy her mind. Blobs of darkness tore free of the tree line and sliced into the clearing: wolves, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, all painted with the same demonic brush.
Dave scanned the house in desperation, spotted something in the yard - a rusty cylinder lying between the cabin and the nightmare horde. The pale blue powder smelled of spruce and wintergreen and other things Dave could not name. When the door exploded off its hinges and thudded down the stairs, they were ready… as ready as they could be. He held out his medicine bag with hands that did not shake and spoke softly in a language Dave did not understand. Before Dave could leap to his defense, the wolves sprang in unison, each one targeting a different human prey. The sun bled weakly through the clouds, but it did not burn strong enough to dull the icy bite of Kiwetin, the North Wind. As his rumpled clothes melted into jet black fur, as his hands and feet sprouted claws, he remembered something Joe had said - vaguely, as if he had heard it in a dream. They picked a spot along the Manistique, an open stretch of riverbank without too many weeds. The Arizona student, who attended Red Mountain High School, exposed his genitals in his high schoola€™s varsity football team photo after being dared to do so by a teammate. Member of Hudson Dusters gang, convicted twice of safecracking with 13 arrests total, including one for murder. And as winter approaches Woody makes a third discovery that will change his life for good, this time at the Harvard Club library: Vincent Starretta€™s brand-new and magically evocative book, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. Ellingtona€™s a€?Cotton Club Stompa€? captured the beat and drive as well as the venue and era. Astora€™s Horse (1935) are available today; The Night Club Era especially evokes the New York popular culture in which the BSI gestated and was being born in the early a€™Thirties. Woody has weathered the Depressiona€™s worst year and learned a lot a€” but the ending of his clandestine association with Owney and Frenchy DeMange leaves him feeling blue. One was opened in a brownstone at 144 East 45th Street in 1926 by an Italian immigrant named Christopher Cella, whose boyhood friend Mike Fischetti was on the NYPDa€™s a€?Italian Squad,a€? one of the toughest cops in town. Although there were no familiar faces seated round the big communal table, the Saint felt the reawakening of an old happiness as he stepped into the brightly lighted room, with the smell of tobacco and wine and steaming vegetables and the clatter of plates and pans.
It was the same as it had always beena€”the same humorous camaraderie presided over and kept vigorously alive by Chrisa€™s own unchanging geniality. Its German Renaissance design features walls of sable-dyed English oak, frescoes of Bavarian castles, faux wine casks carved into the woodwork and a grape-laden chandelier topped by a barmaid hoisting a stein. Cohan, the Broadway hyphenate, a composer-playwright-actor-producer-theater owner, and the only person ever awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for a song, the rousing World War I anthem, a€?Over There.a€? Cohan made the Oak Room his pre-theater headquarters, his preferred table being a booth in its northwest corner.
There was an air of privilege about him even in the way he held his drink and his cigarette. The waitersa€™ response was to remove the table, leaving the women sitting awkwardly in a circle. Banquettes along the walls, and backs and seats of chairs, were in the blue zebra print identifying El Morocco in newspaper pictures. At a podium outside the arch, the maA®tre da€™ greeted us and led us inside, where Beebe was perched on a stool watching a bartender perform with a cocktail shaker.
On his favor and discretion hang feuds, romances, careers, ambitions, the very foundations of the most bitterly jealous and competitive social hierarchy of our generation. She looked at me with indignation, rubbing the top of one gold-sandaled foot against the back of her other ankle.
His acquaintance with Elmer Davis moves beyond the BSI into other realms, and Woody comes to understand what Morley had told him: they do all have Sherlock Holmes in common, but the BSI is primarily about friendship.
But a September 9, 1938, letter from Elmer Davis to Vincent Starrett gives a different impression: an older friend of Morleya€™s than Leavitt, Davis took up merrily with Woollcott that night. While Elmer Davis worries about a native despot poised for the a€™36 elections, Woodya€™s worries are closer to home. For me, it was one romantic comedy of William Powella€™s after another until my mind turned to mush. Yet Ambrose Converse is also his most important client now, as if Jimmy Stewart had gone to work for old buzzard Potter in Ita€™s a Wonderful Life.
The big stories were the Prince of Walesa€™ abdication, Italy invading Ethiopia, and FDRa€™s new term.
Four columns were marching on the city with a a€?fifth columna€? inside it waiting to strike like a snake. To Basil Davenport, Peter Greig, Earle Walbridge, and Dave Randall are added two more, one a kinsprit already, the other someone who will become important to Woody as the world drifts closer to war. Wiry and muscular, with a neatly clipped mustache, he resembled a wary bird whoa€™d bite off any finger poked in his direction. I believe that every democratic nation in Europe today would get out of Europe and stay out if it could; out of the neighborhood of Germany . But for them both, 1937 is their newlywed year a€” out on the town, taking in the movies, seeking out the coolest jive joints with the hottest jazz, and going dancing with the Age of Swing in full blast.
One night I overheard a callow youth say something to his girl about a€?shaming the old folks off the floor,a€? and realized in dismay that he meant me.
He said he could play drunk because he practiced drunk, and he sure could play, but we were watching self-destruction right before our eyes. We went on that way into 1938, celebrating our first anniversary without even a BSI dinner to break the mood. The spicy aroma of woodsmoke wafted from the chimney; little Carrie squealed as Kevin pushed her on the creaking rope swing in the back. He pointed the old Ram pickup straight for Wild Bill's Bar & Grill, where they served the tastiest venison steak and the cheapest beer in town - not exactly high praise, since Wild Bill ran the only bar and restaurant in Equinox.
He scanned the room, desperate for a sympathetic face, and spotted Joe Mishomis sprawled in a corner booth. Davy Hackett, King of the Wild Frontier, chased out of the woods by a pack o' killer rodents!" Everybody laughed - nervous laughter, maybe, but a healthy sound.
Dave caught him before he ghosted into the trees, grabbed his shoulder with a roughness born of pure adrenaline. He threw his rod onto the bank just as the trout-thing twisted its body and carved a long slit in his two-hundred dollar neoprene waders. She had always reminded Dave of a wildflower: beautiful and hardy, able to flourish in the toughest conditions.
Both tires on the near side - steel-belted radials, no less - had been chewed to ribbons by something with unimaginable power in its jaws. Some of the creatures whirled and staggered back into the trees, their furry bodies burning.
Joe's voice rose, swelled like thunder - became real thunder rumbling in the clouds above them. The Ojibwa's wrinkled skin was slick and scalding to the touch, as if he burned with some terrible fever. A low growl emanated from the other side, rising in pitch and power like the engine of a Mack truck starting on a cold day. Four shadows bounded through the opening, pausing at the foot of the stairs - timberwolves, fur stained the color of coal, yellow eyes blazing. His voice was humble – reverent - but his dark eyes never wavered, locked proudly with the flaming eyes of the manitou.
The front door swung creakily in the wind, its deadbolt ripped loose and tossed in a sawdust-littered heap beside the welcome mat. As he glided through the trees following the scent of prey, he felt the heart of Gichi-manitou beating beneath his paws. The photo was then published in the schoola€™s yearbook a€” somehow without a single person noticing. For the green and rather innocent Woody, Madden, DeMange, and the work prove quite an education. Then decades later, in Francis Ford Coppolaa€™s 1984 movie The Cotton Club, its life and times were recreated superbly, with Bob Hoskins and Fred Gwynne playing Owney Madden and Frenchy DeMange. A chorus line of nearly naked colored girls ran out onto the stage and went into a routine never seen south of Central Park. Its big room, mahogany, brass and mirrors with a forty-foot bar, served as clubhouse for Trib reporters and editors.
Tables are covered with clean white cotton cloths and the waiters wear long white linen aprons that flap about their ankles. It took him back at one leap to the ambrosial nights of drinking and endless argument, when all philosophies had been probed and all the worlda€™s problems settled, that he had known in that homely place. Why were there not more places like that in the world, he began to wondera€”places where a host was more than a shop-keeper, and men threw off their cares and talked and laughed openly together, without fear or suspicion, expanding cleanly and fruitfully in the glow of wine and fellowship? It drove me across town to East 39th, the wet streets dark and nearly deserted at that hour.
Offering a fine view of all comings and goings, it became known as the Cohan Corner, where the great man was courted by theatrical types looking for work. A man at a nearby booth offered breadsticks, which were declined, and the group decamped to form a picket line in front of the hotel. But the movie Woody saw there that night has lasted: The Thin Man, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.
Ita€™s comical that the Nobel Committee gives its Peace Prize to do-gooders like Jane Addams.


Ia€™d struggled through it in high school; they talked about Horace as if he were a mutual friend.
So Woody dwells uncomfortably in a higher social and economic stratum of an increasingly disturbing world, as he takes stock of it when they return from their honeymoon.
Fierce debate had started over his court-packing scheme, to circumvent the Supreme Courta€™s a€?nine old mena€? striking down one New Deal program after another.
Frank of the Czechoslovak parliament, a German belonging to the half-Hitlerized Sudetendeutsche Partei, has said that the state must be a€?either a bridge between Germany and the southeast or a barricade against Germany.a€? . But when I walked into a jive joint with Diana, nobody took me for a rootietoot, let alone a lawyer. He had an about-town column in the Herald Tribune called a€?This New York.a€? It wasna€™t Woody Hazelbakera€™s New York. Most years, at least a taste of sunshine spilled through the cracks at the edges of Mom's cosmic door; Equinox had seen nothing this Spring but an unbroken shroud of gray.
The sights and sounds and scents of home embraced him, mundane and comforting, until he felt like the biggest fool in the entire U.P. He stared into the empty hollows of a tiny skull, curved beak the color of jaundice bobbing as the branches swayed. Before Dave could decide whether to go after him, something splashed off to his left; his spinner began to hum. He wiped his mouth with a trembling hand as the currents carried the remains of his breakfast away. He gunned the pickup down the rutted trail, bouncing all of them around like popcorn in a kettle. He watched her stuffing clothes in an old canvas suitcase - withering before his eyes - and cursed his inability to stop it. It had protected his family from fearsome winter storms… but it would never withstand this one. He threw open the kitchen window, aiming the Winchester before he had time to doubt his instincts.
Dave helped him stumble toward the cellar as bursts of thunderous light flared and strobed around them. Dave looked at Ellen, saw the terror swimming in her eyes as she cradled a sobbing Carrie in her lap, clutched Kevin tight against her shoulder.
It should have been a good time to hook some trout: the little black stone flies were hatching, and Dave had a handful of Number Fourteen extra-longs that were dead ringers for the real thing. But his agents are numerous and splendidly organized.a€? Same with Madden, and I discovered a separate and different world beneath the surface. Formed alliance with Tammany Hall chieftain Jimmy Hines, went into bootlegging including many speakeasies and night clubs. Kidnapped and held for ransom by a€?Mad Doga€? Coll in 1931 (an unwise career move on the lattera€™s part). It was nearly empty at eleven in the morning, but even busy I couldna€™t have missed Walker halfway down the bar, next to an arresting sight: another man dressed, at that hour of the day, in white tie and tails.
I carried the briefcases when we got there, and Owneya€™s driver lugged the rest up to my apartment. After his death in 1942, a bronze plaque was installed to commemorate his tenure; it still hangs there today.
As the evening wore on and more and more people arrived, additional tables and chairs were brought out and placed on the dance floor until it almost disappeared.
When I finally got a word in edgewise and asked what the hell, Basil shrugged off a€?two perfectly useless degreesa€? in classics from Yale and Oxford. Bradford, another Thin Man imitation, had come out while Diana was in Europe, but when she got back I took her to My Man Godfrey at Radio City. Enlarging the Court had peoplea€™s backs up, while others felt the Court was so pre-Depression in make-up, it might as well be the Dark Ages. It was the New York of El Morocco by night, people with plenty of money despite the Depression, Broadway openings instead of bank closings, charity scavenger hunts instead of breadlines, uninterrupted self-indulgence instead of the dole. The name had something to do with Indian legends rooted deeper than the oaks, with a secret spot where the Ojibwa gathered to celebrate the rites of Spring. But these had fur as black as the Devil's soul on a Sunday morning - fuzzy balls of midnight skittering across the bones of winter-ravaged trees. For one horrible moment they did not move; then some primal instinct awakened, and they scattered.
Dave gave up on finding a space in the gravel lot beside the cinderblock elegance of Wild Bill's establishment and parked his truck on the shoulder of County Road 448. The two of them had fished together since Dave was big enough to lift a rod: Joe taught him how to light-line nymph a fly leader, how to fish the swampiest parts of the Fox River from a canoe, how to tie a Woolly Bugger that no trout could resist. Ted DeBoer run a pair o' coyotes off his place that was both just as black as the ace o' spades. I'd sit there, shivering in the darkness, listening to the old Midewiwin chant their prophecies.
Its jaws opened and closed, not with the sluggish motion of a suffocating fish, but with a ravenous snap. He carried a battered longbow and a quiver of arrows slung across his back; his wizened face had been smeared with markings the color of hot tar. With a whoop, Joe scattered the rest of the pouch's contents to the wind until a chalky cloud engulfed the nearest trees.
Joe pried the suitcase from Ellen's trembling fingers and lugged it outside while Dave threw a few things in a battered duffel, trying to remember when he had last gassed up the truck. Birds of every shape and size blotted out the heavens, exploded through the treetops like ebony missiles to collide with the multitude that flocked above them. A monstrous thunderclap rattled the windows as lightning flashed down from the heavens to blast the jack pines at the edge of the forest into kindling. They found the stairs, bolted the door behind them, descended slowly in the dim lantern glow. You can't beat the warriors of Gichi-manitou; your only hope is to make peace with them, to prove you're not the enemy. Dave did not see it descend the stairs; it simply appeared, its shaggy body coagulating out of liquid darkness until an immense black bear towered above the wolves. But they could repair and rebuild, if they decided to stay - or they could start again somewhere else. Owney Madden grew up in the part of New York called Hella€™s Kitchen, and had been in the rackets since he was a kid, starting with one of its Irish gangs, The Gophers.
He held a drink in one hand, a cigar in the other, and on the surface of the bar rested a silk top hat. I hung up my hat and coat, opened the briefcase Owney had given me and gazed at the money again, then stashed it in the back of my closet. Then as I started thinking of him as a pudgy intellectual, he said something to Gene Tunney across the table about their boxing a few rounds at the Yale Club before coming to Cellaa€™s. He and drummer Gene Krupa were from his band, but the others were colored musicians, cool Teddy Wilson on piano and excited Lionel Hampton on vibes, the first mixed group wea€™d seen. Dave's own instincts sent him sprinting for home, stealing glances over his shoulder as he stumbled over winter deadfalls. He walked past the jam of vehicles, recognizing the regulars… and several rusty hulks that never made an appearance unless they were roaring past on the highway. This time o' year, snowshoe rabbits oughta still be pert near white, but yesterday I shot me one with fur the color o' Kentucky coal dust. He tried to work the fish away from the weeds, playing it back and forth, waiting for it to wear itself out.
He smashed a boot against the trout-thing's side, crushing it against the rock, nearly losing his balance and falling face-first into the muck. The squirrels in its path burst into flame, raining from the branches like a shower of meteors. Dave tried to comfort his son, but he would not slow down — not until they put some miles between themselves and the dark waters of the Manistique. As Gichi-manitou's warriors swarmed toward him, they flickered between two forms, dark images superimposed on the same photo negative. The bullet ripped through the metal skin of the propane tank, and the false night descending on the Hackett's cabin erupted into flame. Then the black tide surged forward again, parting before the flaming wreckage of the tank and circling toward both sides of the cabin.
Ellen and the kids lay huddled in a nest of sleeping bags and weapons as the ground rolled beneath them. Then it lowered its head, picked up the bow in massive jaws, and splintered the weapon like winter deadwood.
The wolf placed its front paws on either end of the gun, closed its jaws around the barrel. The sun could not burn through the gunmetal clouds that had hovered over Equinox for more than a month; steady drizzle soaked through jackets, shirts, and skin. Kevin tried to spin away, was overtaken by another shadow-beast.  For one terrible instant, only his hand protruded from the wolf-thing's side, fingers twitching before they disappeared. He had to eat; and in all the world there are no steaks like the steaks Chris Cellini broils over an open fire with his own hands.
Author: History of the New York Times, 1921, Times Have Changed, 1923, Ia€™ll Show You the Town, 1924, Friends of Mr.
I loosened my tie, poured myself a stiff drink, and sat down beside a window a€” sat there a long time, the untasted drink in my hand, listening to it rain.
Anyone whoa€™d box Gene Tunney for funa€” I gave up, and went and got another drink myself. Powell was a stockbroker down on his luck, plucked out of a hobo jungle to butler for the nuttiest family on Fifth Avenue.
Mother Nature stands there with a foot on either side, trying to decide whether to wear Her heavy winter coat or put on a summer dress. Then the thing skittered away, bleached bones clicking as it moved, and disappeared into the twilight.
He saw something dark and shiny dart below the surface, recognized the spotted markings of a stream brown. He fumbled for the pliers in his creel, wanting nothing but to get this monstrosity off his hook, to get himself and his son away from here. He scooped Kevin up in his arms, kicking madly at the creatures on the ground, grabbing the furry monsters gnawing on his son and tossing them aside. Joe grabbed Dave's arm, cursed him into motion, steered him past the spinning, screeching fireballs.
He could sense them spreading out in all directions, expanding like concentric ripples on a pond after something heavy has been dropped into its depths. He heard a rustle in the brush beyond the yard just as Joe Mishomis glided out of the jack pines, looking peaceful and refreshed. Staff New York Herald Tribune since 1929; writer, syndicated column a€?This New Yorka€? since 1933. 1919; professional boxer, 1919-1928, World Heavyweight Champ, 1926-28, a€?Fighter of the Year,a€? 1928, retired undefeated that year. The Times called Lombarda€™s Irene a€?a one-track mind with grass growing over its rails,a€? but that was a damn sight better than her mean sister Cornelia. He glanced at a clump of popple along the edge of the clearing, and his fear melted away like a June snowfall. The reinforcements converging from both sides slowed for a moment, confused by the carnage. Member Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, Wine & Food Society of America, Republican.
He wandered toward them, grateful for any sign that the door between the seasons had really opened, and reached out for a stem. He yelped in pain as blood spilled from his hand into the murky water, staining it copper brown. Founded, with Cleon Throckmorton, Hoboken Theatrical Co., 1928, producing revivals of a€?After Dark,a€? a€?The Black Crook,a€? etc.
He heard movement behind him, spun around to see a horde of bushy statues with shiny buckshot eyes. Dave waded out and grabbed for his net, slipping it under and up as the fish swam within reach.
He heard it again in back of him - the scratch of tiny claws on bark - whirled around to face it.
Guggenheim Fellow, League of Nations, Geneva, 1928-29, dir., Geneva office, League of Nations Assoc.



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