After leaving the Lampoon castle, I go looking for the little nerd. He’s in Widener, preparing for the coming week’s classes. He has a text out and is transcribing notes from the highlights he made while doing the readings.
“You know the prof will go over this in his lecture,” I kid him.
“Someone has to do the readings,” he argues.
“Minehan just comes up with the answers in calculus. He claims it’s like playing music. He can hear the right answer. It’s his math as music theory.”
“Dude, he just copies your answers,” Jack contends.
We sit in the back after getting coffee.
“I talked with Trudie.”
“I thought we had to wait two days before calling.”
“She says we need to stop making assumptions about each other.”
“Does she not know we’re fucking each other?”
“That doesn’t mean we know what’s going on inside our heads.”
“Just what’s going on inside other places.”
“Seriously, she’s still pissed we just decided to show up unannounced.”
“Yeah, but I bet they loved it, especially when their parents freaked out.”
“She did say Joan is pining for you.”
“It’s not the girls we need to talk about.”
“What? Are you still against Minehan staying with us?”
The boy is clueless.
“I had a long talk with Kurt earlier. He thinks we’re self-destructive.”
“And Minehan isn’t?”
“He’s just a kid, living out his fantasy of college life. Kurt thinks I’m trying to get kicked out.”
“You don’t think you’ll be kicked out too, partner in crime?”
“Jeez, all we do is play our music and get people excited, like at the football game.”
“We’ve got the Dean on our asses, just like that dick AP Spencer at Gables.”
“We toasted his butt,” Jack laughs, forgetting it was because his father is on the school board.
“You know my dad will pull me outta here if we get into more trouble. Your dad will pull strings; you’ll be golden.”
“There’s something you’re not telling me.”
“Kurt offered me a full-time paying position on the Lampoon. He wants me to oversee a National Lampoon movie project about frats at Dartmouth.”
“Wow. Doesn’t he know I was an acting assistant producer for Marty?
“He knows you’re committed to staying in Cambridge.”
“This job is not at Harvard?”
“It’s in Hollywood.”
“Kurt says we need to be separated before we ruin our college careers. I’ll get credit for my freshman classes as long as I pass finals, plus I get work-study credit.”
“You really want to go?” he looks at me beseechingly.
“Only if we can make it work together.”
“That’s all I want, to be together.”
“Maybe life conspires to keep us apart until we’re older,” I hypothesize.
“When are you going?” tears are running down his face.
“Nothing’s set. I’ll havta go out there to be hired. I still need you to help me pass my courses. I’ll be here for finals and Christmas.” I wipe his tears away. He puts on his good face.
“He thinks we’re self-destructive.”
“We’ll get through this. When I was in Switzerland and you had closed your heart to me, I never stopped loving you.”
“I’ll always love you, Jack.”
“Look how that worked out for Jace – trapped in the netherworld.”
“That’s exactly what you want, someone permanently straight to keep me straight.”
“Joan is pining for you.”
“How did that happen?”
“Perfect manners. Mummy will be so pleased.”
We go back to Widener and finish our preparation for the week. I’ll tell Kurt I can go to Hollywood. That night, we ask Minehan to sleep up in 3D. We have to store up memories.
Monday morning sees us all eating breakfast together, plotting our week. Jill and I will work out of 3D in Mower on the Lampoon article; Jack and David will attend classes. They promise to work on doodles as caricatures of the staff members we’re going to parody. Jack suggests we hire a printer to create a deck of cards with the doodles on all the face cards. We’ll sell it as 100th year memorabilia, since the Lampoon started in 1876. Then we’ll assign mean names to the staffers as graffiti on the cards and publish it with the article. Minehan is really excited about becoming a cartoonist, thinking his writing is inadequate for Harvard. We tell him to show us his doodles as soon as they’re done. Jack will do caricatures.
Working alone with Jill on the narrative leading up to the sexual harassment rules, I really want to tell her about my Hollywood deal. I promised Kurt to only tell Jack. She asks me about the Smithies.
“I called Trudie last night. She’s still mad but we talked it out. Maybe they’ll see us this weekend.”
“Jack use his charm?.”
“No. Actually I called her for advice about Jack. That’s the only reason she’d talk with me.”
“Still fighting about kicking Minehan out? He’s not staying up on 3.”
“No. Trudie has been telling me I make too many assumptions about people, expecting them to do what I want without asking them first.”
“Some new sex position you want to try out?”
“Since you found girls who accept your sexual deviancy, you can’t expect me not to call you on your shit. Someone needs to keep it real.”
“I thought you liked me?” I wheedle.
We leave it at that. Later in the day, Minehan organizes another swim lesson. This time I’m restricted to the deck while the 3D girls hold him up in the water. He claims to feel more relaxed knowing they won’t molest him. They balk at the mouth-to-mouth training he refuses to do with me. He makes two laps that day, praising his new coaches for getting him past his mental obstacles. I state he is acting ‘mental.’ David puts on a show of ‘mental’ poses.
Jack buys everyone pizza at ‘Noch’s’ extolling our PE exercise. He worries he is getting a pot-belly. Minehan calls him a ‘pot-headed jelly belly.’ Jack and David pass around their sketches of the Lampoon staff.
They’re great, just enough to make the upperclassmen look off-kilter. They do the eyes to perfection; they look devious and perverted. We discuss which card should be assigned to each staffer. We reject the Ace of Spades for Kurt as too much like ass-kissing on our part. Naturally he becomes the Queen of Hearts. Fatty Terry is our first skewering; he becomes the King of Farts (Clubs). Troy is easy, as the King of Spades, our ever reliable ride to Smith. The rest of the face cards are assigned according to the nicknames we made up – Stubby, Limpy, Quick, Minuteman, Teary, Nerdy, Stinky and Clueless. As interns we assign ourselves to the four knave/jack cards – David to spades (as a black Irishman) , Jill to hearts , Jack to diamonds , and I’m clubs (as Mower clubhouse leader). Jack says he’ll pay to have a proof set printed. Minehan begs to be the salesman, needing the money for his tuition. The Lampoon is planning to turn the front of the Lampoon Castle into a jack o’ lantern, for the Yale game to celebrate a century of lampooning. We get a photo of the proposed lighting display to go on the back of each card.
Jack completes the form for a permit to play in the Yard. When he turns it in, they state he has to give them 10 days’ notice, so the date has to be changed to the Saturday morning of the Yale game, the big football game of the year. The lady tells him he’s crazy. He agrees but insists on submitting the permit request. Later we discuss what to play.
“We should play rah-rah songs to build up student spirit for the game,” Jill suggests.
“Based on your knowledge of football traditions?” I kid her.
“Well, moody music isn’t very inspiring,” she notes.
“Maybe we can do military and patriotic songs and march everyone into the stadium,” Trixie proposes.
“Let’s do ‘Ballad of a Green Beret’
and see how many people follow us.
“I’m sick of the Beatles,” Minehan claims.
“What? Everyone loves the Beatles,” Jill states.
“That’s why I hate ’em. Everyone’s stuck in the 60’s.”
“You’re so strange,” Trixie remarks.
“Ya just noticed?” I laugh.
“From 1963. I was 4 then,” Minehan is not moved.
“I don’t get me no satisfaction,” I sing. “I need my blankie and a nap.”
We all agree he has a point.
“We could do Jonathan Richman. He went to Harvard,” Jack continues to suggest music.
“Yeah. Wear a coat and tie but be hippies. ‘Road Runner, Road Runner’,” David is still a naysayer.
“Let’s just do our own songs,” I suggest.
“What? Old False Gods songs about climbing trees and sneaking around Miami?” David won’t stop being negative.
“No. New songs about being students at Harvard,” I am ready to move on.
“No protest songs,” Jack complains. “We can’t give them an excuse to kick us out.”
“We got my song about the Rat. It just protests faggotry.”
Jack and I glare at him.
“At least that’s about us,” Jill takes David’s side.
“Okay. How about David’s phobia about me teaching him to swim until five mermaids show up,” I start to get new ideas.
“Yeah, and how Bailey’s is fer girls with little pink tables and chairs.”
“And, ‘Noch’s’ has the best pizza as long as Jack pays,” Minehan crows.
“How everyone throws up all weekend from being drunk and cain’t learn nothin’ all week-long from being hung over.”
“Stop,” yells Jack. “Stop acting all fake country. We’s at Harvard.”
“How they don’t want girls at Harvard ‘cause then everyone will know that all Harvard guys are social retards,” Jill chimes in.
“Looks like we have a dozen ideas for new songs,” I realize. “Let’s start with a football song, since we all disdain football.”
“But you love football, Tim,” Jill notes.
“Well, that was Andy, the hick from the sticks in I-o-way.”
“So Andy was the boy who got into Harvard. Tim is the one who wants to get kicked out?”
Jack looks pained.
“I jist cain’t go home agin,” I misquote Thomas Wolfe.
“So, why mock the team when we’re trying to get people to the game to cheer?” Trixie is confused.
“If them players wants to knock their brains out, we kin at least cheer ‘em on,” I revert to my Harvard New English.
After our spirited discussion, we settle down and write-up the first drafts of the seven songs based on our social observations – life in a 300-year-old institution.
The first lines of the football fight song go:
‘Ready. Set. Hup Hup.
One two three four
What are we fighting for
Guts and glory
On the stadium floor’
On Harvard, on the field
Big fat men in short trousers
Give ‘em a pat on the butt
Give ‘em a hand and a rouse
See cheerleaders jump and strut’
We submit the permit application as the Harvard Standing Band and list our purpose as a spirit rally leading up to The Game. Almost immediately we are summoned to the Dean’s Office. Jack is terrified we’ll be written up again. For someone who did nothing to gain admission, he’s struggling to keep his privilege. As the one who had to prove myself to get in, I expect some support for my student activities. Jack believes I just don’t care, and more importantly, not caring about what he feels. It is still all about him.
Dean Epps has a reputation for respecting student rights but also is a stickler for proper procedures.
“What is this Harvard Standing Band? If you want to form an organization, you have to go through proper channels.”
“It’s just the name of our band,” I explain. “It’s my fault, Dean, not Jack’s”
“That remains to be seen.”
“We applied to the Marching Band to be a spirit section. I had done that at Iowa State last year. We had really inspired their team against Oklahoma.”
“Not without annoying the alumni, according to the local newspaper,” Dean Epps has our records which are more detailed than I realized.
“We hoped Harvard would be more excited about spirited music, but the director turned us down.”
“So, the Standing Band is a joke, meant to tweak the established band.”
“Not really. We started playing guitars in our dorm room, and several of the other residents joined in. When we added drums, it was so loud the RA asked us to move to the basement. We planned a party before the BU game. It was moved outside when too many people showed up.”
“Maybe because you provided beer.”
“It was a party. 18’s the drinking age in Massachusetts.”
“We got everyone excited. We even played the Star Spangled Banner. Everyone went to the game. The cheerleaders let us lead cheers. The team responded by coming from behind and beating BU. All the girls in Mower are cheerleaders. Even the old alums in the stands say they are impressed with girls at Harvard. They hadn’t even known about it.”
“So, you want to do it again? Even after last weekend’s commotion?”
“We talked with Campus Police. They told us we need to get a permit.”
“Permits are for recognized Harvard organizations.”
“We’re just a House band, from Mower. The girls on the third floor are really into it. They’re intimidated by all the weekend drunks. It’s a chance to show they’ve raised standards above drinking and purging.”
“Okay,” Dean Epps smiles. “You boys worry me but at least you make a good case, standing up for the poor defenseless Radcliffe girls.”
“Oh, they do that very well for themselves,” Jack pipes up.
“No alcohol. No pot. I’ll approve a one-time concert at 11 am until game time. You boys are very talented. Don’t let me find you have some nefarious scheme behind all this.”
“Just to have all the Mower girls worship us.”
“That sounds more normal than riding the T in your underwear.”
I start to explain how that happened, but Jack pulls me away as Dean Epps waves us out.
We are permitted.
Next I go to the Lampoon castle. Kurt pulls me into his office.
“Have you made up your mind about the work-study?”
“Jack’s okay with it, as long as I get credit and I’m back for Spring semester.”
“Okay. I’m sending you to see P J O’Rouke in New York. He’s in charge. He’ll vet you on your music background. Tell him to kiss your ass if he wants some arts degree or other qualifications. If he balks, bring Patti Smith in to remove all his pubic hair. You know her, right?”
“Last time I saw her, we spent the night together.”
“What did Jack say about that?”
“He had to sleep with Robert Maplethorpe. He ended up in bed with Patti and me.”
He shakes his head. “So she’ll back you up? PJ can be a pompous ass.”
“So, why must he vet me? If he resists, we’ll play ‘Pissin’ in a River’ in his office.”
“It’s just a formality. They’re trying to sell the magazine to a media conglomerate and cash in for themselves. He’s exerting his authority. The movie is on the West Coast. I need you to report only to me, like my eyes and ears.”
“Harvard gets a licensing fee for the use of the Lampoon name. That will go away when it’s sold. The University is willing to give it up for a price. They don’t care that the National Lampoon will then be fully independent from us. No more direct feeding Harvard Lampoon graduates to the mag. It’s like a child divorcing their parent. That Dartmouth guy taking control of the movie project is a direct result of the pending sale.”
“You want me to sabotage the head screenwriter to reassert Harvard control of the movie?”
“No, not directly. I want you to show PJ that it’s in their interest to stay connected with us.”
“I don’t understand. You want me to undercut his decisions but convince him he needs us to straighten it out?”
“And being a spy makes me a good guy?”
He looks at me. “I’m not properly making my case. Go out there and do your creative thing to make the movie better. I’ll play the angles to show they need us.”
I like the cat and mouse interplay but know I need this PJ guy on my side as well. Maybe Kurt is playing me. I need him to back me up if I’m going to succeed.
“So, it’s East Coast versus West Coast. That I can play. Being a spy, not so sure.”
“Okay. But keep your eyes open and report back.”
“Do I come in as a heavy hitter?” thinking about using Daddy’s pull like we did with MGM.
“Naw. You’re just a kid with a lot of musical knowledge and ability. Get them coming to you. Be indispensable. To prove that we have value beyond the Lampoon name.”
“I understand. When do I go to New York?”
“I’ll send you right away. Spend a week with the National Lampoon people. Get to know them, so they trust you.”
“Still a spy, huh?
“When can you go?”
“Next week? Do I get paid?”
“Once they hire you. Do you need a loan?”
“Nah. I’ll stay with Jack’s family at the Dakota.”
“Can I stay with your folks next week? The Lampoon’s sending me to the City,” I try to make it sound casual with Jack.
“That’s cool. I’ll stay at the Chelsea. It’s just that I want to speak with Daddy.”
“Just call him. It’s not like he’s busy, sitting by the pool and reading the Times.”
I call the next morning, from Kurt’s office. Isabelle answers.
“Hola, Chica. Estoy Tim.”
“Sr. Tim. Como este?”
“Muy bien. et tu?”
“Excelente. Que pasa?”
“Este Sr. Stone en casa?”
“Si. Uno momento.”
“Yes, Tim? How’s Harvard?”
“Jack’s a little neurotic, but he’s getting all A’s.”
“I’m not worried. What can I do for you? It’s nice you feel part of the family. Not a problem with your dad, is it?”
“No. He even gave me good advice this weekend when we got into trouble. I actually listened and learned from him.”
“Do I want to know about trouble?”
“It’s all good. We were playing in Harvard Yard. The Campus police shut us down. Some people were smoking pot.”
“Ah, the Yard. I loved my freshman year there.”
“Were you in Mower, too?”
“Of course. It’s the best. What’s it like now.”
“We have Radcliffe girls on the third floor. They’re all our friends. The boys seem retarded.”
“Perhaps ‘developmentally delayed’ is more appropriate. Is Harvard going co-ed?”
“It’s an experiment. Did Jack tell you we’re on the Harvard Lampoon?”
“Yes. I had expected him to try for Hasty Pudding.”
“He wants that as well. Were you in a social club?”
“Porcellian, of course.”
“We got invited there but the upperclassmen rushed the girls we were with. We upped and left. We’re more comfortable with Fox.”
“Yes, of course. Fox is more arty.”
“Our Lampoon editor is there. We’re his interns. He even added one of the ‘Cliffies as an intern at Jack’s suggestion.”
“Well, co-education is coming to Harvard. I doubt Porcellian would be comfortable with you boys if you’re in the vanguard of change.”
“Tell, Jack. He feels they are the top club.”
“My boy, the social climber. Tell him his older brothers were in at Porcellian, for all the good it did them.”
“The MGM people were disparaging of Jack’s older brothers.”
“I’m not surprised. We used to worry about Jack. He seemed slightly inhibited. Not so since you showed up. We have a hard time keeping up.”
“Don’t worry about him. But there is a wrinkle. I thought I’d ask your business advice. My dad is better on the police advice.”
“Well, it’s nice that you thought of me.”
“The Lampoon wants me to go to Hollywood and be the music coordinator on a Lampoon movie.”
“You’re dropping out?”
“No. I’ll still finish my freshman classes, just by mail. I’ll get work-study for the job. I’ll get twice the credits. The only hitch is my editor wants me to be his eyes and ears on the set.”
“That’s awkward. You’ll be a spy. Your associates in Hollywood will eventually find out. All those relationships will turn against you.”
“Exactly. My editor says he’ll take the blame, but everyone will know where the information came from.”
“What is going on with the Lampoon? I would think they’d be above these sorts of office politics.”
“That’s exactly why I’m calling you. Can you guide me? It’s unknown territory.”
“Of course. Are you still close with Mike Antonio? You may need a lawyer.”
“I’ll call his office. Thanks, good advice.”
“That’s what my editor is worried about, losing the pipeline from Harvard to the national magazine.”
“Well, with the national moving into movies and other entertainment, it’s more like a corporate media conglomerate, not just a magazine styled on its Harvard roots.”
“He feels the managing editors will sell out for their own profit. Harvard will just take a payment for use of the name. It’s not about the money for him. Harvard will lose editorial control.”
Daddy laughs. “Jesus, Tim. You sure like sticking your nose into the action. Mergers and acquisitions is a highly specialized banking field. Maybe you need to be taking classes at Harvard Business School. There’s a lot of money to be made in a buyout, like you’re describing.”
“You need a BA to go, but it may be instructive to write-up a case study on your experiences. Go see Marty Feldstein in the Economics Department. I’ll get you an introduction. He was recently named as one of the outstanding professors under the age of 40. He can tell you about B School case studies. He may change your opinion about Harvard professors.”
“You’ve been talking with Jack about my bad attitude.”
“I think you don’t appreciate Harvard yet.”
“My editor told me I need to get some perspective before they kick me out. He even thinks Jack and I should be apart.”
“What does Jack think?”
“He’s said I can go to LA. He’s been mad when I seem to sabotage his social aspirations at Harvard, like at Porcellian.”
“It may be best in the long run.”
“I really like that we talked,” I praise my putative father-in-law.
“I’ll let you know when to see Feldstein. Don’t be put off that he’s a Republican.”
“All part of your advice to keep an open mind.”
“Call me anytime, Tim. You’re part of the family.”
“Just Dad will do.”
“Okay, Just Dad.” We both laugh.
Next I called Mike Sr. Jay comes on the line.
“Long time, amigo.”
“Of course, I only fool around in your dreams.”
“I’m at Harvard now. I’m in so much trouble, I may need a lawyer.”
“They catch you smoking pot?”
“Naw. I’ve outgrown that. I’m going to be hired as a music consultant on a movie.”
“A student film?”
“A real Hollywood film. Jack’s dad says I may need legal representation, for me to call Mike.”
“Well, I passed the bar. Entertainment is one of my fields of experience, after shepherding you guys around.”
“Yeah, you shepherded me right into the Everglades.”
“Just a detour on your meteoric rise to fame.”
“Sounds like we’ll be working together, we’re a team.”
“What about Jack? He working on the film too?”
“They’re separating us after several unfortunate incidents in Harvard Yard.”
“Sounds like you have a new band.”
“I guess I’ll always have a band to play with. We backed up Liza Minnelli and Elton John on shows at the Troubadour.”
“It was in the paper here.”
“We made the news? Jack will be pleased.”
“Can you do contracts and negotiate music rights for this movie?”
“Sounds right out of my law school text books.”
“You want to speak with Mike?”
“Hi, Mike,” I greet him.
“No longer Mr. Antonio?”
“Well, You work for me again. I just retained Jay to represent me in my new job. I’m being hired as musical consultant on a major movie.”
“I thought you were at Harvard. Michael just talked with you.”
“It’s work-study. I’m on the Lampoon staff.”
“So, it’s a joke.”
“No, its big time. The National Lampoon is being bought out. The Harvard Lampoon is sending me out to Hollywood to help them retain creative control. The Harvard administration just wants a payout on the use of the name. We want to keep the connection to feed Harvard grads to the new company.”
“Tim, you’re not versed in the intricacies of mergers and acquisitions.”
“This is way beyond your experience.”
“I know. That’s why I called Jack’s father. He told me to call you. My editor wants me to be his spy on the negotiations as well as prove Harvard adds creative value to the National Lampoon, not just a prestigious name.”
“Jesus, Tim. This is not high school anymore. Never let yourself be used. What are you getting out of it?”
“Maybe I can get the band signed to be in the movie.”
“Don’t ever commit to anything on a maybe.”
“Well, I meet the National people in New York next week. I’ll tell them I’ll never be a spy, too much like a snitch in jail.”
“Let me know how it works out. Anytime you have a question, call Jay. I’ll be available if it blows up.”
“Thanks, Mike. I guess you still do work for me.”
Kurt takes his office back once I hang up.
“Still unsure about Hollywood?”
“More unsure about New York. I got good advice from Jack’s dad.”
“The inscrutable Mr. Stone. What did he say?”
“I’m to talk with Professor Feldstein about doing a case study after we’re done with ‘Animal House.’”
“The Econ 10 wunderkind. Why him?”
“Mr. Stone thinks I need to appreciate Harvard more.”
“Well, Feldstein’s very popular. If the National Lampoon thinks you’re doing academic research they may be less suspicious that you’re my spy.”
“The family’s not at the Dakota. I have to stay at the Chelsea in Greenwich Village.”
“Not exactly the Upper West Side.”
“It’ll fit my budget.”
“Oh. I found some money in our budget until you get on salary. You’ll get $50 per diem.”
“When do I go?”
“They expect you on Monday morning.”
“Do I get any spy gear, like a miniature camera?”
On Wednesday I go to see Professor Feldstein in his offices. For a Republican, he is enthusiastic and full of energy. I explain my concerns about being part of a plot to derail the buyout of the National Lampoon. We discuss the politics of the deal, noting Harvard’s administration is only concerned with the money they can get for selling the Lampoon name.
“It worries me that rewarding management for accepting a buyout isn’t in the best interests of customers and the other employees,” he states.
“You only make money when you sell something,” I observe.
“That’s very Darwinian. What about the greater good?”
“I thought you were a Republican?”
“You think Republicans only think about profit?”
“I think they worry that their sons will waste all the money they’ve accumulated.”
“Hah. I see why Edgar Stone likes you. How do you know him?”
“His son, Jack, is my roommate.”
“Nice. Been visiting to the Dakota yet?”
“Yeah. We started a band called Dakota, with Leonard Bernstein’s daughter and John Lennon’s son.”
“You’re a musician, too?”
“That’s how I got the gig as music coordinator on the movie.”
“Gig? I love it.” He laughs. “Here’s an outline on the required elements for a business case study, as well as a couple of decent examples. You do a good job, I’ll give you credit for Econ 10.
Somehow, I’m racking up the Harvard credits. I guess if they are willing to give Minehan credits, they must pass them out freely.
“Keep your mouth shut, listen when you’re in the room, and report what you hear without trying to analyze or edit it.”
“That’s pretty specific. Is this something that happens a lot in business?”
“In business, people are careless about information when they trust you. Lose that trust and you may as well look for another job.”
I learned more in thirty minutes with Feldstein than I learned in two months of classes. Of course, I never go to class. Jack is my spy.
Friday night we return to the Ritz. I wonder if it is Jack’s trick to keep us from hitting the Rat. No one complains. As we sip our cocktails before dinner Jack gets up and announces that I’m leaving Sunday for a job interview in New York.
“Oh, no,” Jill cries. “You’re dropping out?”
“Au contraire, mon amie. I get credit for work-study, as well as credit for this Fall’s classes. I’ll also get credit for Econ 10 in the Spring if the professor approves the case study I write on the job.”
“That’s not fair. You get credit for the whole year and paid for it.”
“They just want my dad’s money, figuring I’m sure to be expelled before Christmas.”
“Did you pull strings, Jack?” Minehan accuses him.
Jack bursts into tears. “I don’t want him to go,” he cries.
“And I’ll be here enough to make sure you don’t turn gay,” I warn David.
“So, you’ll still be around?” Jill looks hopeful.
“How can I not miss these beautiful blue eyes?” I smile at her. She turns bright red. “I’ll tell everyone once I get the job.”
After we eat our meal, they all serenade me with ‘So Long, Farewell,’ from ‘The Sound of Music.’
The performance gets a big hand from the other diners. We have built a following for our Friday recitals. As long as we sing Broadway hits.
As we are leaving, a hotel security officer asks us to follow him to the Ritz ballroom. The guards have set up a phonograph and have two boys our age there, looking like Irish Spring Soap commercials.
“We want to bring you boys up to snuff on real Irish step-dancing,” the guard announces.
The Irish boys take us aside. They quickly have our hands to the side and learning how to turn an ankle while hopping to the rhythm. In just a few minutes the boys bring Minehan and the five ‘Cliffies on stage, making it five boys and five girls. The guards man the phonograph, and we’re put through our paces for an hour of real Irish step-dancing. No one talks about going to the Rat afterward.
Back at Mower, we tell Minehan he has to sleep on the third floor again. We have a week’s worth of fucking to get through. I’m to leave on the train to New York after morning mass.