“The Liver Lady came in on one of those Wednesdays, because she came in every Wednesday, because Wednesday was the day we ran the liver special. The liver was always on the menu, but on Wednesday it was two dollars cheaper than usual and the Liver Lady was thrifty. She told one of the waiters, who then spread it around, that she had millions to give away when she died, to several nieces and nephews, but she didn’t want to waste even a dollar of their inheritance on overpriced food. The problem, she said, was she had fine, uncompromising tastes. That was why she came to Nick and Eddie on Wednesday, like clockwork, and got the liver, because she knew value when she tasted it.
“You can picture her: thin blue quilted coat that she wore in all seasons; eyebrows plucked and painted on with a few stray stubble hairs visible underneath a layer of pancake; blue fake-jewel earrings to match the coat; unruly gray hair that must have taken a long time to look just this side of nuts; bright, blinking eyes and an rusty brownish color of lipstick that can’t have looked good on anyone.
“And she smiled and she chatted. And at first we were all wary of her because we – with our far-reaching ambitions and our desire to just get done and get home to whomever or whatever was waiting on us, or wasn’t – we didn’t like to be disturbed, or to be brought from our real life, which was not at this restaurant, into the present moment, which was. What was important to us was outside these walls. We didn’t say it, we would never have admitted it, but we all wanted at least a little bit to be next year’s Sigourney or Drew or Anthrax dining at whatever edgy overpriced but admittedly well-done place popped up in whatever newly defined neighborhood that had not yet been discovered.” (c) 2010, all rights reserved