Setting: we are in a small bar somewhere in New York. The game is on. Let's say for the sake of accessibility, it is the Mets versus the Yankees. You are there taking notes. Not in person. Just a stooge for the author. You quickly surmise that the barman is Irish. He goes by the name of Pat. Pat's an old timer. Looks as if he is in his early sixties. Wiry kind of fellow like a fox terrier. Seen it all, has Pat. You ask him about the neighbourhood and he will give you his potted history. Knows everything there is to know. But don't get me wrong. He is discrete and can keep his mouth shut when promised to do so. Another thing, you will never get any of the old blarney from Pat. He is economical with his words. His mouth by the way is small with paper clip lips. When he speaks it's through a slit. He doesn't drink either. Stays sober even on his Saint's day. He doesn't smile much, except through those grey eyes of his. He has a daughter who has more of the Celtic in her. A redhead who is pursuing classical music. She will drop by sometimes. Lives with her mother. She's the apple of his eye, and in the back near the row of fine malt whiskey you'll see a number of photographs of her from when she was a bairn to now. That's it. Now we have started with our obvious ethnic stereotyping, we can conveniently move onto the woman pouring money into the fruit machine as if there were no tomorrow. That's Irene. She is not from Queens. She wears a mangy mink that looks like her dog, all year round. Irene has a sallow complexion and you would need to check the lateral meristem beneath the make-up to age her. You think that using tree-ring dating might be funny. It could back-fire so you leave her there. She serves no function except to lend atmosphere like the fake Tiffany lights.
You left Irene standing there pouring all her change into the machine, and now you with the deft movements of a Cinéma vérité director take in all the minute details on the fake brownstone floor, the crud of decades now flattened into the surface of the tiles. You then bring the focus to a group of three elderly men. They are discussing some business in a low voice. One of them through his body language suggests dominance over the others. They are all wearing Moss Brothers' coats imported over twenty years ago. They also go to the same barber. From quite a distance you can smell the same aftershave.
"So Jimmy, you think the boy has the balls?"
"Fuck he has and some more."
"You telling me he has three balls?"
"Knock it off Carlo. We are being serious. The kid is just a cugine"
"Serious, you know the meaning of that fucking word!"
"What did you say?" "Can't hear a darn thing cos of that racket"
"You need a fucking hearing aid."
"So Gina is she still giving you head?"
"Giving me head? Tommy, I ain't had a b-j since Bush told lies."
"Ya kidding me."
"Not after the prostrate job. Like raw meat, it is."