4

The Thin Man

It's 11:59 on a Saturday night, and Blackjack Pizza won't take my call. I dial and hit send, dial and hit send. Finally someone picks up. "BlackjackPizzawe'reclosed."

"Really?"

"Yeah."

Info

The Thin Man

"At midnight?"

"Yeah."

"On a Saturday?"

"Yeah."

"Really?"

Click.

After six rings and a three-minute hold, Papa John's agrees to speak with me.

"Will you deliver to a bar?"

"No."

"How about if I walk across the street to another business?"

"No."

"What if I stand in front of an apartment building?"

"No."

"What if I —"

Click.

This is fucked. This is that season-eight Seinfeld episode where Elaine can't get Chinese delivered so she pretends the janitor's closet in Jerry's building is her apartment. And that's where I take my cue. With the address of a building around the corner scribbled on a trampled business card, Cole calls the Papa from just outside the bar. As she talks, I feed her the desired pizza toppings and sizes, a fake apartment number and a demand to know exactly how long it's going to take (so I can be waiting out front). Insisting on a phone call because the buzzer's broken — she comes up with that on her own. And thirty minutes later, we're dishing slices to strangers. Ridiculous? Maybe. Dishonest? Sure. A matter of life and death? Close enough.

For the past three hours, we'd been drinking big-city-priced beers (sixteen on tap) and infused-vodka cocktails (nine homemade recipes) at the Thin Man (2015 East 17th Avenue). Maggie and I couldn't get our shit together enough to make dinner before we showed up, so we started boozing on empty stomachs. This, of course, was a terrible idea.

It didn't help that the Thin Man was so packed we found it easier to whisper sweet nothings to our cocktails than to each other. Smokers crowded the front patio and played with a brown-and-white puppy tethered to the railing. Just inside the giant overhead garage door, Flobot Mackenzie celebrated her birthday with bandmates and some two dozen "We always knew 'Handlebars' would be huge" well-wishers. Groups of six and seven crammed around four-person tables along the wall and near the wood-burning fireplace and played Apples to Apples, Scrabble and a barely functional Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. Every time a few of us went outside or more than one person was in the bathroom, table-hunting vultures hovered. So we stayed put and drank.

No one passed out or got so pie-eyed that they assaulted an unsuspecting delivery girl outside of a random apartment building they were pretending to live in for the purpose of getting pizza delivered to a bar or anything, but when Cole appeared with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in her pocket and Mags felt like her stomach was as empty as the sum of all presidential-candidate rhetoric combined, well, I knew I had to spring into action.

"BlackjackPizzawe'reclosed."

"Really?"

Fuck.

To see where Drew Bixby's been drinking, check out this map.


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