Drinks at 8 A.M.

He said the house special was a coffee with whiskey. Down the bar, a man in a tie, slouched over

He said the house special was a coffee with whiskey. Down the bar, a man in a tie, slouched over his martini, slurred to his much younger companion, who was wearing a puffy coat, baggy jeans and a ball cap, if he would like mustard on his hot dog. (Rudy’s serves hot dogs in the morning.)

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“We used to have a lady come in every morning at 8 named Mary Lou,” Ernie recalled. “We used to call it The Mary Lou Show. Sometimes we’d have to carry her home at noon.”

“She was a nurse in the Navy,” said Joe Mariani, a vet who served in Korea and Beirut. “I’m retired, and the V.A. takes care of me well.” He wore a forest green sailor’s cap, a wax jacket and a well-kept mustache. “You might say I ate the bone and now I eat the steak.”

“He spends most of his time womanizing,” Ernie interjected.

Back at the Blarney Cove, it turns out Saturday morning is the big day. Peanuts says it’s because no one has to work, which doesn’t make much sense.

Peanuts had had a rough night’s sleep. He woke up very, very early, read all the papers, read The Economist, mopped his floors, cooked himself some eggs. Then he lay on his bed and stared at the ceiling. Finally, 8 o’clock came around, and he headed down to the bar.

Frank was at his usual post next to the jukebox, playing Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima. He had had some complications with his refrigerator, and his super promised to replace it with a fancy “silver” refrigerator on Monday. The new fridge was not huge but would suit his needs perfectly, he said. Co
okies agreed.

“You shouldn’t say silver—it’s stainless,” Peanuts grumbled.

“No, it’s silver,” Frank insisted. “Don’t contradict people.”

“It’s stainless,” Peanuts repeated meekly. Frank’s big face had turned red.

“You always got something to say, don’t ya?”

“Why not?”

“Well, you’re a fuckin’ idiot.”

“I’m an idiot? You’re the one with the silver refrigerator.”

Cookies walked in from his daily trip to Associated. He handed Peanuts a loaf of bread. Then things got quiet for a moment as they all began to scratch off their Lotto tickets.

Drinks at 8 A.M.