Tony at the Red Line Tap.

“Marty. Got any of the Antares from Argentina left?”

“I saved a couple of bottles just for you, Freddy.”

“You’re a sweet-heart.”

“Damn, Klonsky. I haven’t seen you for weeks,” said Tony. “I thought you had fallen off a fiscal cliff.”

“Right. What the hell is with that? Three things that I’m pretty sure didn’t get talked about during the past two years on the campaign trail or in a debate. Poor people. Education reform. And fiscal cliffs. And now all of a sudden it is a world ending crisis.”

Tony looked at me with a smirk. “You listened. You believed. You got snookered. How have you lived in the land that made Eddie Vrdolyak fast so long and yet not developed a thick bullshit shield around you? It is like my cousin Bartholomew always says…”

“You have a cousin Bartholomew. Really. Bartholomew?’

“Sure,” said Tony. “He’s my aunt Winnie’s kid. Aunt Winifred. So, anyways, cousin Bart owns an Italian joint on the south west side. It is frequented by a certain political figure of great power and influence in the county of Cook and the state of Illinois. A short fellow, who I am not in a position to name, but is known for his political ruthlessness and the fact that his first and last name are, what do you call it…an allegation.”

“Alliteration,” I said.

“Right. Alliteration. In addition to numerous allegations. So, like I was sayin’. Cousin Bart always says, ‘Never sit down in a restaurant unless the table is in the corner and your back is to the wall.’ And he learned that from watching this particular politician who has both alliteration and allegations, but whose name I am not at liberty to divulge.”

“Mike Madigan?”

“Exactly,” says Tony. “And he always orders the penne arrabiata, the veal piccata with two glasses of Barolo.

“And what does this have to do with fiscal cliffs, poor people, ed reform or bullshit?”

“Nothin’. I just think you should know who you’re dealing with.”

“I do.” I said. “And now he has a super-majority.”

“Exactly,” said Tony.

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