Table of 8 – 1997
My brothers, in every way but blood, Brian Koppelman and David Levien got a movie deal for a screenplay they wrote called “Rounders”. Matt Damon was cast as the lead whose characters name in the movie was Mike McDermott. Ed Norton was cast as Worm who’s name is Lester Murphy. Being so proud of them i set up a trip to NYC to see a few days of filming. Mr. Damon and i had a weird, awkward exchange that even left Brian and David scratching their heads. However, his star was on the rise, they were pretty well into filming, so maybe he didn’t want the distraction of meeting me or was busy with other things, but that’s not why i started to write this.
After watching shooting i ended up meeting a few friends to see a band in the Village. I won’t use real names, as to protect the innocent.
Brian and David were going home, so i made plans to meet up with a comedian friend of mine and the brother of another good friend, we’ll call them Bobby and Bill. Myself, Bobby and Bill went to see this mildly entertaining band. Bobby was friends with the singer whose name was Mick. Mick was a fairly charismatic singer, leather pants, black shirt, shoulder length hair, in the vein of a, not as cool Jim Morrison. Bill had some coke and we proceeded to party at the club after their set. Bobby and Bill were going to call it a night, but like any good addict, i had not yet to begin to party. I had to catch a 10am Port Authority Bus to Newark Airport to fly home to Chicago, as i had a gig at The Abbey the next night. Mick says he knows a bit of a mob hangout in the village that we could score some blow from a guy there.
” I’m in ” i said without hesitation
We went over to this place and go into a street level bar/restaurant, in my memory it was in the East Village. The place was fairly well lit, a dozen or so tables, people talking, drinking, eating, nothing out of the ordinary. We got a table and ordered beers. Mick surveyed the room and spotted a fairly old Italian man at a table of 8.
” There he is, ” he said
” That guy?” i questioned, ” He’s like…90?”
” That’s him, stay here ” Mick got up from out table and approached the man in question. Although it was out of earshot i could tell the table seemed suspicious of this leather pant wearing, longhaired, engaging them.
Handshakes were exchanged and i sized up the table i noticed what seemed to be some very attractive women with several young, tough looking, mob type men, with the exception of the alleged old guy coke dealer.
Mick stays for, i’m guessing 90 seconds, whispers in the old guys ear and then comes back to our table.
“We’re in”… Mick said gleefully
It’s around this time i’m thinking we should just get the fuck out of here. After a beer Mick and the old guy go to the bathroom and Mick comes back with a knowing smile.
Now i REALLY wanna get the fuck outta here. Mick has a loft in the village and we were gonna head there to take care of business. As we cross the street, we get to the other side and Mick says ” Jesus man, did you see how hot those girls were?”
“Sure did ” i said.
After a few steps, he stops me and said, ” Hey, hang on a sec…they were about to leave, let’s just give it a minute.”
” a minute for what?” i said
” Hang on ” he said and grabbed for a cigarette. I did the same
Within a few minutes the table of 8 leaves the restaurant and Mick gives a whistle to them, from our side of the street. The youngest and toughest looking guy waves Mick over…he leaves me, jogs back over and i see and conversation, more friendly then before, unfold.
Within a minute, Mick waves me back over as the group piles into two cabs, Mick, myself, the tough guy, whose name is Seb and one of the 3 pretty girls comes in our cab. Two other girls and two other guys go into the other one. The old coke dealer is gone.
We proceed to midtown to some kind of bar/diner and we get a room in the back…the rest of the group arrives and our table of 8 orders drinks and some of the people get some food.
Ten minutes or so into our hang a group of 4 NYPD cops come in and get a table 15-20 feet from us, but they are on a landing a few steps below us. So we are sitting above them but we can both see each other fine. Looks are exchanged with little fanfare. Within a few minutes of the cops sitting down i’m handed a baggie of blow with a straw extending out of it.
” What the fuck man?” i asked one of the goons next to me…as i directed my stare to the cops.
” Ah, fuck them, they ain’t gonna do anything, here watch….”the goon lifted the straw to his nose and snorted, loud enough that i’m guessing the dishwashers must have heard it.
He handed it to me and i did the same with a little less gusto then Goonman. I pass it down and the table proceeded to pass the bag around the entire table. Shortly thereafter Mick and one of the girls, who i now found out, they all work at Scores (world famous strip joint in Manhattan) are over by a forgotten piano i see in the corner of this room. Mick starts playing and singing and the other two girls go over. So now it’s Mick and the 3 strippers around the piano. Me, Seb and two goons at the table. I could tell Seb who is clearly the leader is getting annoyed at the antics of this guy Mick. I try and make small talk that is met with little enthusiasm. I had known some connected guys and tried to bro-down with Seb but every guy i brought up, it seemed Seb had little interest in discussing. Eggs and beers come and Mick and the gals come back to the table. One of the girls goes and sits on Seb’s lap and they start kissing. Mick then gave the line, no one should give, ever, under any circumstances, especially to a mob guy, Mick says…
” Get a room!”
Seb and the girl ceased their make out session and the table hung there in silence.
I can’t recall what broke that silence, maybe fear? shame?
In that moment, …i knew one thing was for certain….this night would end up with bloodshed. And it did…
This story isn’t easy for me to tell…you’ll know why with part two…but i need to take a break for now.