Hello.  I realize that some people who might stumble across this blog don’t realize what I do for a living.  Very briefly, I sell respiratory equipment services to doctors and hospitals.  Part of the reasons the doctors use the company I work for is because I go see the patients at their home and do tests and follow up visits on them.  This often leads to very interesting home visits all over Chicago.  My territory is the North and West side of Chi-town.

So, below I wanted to share a story that actually happened to me (minus the shot-taking part) in an instructional format of a recent patient visit.  Just in case you wanted to recreate the scenario of what happened to me one fine Tuesday.

Go east on Fullerton Ave. to the intersection of Pulaski.

You will find on the corner a tavern that looks nothing like a tavern.

It is easy to miss, as there are no beer signs, welcome signs or any signs at all really.

It is on the south side of Fullerton next to the Latinos Motorcycle Chapter building.  DO NOT make eye contact with anyone hanging out in front of the Latino Motorcycle Chapter building.

The outside of the tavern is painted white, which is now faded and the entire building itself is very non-descript.

There are several windows which are frosted so you can’t see in and a large, heavy wooden door that would look better suited on a castle.  Two thick, black iron bars engraved with a Celtic design run horizontally across the door.  In the middle of the door, a little more than halfway up there is a square cut into the door about 6 inches by 6 inches. A darker, different kind of wood covers this opening.  You will find this odd.

Knock on the door.  Loudly.

Wait.

Knock again.

A woman’s gravely voice from behind the door will ask you, “Who is it?”

You must say these words, “I’m looking for Dan Dan the Irish Man.”

The square in the middle of the door will slide back to reveal an older lady who looks like she could be Tommy Lee Jones hillbilly sister.  Crystal Lee Jones is her name mayhaps.

She will look at you for a few seconds and then shrug.

You will hear numerous locks unlocking, a rattling of a chain and the door will finally open.

Go inside.

Once you are inside and your eyes adjust to the dimly lit room, you will find yourself in a bar.  It looks like bar that is in the basement of that one drunk Uncle you have.  Uncle Carl is it?

Out of the seven bar stools at the bar, four are taken by men in their late 60s, one has bags of potato chips on it, one has a jacket on it and the last one is empty.

Sit on the empty bar stool. Do not order a drink. Yet.

Look around.

You see everyone, including Crystal Lee Jones, is smoking cigarettes.  You realize that this is A SECRET SMOKING BAR. Hence, the non see-thru windows and locked, guarded door.   It smells like over one billion cigarettes have been smoked here.  All the patrons are a yellow-gray color and look like they could be cast as extras in a terrible, low-budget Lifetime version of Deadwood.  This is probably not a licensed bar you will say to yourself.

Also, all the men are drunk.

Also, it is 10:30 a.m. on a Tuesday.  Did I mention that?

You note one small pool table in the middle of the bar, a 1980s framed poster of a blonde in a bikini leaning over and squeezing her boobs together in front of a Corvette, a Chicago Bears cardboard cut-out of a player you don’t recognize and a large Marlin hanging over the bar.  A sign next to the fish reads, “Fuck You.  Gone Fishin'”

Ask to speak to Dan again.

Crystal will show you to the back of the bar and you will enter a door on your right.  Go through the door and you will go up a few stairs.

Crystal will yell (loudly) for Dan and you will be allowed in by Dan’s roommate (?) Rico.  Rico (who doesn’t look like a Rico AT ALL and could pass for Bill Gates nerdy brother) will sit down on the recliner and say, ” Heeeeey partner” and not say another word to you for the remainder of your visit.

Finally, you see Dan enter the room.

Dan Dan the Irish man, as he likes everyone to call him, is 65 years old.  He is short and stocky with a thin mustache.  He wears MC Hammer eyeglasses. He sports a fedora with a small rainbow feather on the side.  His shirt is missing two buttons from the top and you notice two gold chains around his neck. He is using suspenders to keep his gray dress pants up and has black penny loafers. He is very energetic.

After introducing yourself to Dan, he will likely show you several pictures of topless women who are “his beautiful girls”.  Most are in their 40s and according to Dan several of them work day jobs at the nearby Walgreen’s.  You aren’t sure if you believe him.  You notice one of the pictures (well, actually a Polaroid) is of a topless woman wearing Mardi Gras beads around her neck and it dawns on you that this picture was taken in this apartment in almost the very exact spot where you are standing.  You take one step back.  He will make small talk of his life in Vegas, Animal Planet , girls, his relatives, girls, his health and of course…girls. He may ask you if you are interested in his girls.  Please decline.

Ask Dan to sing you a blues song on one of his three guitars that are lying randomly around the apartment.

Listen to him sing (he’s quite good) and then politely exit back to the bar.

Go to the bar, order a shot of Southern Comfort chilled, slam it back and head out into the sunshine and the now shockingly bright, sunny streets of sweet Chicago.

High five yourself upon exiting and congratulate yourself for meeting your first Irish pimp that lives in the back of a secret bar!

The End.

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