Fateful Encounters
The Firehouse Theatre
Through Nov 13

Some slugs go below the belt and come from a fist. Some slugs go in the belt and come from a flask. Mikey, my buddy, looked like he'd had both kinds. His face was twisted. His skin was greener than a drunk man's skid marks. I didn't know what was wrong. I knew he'd taken some hits from our buddy Jack Daniels, but I didn't think he'd been punched. Not in the last hour or two at least.

I felt a little off myself, to tell you the truth, and it wasn't just my hangover. See, we'd come to the Firehouse expecting a play. Like where people talk, and maybe somebody does a number. But what we were seeing wasn't a play like that. It wasn't cornball, see. It was just good. I think its goodness was throwing us for a loop. Here's why it was good: There was a coupla private dicks. They were good guys. They didn't take shit. One of them, Nick Bianco (Duane Hanson), got framed for a murder he didn't do. Then the other one, Scott Ferguson (Brian R. Young), tried to get him clean. He did what investigators gotta do. He looked out for his buddy.

Everybody talked right in this play. They talked like people talk. This guy, Brian Young, he wrote it and produced it, directed it and starred in it, too. He said it's supposed to be like putting a picture on the stage. I like pictures where the broads are spunky, the fellas hardboiled, and the bars like armpits: dank, sweaty, and maybe a little hairy, too. This picture had all that.

In fact, it almost had too much. It was almost too long, and some parts were boring. Too much plot was talked when it shoulda been showed. Other parts, I wanted to shoot people when they weren't acting as good as I thought they should act. But there was good music. Also, bullets flew in the end, which got me and Mikey excited.

At the end, I asked Mikey if everything was okay. He turned to me and said, "I was just surprised there for a second, Johnny. There was just so much love in that play. Maybe I didn't like every second of it. Maybe I mighta got pissed sometimes. But there was love. You gotta respect that." I did not reply. There was nothing to say. When Mikey's right, he's right. Outside the theater we lit up our cancer sticks and watched as our smoke made love with the incoming fog.