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Double Cross Punica an undercover cop who had a sister named Jan
Lucky Wilbury

Tuesday morning and I’m back from the holidays in California, scaling the steps at Borough Hall just off the 5 from Grand Central and elevating in to the chilled Brooklyn air. A vendor’s cart with stacked pomegranates comes in to distant focus and brings my mom to mind, who placed said fruit in my Christmas stocking. Yes I still get a Christmas stocking and in brief response to the inevitable shit-giving that this will elicit I offer an indisputable fact about my mother: she’s better than yours. She included it because I asked for one many Christmases ago, which was something I’d forgotten. Eating it two nights later it occurs to me that I must have had it going on back then. I also got the complete Larry Sanders box set and running shoes for Christmas, but cool as they are they ain’t no pomegranate.

I pass the stand and pass on my second pomegranate in as many weeks. (Above praise not withstanding, the juice tends to stain your fingertips a dark red-purple.) Further down Court Street I note the “Steak” and “Chops” adverts atop Sam’s restaurant – another old school Brooklyn establishment on my ‘to try’ list – and recall the Spencer rib eye I had at Marin Joe’s the evening before my return flight to New York. For those taking notes, yes I tend to gravitate toward places named Sam’s and Joe’s more than I do those favoring clever French idioms. Joining me for dinner that second-to-last night of 2010 were Tom Myers and Paul Theodoropoulos, former Monaco Labs Glory Days cohorts and generally pleasant company. We covered the conversational gamut from aging to early Matthew Broderick films before calling it an evening three hours later. As the saying goes, you can’t make new old friends, and more specifically two who immediately understand any “Roberta and Abdul” reference without requiring an elaborate set-up. I always anticipated challenges associated with getting older, but never figured that one would be explaining how Martin Hall used to put his pool cue away to psyche you out as you were lining up your winning shot in the Monaco lunch room.

Back in New York there’s a lot of snow talk going around; apparently Bloomberg was out of town for the first airport-closing round of storms and forgot to leave a note for the adjunct plow drivers not to take any supplemental gigs. That shit doesn’t fly here as folks have people to see and things to do. Notes were taken and adjustments made for Seasonal Storm Number Two, and as I stood at my window observing large pre-dawn flakes coming down it seemed nary a handful fell without some kind of public works vehicle scraping them off the pavement. Say what you will about Bloomberg, he rarely gets it wrong the second time around and his matter-of-fact, no bullshit approach fits this city’s mentality like a glove. I capitalize on the maneuverable streets and functioning public transit the following day to take the G Train two stops over to State Street and a small, local guitar repair shop. The young and apparently capable proprietor sizes up my axe, a time-worn Guild D-35 with ample nicks and faded varnish, and tells me that it’s more than fit for a few minor adjustments. I tell him that I was considering a new purchase, but concluded that this one still sounds too good to put down .. and he concurs. Some things, like pomegranates, are worth coming back to.

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  1. coleman wrote:

    I’d like to go on record that I was the first person to call Martin Hall out on his now famous psyche out move. After he missed his shot (and you had only an easy? shot at the 8 ball left for a victory) he would invariably let out a sigh and walk slowly toward the cue rack to replace his no longer needed pool cue.
    Once noticed, this move lent itself to many copycat versions. My own of course being much less subtle than Martin’s.
    Martin was also a tough guy to work out the spread on any football bets. Those Bears/49er bets/rivalries took on a life of their own in the shipping Dept. But his inability to budge in even the smallest of ways on the spread would drive a Bears fan to drink. For Martin to give you half a point you’d have thought you were killing and raping his entire family. It was all a ruse of course, we both knew it. Sly like a fox this man. On the Friday before the game, this would go on all day until about 4 pm when we’d settle on the point spread and shake hands. Then all his “psychological positioning” would fall away as he no doubt thought what an easy mark this kid from Illinois was.
    On one occasion (about this time of year) we even fell into chest bumping each other numerous times with no small amount of urgency in a silly and macho(?) display of love (for our respective teams, the game itself, and for each other)(well, I can’t speak for Martin But i can say it was true for me)
    I miss that Barney Rubble looking guy.

    P.S. also invariably… the Niners would hand the Bears their helmets.

    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    For my own Martin Hall “in the know” memory, I offer this obscure bit of dialogue for Tom Myers, on the off chance he makes it as far as my “comments” section:

    Dick Farrell (holding photograph): “Look Martin – he’s movin’, he’s movin’ ..”

    Martin Hall (dryly, and taking photo back): “Please ..”

    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink
  3. Cookie Rojas wrote:

    Coming late to this but I miss Martin too. The only person I’ve ever met who had a picture of his father with a world famous dictator, and worked for NFL films…..By the way have you guys heard the new Gregg Allman CD?

    Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Permalink
  4. admin wrote:

    “I’m No Angel II” .. 25 years in the making. My personal preference was Benny’s tale of punching out Jack Webb when he dared cross the line to the processing area, demanding to know when his negative would be out of the bath. Joe Friday or not, you’re going down pal.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 8:37 am | Permalink

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