Lou Reed is Dead

Lou Reed

I've been awake for most of the last 48 hours, and listening to a lot of Lou Reed.

In the late eighties, barely nineteen, I worked the one til seven in the morning shift at Doll + Penny's: a 24 hour restaurant on the Davie Strip. After the bar rush had wound down, we'd turn off the disco music, the senior waiters would turn over their sections to me and cash out in the back of the restaurant, chain-smoking and drinking beer from big frosty tin milkshake cups.

The place would clear out pretty quickly by about 3:30 am. I'd be left cleaning up the aftermath, bussing empty coffee cups and crusty nacho plates, refilling sugars and ketchup containers, and tending to the few tables of stragglers. Inevitably, I would put on one of my two go-to late-night chillout cassettes, "Loaded" or "Transformer".

The post-bar-rush crowd was alway an assortment of Lou Reed characters: hookers and hustlers, drag queens, street kids, junkies, drunks and sad-eyed night-hawks. Little Joe would be there with a gaggle of chickens up from Boystown sprawled in the A-section window booth; Candy Darling, a faded old queen drinking tea alone in B; Street Hassles, the shifty couple, who's suspected predilection would be confirmed when their spoon went missing and they were in the bathroom a little too long; The coterie of street kids in C, knowing me to be sympathetic would on the damp nights often nurse their coffees til the morning shift showed up, nodding and napping against the upholstered bench; and as the sun came up, and the normal people started to hurry along the streets on their way to day jobs, the night people would fade into the shadows like ghosts.

Thanks for the memories and soundtracks. good night Lou.

Postscript: 
Many years later, my friend, author Tony Correia serialized a creative non-fiction inspired by the events and real people from those days at Doll & Penny's, including yours truly (I leave it to the readers to figure out which character I inspired).

Check out "Foodsluts at Doll & Penny's" on Xtra. Illustrated by Ken Boesem.