top of page

Entry date: 11-26-2023 – Plum Wine and Melted Cheese (the Bet) – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

I’ve been very lucky and only had what I will now consider minor back pain. The last couple of days, I’ve experienced my first bout with sciatica pain and, well, wow. Just wow. I had no idea what this nonsense could be like. No fucking fun is what this shit is.

I have no idea what I did, either. I’ve been a little sore in the left hip area for a bit and stiff in the lower back, but it had gotten worse each day. It culminated, last night, into me feeling like, maybe, I was finally to the point where my back is a problem.

Needless to say, I have a new found appreciation for what some people I love go through with their backs. For a good while last night, I felt if I could just get the right stretch, I would get some relief. It never came. The only thing that really helped was lying motionless.

Today is a bit better. It doesn’t feel terrible like it did last night. I think I might have overdone a few things yesterday as we are trying to de-clutter and such. I think an easier day today is in order.


Bobby and Vince took Dirk to a spot off Yucca and McCadden. There was no sign on the red door that faced the street, but Vince opened it casually and held it for Bobby and Dirk. It took Dirk a minute to adjust his eyes after stepping into the dimly lit room, but it started to become clear he was in a small anteroom of an intimate restaurant.

Vince led the trio into the main room and walked to one of the corner booths. There was a circular fire pit in the middle of the room with a large bed of glowing coals laying beautifully across the bottom. Dirk was having a hard time taking his eyes off it. As he looked around, he noticed that there weren’t any tables, except for a booth in each corner of the rectangular room.

There were other people in two of the four booths, but in the lighting, it was impossible to make out their faces and Dirk could not make out what anyone was saying. This was a perfect place for a touch conversation, Dirk thought, and he wondered what Bobby and Vince were going to tell him.

As the three men sat down, a petite woman seemed to appear at the table. Vince greeted her warmly.

“Madeline, my love. Plum wine and fondue for the table, please,” he said.

“As you wish, Mr. Trantella. Chef’s choice, as usual?” Madeline replied.

“Indeed. He always picks the most interesting things.” Vince returned Madeline’s smile and she turned and seemed to glide away.

“I’ve never been here,” Dirk announced nervously. “I didn’t know this place existed.”

“Nobody knows it, really,” Vince replied. “It’s an old Hollywood secret. Used to be a speakeasy during prohibition and, for many years, it was an opium den, too. For about a decade in the fifties, the mob ran a high rent poker game here, too. Presidents played cards here, my boy.”

Dirk could feel the weight of the room enveloping him.

“Don’t worry, buddy. It’s just a fancy fondue place now,” Bobby chimed in. “Do you like fondue?”

“Sure, I’ve been the Melting Pot a bunch of times,” Dirk replied, feeling a little better.

“This place blows the Melting Pot away, Dirk,” Vince said.

Madeline appeared again, this time carrying a beautiful crystal decanter of dark liquid and three stemless wine glasses.

As she sat it down on the table, she said, “This a fine bottle, Mr. Trantella. Damson plums from near the Thames were used to make it. Chef said you can taste a little bit of England in there, too, if you have a good palate.”

“Sounds delicious, Madeline. Thank you. Will you give our friend, Dirk, the first taste? We’ll let him decide today if we’re going to keep it,” Vince said with a grin.

Madeline gracefully poured a small amount into one of the glasses and handed it to Dirk. “Oh, Dirk will like it, Mr. Trantella. In fact, I think he’s going to love it,” she added.

Dirk was mesmerized by Madeline’s beauty as he accepted the glass and raised it to his lips. The first taste danced on his tongue. He could taste the plum right away, but it also was a touch acidic and had a vaguely spicey note, as well.

“Well,” Vince prodded.

“It’s amazing, dude. Wow. Thank you, um, Madeline,” Dirk replied.

“Your fondue will be out accordingly, Mr. Trantella. Is there anything else?” Madeline asked.

“No, honey, not right now.”

Vince poured himself and Bobby a glass of wine and started to talk about Jennifer Dunkirk. The coals in the fire pit seemed to glow a bit more brightly every time he mentioned her death. Again, Dirk felt the weight of the room enveloping him.


See you tomorrow.

Dirk shouldn't have drank this.

20 views0 comments


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page